terse answer Thursday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s terse answer Thursday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Manager wants to know if I’m looking for another job — and I am

The company I work for is very small. Salaries are significantly below market rate and turnover is high. I have been in my position for almost two years. The majority of our department has left in the past six months and another employee just recently resigned. My boss is new to the company and is surprised by constant turnover. He just pulled me aside to ask if I was looking as well. I am.

I didn’t answer outright. I was honest that many in my age bracket (entry level up to a few years of experience) don’t stick around long-term because promotions here are awarded based on tenure and not performance (another post altogether but trust that this is true and not speculation). I told him I had doubts about my ability to move up within the company.

He had good reason to ask; he wants me to take on accounts that have been shuffled around to five different people in the last year and doesn’t want to have to reassign them again. It’s worth mentioning that these accounts had not been previously handled by an entry level employee until staff turnover necessitated it. Although he’s new, I do really like him so far and don’t want to mislead him, but how can I handle that without putting my current job in jeopardy? Also, I’ve been looking for several months and am finally getting calls for phone interviews (thanks to your blog!) So I will (hopefully) have to deal with this sooner than later.

Well, first, I’m a big proponent of being transparent with your manager when you’re ready to move on — but only if your manager makes it clear that it’s safe for you to do so. So you’ll have to judge whether or not that’s the case here, and since it sounds like he might be new enough that you don’t know that, it’s fine to err on the side of safety rather than potentially jeopardizing your own job. That doesn’t mean promising him that you’re absolutely not looking, but you can go with a middle-ground answer instead. For instance: “If someone came to me with an opening that gave me opportunities that I don’t have here, I’d have to consider it, but I don’t have any current plans to leave.” And when it does come time to leave — well, things change and people do move on when the right opportunity arises.

2. Should employers offer more flexible interviewing arrangements?

I’m curious to know your thoughts on whether firms should allow for flexible interviewing, like giving candidates the option to request first round video interviews or out of hours interviews at evenings or weekends.

My thought is that employees are typically expected to be at work during a certain time frame (8 to 5, etc), and as such, they should be willing to interview during the company’s standard hours. In all of my years interviewing for jobs, never have I asked to do it after hours. It seems to me that, while yes we would want the candidate to want to work for us, we also want them to work for us, which would mean following the basic rules. I don’t know that I’d necessarily want to hire someone who wants me to bend the rules for him or her, especially in something as simple as interviewing. I’m on board with occasionally having off-times for interviewing if a candidate just can’t get away from their current job, but I’ve always managed to do it. I’m more flummoxed by idea of offering first-round video interviews. If it were an out-of-town candidate, I can see that; it saves money for both company and candidate. But if it’s a local candidate, I fail to see why the candidates can’t be expected to use initiative. Lunch break, using PTO, and so on. Is this more of the bending-over-backwards that the younger generation seems to expect, or is it becoming the new norm?

It depends on the candidate, and it’s important to keep in mind that your job is to hire the best people out there. So for a desirable candidate who I really wanted to recruit, or for a hard-to-fill position, I’d be as flexible as I could and do a first-round interview by phone or Skype (although if we moved forward, I’d want to meet in person), and I’d try to work around their work commitments (especially given that the most desirable candidates are often already employed). But on the other hand, if I’m already skeptical that someone is the right candidate, particularly relative to others, I’m not likely to come in on a Saturday or arrive before breakfast.

I don’t see requests to meet at a non-standard hour as a candidate not following the rules, but rather as a reality of what might be an inflexible work schedule. You don’t have to accommodate the request, but you shouldn’t hold it against them for asking.

3. Translating application materials for a spouse

My husband is applying for some engineering jobs in Spain that specifically emphasize fluent English skills. Spanish is not required, but is mentioned as a plus (among other languages). My husband doesn’t speak Spanish, but I am a Spanish teacher. He asked if I could translate his resume and cover letter so that he could submit them in both English and Spanish. His thinking is that providing the Spanish would be helpful to anyone at the company who doesn’t know English well. I think that not only is it a little presumptuous, but it also might inadvertently misrepresent his language skills. There are no specific instructions for this on the job postings. Who do you think is right? Also, would it be okay to mention in the cover letter that his wife is fluent in Spanish, or is that a taboo topic?

You are right, and your husband is wrong. It would indeed misrepresent his language skills (and if the company needs applications translated, I’m sure they’re prepared to handle that on their own, so it’s not likely to come across as “considerate” but rather as “look, I have Spanish skills”).

He also shouldn’t mention in his cover letter that you’re fluent in Spanish, because it’s not relevant to his qualifications for the job. It will come across as if he thinks it is, and that will be confusing. (Is he implying that you’ll translate things for him if he’s working there? Or just that he has some exposure to Spanish? It’s not clear, but either way, it doesn’t belong on his application.)

4. Managing people older and more experienced than you are

After some company restructuring and a few people leaving, I’m being promoted to a (newly created) supervisor position. I’m one of five writers on our production team, and most of them have been there longer and are ten years older than I am. Our team is fairly tight-knit, and I’m friends with several of them outside of the office. I was hoping you could give some advice on managing a team of people older and more experienced than you, especially when you have worked with them as a peer? I’m not a confrontational person by nature, and I really have to fight “asking” people to do things rather than telling them “this needs to be done.”

Coincidentally, my book co-author Jerry Hauser and I just wrote about this topic over at The Management Center. Rather than repeat it all here, I’m just going to link you to what we said there:

One other thing I’ll add is that you don’t need to be “confrontational” to manage people. You just need to be matter-of-fact about what needs to be done (as opposed to being overly hesitant or overly aggressive) and believe me, your staff will appreciate you being straightforward rather than making them guess what you want. (And speaking of things that I’ve written with The Management Center, chapter 10 of our book — the chapter on exercising authority without being either a wimp or a tyrant — might be really helpful to you.)

5. Am I applying for jobs too early?

I want to get a job (nothing special, probably just data entry), but can’t start until mid-May because of prior commitments. I started applying to jobs yesterday, figuring if anyone called me it’d be in a few weeks or months. But someone called me about one of the jobs this afternoon. I’m assuming that since they’re calling so quickly it means they need someone right away and won’t want to wait until mid-May.

I’m not sure what to do. Am I applying too early for this type of job? Talking on phones is really stressful for me, and now I’m afraid that I’m going to have to keep making phone calls just to find out I can’t be considered because of when I’d be able to start working.

It’s really hard to time this type of thing perfectly. If you wait, you might not have found work by the time May comes around, so it really does make sense to start looking now. But that also means that you might hear from employers who want you to start sooner than you can. And that’s fine — you can simply let them know your timeline and ask if that works on their end. Frankly, it’s not that far off — only seven weeks, and many hiring processes take longer than that … even when they start out moving quickly in the early stages.

6. Leaving a job early to work overseas

I graduated from undergraduate last spring and in November, I was lucky enough to start my first job at an international nonprofit, which was exactly the kind of place I was hoping to work.

Ever since I studied abroad in China, though, I have been itching to go back. I just found out I got into a selective two-year Peace Corps-like teaching fellowship in rural China, which is a dream opportunity that would certainly help my Mandarin language skills, likely relate to potential graduate study, and would allow me to work for a great cause with a solid alumni network. I’m pretty sure I want to accept, and I feel that it would be much more difficult to do something similar in a few years when I am more settled in the US with such luxuries as furniture I didn’t get used off Craig’s List and maybe even a car. (I also have a pile of student debt, but I could defer my loans while I am on the fellowship.) However, I might have to be in China as early as mid July or August for this program, which would mean that I would leave my job after less than a year of being there.

I feel very grateful for my job, and I do not want to let down my supervisor or burn any bridges. The job is definitely administrative and I expect that the basic tasks of the position would remain the same if I stayed on for longer, and I gather I would have to stay at the organization for several years before I would move into any other position. How heavily would leaving my job early weigh in the future?

It’s not the end of the world, and you can do it once. You may or may not burn the bridge with your organization. (Leaving after three months, you almost definitely would; leaving after nine or ten, you’re more likely to get away with it, but they won’t be pleased.)

This is not license for people to take jobs intending to leave them in a short period of time that they know the employer would never have agreed to up-front, because that’s still not okay. This is a bit different though — I assume you didn’t know that you’d get into this program when you applied and otherwise were planning to stay in your job for a while.

7. How important is it that your resume and LinkedIn profile match?

How important is it to have your resume and LinkedIn profile be similar? I understand that LinkedIn can be a platform to highlight more skills and attributes for past/current jobs.

Also, is it important to have your LinkedIn profile open to the public? I am still wary of having personal information on the Internet, let alone my resume. Do you have to list every job on LinkedIn as you do on the resume while searching?

Your resume and LinkedIn don’t need to be identical. In fact, LinkedIn gurus would tell you that what’s appropriate for a resume format isn’t appropriate for LinkedIn, and that if you really want to take advantage of LinkedIn, you should be presenting your information in a format better suited for the site anyway. That said, obviously if your job dates and titles don’t match up, that’s going to be a red flag. But sure, you might choose to mention one job on your resume and not on LinkedIn if you don’t care to highlight it there.

As for making your profile public, you certainly don’t need to, but you’ll really be missing out of the point of LinkedIn if you don’t.

{ 193 comments… read them below }

  1. KayDay*

    I’m feeling a little bit contrary tonight, so here goes:

    #1 (nosy manager): I’d be a bit more vague/intentionally misleading: “I have no plans to leave at the moment, but if something interesting comes along I would look into it.” (because too many people have had bad things happen when mangers find out that they are really looking.)

    #2 (interview times): I wish more managers would be willing to do slightly early or late interviews (e.g. 7:30 or 8am/5:30 or 6pm) – I know 1 person who was able to get an interview at a weird time. Many candidates have jobs, and they probably don’t want their current boss to know they are interviewing. As Alison says, you might not be able to actually do that time, but a candidate asking certainly isn’t anything to hold against them. Personally, if given the option, I would generally request to have it early in the morning (9am) or later in the afternoon (4pm) as opposed to the middle of the day.

    #3 (No habla Español): Don’t translate your husbands materials unless the company specifically requires materials be translated. If you would be moving to Spain together for this job, it would make sense for your husband to mention your Spanish skills in an interview, in the context of “yes, my family and I would love to move to Spain. My wife is fluent in Spanish and I am fluent in tapas.

    #5 (looking now vs. later): I would take this time to do a lot of research and send in a few job applications, but don’t expect a lot of bites on your applications. It’s hard to know what places have long hiring processes, but if you hear of any, those are the places to apply to.

    #6 (quit your job and move to China): Do it! Do it now. If your international non-profit was like my international non-profit, it’s pretty common for recent grads to only stay in admin positions for a year or so, leaving a few months early to do something completely and totally awesome would not raise any red flags. Give them plenty of notice (follow Alison’s advice about figuring out how much), put together or update a manual for your job and they probably won’t be upset. I really doubt they would hold this against you given the particulars of your job and your stage in your career.

    1. Peaches*

      I second the sentiments with #3. I’ve lived in a few countries in Europe and in sometimes when they are bringing in English speaking workers, they worry about their ability to acclimate and be happy in their new home. Language skills are definitely an important part of that. I wouldn’t mention it as a bonus that your husband would bring to the company, as Alison points out, but more as an assurance that a move to Spain wouldn’t be as difficult as it might for other candidates (meaning you might leave soon after getting if culture shock or home sickness is too great). Somebody in the home who can speak the local language really helps navigate a million and one tiny, but important things and some spouses get (unwillingly) dragged to other countries and left to fend for themselves. Other cultures have their own versions of “happy wife, happy home” too.

      1. Spanish Teacher*

        OP #3 here. That was my thinking with the cover letter, too. Not that my language skills would benefit the company, but that it would add to my husband’s motivation for moving abroad when he doesn’t speak the language. It makes sense that the interview is a better time to mention that.

        Thanks to Allison for answering my question! So nice to be able to say that I was right :)

          1. CoffeeLover*

            Waaaay easier said than done. It’s hard to teach someone a language from the basics when it’s your native language. Imagine trying to teach someone English. Where would you start? Her husband would have been better off taking lessons or Rosetta Stone…. or just waiting til he gets to Spain and learning by fire. Honestly… he’ll pick it up quickly within several months vs. the years of lessons it would take.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              I didn’t see that the OP said she was a native speaker. (Did I miss it?)

              I know at least 7 local Spanish teachers off the top of my head that are not native speakers. . .

              That said, I tried to teach my husband algebra when we were in college. FAIL. : )

              1. CoffeeLover*

                You’re right. I completely forgot reading that she’s a Spanish teacher. In which case yes, it would definitely be easier for her to teach him than if she wasn’t (given that she has the curriculum and everything). Don’t know how I missed that. :P

                Still though, if her husband isn’t motivated enough to push for her to teach him, I doubt he’s motivated enough to sit down and actually learn the language (especially without that classroom setting). Again though… he’ll pick it up in no time when he gets there :)

    2. Adam V*

      I’m a (tiny) bit put off by your classification of the manager in #1 as “nosy” – I just got the sense he was trying to get a handle on things, because he wasn’t used to the level of turnover he sees.

      If you came into a new job, and you noticed everyone else was fleeing the company, wouldn’t you go to the people you thought were your best remaining workers and ask them if they were going to stay? If they were thinking of looking elsewhere, you would know you had to go up a couple of levels and get permission to do what it takes to stop the bleeding.

      1. KayDay*

        Because looking for other jobs can be a very touchy subject, I think it’s impolite/annoying (not to be confused with illegal/unfair/terrible) for a manager to ask directly unless they have already proven to their employees that they are understanding and okay with being open about people leaving. (While not nearly as serious, I would compare it to asking a pregnant employee if they will return to work after mat leave…just don’t do it). Now, it might be the case that this manger is okay with people being open, but since s/he’s new, it’s hard to know. (I was also being a tad bit flip my my parenthetical titles.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          If you’re a reasonable manager who would never fire someone for telling you that they’re thinking of leaving, it can sometimes be hard to imagine that other managers are different than that. I know I’ve had colleagues who are appalled that I encourage some people not to be transparent, and I have to explain to them that some people get punished for it — and that’s news to them, because it’s not how they operate or how the cultures they’ve worked in have operated.

        2. fposte*

          In addition to what Alison said, it’s something a manager can actually needs to know for task distribution. Though it can be asked rudely, I have a hard time seeing it as inherently rude–it’s part of the job that people need to know if you’ll be able to complete projects, and the way I find that out is to ask. And while I’m going to avoid the “You girls never come back” idiocy, you bet I’m asking about proposed return schedules from a maternity leave, because I need to know that too.

          1. Long Time Admin*

            Hey, I don’t blame you for asking if women if they’re coming back after their maternity leave. I’ve heard dozens of co-workers and friends say they’re going to get as much as they can get from the company, and quit once all the bills are paid.

            That just doesn’t sit well with me.

            1. fposte*

              I know we’ve had posts where all kinds of bad things happen surrounding maternity leave, but I think it’s perfectly possible to talk about leaves and departures sanely.

        3. AnotherAlison*

          Also because I’m not sure asking really gets you anything. People are unpredictable, even when they have good intentions.

          I know a person who wrote in her annual review that she really loved being a part of the team now after working under a new manager for a year, and she really wanted to spend a good part of her career with the company and grow her role there. She has been there over 5 yrs.

          Two months later, she was recruited for a position like the one she imagined in her head as her “dream job” and is in talks with them. Also while in talks with a new company, after receiving the best performance review of her entire career, she got the same % raise as the year before, when she received the worst review of her life under the previous manager (incidentally, that raise was the worst percent raise of her life and came in conjunction with a promotion. She’s now received it twice in a row, so precedent set.) How she felt about the company moved 180 degrees in less than 6 months, so I’m not sure anyone can really be loyal knowing that a new manager, M&A, a change of your role could come at any time.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Agreed. But it can still be useful to ask because something you do get useful info (“I’m actually thinking about going to school in the fall,” “I’m frustrated with my salary,” etc.).

            1. AnotherAlison*

              Yes, you are right. You may get info telling you someone is a potential runner, but just because you don’t get that info, you can’t assume they aren’t!

        4. Darcie*

          I don’t understand why asking an employee if they are coming back after maternity/paternity leave is a bad thing. Why? It seems like a reasonable thing to want to know.

          1. Rana*

            I think it’s because it implies a certain amount of distrust in the employee, as if they’re just waiting to quit, but only after they’ve gotten all the benefits (and health insurance coverage) they can first. It’s probably tactically wiser to assume that they will be coming back, but to ask specifically for time frames.

      2. OP #1*

        Adam, that’s exactly what this manager was trying to do. Once a strong employee on his team resigned, I think he is waiting for the other shoe to drop (i.e. who else has been planning to leave?).

        That being said, it’s a tricky position for me. I do feel like I can be candid with this manager, but not the rest of the management here.

        1. OP #1*

          Whoops, I’m new to commenting. I was gonna go down the thread since I missed quite a bit of discussion and reply to everyone but I’ll just take care of it now:

          KayDay, it is a touchy subject. Like I mentioned, I’m just starting to schedule interviews, so I could give notice in two weeks or four months or a year. Like AnotherAlison said, plans change.

          If I had an offer on the table/plans to go back to school/etc. then I would have mentioned that to him, but unfortunately it’s not that concrete at this point.

          I would love to be open and honest but there are many management issues here, not the least of which is how departing employees are treated after they give notice. I honestly feel bad for my new boss because I doubt he knows what he’s walked into. Although since I’m trying to leave, I’m sure I have my biases :)

          I appreciate everyone’s thoughts!

  2. Jane*

    #2 One important thing to note is that not everyone has a pile of PTO sitting around. I had pneumonia not long ago and had to use up every day of my saved PTO, so imagine if I got a job interview 3 weeks later and don’t have time off to take. So being flexible on the hours and ensuring interviews aren’t an all day affair can be beneficial.

    1. AdAgencyChick*


      I’ve been on both sides of this coin — I have asked for interviews at 8:30 AM and interviewed candidates then. (Although I do try to push them to lunch or after-hours whenever possible — I like to work out in the morning, not come to the office early!) When I’m a candidate, I don’t want to waste precious vacation time interviewing, especially if I’m being recruited for a position that I’m not even sure I’m interested in. When I’m the one initiating the job search, I’m more willing to be accommodating.

      Plus, the more interviews coincide with a normal work schedule, the harder it is to hide that you’re interviewing. There are only so many “doctor’s appointments” you can have, especially if you come in wearing a suit, before people start to figure it out. Keeping my interviewing confidential has been an issue for me in the past, so I would be very sympathetic to a candidate who says “I need to meet for lunch because my boss might be on to me.”

      OP #2 — in a way, isn’t it just as much “following the rules” to show respect for the fact that you continue to work for your current employer, and therefore to refrain from taking time from THEIR working hours to interview?

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        As an aside — my willingness to be flexible would probably change if I were hiring more often than every few months to a year. If, say, I had a large team with lots of turnover and had to hire someone new every few weeks, I would want to do more working-hours interviews so that the come in early/stay late thing didn’t become my regular working hours because of the large number of interviews.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit*

          Agreed. The interviewer is a person too, who also doesn’t want to muck up their life during an interview process. If you ask for a 6 p.m. interview the interviewer won’t be home until, what, 7:30? And if every candidate did that?

          I’m not disagreeing with Alison (or anyone, really). Just pointing out that as much as it feels like interviewers are inflexible and demanding… They’re just people!

      2. Joanne*

        When I was looking and currently employed, it was a deal breaker for me if the interviewer could not meet with me in the late afternoon. I always explained that mornings were taken up by group therapies, and that there was no coverage available, and I didn’t want to work for a place that didn’t let me put my clients first. So, not a generational thing, but a would-you-want-me-to-do-this-to-your-clients-thing.

    2. Piper*

      Or you know, they’re a contractor and don’t even get PTO at all. So any interview they go on during the day is money directly out of their pocket. It’s ludacris to me that any interviewer would hold it against someone for not being able to make a mid-day interview. Personally, I’ve never had a problem (and an interviewee) getting late day interviews (4 pm-ish). And I’ve never had an issue asking for one, either.

      Plus my days are normally filled to the brim with meetings, especially mornings (a totally different problem entirely), so really anything other than late day just doesn’t work with my schedule.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I’m really not normally in the habit of correcting people on the internet, but I just really thought you should know that “ludacris” is a rapper. I think you meant “ludicrous.” Although it did make me smile :)

      2. fposte*

        Sure, but whose pocket should the money be out of? Should company A be paying their employees to interview at company B? I know it’s tough to rearrange schedules or knock off early without notifying people you don’t want to know, but that’s an element of timing that doesn’t seem to have shown up in this discussion: another advantage with out-of-hours interviewing is that you’re not asking your current employer to pay for it.

  3. jesicka309*

    OP#2 – If you don’t like the idea of interviewing someone outside of office hours, stop trying to hire candidates who are currently employed.

    Think about it: let’s take one currently employed jobseeker. They are applying for two roles, and have gotten to interview stages. They take PTO for two first round interviews (2 half days), and make it to second round for both (2 half days). They are knocked out of the running for one, and are invited to a third interview for another (1 half day). They don’t get that job either.

    They’ve wasted 2.5 days of their 10 day leave allowance on interviews for jobs they didn’t get. And that’s for only 2 jobs – imagine if they were hunting for a while and made it to interview stage for, say, 5 jobs over 6 months?

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable for candidates to try to schedule around work when possible. There’s only so much goodwill you can get from your bosses about arriving late and leaving early, and not every office has the capabilities to allow short notice half days either.

    It’s definitely not a genertional thing – just hire unemployed people who can fit into your schedule. Problem solved.

      1. JM in England*

        Employers should also bear in mind that unemployed candidates do not have to book PTO and, more importantly, that they will be almost immediately available (depending on whether they have to relocate) if offered thejob.

        I’m currently unemployed & job searching; during interviews, I emphasise my more immediate availability as one of my key selling points after skills & experience.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t emphasize it as a key selling point. A couple of weeks isn’t going to make a big difference for most employers; they want to get the right candidate, even if that means waiting a couple of weeks longer. That’s not to say you shouldn’t mention it at all, but I wouldn’t frame it as a key selling point or you risk de-valuing the better stuff about yourself.

    1. KellyK*

      Ooh, good point! Excellent suggestions.

      Two other things I’d add. One, there are some jobs where you can’t take *any* time off on short notice. Either it’s a vacation scheduled and approved in advance, or you need a doctor’s note or other proof that you *couldn’t* come in.

      Two, how would you want *your* current employees who are ready to move on to handle their job search? You’d want them to avoid disrupting their current work as much as possible, right? Someone who tries to do right by their current employer, even when they’re on their way out, may be someone you want. (Granted, you don’t know if they’re doing it for their employer’s benefit or to avoid getting fired for looking, but it certainly *can* be a positive thing.)

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I think it would be “fair” (as if fair matters!) to have the 1st round during the day and for the candidate to ask for a late-day/early-morning interview for the 2nd in a situation like you’re describing. Each party gives a little and the hirer isn’t being asked to be flexible until they’re more certain they want to proceed further with the candidate.

      But, in practice, I have never had a candidate in for an outside-hours interview. We normally have people meet with the hiring manager, a slightly more senior peer, someone above the hiring manager or maybe a project manager, and HR. I haven’t hired in several years since moving to a different role, but I guess now they do 1st rounds by video. It sounds quite awful. You go online and interview yourself on a webcam recording, basically, then HR decides if they’ll bring you in.

      1. jesicka309*

        I had an interviewer once kindly allow to have a 7.30 am interview. She said that she usually came in early to work anyway, and I was super grateful because it meant I was only 20 minutes late for work, which I was able to explain away with my bosses.
        It definitely warmed me towards the company, in any case, though I didn’t get the job.
        I just wish phone interviews were more of the norm in Australia. It seems to be all about the in person interview, which is great for hiring managers but not so much for candidates.

    3. ThursdaysGeek*

      “It’s definitely not a genertional thing – just hire unemployed people who can fit into your schedule. Problem solved.”

      Plus, in crummy economic times, you might find a great candidate who is unemployed and you can get them for less money than they’d normally go for.

      1. the gold digger*

        Yep. I went from unemployed to employed in last summer and am making less than half of what I used to make. For me to move from this job, I will need to get close to my old salary. Why would I move for just a little bit? I like everything else about the job.

        PS And I will definitely ask for an early or late interview if I can get one. I have no interest in using my vacation time to look for a new job. If employers want someone who is already employed vs someone who is unemployed, then it’s not unreasonable to meet someone at 7:00 a.m. or 5 p.m.

  4. mel*

    I suppose it could be industry specific, but it’s kind of weird when people throw around “lunch breaks” and “pto” as if that was something that everyone has. Sounds like quite the leisurely lunch break!

    1. KellyK*

      True. There’s no way that even a short interview anywhere but the company right next door is going to fit into a standard lunch break.

      At my current job, I could get away with an extended lunch break if I ask in advance and make up the hours, but most places aren’t nearly that flexible.

      1. Jamie*

        I never understood the lunch argument either. Interviews are stressful enough without panicking because it’s starting a little late and you need to get back to work.

        1. Natalie*

          What I never understood about lunch interviews is when you’re supposed to eat. Do people who do this just skip meals, or do they take an hour long “lunch” and then eat at their desk?

          1. KarenT*

            I’ve only done this once or twice, but I say that I have an appointment at lunch (so they know I’ll be gone longer), change in my car (usually just adding a jacket to the pants/shirt I’m wearing), and eat at my desk when I get back (since I was at an appointment, no one thinks it’s weird I went out at lunch and didn’t eat).

          2. Nichole*

            I interviewed for my current job on my 30 minute lunch break-twice. Both times I left a few minutes early, came back a few minutes late, and did not eat. I got away with it because I usually came back from lunch early, and my cowerkers were kind enough to make sure I was covered. Not fun, but I wanted the job. Now that I work here, I realize that our hiring process is very structured, so I wouldn’t have had much luck with weird scheduling even if I’d asked. At the time, I didn’t even realize you could make those types of requests, though.

          3. Stephanie*

            My worst interview ever was an all day interview that included lunch with the hiring manager. I had already had 3 hours of interviews + a 45 minute presentation that I had given at that point, and there hadn’t been any down time between each individual interview. The company had a cafeteria where we both got lunch and then the manager brought me up to a conference room with our lunches, sat down and started asking questions non-stop for the next half hour (he ate while listening to my responses). I awkwardly got in like two bites to eat the entire time, and when he was done with his lunch he just ended stuff abruptly and brought me to the next interview.

          4. Jamie*

            I don’t even think of lunch breaks in relation to food. I eat lunch a couple of times a week but never on a lunch break and always at my desk working.

            I guess for the people who need to eat and can only eat on lunch the lunch interview has an added layer of complexity.

    2. Neeta*

      I completely agree!

      I only went to one interview during my lunch break, but it was hell on my nerves. I could barely resist checking my watch every 10 seconds. The only reason I accepted to go during lunch break, was that it was close. (and then I started panicking that I’d be seen )

  5. Kat A.*

    OP #2: You mention that job applicants can use their lunch break to interview. But that’s really not realistic. Most interviews I’ve been on have taken 1 to 3 hours each — and that’s not including drive time. I even had an interview take 6 hours.

    My spouse and I have always been given opportunities to interview outside of normal business hours or via some form a technology because we’re very skilled in our fields. So if a company didn’t give us that flexibility, they’d be missing out on gaining a really great employee.

    Just something to think about.

    1. Chloe*

      I’ve always found employers are accommodating about interview times, on the assumption that you are working and need to explain your absence, and they don’t want to make life awkward for you. But thats for reasonably skilled jobs with small numbers of qualified people able to apply for the position. If its a lower-level job with many applicants, I could understand being a bit less flexible.

      Its a balance of recognising that job applicants are human with their own needs, but managing the process in a practical way.

      1. Neeta*

        I’ve only ever interviewed for jobs in IT, and this was always done. As a matter of fact, HR would usually suggest an hour just after, or just before regular hours start/end.

        Of course, in the vast majority of IT jobs we have flexible schedules (come in between 8-10, and leave 9 hours later – lunch break 1 hour).

  6. TL*

    OP #5: It doesn’t sound like you’re applying too early, considering that it could take a while to land an interview, let alone a job. FWIW, I’m applying for admin jobs, and response times have ranged from 1-2 days to 3 weeks after my initial application.

    Phone interviews (and phone conversations in general) make me nervous too. My advice? Consider these “too early” calls to be free practice. Getting a few phone interviews under your belt now, while there’s less pressure to land a job ASAP, will be incredibly helpful. You get a chance to fine-tune your phrasing and practice your mad phone skillz. :)

    OP #2: Regarding lunch hour interviews: I once arranged to have an interview during my lunch hour. On paper, I should have been able to zip over to the interview location, have a 20-30 min. interview, and get back before my lunch was over. In reality, between leaving the building, driving, parking, figuring out the office’s exact location in the office park, waiting in the lobby, actually interviewing (VERY quickly; not good for either of us), and driving back, everything took so long that I made it *just* in time for the interview, and was late getting back to work.

    And that was at the job where I had a 1-hour lunch; others only had 1/2-hour lunches! Also, it’s worth noting that some employees get no PTO (I’m thinking entry-level, non-exempt), or may have used their PTO for previous interviews.

    I admit, I think asking for a weekend time is a little presumptuous unless you’re dealing with a high-level position, but just before/after work hours? Sounds reasonable.

    1. B*

      Agree about #2. I have had a few that turned into 2 hour round-robin interviews. It was not told to me ahead of time, nor was it remotely mentioned so doing this during a lunch break would have been horrible.

      1. TL*

        In that particular case, I told the interviewer that I would be coming on my lunch break, so they knew that my time was limited. Because yeah, I’ve had much longer interviews, especially when testing was involved; you really don’t want any surprises!

  7. Suzanne Lucas--Evil HR Lady*

    As an expat wife myself, I can testify that companies are extremely nervous about paying a fortune to move you over an ocean and they often want to talk with the spouse before making an offer. Not to interview the spouse, but to find out if she (and it usually is a she, although not always) is going to get terribly homesick very quickly.

    You would be surprised at the number of mothers I meet at the international school who whine and cry about how terrible it is here. Did I mention “here” is Switzerland? Chocolate? Cheese? Alps? Super safe. Awesome place. And they hate it because there’s no Target. (Well–there is a point on that.)

    But, anyway, the info that the wife is fluent in Spanish is absolutely relevant, but it will be relevant in the actual interview, not in the resume. Perhaps in the cover letter.

    Also, don’t be surprised if the interview contains questions that would cause Americans to clutch our pearls and say, “You can’t ask that!!!!”

    For instance, how many kids do you have, are you planning more? Does your wife work? Would she want a job here?

    Not that I’m speaking for Spain. Just saying it’s different than the US.

    1. KellyK*

      Ooh, Switzerland! I would happily trade away access to a Target for cheese and chocolate. My guess is that they’re homesick in general and the Target is a concrete representation of that.

      1. Jamie*

        I guess we all have our triggers – but that’s a funny thing to miss.

        When I was in Europe the two things I missed most was food I could actually eat (I only eat about 30 things NOW and my pallate has expanded immensely since then) and easy access to ketchup.

        I am a troglodyte – I’m aware.

        1. VictoriaHR*

          LOL when I lived overseas and worked as an assistant manager in the commissary in the US Embassy, the two most requested American foods for us to bring in from the US were Kraft mac & cheese and Heinz ketchup.

          1. Jamie*

            Kraft Mac & Cheese (blue box) is on my list of approved foods as well! And there is no ketchup but Heinz.

          2. Laura L*

            What about peanut butter?

            I studied abroad in Stockholm and they had a chain of stores that sold American food. Peanut butter was featured prominently in the window. (Along with Kraft Mac & Cheese.)

            1. Ann O'Nemity*

              And 7-11. There are no 7-11s left in my current U.S. city, but they are a thriving mecca of crap American food in Stockholm.

              1. Laura L*

                Oh yeah! They had one on campus (I was at Stockholm University) and I bought wraps from them when I needed to eat lunch at school!

                And when I came back, my American friends and acquaintances were confused about why I bought food there.

                There are tons of 7-11s in my current US city, but I’m much less inclined to buy from them here (except coffee and donuts).

            2. Judy*

              Yep, my last trip to Italy had 4 jars of peanut butter in my suitcase for one of our ExPats there. Their kids were the same age as ours when they were living here, and when they heard I was coming, they asked if I would take a trip to Sams and get the big jars.

                1. Jamie*

                  Not this American. The fact that I allowed it into the house because the kids loved it is what I consider my most selfless act of parenting to date. The smell of wet peanut butter (like the smear left on the knife and tossed in the sink) is one of the most nauseating smells on the planet. That’s why paper towels were invented so I would never have to smell wet peanut butter.

                  Seriously – I have Jiff in the cabinet right now because that’s how much I love my babies.

            3. Jen in RO*

              A friend of mine was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, where it seems like peanut butter is extremely hard to find. When she visited me in Romania, I made sure to buy some… she said it wasn’t as good as the American type, but it was better than nothing!

              (After many years of seeing people in movies eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, she actually showed me what that meant and it was quite a surprise. It did not appeal to me at all, but she was in heaven.)

        2. KellyK*

          Ouch! That has to be tough, having a finicky palate and being somewhere where the food is dramatically different. Especially when your go-to foods are pretty exclusively American.

          1. E*

            I lived in Spain for a year as a student, and while I enjoyed Spanish food, sometimes you just want something that tastes like home! I remember getting a group together to go to a TGIFridays in Madrid and it being THE MOST AMAZING DINNER EVER – not because I particularly like TGIFridays (actually, I don’t think I’ve eaten at one since then) but just because it was nice to be somewhere so American after a few months abroad.

            1. Natalie*

              When I spent a summer in Dublin I felt the exact same way about a Pizza Hut we found. It also happened to be one of the cheapest places to eat out.

              The only slightly odd thing was how many people in the restaurant ate their pizza with a knife & fork.

              1. Anonymous*

                I don’t know how long ago your Pizza Hut experience was, but I’ve recently been to a more upscale “sit down” Pizza Hut with waiters and whatnot. Definitely a different experience!

          2. Jamie*

            It’s hard here, too, when people give you a hard time because you don’t want to join in lunch orders. Fortunately my place is great – they have lunch sent in a couple times a week at least, but no hassles if you politely decline. I just say no thank you and really appreciate not having to have a discussion about why I am refuse to eat that particular type.

            Funny though, a summer in France when I was in high school introduced me to a life long love of muscles steamed in white wine. Some fresh French bread and its a perfect meal. I would starve to death before eating peanut butter, cereal with milk on it, or any form of pudding – but muscles and escargot in garlic butter and I’m a happy girl. So when I venture out it sticks. :).

            It’s Saturday, maybe a ride to the fish market?

        3. class factotum*

          I missed Target when I lived in Chile, but specifically because I wanted a place where I could buy underwear and socks that would not become threadbare after two months of being washed on a board in my bathtub. There was not an equivalent store in Chile (at that time) where I could get high-quality goods at very reasonable prices.

          I missed peanut butter and chocolate chips and ziplock bags. And then I figured out I could chop up a chocolate bar for cookies, so that problem was solved.

          1. jesicka309*

            Hey! Weird question – but what kinds of clothing (undies, etc.) were available in Chile? And how did you buy it? How long ago was this?
            I only ask because I’m doing a uni assignment where I have to market an Australian product to a developing country, and reading your comment I had a lightbulb moment. :D Sounds like there’d be a market for good quality Aussie undies over there, at least for the ex-pats in any case.

      2. Suzanne Lucas--Evil HR Lady*

        Yes, Target is a representation of that. But, some of them work awfully hard at making themselves miserable. Very few people come on an expat assignment with the idea that this is their forever home. So, take it as an adventure! Travel! Try new foods.

        It’s amazing the amount of complaining from people who are in a situation most people would kill to be in.

      3. The IT Manager*

        I missed malls which is bascially like missing Target because I missed the convience of shopping in America. I lived in Belgium; it rains a lot there (think Seattle or London). I quickly grew tired of the hassles of shopping where you have to park far away and walk from store to store outside in the rain and /or cold.

        The one item I missed was real milk – not that long-life funny tasting stuff they sold on the economy.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          Didn’t you have a Delhaize supermarket nearby? I find they have a very good range of fresh (and organic) milk, since the UHT stuff is revolting in my (specially imported) PG Tips.

          1. fposte*

            I actually love UHT in tea, and I learned to love it in PG Tips. It’s kind of caramelly.

      4. Laura L*

        I would trade Target for some high quality dark chocolate, but I would not trade Target for homesickness, so I can relate.

      5. Ellie H.*

        When I spent the summer in Germany I spent most of the time missing CVS and being able to buy aspirin and similar over the counter instead of having to go to a totally different store, talk to the pharmacist, pay a higher price etc. But by the end of my time there I had totally adjusted and I still really miss Rossmann’s and the German products!

        1. Laura L*

          Yep, Sweden was Americanized enough that I had a lot of the same things there that I had here and I missed Sweden for a long time after I came back. I was kind of homesick though.

          Especially chockladbollar (chocolate balls). Those things are amazing. Luckily, I can get them at IKEA.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      What?!?!? Switzerland is getting gripes?

      A professional acquaintance of mine is moving to Riyadh for 2 years to open an office. His wife is not too thrilled with that, and I’m sure she would trade for the Alps.

      1. the gold digger*

        My mom and dad were in Riyadh for a few years. My mom got a job and part of the deal was her employer had to provide a driver for her because she wasn’t allowed to drive.

        I expect my parents would have liked Switzerland better, but they had a good time in KSA. The expat community is pretty tight there.

    3. Meghan*

      Ooh, after two years abroad I had to beg my mom for a jar of fluff. I ate one spoonful when I got it and didn’t touch it again.

  8. -X-*

    Translating a cover letter into another language would seem misleading and even a little patronizing unless asked to do it.

    Translating the resume?An argument could be made that it makes some sense, particularly if done transparently to not suggest the person speaks the language (perhaps noting in the cover letter that “My resume in Spanish is also attached; my wife, who is from Segovia, did the translation.”)

    But it’s also a little patronizing – suggesting the recipients can’t deal with a resume in a language they probably deal with a bit in work (they’re considering hiring the OP, so that’s my assumption). And

    I’ll note that I’m a native English speaker who knows some French but can’t speak Spanish (or German, or Dutch) but would get enough of the gist of most resumes in those languages to be able to say to a bilingual colleague “I think this guy looks good – can you tell me what he’s saying he did at this company — this sentence is confusing me.” I’d think people in this company could do that themselves, and if not definitely would trust a colleague to do the resume vetting

    So I’m really not sure of the value of the resume translation other than a chance to mention the wife knows Spanish perfectly.

    1. Your Mileage May Vary*

      But they are wanting someone with demonstrated fluency in English. So it seems to me a resume and cover letter in English is the way to go. Otherwise, he risks getting it tossed to the bottom of the pile.

        1. Your Mileage May Vary*

          No, but Alison is always saying that you should show on your resume that you did/can do something, not just say you can. Although, she’s usually talking about achievements, I think it applies to this as well. Which would you rather see, a resume written in English or one written in Spanish that just has a line at the bottom under Skills that indicates fluency in English?

          Besides, do the industry-specific terms that the husband uses on his resume translate well? Would OP be absolutely confident in her translation of this? Flub that up and the resume will certainly go to the bottom.

          1. -X-*

            “Which would you rather see, a resume written in English or one written in Spanish that just has a line at the bottom under Skills that indicates fluency in English?”

            What does this have to do with the OP’s situation? I’m not saying submitting in both languages is a good idea, but the OP is considering submitting in both languages so I don’t see how your question is relevant.

            1. Your Mileage May Vary*

              I meant if you were the hiring manager in Spain. You would be asking for someone who is fluent in English but all you have in front of you is Spanish language materials submitted with a line on there saying that he is fluent in English. People can say they are fluent all day long but, as the hiring manager, wouldn’t you want some proof? Especially if you have a lot of other resumes that actually are written in the language you are looking for.

              Spanish is only a plus for this job. English is what is required.

              1. -X-*

                I don’t understand why “all you have in front of you is Spanish language materials submitted with a line on there saying that he is fluent in English.”

                You’re suggesting HR would separate the materials and not pass on the English language one? Or what?

                1. Your Mileage May Vary*

                  I don’t know what HR would do and I don’t know why this is turning into a debate. To me, it sounds like you came to the same conclusion I did (at the end of your first post on this subject) — there’s no point in translating any of the materials to Spanish. You make an argument for including it, which is of value to the OP if her husband does ultimately decide to go that route but then you list a valid reason why it’s not a good idea. I only listed another reason or two why it may not be a good idea.

                  Maybe I’m completely misreading what you are trying to say and if so, I apologize.

                2. -X-*

                  My recent comments are not about whether this is or isn’t a good idea – we may well agree.

                  I was only commenting on the idea that they won’t know he’s fluent in English because his resume is only in Spanish. Which isn’t what the guy is thinking of doing. You seem to be talking about something (only sending material in Spanish and not in English) that is not relevant to what he is thinking of doing (sending in both languages), and that disconnect disturbs me.

                  That is the “debate.”

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I’m confused by why this exchange has sounded so confrontational against YMMV (perhaps unintentionally). But it’s probably best to move on.

                4. ThursdaysGeek*

                  May I point out how nice it is to read this blog and how people behave here? Even when there is a disagreement or misunderstanding, I see people behaving like they would if they were conversing in person, and when politely asked to move on, they do so. It’s like being in a conversation with people you know, like, and respect!

  9. Lee*

    I agree – take the opportunity to do the program in China. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and will give you memories and experience that can be found nowhere else.

  10. JT*

    I went to teach in China for a couple of years and it was a great experience. In my case I was leaving a blue collar, non-skilled job so there was no downside.

    But I work in a global nonprofit now and have to say we wouldn’t begrudge someone for leaving “early” for an opportunity like that. It’d be a tiny bit annoying, but we’d understand. Leaving after 3 months would be bit much. Leaving after nine? No biggee.

    1. H*

      Agreed. I also work for a global non-profit and I don’t think anyone would be anything but delighted to see someone leave for something so exciting and worthwhile.

  11. Another Day, Another Dollar*

    #4, Just want to mention that Allison’s book is worth buying for any new manager, not just someone in the non-profit world. The advice she and her co-author provide on delegation and dealing with employee performance issues alone are worth the price of the book–sensible, practical and lots of how to’s.

    1. Jamie*

      I second this. I’ve posted before that when we had a new member of management I bought the book for her – now it’s part of our library at work. It definitely works in the for profit world, too.

  12. Joey*

    #3. I’d be interested to know if the job advertisements are in Spanish or English. If they’re in English that to me would demonstrate that they’re prepared to handle English only folks.

  13. FormerManager*

    Am I the only who’s ever been interviewed on Saturday? Even odder, it was the interviewer who suggested it…of course, it was a startup so there may have been more flexibility there.

    And, I have to say, I felt more relaxed going in to the interview (it was in the afternoon) and I think it showed. (I got the position although it ended up being something I did as a freelance gig.)

    1. Natalie*

      I was interviewed on a Sunday for an office job. It was one of the most uncomfortable interviews I’ve ever done, so I really appreciated the fact that I didn’t burn precious PTO for it.

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      I’ve had a Saturday interview for an out of town job. Flew in Friday night, interviewed Saturday morning, and flew home Saturday afternoon – all on their dime. I felt guilty not accepting the job after all that.

  14. Wubbie*

    Re: #1 I’ve always said kind of the opposite of what people seem to be advocating. Not “I don’t have intention to leave but would have to consider it if the right position came along,” but “I don’t have any intention to leave and that won’t change as long as I’m being taken care of.”

    1. OP #1*

      That’s fair. I think my solution will be to accept the accounts, but try to bring my pay more in line with the responsibility that comes with them. After all, these are outward-facing accounts that were not previously given to employees of my rank. (And tptb has purposely avoided giving them to the sole remaining senior employee, but I digress.)

      To your point though, the Life Lesson that keeps beating me over the head is that one must be one’s own advocate.

  15. Wubbie*

    Re: #2 I think there’s an important point you’re missing. You say you want people who will “play by the rules”, but then you say you want to hire people who are willing to ditch time at their current position in order to interview elsewhere. Does not compute!!

    I’ve sometimes told interviewers stuff like “I’ve very interested, but I’m sorry, I am simply unable to get away during [those hours]. If you were to hire me, you’d be getting that same dedication from me in my new role with your company.”

    1. dejavu2*

      This, a million times over. It is the mark of a respectful and dedicated employee that she won’t take a half day off work for an initial interview. Besides, not everyone can. I currently have a job that requires me to be physically present in a certain location from 7:30 am to 6 pm every day. I have an interview coming up, and they were happy to take me on a weekend. To be fair, of course, we are in an industry where people work totally insane hours, so their office is a 7 day a week operation, anyway.

      1. Anonymous*

        YES, THIS. If I had a job where I could get out of the office for a couple of hours at a time in the middle of the day, I wouldn’t be looking.

  16. -X-*


    “Rules”? So you’re the type of place where during a super-busy time, when a salaried staff member sees the clock say “5pm” they’re out the door. Those are the rules, right?

    “Is this more of the bending-over-backwards that the younger generation seems to expect, ”

    Someone asking you to accommodate them is not them insisting you bend over backwards. It’s asking. If there is a reason you can’t, say no. Sure, asking about a weekend interview would be a bit much. But asking for a 5:30pm or 8am interview, or a call instead of in-person, is not. Just say no if you can’t, say no. But don’t judge them for a reasonable request (the reason is, they have a day job).

    1. dejavu2*

      If this phenomena is at all reflective of Gen Y and Millenials, it reflects the fact that we are often in exploitative work situations with insane hours, working lunches at our desks, and little to no PTO. This is about Boomers seeing what they can get away with if this is about anything. It’s not surprising someone with a brutal job like that would want out. I swear some employers purposefully make it near impossible for employees to interview, because it is the only way to keep them from leaving.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’m not a Boomer, but I can tell you that it’s not about Boomers seeing what they can get away with. At most, it’s about some interviewers forgetting that their job is to hire the best people they can, and some of those people will be employed with tricky schedules (and the very understandable fact that they don’t want to come in on a Saturday any more than you want to for your job). Nothing more than that.

        1. dejavu2*

          I apologize, this is a hot button for me. Boomers are hogging government resources, retiring later and later if at all, and failing to se that the result of this is younger generations saddled by crushing student loan. debt, trapped in jobs with little room for advancement (because no higher ups are leaving). They keep you in those jobs not by paying more, investing in your training, or showing you any loyalty at ll, but by making it impossible for you to interviewc during normal business hours. Being a “kid today” objectively means working harder than your parents, with less gover nment support, for less return. So when people complain about lazy youngsters, it makes my blood boil.

          Apologize for the typos, my phone doesn’t play nice with WordPress.

          1. Heather*

            I don’t think you can blame Boomers for the issues younger generations are facing. They’re not retiring because they can’t afford to, not because they’re trying to keep us down. When you’re younger and the market tanks your 401k, you have time to make it up. If you’re 60 when it tanks, not so much.

            Blame the people who caused the country’s messed-up economic situation, not the people who are being affected by it.

            1. dejavu2*

              Oh, believe me, I know the Boomers got screwed. It’s part of why we are double screwed: we need to spend our money taking care of our parents when they age instead of saving for our own retirements. That said, the bankers and. political leaders who dug this hole are mostly Boomers, and current legislative solutions benefit Boomers, not .younger generations. I am not trying to play a blame game, though. In fact, I’m trying to show any Boomers who may be reading this, like the OP, how futile blame is in this situation.

              1. Heather*

                I totally agree that the OP’s crack about young people was unhelpful, not to mention just plain wrong!

            2. Jubilance*

              But a lot of the people who created this messed up economic situation…are Boomers.

              Regardless to who’s at blame, the fact remains that Boomers have gotten selective amnesia on the amount of help & resources they had in their generation, and somehow believe that Millenials should “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and “stop whining you lazy kids!” when in reality, Millenials have a tough road ahead of them & sadly may become a “lost generation”. There are things that Boomers could do to help with these issues – heck, just by starting to opening up hiring, working more with students who are carrying this crushing student loan debt, etc but they don’t.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                Gen X has to shoulder some blame, too. Lots of zero-down homebuyers in the 2000s were Gen X. Lots of people who could make hiring decisions now are Gen X. We’re all in it together.

                My Gen Y sister is finding she got royally screwed. Graduating in 2008 BS/2011 M.Ed., she never was able to get a “real” job. Now that hiring is picking up, employers are looking for 22 year old fresh meat and won’t look at her (at age 26) for entry level.

                1. Laura L*

                  This is a fun discussion!

                  What about the generation above the baby boomers (what are they called)? A lot of things changed in the US in the ’70s, both politically and economically, and the majority of the people driving those larger policy decisions were not boomers. A lot of boomers couldn’t even vote in the ’70s!

                  So, in conclusion, we can’t blame an entire generation for anything. Some groups of people, within any generation, have more power than others. And there are always large cultural changes that are difficult for any group of people to control.

                2. The IT Manager*

                  What about the generation above the baby boomers (what are they called)?

                  According to wikipedie the parent’s of the boomers are called “the greatest generation” after Tom Brokaw’s 1998 book.

                  Then there was the “silent generation” or lucky few right before the boomers. They were the children of the great depression – with fathers who fought in WWI and who were too young to fight in WWII. I never hear much about that one.

                3. AnotherAlison*

                  I think a lot of the “blame” also goes to lower birthrate and technology advancements, which people didn’t see coming (apparently!) at the time programs like social security were started.

                  I have a book I just bought, but haven’t read yet, that talks about the effects technology will have on the future job market. It’s called “Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy.” The first few pages talk about different hypotheses for why we’ve had a “jobless recovery”, which all are depressing. I think the remainder of the book is more about the “end of work” theory and rapid digital innovation. Hopefully there is some good news in it somewhere.

                4. The IT Manager*

                  Blame can also go to the simple fact that people are just living longer. Originally people retired, were on social security for a few years, and died. Now people remain on social security for 20 years or more.

                  Point of fact – social security must change simply because the old ways don’t work with our new society.

                5. Laura L*

                  @IT Manager. Thanks for looking that up. I probably could have done that myself *sheepish grin*

                  I knew there was a generation called the silent generation, but wasn’t sure when they existed.

              2. Heather*

                Honestly, I don’t think it can be only age that causes people to forget how much help the Boomers had, because there are a whole lot of politicians of all ages who subscribe to the “up by your bootstraps” theory. I’m not going to get into that, though, because it’s way OT and veering toward a politics discussion.

                I think the thing that people seem to forget is what AnotherAlison said in response to your post – “We’re all in it together.” The I’ve-got-mine-screw-you attitude is….not helpful, to put it more politely than I usually do ;)

                1. EngineerGirl*

                  Honestly, I don’t think it can be only age that causes people to forget how much help the Boomers had

                  Uh, what help did we have? I don’t remember getting any.

                2. Ann O'Nemity*

                  To EngineerGirl, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.

                  Taxpayer funded benefits and public investments have favorably benefited boomers for *their entire lives.* Boomers grew up with world-class K-12 and college education. They had top-notch infrastructure. And economic growth. Who paid for this? Their parents’ generation. Since then, tax policy has slowly shifted from prioritizing the young to prioritizing the old. For the first time, more gov’t money is going to the elderly than to children. And who is going to pay for this? The boomers’ children’s generation. Yet the boomer generation loves to bemoan“kids today,” despite the fact that we have it so much worse than they did at our age. The boomers are really one of the first generations who have had no concept of “paying it forward.”

              3. fposte*

                I don’t think that last sentence is accurate, though–statistics about charitable giving suggest that they’re quite a generous generation, for one thing. I also I think that there’s irony in moaning that all boomers overgeneralize other generations :-).

          2. Your Mileage May Vary*

            The use of the word “hogging” bothers me. Boomers cannot help the fact that they occupy the biggest slice of the population pie compared to other generations.

            1. fposte*

              Agreed. It’s also worth noting that the recession/job market crash actually hit them harder than the millennials–searching workers 55 and over have the longest unemployment duration of any group. The resources they’re “hogging” may be food stamps.

            2. Heather*

              Yeah, it’s not hogging to use the benefits that you’ve paid into for your entire working career. I swear that some people have no idea that we are all paying in to SS and Medicare with every check!

              1. dejavu2*

                It feels a little like hogging to people my age, who are paying into SS just like everyone else, but without a prayer of ever seeing it again.

          3. EngineerGirl*

            I’m a boomer ( gen Jones actually). I’m not responsible for your debt. Why should I retire if I still have things to contribute and my management agrees?
            I’ve NEVER been on government support and I eat lunch at my desk.

            1. fposte*

              The complaint about people not retiring is particularly weird to me. For one thing, it sounds like 1960s condemnation of women working and taking jobs away from men; secondly, why would you want somebody to take *more* Social Security?

              I also suspect “Boomer” is being used here largely to mean “anybody pre-millennial” rather than the actual generation, given how much Generation X features in the political and business decisions that have come up.

              I’m with Laura–this is a really interesting topic.

              1. dejavu2*

                A specific example of people failing to retire and create new openings is the nursing field. There is an increasingly critical need for nurses, so people think this is a good time to go to nursing school, and nursing schools promote this in their literature. However, because of the economy, hospitals aren’t really hiring more nurses, and older nurses who would normally be at or beyond retirement age are staying in their jobs. As a result, we have an increasingly large crop of freshly minted nurses, saddled with nursing school debt, who cannot get hired anywhere.

                Just one example, but it is happening in other fields, too.

                1. fposte*

                  I understand that it would create more openings if people retired. But that doesn’t translate into employed people working *at* you and it being unfair of them to want to keep earning a living, any more than it’s unfair of the other candidates for nursing jobs to diminish your chance for a job by applying at the same time as you. (And seriously, it doesn’t make sense to complain about the strains on social security while at the same time wanting people to start taking it earlier.)

                  Additionally, we actually have no indication that #2 is even a boomer, so the decision to bash boomers as a consequence is just as absurd as the bashing of posters for youth when we don’t know that they’re young.

      2. Nichole*

        I read an article recently (can’t remember the source, ugh!) that described desire for personalization as an identifying quality of Millenials. That really made me think overtime about how Millenial expectations differ from entitled, selfish behavior. Millenials are used to investing wholly in projects and finding innovative, personal ways to do things, so they are more likely to request more personal approaches to things like interviewing. Conversely, the article also mentioned that Millenials still expect people to play by the rules and enjoy traditional structure…they just like to be able to paint that structure purple and add some glitter, maybe put in a doggie door…

  17. Wilton Businessman*

    Busy, busy, busy today. Can only comment on two:

    #2: I tend to be very flexible on scheduling the first interview. In fact, I prefer it in the evening where I am away from the pressures of the office and I can talk to the candidate in a relaxed setting. I find that it relaxes people on both ends of the line. That being said, I want you in the office during business hours for the second round. I want you to see my environment and meet the people you will be working with. This will definitely be during business hours, probably at the start of the day. I like to do it at the start of the day so you know what your commute is going to be like.

    #6: I don’t know whether you should do it or not. But deferring your student loans is going to be a big financial mistake in the future, especially if you have “a pile” of debt. Sometimes we think these opportunities will only come around once in a lifetime, but most times they will be there in the future.

    1. -X-*

      So deferring student loans increases the costs of repayment?

      And the problem with leaving to move to another country as you get older is that you have other commitments that are less flexible as you advance in life – home, relationships, etc.

      1. Your Mileage May Vary*

        Your interest still accrues if you are deferring your payments. For $150,000 in student loans at 3.5% interest, you accrue about $450/month. (I used an online calculator for that but math is not my thing so someone can correct me, if needed.) I don’t know if service in the Peace Corp discharges some of your student debt any more.

        1. Laura L*

          Actually, it looks like interest does not accrue on defered direct loans that are subsidized, according to this website: http://www.direct.ed.gov/postpone.html

          You can only do that for up to 3 years, too. And I’m not sure the OP would qualify.

          And, of course, if you have unsubsidized loans and/or private loans, those will continue to accrue interest and you’ll be even more deeply in debt by the end.

          1. twentymilehike*

            I deferred my subsidized student loans for 2 years while I was taking classes at my local community college. I needed boost in my career, and I was struggling financially. I received financial aid to cover my tution, and I only needed to purchase my own books, which a family member graciously helped me with.

            I know taking 6 units a semester for two years is not as “big” of an opportunity or commitment as going to China, but things like that are the reason that you are able to defer your student loans. My loan amount did not increase, I didn’t not accrue any additional interest. All it did was increase my payoff time.

            I’m in a better place financially now and I’m really glad I was able to not have to come up with money to make the montly payment for two years. Sometimes it makes a lot of sense. But have a backup plan to make payments if you need to. Have some money set aside for an emergency (and put some thought into what is an “emergency”). Having money set aside to pay bills when you’re sick on payday and you don’t get your check before rent is due … not OMG I need to buy that cute pair of boots. Remember to be responsible and happy. If you aren’t happy, it really doesn’t matter what you do, IMO.

            As far as the “mountain” of debt … a mountain could be something different to each person. My mountain was under $20,000, but other’s mountains are upwards of $100,000. It depends on what you think a mountain is.

            1. Laura L*

              As I said previously, unsubsidized and private loans will continue to accrue interest and payments may be due during that time. All of which will increase her total debt.

              Sometimes deferring loans makes sense, if it’s an available option. But it’s always a good idea to take a long, honest look at the effects that sort of major financial decision might have in the future.

              I also assumed, as I think others did, that “mountain” = a number much higher than 20,000. I could be wrong.

              1. twentymilehike*

                Oh I’m Sorry! I didn’t mean for that post to be a reply to your post.

                I agree with much of what you’ve posted, especially about seriously thinking about the long term effects. I thought the OP could benefit from hearing about my experience defferring my loans with a positive outcome.

                I am curious to know what “mountain” is to the OP. When you are making minimum wage, a mountain is sometimes a couple grand, so it is really all relative. My Mountain was certainly one when I was younger, but now is more of a mole-hill ;)

                1. Laura L*

                  Got it. I was a little confused. Thanks for sharing your story.

                  And, you’re right, the definition of mountain will definitely vary based on your current income! And I’m glad yours has become a mole-hill. :-)

      2. Laura L*

        I agree with Wilton Businessman on that last point. A lot of people think they won’t have opportunities (of many kinds) beyond their early 20s, but that’s not necessarily true. You don’t know what you’ll do with the rest of your life. You might have opportunities in the future. You also don’t know how your potential future partner would react, either. Maybe they’d go with you. Maybe they’d be okay with long-distance for two years. It’s hard to know.

        1. K*

          Eh, but it gets a lot more complicated to hang it all and move to rural China for two years later in life too. Not for everyone but for most people.

          1. CoffeeLover*

            Agreed. You can’t exactly just pack up and leave when you have a mortgage, a house to sell, furniture to store and a dog to pawn off on relatives. Not saying it’s impossible and people don’t do it… but well… a lot of people don’t.

            Yes, the opportunity may be available later, but well, what if it is a once in a life time moment? What if for some reason (i.e. OP has kids or a parent gets sick) OP doesn’t get the opportunity again? Besides, I think doing a trip like this now (when your 20) vs. later (when your 30+) will be a different experience. I say throw caution to the wind OP and go to China! You don’t want to look back on life and regret it.

            1. Laura L*

              I understand that, I’m just pointing out that the fun part of your life isn’t over at 25 or 30.

              Also, if you don’t buy a house or get a dog, you won’t have those problems… :-) People make different choices and that allows them to do different things.

              BUT you do need to be realistic about financial issues.

              1. K*

                But a lot of people do want a house and a dog; they just also want to go to rural China (or whatever) at some point in their lives and so this is the logical sequence.

                Of course you should be realistic about financial issues, but we’re not talking about someone dropping off the grid and bankrupting herself; we’re talking about two additional years of interest on student loans (probably), which is not insane.

              2. Ariancita*

                Also, don’t forget serious relationships. It will be a lot harder to leave for two years if you’re in a serious relationship, which is more likely to happen as you get older. And then there are health issues too. PC won’t take you if you develop a chronic disease or other illness, which is more likely to happen as you get older.

                Also, I’ve had a private loan deferred that didn’t accrue interest, so something to look into.

                And maybe it was true a long time ago, or not true at all, but I seem to recall that Peace Corps will also forgive some loans?

                I say do it because there will always be a job/more work hours (as opposed to their will always be an opportunity like this).

                Caveat: this is from someone who has gone off for two years to live in a village in a developing country and has no regrets. So I am biased. :) But I think asking this question in a workplace forum, you will have bias in the other direction. :)

      3. Wilton Businessman*

        Yes, deferring increases the costs of repayment. A lot depends on whether the loan is a private student loan, subsidized Stafford loan, or an un-subsidized Stafford loan.

        Interest on subsidized Stafford loans starts accruing after you graduate from college. Well, really, the taxpayers are paying the interest on that money so you can go to college. When you defer payment on a subsidized Stafford loan, interest does not accrue.

        Interest on un-subsidized Stafford loans starts accruing the day you take the loan out. In other words, the four years that you are in school, the interest is accumulating (unless you pay interest only). Interest accrues on un-subsidized Stafford loans while they are in deferment.

        Private student loans are regular loans. They accrue interest from day one, and depending on the terms of your note, they probably accrue interest in deferment if you can even get payment deferred.

        Note, all student loans can not be discharged in bankruptcy.

        I would think long and hard about the implications of deferring your student loan payments.

        Assumptions made:
        1. When the OP says “Peace Corps-like teaching fellowship”, it means “not the Peace Corps”.
        2. “a pile” of student loan debt to me means private student loans.

        1. Laura L*

          “2. “a pile” of student loan debt to me means private student loans.”

          Good point. In which case, the financial ramifications are worse and the interest rates are probably higher.

        2. Ariancita*

          If it’s one of those regular teaching fellowships in other countries, then OP will get paid and could possibly pay for at least some of her interest. I know lots of people who have done it and they all ended up just fine.

    2. Mike C.*

      With regards to #2, I just hope you aren’t scheduling this second interview on short (<24 hrs) notice. You have a good reason for an on site visit, but I had a few folks who wanted me in on short notice and it certainly makes it difficult to hide it from the boss. :p

      1. Wilton Businessman*

        Interviewing is a negotiation. If both parties are reasonable, you can come to an agreement.

        1. Heather*

          It doesn’t sound like the OP #2 is coming at this from a particularly reasonable place, though.

    3. ThatGirl*

      But deferring your student loans is going to be a big financial mistake in the future, especially if you have “a pile” of debt.

      She’s going into a Peace Corps program so they may have some type of loan forgiveness instead of deferment. If I’m not mistaken, one of the perks of being a PC volunteer is that if you serve for X amount of time, portions of your student loans can be wiped out. It’s the same thing that is done for doctors and teachers who work in rural and inner city areas and also for the military.

      OP, please check with the Peace Corps program before you decide that you can’t go because you need to pay back student loans. Students loans will be there but a 2 year stint overseas doing something that you love may not be.

      1. Your Mileage May Vary*

        I was curious so I looked this up on the Peace Corp’s FAQs:

        Will my student loan(s) get cancelled when I enter on duty?

        Only Volunteers with Perkins loans are eligible for a partial cancellation benefit. Fifteen percent of your Perkins loans can be cancelled upon the completion of each full year of service during your first two years of service, and 20 percent can be cancelled upon completion of each of the third and fourth years. Therefore, four full years of service would equal a 70 percent cancellation of your existing loan. You can apply for cancellation at the end of each completed 12 months of consecutive service. A Volunteer must serve one complete year (365 days) in order to qualify for this cancellation benefit. Partial years of service will not qualify. Please note that you cannot receive partial cancellation of your Perkins loan if you have consolidated it with any other loan.

        Unfortunately for OP, if s/he has a “pile of student loan debt”, it is unlikely to be all Perkins Loans. They have a lifetime cap of $27,500 for undergrads.

        1. the gold digger*

          Oh great. I paid all my loans off (nine years early) before I joined the Peace Corps. I’m always too late for these things.

          (I also had student loans at 1980s levels, not the horrific levels they are now. You guys just out of college now are getting screwed.)

  18. -X-*

    One other thing to #2. If you really can’t/won’t do interview outside a narrow band of work hours and you will hold it against people who even ask, then give details of interview times upfront in the application instructions. Then those times really are “rules” and you won’t waste the time of applicants who can’t accommodate that.

  19. Long Time Admin*

    OP #4 (managing people older than yourself), I am an older worker. When I was in my 40’s, I was laid off and took my first-ever retail job. Both the manager and assistant manager were younger than me, but they both knew the retail business inside out. I learned a lot from them, and I enjoyed working with them. The two biggest reasons were because they had respect for everyone, employees and customers alike, and they knew what they were doing.

    Alison’s advice is dead on here. Treat people the way you would want to be treated, and in a few months you should feel comfortable in your new position.

  20. Mike C.*

    #2, you really need to learn some empathy. This isn’t some “new normal” or “more of the bending-over-backwards that the younger generation seems to expect”. And as an aside, stop stereotyping people based on age. It makes people think you’re out of touch when you look down upon large groups of people.

    It’s called, “I’m currently employed, and being asked to take a day off of work on short notice is sometimes difficult to do”. It has nothing to do with an inability to “take initiative”. I’ve had potential employers ask for second or third interviews for the next day and sometimes the PTO isn’t there, or the boss won’t let you use it. Tell me, how does this indicate a lack of taking initiative?

    It seems to me that you’re sticking to arbitrary rules with little or no business case. I hope that sort of inflexibility isn’t harming your company.

    1. Ann*

      This exactly.

      As one of the “younger generation,” it is really offensive when others stereotype me as lazy or self-centered. I am hard-working, considerate, and I never expect or ask for special treatment. I also wouldn’t be willing to work for someone who has irrelevant preconceived notions about me based on my age, so you may be missing out on some great employees with this outdated, off-putting attitude about “kids today.”

      1. Jane Doe*

        If there is a generational component, it probably has more to do with younger workers not having the accumulated PTO, or the types of positions that allow them more flexibility in their schedules, than with a sense of entitlement. And they’re going to be more concerned with not looking to their current employer like slackers who just take time off randomly and come and go as they please.

        1. Ariancita*

          Yes! I’ve worked with younger gen’s schedule constraints because they do indeed have less authority and flexibility to take time off.

          I never get these generational stereotypes. I’ve worked with a lot of millenials and each of them have been extremely hard working and have had super positive, willing to pitch in and do what it takes attitude.

          1. fposte*

            My millennial staff kick ass, including mine and probably everybody else’s on this board :-).

    2. KimmieSue*

      Mike C. – I could not agree more. The interview process is a two-way street. Strong, qualified candidates are evaluating the company as much as the company is evaluating the candidate. The OP seems to view this as a one-way street. As a 20+ year staffing veteran myself, her tone represents one of the worst habits of hiring managers. Inflexible perceptions and expectations like this make for a long, hard, expensive recruiting process.

  21. alison1l*

    OP#5, I just wanted to add to Alison’s advice to say start now! I applied for a job at the end of January, was called for an interview the next day, interviewed on January 28th, and will start at that position next Wednesday, March 20th. Things were moving SO fast at the beginning that my head was spinning, but things tend to take time, even when they *say* they want someone in asap. They originally said they wanted someone to start by mid-February, and I didn’t get an offer until the end of Feb, and still gave my current employer 3 weeks notice. You’ll be fine, and find someone will to work with you. Good luck!

    1. AnotherAlison*

      Just one of many stories, I’m sure, but a friend of ours interviewed for a job a year ago. The manager loved him & said he would be perfect. He called back to check on status for a couple months, and they finally told him to stop calling & they would call him. After almost a year, he had just accepted another position, and the first company called out of the blue to offer him the job. He actually cancelled on the offer he accepted (hadn’t started yet) and took the new offer because it was such a good fit & better opportunity, but wow, a YEAR!

    2. OP#5*

      I guess I got a little panic-y when I got a call the next day since I wasn’t expecting it. It’s encouraging to know that there are employers who will start things rolling right away, even if they don’t want to hire someone to start working right away. :]

  22. Amanda*

    #2: Nice to know there’s an upside to being unemployed and searching.

    #5: One of my biggest regrets in my job search is that I didn’t start applying for jobs until I was about a month away from needing one…and I did about zero networking until I was well into the job search. So I’m a big proponent of starting early. If you have to turn down a few opportunities because of timing, so be it. At least you got a chance to practice and hone your job-searching skills.

    #6: Given that you work for an international nonprofit, I would think that your supervisors would be somewhat more understanding to the opportunity you have. It also probably helps that your job doesn’t sound like a hard-to-fill position. Maybe you can offset any potential bad feelings by offering to be on the search committee and train your replacement.

  23. Victoria Nonprofit*

    For OP #6: Could the teaching program be deferred for a year? That would allow you to make good on your commitment to your current role (and take better advantage of the learning opportunities and references that will come out of it) and still have the amazing experience of living and working abroad.

  24. A Nonny Mouse*

    #2: Saturday and evening interviews are indeed unconventional, but boy are they awesome. I’ve actually got an interview coming up this Saturday morning – suggested by the person interviewing me, because “she knows it can be hard to make excuses to leave your current office all the time.” That she’s willing to offer that solution even without my asking makes me want to work for her even more – because clearly she understands how life works.

    It’s not always that the candidate *wants* the off-schedule interview, either. Of course I’d prefer to do my interviewing during the week, but my current job is such that I never know what my boss will be like until she gets in, and she may have me do nothing all day or I might be so pressed that I don’t even get a lunch break. Also, if you’re doing a lot of interviewing, it’s hard to constantly make the “I have a doctor’s appointment” excuse.

    I don’t know that there’s any “rule” being broken here – just a simple request from a candidate shouldn’t be taken as entitlement.

    1. the gold digger*

      I would even buy the coffee for the recruiter who meets me at Starbucks for a Saturday interview, I would be so grateful not to have to lie or take vacation.

  25. Henning Makholm*

    #3 — It would probably come off as patronizing if you enclosed a Spanish translation of the application. Why are the company specifically requesting fluency in English? Presumably because a lot of their internal communcation is already in English; they may have non-speakers of Spanish on staff that the new hire needs to be able to work with and so forth.

    Pretending that the hiring managers at such a place would not be able to understand an application in English is tantamount to telling them that they are just play-acting at being globalization-ready.

    As far as I understand the question, the company isn’t trying to hire a translator to help them out with a strange foreign language. They explicitly don’t want employees who don’t speak English — then why assume they have so failed at hiring in the past that their current workforce lack that skill?

  26. In Cog Neeto*

    I’m a little confused WRT #7. i wrote in with a similar question a few weeks back and AAM told me my resume and LinkedIn *should* match, otherwise it’s a red flag, at least when listing or not listing positions. (I had listed my current position on LinkedIn, but had not mentioned it on my resume due to negligence/confusion/a lot of factors.)

    Just kind of confused over what the “correct” answer is, especially for a) current positions, b) short term positions, c) combos of the two.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You need the position titles and dates to match, but it’s fine to have different descriptive language for each job. (Obviously it shouldn’t look dramatically different, but it’s fine to include more/less on one or the other, or highlight different things.)

  27. HR Pufnstuf*

    #2- When I’m hiring I do try to be as flexible as possible to meet with good candidates. However I want to note that if a candidate is looking for a new job then they should factor in the time that might be necessary to interview. Often businesses have limited daily time frames to work with due to scheduled of the people involved in the interview process.

  28. AnotherAnonymous*

    #7 – This is particularly relevant to me, as I’m just about to give my LinkedIn profile a much needed overhaul.

    “What’s appropriate for a resume format isn’t appropriate for LinkedIn.” Could someone spell this out for me a bit? What are the differences? What would you put on one but not the other? Etc. Thanks!

    1. jesicka309*

      Well, I’ve just updated my profile on Linked In:

      I put a summary, where I wouldn’t on a resume. Mostly because I want my networking contacts to know what industries I’m interested in working in, and what my goals are, so that if they know of something in my field, they can contact me. A hiring manager knows I want to work in their industry and for them, so they don’t need a summary.

      I put my subjects I studied at uni, where I wouldn’t on a resume. Mostly to round out my experience, as a business or comms degree can be wildly varied depending on your majors and electives. Again, I want my contacts to see this, and any hiring managers that look me up can see this, but it’s unessential clutter on my CV.

    2. Rana*

      I think the other thing to keep in mind is that a LinkedIn profile tends to be both more general and more detailed than a resume, in that resumes ought to be tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. So your LinkedIn profile might include information about your courses in Quilted Bag Design and your experiences as a Quilt Blogger and Quilt Designer as well as your accomplishments with Chocolate Teapots, but if you were applying for a job in Teapot testing, you might leave some of those off your application resume.

  29. EngineerGirl*

    #2 really bothers me. There are no “rules” for interviewing. Only guidelines. Guidelines are flexible. Your insistence at following “rules” that only exist in your head would send me running in the opposite direction.

  30. Sara*

    Regarding #3, I work in Japan, and it *is* common here for jobs to require resume materials in both English and Japanese, even when knowing Japanese is not a requirement for the position. This is for the company’s own convenience more than anything else, because many people other than the English-speaking hiring manager might need to see the resume (HR staff, other managers, etc), and they are not going to spend time translating it themselves.

    In these cases, it is perfectly acceptable and expected to have someone translate the materials for you (as long as you are clear about your own language abilities). The difference in the case with the LW’s husband of course, is that he was *not asked* to provide a translation. So it would be unnecessary.

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