fast answer Friday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

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

1. Former boss is aggressively mining my contacts on LinkedIn

I have a former boss who recruited me for a job from my profile on LinkedIn. (I believe he found me through another employee’s contact list.) Since hiring me, he connected with 40 (!!!) people from my LinkedIn list, most of whom he would never need for his business. He reached out to many of my contacts for interviews with no intention of hiring them. He even offered friends of mine opportunities to report to me on my team — without asking me — many of who would not be qualified for the job.

I stayed with his company for 6 months before leaving (for a great new role). My now ex-manager is connecting with even more of my contacts at a rapid pace and has been checking my page almost daily (I assume to see where I am going). What should I do? Should I unlink with him? I am concerned that if I do so, he can still see my updates from all my contacts and I do not want him reaching out to them for information on me. I also don’t want him to do anything spiteful. Help!

This is weird. Why is he mining your contacts so aggressively? And why is he interviewing people he has no intention of hiring?

In any case, it’s completely fine to disconnect from him. You can’t stop him from reaching out to others for information about you, but does it really matter if he does?

2. How to follow up with a contact now that I’m job-searching

I’ll be finishing a master’s in August and have started job hunting now. I met an academic library dean last November who was interested enough in me to give me his business card and ask if I was able to relocate. I did the requisite email afterwards, and briefly exchanged a few messages, but now I haven’t spoken with him in a few months. How do I go about contacting him now that I’m actively looking? Can I just send him a resume? What do I say?

Email him, including your resume, and tell him that you’re now beginning a job search in earnest and that you’d love any advice he has, and would love to be considered if he has any openings coming up.

3. Should I tell my boss I have an interview?

I have been planning to leave my current position for quite some time. I work in admissions at a small school and, based on my level of responsibility, thought a month’s notice would be fair, but wanted to give six weeks in the interest of staying on good terms with my supervisor.

Today I was called out of the blue for a position I applied for quite some time ago. The job is by no means a sure thing, but I had a very positive conversation over the phone and am well qualified. It also means about a 30% raise for me. The catch? The interview is in a week, and the hiring manager told me over the phone that he could give me two weeks to start the job (that’s what he expects from his employees, after all), bringing the total to 2 weeks, 6 days if I tell my boss tomorrow. Should I tell my boss about the interview so that she is prepared for my eventual leave, even though I may not be hired?

No. First of all, it’s unlikely that you’d receive an offer the day you interview — hiring processes generally take some time. But secondly, and more importantly, generally people don’t give notice until they’re actually giving notice (i.e., leaving). Otherwise, you risk being pushed out before you’re ready to leave — bad under any circumstances, but especially bad when you don’t even have a job offer. (The only exception to this is if you have an unusually great relationship with your manager and she has a track record of welcoming long notice periods, even those with indefinite exit dates. Without both those things, this is not a risk you should take.)

4. Employer wants to talk to a client as a reference

I just got word that I am getting a job offer contingent on references from one former supervisor (totally expected and ok, I have 2 on my list of regular references) and one client. The client is throwing me for a bit of a loop–I have never heard of this as a requirement.

I have been working with most of my current clients for a long time and have great relationships with them, but I don’t want to use one of them as a reference for the same reasons I wouldn’t want to use my current manager as a reference. I’m having trouble coming up with a former client who would be able to serve as a competent reference for the work I do now. Any thoughts?

Be candid with the prospective employer: “I’m not comfortable asking a current client to serve as a reference for the same reason that I wouldn’t offer my current manager; my employer doesn’t know that I’m looking, and I don’t want to risk a client mentioning it.” However, do you have former clients who you could use, or a current client who you trust to be discreet?

5. Is it a bad idea to accept an offer without negotiating?

Is it ever a bad idea to accept the salary offered without negotiating? I am in the running for a position that listed on the job description a salary between $60k-$70k. This is quite a bit above my previous salary, which was closer to $54k, and with better benefits. Also, this position is in a different field than the one I was working in, although some of the general skills are transferable. So if I were offered somewhere in the low $60s, I would be pretty happy. Would it reflect badly upon me if I just took their first offer without negotiating, or should I be negotiating just to show that I can negotiate? How would I justify asking for more when they can find out that I used to make so much less, and I’m not bringing in any industry-specific knowledge?

You shouldn’t negotiate just to show that you can negotiate. But it’s reasonable to try to ask for more, because sometimes simply asking will get you more — why leave money lying on the table when you could have it by just uttering a couple of sentences?

It’s fine if you decide not to; it’s not going to reflect badly on you to simply accept their first offer. But unless they offer you the highest end of their posted range (or more), there’s no reason not to try to ask for more. You can always accept the first offer if they don’t go up. (But on the other hand, if you’d truly be thrilled with their offer, then do what you will.)

6. Can I quit my job without looking like a job hopper?

I’m 27 and finished my GRE at 23 while working full-time and writing a book. After grad school, I moved to a different state, where I worked in different jobs within the same company (got promoted) for about 4 years. After 4 years, I decided that I wanted more room for career growth, and moved to a giant — GIANT — city. The idea was to find a job in my field with room for growth where I could stay for several years.

I found a good job that I’ve been at now for about 4 months, but I hate living in the city where I am now. It’s miserable, to the point where if I’m away on the weekends, I literally cry at the thought of going back.

I work hard and I think I have some impressive accomplishments, but I feel like I can’t leave my job, because I’ll look like a job hopper and potential employers will ignore all the good stuff about me because of that. I really do want a job where I can stay a long time, but I’m miserable where I am. Do I stay here for risk of looking like a job hopper, or leave, and possibly have everyone think I’m a giant flight risk? And how do I tell my current boss I’m leaving because I hate the city? Do I acknowledge this issue in a cover letter for potential new jobs?

You’re not going to look like a job hopper just because of one short-term stay. Job hopping is about a pattern, and you don’t have a pattern.

Don’t talk about hating the city in your cover letter. Instead, briefly mention a reason why you’re moving back to the city you’ll be applying for jobs in and leave it at that.

7. Taking vacation before maternity leave

I’m stumped on the right thing to do here. I just found out that I am pregnant (YAY!), but I am equally in need of taking some vacation time this summer. I won’t be telling my boss until the beginning of June, and I will be out for 12 weeks starting early December. Would it be a bad decision to take the week vacation this summer, after the cat is out of the bag? Is it better to take the time before I fess up?

Take your vacation, and don’t worry about whether it’s before or after you’ve told your boss about your pregnancy. It’s far enough away from your maternity leave that it shouldn’t be an issue, and you’re entitled to to use the vacation time you’ve accrued.

{ 81 comments… read them below }

  1. Karen

    #1 – BLOCK YOUR CONNECTIONS FROM SEEING YOUR CONTACTS ON LINKEDIN!!!!! I had to do this a few years ago – I had a recruiter go thru my contact list and he contacted pretty much everyone. Go into your settings and chose “select who can see your connections.”

    If you do this, they WILL be able to see that you are connected in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree when doing a people search, etc. but they will NOT be able to scroll thru your whole list of contacts.

    1. Karen

      You can also turn OFF your activity broadcasts. I have mine shut off. Less people go snooping on my page that way. :-)

      1. Christine

        Ack! I always forget that my activity is broadcasted! I regularly comment on several groups where I sometimes let my guard down a little. Can others really see that activity, even in closed groups?

        1. Anonymous

          I go back to my home page (not my profile page) and delete any updates I don’t want people to see. I mean, like within minutes of posting them.

          I agree, though, that turning OFF the activity feed is the most private settting you can have.

    2. Nameless

      I was going to suggest the same thing, just play around with the settings and you can block him from seeing your connections

    3. Marisa

      Thanks for responding to my question Allison!
      What’s strange is that I DID make my connection private when he started mining my list (my newsfeed was always private). Now I think he is finding everyone through the “you may also know”. The weirdest thing that has happened since I sent this question to you, is that he has now tried linking in with my family members- Sir, I quit!! why are you choosing to link in with my family! which he definitely knows are my family as they have the same last name as me. AHH

      1. Anonicorn

        This is strange behavior for sure (and makes an interesting read for a Friday morning!), but I would stop thinking about it as long as he isn’t causing you or your contacts any harm.

      2. fposte

        I suppose it’s against LinkedIn policy to create and then link to an account for Mr. Bob Stopwatchingmenowboss who works for This Kind of Stalking Is Creepy Inc.

      3. Josh S

        Is it possible that he just connects with everyone who shows up in the “You may also know” field?

        I know some people (I call them ‘friend-hoarders’) who have connection lists in the 1000s because they do this. It’s definitely strange, but I think they believe that the more people they connect with, the stronger their network is or something… just weird.

      4. EngineerGirl

        I wonder if he is doing this to other employees too? If would be a lot less stalker-ish if he was a general creep.

      5. Vicki

        Are they accepting the connection? To someone they don;t know and have never met who happens to have one shared connection (or did).

        Seriously??

        If all of these people are accepting the connection that’s even weirder than the fact that Former Boss is askingt.

    4. EnnVeeEl

      Ugh! I got invites on LinkedIn from a couple of recruiters and accepted them, being dumb. :-( I bet they mined all my contacts. I haven’t once been approached by any of these recruiters for a job.

      Since then, I have stopped accepting LinkedIn requests from strangers unless they tell me why they want to connect. I do block my connections from seeing my contacts. There is a lot of nastiness online about people who do this, but hey, when nothing but bad things come of allowing your connections to be viewed, what do they expect people to do?

    5. Lisa

      I thought none of the settings mattered if you pay for the pro service. They can see everything I think anyway.

      1. just a reader

        Lisa, I first read this as “they can see everything I think”. Which would be sort of amazing. Silly me!

        1. Chocolate Teapot

          My rule of thumb with LinkedIn is that if you receive a connection request and think “Who is that?” then don’t bother connecting.

          I have a few recruiters in my contacts, but it tends to be people I have met at networking events who seemed interesting.

          1. Rana

            Exactly. This guy would hit a dry well with me.

            Who are you? Why are you contacting me? Sorry, random dude, you get to sit in the time-out no-acceptance bin.

            I’ll make an occasional exception for someone whose profile (and message) makes clear that a connection would be desirable (like one I got recently from a woman in the same field as me, with similar interests and who I’ve seen in several of our shared groups), but random people? Heck no.

          2. Christine

            Yup, same here.

            Even if I’ve seen the person’s name before but never met him/her–like an invite I got today–I’m inclined to hit “Ignore” unless they personalize their invite. In the past, I would occasionally reply without accepting to find out their reason for connecting, but that hasn’t yielded anything useful. It’s hard to say no, though, when there are a lot of mutual connections!

  2. Danielle

    Thanks for tackling my question regarding negotiating, Alison! Part of the reason I was thinking I would just accept an offer (if I got one) was that I don’t know what reasons I can give for asking for more money in this case, since I’m not bringing any specialized skills to the position, which is in a new field. Any suggestions on what I could say?

    1. Becky

      Maybe Allison (or someone else) has better advice, but I don’t think you have to bring specialized skills to negotiate pay. If you and they both think you are a good fit for the job you must be bringing SOMETHING to the table. Also, you could just say, “I was thinking more along the lines of ___” and not give a reason upfront. I’d have something ready in case they ask why, but it’s entirely possible they will just say yes or no.

      1. Malissa

        Exactly! I just negotiated an offer. I was thinking that the offer was a bit low but if I could get them up $2,000 I’d be happy. I asked for $5,000 and got it with no argument. I didn’t even give a reason beyond, “That just seems low.”
        I’m actually starting this job at above market for the area. :)

    2. Dianamaniac

      It’s just like bargaining for antiques, but in the other direction:

      “Is there room to go a little higher?”

      “Would you consider $x?”

      You don’t need the magic perfect phrase, just an indication that the discussion is still open. I’ve negotiated with three new hires, and NONE of them asked for more when I did have room. I’ve successfully negotiated bumps in my salary at my last three positions just by indicating I’m looking for a little more; if I offered a justification (that I now don’t remember) it probably involved a reiteration about why I’d be a great fit or excel in the role — just like interviewing.

      From an employer POV, we picked you to interview and hire, so we think you offer something special.

    3. Hooptie

      Just one caution, #5.

      You want to make sure that you will be ok with the offer for some time in the future.

      What if in two years the company hires someone in an equal capacity but you find out they are making $10,000/year more than you because they negotiated? Will you be ok with it then?

      1. Anonymous

        I don’t think negotiating for the sake of showing negotiation skills is the right line of thinking. Ask because they probably could do more than they offered you initially but started at the low end of the salary range because employers use this approach whenever they can (since it saves them money). Exception: many entry level positions (ass in my company) where everyone gets the same amount to start.

  3. Sunshine DC

    Re #5: I remember really being thrown for a loop when, for a 2 year gig in the capacity of a very staff-like consultant, I came prepared to negotiate what I thought (based on research AND talking at length w a family member who was head of HR for a Fortune 500,) was a decent and fair amount. My family member determine (based on her years of expertise) that the high-end of the rate I should expect was ABC, but that since I didn’t have a lot of experience in the particular role (although am a recognized expert, in terms of knowledge of the issue I’d be working on) she thought I could reasonably expect XYZ (about %15 less). Any of those scenarios sounded really great to me, so it really SHOCKED me when I was offered the gig and they told me, matter of factly, that rate they pay is almost DOUBLE-ABC—and even *apologized* to me that that’s “all they could offer” due to budget cuts, etc.

    I was dumbfounded, to say the least – too shocked to try to negotiate and just said “great, thank you, I accept.”

    1. Lisa

      Wow that is great. Just out of curiosity why did your relative think you deserved 15% less if you are a recognized expert? That seems weird to me. My family members think I should be grateful for any salary offered above what I make now, but I would rather be paid like my male-counterparts are.

      1. Just a Reader

        Former clients are still valuable–your talents are your talents no matter what role you’re in. I used a former client who knew me in a previous role, and the attributes and accomplishments they highlighted still spoke to what’s needed in my profession. So find someone who liked your work, and you, and hit them up.

        A good way to do this is also to ask for any advice on your planned move. Nice way to open the door with someone in the industry and it helps keep the relationship alive when you move on from the reference ask.

      2. Sunshine DC

        Ah… well there are two components to the work: having expertise in terms of knowledge and knowledge base of a subject – versus having experience in a particular skillsets and/or management role that directly engages that. In this instance, it was possible to find man, many qualified people with experience implementing and managing projects relevant to the region/issue—and yet those were all found lacking because non would have anywhere near the knowledge base, networks, obscure-language fluency (that would be important to success in the region,) etc. that I have.

        I absolutely lacked the extent of experience of implementing projects at the level of the aforementioned colleagues. However, it was the experience of the hiring institution that past failures ultimately came back to choosing someone based on those skills, but lacking crucial knowledge base and networks. Either way, they would not have 100% of what they wanted, as it is extremely rare to find anyone with all these pieces.

        My HR relative was right (in other contexts) to imagine that someone lacking the experiences as I lacked would be merit less. Where we both were way off about was anticipating just how valuable—due to scarcity—it would be to have the particular knowledge base, networks and language that I have, and therefore drawing much higher pay.

        Alas, following the completion of that initiative, I’ve yet to find another opportunity where that specific combo is as value! But I have since strengthened other skills and experience areas.

  4. AdAgencyChick

    #4 — I think your caution is well placed. Even a client who adores you and feels like a friend is someone I’d be wary of trusting to keep your secret. After all, I’m guessing you signed some kind of agreement when you started your current job that you wouldn’t poach clients, so remember that you are basically telling your client, “Please give me a good reference so that I can stop working for you.” This may cause a client who likes you particularly to call your boss and go, “OP wants to leave! What did you do to make OP want to leave?” So I don’t know that, in your shoes, there’s any current client I would trust to be discreet.

    I think use an old client, even though he or she won’t be as up-to-date on what you can do now, and explain to the hiring company that using a current client could jeopardize your confidentiality. It varies by company, of course, but in my experience reference checking isn’t so much about learning more about the candidate’s skills (if they weren’t sure you had skills, they wouldn’t have made you an offer, even a contingent one) as it is about checking for any red flags or indications that the candidate has exaggerated his/her awesomeness in the interview. My gut says that as long as your references say warm things about you in general, even if they’re not specific to what your skills are now, you’re in the clear.

    1. Marie

      OP here–my thoughts exactly. The particular clients I’d most want a reference from have extremely close relationships with both me and my boss and I don’t really trust any of them to not mention it, plus the whole “please do me a favor so I can leave you” thing is a real concern.

      I’m trying to get in touch with a couple of former clients who would give the kind of positive but not specific to what I do now reviews you mention, but it’s been several years since I’ve worked with either of them and I haven’t had any luck yet.

      At the moment it’s looking like I really want to accept this new job, so if push comes to shove I think my only option may be to give my two weeks and then ask a current client for a reference. Still not ideal.

      1. anon

        My heart just sunk when I read your question – I’m afraid I was up for the same position.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Sometimes people here say that kind of thing, but it’s very unlikely. About 27,000 people read this blog every weekday, from all over the country (world, actually); it’s very unlikely that it’s the same job!

          1. anon

            It’s just the timing and the client reference request (which I also thought a bit strange, though I incidentally have a glowing reference from a former client)…

              1. AP

                On the other hand, my former assistant wrote in with a question about me and I knew it was her and I was right! But then again I as the one who sent her the link to this site. Anyway, it worked out well but I’m not going to say which post because it was from a more embarrassing moment in my management arc.

                I dont think it’s the same job though, Anon!

                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  When I was still working at a real job and the whole staff knew I wrote this blog, I used to always worry that one of them would write in from a fake account with a barely-disguised question about me, just to mess with me. And I would end up calling myself an ass without realizing it was about me, or something like that.

                2. Joey

                  That’s hilarious. Makes me curious though. Have there ever been any questions from anyone in your old job that you know of? Have you criticized anyone that you know or have worked with?

            1. Marie

              Just to ease your mind a little bit–even if it is the same place, they have multiple openings, so it’s entirely possible I have not taken your slot!!

      2. AdAgencyChick

        Ugh, that stinks. I feel for you — I hate giving notice without having every i dotted and every t crossed.

        I’d still go back and try to negotiate whether you can substitute additional coworker/manager references for client references. If your company is anything like several I’ve worked at, when someone the client likes resigns, they’ll try like hell to cover it up until a replacement has been found. At my last job, I was forbidden to mention to the client that I was leaving, and it wasn’t until my last day (when I went to my boss and another team lead and said, “They are expecting to see me at a meeting on Monday; DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS”) that the clients were told. Sometimes they’ll try to cover it up even longer than that! So I wouldn’t be surprised if, when you give your notice, your boss tells you not to inform the clients of your departure — which would make it awkward to choose one as a reference.

        1. Marie

          Yes, this is a major concern as well–it’s been a while since someone on my team has left, but I have absolutely seen people on other teams drag out this “don’t tell the client” nonsense for a REALLY long time. I do have really good relationships with my immediate manager and the higher-ups so I can probably ask them for advice/help doing this, but that’s a tough thing to do when I’ve just created a bunch more work for them. :)

          I’m going back for a little bit of negotiation and will ask about substituting additional manager/coworker references and see how it goes.

        2. Anonymous

          Yep, this happened to me too (I worked in publishing). I was not allowed to mention to our clients that I was leaving… especially the one who had specifically told my boss she wanted me running the project. They thought they’d take the project away (which I thought was unlikely, I’m not God, someone else could’ve handled it just as well.).

          This went on right up until my last day, when I was sitting in meetings and expected to respond to questions as if I were planning on running the project. I am not sure how (or if) they ever did tell them; my boss told me that my work email was going to be forwarded to her “in case anything comes up from past projects.” For all I know she continued answering emails as “me.”

  5. Julie

    I asked the question abotu job hopping, but it was more “is it okay to leave a job because I hate the location?” I’m really dreading the idea of spending months up here while I job search somewhere else, especially as I’m in a field that really demands networking and being local.

    So the question I’ll pose is, is it okay to leave a job because I hate the location, and do I adress THAT in a cover letter?

    By the way, I got my Master’s at 23, not my GRE :)
    Thanks!

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yes, it’s okay. And no, it doesn’t belong in a cover letter, but you should explain why you’re moving TO wherever you’re moving (not I hate X, but I’m coming to Y because…).

    2. Josh S

      It’s definitely OK to leave a job because you hate the location. You still don’t mention it in the cover letter (you want to explain the positive reasons you’re moving TO a place rather than the negative reasons you’re moving AWAY from one).

      That said, give it time? I know a big change like moving to a giant city can be emotionally sapping, especially if you’re coming from a very different environment. Add to that the stress of a new job, the lack of good friends and support, and it can be simply overwhelming. It really is hard to uproot and try to re-establish yourself in a new place.

      But over time, it really does get better. You’ll learn the things you love about the city (cultural opportunities like museums, theater, tourist-y attractions, a variety of restaurants to eat from, etc), you’ll make friends, and you’ll get connected. And soon enough, all the things that made it hard at first won’t be as hard (you may still miss home or some other place…no place is perfect).

      (And by the way–if you join the Ask A Manager group on LinkedIn, you may find that there are lots of cool people already living in your big city who would be willing to help you out and get connected. Heck–if you’re in Chicago, my wife & I & our little daughter would be willing to meet up… I’m sure others would too.)

      You know your life best, so no judgement from me regardless of what you decide. But be encouraged–you are capable of handling this or anything else you decide to do with your life.

      Good luck!

      1. ThatGirl

        You still don’t mention it in the cover letter (you want to explain the positive reasons you’re moving TO a place rather than the negative reasons you’re moving AWAY from one).

        ^^ x1000. And make sure those reasons are solid reasons.

        I once sat in on a phone interview where the applicant basically stated that he wanted to move across the country to our state (I’m in the Midwest) for something trivial like teaching his kids to fish and camp.

        After he hung up, I basically stated to the committee that no one moves across country to camp and fish that’s what vacations are for. I told them he’s playing us against his current employer (ha ha, I’m a raging cynic).

        Long story short…I was right and they were wrong. :-)

        So just make sure that you’re moving somewhere for the right reasons.

  6. Consultant Liz

    #6 Julie, From a strictly job searching perspective Alison is totally right – leaving so soon is not optimal but it won’t have you labeled as a job hopper.
    However, it sounds to me like you may be looking for consensus for your ‘run away from the city’ decision. I would not presume to know what it right for you but thought I would offer another perspective.
    I moved to NYC and I absolutely hated it, was miserable, lonely, and could not wait to get out. However, I made a 12 month plan of how NOT to be miserable and followed the “fake it until you make it” approach. One year in… I did not love it but I no longer woke up with that pit in my stomach. Six years year later, we have tried to move away to a smaller city and have moved back. I still see myself living somewhere greener and with more space but this has been an unbelievable opportunity and I am glad I did not leave within that first year.

    1. Brandy

      Just prep a good story for phone/in person interviews. I always ask this question when I see an out of area candidate. Sometimes I get people who just throw their resume into the wind and will go to any city that will take them. Some are moving back to the area for personal (no detail needed) reasons, to be closer to family, etc. Some “city hopped” after college and are now returning to our area to put down serious roots.

      Just smile and sound excited about the new city.

    2. Chinook

      When it comes to not liking a city, I would recommend giving it a year there before deciding it is not for you. I have had to move a lot for both my and DH’s career and have known a lot of others who have done the same. Especially when the move is from a city to a small town, I would hear a lot of complaining about how they didn’t like the new place for any number of reasons. I always pointed out that they are really going through a type of culture shock and you need a year to really adjust. If, after a year, though, if you are still miserable, things are probably never going to get better. All places are not for everyone.

      1. Anonymous

        This. I have moved several times and most of the time it’s taken at least 2 years to develop friendships and routines in the new location. And it took more than 4 months to even develop a regular route to work, to the grocer’s, the cleaners, find a church, find a dentist, find a hair salon, etc. Moving is really hard even when you are excited and moving TO something better. OP, cut yourself some slack. You are going through the usual pains of being in a new place and it’s normal to be lonely and feel like the place is not what you hoped. Just recognize that your feelings are normal for anyone who relocates and don’t think it means that you’ve made a big mistake. Perhaps you will leave and that’s the right thing for you, or perhaps you will discover some things that make this new place a little better over time. I’ve been there and it’s no fun when you are new in town and don’t have connections. I hope it gets better for you either way. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  7. Beatrice

    Julie,
    I am in a similar situation except I moved from one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US to a small city in western Virginia. (I use the word ‘city’ pretty loosely to describe my current locale.) When my husband and I moved here I completely detested the area and wanted to leave immediately. We have been here about eight months now and I wish we could leave but that is ultimately up to my husband’s company since he was transfered here. I think if you are miserable where you are and you have an opportunity to leave then you should go for it. Six months seems like enough time to adjust to the new area. However, my own dislike of my current area could be coloring my advice.

  8. Anonicorn

    #6, I was in a similar position after I graduated. I moved 6 hours away from my hometown to an area outside a mid-sized city. I stayed a year and half, loved my job, but being away from absolutely everyone I ever knew was wearing on me. So I quit and went back home. I both do and do not regret this decision.

    Not to discourage you from leaving, but you might consider the questions below if you haven’t.

    Is it the city itself you hate, or the distance from your home/familiar place? Because you could move to a different area of the city. Try to make some friends. Contact your friends and family more often. You might do some of this in the short-term too to help you feel less miserable.

    What about your future career growth? Is that something you’re willing to trade by moving (or perhaps you don’t have to trade it after all)?

    Are you actively looking for another job where you’ll be moving? I would strongly advise against moving without another job lined up.

    And how do I tell my current boss I’m leaving because I hate the city?

    If you find another job, just use that as the reason. Tell your boss you’ve enjoyed your time there (or something to that effect), but couldn’t resist a job offer in your hometown or favorite city or whatever the case is.

    1. Julie

      Thanks, all! Just to comment on a few things:

      I actually don’t have any family to speak of, at least not that would influence my moving decisions. And I’m single and just prioritizing me and career – so it’s not a need to be near anyone.

      I’ve lived in a few places around the US, everywhere from a MAJOR city to a REALLY SMALL “we don’t have any stoplights” rural mountain town. To be honest, I was kind of bored in the mountain town, but I more or less liked all of them. So I don’t think it’s missing people or wanting to move back to where I used to be.

      My career is based entirely on networking and can take months to find a job, because it’s “oh, hey, I saw you worked with so-and-so, you should come have lunch with our office and we’ll chat about options,” and other BS-stuff like that. It’s not the kind of field where you can just say “Yes, I have those skills you need, and I will relocate in two weeks.” Very political.

      So, that said, same question – should I stay or should I go? The fact that I hate NYC hasn’t really wavered. And the whole “learn to love it, explore a new neighborhood, make friends to go hiking with,” thing is not the answer I’m looking for.

      Thanks a ton though. You have no idea how helpful this site is and your comments are

      1. Josh S

        Well then, I’ll just repeat the last bit of what I wrote above:

        Be encouraged–you are capable of handling this or anything else you decide to do with your life. :)

            1. khilde

              I have seen references to Wakeen and I have TOTALLY missed the reference? Was it a funny joke on here or is it something from TV? It’s funny as it, but I bet even more amusing if one understands the context!

                1. khilde

                  Haha! I do think I missed that article over there. That’s funny. I am from South Dakota and worked at a place called Reptile Gardens when I was in high school and college (awesome teenage job). I used to do some of the animal shows and during the 60th anniversary of the attraction, we had different events going on across the park and during the opening part of the show we mentioned them. I always knew what an hors d’oeuvres meant when I saw it in print. I also knew what it was when I heard it spoken. But I never made the connection to the pronunciation of it from the print word. So anyway, all during this event I kept telling people, “and across the park we have alligator hors de vores for you to enjoy.” (totally pronounced like the Swedish Chef). The worst part is that I was in college for godsakes and didn’t make the connection!!!

                2. the gold digger

                  I didn’t know who this Gerte guy my English prof kept referring to was and I wondered why he never mentioned the Go-ee-thee person in our readings in the Norton Anthology.

                3. Rana

                  I once pronounced Freud as “frood” – while reading a trivia card during a game with family friends who included a psychiatrist. Oops.

              1. Josh S

                And from the same thread, I think, we got “Siobhan” (pronounced “Shuvon”), which is where the pseudonym of the GGP comes from, and why I made the Wakeen comment…

      2. Anonymous

        Understand you are not looking for this advice, but please know that hating NYC for the first year or more is not unusual. In fact the whole cycle of moving, hating it, and getting adjusted is such a cliche at my current work that someone made a PPT about it. You are at the pretty consistent low point right now. In case the job search does not go as quickly as possible please know there is hope of it getting better.

  9. Just a Reader

    #7 I’m struggling with this myself at 5 months pregnant–but mostly because a lot of my vacation time is going to long doctor appointments. Depending on your age, you may get a lot of screening and longer tests like ultrasounds, as well as some last minute stuff that comes up. This is eating my vacation time and I haven’t taken any recreational time off this year.

    Just something to consider. It stinks but your company’s maternity leave policy may include using a certain amount of vacation before FMLA kicks in–my company requires 1 week–so you should probably check on that policy before start using up your vacation.

    1. fposte

      Yes, I totally agree that if she wants to get paid on her maternity leave, she needs to factor that into her decision about vacation.

      1. Rana

        Some people only get “time off” – not split into “vacation” and “sick leave.” I would guess that’s the case here.

  10. Karen

    OP #2 here.
    Thanks so much for answering my question, Alison!
    I figured it was a straightforward answer, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t being pushy or presumptuous to send my resume. I’m going to send that email today!

  11. Christine

    #5 – All but one of my jobs have been based on an hourly pay and I’ve never negotiated because I’ve always been satisfied with the rate. Is it common to negotiate when accepting an hourly job? I’m just curious because when I was working a temp job (directly through the employer, no temp agency involved), a family member felt I should’ve been paid higher.

    I’ve never made anything worth writing home about, so I can see myself accepting a low pay without even realizing it. To be sure, I know that I will not accept anything lower than a certain amount I have in mind. So I guess that’s my roundabout way of reminding the OP (and myself!) not to find yourself paid below what a given position is normally paid.

    1. Josh S

      For hourly work, it depends on the industry.

      If it’s retail or foodservice, you might not have a lot of negotiating power since a lot of those places have set pay schedules for different positions. That said, you might be able to get yourself hired into a more ‘senior’ position that comes with a higher pay rate if you have experience in a similar role.

      If your temp job was an office/white collar sort of position, you can definitely negotiate the salary, especially if you know they’re under the gun to fill the position quickly.

      For temp jobs through a temp agency (I know that’s not what you describe above, but if you ever find yourself there) it can get a bit tricky since you might have to negotiate and get sign-off from a couple different groups, which is weird. But don’t let that stop you. Alison’s advice for negotiating salary (she has a link above in this comment section) is spot on — use it!

      1. Brandy

        I don’t know about this advice…I negotiated an extra $.50/hr for my retail job in grad school. I forget exactly what the salary was, but they gave me the offer and I said “I was expecting more like X+ .50/hr based on the other retail jobs I’ve been interviewing for…” and they just OK’d it on the spot.

        Negotiating base pay as a waitress, however, is probably not as worthwhile as most of those jobs are set at state “waitstaff” pay rates and all the variability comes with tips etc. You might be able to work out additional vacation days (if included with your offer), etc. though that are non-salary benefits worth debating.

        1. Josh S

          It might depend on the employer then. I don’t have a *ton* of retail experience (and most of what I have was during high school/college/right out of college, and wasn’t thinking about negotiating pay) so I’ll defer to you.

  12. The guy with the interview in question 3

    Thanks for the advice. I didn’t tell them anything and I didn’t get the job, either! Whew!

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