lost vacation time, bad rejection emails, and more

It’s tiny answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. I saw an email with harsh feedback about me as a job candidate

I recently applied for a job and my boyfriend of three years realized that he knew someone in a position of authority at the firm (but not in the hiring department). He sent a polite email to that contact, alerting him that I had applied for the opening, and the contact responded favorably.

The next day, both the recruiting department and I received an email from the contact that was sent from the individual’s iPhone (we are both on the To: line). The message is very informal, and in it he expressed the specific reasons why he wasn’t impressed with me as a candidate (saying that my coursework and experience weren’t a fit). While he didn’t mention anything I wasn’t already aware of, his phrasing was harsh, and to be honest, a bit hurtful. He closed the message by saying that although it wasn’t his call, he thought I wasn’t a good choice for the position.

Now I don’t know what to do. Should I assume that this email was sent to me in error, perhaps as a result of being sent from his phone? Is it possible he meant for me to receive it? Should I respond (and if so, how), or should I just ignore it? How should my boyfriend behave when he interacts with this man in the future?

I would assume that it was sent in error, and would ignore it.

While I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant to see, try to look at it as a useful glimpse behind the curtains that candidates almost never get — you got to see candid feedback on your candidacy from an employer’s perspective. It’s actually something a lot of people would like — sort of like being a fly on the wall in the interview room after you’ve left and your interviewers are talking about you.

Read an update to this letter. 

2. I lost vacation time when I got promoted

I work for a hospital, where I was hired in 2008 as a clerk. One of the benefits explained to me at the time I was hired was that my 30 days of PTO time would increase to 35 after 5 years of service.

Last year, I applied for a change of title and was promoted. But now I am working for a subsidiary of the hospital (a physicians group that manages all the doctors in the emergency department). My boss tells me now that with the change, the PTO increase calendar has reset and I need to do another 5 years before I can earn 35 days.

I’d understand this except that my boss, a director, is an employee of the hospital, not the physicians group. This same director also handles all reviews, increases, and time-off requests for the two employees of the group who aren’t physicians. My job also requires me to support staff of the hospital in addition to the physicians group.

It seems to me like the powers that be want to cheat me out of time I’m owed (not to mention a well-deserved increase) and yet keep me “in the fold” when it comes to supervision and reporting. Does this sound kosher to you?

I doubt they’re really trying to cheat you over a mere five days a year, particularly when they’ve established this as a benefit that they’re fine with employees earning — rather, it sounds more like it’s a badly structured system that relies more on bureaucratic rules than common sense. You shouldn’t be penalized for getting a promotion, and they should care more about rewarding and retaining good employees than this type of rule. It’s worth pushing back with your boss and arguing for an exception to be made, but whether or not they’ll budge will depend on how rigid — and short-sighted — they are.

3. When a customer wants to friend you on Facebook

We’ve run into an interesting question at our company, and would be curious to see if others have as well, and if so, how they handled it. One of our inside sales reps was asked by a customer if he is on Facebook, presumably with the intention of friending him. While the employee is friendly with the customer, and has taken care of him for many years, he would rather not blur the lines between his personal and professional life. Is there a polite way to say no to the customer?

He doesn’t need to say no. He can simply ignore the friend request. The customer probably won’t even notice, but if he does, and asks about it, your employee can (a) say he didn’t notice the notification, (b) say he isn’t on Facebook that much, or (c) say he tends to use Facebook only for a small group of friends and family. Or unending variations of those.

4. Is the “sent from my iPhone” line on emails unprofessional?

I know its become the norm for people to check, write, and reply to email on their phones (I do it too! I love it!), but I think its almost … unprofessional to see the “sent from my iPhone” or “sent from my Blackberry” at the bottom of emails. There’s an option to remove (or personalize) that signature on phones, and I removed it as soon I as I could. I realize people work from everywhere nowadays, but seeing that signature seems a bit too casual. Am I weird for thinking this? For what its worth, I work in HR, and seeing emails from candidates with “sent from my iPhone” on an application doesn’t seem like the best idea.

Hmmm, it doesn’t bother me, but I can see how it could. It’s not that the line itself is objectionable, but rather than you potentially risk appearing that you’re treating the communication more casually than you should — i.e., are you sending job applications while you’re waiting to meet friends for brunch, as opposed to sitting down and really focusing on it? I can’t imagine anyone rejecting a candidate over it, but there’s an argument to be made that it signals that you’re not taking the communication as seriously as something like hiring-related communications generally warrant.

(I can’t decide if I stand by that argument or not, but I don’t think it’s a crazy one.)

5. Is the EEOC questionnaire on job applications truly confidential?

At the end of every online application is the EEO questionnaire. Is this info really confidential or is it seen by the recruiter? Does it hurt or help if you do or do not provide the needed info?

For companies that do it, the data is separated from the application and not seen by the recruiter or hiring manager. (The information is aggregated and is used to help comply with federal record-keeping requirements. For instance, the company might look at statistics like, “Of all applications received for management positions, 20% were minority candidates, but of candidates hired, only 5% were minorities.”) It doesn’t hurt if you choose not to participate in their information-collection.

6. When’s the best time to ask for time off around the holidays?

When’s the best time to ask for time off around the holidays? I don’t know why, but I feel almost guilty asking for time off so early but the slots fill up fast (they only let a certain number of people off at a time). Our office is closed on all federal holidays already, so it’s the days after that I’d like to have off to make it a long holiday weekend. (Specifically, I would like the Friday off after Thanksgiving and the 26th and 27th off the day after Christmas.) I also just started working there in February of this year, so I would feel bad getting one of these slots over someone who has been there longer. Is there a right or wrong way to go about this?

Ask your manager! You certainly don’t want to be the person who books up all the holidays before anyone else can get to them, but you also shouldn’t penalize yourself if you don’t need to. So just ask how it’s done and what’s appropriate. Say something like, “I’d love to request these days off now, but I don’t want to request so early that it would deny other people those days. How does this usually work?”

7. Is this rejection email as bad as I think?

I wanted to share with you an excerpt from a rejection email I just received (sent at 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday night, too): “Due to the high volume of interest in this particular position, we regret to inform you we will not be moving forward with your resume. This in no way is a reflection of your qualifications, but is due to resume volume management processes.”

I know you often say to take things at face value … but the phrase “resume volume management processes” makes it seem like they received so many resumes that they just randomly deleted half of them. I would have preferred to be rejected based on my qualifications — that way I knew I had a chance if I wanted to apply for a similar position in the future. But this email suggests that it’s a total crapshoot.

What do you think?

Yeah, that’s a terrible email. That wording absolutely does suggest what you concluded, although I think it’s more likely that it was simply written by a bad writer who isn’t communicating clearly. Which is the case with lots of hiring-related communications, unfortunately.

{ 213 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    Sorry, I disagree with AAM on number 1, he may not have realized that he did a stupid thing absentmindedly. Let him feel stupid for a while. I would respond, “I’m certain you meant this for someone else but appreciate your candid honesty.” insert stupid smiley face here….and then don’t look back.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      But toward what end? There’s not much point to it other than to have some momentary satisfaction about making him feel stupid, and generating bad feelings with her boyfriend’s contact isn’t going to really serve anyone well. And the reality is that the guy didn’t gratuitously insult her or anything; he thought he was communicating privately and was well within his rights to give his opinion of her candidacy to his colleagues.

      1. Juni*

        Oh, I’d do it much more politely than that, but I would respond. Something like,


        Thank you so much for your candid feedback. It was a pleasure meeting you, and I appreciate the time you took with me. Best wishes.


    2. Rachel*

      I wouldn’t do it in the spirit of wanting to make him look stupid, but I do agree that she or he should respond. Not to make him feel bad, but to alert him to the fact that he made a careless error and as a gentle reminder that he needs to be more careful in the future with communicating confidential information. Sure, this time it wasn’t anything gratuitously egregious, but what if next time it is and he accidentally sends it to the wrong person? He could get himself in BIG trouble for that. This may not be the first time he’s done something like this and he might be prone to sloppy errors on iPhone without knowing it.

      I would just respond politely with “thanks so much for letting me know and for your feedback on my candidacy. Keep me in mind for any openings in the future that you feel would be a better fit!” Friendly and gracious. Take a tone as if you believe he absolutely meant for you to see it and respond gratefully in kind. That way, if he DID mean for you to see it, no harm done, and if he didn’t, he can privately say “oh, crap, I need to double check my recipients in the future.”

      1. Rachel*

        I also forgot to add, that a friendly tone makes it very unlikely to generate bad feelings between the boyfriend and contact in the future.

      2. Sourire*

        Hmm, this makes much more sense than doing it for a personal/petty reason, but I still wonder if it’s really the best idea for the candidate to point it out. Perhaps the contact at the company should be made aware this happened (if he didn’t already notice) and he could approach it?

        1. Sourire*

          I realized I misread the letter and had it backwards – thought the contact and the OP were on the receiving end, not that the contact was the one who sent it. In that case I definitely don’t think it is the OP’s place to point it out (way too much potential to create bad blood between the boyfriend and the contact). Leave it to the other party to notice/point out, assuming it was mistake in the first place.

      3. Kate*

        In terms of realising his mistake, given that both the recruiting department and the OP received the email, it might be best to leave it to recruitment to spot the error and raise it with him. As AAM says, the OP has got some good value out of the email. When recruitment has made and communicated a final decision to the OP, that might be a good point to say thanks and express interest in future openings. She could also seek some feedback. Might be interesting to compare notes between the contact and the recruiter!

      4. Brandy*

        While I’d just let it go, this would be a very appropriate response, should you feel the need to respond. Covers all your bases.

      5. Pandora Amora*

        I don’t believe this as a motivation. Instead, it sounds like something I would tell myself to justify sending a reply intended to make the man feel stupid. I think you’re encouraging a deliberate act of cognitive dissonance (“gee, I’m just trying to save this guy from making a bigger mistake in the future!”) in order to deliver a zinger. Perhaps a soft one, but a zinger nonetheless.

        The OP isn’t responsible for the LW’s future. Even in the most unlikely future (she sends the email back alerting Mr. iPhone to his error, and he about-faces on his email habits, and thereby never sends an email to the wrong person when it would really really be a big big error), the OP would never know that she had helped the man.

        Now weigh the value of that future against the cost of another future where her boyfriend’s interactions with Mr. iPhone become strained due to a snarky reply she sends back. In this future, she would know the cost of sending back the “correction”.

        I just don’t see how the former situation is worth the latter. No benefit versus a likely drawback: why choose that?

        1. Rachel*

          I’ll have to disagree there. I don’t think we should always assume bad intent in someone’s motives and I can absolutely believe someone doing someone a service. No, not his or her responsibility, but it can be done in good faith nonetheless.

          I am speaking from personal experience as someone who once sent a private email about someone (not egregious) to that person and who had it pointed out by the recipient. It was in good faith, and very clearly it intended to make me feel bad. We cleared it up and you can be damn sure I never made the mistake again. I double check my reply line every time now. The unlikely scenario of reversing habits is not as unlikely as you may think.

          Also, I don’t know why everyone is thinking a polite response would sour the relationship between boyfriend and contact. How exactly would a polite email like the examples mentioned here sour that?

    3. Brandy*

      Disagree. Ignore it. Best case scenario, he feels bad for a bit. Worst case scenario, you either incite come kind of email back-and-forth OR turns out you were meant to see the candid email all along (so your comment wouldn’t even make sense to him)!

      If you’re lucky, the recruiter/HR would notice you were included and shoot him a note calling out his mistake.

      Job hunting stinks; this is just another bump in the road.

    4. The IT Manager*

      Perhaps in the spirit of full discloser the contact actually meant for the LW to see his response. Depending on how informal and how harsh, the message could have been meant to help the LW understand why she probably won’t go further in the process. He wa providing much wished for feedback to the LW.

      Toward that end, a polite thank you email would totally be in line especially asking to keep her in line for other opportunties that are a better fit.

      I certainly would not lead with “you didn’t mean to send this to me” unless there’s something more clear cut that he didn’t mean it for you.

      1. Sarah*

        I agree, I would treat it like an email that you were supposed to see. And while I don’t think you should be super happy sounding at his dmismissive tone. I think thanking him for the feedback and keeping you in mind for future opportunities would be a good way to handle it.

      2. CoffeeLover*

        I agree. It’s almost weird not to respond to an email that you obviously got and that he may have sent to you intentionally. A quick “Thank you for this opportunity and your candid feedback” would do the trick. :)

      3. fposte*

        Nthed. Treat it as though you were meant to see it or don’t respond. The “You made a mistake” email is too transparent a guilt trip and would backfire on me by making me think the candidate is kind of schmucky.

      4. Pandora Amora*

        I would bet that the OP has enough social savvy to realize that she is not the intended audience for the email. I don’t see why we would second guess her on this part.

  2. Legal Eagle*

    4. I leave the “sent from my iPhone” tag on my emails. My phone emails are pretty short. The iPhone tagline provides a context for the brevity, because when some people see short emails they add a curt tone to it that I never intend.

    That said, I’ve never sent a job application with that tagline! I send applications from my computer. The amount of proofreading I would have to do to be sure that I didn’t make an autocorrect error would negate the quickness of smartphone email…

    1. Al Lo*

      Exactly. To me, it’s shorthand for, “Please excuse the brevity, perceived curtness, and/or any autocorrects or minor typos due to what I’m typing on” — and I read that into the tag on both sent and received messages. To me, it’s not unprofessional at all; it just alerts me that I need to be reading it with different expectations than I would read a full email sent from a computer.

      (And I have many friends whose smartphone automatic messages are personalized to say some variation of that.)

      1. Jessa*

        I get this, however in professional conversations it reads to me as (and this is likely not true of you, but still) “I am too lazy to proof read my emails and messages and turn off autocorrect if it’s wrong, because well, phone.”

        The point is that it shouldn’t NEED an excuse for those things. If it’s a professional conversation, typos, autocorrects, and curtness shouldn’t happen.

        1. ahem*

          I agree with all of this thread above. I’m in the general school of thought that emails shouldn’t be sent from a phone, period, unless it is required by that person’s line of work. I appreciate seeing the smartphone tag on the emails because of the reasons discussed above, but I also agree that it sends a very unprofessional message: I won’t take/don’t have the time to type out a well-constructed email to you.

          (Sad to think that, considering the USPS is sputtering and dying slowly because of email!)

          ::shrug:: I once had a professor who told us on the first day of class (and included on the syllabus) that she usually had to email from her phone because of her schedule and time away from her office, and she apologized in advance for any misunderstood inflection in her messages. But she also fully acknowledged that she only answered certain messages by phone; anything else that required more thought or document review, she would do at her desk, even though her phone was capable of those things.

          1. VictoriaHR*

            I don’t have a problem with emails sent from a phone as long as it’s professional and there’s no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Yes. Most phones do have a full keyboard, with screens including punctuation, etc. It is certainly possible to achieve this standard.

          2. CoffeeLover*

            I think this is a very old school way of thinking. Right now the lines between personal time and work time are so blurred. To me it sounds like you’re talking about a time before portable email became a thing and you weren’t attacked by messages randomly throughout the day. I would actually find it more annoying/unprofessional if I sent someone an urgent email, they received it on their phone, and then waited to get to a computer to respond because it’s more “professional”. My company provides work phones for the express purpose of allowing you to answer emails while away from your desk. It improves efficiency.

            Also, I like the “using my phone” disclaimer. Like others have said, it provides necessary context. When I see it on someones message I actually appreciate the fact that they chose to get back to me in a timely manner.

          3. ali*

            Your professor sounds like she was doing it right.

            It annoys me when I have sent someone a long and thought-out email to get back a 1-liner from a smartphone. It’s okay to say in that one line “Thanks for this, it obviously needs more time than I can give it right now, I will read and respond later.”

            Important items should be thought about and not just responded to on a whim. Or sent in the first place, such as job applications. I would be pretty appalled if someone sent me a job application from their iPhone, and I work in the web industry! Take the time to sit down at a computer and think it through, that’s all I ask.

        2. RLS*

          Autocorrect usually proves disastrous (but at least, very entertaining)…so I’m not super-keen on it…but I don’t have a smartphone either…nor do I use predictive text/T9/whatever the heck people call it these days. I typo enough on texts…I’d rather my phone didn’t do it for me either :)

        3. Jamie*

          Not every email is a major professional conversation. I’ve gotten calls on the way to work about data to rolling into the system. I pull over in a parking lot, shoot a quick email to those who need to know, I.e. “data down – on it” – log in from my phone and fix it. My next email? “Fixed.”

          The people with whom I work are more than aware I am capable of crafting a well written and professional email…but they appreciate that I don’t take the time to prove it when that time could be spent actually getting done what they need me to do.

          My point is there are many different types of work emails and some call for proofing and professionalism and some don’t. If I email the other person with an office key asking which of us is locking up and he responds “you” from is phone because he’s at a customer call I’m grateful that he took the time to answer. That would be terse of he typed it from his desk top.

        4. Cat*

          The “Sent from iPhone” line also functions as notice that “I’m not actually at work. I’m answering this because I’m responsive/doing you a favor/bored in line at the bank, but don’t expect me to sit down at my computer and spend 2 hours reviewing whatever document you just ginned up either.” Of course I’ll proofread the e-mail regardless of where I’m sending it from, and if it’s important in any way, I’ll proofread it carefully. But I’m not – and do not particularly wish to convey the impression that – I’m as available from my phone as I am from work.

          1. Liz*

            There is that. I’m with the OP in turning off the signature, though, because it does seem unprofessional and a little weird to me.

            I’ve just tended to say things like “I’m not at my desk right now but I’ll check on that when I’m back [later/tomorrow/next week”.

            If I end up replying from my phone a lot I might replace the signature line with a more generic one (“Replying from my phone”), on the grounds that no-one else cares whether I have an iPhone, Blackberry or Android.

            1. Cat*

              I agree that the generic line is better – in fact, this thread just spurred me to change it, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. But I like having it there; I find it subtly manages expectations without requiring a lot of explanation. (Though if I get a specific request for something I will add the “I’m not at my desk” explanation.)

      2. FiveNine*

        I never thought of it to that degree. When I see the note I always just think, Ad for Blackberry.

      3. Jamie*

        ITA – exactly how I see it. Shorthand for brevity and imperfect typing if needed.

        If I do send a real email from my phone, whole sentences that’s are proofed and everything – I just remove it on those. Manages expectations is perfect – that’s what it is.

      4. OliviaNOPE*

        Funny, because I edited my iPhone signature to say just that….”Sent from my iPhone so please excuse brevity and any unintentional typos.”

    2. Neeta*

      That’s an interesting perspective. I’ve always read this as a short of “showing off”. I.e. look who’s got an iPhone? At first it bothered me, because I found it extremely unprofessional; but then I realized that I tended to be much more formal than my clients, so I let it go.

      Oh and +1 for not sending job apps from the phone. I always end up with tonnes of typos when I send any message.

      1. A teacher*

        I have a laptop that runs really slow and is really not fun to start up. I mainly use it for school and creating work in Word or presentations in PowerPoint for my students. Tablets and phones aren’t that conducive to job spps or things like Word docs most of the time. As technology advances the use of phones and tablets will be more common. I don’t think it is flashy, snobby, or showing off when someone sends an e-mail from a tablet or smartphone. I mean seriously, do we need to be that judgemental toward people? Aren’t there enough other reasons to like or dislike someone based on personality and not because they use an iPhone or blackberry or whatever to e-mail you? I could say that I find it really dumb that you would judge me based on the use of my phone but that’s just me.

        1. FiveNine*

          The user might not think of it as “showing off,” but the tags are flat-out advertising by iPhone and Blackberry, which might be where your general impression is coming from. It’s always stood out to me like a sore thumb (on Facebook, for example, when people first started posting status updates with the tag, and to this day, my eye is immediately drawn to the SENT FROM MY BLACKBERRY or whatever, which of course is exactly what an advertisement is supposed to do.)

        2. Neeta*

          You misunderstand me. I didn’t dislike the fact that they sent the email from their phone. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t care less, as long as it contains the information I need.
          I dislike the fact that people felt the need to advertise this fact, in an obnoxious manner.

          1. BCW*

            But you have to remember, thats the default setting. If you get a new phone, even just an upgraded one, all of your apps, contacts and stuff get moved over, but thats one of those things you will always have to remember to change manually. If you don’t think about that, why should you be judged?

          2. Meg*

            But most people aren’t advertising it. It’s just the default setting, and in fact, until this thread, I had no idea there was a way to change it or turn it off. I don’t think it’s fair to consider it obnoxious when the vast majority of people who have that tag aren’t using it consciously.

            1. Neeta*

              Fair or not, that’s my first thought, and apparently I’m not the only one. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve had to deal with this, now I barely even notice it. You get used to all sorts of things.

          3. twentymilehike*

            As a matter of fact, I couldn’t care less, as long as it contains the information I need.
            I dislike the fact that people felt the need to advertise this fact, in an obnoxious manner.

            I sort of feel this same way and I really cant justify it to myself. I think it’s because my boss started using iPhones when they first came out and was a complete and utter snob about it. It put me off to Apple products until I gave in and got one myself. Because of that past experience, I turned off that tagline as soon as possible.

            That said, though I really don’t care if people respond to messages from a cell phone, as long as it’s an appropriate response. If it’s going to be full of errors, or not fully address the problem, I wish they’d just wait until they had the time to focus on it. There’s mention in the thread of there being a lot of different types of correspondence, so of course, you need to do what is appropriate, but I personally have this thing where even if I’m responding from my phone, I don’t want the recipient to know I’m on my phone. This means, spending the time to proofread just like you would if you were on a computer. If it’s not something formal, or if it needs a response right away, there is nothing wrong with saying something about being out of the office or travelling or on your phone. It just think it’s unnecessary to have that tagline on every email sent out from your phone.

            Emails are emails, I don’t care what device is used to compose it, as long as it’s appropriate. If I wanted a response with “ur” and “l8r” in it, I’d have texted you.

            1. Hooptie*

              If I wanted a response with “ur” and “l8r” in it, I’d have texted you.

              Want to see me go absolutely ballistic? Send me an email with text speak.

            2. ThursdaysGeek*

              I almost always use full sentences and appropriate capitalization in my texts. I’m a rebel. (Although I do admit that for a one sentence text I don’t end it with a period.)

            3. Callie*

              In my first adjunct teaching job, I’d get emails from students FULL of text speak. The second day of class I informed them with emails full of text speak would not be answered. It took two weeks for them to figure out I meant it, but once they did, that problem stopped.

      2. Jamie*

        I’ve heard this pov before, it I still don’t get it. I guess I can’t imagine being impressed by an iPhone. Many of them are as work issued as a desk chair and stapler now – and as many people of low incomes have them as not so its really cant be a status symbol when they are are so inexpensive (even my little 4s can be had for a hundy now. My husband is still on an old 3s which I can replace all day long for $0.99.

        1. Neeta*

          That’s just it, not everyone lives in the US, where gadgets are much cheaper than in my country. They can end up costing up to 3 times more, here.

          But it’s not really about the cost of such a device. I’d feel the same way about any advertising tagline.

          1. mm*

            I changed the factory default signature line “Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S4…” to “Sent from my Android phone.” That way it doesn’t advertise a specific phone but lets people know that I am sending a brief and to-the-point message because I am using my phone.

            1. tcookson*

              When people first starte getting iPhones I was a little . . . irritated is too strong a word . . . I got tired of seeing the “Sent from my iPhone” tagline. I can’t even put my finger on why, exactly; I knew it was just a default thing that Apple put on there to advertise . . . anyway, in my mild irrittation, I briefly had a tagline that read, “Sent from my clunky old desktop.”

        2. Anonymous*

          I disagree. While I might be able to find an expensive phone, I can barely afford my standard cell phone plan (and I don’t consider myself poor), let alone one with data.

          1. The Snarky B*

            I get your point, but I still disagree – I’m on a family plan (and I know a lot of (young) people who share them with their friends or housemates, and I’m grandfathered in to unlimited data. I see what you’re trying to say but these plans so depend on circumstance (and what your employer is paying for), that you really can’t assume socioeconomic status or class based on that tag line as you could when this was all new and pricier.

          2. Natalie*

            Yeah, I don’t think Jamie was trying to say that everyone can afford an iPhone, just that smartphones are affordable *enough* that they are not a good indicator of economic class.

            1. Jamie*

              Thanks – that is what I was trying to say. I just see status symbols as things you really need to have “made it” in order to afford (or at least go in debt to pretend that’s the case.)

              Luxury cars, a mansion (Mc or otherwise), a plane…that kind of thing. Even things that used to be like a Rolex or a some bags aren’t any more because so many people are running around with good enough knock offs that it waters down the assumption of the real thing.

              1. twentymilehike*

                I had to laugh at your analogy of the desk chair and stapler. I had to shop for a desk chair not to long ago, and I can’t believe how freakin’ expensive they can be! I can afford an iPhone, but not a new ergonomic 8-hour task chair …

                1. Jamie*

                  I got an awesome one last year and it was only like $120. Black leather and mesh (sounds sexier than it is) but the most amazing back support.

                  Other people like my chair and I give them the side eye and send them a link to the website…hands off people.

                2. Natalie*

                  I have an Aeron chair because my old boss left it behind when she quit (she had apparently bought it herself) and my new boss didn’t want it! I thought about getting one for my dad for his birthday and balked at the price.

                3. tcookson*

                  We have all Aeron chairs at work because I work with architects, and that’s the only chair in the world to them, as far as I can tell . . . lol

              2. Cassie*

                I oddly still get slightly impressed when I see an iPhone, which is irrational because I know they aren’t absurdly expensive in terms of smartphones, a lot of people have them, and they are frequently stolen – so I imagine there is a slightly cheaper black market for them. I think there’s just something about white iPhones that make them more noticeable than other phones. And I say this as an Android owner.

                Maybe it’s because iPhones are recognizable as iPhones. It’s more difficult to differentiate the Android-based phones at a distance.

                But anyway, it reminds me of a coworker who is into designer bags, that cost $4K each. I can’t imagine spending that much for a bag. She takes a lot of pride in her bags – leaves them on her desk during the day so everyone can see them, shows them off to others, etc. The funny thing is that people don’t think “wow, she can afford a bag like THAT!”. They tend to think “wow, she is superficial”.

                1. Cassie*

                  Disclaimer – I’m not saying my coworker shouldn’t buy designer bags or whatever. We have the freedom to spend (or not spend) our money on what we want. I wouldn’t even know how much her bags cost, or that she changes them frequently, except that other female coworkers have pointed it out.

            2. A teacher*

              Exactly. I have many students that are on “free and reduced lunch” and yet many of them have a smartphone of some sort. For a lot of my kids it is there only way to access Internet at home, to e-mail teachers, or even to save and upload class notes. I post my notes that are PowerPoint in a PDF format for that reason. Kids can upload PDFs to various readers on a smartphone. I don’t find when they email me from their phones any different–or the signature line any more obnoxious than the lengthy privacy disclosure tacked on by my school district or others emails. Additionally, when my students create presentations, there are times when they email the presentation and its not compatible with school technology. Many times I’ve opened an email from a student on my iPad or iPhone and ran it off my personal device so they could participate. The sent from is just a small tag line, much like the privacy disclosures that list where its sent from and why. Just my two cents.

              1. Anonymous*

                I think it is great that you understand why a low income kid might have a smartphone and alter the format of your presentations to accomodate them. I get frustrated as a public librarian when people judge low income folks for having “fancy” phone plans when it might be their ONLY non-library access to the internet, period.

                1. A teacher*

                  Thanks. Oftentimes the phone plan is paid for by the kid and they make other sacrifices so they have Internet connection of some sort. I have one student that had a grandfather put her on his plan so she would have email access 24/7 but he didn’t want to pay for her “idiot father” in his words to have Internet access. She had a molder android that did the job.

                2. Jamie*

                  I hate the judgement because you have no idea what someone’s circumstances are.

                  I was in the doctor’s the other day and there was a woman waiting for her chemo. She had a smart phone and was kind of loud when speaking medicaid…some might judge but I can’t imagine going through something like that without being able to take advantage of online appointment settings, records transfer, looking up meds, etc.

                  If one of my family members were on medicaid I’d get them a smart phone and pay the plan…life is tough enough without scrutinizing each other’s choices all the time.

                  I love A Teacher’s attitude about this also.

                3. fposte*

                  You also don’t have to be on a plan to have a smart phone–there are pay as you go options. I’ll probably finally get mine next year when AT&T includes the iPhone in one.

                4. Jessa*

                  Jamie – agree with you completely.

                  First, the phone may have been purchased when someone had money. So that all they’re paying right now is the plan. And some state supported plans do come with limited data and for about $30 you can get more a month than the limited free low income phone plan gives you. You can also often attach a phone you already owned when you had money to such plans.

                  Second, it could be a gift from someone, especially if the person is waiting for a transplant, it may even be a gift from a cancer charity. I know that when we were having trouble family members paid our cell bills, we already had the phones.

                  Third, a lot of cancers automatically qualify you for state/federal insurance because of the costs to treat them. So they may not be low income and may still be on that kind of insurance.

                  Fourth, if they’re in school, a lot of schools now require some kind of device, and many have trade agreements (if it’s HS or lower,) with tech companies to provide them at no cost.

                  Fifth, I agree that I hate people who judge based on what someone has. Is someone supposed to sell their paid for 5 year old BMW in order to buy an unreliable piece of junk just because they lost their job or investments in a recession? Should someone get rid of the nice purse they have had for 10 years because now they’re “poor” and have no right to nice things? I do get that some people even when they’re poor spend money on stupid things, but you know what? it’s their money. However, the default of society should not be a presumption that they’re wasting money.

              2. Anonymously Anonymous*

                Very good point. My daughter and I had conversation just the other day about this. She is looking for a summer job and I told her if she gets a job she could upgrade to a smartphone and foot the bill. Then she started telling me about a kid at her school who also pays for her not only the smartphone bill for Internet, but all the household bills, because her parents don’t speak English

        3. Anonymous*

          (And smartphones increasingly fill in for laptops, etc, as they are so much cheaper. )

          1. Neeta*

            Again, depends on where you live. You forget that a lot of gadgets are much cheaper in the US, than elsewhere, and 90% of the time they won’t even ship abroad. Or if they do, postal taxes are exorbitant.

            For example:
            Where I live, you can get Internet for as cheap as 8USD/month. You can buy a second-hand desktop computer around 130USD (that includes monitor and printer). Though, probably, even for less.
            Initial price: $138 (plus 8USD, monthly)

            An iPhone 5 would cost around 350 USD, plus a year-long contract of 64USD/month.
            Initial price: $414 (plus 64USD monthly)

            1. Jessa*

              Exactly and even a very nice piece of equipment can be bought very cheaply if you’re willing to go for last year’s model. People trade in or sell their old ones when they are upgrading. So maybe you don’t have an iPhone 5, but you just got a 3 or 4 cheap at a pawn shop.

              There’s a really nice computer shop near us that sells laptops for $135 they have good memory, decent sized hard drives and are completely refurbished with 90 day warranties. They’re used, but so what? You can get really good tech there. Those computers were probably between 350 and 600 new.

            2. Elise*

              Ah, that’s the difference. You are actually getting a better deal. The devices aren’t actually cheaper here, they are just subsidized more by the price of the plan.

              iPhone 5 in US: $199
              US phone plan w/data: $99 per month
              2 year contract required.

              So, over the two years:
              $350 + ($64 x 24 months) = $1886
              $199 + ($99 x 24 months) = $2575

              1. Neeta*

                Hm… fair point. I’m not familiar with US contract prices. In any case, I still find the option with second hand computer cheaper.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Maybe it should say “via mobile,” like posts on Facebook do when you make them from your phone. Then it wouldn’t be product-specific.

      4. glennis*

        What do you think of people who have an automatic reply saying “Sent from my Iphone” in FRENCH??? (And they are Americans)?

        I had to chuckle when I got one of these from someone who is, quite obviously, an arriviste.

    3. Anonymously Anonymous*

      4. This. I have received emails from former professors and one hiring manager (it was someone in my district and we were corresponding about summer school work) and at first I viewed it as unnecessary information but as you said it really does give context to short and quick responses. I remember finding it really weird when I got an almost instant reply from my professor before I could sign out of my email account. Then I saw the tagline. The few instances the individuals were already familiar to me so that might make a difference.

      1. Callie*

        One of my professors has “tapped out on a tiny keyboard” instead of “sent from my iPhone” or whatever, which is a great context-provider.

    4. kasey*

      Of course you can remove it ;) (for iphone) One off – by just clicking on it and deleting it (like you would a typo) or in: Settings- Mail,Contacts, Calendars then Signature. You can change the signature to anything, or delete it entirely. “Sent from…” is the factory default so to speak. But like others have said, there can be a good reason for having it.

    5. KayDay*

      I completely agree with this. That line explains why a message might be particularly short or have some strange typos/autocorrections. It also tells you that the person you are email is probably not a computer and they probably won’t be reviewing that spreadsheet you just sent them immediately. I think it’s actually helpful information.

      In the U.S. I definitely wouldn’t think of it as a status thing at this point. But if that’s a concern, you can always change it to “sent from my smartphone” or something like that.

      That said, I would never choose to send a formal email (such as a job application) over my phone, and if I absolutely had to, I would probably delete that line from my phone, after carefully proofreading my message.

    6. Just a Reader*

      I find this really odd. Phone responses are completely acceptable in business today, and the “sent from my iPhone line” is also pretty standard. It’s not show-offy or lazy. It’s just business as usual.

      I can’t imagine getting worked up over such a thing; the phones are provided specifically to communicate while OOO/away from one’s desk. It’s just as professional as sitting down to a laptop, unless you’re using text speak, which is a whole different issue.

      1. Parfait*

        I do find it an indicator of laziness or tech-ignorance: “I’m too lazy to change the default signature line, or else I’m too scared to change any of my device’s default settings.”

        1. Lexie*

          I disagree. I think it is just an indicator that you don’t put that much thought into it.

        2. EM*

          I’ll fess up. I AM too lazy to change the default signature line. I really don’t care that much to put in the (albeit small) effort.

        3. A teacher*

          So what am I supposed to think when I get the super long privacy disclosures tacked on to the end of email that you can’t remove? It “advertises” where you (or I because we have one) work and is much longer than the iPhone tag line. I am not changing mine because it doesn’t bother me. In the grand scheme of things it’s a minor detail that people need to get over.

          As I’ve stated multiple times, I use technology in my classroom. I primarily teach dual credit courses at the high school level using my athletic training degree as a health sciences teacher. As someone that still practices PRN as an athletic trainer and teaches medical based classes my students need to know how to use technology. For me, when I’m covering a football game, I document my notes in the notes feature on my iPhone and email it to myself. It is a lot safer and much quicker for me to forward on the note to an appropriate channel immediately than to sit down at a computer that I won’t get to for at least several hours via a phone.

          Technology is ever changing and we are pretty much forced to adapt. A tag line that says sent from iPhone, blackberry, or whatever means nothing more than I used a medium to send you something.

          1. fposte*

            But there’s a difference between something that you are required by your job to include and something that anybody using the device could change in a minute without breaching anything.

      2. Jessa*

        I don’t get worked up about it, what I get worked up about is the inference that having that line (whatever words you use,) and sending something from a phone, means that I have to forgive you if you cannot type accurately. There’s a large number of people (particularly the current younger generation,) that thinks that’s an excuse to not be careful.

        Autocorrect needs to be turned OFF when you’re sending business communications. The whole message needs to be read again and corrected before sending. While I might not be upset at some truncating of messages (we used to have to do that with telegrams too,) text speak and stuff like it, NO. Not in business communication, not even if you’re in some techie field really.

        You (generic plural you, not specific person you,) need to be professional and if it says “sent from my whatever device,” that’s fine. As long as it’s not an excuse for an unprofessional communication. And for far too many people, it still is that.

        TL;DR – sent from phone =/= excusing unprofessional messages.

    7. danr*

      iPhone users should leave the tagline on, especially if the spellcheck is turned on (can you turn it off on the iPhone?). That way horrible word substitutions can be recognized as “damn spellcheck again” instead of ignorance on the part of the sender.

      1. ExceptionToTheRule*

        Yes you can turn the auto-correct & spell check functions off.

        It was the first thing I did.

        1. twentymilehike*

          Yes you can turn the auto-correct & spell check functions off.

          I have to say I admire your skills! I had to laugh thinking back on the time I was so frustrated with autocorrect that I decided to turn it off. I tried to type on message on that stupid touch screen and immediately turned it back on. I really miss keyboards with buttons ….

          1. Jessa*

            You can purchase for most devices an attachable or bluetooth keyboard. Some of them even fold up into rather small spaces.

      2. fposte*

        That doesn’t automatically get you off the hook, though. It’s fine for internal communications where typos don’t matter, but, as seen in previous blog posts, people really need to proofread emails even if they’re sent from their phones.

      3. Jessa*

        No. Because it IS ignorance on the part of the sender. If they cannot take 10 seconds to read the message before sending it, then it’s completely their fault. Autocorrect and spell check do not excuse them from properly reading what they send. They are 100% responsible for any typo, grammar error or wrong word. And I will completely hold it against them.

        And if they worked for me, there’d be a discussion about it, while their phone was on the desk in front of us and they were told – you may not ever use autocorrect again on a work communication. If you cannot read it, do not send it. Period. Full stop. Now, I’m going to watch while you turn off autocorrect and make up a decent tag message.

        1. Cat*

          Wow. You’d do this for internal e-mails sent to you in response to a quick question? Because to be honest, I could not care less if there’s a typo in a quick e-mail someone junior to me jots off to me on a phone while they’re on their off hours or at another work function. I’m just glad I’m able to get the info I need from them at all.

          If those e-mails are going to clients, or if they’re giving me error-ridden phone e-mails when a long, thought out answer is appropriate, that’s a different matter. But if the message is something like “that file is in the second drawer to the left of my desk” and they accidentally type “fire,” I can’t imagine ever holding that against them.

          1. Jamie*

            And some people without auto-correct will send out wildly misspelled emails no matter how many times they read them over, because they don’t know how to spell.

            The day I care enough to hold one-off typos against people for casual interoffice communication is the day I quit – I just couldn’t stand to micromanage on that level.

            Yes, things going to customers and legit professional emails should be proofed and correct – but a lot of the people with whom I’ve worked would be a lot less likely to do that without autocorrect…which is imperfect but bad spellers count on those squiggly red lines.

            But yeah – short dashed off message about where something is? I cannot imagine caring.

        2. A teacher*

          I get what you’re saying. I’m a teacher so I get to read essays regularly. Best sentence ever: But because I did. Yes, really. That said, there are times when using a phone isn’t perfect. I provided how I use mine to document medical notes. When I’m working a game, I do my best but if I have thirty seconds to shorthand a note in medical speak, 30″ as opposed to thirty seconds, or AROM as opposed to active range of motion, I’m going to because I have to supervise the medical care of athletes on a field. Sometimes it is field specific and sometimes we have to realize that the content of the message matters more than the perfection of one’s grammar.

    8. Nichole*

      That’s how I see it as well. I sometimes receive questions from students outside of my normal workday that can be answered quickly and easily if I happen to look at my e-mail. The “Sent from my Droid” line lets them know that it’s just a quick response and I’m not trying to be curt. It also (at least in my mind) draws the boundary that I am not at work and they shouldn’t always expect an answer right away when they send an e-mail at 11 PM on a Saturday.

  3. Anonymous*

    #5 It still makes me wonder if companies hire to fill a quota rather than a qualification.

    1. MaryTerry*

      I believe that companies who accept US government contracts are required to file this information annually.

    2. The Snarky B*

      I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and let you know (just for your information) that this could be construed as vaguely racist/sexist/___ insert here any other group that has a hard time with employment discrimination, partially due to ideas like the one you just expressed.

      1. EM*

        Thank you. I’m amazed at how many otherwise nice, thoughtful, and kind people have attitudes like this. I really struggle not to let it change my entire opinion of them.

  4. Elizabeth*

    When iPhones were a new thing, I found the “Sent from my iPhone” line a bit pretentious, as it seemed to signal, “I have an expensive fancy new thing!” Now smartphones are much more ubiquitous, and it no longer rubs me the wrong way. Still, I have to admit I prefer something less name-branded, like “Sent from my phone – please forgive typos.”

    1. Tinker*

      Interesting. Personally, I favor default messages for things like this — clearly I didn’t personally craft my signature line to express a particular sentiment, it’s just a neutral indication of where the message was sent from. It lets me implicitly explain the context of my message without having to ask explicitly and deliberately that typos be forgiven, say.

    2. EngineerGirl*

      I modified mine to “sent from a mobile device” to alert others to the brevity of the response. There is nothing pretentious about it – it is being polite to let someone know that you are being terse because you don’t have a full keyboard (as opposed to being rude or angry)

      So many times we’re expected to be in contact 24/7, but that doesn’t mean we are near an actual computer with keyboard.

      You can’t have it both ways. Either you get responses from mobile devices at all hours or you get nicely formatted e-mails that are only sent during normal business hours.

      1. Leslie Yep*

        I think I have a residual “this is pretentious” feeling, per Elizabeth’s message above, but at this point I mostly find it extraneous. Everyone in my organization has work smartphones. Everyone uses them constantly. If I got a message of gobbledegook, I’d probably assume an autocorrect error. If I got a super terse message, I’d assume they’re messaging me on the road. It’s just so expected that I don’t understand needing to give that context.

        Thoroughly agree with the rest of your post re: expectations, and acknowledge that what’s true in my work context is not true in all, so perhaps there are some in which the message is still really crucial.

      2. The IT Manager*

        “sent from a mobile device”

        Best alternate to the branded signatures I’ve read so far.

    3. AP*

      I took my boss’s cue and changed mine to just:

      Cell: (212) 123-1234

      That way it’s implied that this is probably coming from my phone, but gives useful information instead of just pointing out that I’m phone-typing. Of course, everyone I email has my cell # now but I’ve never minded that.

      1. Chinook*

        I like this idea of changing the signature line to include your cellphone number. Even if everyone already has your number, this makes it easier for them to call you with the message in front of them rather than having to hunt for it. (I actually had one boss who wanted me to give him his phone messages electronically with the number in the subject line so he could call them even more easily.)

    4. Liz T*

      Yeah, mine says “sent on the go.”

      But, if the email is anything important or professional, over which I took time, I definitely delete the signature. I can’t IMAGINE sending a job application with a signature that implies–as the OP says–that I’m writing it while waiting for the bus or something.

  5. Jordan*

    Re: #4, I think we’re in an interesting transitional time when it comes to using mobile devices for professional use and in the next few years, practices that people look at as rude will simply be the norm. I actually have a few thoughts on the subject:

    – When I see a business contact respond to an e-mail “sent from my iphone (or blackberry, etc),” it can be helpful as an indicator that this person is not in the office. Why hasn’t this person returned me calls today? Oh, I see he’s probably not in his office or near a computer, and I can cut him some slack.

    – Answering e-mails from one’s phone is just part of being able to do business quickly, I think, and the “sent from my phone” tag allows me to be more lenient in regards to spelling errors or exceptionally curt correspondence. I see this as the person valuing me and wanting to get me my information in a timely manner; knowing it was sent from a phone eliminates judgement on professional etiquette.

    -As for applying for jobs via e-mailing from your phone? Hm. My friends, the times they are a’changin, and while I would not feel comfortable submitting job apps from my mobile device, I can’t help but think of my friends who don’t have a personal computer, but rather only an iphone or ipad. How else are they going to apply for jobs? It seems a bit unfair to judge a person for how they submit without understanding their background. If the only way a person has internet access in their home is through the 3G on their phone, they shouldn’t be penalized. Basically, I don’t think submitting job apps via a mobile device is inherently unfocused, sloppy, or unprofessional – that user can proofread and take their time as much as anyone else. If the e-mails that come from their phone are riddled with sloppy autocorrects, textspeak, etc…..that’s a whole different story, and that isn’t the smartphone’s fault.

    Soon enough mobile devices will be the norm, not the exception, and it will be silly to think about e-mails coming from phones as unprofessional.

    1. Jack*

      I see your point, but my solution to this was… to delete the signature. Yes, it means I can’t blame autocorrect when I get something wrong, but it also means that if I don’t want someone to know I’m replying from my phone, it’s not obvious.

      1. FiveNine*

        I think that’s the right way to go, and that it’s also hilarious/alarming how many people don’t seem to realize it’s advertising and annoying. I’m frankly shocked that every computer maker hasn’t attached tags to email in response — “sent from my HP,” “sent from my Lenovo,” etc., and maybe they will. But you can see why using customers as free advertising might be a turnoff to the customers and those they interact with, especially professionally.

        1. Neeta*

          Hah! I had a colleague who got so annoyed at all the advertising, that he threatened to send his e-mails with the tagline “Sent from my toaster”.
          He didn’t, in the end, but it would’ve been funny.

          1. Anonymouse*

            One of our Battalion Chiefs (I work at a fire department) changed his to “sent from my Swingline Stapler”. Always makes me smile no matter what the email is about.

          2. Anonymous*

            I’ve seen messages that say sent from Company Model car or SUV, so it’s not just iphones.

        2. Anonymously Anonymous*

          My kindle fire has a tag line.

          I’m loving all the creative tag lines!

    2. Kara*

      I agree to some extent, and with the above comments as well. I never have a problem with seeing the taglines sent from smartphones. I don’t think it sounds pretentious at all, but I am of the generation that had iPhones in high school. To me it actually seems like, hey, this was important enough to them that they stopped what they were doing even if they weren’t at their desk to respond to me. I also agree with above posts about the taglines excusing the brevity of the message that can be misconstrued as curtness. Personally, I do the same. If it is an instance that requires a short e-mail, such as an acknowledgement of receipt or a simple direction, I have no problem using my phone to reply. If I’m going to have to type a paragraph, or it requires some thought, I’ll get to a computer before I reply.

      However, the one point I don’t agree with is that people think it excuses misspelled words/typos. If you’re going to send a professional e-mail, it should sound professional. I know people tend to type faster and use auto-correct, but if its really that short of a message you have no excuse for not reading through it once before hitting send. If you’ve ever read any of the disastrous “auto-fails,” you’ll think twice about using it in the first place, and not double checking if you do.

  6. EngineerGirl*

    #1 – There is a huge difference between hurt and harm. In this case, it is better to be hurt by honest feedback than be harmed by politeness and not knowing why you’re not getting hired. If it was very harsh it could signal a large disconnect between the OPs job skills and the expected skill sets of jobs she is applying to. Bluntly put, you don’t have the skill sets that they want. So go fix it and be better prepared next time. Or apply for lesser jobs that are closer to your true skill mix.

  7. Carrie in Scotland*

    #3 – where I work, there have been times when people who look after your children have friended parents on facebook….it isn’t pretty!
    I would never friend someone where it could potentially hurt my job/work.

    1. Marmite*

      I used to, and sometimes still do, work with groups of teenagers. They always wanted to add me on FB, and would notice and be offended if I just ignored friend requests. I set up a second FB account and gave them that to add me as a friend, it has no content beyond a profile picture so there is nothing personal there for them to see, but it allows them to post things to my wall/send me messages and I can reply if appropriate. Often times they want to ask for a reference or for school/career advice, sometimes they just want to share memories/photos from the program they participated in.

      Of course, technically, having a second account is against FB rules so it’s not ideal. It’s worked well for me though, and also come in handy for kids I used to care for as a nanny who are now teenagers and wanting to add me on FB.

      1. Soni*

        Re: #3, although the FB TOS prohibits setting up secondary accounts, people in OPs position can absolutely legitimately set up a professional FB page. I did this, and it’s where I direct all professional interest. The page doesn’t have much on it at the moment, but I do use it to occasionally post articles or comments of interest to my profession. OP could use it to post public company and trade info of interest to clients, for example – sales, new products, new policies, harmless trade gossip, etc. This not only allows clients to connect and feel more strongly bonded to the company (which increases client retention), it gives OP a great way to get that info to clients who may not, for example, subscribe to trade magazines or read the company’s news page.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’ll be doing this if I ever get a book published. That way people who are leery of following my blog via email can still use Facebook to keep up on news, etc.

      1. KJ*

        I sent in this question. He decided to go ahead and accept the friend request. We’ve only had this happen once, so decided that decisions can be made on a case-by-case basis.

    2. Foam chick*

      We have an inside sales rep at work who will friend EVERYONE… Which turned into PMs, then texts on personal phone, correspondence through personal email, evening cell phone conversations at home with customers… In her case, she doesn’t understand limits and boundaries. Still freaks me out that her overly-involved, too personal attidute will damage relationships with some big customers some day, but management appears to be fine with the situation, so what do I know…

      1. Anonymous*

        I don’t understand why some people need to look up everyone from four corners of the earth–‘you sat across from me on the train ride to the city on a rainy Wednesday’ lets be facebook friends.. I.just.don’t.get.it.

  8. Kate*

    #7 – my guess is that their intended meaning might have been that the OP held the necessary qualifications for the role, but other candidates were more competitive.

    1. Sourire*

      I agree. Or perhaps because they had so many applications with similar qualifications they decided to take some arbitrary qualifier (like a masters degree vs a bachelors, or 10 years experience or more only) and throw out all others, which is annoying but understandable.

      How sad is it that my initial thought was, “Well, at least they got back to you about not moving forward”. It’s such a rare thing these days, that we are put in the odd position of being grateful for feedback, even when it’s bad news or oddly worded.

    2. Jazzy Red*

      I disagree. My company, for example, will only look at the first 20 applications for an advertised job posting. Really. It makes absolutely no sense, but the head of HR (who is the brother of the president) had peculiar ideas. He has recently retired, so hopefully that stupid policy will change.

      1. AP*

        That is one of the crazier things I’ve heard here! 20? That’s like the first hour of something being posted…

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, and not only that but it’s usually an unusually UNqualified pool, because it’s the people who are resume-bombing and applying to everything. The more qualified, more selective candidates generally come much later.

          1. AP*

            Exactly, most better candidates aren’t sitting around refreshing job sites every five minutes.

            1. JM in England*

              But what if your best candidate turns out to be application number 21? LOL

        2. Chinook*

          First 20 is not as crazy as the principal who told me he once has so many applications (back in the day of paper applications) that he put them in a giant box and randomly picked 20 from the pile like a raffle ticket.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            Actually, that is better, if you take into account the AAM contention that the more qualified applicants spend more time and thus are not the first to apply. By picking 20 out randomly you at least have a slight chance of getting one of the qualified applicants in your stack.

      2. PEBCAK*

        When I’m reviewing resumes, I can typically get through the first sort (getting rid of the “not a chance”ers) of about 100 in less than half an hour. If I’m lucky, I have 10 left, sometimes I have 5.

  9. Katie*

    2. I have to disagree with Alison’s characterization of a ‘mere’ 5 days of vacation. That’s a whole week! A minor quibble.

      1. The IT Manager*

        Or the employee already gets 30 days so 5 days of that is merely 16%.

        I agree with the thought that if they already give 30 days, they’re unlikely to be petty about or trying to cheat an employee out of about an additional 5. They’re already very generous to a brand new employee. (If they were only offering 5 or 10 then “cheating” would seem more likely.)

        1. Anonymous*

          Just to clarify, in my experience in healthcare, PTO is used for holidays, vacation, sick time, doctor’s appointments, etc. So for example, when a department or office is closed for a holiday, such as Thanksgiving Day, and you want to get paid for that holiday, you need to use a day of PTO. It’s flexible for the healthcare system and the majority of employees, who tend to be care providers such as nurses.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes, that refers to the employer’s perspective, not the employee’s. My point is that it’s unlikely they’re trying to cheat her out of something small (to them) that they’re already set up to give to others.

  10. Jazzy Red*

    Yeah. I’m sick today and I debated for more than a half hour about taking the day off. We have PTO that we use for everything, so I’m wasting a vacation day, but at least I’m getting paid for it.

    5 vacation days one way or the other is a big deal to most of us wage-slaves who work in more traditionally run offices. Especially if you’re on the bottom tier.

  11. BCW*

    #4 As much as I often disagree with people on here, I have to say I always find it interesting to see what people thing is rude/unprofessional.

    I look at the “sent from my iphone” thing as basically just white noise. Its there, but I don’t really notice it. And if I do notice it, why would it bother me. I’m shocked that people find this rude.

    As someone mentioned, we are in an interesting transitional time. I mean really, if you get the information you need, why does it matter the device it came from? Lets be real, some people (usually younger) and just as good, if not better, at typing on a smartphone than using an actual computer. So if there aren’t any typos, what does it matter that the “Sent from iphone” tag is there? Also, I have a work lap top now that I use for just about everything. But, when I leave this job, if my next place doesn’t give me a new one, I’ll probably just get an iPad or some other tablet. I’d be very upset if I found out I was being judged harshly because I was sending out professional things on this document.

    And yes, I get that you can just delete it, but I guess I just don’t get why its an issue at all. I see people with quotes, bible verses, all types of things in their signature, and I just ignore it

    1. The IT Manager*

      At the beginning of the smart phone phase, it seemed pretentious to me. “I’m important enough to have a BB” or “I sprung for an iPhone”. Now it is white noise because its so common.

      1. fposte*

        It bugs me a little because it’s not so much white noise as clutter to me, and since I’m usually seeing it in a response to my email it’s clutter that’s making me scroll down farther in order to figure out what the heck it’s in response to. But then I’m very fussy about my first-screen real estate.

      2. EngineerGirl*

        This deeply bothers me. Why should you take offense from a statement of fact? If you are having problems with it then it signals that **you** are the one having problems with pretentiousness not the other person. Ascribing motives to something so simple rings of insecurity. Just ignore it.

        1. fposte*

          “I make $1 million annually” is a statement of fact, but I’m going to judge anyone that includes it in their social introductions.

          1. Jamie*

            I am in the wrong line of work. (and am furiously crafting an email to fposte to see if she has any openings …)

            1. fposte*

              Heh. If it were my statement of fact, that would explain a lot about Illinois’ budget situation.

          2. BCW*

            But again, those people aren’t saying it to you. A device’s default settings are conveying that information.

    2. MovingRightAlong*

      I wouldn’t describe it as rude or offensive or what not, but in the context of a job application, there’s nothing wrong with judging someone on the tidiness of their presentation. I agree with fposte, the “sent” tagline is just clutter and I don’t want to see clutter on a cover letter or a resume. If you can overlook an obvious detail like that, what else might you forget to do as my employee? Would it knock you out of the running? No, but it’s a simple thing to remove as in issue entirely. Waking up with a bird’s nest for hair is my default setting in the morning, but you can bet I brush it before going to an interview.

      As for your post about advertising on clothing, I completely agree that judging a candidate based on brand preference rather than qualifications is ridiculous. Most professional clothing, however, doesn’t have a logo on it. I’ve certainly seen a few examples, but they are very much the exception, not the rule. And if someone shows up to an interview wearing a t-shirt with a logo, I wouldn’t have time to question her taste in brand names because she’d already be disqualified for wearing a t-shirt to an interview. My point here isn’t really about logos in job interview, just that it doesn’t work as an analogy.

      Handbags are a better example when it comes to advertisements, but it still doesn’t make sense to me as a direct comparison unless someone sends me their handbag to read.

  12. VictoriaHR*

    #1 – if the email was really negative and he’s never even met you – consider it a bullet dodged. There’s no reason to disrespect job candidates, even if they aren’t selected to move forward and even if they aren’t aware that they’re being disrespected.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The OP sent me the email but asked me not to print it word for word. It was a blunt take on her experience and coursework, but not disrespectful. I actually would have appreciated hearing it, as a candidate!

      1. Brightwanderer*

        I don’t know, it’s the context that makes it seem more disrespectful to me. I mean, this guy wasn’t the hiring manager or anything – OP’s boyfriend reaches out to him, he responds favourably, and then goes out of his way to damage her candidacy. He could have told the boyfriend directly, or emailed the OP directly without copying anyone else in to let her know he didn’t think she was suitable. Or he could have told the boyfriend he wasn’t willing to get involved.

        (Don’t get me wrong, obviously he needs to do what’s right for the company and if she’s not a good fit, she’s not – it just rubs me the wrong way that he handled it like that, and I think I’d be more bothered by that part than the actual blunt feedback – which as you say, can be really useful.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I don’t think it’s about going out of his way to damage her candidacy, but rather giving his opinion on a candidate, which might be entirely appropriate for a role. I can definitely see telling someone “sure, I’d be glad to pass her resume along,” and then once I took at a look at it, feeling obligated to pass along my assessment (internally) as well.

  13. B*

    1 – Let it go as an error. While unfortunate, you got some good honest feedback. I think that is much better than wasting your time being called in for a courtesy interview with no shot of getting it.

    2. – While you may manage people and work for a boss with the hospital you are a subsidiary so that’s probably why they are treating you differently. I agree though to try and push back.

    3. – I tell people my FB is purely for personal use and I do not like combining personal and professional. Everyone is fine with that because I truly stick to it. I will not friend anyone I work with, even if we hang out afterwards because if you do it to one you have to do it for all.

    4. – This does not bother me. While I will not send an application or follow-up or thank you via my phone I will write back to make an interview appointment on it. I would think people realize sometimes you can just not use a company’s computer for your personal email. Or your lunch time is the only time for you to check and respond.

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Regarding #4, one could still change the signature so it doesn’t read that way. I don’t care what device an email was sent from; that also means that I don’t want to know, and keeping a default signature that is essentially an advertisement for a phone company seems kind of lazy for applicant correspondence (I don’t care as much once one is actually working for a company, but I feel that this is one of those categories where an applicant is expected to be going above and beyond).

  14. Susan*

    You know what would be a more useful signature line on an iphone email than ‘Sent from my [gadget]’? THE PHONE NUMBER. Then if the only response I get all day from someone I really need information from is a one-word email that tells me nothing except that they are too technologically challenged to scroll down to the rest of my email, I can call them on their [gadget] instead.

    1. BCW*

      I reply to work emails from my personal cell phone at times, but that doesn’t mean I want people calling my cell phone.

      1. Cat*

        Seriously, I actually go to some lengths to make sure that not every single person I e-mail for work has my cell phone number.

      2. Chinook*

        If you don’t want them to have your cell number, then you can use you office number in the tag line. The point is that having the number easily available can be quite useful to the recipient.

        1. Cat*

          That doesn’t serve the purpose of letting people know you’re not at your desk though; it might be usef in addition but isn’t a substitute.

        2. The Snarky B*

          Right, but then it negates the idea of them being able to get at you right away. If you’re away from your desk and they want to call you, too bad – because your office phone is on your desk.

    2. RLS*

      +1! I keep thinking: “Brevity and typos? Isn’t that the same as a text message?!”

      However, the purpose of email is that it would presumably be on the company’s network, everyone can see it, retrace it, etc etc. It’s harder to track down text messages.

      1. Jamie*

        Actually good point – and I don’t like work texting unless necessary when the server is down or whatever. But there are some emails that are like texts when you’re just sending out a quick message.

        But then you have the time stamp and the record and all that…

        I guess the point is not all professional correspondence is PROFESSIONAL CORRESPONDENCE (read the italicized in the voice of James Earl Jones.

        For the record I do spell out each word when I text – drives my kids crazy.

  15. Wilton Businessman*

    #2. Got to disagree with AAM here. It’s a different company. They may have the same rules, but if you switched from IBM to GE you wouldn’t expect to carry your years of service, would you? Sounds like you should have negotiated (or at least clarified) on the way in.

    #7. It means they got too many good resumes for the position and they’re not looking at yours. You’re being rejected on sheer volume. I wouldn’t hesitate applying in the future.

    1. Jamie*

      Different company with the same managers though – I can see where lines are blurred.

      And yes, should have been negotiated going in – but I can see how it could be assumed. I’m just paranoid enough not to assume anything ever.

  16. Wilton Businessman*

    #4. My friend has the best line:
    “Pleze excuze tipos, cent from my mobil devise.”

    1. Liza*

      I use “Sent from my phone. Please excuse any tyops or unusual architects [autocorrects].”

  17. Ann Onymous*

    #6–What would you think if your supervisor and co-worker were the ones who hogged all the time around a holiday?
    Just found out my co-worker asked for the first three days of July, and my boss has the entire next week booked. So much for my being able to use the 4th of July holiday for an extended weekend.
    Two of us must be here at the same time, and there are only three of us.
    This kind of annoys me, esp. since the boss kept asking me to let him know when I wanted time off. I feel like, “Thanks for booking the choice times and then asking me what *I* wanted to do.”

    1. Jamie*

      In places where there needs to be coverage I think the lottery system is nice for those prized vacation days. Because yes, otherwise you’ll have early birds snatching them every time or supervisors, whatever.

      I know people like those days off – but I would like to make a case for how awesome it is for working on days when almost everyone is off. Especially around the holidays because customers are running on a skeleton crew also so it’s an amazing time to get caught up on everything you fall behind on because of constant interruptions – and then you can take a nice peaceful day off when the office is in full swing.

      I know that for some people who travel or have family obligations that is more important – but I love the empty office days, myself.

      1. Sourire*

        Agree entirely with Jamie’s post. I like the lottery system or a system where you can only have a certain amount of holidays on. So lets say if you work Thanksgiving, you will not be assigned Christmas.

        Ann Onymous – To be fair, it is June 4th. If it was really important for you to have the time, I probably would have asked a lot sooner. That said, valuable lesson learned and you should definitely get on booking up those later in the year holidays.

      2. LCL*

        Lottery system? Please no.
        What Alison said, ask your management for the policy.
        Hopefully the policy is sensible, with unbreakable rules the same for everyone. Ours is. If you want more details on how to run a vacation policy let me know.

      3. Jessa*

        I used to work for some pretty big call centres and the rule was you could have ONE but not all of them. So if you want New Years you can’t have 4th July or Thanksgiving or Christmas, unless everyone else has a chance first. Which basically meant that after everyone submitted if there was time left someone who already got a holiday could get another. It also stacked, so if you got two, you went behind anyone who only had one, etc.

        I don’t like lotteries particularly if there are more people than there are slots off in the first place.

        I am, however also a firm believer in you fill the schedule with volunteers on holidays FIRST. But in a small office, it should be decided amongst everyone FAIRLY that everyone gets a day.

        1. Lynn*

          Yes to the volunteers first. I used to work in a department which had a rule that we couldn’t all be on vacation at the same time. I like to go skiing with my family in early to mid December, and don’t really mind working the unpopular week between Christmas and New Year’s. So I always volunteered for the unpopular week. It would have been dumb to do it by lottery when I was happy to come in and everyone else REALLY didn’t want to.

      4. KellyK*

        Yeah, a lottery system is a good way to do it fairly. That or some form of turn-taking where if you have to work Christmas *this* year, you won’t have to work it next year. (Unfortunately, turn-taking only works if you need half your staff or fewer on those holidays.)

        1. Jamie*

          The turn taking is fair too, I just don’t know the logistics of how you work new people into the rotation.

  18. Beth*

    #4 – My pet peeve is the line “Sent from my iphone. Please excuse any errors.

    NO! I don’t care where it is sent from. If you are sending a work related message, you should check it carefully so that it is error free.

    1. KayDay*

      I don’t think it’s realistic to expect people to always carefully double check everything, especially when urgency is required for your job. If I need authorization to do something urgently, I would rather receive a quick “ok goo a bed” or “no, ill be in teh off nice in 20 mini nuts to talk a bot this” instead of waiting for a more careful response.

      But yes, in more formal situations one should definitely carefully proof read.

      1. Wilton Businessman*

        I think HR needs to be involved if somebody sends you the message “ok goo a bed”, but that’s just me.

        1. KayDay*

          hahahahaha…yea, on second read, I guess that might not be appropriate for a work email.

      2. Jessa*

        I think it’s far more vital to be absolutely correct if urgency is required for your job. If you can’t take 10 seconds to re read a text or an email, you need to have a body on site all the time to deal with whatever the issues are. Even in the medical field where there is actual genuine people could die urgency, accuracy is CRITICAL. Most fields that require that kind of “respond in 3 seconds” kind of accuracy have other procedures in place and an messed up response could hurt someone.

        The more urgent the communication the more accurate it should be.

        1. Lynn*

          This depends so much on context, and what you mean by “accurate”. If “inaccurate” means typing $50000 instead of $500, then yes, I would agree that accuracy is crucial, and more so when it’s urgent and there won’t be time to double-check.

          But if “accurate” means “free of trivial typos”, then I think the importance of accuracy actually goes down as urgency goes up. I am remembering scenarios where ten of us flew across the country to do stuff at a customer site, got stuck, and were locked in an expensive staring contest with the customer until we got *something* from the Big Boss indicating whether we should implement X or Y. Much better to get a quick “Implemment X. ” than for all of us to twiddle our thumbs all day until he could get to a real computer and type up a multi-paragraph explanation of why X is the preferred choice.

  19. Nancie*

    #4. How about changing the signature to read “Sent from a microscopic keyboard on a device with auto-incorrect.”

  20. Elizabeth West*


    Nope, my FB page is purely personal. I don’t usually friend coworkers/vendors unless I don’t work there anymore (or they don’t). Clients are a big NO. Usually, I just say, “Yes, but I prefer to keep it for personal use only.”

    #4–sent from phone

    I probably wouldn’t do that sort of correspondence on my phone; it just doesn’t have the word processing capabilities that my computer does, and the screen is too small to spot errors easily. I also like to save important messages to a file for future, offline reference. I don’t think the tag itself is unprofessional for business emails like quick replies, etc, since many people travel for work or use their phones to stay caught up when they’re away from their desks.

  21. BCW*

    So for all the people who are bothered by a “default setting” that says “Sent from my iPod/Blackberry/whatever” because its an advertisement. This is what I equate it to. Is it fair to judge a woman walking in with a purse with the logo right on it because you don’t like the brand? Or a guy with a shirt with a brand logo on it? If you say no, I don’t see what the difference is. It doesn’t have any impact on what the person is saying or doing, and how professional they are. Its just that its not your preference to see that information. I think its pretty similar. Just as someone can make the effort to change their settings, someone can make the effort to get clothing or accessories without logos, but either way, shouldn’t we pay attention to the person or the content and not the brand or logo?

    1. fposte*

      No, that would be equivalent to disliking someone for *having* an iPhone.

      This is basic phone stuff. It’s typing into the phone to make it read something. Unless you don’t store any contacts or other information, including your own name and number, in your phone, it’s SOP. Unpicking a logo on clothing is not SOP.

      We’re mostly not even saying we dislike people for including this message. We’re just talking about how it reads when people who have a choice leave this communication in there.

  22. MovingRightAlong*

    Responding without reading all the comments yet, so I apologize if some of these points have already been covered.

    #1 I would also assume it was sent in error, but since both the recruiter and contact are likely to realize at some point that the candidate received the e-mail, wouldn’t it be weirder not to respond? It’s less like being a fly on the wall than it is like walking into a room as someone is putting you down. Do you really just pretend it never happened? Not that I’d recommend following up with nastiness of your own, but possibly a response along the lines of “I appreciate your candid feedback” is in order.

    #3 The risk of alienating someone who does notice that the friend invite was never accepted doesn’t seem worth it when the employee can just politely decline in the first place. I would offer a polite excuse to head off the invitation in the first place (“Oh how sweet, you know I think I still have my account, but the best way to keep in touch with me is through [insert appropriate form of contact].”) And of course, make sure everything on your account is Friends Only.

    #4 The acknowledgement that the message was sent from a phone isn’t what bothers me, it’s the feeling that I’m getting an advertisement along with it. Although, I think I’d be put off by seeing even a generic message on a formal application e-mail. It’s like they forgot to tuck in their shirt or something.

    #7 What terrible wording. It’s the sort of message that might have been written with the best of intentions (“It’s not you, it’s me!”), but still manages to be insulting.

  23. Cassie*

    I don’t use my phone’s default “Sent from my [branded smartphone] – I thought about leaving it as is but I guess I don’t want people to know which smartphone I have. Odd, but that’s what I was debating in my head!

    My boss has an iPhone – he doesn’t have the default signature, but he will sign his emails with “Boss from London” or wherever in the world he happens to be at the time. He’s not trying to brag about his around-the-world travels; I think he picked it up so people will know that he’s traveling and his responses may be delayed.

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