ex-husband is lying on LinkedIn, interviewer said I’m lazy, and more

It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Should I say something to my ex-husband about his false LinkedIn profile?

Long story not so long, my ex-husband (with whom I have a cordial relationship and also two sons) was RIF’d a couple of weeks ago due to a merger. For some reason, he’s created a second Linked In account and connected to me with the new one (in addition to already being connected on the old account). I clicked through, wondering if he’d created a new accound and immediately noticed that he’s listed a degree he does not have from a university he did attend for a few years. I know 100% for a fact he didn’t get that degree (he did go on and complete a degree elsewhere and that is also listed on this new account).

Normally I’m a mind your own business person on things like this but (a) he’s technology-challenged, and more importantly (b) he’s the father of my sons and when bad things happen to him, whether self inflicted or not, it’s hard on them. So the question is this: do I say something to the ex about getting that lie off his LinkedIn profile or do I continue to mind my own business?

If you have a friendly relationship with him, I don’t see anything wrong with saying something — as long as you frame it as something you’re assuming he did by mistake, rather than assuming that he’s intentionally lying. For instance, “Hey, what’s the story with your second LinkedIn profile? And did you notice you accidentally put that you had a degree from Yale?”

But if the relationship isn’t warm, you risk seeming like you’re just hassling him, in which case it’s not worth it and I’d let it go. As far as a potential impact on his kids, the much bigger problem would be if he’s lying on his resume (since there’s it’s clearly deliberate, whereas on LinkedIn it could be user error) — and that’s something you can’t/won’t really be able to know.

2. Interviewer suggested I was lazy for not looking for jobs outside the company

I recently attended an internal interview at the company I work for. Although the interview went well initially, I was asked a very strange question halfway through. When he had established that I have extensive and varied experience, the interviewer asked me if I had looked outside the company for a new role. When I answered that I hadn’t, he asked me, “Do you not think that’s a bit lazy?”

I am frankly shocked that he asked me that. I would have thought that an employee who stayed with a company for several years would be considered loyal, not lazy.

This guy sounds like a jackass. If he’d be your manager if you got the job, I’d be very wary — he just told you something very revealing about how he thinks of employees.

3. Explaining why I’m looking for a new job after four months

I recently took a job simply because I didn’t have one. I’ve been there about 4 months and I don’t hate the work, but the salary is so low that I am barely covering my bills and I rarely leave my apartment because I am so in the red. I have been applying to jobs and have set up a few interviews. I am asked on almost every interview why I am leaving my current job. I have tried “I am looking for new challenges,” but I am usually met with a “But you’ve only been there a couple months” response. How should I go about explaining myself to a potential employer? Is it okay to tell them I don’t make enough money?

Yeah, think about that answer from an employer’s perspective: Someone who’s looking for new challenges after four months is someone pretty damn flighty. If employers believe you, it’s usually going to be a deal-breaker. If they don’t believe you (and instead think you’re covering up the real story), you’ll look naive for thinking that answer wouldn’t be a huge concern for them.

There isn’t really a good answer here, because the fact is that you accepted your current salary — and most employers will think that you shouldn’t have done that if you were just going to keep looking (unless the job is a minimum wage type job, in which case most people will find it reasonable). You’re probably better off leaving this job off your resume while you’re looking, since you haven’t been there long enough for it to help you and it’s going to keep raising red flags.

4. Do I still have a job?

I have had a part-time job since 2011 at a radio station I really love to work at. At the time of my hiring, I was a high school senior, so the few hours I worked was fine by me, mostly during high school football season, and maybe a few games in the basketball season. However, late last year, I’ve started to lose hours because the station was downsizing and shifting the employees around. I hadn’t received a “you’re fired” or “We have to let you go” (the former is least likely since I was always being told how well I was doing) type of statement, but I haven’t had any hours since November/December.

The job already had rather irregular hours, but when I was needed, it was always until about January before my hours dwindled. Now it’s September, when I’ve usually been working since August, and I haven’t had any hours, but still considered (I think) an employee. To keep myself busy, I’ve asked my supervisor at the local library if I could volunteer more hours there (I’d been there since 2009.)

I’ve been looking for other work, and keeping busy already, but should I leave my current job despite all advice against looking for work while not employed?

Why not ask them what’s going on? Frankly, I’d consider you “not employed” in the most literal sense, since you expected to receive hours starting in August (it sounds like) and haven’t, but that doesn’t mean those hours aren’t coming — but you certainly can’t count on them. Talk to them and ask them directly if you should expect hours, and if so, when you should start seeing them. Then make your decisions from there.

5. School wants me to teach for longer each week, without extra pay

I have been working as an adjunct instructor at a small technical college for five years. In addition to my regular classes teaching microbiology, pathology, and psychology, I have (on very short notice) taken classes because other instructors quit before the first day of class; I have taken a class during mid-semester because the instructor was hospitalized; and I am ahead of my faculty file; everything from continuing education to required webinars etc. is in order, to date, filed. I am rated every semester (observed by my superior) and receive the highest grades in every field. My students’ evaluations are among the highest of all instructors. In five years, I missed one day of work. I love my job.

About six months ago, they told me that my microbiology class will change to a higher level, from a 200 class to a 300 class with more prerequisites. No problem. However, the class will be held 45 minutes longer each meeting time, so twice a week, meaning 90 minutes of extra work. The problem: They want to pay me the same amount I get paid now. What is your take on that?

My take on that is that it’s time for you to negotiate for a higher rate. Don’t assume that you’ll be offered more when you deserve it; in many workplaces, the onus is on you to raise the issue and negotiate for what you want. (No surprise that you’re a woman, by the way — women negotiate far less often than men do.) It’s time to tell them that you believe the extra work is worth more. (With the caveat that adjunct are notoriously underpaid.)

6. Asking employer to pay for your desk and chair when you work from home

In work from home situations, do you think it is reasonable for the company to cover expenses related to the work-from-home setup, including office furniture? I recently started with a small, but growing, company and it is a 100% work from home gig. I already had internet access at home, so the company just had to cover my work laptop. We’re transitioning between selling a home and moving into a new home (in an apartment while we build), so there were no other office set-up expenses initially. Now that we’re getting settled in the new home, I think it is worth asking my employer to cover expenses related to a desk and office chair. (I’ve been using a chair from our dining table set, since space was limited in the temporary apartment.) My husband thought that was a little unreasonable to ask, but said I knew my company best and left it up to me. I think the company has a pretty sweet deal already with not having any overhead for employee workspace – no rent, utilities, etc. So covering a few hundred dollars on some office furniture would be perfectly reasonable. Additionally, the way I asked was to say “would you consider covering…” and “what we’re looking at is $XX. If you would be willing to cover a portion, we would certainly cover the difference” giving my employer plenty of options to say no, we’re not covering that, yes, we’ll cover X amount or yes, we’ll cover everything.

What do you think – reasonable or not?

It’s fine to ask, but whether they’ll approve it or not depends on your company. You have to know the culture there. In many nonprofits, this wouldn’t fly — the assumption is that you’re benefitting in lots of ways by getting to work from home and that you get that they have limited resources. In plenty of other organizations, though, no one would bat an eye at this. So you really need to know your employer. But if you’re going to ask, the way you worded it is fine.

7. Is there a French or British Ask a Manager?

I’m a recent graduate of an American college and grew up in the U.S. I also moved to France three weeks ago because I have always wanted to live here for a few years. I have dual-citizenship and no visa issues, but I am having trouble trying to get my first professional job (but not my first job ever! I’ve had about five). Part of the problem is that I’m worried my cover letters are too informal. I know that both France and the U.K. expect a more formal tone, and that makes me worried that conventions that are outdated in the US (“dear sir or madam…”) are still the best way to go here.

I know that you specialize in the U.S., but do you know of a blog or ebook comparable to yours, but meant for job-seekers in France or the U.K.?

I don’t, but I’m throwing this out there in case readers do.

{ 147 comments… read them below }

  1. Rana

    #5 – Definitely ask them about upping the rate… but also be prepared for them to say no. One of the shitty things about adjunct work is that the amount of work that goes into a course – in class or prep time – is rarely taken into account; you’re typically paid per course, or per credit hour, and a shift from a 200 to 300 level class isn’t going to change either, in my experience. Worse, they may assume that they are doing you a favor by offering you the chance to teach a more advanced course, on the assumption that it’s more interesting than teaching a basic survey.

    Good luck!

    1. Rana

      Also, your willingness to take over classes at the last minute should give you a bit of leverage, as this establishes you as a team player. I wouldn’t oversell that (because they frequently expect that sort of stepping up as a matter of course) but it does count in your favor.

    2. MentalEngineer

      An extra 45 minutes of class per week sounds like an increase in credit-hours (e.g. from 3 to 4) to me, since credit hours *usually* map to classroom hours. If so, OP has an even stronger case in asking for more money.

      1. College Career Counselor

        Normally, I’d agree with ME, but from what I’ve seen of the adjunct world, it’s an employer’s market. They figure you’re *grateful* to have the gig, so you’ll do extra (and they’re getting a bargain–last-minute coverage, with no extra outlay). Doesn’t hurt (for now) to ask about re-negotiating the rate. But unfortunately, it could mean that you get passed over for getting these classes in the future in favor of someone who’s less liable to rock the boat.

      2. Jessa

        I was going to say what MentalEngineer said, you might be able to parse it like that because to me that is more credit hours. I mean another 45 mins sounds like it COULD be. I’d look up how many credit hours the students are paying for the higher level course.

    3. Brett

      The school I adjunct teach at pays based on enrollment, so normally teaching a 300 course pays less than teaching a 200 course.

      1. Elizabeth West

        Gah, that might be something to consider also.

        Off-topic, but the courses you teach sound really cool, OP. I wish I could do math; I wanted to be a forensic pathologist and would have taken all that stuff. It’s simply fascinating.

      2. A Teacher

        and for us its the number of credit hours; your terminal degree; and the number of semesters you have taught for the college. Doesn’t matter if its a 100, 200, or 300.

      3. Liz in a library

        When I adjuncted at a small for-profit there was a base pay per course that was completely non-negotiable and only varied by the department offering the course. As you might imagine, my literature courses paid significantly less well than did the nursing classes.

        I don’t think this is necessarily indicative of every adjunct position, but I do think it is harder to negotiate than in the non-adjunct working world, particularly in an area with a glut of unemployed PhDs.

    4. Brton3

      Sigh. Given the state of the adjunct job market, I think if the writer tries to negotiate her pay, she will find her contract un-renewed next semester.

  2. claire

    (No surprise that you’re a woman, by the way — women negotiate far less often than men do.)
    This isn’t a logical statement. Lets look at some math to show why.

    The statement “women negotiate far less often than men do” is saying that;

    W – Women
    ~W – Men
    N – negotiation.
    So we have the following facts
    P(W) = P(~W) = .5 (women and ‘not women’ are equally probable)
    P(N|W) < P(N|~W).
    However here we are asking a different question:
    P(W|N)

    Bays theorem gives us the ability to turn P(N|W) into P(W|N)
    which is
    P(W|N) = P(N|W)P(W)/P(N) = P(N|W) * .5 / P(N).
    Since we don't know the values of P(N|W) and P(N) we actually have no idea which is more likely: women or men.

    This math is hard to intuit and unless you have a lot of training and practice it is easy to make these mistakes.

    1. claire

      and even I made a mistake. We were actually looking for P(W|~N) but this doesn’t change my point. The statement attempts an inference in the wrong direction. It requires bays theorem and additional information to be able to make that assertion.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’m not going to pretend to understand what you’ve written above, especially since it’s 1 a.m. here, but there are myriad studies showing that women negotiate far less often than men do.

      1. claire

        I am saying that the statement
        “Women negotiate less often than men do” does not mean the same thing as “If someone didn’t negotiate they are more likely to be a woman”.

        The latter statement requires more data than is made by the initial assertion.

        1. Josh S

          You’re absolutely correct, but it *is* a rather nitpicky thing to bring up. Sure, confirmation bias is everywhere, but a bit of hyperbole to encourage more women to negotiate is not unwarranted…

        2. badger_doc

          I’m sure AAM gathered from the person’s name or email (which have been omitted) that the OP is a woman.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Yes. I didn’t say that I bet she was a woman. I knew she was a woman from her email. And it didn’t surprise me that she wasn’t negotiating for herself, since so many women don’t.

            I get Claire’s point, but I think it’s misapplied here.

      2. EngineerGirl

        That’s because they are almost always offered less initially. In general (even in the sciences) a women with the exact same skill set with a man will be viewed as less competent than a man. So even if women negotiated x percent more they would end up with less. In order to end up the same as men most women have to negotiate harder.

      3. MousyNon

        Yep, men are four times as likely to negotiate than women, and women that negotiate face a penalty 5.5 times higher than men that negotiate. So we don’t negotiate as often, and when we do negotiate we’re 5.5 times as likely to be seen negatively for it. YAY CATCH 22’s!

        But sure, logic theorems are a WAY more interesting discussion…

        1. Ann O'Nemity

          Thank you for mentioning this part. Negotiating is riskier for women. Those who negotiate are often seen as aggressive, pushy, unpleasant, or just unlikable – by *both* men and women. That initial impression can certainly have negative career consequences. And it’s also more likely that an offer will be pulled if the negotiating applicant is a woman. Sure, there’s an economic rationale to negotiating, but that needs to be weighed against the potential risks – risks that are certainly biased against women.

    3. Clever Name

      This is exactly like having a discussion with my sister after she had completed exactly one semester of college philosophy. It’s nice you’re attempting to apply logic problem-solving (and forgive me; I can’t recall the name of this technique) to real-world issues. One can’t apply a simple equation to an intractable social issue like the wage gap.

      1. Josh S

        She’s not applying a simple equation to the intractable social issue of the wage gap. She’s identifying a (small) logical fallacy in what AAM said.

        In short, just because women are less likely to negotiate salary than men are, does NOT necessarily mean that if Some_Person did not negotiate salary that they are very likely to be a woman. That likelihood is dependent on both the OVERALL likelihood that someone negotiates, PLUS the difference between the rates at which men and women negotiate.

        If men negotiate salary 20% of the time and women negotiate salary 15% of the time (25% less!), that means that some 82.5% of people do NOT negotiate salary. The fact that the OP did not negotiate salary would indicate that she is in the majority, NOT that she is a woman. Saying that “it’s no surprise you’re a woman” is confirmation bias, rather than statistical truth.

        It’s a much different statement than if you said the same thing when men negotiate salary 95% of the time and women only negotiate 5% of the time. Claire is saying that without knowing those rates of negotiation, we can’t jump to the conclusion of “it’s no surprise you’re a woman.”

        It’s a rather nitpicky thing, but Claire is technically correct.

        1. Anonymous

          “In short, just because women are less likely to negotiate salary than men are, does NOT necessarily mean that if Some_Person did not negotiate salary that they are very likely to be a woman.”

          Actually, it does, because the rates of “women” and “men” are the same. usually, you are right, but not if P(A) and P(B) are the same.

        2. Cat

          I’m not even sure that’s particularly nitpicky, though I think it would have served her to explain it the way you did.

        3. Kou

          But Alison wasn’t assuming the writer must be a woman from the letter, she knew it from the name when the question was sent.

          1. Elaine

            Yes, Alison almost always alerts the reader when she is making an assumption based on incomplete information. Here, she *knew* the reader’s gender.

    4. Anonymous

      P(W|~N) = P(~N|W) * .5 / P(~N).
      P(~W|~N) = P(~N|~W) * .5 / P(~N).

      We know the first is smaller because we know P(~N|W) < P(~N|~W) and the rest of the equation is the same.

      1. Anonymous

        Ergh, P(~N|W) > P(~N|~W) (women negotiate less than men). Since we are talking about numbers <1 here, though, that means that the first term is bigger than the second.

      2. Anonymous

        Okay, and now disregard my later comment.

        basically, what we want to find out is whether P(W|~N) >==< P(~N|~W) * .5 / P(~N) when you break it down.

        Which only depends on whether P(~N|W) (we know someone didn't negotiate when we already knew that someone is a woman) is bigger or smaller than (we know someone didn't negotiate when we already knew that someone is a man). And that's actually something we know – it's bigger. So the probability of P(W|~N) (the someone we know who didn't negotiate is a woman) is higher than P(~W|~N) (the someone we know who didn't negotiate is a man).

        1. Anonymous

          And now I messed up because of the tags. It#s too early in the morning for this.

          basically, what we want to find out is whether P(W|~N) [is smaller, equal or larger] P(~N|~W)

          Which boils down to

          P(~N|W) * .5 / P(~N) [is smaller, equal or larger] P(~N|~W) * .5 / P(~N).

          Which only depends on whether P(~N|W) (we know someone didn’t negotiate when we already knew that someone is a woman) is bigger or smaller than (we know someone didn’t negotiate when we already knew that someone is a man). And that’s actually something we know – it’s bigger. So the probability of P(W|~N) (the someone we know who didn’t negotiate is a woman) is higher than P(~W|~N) (the someone we know who didn’t negotiate is a man).

    5. MentalEngineer

      Reason #96816 why this philosophy grad student prefers modal and multivalued logics to fuzzy and Bayesian stuff. Especially at 2 a.m.

    6. Anne

      Claire, I’m a huge pedant with a philosophy degree, and even I think it’s weird and nitpicky to bring Bayes Theorem into a comments thread in order to show the thinking behind pedantry. :P

        1. Tina

          My take on the question was that somewhere in the original letter to Alison (but not the posted version), the OP indicated she was a woman, hence Alison’s response about not being surprised because fewer women negotiate. I didn’t take it to mean that Alison was saying “you’re hesitant to negotiate, so you must be a woman.”

          But who knows, cause all these theorems and equations have turned my head upside down lol.

        2. Loose Seal

          It’s cool when Nate Silver does it because one goes to his website to read just that. It’s not so much fun over here.

    7. MousyNon

      Always helpful to be reminded of why I dumped philosophy as a second major in favor of econ and statistics (hint: it was all of the insufferable students patting themselves on the back for reducing complex sociopolitical discussions into inscrutable theorems).

        1. MousyNon

          I imagine some do, though my studies focused on a multifaceted approach to complicated problems, and not once were those problems ever reduced to a twenty-five line logical exercise on what is a fundamental nit-pick about a much bigger, much more pervasive problem.

          I did go to public school, however, so maybe my studies were atypical.

          1. Cat

            Yes, but your studies were probably also not blog comments, so I’m not sure it’s particularly applicable.

              1. Kou

                What’s cool about stats is that you *could* study blog comments and publish it and people would still take it seriously.

      1. Broke Philosopher

        I actually noticed that the truly insufferable students got weeded out pretty early on. Good professors don’t reward students who do stuff like that, regardless of major. I had to go back and do an intro philosophy class my senior year that I had somehow skipped, and I found myself very frustrated with the level of arrogance in some of the students. But by the upper 200 and 300 level classes, the discussions were intelligent and nuanced.

    8. Aisling

      This math is hard to intuit and unless you have a lot of training and practice it is easy to make these mistakes.

      Actually, I didn’t see that Allison included any math at all – because it’s not necessary to make her general point. What I do see is a puffed-up statement designed to condescend. It takes quite a bit of arrogance to apply theorems on a non-technical blog, and then try to call out the blogger. Sure, technically the theorem applies – but this is not a technical blog.

  3. Ashlee

    OP of #4 here, and thank you for the advice!

    I’ll ask them about my possible hours tomorrow. I hadn’t been sure since they had been downsizing, and I was worried about looking like I was complaining about not having any hours. Either way I’ll have more information as to updating my resume or not.

    Sorry if I was unclear about the August thing; I had been expecting to start getting hour again then, but I wasn’t on the schedule.

    Thank you for the advice!

    1. Mary

      #4 – one thing the OP might want to look at is unemployment. I have seen this happen in CA. Companies will reduce your hours or not give you any. In reality you are fired, but they don’t want to pay unemployment so they hope by reducing your hours you will quit. In CA, if a company does this, you are entitled to unemployment.

  4. Anonymous

    I used to work at job like this. It was understood after an X amount of time of not getting hours you got kicked off the list of being employed. Reason: if you want hours you’d ask for them.

      1. Ashlee

        Ah, I’ll consider that too. I wasn’t sure if I was being re-classed as the back ups- back up or something. Or if I was being let go ultra gently to the point I was deluding myself.

        1. Ruffingit

          In situations like this, your best bet is to simply ask your supervisor at the station. No need to make inferences from not having hours or whatever. Just ask. You can usually get the info you need by doing that. Good luck!

          1. Ashlee

            At this point in time, there aren’t any hours, but if there’s a busy day, they’ll call and ask if I would be interested in hours for that week.

  5. Jen

    #7. I moved to the UK a year ago from
    Canada, ad the biggest job-seeking difference here seems to be that recruiters and agencies are used far more often here than they were in my experience in North America. Covering/thank-you letters were well-received but often seen as a bit of a bonus. Far more
    effective was having a résumé that hit the right keywords for the jobs I wanted to do circulating on job boards, and in recruiters’ offices. Also, despite sharing a common language, job-related jargon is totally different here. It might be worth re-examining the words you’re using to describe your skills, toile sure they’re not lost in translation. Good luck

  6. CoffeeLover

    In a somewhat (not really) related topic to OP7:
    I want to move to Europe permanently (I’m originally from there though not from an EU country). I will be graduating soon from a Canadian university with a finance degree. Does anyone have any tips/ideas/personal stories about finding a job and relocating to an EU country?

    Also, OP7 have you talked to relatives? If you have citizenship I assume you know someone that lives there and can help you out with norms, even if it’s a distant relative/friend. I think that’s better than trying to find a blog/site that may or may not have accurate information.

    1. Anne

      I’m an American living in the UK and working in finance. :)

      I’d recommend looking at really big companies, going to their Careers pages, and looking for their “Graduate Schemes”. They’ll be hiring a lot more people, with qualifications at your level, for more money, and with fewer concerns about them being international. (The downside is, of course, that it’ll be quite competitive. Do a LOT of research to prepare for interviews. Glassdoor is helpful.)

      Applying for individual jobs at smaller companies will be much, much harder in your situation. At my company I’m sad to say that anyone applying from abroad gets immediately eliminated because we assume we won’t be able to deal with getting them a visa, among other issues.

      1. Anonymous

        If you can work without restrictions in the country you’re applying for work in it sounds like it’s worth mentioning that on your CV (and maybe in your covering letter although not sure it belongs there).

    2. Jo

      Hi there, I recruit for a company that recruits a lot of international people, and a few things leap out :) Firstly, sort your work visa beforehand if possible, as many companies won’t want to sponsor you through the process. If you are sorted, state clearly that you are so you don’t get discarded as ineligible to live/work here. Secondly be clear about you intending to move to the relevant country and the timeframe in which you can do so (I get apps from people who think they can work remotely for an in-office role). And suggest how you could handle the interview process (“I’d be delighted to discuss this further on the telephone at your convenience. I will be in the country from X date if that is preferred”) Otherwise a good CV and cover letter is what matters, highlighting experience and qualifications and why you are interested in the role. I’m personally not worried about the salutation or stylistic differences as long as it is overall well written, polite and so on.
      I’m in the UK, in publishing, YMMV.

  7. Chocolate Teapot

    It really depends on the country as to the job application and relocation process. There are usually some expatriate websites which might have useful question and answer pages. Where I live, an annual 450 page brochure full of useful information is distributed for free when you go to register as a resident and apply for your ID card etc.

    Also associations such as Chambers of Commerce or women’s clubs can be a good source of information, although the latter tend to be more aimed at non-working “trailing” partners.

    1. Chocolate Teapot

      One other suggestion, which came to me over lunch, are the funny books written by Stephen Clarke about France, and particularly Paris. There’s the Merde fiction series, plus Talk to the Snail and Paris Revealed. They are comic writing, but he does explain about French working environments, and from experience, quite a bit of it is accurate!

  8. theotherjennifer

    #6 I think that’s pretty ballsy to be honest. why would you accept a 100% WAH “gig” if you’re not set up for it? it’s not the employer’s problem you’re between housing.

    1. Anon Accountant

      I’m in complete agreement. It sounds ballsy to ask, in my opinion.

      Does the OP’s company have precedence in anything like this where the company has provided furniture to facilitate a WAH arrangement?

    2. The IT Manager

      I think “ballsy” is a bit strong and negative, but I agree with the sentiment. The company saves money by not having to provide a place for you to work (desk, chair, utilities, etc), but then you save money on the commute, professional attire, lunches, etc. So it is often win-win for both and in my opinion rather unusual to ask your company to furnish your home office. In fact being able to work from home and save the money and time on the commute and dresssing is usually considered a perk and very desirable benefit. I have heard of phone, internet, printer, and office supplies being a bit more neogoiable, but home office furnishings – no.

      But as Alison said, your office culture could be different on this. I might ask around to other WFH employees to find out. I assume there’s not an official policy since you’re asking the question, but if there is one check what the policy says they cover.

      1. The IT Manager

        Also don’t forget with work from home employees, a business may incure the cost of VPN, security, help desk to support WFH employees. It’s not all cost savings for the business when you work from home.

      2. HR lady

        #6 – I work at a nonprofit with several work from home employees. I don’t recall us ever paying for an office chair (or desk, filing cabinet, etc.). However, we have sometimes paid for a computer, laptop, and/or printer.

        Please be aware that whatever your company pays for, they do own, so you’d have to give it back if/when you leave the company. (Sometimes we just accept a depreciated price, or sometimes the item has depreciated so much that we allow the person to keep it. This would depend on your company, though.)

    3. Ruffingit

      Agreed, I would never think to ask them to cover the cost of office furniture for a WFH gig. That just seems out of line in this situation because, presumably, one of the reasons this company does exclusive WFH is to save money on office equipment needs.

    4. Victoria Nonprofit

      … because companies typically provide office equipment, often even for work-at-home employees.

      My organization will purchase such items for work-at-home employees. *shrug* Just depends on the situation with your company. Is it explained in an employee handbook anywhere?

        1. Colette

          I could see that being a problem if the company only has employees who work at home, because they would likely be spread out throughout a large geographical area, and then there would be logistical issues with taking possession of the furniture when the employee becomes an ex-employee.

          That doesn’t mean the OP’s company doesn’t do it, though.

          Also, if the employer pays and owns the furniture, the OP would have to be prepared to not have much/any input into what the furniture is – even if it’s an old desk from a former employee.

          1. Elizabeth West

            If you’re working from home (U.S.) and you have a dedicated space where you work and do nothing else, I believe you can take a tax deduction on it. So while you may have to initially eat the layout for your setup, you might save some money on it in the long run.

    5. Kou

      I don’t think it’s *that* out of line, but I would not be surprised if I asked and was told no. I have a glorious computer setup at home but it’s still not made for me to be in it 45+ hours a week, if I was going to work from home I would definitely need a better chair. I don’t think it’s really different that the OP is changing houses and using a dining chair.

    6. Anonymous

      My company has a lot of remote employees – in fact, I directly supervise two. We provide a computer and printer/scanner. We have 24/7 tech support and VPN connections for our network. In addition, we pay a percentage (I think about 60%) of the employee’s Internet and phone bills (the logic being that the employee likely already has these amenities, so we are paying for a large portion, but not all of it).

      However, we do not provide furniture. Further, before getting final teleworker apporval, the employees must send photos of their workspaces in for approval to make sure it meets ergonomic and safety standards. It doesn’t stop me from occasionally working in a reclining position on my couch, but it helps us make sure that the employee has set up a safe home office.

  9. A Teacher

    #5, what is you ECH (the rate you earn per credit hour)? As an adjunct, I make a set amount of money per credit hour that I teach. A 2 credit course pays more than a 1 credit course. All of it is based on the number of semesters I’ve taught and the degrees I have. We have to stay below 12 ECH or we are fulltime and they have to pay us benefits and we join the union. Are they worried about you having too many credit hours which would change your rank from adjunct to tenure track or from part time to full time?

  10. Brightwanderer

    Resources for working in the UK – one really big one is the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, which lays out all the legalities of employment such as when and if you can be fired, contract terms, etc: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/work_e.htm (That one is specifically for England; remember that Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own rules in some areas. Wales is generally the same but also has its own page.) There should be visa info on that site too (and information about housing, tax, etc… basically if you have any questions that start with “is it legal” this is a good first stop.)

    For CV and cover letter, I’d suggest googling for university advice pages. There’s an article on the BBC here that links to some resources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15573447

    And off the top of my head, five things that are different between employment in the UK and US that might catch you off guard:

    1. At will employment is rare-to-nonexistent in the UK, at least in ‘white collar’ jobs; you are almost certain to sign a contract as part of your offer, and this contract will often set out terms such as the amount of notice you (and your employer) has to give. One month is not an uncommon amount of notice, so it’s always worth being aware of that, because there’s usually language in the contract that makes you liable for expenses incurred by the employer if you leave without notice or without full notice. (Of course, that works the other way as well. If they send you home one day and tell you not to come back, they have to pay you for the full month of notice they owed you.)

    2. Holiday and sick leave have mandatory minimums set by law. Many companies exceed these, but the basic minimum for holiday is 5.6 weeks per year, not sure about sick leave (but it’s on the Citizen’s Advice website).

    3. Unemployment benefits are paid by the government, not the company. National Health Insurance means that you do not lose health coverage if you are unemployed. However, I don’t know how either of those two things work for non-UK citizens.

    4. Due to data protection laws, when checking references an employer will only contact the people you have specifically listed on your application (I’m not actually 100% sure if the law mandates this, but people tend to act as if it does). In addition, it’s much more common here to ask people for a written reference rather than have a conversation with them.

    5. An interesting thing I discovered recently: it is in fact not legal for a previous employer in the UK to give you a bad reference UNLESS they have documented evidence that they brought up the problems mentioned in the reference with you during your employment. If they never said anything to you about it at the time (or can’t prove that they did), they are obliged to refuse to give a reference rather than giving a bad one. I don’t know how well known that fact is, but I believe we have a pretty strong culture of general “you can’t give someone a bad reference” even if people don’t understand the technicalities behind it.

    In general, in the UK, start from the basis that the law is more in favour of the employee than the employer, and check your rights rather than assuming you have no recourse. However, also be aware of what’s in your contract when you sign it (and if you don’t have a written contract or handbook, be aware that the law may still consider you bound by one, as a verbal agreement can count as a contract).

    1. anonn

      Firstly watch it with the CAB – unless it is clear cut the resources may be written well but the actual staff may not be trained and knolwedgeable on exact situations.

      No 5 – you have to a) get hold of the bad reference (which will be hard) and b) then try to actually bring them to task about it. Not as easy as it seems. And you can give a “bad” reference – as long as its truthful. The courts would be the place to hold up the matter of how truthful it is and that costs time, money and a solicitor at least.

      As for a place to talk about employment rights, not an expert but a few do frequent there:
      http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=141
      This one is run by an expert: http://www.redundancyforum.co.uk/

      1. Brightwanderer

        No 5 – I’m oversimplifying, I guess – that was what I meant about the action taken during employment, that it would prove the truthfulness of the reference in court if necessary. The original wording I had read for this (which I now can’t find, helpfully, so [citation needed]) was aimed specifically at employers and basically said “If you never addressed the person’s behaviours in a documented way, you have no evidence they performed badly, and thus cannot give them a bad reference without opening yourself up to court action.” I would say that the end result is the same.

    2. Banananah

      Re. your point #2: Many people in the UK believe it is compulsory for employers to provide sick pay, but this is not the case (it’s just very, very common).

      For the first three days of sick leave, if your company doesn’t provide it there is nothing. After that, provided you are part of the National Insurance system (obligatory social security contributions which are automatically taken out of your pay cheque at source), Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) kicks in. SSP is fairly minimal – about £75 a week, I think – but combined with other benefits such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit would be just about enough to live on provided you don’t have many living expenses.

    3. Anonymous

      Agree with anon on the CAB – for UK employment law, http://www.gov.uk is the better area.
      At will employment doesn’t exist, although for all practical purposes you can be fired with no comeback in the first 2 years (unless there is discrimination). You would almost certainly find the employment area more regulated: you must have a statement of terms and conditions within 2 months – but as soon as you’ve accepted you have a legal contract. Notice periods are defined by law, although most employers have longer notice periods than statue. However, you will find holiday (and possibly sickness) more generous – 28 days (if full-time 5 days a week) is the minimum, but many places offer more. Most companies pay at least some full sick pay – if not, there’s the princely sum of nearly £90! Standard working weeks are 35-40 hours, although of course many industries require more.

      In terms of your applications, levels of formality depend on the company, but at risk of teaching you to suck eggs, make sure you aren’t using US English. We get a bit possessive… Dear Sir/ Madam is old-fashioned, but if you can’t get a name, it’s fine. If you can get a name, then do use it. A lot of companies will use online systems that have a ‘why us/this job’ section instead of a covering letter, so that removes that block.

      As Victoria noted, the UK uses CVs rather than resumes – and these should be chronological, and cover all the time (even if it’s just Mar 2010 to Aug 2010, various student role), but do make sure you follow the usual achievements rather than tasks that you’d put on a resume. You may find it hurts you applying for UK jobs if you are in France – it shouldn’t, but it’s a tough job market, and employers will take the easy option.
      Find agencies in your profession, and sign up with them – I get the feeling from this blog that they are more usual in the UK. Come back and say what your profession is, and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of advice about which agencies to try.

      Lots of colleges / unis have career advice sections that are publicly available (e.g. http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv.htm) – although Alison’s usual advice about career centres is worth bearing in mind. And keep the CV very work-focused – no children, spouse, animals or interests (unless they would support your application).

      1. UK HR Bod

        Oops. Anonymous by accident there!
        This isn’t bad – http://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/blog/2012/august/cv-templates-and-tips. It has a CV builder, although you’d want to tweak after – they could do with being fonder of bullet points, personal statements are marmite, skills at the top similar. Also ok http://www.totaljobs.com/careers-advice/cvs-and-applications/which-cv. They are all pretty generic, which means none of them are brilliant, but it gives you an idea of the kind of formats use.

  11. Mike C.

    RE: OP#2:

    I would suggest asking someone if there’s a reason why that hiring manager is encouraging people to look for jobs outside the company.

    “So and so told me during an interview that I was lazy for not seeking work outside the company. Is this really the norm here, and how many outside firms should I be speaking with every so often?”

    That should get someone’s attention.

    1. Lisa

      I was just thinking that. You could go to your manager and ask if there are any problems with your performance, and ask that the ‘no’ be put into writing as the interviewer made you feel that you should be looking elsewhere very soon implying that you won’t get the internal job and that you might be let go for being ‘lazy’.

    2. Ava

      I have mentioned it to a couple of HR people and they were shocked. I agree with Alison he is a jackass and I don’t want to work for him. Thanks for your comment Mike C

    3. Ava

      The HR manager was at the interview and she looked shocked when he said it and immediately began to commend me for applying for the role and for having a well presented CV – she was obviously trying to soften what he said. I agree with Alison he is a jackass, I don’t want the job anymore now that I know what a jackass he is. Thanks for commenting Mike C.

  12. Aurélie

    #7:
    In France, you’d better go towards overly formal (definitely begin with a “Madame, Monsieur” – “Dear Sir or Madam”, unless you know a specific name; go ahead with formal thanks at the end; etc.) especially if you’re looking into any job somewhat administrative.

    Other possible differences not to overlook: include a photo in your CV; absolutely no thank you note (we don’t even have the concept here), if you follow up, be straightforward about it; in most industries, it is absolutely necessary to have good French skills (we, as a nation, totally suck at foreign languages, so you will be expected to communicate in French at all times).

    I’ve never seen anything remotely equivalent to Ask a Manager in French (as in: advice from a professional) though you can look for examples of CV and cover letters fairly easily with Google.

    1. FRAnonymous

      French CVs usually include your age, and photos are very common (although not an obligation). Since you are a new grad it shouldn’t be longer than one page. Do not include too much detail on the courses you took in College (only the title of the degree, major/minor). Since you have dual citizenship and I guess a decent level of French, as Aurélie said you should really emphasize it in the CV (in the Language part) and in your cover letter.
      Cover letters are especially formal in the opening and closing lines (“formules de politesse”, such as “Veuillez recevoir, Madame/Monsieur, l’assurance de mes sentiments les meilleurs”, something that nobody would say in real life!), so you may want to ask someone to review your first letter, and then use it as a template.
      There are many websites providing advice on writing CVs and cover letters (for example letudiant.fr, or cadremploi.fr), but I have never found a French blog as good and useful as Askamanager.
      Good luck with your search!

  13. Blue Dog

    #1 – Not really a “business answer” to your question, but the way I see it: Just be thankful that you are rid of him and yet still have a “cordial” relationship for the sake of your kids. Divorces are hard enough. Don’t pick that scab.

      1. Chocolate Teapot

        It didn’t used to be. Up until a couple of years ago, Jeremy would answer the questions then Grauniad* readers would add their comments to the uploaded post, rather as we do on here.

        *The Guardian newspaper is famous for its spelling mistakes.

    1. Daisy

      The Guardian also used to have a feature where people sent in their CVs for experts to comment on. It was in the Graduate section, which they don’t print anymore, but it might be googleable.

  14. Cathy

    #6 — check your offer letter, employee handbook, telecommuting agreement, or whatever documents you have before asking. When I hire a remote employee, this is all spelled out in the offer package, and it’s also available on our intranet site.

    We provide a phone extension that can be forwarded to the home phone; computer equipment including docking station, external monitor, etc. Employee provides an appropriately furnished private room to work in. Employee agrees not to be the primary care provider for another person during business hours. Employee will notify his manager if working from a different remote location temporarily. It goes on with legal info about workers comp and so on.

    Based on our telecommuting agreement, we would not provide a desk and chair for a remote employee.

  15. Joey

    #3. I don’t necessarily agree that you should leave a 4month job off your résumé. I think working a low paying job says a lot. It says you’d rather work at a low paying job than be unemployed. It says you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get back to work. It says you don’t have a problem doing lower level work when necessary. To me, the only time its a detriment is when you accept a low paying job that requires the employer to invest a significant amount in you when you’re starting.

    I’ve hired plenty of people who accepted low paying/lower skilled jobs until something more long term came along. And I find it refreshing when they say “I took this job because I’d rather work than be unemployed. But, long term x is what I’m looking for.”

    Obviously this isn’t a knock against the unemployed. I know some people don’t have the opportunity or for whatever reason can’t make it work.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think we actually agree here (I noted — but maybe not prominently enough — that if it’s a minimum wage type job, it’s fine to leave it on because people will understand why the OP is continuing to look).

    2. Annony

      I love the advice given here but this is the only area I don’t think I see eye to eye with Allison. A lot of people have been hit really hard by this job market and just need work until they can get something more suitable. To speak candidly, it sucks for the employee and the employer but I see it happening more and more.

      Some prospective employers will understand this and some will not.

      I like what the commenter above said, “I took this job because I’d rather work than be unemployed. But, long term x is what I’m looking for.”

      Maybe you could also mention you would like to utilize your background or education and you are not in your current position.

      I was in your situation and I understand completely. Best of luck to you! Something better will come along!

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yeah, I don’t disagree that it sucks! It definitely does. But from the employer point of view, taking the type of job where an employer is investing in your training (most office jobs) and already looking to leave after four months raises a lot of questions — and those questions usually hurt you more than having the job on your resume will help (especially since in four months, you’re unlikely to have substantive accomplishments to include). More on this here:
        http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/03/21/should-you-include-a-short-term-job-on-your-resume

      2. Joey

        Just to clarify. Its only refreshing when its an anomaly on your résumé. If you do it multiple times then it doesn’t look so forthright.

        1. Kelsey

          Hi, I am OP for #3. I graduated college in 2010 and lost my job in March after being with the company since interning there in college so I do have some reassuring job stability on my resume. I like what I’m doing but besides the low salary, it’s really important for me to get into a large organization, even if it means being the girl who fetches coffee. My current company is very tiny but is ‘the company isn’t a good fit for me’ a plausible excuse for leaving so soon either?

          I’ve always heard it’s better to have something on your resume that shows you’re working as opposed to being unemployed. My title is Event Coordinator which is relatively vague as i have seen salaries from $23,000-$45,000 for that title. Would it be a better call to leave it and attempt to dumb the job down?

          1. AB

            I don’t see how an “attempt to dumb the job down” can help your case with a new employer.

            It looks like you didn’t like AAM’s response, but she is right.

            You took a job and are looking to leave it after 4 months. Any interviewer will likely worry that the same may happen if they hire you: who is to say that after 3-4 months you won’t again conclude that “the company isn’t a good fit” for you? If you weren’t able to tell this time, why should they believe that you will be able to if you accept an offer from them?

            Nobody wants to have to replace an employee in less than a year, so I do think you are better off not listing your current job during your current job search. I’d rather hire someone who hasn’t been working for the next year than someone who is hoping to jump ship after such a short term in another company.

              1. Kelsey

                I ask about ‘dumbing the job down’ because if I was a minimum wage employee than I would be seen as someone looking for a career as opposed to a job jumper. I have friends who work in offices who make less than waitresses so I was curious if an employer saw that I was working in an office job clearly below my skill level, they may understand the job is a way to make ends meet.

                My other concern is about LinkedIn. I have my job listed on there and am connected with others in my company. I don’t know how I would explain that to the interviewer if i left it up or my company connections if I deleted it.

                I really appreciate the feedback! As a semi-recent grad, a lot of this stuff is a mystery to me and most of my friends and any and all opinions are helpful!

                1. Joey

                  I wouldn’t dumb it down. Then Id wonder why you took it in the first place. I’d understand more if you accepted it because it was the type of role you wanted and you were willing to do it in spite of the low salary until a similar role with a more competitive salary came along. Just make sure that’s a true statement-that the companies you’re applying to pay better. And of course you can then say ideally you would have waited, but given the alternative of being unemployed…..

  16. Victoria

    #7 – addition to what I wrote before about the rest of the question. Formality isn’t as much of a deal in the UK as it used to be, but it does vary with sectors and particular workplaces. ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ isn’t wrong for a first contact, but it is a bit pompous. ‘Dear Mr/Ms Whatever’ if you know the name is ideal to start with and you usually go to first names after that. Adapt later communications to how they write, i.e. if they write ‘Dear Victoria’, write ‘Dear Jenna’ back. End with ‘Yours sincerely’ at first contact and ‘Best/Kind regards’ after that.
    Another thing is of course that one employs CVs rather than résumés, and that CVs are generally two pages long. Check prospects.ac.uk for further tips.

  17. AnonHR

    #6- We have a simple business policy that we typically don’t pay for tangible items the company doesn’t then own. When you leave the company, that desk is yours to use for your own personal needs, your next work at home arrangement, or to sell.

  18. Amy

    OP #7, Check out the book “French or Foe”, by polly platt. She is a business consultant for Franco/American exchanges, and her book basically lays out the cultural differences and how it may affect the workplace, so that expats can acclimate and succeed. I used it before moving to France for a year and it was SO HELPFUL!!!

    1. Mike C.

      So what are the biggest differences between the American and French workplace? Anything you particularly had trouble with getting used to?

      1. the gold digger

        I have no direct experience with this, but I did see a cartoon once that showed some French businessmen sitting at a table. The caption said, “Well, that’s fine for in practice. But how would this work in theory?”

        1. Chocolate Teapot

          From Talk to the Snail by Stephen Clarke:

          “The purpose of a French meeting is to listen to oneself (and, if absolutely necessary, others) talk. If you want to reach a decision, then you’ll have to arrange another meeting.”

      2. Amy

        High-context vs. low-context culture. In France (high context), a lot of americans find themselves frustrated with ‘bureaucracy’ and how they are ‘never’ given all the information they need to complete a transaction/perform a task.

        In French culture, public servants (or people in general) assume that you are using context to figure out what you need, so explaining things to you would be an insult to your intelligence. Once you ask for help or voice your lack of knowledge about that task, they are more than willing to help!

  19. Mints

    #3
    I’ve been at my job just under a year, and I think I’ve done enough to keep it on my resume, but I haven’t been there long enough to be able to say “Just looking for new opportunities.” There are lots of good honest reasons why I want to leave, but I don’t think they’re interview answers. I really don’t know how to answer.
    I’m not being helpful, I’m just sympathizing, OP.

    1. Joey

      “Not a good fit” is probably what you want to say. But be prepared to explain. As long as you can say that what you are looking for you’ll find at the company you’re interviewing with you’ll be fine.

      As long as you don’t say “not a good fit” for multiple jobs normal employers will usually understand.

    2. the gold digger

      I’ve been at my job for 14 months. I took it because it was the job I got, but the pay is way less than I used to get. The main reason I want to leave is to get back to my old salary. (The second reason is my boss – for the first time in my career – is making me crazy. I have always had excellent, wonderful bosses, so this is very hard for me. It’s not just me – my co-workers and I have talked about having an intervention with him!)

      Anyhow – I am not quite sure how to say I want to leave because the pay is so low. I don’t think that’s an interview answer!

    3. Kelsey

      What do you do and what do you not like about your job?

      In some situations, the truth is the best answer. I think it’s okay to say you see yourself going in a different direction from what the next step in your company is (a lot of my friends companies promote them after a year). Or to say you’ve hit the plateau of how far you can go in your current company.

      Something i’ve read in a recent article that a good response to why you’re looking for a new job is ‘it’s important to me to work at a company that values x, y, and z and that’s why I’m so interested in working here’.

      Depending on your age and industry, some employers won’t bat an eye at leaving after a year while others may consider it a huge red flag. People don’t stay at jobs for 10 years anymore and jumping is becoming more common so keep applying! I think you’ll find a few places that won’t care as much that are more suited to your needs. Good luck!

    4. Mints

      Joey- That’s actually really helpful. I suddenly thought of ways to frame better fits at other companies.
      Kelsey- I’m a year or of school. I’d rather not specify the type of company, but I can pretend it’s an accounting firm, and everyone has CPAs. I’m working as an admin, and I don’t have the specialized background, so I’m given very little work. The main reason is that I’m really bored. Tied to this, the manager is really ineffective, and I dislike him personally. He literally assigned me a project, and a couple weeks later, causally asked what I was working on; he had completely forgot. I get no feedback, even after asking. He used me as a scapegoat (I vented about this in the recent open thread). The personal stuff is “jokes” that are often sexist or racially coded, but not outrageous enough to go to HR or anything. The cherry on the suckfest is a horrible commute (this part I knew going in, but I was willing to put up with it for a good job).
      Anyway, my long term student job during college was more fast paced, and we had supportive managers. Plus I liked lots of people as friends.
      Neither one of these is tied to my degree, but I think talking about the pace being a bad fit, and the lack of work for non-CPAs could be a good answer. (hopefully?)

      1. Kelsey

        Mints,

        Funny you mention that because I almost took an admin job at a very large accounting firm after college and I could see one of the big frustrations being a person kind of in the background so I applaud you for sticking it out. Also one of the biggest things I struggled with after college was adjusting to a work environment where everyone wasn’t the same age and on the same page as me which is why I’ve been so desperate to get into a larger organization with younger people.

        I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with leaving an admin job after a year if you aren’t being challenged and don’t see any opportunities that fit with your desired path there. Have you been on any interviews lately? Not sure how helpful this info is coming from me but in any interviews I’ve been on for admin jobs, the managers have always made it very clear that this is a stepping stone and they want me to keep growing. I would imagine that employers would understand that if after a year, you don’t see yourself growing there, then it would be time to leave.

  20. Liane

    #6: When I was a WFH medical transcription editor, the only thing the company (small, family owned) supplied was the computer with the transcription and other necessary software installed. Since medical transcriptions fall under HIPAA, you had to have a dedicated computer.
    Everything else, I had to supply–mainly desk, chair & high-speed internet. Not nearly enough, in my case, for any home-office deductions.

    Now, after I’d been there a while and knew it wouldn’t be thought out of line, I did ask one of the owners if it was possible to buy one of their older computers (that couldn’t handle the newest transcription software) as a personal computer. She gave it to me outright after having IT wipe the hard drive & reinstall Windows & some (non-work-related) software.

  21. LeeD

    #6 – If your company can’t or won’t pay for your furniture, it would be worth asking if they have any furniture contracts in place that you could take advantage of. You may ultimately choose to buy lower quality items from your local office supply store, but it would be good to see what kind of a break you could get on the commercial-grade furniture. Plus, company contracts usually include assembly, so factor that in.

  22. Acidartha

    For OP #3:

    It is definitely a bit of pain explaining changing jobs after 4 monhts (I’ve had to do that for jobs that I did for 8 weeks). Anyways, I would reccommend trying something along the lines of “I’m looking for ways to grow professionaly and add to my experience.” If they say but its been only 4 months, try “You’re right – and a lot of what I’ve been doing has been on a similar path and this opportunity will allow me a new learning opportunity without discounting my current experience” Its almost like going in circles – keep pressing back on how much you are interested in the role.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      For whatever it’s worth, that answer would raise real concerns for me. I’d wonder why they’d taken the job and why they thought leaving after four months for more experience was okay. You’d be better off explaining straightforwardly why it wasn’t what you thought it would be / why it wasn’t the right fit.

    2. Joey

      Sorry, but most hiring managers would be calling BS on you. Its got to sound logical. It takes a lot longer than 4 months to exhaust your growth opportunities and add to your experiences at nearly every job. So again, why are you really leaving?

  23. AP

    For #7 – not an instructional book or blog, but the memoir “Paris I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” by Rosencranz Baldwin is very funny and it’s about an American man’s attempts to fit in with an ad agency in Paris. It may not help you get a job but there’s a ton in there about the organizational and attitude differences between French and American companies.

  24. edj3

    OP#1 here — thanks for answering my question. Because I know how inept he is with technology, and also know he hasn’t had to actually search for a job since the mid-80s, I’m inclined to go ahead and ask him about the degree. I suspect he doesn’t realize what he did (at least I hope that’s the case) but either way, I’d hate to see him commit such an avoidable mistake and ruin his professional reputation because I didn’t want to get involved.

      1. edj3

        Thanks for your perspective. But it (and he) aren’t scabs. This is a person who at one point I cared about a great deal. I’d give him a ride if his car broke down and this is much the same sort of thing.

        1. fposte

          I think if you guys are friendly and amicable and have remained so even in the face of joint parenting (no small feat, and congratulations for that), it’s fine to bring this up low-key, so long as you drop it after that.

        2. Blue Dog

          Ug. Misunderstood analogy. Your ex isn’t a scab. Your relationship isn’t a scab. Neither are your kids.

          Your divorce is the wound. It needs to heal. The scab is made up of time, distance, perspective, respect, boundaries, restraint, etc.

          It is hard to heal the wound of divorce if these boundaries are crossed, even in a well-intentioned way. For me, trolling an ex’s profile and giving unsolicited advice would be a crossing a boundary — or picking at a scab. It’s no longer your job to keep him from making a mistake.

          1. edj3

            Ah I see your point. So to clear things up:

            The divorce was long, long ago and far, far away. It wasn’t a bitter divorce then and our relationship is friendly to this day. We’ve both moved on and any wounds from a failed marriage are long since healed.

            No trolling of his profile occurred; he invited me to accept, I did and as I do with any LinkedIn invitation I accept, I looked at his profile. But maybe that’s trolling to you? Not saying it is, just open to the possibility.

            His kids (who are my kids) are worried about him. He’s an older man, and hasn’t been the best in terms of saving money. The kids know if he falls on hard times, they are likely to be on the hook to help him out. I most certainly will not be in that position. But if by pointing out that he made this mistake on his profile, he’s able to avoid looking like someone with severe integrity issues, then it’s worth the three minutes it took me to drop him an email (through LinkedIn).

            While it’s not my job nor was it ever my job to keep him from making mistakes, it’s not out of line to say hey, think that’s not quite what you meant to put on your profile. And with that one email, which I sent this morning, I’ve done all that I’m willing or interested in doing.

            If I hear anything from him about this, I’ll provide an update.

  25. Belle

    For OP #3. Unfortunately I was in the same shoes as you. I told the truth, which was that my department was going through a reorg – implying that I was looking for work so I wouldn’t get laid off.

    1. Kelsey

      Belle, how did employers receive that? I feel kind of bad flat out lying but obviously telling the truth isn’t going to help my case it appears. It’s unfortunate that if I chose to be a waitress, I would be seen as someone who is building my career but since I chose a job in an office to cover my bills, I am seen as an unsafe bet. PS- at this point, I probably would be making more as a waitress than in my job. But I took this thinking it would look better on my resume…funny how that worked out!

  26. hamster

    OP#3 I left a job after two months because the boss was driving me crazy. But since i was in a contractor position ( they renewed it every month) I was able to repackage this as “project work” witch in a way it was . I had a clear cut goal for the first 2 months and i achieved it. Afterwards i left it of the CV . Anyway it can totally be done. I presented parts of the trutht. Iwould never speak badly of an old manager, so i just said the job was a bait-and-switch and i was looking for something more technical and challenging proffessionally. It helped that 1. i put it nicely : I am doing X, Y and Z but I studied X and would love to improve my career on X more , and here it turns up the need for X is less than they thought initiially. BUT look how well i’m thriving at adapting in a foreign circumstances, and how i’m making the customer happy by doing Y and Z and etc. It helped that i found a manager willing to trust me and I accepted a position i was rather qualified and enthousiastic

    1. Kelsey

      How well received was using the ‘bait and switch’ term? I’ve always been told to never diss your employers but I was told after 3 months here, we could discuss a possible salary negotiation. When I asked about it, they acted like they had no idea what I was talking about and that really gave me a shady feel about the place.

      1. EM

        As an aside, I know Alison has a column in where this has been spoken about as well — for the future always, always get salary reviews/negotiations/etc IN WRITING when they are offered.

        The same thing happened to a previous manager of mine at our old company — it still doesn’t guarantee you that you will get a salary bump, but at least they can’t pull the, “We have no recollection of what you speak of” card.

  27. Anonymous

    #1 – it could easily be an accident. LinkedIn asks for your “degree” for each university you enter, and someone could easily be led to write “BS” when they mean “Coursework towards BS” or “Undergraduate coursework”.

    1. edj3

      OP#1 here. That’s exactly what I suspect has happened. As I said, he’s not very adept with technology and LinkedIn makes it easy to screw that part up.

  28. Anonymous

    My situation is similar to #3 and this post and the comments have been very helpful in terms of how to deal with explaining this. I’m wondering if readers might be able to help me out a little bit as well.

    I took my current job for two reasons. 1) I was coming out of college and needed a job and 2) Even though I had studied X and this job was Y and Z, I thought it would at least be interesting for a few years before eventually going back to X (which has always been the goal).

    As it turns out, I was more interested in the Z aspect of the job, but it turns out the company really just wants me to do Y and not really worry about Z, which is frustrating, because I wanted to do both. Another thing is that I ended up in a department I can never see myself in, and had I known I would end up in that department, I wouldn’t have accepted the job.

    I’m worried that my story might come across as naive. Switching careers for a little bit, when the new career doesn’t really help me develop for the original one seems like a bad move looking back. Also, I could have asked more about the culture and discovered that they focus more on Y than Z, and I could have asked about placement after training, since I just sort of assumed I’d end up where I wanted to be in the company. Clearly I didn’t ask enough questions.

    What do you guys think? Does my story sound reasonable? Or am I coming across as naive?

    FWIW, I spent 4 months in training and have been on my team for about a year, and as far as salary is concerned I actually expect to make less doing what I originally wanted to do, but I don’t care, it should still be enough to not really have to fret about money. I don’t want to bring that up in interviews since it doesn’t feel right to talk about salary too early, but should I? Would it help?

    1. Nate

      I went through a similar situation, but I did get out of my predicament by sticking to what I really want to do. I really believe that if you’re not happy with your job, regardless of how high the salary, you would never experience self-fulfillment or any satisfaction. I want to go home after a day’s work with a feeling that I did something good and I can celebrate the end of the day with a glass of brandy and a cigar, rather than dread the next work day.

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