telling an interviewer why you want the job, telling your manager you hate your work, and more

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

1. How much control does an employer have over what employees do online?

I recently had my employer bring in a lawyer to discuss Facebook pages. The lawyer stated that even having a picture posted on line of oneself drinking a beer could damage the company’s reputation and affect our jobs. I don’t post about my job, and I removed my information as to where I work. I do work for a not-for-profit organization that deals heavily with HIPPA laws, and I know I should never discuss my clients. How much control does an employer have over its employees’ web pages?

A lot. Employers can fire you for things you do online (or prohibit you from doing those things in the first place), as long as it’s not based on illegal discrimination, such as firing you for your race, religion, sex, etc., and as long as the posting in question doesn’t constitute protected discussions with your coworkers about wages and working conditions (rights that are protected under the National Labor Relations Act). So, if you posted a rant about disliking your job, they could fire you for that — but if it was an online discussion with coworkers, it might be protected speech.

2. Should I disclose a medical condition to my new staff?

I was promoted and I now supervise a staff of five professionals. I have endometriosis which, on occasion, makes me quite ill where I may need to come into work late or leave early. My supervisor and HR are well aware and amazing in their support. Do I disclose this to my supervisees and if yes, how?

People don’t need specifics; they just need to know the work-related impact. So, for instance: “I have a medical condition that is under control but which will sometimes require me to come in late or leave early without much notice. I’ll keep you informed of my schedule when that happens.”

3. Answering “why do you want to work here?”

During the last few interviews, I’ve been asked the infamous question, “Why do you want to work here?” And my response is always the same, “Because it’s not salacious.” My last job was pretty intense, to say the least. I won’t say where I worked, but over the course of my time there, I helped to put together tribute videos for more than 32 people who died in a 5-year time span (I’m a documentary video producer). I was told to do this as a way to help families heal from the sudden deaths of their deceased loved ones. While I learned a lot about being a documentary producer and a graphic designer at this job, it really got hard when people died, so any job that I apply for is something that I know that I will thoroughly enjoy better than the last one.

Is that response too harsh? Should I find another way to respond to that question? I am afraid that, not only do I put people off by my response, but that I also may scare off potential employers.

It’s not that it’s harsh; it’s that it means something other than what you intend. “Salacious” means lascivious — it’s sexual. So it’s an odd and jarring answer, and one that doesn’t quite fit in an interview.

Even if it meant what you intended, though, this wouldn’t be a good answer. An interviewer doesn’t want to hear that you want to work there because it will be better than your last job; that’s a negative spin and it’s about your old job rather than the new one. Instead, they want to hear what appeals to you about this particular job, specifically. Stop comparing it to the last job and talk about why you’d be enthusiastic about this one, and you’ll have a better answer.

4. Should I tell my manager that I don’t enjoy my work?

About a year ago, I was hired by a large company as a copy editor. Before this I spent several years as an English tutor. I love the English language and thought I would enjoy the work. Unfortunately, I was wrong. At first I thought I needed to get used to new office dynamics, protocols, etc. but almost a year later I dread going to work. My coworkers are perfectly friendly (we spend time together outside the office and get along very well) and my supervisor is very professional. The office culture is wonderful and the company works very hard to make sure we feel valued. I just don’t like the work. After some introspection, I’ve realized that I loved tutoring because of the teaching aspects.I’m not interested in editing for editing’s sake.

A few days ago I received notice that my one-year review is coming up. My supervisor and his supervisor are going to be present to talk about my progress and how I feel about the company. My question is this: If they ask, is it appropriate for me to tell them that I don’t enjoy the work? I’m afraid that they are going to ask or realize that I am dissembling or something. Our department went through massive restructuring around the time I was hired and all of my coworkers and I were hired at the same time. There isn’t anyone in the company that I trust enough to ask. Also, if it matters, this is my first office job after I graduated from college.

I don’t want them to be surprised when I leave after such a short time. They are very careful to tell the truth about what the job entails in the interviews and subsequent conversations. I misjudged myself and the kind of work I want to do for the rest of my life and I guess I want them to know that the mistake was mine not theirs. Is that naïve? Or does this happen all the time?

What outcome would you want from that conversation? Candor is good, but you want to know where it’s going to take you … and in this case it seems a bit too likely to take you to a place where they’re looking for your replacement before you’re ready to go. Find another job first, and then explain the situation when you give notice.

5. Is this rate of pay different than the one I agreed to?

I was recently hired to be the executive assistant to the president of a great company. I first interviewed with the director of recruitment, and she was the one to tell me that they wanted to offer me the position. After I accepted the offer, she went on to tell me that they were looking to start me off at $57,000 a year, but upon reviewing my employment confirmation letter, they had the hourly pay of $27.41. After doing a little research, I found that $28.50 is the per hour equivalent of $57,000 a year, and $27.41 rounds off to about $55,000 a year.

Should I contact the recruiter or the HR rep who emailed me the new hire forms and speak with them about this? I don’t want to come across as money hungry (which I’m definitely not), I just want some clarifications as to why I was told I’d be receiving $57,000 per year, when in actuality it’s more or less $55,000. Is this an inappropriate thing to ask? If not, how should I properly word the question?

Well, first, it’s more than appropriate to enquire if your salary appears to be less than what you agreed to; it’s absolutely necessary. However, in this case, that might not be what’s going on — it’s going to depend on how many working hours per year they’re putting in their calculation. Many employers, including the federal government, divide annual salaries by 2,087 hours to come up with an hourly rate of pay — and that would mean that your hourly pay works out to an annual salary of $57,204. Many others use 2,080 hours, which would still put you at $57,012. So I don’t see any reason to assume that the pay rate in your offer letter is different than the one you agreed to — it sounds like the two match.

6. Will my manager begrudge me this webinar fee if I resign?

I’ve been at my current job for four years, and for a number of reasons, I’ve been looking for a new job for the last 6-8 months. I got a phone interview, felt like it went badly, and assumed I’d never hear back. In the meantime, one of my professional organizations put up an announcement that they’re offering a series of four, once-a-week webinars that I was interested in. After the phone interview, I submitted a request to my supervisor asking if my office could pay for the webinar cost (which is only about $125). The request was approved while I was on vacation.

Also while I was on vacation, the people I phone interviewed with asked me for an in-person interview. Surprise! The in-person interview went really, really well, and I think there’s a good chance that I might get this new job. The problem, of course, is that my current office agreed to pay for the webinars with the understanding that they’d benefit from me having the additional skills. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked for them to pay for it while I was looking elsewhere, but I didn’t think I had a shot at getting a new job so soon. Do you think my manager will bring this up? What should I do if he does?

It’s very, very unlikely that your manager is even going to think about the fact that she approved a $125 webinar — that cost is really low in the scheme of things. And if she does think about it, it’s highly unlikely that she’d bring it up — it’s just too small of an amount to care about in this context. It would be like her begrudging you for resigning right after the company bought you a new mousepad and some file folders. This stuff is a cost of doing business, it’s de minimis, and you shouldn’t worry about it.

7. Interviewer asked me whether I own a home or rent

Taking your advice on resumes and cover letters has gotten me to the point of phone screens in a short amount of time. I just finished with one and I thought it went really well, thanks to your advice on how to prep. The only thing that threw me during the phone interview was when I was asked whether I am a homeowner or if I rent. I was hoping you could shed some light on this question, since the interviewer did not elaborate further after I told him I’m a renter. Does it have something to do with relocation? (I would be moving from one state to another.)

Yes, I’d assume that was related to how easy it would be for you to relocate — whether you’d have to sell a house, break a lease, etc. It’s a bizarre question to ask without providing you with context, though.

{ 275 comments… read them below }

  1. Sourire*

    #3 – You keep saying that word – I do not think it means what you think it means (sorry – I couldn’t help it!) But in all seriousness, I totally agree with Alison. Basically, what you’re saying is, “hey, anything has to be better than my old job…” It may be true, but it’s not what an employer wants to hear (in the same way most, if not all, of us work for the paycheck but we wouldn’t give that as the only reason for interest in a position at an interview).

    Besides, hopefully you should have more compelling reasons for applying anyway. I am guessing you are not just sending resumes out to literally every single company that posts an ad. More likely, you picked out those that spoke to you in some way (they match your experience, they are in a field of interest, you are inspired by the organization’s goals, etc). Remember why you applied in the first place, and build off of that.

    Last note (sorry for the length), you certainly can discuss the fact that you are looking to move on because your last job took an emotional toll on you, but that should be brought up moreso in the context of an answer to “why did you/are you looking to leave your position?” versus why you want to work for the new company.

    1. Jessa*

      Yay Princess Bride ref.

      I agree though, all I could think of is “not salacious?” what on earth was the OP doing in their prior job? Then the OP says bereavement videos. So, yes, wrong word, totally.

      1. en pointe*

        Ha, I was sure it was going to be adult film director because my eye had already flicked ahead to the word video.

        1. EE*

          Me too.

          I’m hoping OP typo’d in their e-mail to Alison because it hurts my brain to think that, over and over again, somebody was shooting themselves in the foot in an interview by using a word they didn’t know the meaning of.

          1. Lacey*

            Me too! My jaw dropped when I read that the old job was salacious, the mind was boggling all over the place. It makes me sad to think that this person was putting interviewers totally wrong – what the heck would they think his old job was??

      2. Lora*

        Yeah, I don’t think I could have maintained a poker face for that one if I was the interviewer. “Wow, OP3, can you tell me a little bit more?” And then I would have had a different kind of disappointment in the answer. And then you would have been The Dude Who Made Necrophilia Movies forever, the whole office would have forgotten your real name.

        That said, my ex-husband nearly got fired from his job for complaining, loudly to anyone who was standing within 20 feet of him, about all the “swarthy” politicians in Washington. He called me up throwing a fit about how he got dressed down at work, and I told him, bluntly, that “swarthy” means dark-skinned and he was being a racist jerk. He replied, “it doesn’t mean THAT! (New Girlfriend) says it all the time, it just means sneaky and underhanded!” *Facepalm* I reminded him that our divorce settlement explicitly prohibited alimony payments should he get fired and hung up on him.

        1. Min*

          The absurdity of this made my day. There are few things as frustrating as person who stubbornly refuses to believe that they’re using the wrong word.

          And The Princess Bride came instantly to my mind, too.

            1. Jamie*

              Actually alimony is pretty rare these days. It happens, but it’s usually when there are extenuating circumstances like one spouse was a stay at home parent or curtailed their career for the other, or illness or disability.

              Back in the day it was almost an automatic it seems – but now it’s by far the exception rather than the rule. At least IME.

              1. fposte*

                The rules are state by state, so the likelihood depends to some extent where you are. From what I hear overall, I’d say it’s somewhere between “rare” and “automatic,” and that length of marriage is a big factor; when it is awarded, it’s often a time-limited thing until the other spouse gets settled. (Of course, if you sponsored the spouse’s visa, you’re on the hook regardless.)

          1. Lora*

            No, but I was the main breadwinner as L McD says–in my state, if there are significant changes in income status within a certain time frame (I think one year) of your decree, the agreements certified by the court can be changed because you have to justify that the change was not a deliberate attempt to avoid having to pay the ex their fair share.

            1. Lora*

              Pretty sure it was more that the girlfriend truly WAS very racist and he couldn’t possibly believe that his princess (young enough to be his daughter…ick) was a Bad Person, and he was just repeating what she said. There were other things he repeated from her that were fairly nasty and bigoted. His mother still keeps in touch and the second email she sent me post-divorce detailed how disappointed she was in him, and how she’d now rather have me as a daughter than him as a son. Ouch.

              I’ll add the coda to this story just because it’s funny: One week after the dust finally settled in court about who owed who what and how the assets would be divided up, and I got all the assets minus his car and his business bank account and he got to thank me for not turning him in to DHS/ICE for various criminal offenses, the same princess dumped him for not being able to afford cable TV for her. She got bored doing nothing all day, you see.

              Aaaaanywaaaaay. /end off topic

            2. Jazzy Red*

              I’m surprised by all the people who use incorrect words, or correct words incorrectly. I don’t think there’s a great emphasis on the English language in schools today.

              I would have realized that the OP was using the wrong word, but I would have not been able to figure out what he actually meant. However, I would have known it was a negative comment and not a positive reason to want the job we were talking about.

          1. Ann Furthermore*

            My sister and I were in Mexico about 20 years ago, out and about for the evening. We kept getting hit on by really icky guys…they all had a real lounge-lizard vibe.

            My sister dubbed them all to be “smarmalade.” LOL!

      3. Anonymous*

        It reminded me of an ex who got it in his mind to start describing his mood as “mellow”
        me: How are you?
        him: I’m mellow.

        After a few days or weeks of this via very long distance phone calls, I finally cut and pasted the definition of mellow in an email and said “I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

        Next time, me: How are you?
        him: I’m blue.

        He meant he was depressed, sad, down. Him saying he was mellow was really an absolute wrong answer to the question of how he was doing. Aaarg!

          1. Anonymous*

            That’s probably it. Confusingly enough mellow can sound a lot like melancholy, but I eventually clued in that he was more unhappy and not just very chilled out and that led to the “I don’t think it means what you think it means.”


        1. KJR*

          My boss has a funny habit of mixing his words up. Some examples: “Let’s accelerate (meant: accentuate) the positive!” and “That’s a mute (meant: moot) point.” He also for the longest time kept using the word “exacerbate” incorrectly, such as in, “We need to exacerbate our sales!” Luckily he is a great guy, and doesn’t mind my bringing these things to his attention. As I explain to him, I’m not trying to be the grammar queen here, I just don’t want you to look silly in front of our customers.” He takes it well, and even seems to appreciate it.

            1. Seal*

              I’ve dealt with at least one a-hole who kept insisting “the point is mute”. It’s hard to keep a straight face when that person is confirming their own stupidity right in front of you.

            1. fposte*

              I saw a gorgeous production of The Rivals in London years ago with a comparatively young Geraldine McEwen as a spectacular Mrs. Malaprop. I will remember to my dying day her ringing condemnation that “all men are Bavarians.”

          1. Andrea*

            There’s no chance that I would not laugh at him. I just wouldn’t be able to help it. Then I might have to find a new job just for my own morale.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            A manager at Exjob always said “irregardless.” That is not a word, vernacular be damned. It always simultaneously irritated me and gave me a bit of glee, because he was so annoying and stupid. So when I heard him talking to customers (when he actually did any work) and using that word, I would secretly laugh inside, imagining the customer thinking, “Gawd, what a dumbass.”

            I know that sounds mean, but he was a manipulative bully and liar so I don’t care.

            1. KJR*

              LOL, I don’t blame you!! I did just mention this to another manager a couple of weeks ago. Geez, they must think I’m a real so-and-so. But again, he didn’t seem to mind…I just don’t want the good managers looking like dopes. Bad ones? I’m with ya, who cares??

            2. Sourire*

              Irregardless and “I could care less” kill me. I know both are so common now that they may not even be considered incorrect, but I don’t care. Particularly with the latter. You’re saying exactly the opposite of what you mean! Arg. /end rant

          3. E*

            I know I’m a bit late, but I think I can win this game! Once my husband and I spent a weekend at a lake, where we enjoyed many water-related activities, including water-skiing and wake-boarding. When we got back my mother in law asked if we had fun water-boarding that weekend.

            We about fell out of our chairs laughing, and she could not understand why. It was hilarious.

            1. TychaBrahe*

              I am always secretly amused at people who claim to like water sports.

              Sure, some sports happen in the water, but “water sports” is decidedly different.

          4. TK*

            I subscribe to the little twice-a-week newspaper from my rural hometown. One of the reporters has two favorite words that she likes to use in her articles but doesn’t know the right meaning of.

            The first is “adhere.” She thinks it means just “relates to,” because she says lots of things like “This event adheres perfectly to the events of the day,” and things like that. The other is “brainchild,” which she has backwards– she uses it for the person who has an idea, not the idea itself. Like, “Joe was the brainchild behind the reception.”

            I know this paper is really two small to afford a dedicated copy-editor, but I can’t believe no one who works there ever catches these!

            1. Manda*

              I find it ironic that you misused the word “two” while complaining about the misuse of other words. ;)

    2. Cat*

      I think “salacious” can work in that context if what OP is saying is that they’re basically making tragedy porn; i.e., not sexual per se, but treating the death with that type of lens in the film. However, there’s a high chance the interviewer will pick up the wrong idea regardless. :-)

      1. fposte*

        But I don’t think that’s what the OP meant anyway. She’s not framing it as exploitative–it just makes her really sad. So she’s going for “sorrowful” or something but not quite getting there.

        Sorry, OP; I know you’re probably doing a lot of mental rewinding of interviews right now.

        1. The IT Manager*

          That’s what I took away from the letter. The content of her work was sad and depressing, but now I do wonder if its more that she feels like the work is exploitive and tradegy porn.

    3. Ellie H.*

      I don’t want to pile on or be overly critical but I’m genuinely curious about what the intended word is, or what is intended to convey by “salacious.” I don’t understand at all what is meant.

      1. Andrea*

        Yeah, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what the OP thought he was saying, too. Hilarious, though.

      2. Ann Furthermore*

        The closest thing I can come up with “exploitative,” meaning that the OP felt that the job was capitalizing on people’s grief, or perhaps getting them to agree to do something when they’re emotional, fragile, and not thinking totally clearly, perhaps something they would never be on board with normally.

      3. Mints*

        I didn’t know what salacious meant before AAM said it, but I would have guessed “outrageous” or “provocative” because I think I’ve heard it in context that was sexual scandals but I didn’t realize the word itself referred to sexual. Does my explanation make sense at all or am I being rambley

        1. Amy B.*

          I’ll admit it. I thought the same thing. I’ve never used it, just always assumed it meant “outrageous” or “provocative” when I heard it.

          1. Ellie H.*

            “Provocative” is maybe a little closer to it, but it really means sexual, explicit, characterized by sexual thoughts, etc. but it often also implies that something is illicit. Like you could dance in a salacious way, details about how often a couple having an affair checked into a hotel together would be “salacious details,” etc. A more pedestrian synonym is “dirty” I guess!

      4. Ellie H.*

        This is really driving me crazy. I even opened up a dictionary to look at all the words that start with “sal-“. I can’t figure it out! I also can’t think of a single one-word description that would effectively describe the climate of the LW3’s previous job.

        1. Jamie*

          I did too – it’s not just you. I even went to the thesaurus hoping a synonym of upsetting, wrenching, or unsettling would do it.

          The closest I came was sanguineous in the S section (of or relating to bloodshed) but unless all the death tributes were due to axe murders that’s probably not it.

          Things like this can drive you crazy – and it’s reformat old hard drive day for me so I’m thinking about it while doing some mindless (but needed) work.

          This happened to me once in real life where someone wanted to talk to me about “My charade of an inventory cost project.” I still, to this day, have no idea what that meant and the person who said it realized it wasn’t the word he was looking for and never did find the word he was reaching for.

          That one still rattles around the back of my mind, too.

          1. Diane*

            You were pretending to do an inventory cost project? It was incredibly over-the-top and purely for show? I have no idea.

            1. Jamie*

              No – he even choked and said he had no idea what charade meant.

              Although I do a hell of an inventory show. A lot of feathers and sequins. :)

          1. Ellie H.*

            “Voyeuristic” is definitely a step toward making more sense, because I can see it being a reasonable concern in the context of the LW’s field (producing documentary films); that’s a criticism people sometimes make about documentaries. I would think that not taking a voyeuristic approach would be the minimum goal of any company that makes such films, though, so it’s still a very strange thing to say in an interview, as Alison’s advice indicates.

        2. lonepear*

          I struggled with this too and came up with “salubrious”, which sounds like “lugubrious”… which is two implausible logical steps away, but otherwise I got nothin’.

        3. TheSnarkyB*

          Honestly, I think the OP just meant “dramatic.” Maybe they heard salacious in a context that also implied “provocative” or “dramatic” and OP just extrapolated incorrectly.

  2. Brett*

    I took #1 as a completely different question. I took the involvement of a lawyer and the phrasing to mean that the company would not just fire the employee, but take them to court to make the ex-employee take down the posting.
    In other words, was the OP asking if the company had the right to actual control their facebook page and what is posted on it, not just fire the employee for what they post.

    1. Michael*

      It’s gray. There was a court case where someone used their personal blog for work and when fired had another coworker who knew their login take over the account for exclusive use by the company. The court smacked their hand and she got it back but it certainly happens. There needs to be a clear separation between personal and work accounts.

      Now, over a purely personal account? No. They can’t force you to do anything but they can fire you. However, be smart about it and set your privacy settings!

      1. Josh S*

        Exactly. This is a great example of a reason to not “friend” coworkers and to lock down your privacy settings.

        Then again, there’s nothing you can do if a friend takes a photo of you with a beer, publishes it publicly, and tags your name. The lack of control you have over your online persona makes corporate edicts like OP#1’s all the more ridiculous.

    2. en pointe*

      Presumably, if the company were to fire the employee they wouldn’t care whether or not a picture of them drinking a beer was taken down because that person would no longer be representing them.

      I don’t think this company wants to control what people do post, so much as control what they don’t post – and the lawyer was some weird attempt at making it all seem more serious and perhaps “scaring” the employees into compliance.

      1. Bea W*

        If they didn’t want to control what people posted, then why bother “scaring” them into compliance?

    3. harnanton*

      Of course they do. It’s no different to a business or personal page.

      The confusion on this issue by many in the workforce doesn’t make sense to me. This seems like a strange analogy, but it’s no different to one’s home network. I have the means to control my own home network since I own it and built it. It’s that simple.

      1. en pointe*

        Yes but that appears to be the issue.

        The OP’s employer wants to control what employees post while using their own home networks as well.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Nope. Nopey nope nope-ity nope. My home network and personal pages are not connected to my work page/network and I don’t say where my job is on them. I don’t want to work for you if you reach into my off-hours.

          1. Bea W*

            +1 What I do on my own time from my own equipment on my own network which I pay for is not my employer’s business. Sure, I would understand if they came across me slandering them or something, but getting all lawyer over things like a picture of someone drinking a beer and posting it on a personal page, without any comment on the workplace or who you work for? Last time I checked, this was a perfectly legal activity for anyone over the age of 21.

            Who gets to define what is acceptable to post on a personal site? Can I post pictures of me playing with cats? What about dogs? What if my friend is holding a beer and I’m not? Seriously? WTF? I really think employers overreach their bounds when it comes to things like that. If it’s not okay to post a photo of drinking a beer, because other people might see it and get the wrong impression, then it’s also not okay to go out in public and drink a beer, because OMG someone might see you and will judge an entire company for your stupid one beer bender. Really, if that is what someone is going to argue, that seeing a photo of you will damage the companies rep, seeing the same in public carries the same risk.

            I don’t understand why more people don’t find this unacceptable overreach into workers’ personal lives. It’s totally within bounds to limit what employees do while on the job using the company’s resources, but their right or privilege to control what someone does online ends when the employee leaves at the end of the day. That may not be how it is, but I think that is how it should be for most everyone. Most of us do not work in highly public profile positions that would cause damage to a company if someone posts a silly photo to FB or goes out for drinks with a couple friends.

            If the government started attempting to censor personal pages like this, people would be all up in arms. It may be legal for a private company to do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.

            1. Anon*

              Bea: +++++10 Excellently said. Employers are crazy if they think they should have a right to discipline an employee based on their personal life actions (outside of salacious (ding!) slandering of the company). The “beer in your hand” is ridiculous. And what if you are a pro or anti abortion believer? Can you not express your opinion as outlined by our Freedom of Speech right? Big Brother is wanting to make us all quiet and compliant Stepford Wives.

    4. Brett*

      Facebook makes a lot of gray issues because of their one account policy too. You can’t have a business account and a personal account, so if, say, you are a content provider for the business facebook page, you -must- use your personal account to manage that content. So, whenever you log into facebook and post personal content, you simultaneously have access to and can post content to the business facebook page.

      1. Jamie*

        Yes, and when is Facebook going to get around to changing that?

        I had to create a personal Facebook account to manage the business page, and I really didn’t appreciate having to do that. Now I get all these notifications about do I know so and so – because my husband added me as a friend and then deleted me upon threat of divorce…but it’s still aggravating.

        1. Anon*

          I created a ‘work’ type dummy account to manage the page for my office. I in no way wanted it connected to my personal account. Plus, they were all jumpy about it and didn’t really understand Facebook, keeping it separate just seemed like the best option, no possible crossover.

      2. Kristin*

        Meh, I have multiple Facebook accounts for business stuff, sure it’s a “rule” but if you make the name different enough no one will ever know.

      3. ChristineSW*

        Wait, I don’t get this. Wouldn’t a company just create the page, then give the appropriate employees the log-in info? Why would I need to use my own Facebook page to manage the content of Teapots Inc.’s page?

        /stupid question

        1. Jamie*

          You can’t create an account as a business per se – you need names, birthdates, etc.

          And even when you create a Facebook business page you need a person’s account to admin it. I’d have loved to have created a business only page – but it wanted my name and birthdate etc and I am not going to make up a fake name and create a fake account – because I shouldn’t have to do that to do my job.

          I tried using the business name (3 words) and first and last name to create an account and it bounced back – needed a person’s name. This was a few years ago and they may have changed it since then.

          1. LMW*

            No, it’s still the same. I absolutely hate this. I also hate how Google wants to constantly link your identity to everything if you’re just signed into email. I do social media for a living, but my private personal use is completely separate.

            1. Jamie*

              Yep – and google plus same thing. Try doing that with a business name only. But they court businesses to sign up.

              If I were more whimsical I would use the invisible child “Not Me” from the old Family Circus comics and all my business accounts would be in Not Me’s name.

              (and I’m aware that I just outed myself as being several hundred years old by using a Family Circus comment as if that’s relevant in 2013.)

              1. fposte*

                I order a lot of stuff with a dummy email address that is pretty much just that (and I’ve checked, the domain isn’t real either). I suspect it’s saved me from a ton of spam.

                1. Manda*

                  I don’t understand why you’d want to do that. They’ll often send some sort of order confirmation which could be important. Why not just create a separate account specifically for ordering things?

                1. fposte*

                  Surely I’m not the only fan here of the Comics Curmudgeon at
                  it’s an extremely knowing, deeply irreverent and at heart affectionate look at the funnies, and he had some nice exchanges with Bil Keane before Bil’s death.

              2. TheSnarkyB*

                I love Family Circus!! I don’t get the newspaper anymore, but I saw it in there the other day (someone else’s – on the subway). and I’m 23!

            2. Elizabeth West*

              Ugh, YouTube keeps asking me to USE MY REAL NAME!!! Abso-freaking-lutely not. Not on YouTube. I’m getting tired of clicking my user name just to comment on a video or watch something.

              1. Rayner*

                I second this so hard.

                I do not want people online to know that I like to watch videos of cute cats, idiots trying to do stunts and failing, and the kind of music that I like.

                I don’t care that it’s not secret – it’s my life. Stop trying to put everybody into every aspect of it, Google!

                1. Manda*

                  This! I do not announce what music I like or what hobbies I have or whatever else to everybody I’ve ever met and it doesn’t matter that these things aren’t big secrets. It’s just that it doesn’t matter, nobody cares, and nobody needs to know. I’ll keep non-secrets private if I damn well please. Google drives me nuts sometimes. I’m tired of having to tell them I don’t want to use my real name on YouTube and I hate that there’s no “don’t ask me again” check box. I think there’s even some dumb screen that asks you to set up a Google+ page for your YouTube account or something. I want nothing to do with Google+. There isn’t even a “no thanks” or “not now” option. I just have to click the X until the next time it asks me. I’m sure tons of not-so-computer-savvy people get roped into crap like that because they have no idea what they’re clicking or how to opt out. GRR!!

                2. Jen in RO*

                  I hate it that I can’t leave a review on Play without a G+ account. I have FB already (pretty public), but I don’t want to give *all* my personal details to Google.

                1. Rana*

                  Oh, clever! I’ll have to try that.

                  Yeah, I don’t want to have all my accounts linked, thank you very much. I set them up as separate and pseudonymous for a reason!

                2. Anon*

                  Manda: Ditto on the Google+ thing, and to use my new Android phone, I had to set up a Google email acct. Now I’ve got this G+ nightmare thing on my phone with posts from complete strangers, whose crap I don’t want to see either..and the last thing I need is another Facebook Jr. And I don’t see an opt-out on the mobile version. I need a separate tech help blog from here :)

                3. Manda*

                  @Anon: You can have a Gmail address without Google+ but I’m not sure how that affects your phone. I don’t know if you just need Gmail to use Android, or if you need Google+. I don’t know if you can opt out while creating your Gmail account, but you can close the Google+ page that gets created automatically. I can’t remember how off the top of my head, but the instructions are somewhere in Google’s help pages. Just be careful to delete only your Google+ page, not the whole Gmail account.

              2. Melissa*

                YouTube keeps asking me, too. Google bought them, and now Google wants you to use your Google email with YouTube. A few months ago they forced me to tie my email address with YT, but I refuse to use my real name on that website.

            3. Melissa*

              I hate that nowadays, to merely leave a comment on a newspaper article or blog post (except here, thankfully) they want you to go through this process of signing up for an account. And not only do you have to sign up for an account, you have to provide a valid email address and verify that email address before you can comment. Or you have to link with Twitter or Facebook. Ugh! It’s just so that they can sell your information to someone and/or spam you with a bunch of sponsored ads and offers.

      4. Sunshine DC*

        Do people really pay mind to that policy? My friends usually have at least 2 FB accounts explicitly to do that kind of thing.

        1. Sunshine DC*

          I mean who puts their real birthdate, etc, in a FB account? Just use a different variation of your name and no problems.

          1. Jamie*

            My point is I shouldn’t have to make up a name or fake anything to do my job – and since Facebook courts businesses and wants us to have FB accounts and business pages they should make it possible to set one up as an admin for a business without having to fake anything.

            It doesn’t keep me up nights – it’s just a pet peeve…they badger me with spam to put my business on FB and when my boss decides they want one I should be able to set up a business account to do that. It just seems like an avoidable oversight to me.

          2. the gold digger*

            My husband’s parents got all annoyed with him because he has a fake anniversary in his FB profile, does not list his birthplace, and doesn’t show his parents and half-brothers as relations.

            He had to explain the concept of privacy to them, which was a new concept, as his dad was the one to invite my husband (then boyfriend) and me to use their two-person shower the very first time I met them and who then explained that he and my husband’s mom took showers together all the time.

      5. Brett*

        Facebook has actually stepped up enforcement of this. We recently had several “dummy” accounts deleted (we run multiple pages). If you do want to run a personal account and a business account, you have to make certain that your keep your logins separate. Don’t log in to both accounts from the same computer.

        And even then, they still often nail dummy accounts because they do not have “real person” names. The really nasty part is that this can leave a page headless. The page still exists but has no administrator and hence no new content can be posted. (You can get admin rights restored by filing a bug report, but you need an account to place as the new admin.)

        But Facebook pages are tenuous anyway. A friend of mine had a page with over 300,000 followers (he was the author of a popular extension) that Facebook deleted last month with no explanation other than accusing him of spam :/

        1. Brett*

          I think around August? The effect was much more noticeable with groups than pages. Since group admins are public (page admins are not), a lot of groups had phony admin accounts and groups were getting closed in droves because their admin profiles were getting deleted (if the last admin of a group gets deleted, the group automatically closes).

          Another place it was very noticeable was in the local newspaper. They use Facebook comments and there were a lot of “sock puppet” fake profiles out there. Those sock puppets started disappearing over the last couple of months and now are almost completely gone.

          I suspect the new implementation of Graph made it a lot easier to track down fake profiles, and that is why the crackdown happened. Facebook does allow you to transfer a page to a new profile if the last admin profile on a page is deleted.

  3. MJ*

    OP #5, where have you gotten the $28.50 figure from, out of curiosity? I can’t seem to swing the math, unless of course you’re working less than 40 hours per week…

    1. Cathy G*

      Lots of people use 2000 hrs as an approximation of the hours in the work year because it’s easy to multiply or divide in your head. If you were promised $57,000/yr then your hourly rate should be around 57000/2000. Drop the zeros and divide 57 by 2 and you get $28.50.

      This is just an estimate though, and $27.41/hr is within the range.

    2. Laufey*

      I’d bet the OP gets vacation and/or sick time as PTO and didn’t include that time in the calculation. OP would technically get paid for it, but might not view it as working 52 weeks per year.

      1. MissM*

        Yes, that was my thought. They may actually only work 50 weeks per year. But that’s like saying you get paid $57,000 for 50 weeks and then get paid another two weeks vacation pay on top of the $57,000.

    3. Ellie H.*

      I just calculated my annual rate based on my hourly rate (35 hours a week, which is 1820 hours a year) and it’s about 5k more than I thought it was. I am totally perplexed as to how I came up with the original lower figure.

  4. Female sam*

    #4 – are there any parts of the job/types of projects that you do enjoy doing? I think a diplomatic way to address the issue in your review is to explain that the work is not what you expected initially, having never worked in the field, but that you enjoy doing X and Y, and see if you can request more projects involving X and Y. If your boss agrees, it might go some way to making your current job more tolerable in the shorter term whilst you find a new job.

  5. JJ*

    For #3 I would say something about what interested me in the company (their mission, what they do, etc.) or what interests me about the particular job (something I’m excited about doing)

  6. Elise*

    #4 – It seems like the only time it would be a benefit to.say anything is if there is another job open at your company which you would prefer.

  7. HR Personal&Confidential*

    I have to confess I was really looking forward to the rest of the post after my Google search for “salacious”.

    1. The IT Manager*

      Totally. I stopped reading to double check the definition of “salacious” probably because it really doesn’t make much sense in a work context and then was picturing a soap opera -like work atmosphere until the mention of death videos.

      That’s said, the misuse of “salacious” is probably not the main problem with that answer. If a LW had been saying “I want a job here because my work at my current job is just so depressing and this place seems happy “that’s still a horrible answer. Why do you want to work here should be answered in some way to say why a particular thing or things about the company appeals to you. This is almost as bad as saying “for the paycheck” and you’ll be happy to work anywhere that doesn’t have you creating rememeberence vidoes.

  8. HR Personal&Confidential*

    Very often hourly rates are used in yearly salaries for accounting purposes. 2080 hrs is the standard I’ve used my current and past 2 companies worked for.

    1. AdminAnon*

      I feel much better now! When I was offered my current position, I was told that the salary would be $x, but my calculations weren’t adding up to that. I just used 2080 hours and voila! Exactly what I was told. I’m not sure how I managed to bung up my calculations, but thank you for clearing that up!

      1. AdminAnon*

        Oh, I figured it out. I didn’t use 40 x 52–I used (40 x 4)12. Did I mention my degree is in English? *facepalm*

        1. Chrissi*

          I used to work on salary and benefits statistics, and we always used 2080 hours/year for a 40 hour work week. Also, we used 4.3 weeks/month if it was necessary to calculate something using weeks and months instead.

        2. Manda*

          (40×4)x13 = 40×52 = 2080
          There’s just over 4 weeks in each month and the extra days happen to add up to another 4 weeks (plus a day or two, but we’re ignoring that here) each year.
          Think of a deck of cards if you want to remember that:
          (4 suits) x (13 cards in each suit) = 52 cards

  9. harnanton*

    1 – It’s their LAN and/or WAN, so they have the right to determine what goes on. I don’t get frankly why people complain about topics as this, since it’s common sense, they own it, they dictate what network traffic goes on there. I think personally, employees should be free to surf where they want, provided it’s not porn, or some racist/white supremacist site or anything.

    3 – I’d say look at the firm’s product portfolio, mission, markets served, etc. and say how you would like to be part of that and how you can add to that. So if for instance you joined Sprint, simply say that for many years you have had an interest in modern technology, and see how it has improved the lives of many around the world.

    4 – No, NEVER say that, to ANY boss. S/he would mark you, and consider you first in layoffs, and at least last for promotions or other rewards.

    How you word it is key IMO. Saying “I’ve enjoyed working at this organisation, but I am looking to add and enhance my existing work. Are there any projects that require urgent attention, which have been outstanding for a while? I am willing to work on such, as I feel I have additional skills to offer both the department and the organisation.”

    A good boss would be truthful, if there are no projects available, or give you the scope to get more involved. But saying “I hate my job” is not advisable, in any case. You’d also look like a whiner/malcontent IMO.

    1. Jen in RO*

      #1 – But if you post from home, about your company? I think that was the OP’s question. It’s your computer, you internet connection, you personal FB page.

        1. VintageLydia*

          I just don’t see how it’s anyone’s business, particularly my employer’s, what I do in my private life. Who cares if I have a picture up of me participating in a perfectly legal activity. How would banning me from posting that picture from my home, on my own social networking sites help improve productivity? I can see, say, a conservative church not wanting their employees doing that, but I still think its none of their business, and something tells me the OP’s employer isn’t a church.

          I do understand it’s legal. I just think it’s stupid.

          1. Rana*

            Agreed. The internet at large is a mixture of public space and private spaces, not company space. What I do in it during my off hours isn’t any of their damn business.

          2. harnanton*

            it’s a moot point and a gray area IMO.

            Legal is fine, but then as you say it depends on the organisation, it’s culture and it’s target market and how they would think.

            I agree in principle that what people do away from work is their own business, however it simply depends, it’s not a black and white case.

      1. hamster*

        It would be difficult anywhere in Europe, and in romania also to get fired for a reason like this.

      2. Danny*

        A nonprofit I worked for had an employee (a paid intern) leave a public comment on a public facebook post insulting the community we advocate for (it was a nonprofit), and proclaiming that she had a leadership position at the organization (she didn’t). It didn’t matter that it was done on her own time (after a night of drinking, apparently) with her own computer, the combo of bigotry + the lying about being in charge of our huge annual fundraiser was enough to let her go.

        1. Lucy*

          And she should have been let go!

          But she was posting about the org. which makes it the company’s business. I think the issue here is posting about your personal life, not related to the organization.

          1. Bea W*

            And misrepresenting herself as speaking on behalf of the org on top of that. That is not close to being in the same league as being out with friends, and posting a totally work-unrelated photo on your own personal page.

        2. Cath@VWXYNot?*

          Someone at my old company not only complained about work on his personal blog, but also listed (in detail) some ongoing problems with one of the company’s highest-profile products. I thought he was going to get fired for sure, but they kept him on because then they could control what he did online in the future – he deleted his blog and was told that they’d be checking to make sure he didn’t start blogging anywhere else. If they’d fired him, he could have said and done whatever he wanted, anywhere on the internet. It was an understandable decision from a business perspective, but it didn’t exactly make it any easier to have to keep working with him.

  10. Ruffingit*

    #3: So often we compare job stuff to the dating world and in this case, I think that comparison works too. Think of it this way – if you were going out with someone new and she asked what you like about her, would you say “You’re better than my last girlfriend…” I hope not. You would (I hope) tell her what is great about HER. Same with the job thing. Doesn’t matter how bad your last job was, the new job wants to know what’s great about them.

  11. Mike C.*

    With regards to #1, I’m really, really disturbed at the utter lack of outrage that a company is going to tell you that you can’t ever have pictures on your own facebook/website/whatever involving perfectly legal activities. It’s your own time, it’s your own money.

    What if instead of drinking, your boss told you that you couldn’t be pictured at a political rally? Would folks be cool with that? What if they said you couldn’t be pictured playing certain sports or wearing certain jerseys, because of sponsorship issues?

    Legal or not, doesn’t anyone think this is absolutely nuts?

    1. Jen in RO*

      I think it’s beyond stupid, especially if you don’t even have the company listed on your profile. (And I really hope that Anonymous below @ 7.58 is being sarcastic!)

    2. rw*


      When a consulting agency tried to push us to adopt similar policies, we let them go. We–all employees have equal votes on policy changes here–unanimously decided paying the early termination fee would be cheaper in the long-term than the performance effects of implementing such draconian policies*. We don’t want to feel like we’re being watched by work 24/7; we already give them at least 8/5.

      *As always, there are some exceptions of course (e.g. a LEO with a hate-promoting website)

    3. Omne*

      Depends on the job.

      If I worked for the Republican National Committee and posted pictures of myself on stage giving the thumbs up to the local Democratic candidate then I would expect to be fired.

      If I worked for AA and posted lots of pictures of myself drunk and partying then I would expect to probably be fired.

      If I worked as school guidance counselor and posted pictures of myself partying with scantily clad teenage girls then I would expect to probably be fired.

      1. KellyK*

        Sure, but that’s very different from the OP’s question about completely innocuous pictures. With all of your examples, it seems much more like the *action* that’s fireable, and posting it on Facebook is just how they’re finding out about it.

      2. Mike C.*

        I think it’s pretty clear that if you work for an advocacy organization that going against the direct mission is a problem. The same thing applies if your job is to represent someone/some organization. In those cases the link is direct. Or maybe in the case of committing crimes while wearing a giant company t-shirt or something. In all of those cases, the link between employee and employer are clear.

        For the rest of us? It’s a load of crap. My actions when I’m not clocked in are my own and only an idiot would even think I was representing my company.

        1. Omne*

          My point was that your original statement was extremely broad and that there are jobs where things like this are legitimate concerns. That’s why I don’t feel an automatic sense of outrage.

          I don’t know what organization the OP works for so I don’t know if there is a valid concern or not.

          1. Mike C.*

            No, it’s not extremely broad because those jobs in which an employee might be legitimately representing a company off hours are extremely rare. To apply those restrictions widely is simply nuts.

            1. Lucy*

              I don’t agree. I think employees are generally representing their employers while off-duty. If I am out to dinner with a friend and I run into a client (or vendor or donor or consultant or someone who works for a competitor) in there eyes I am representing my employer.

              But I think it is the employers responsibility to hire staff who they feel will act appropriately on and off duty.

              That said – I think that the times when your personal life can legitimately be governed by your employer are rare. Posting a photo of yourself drinking a beer on Facebook would only be the employers business if their company had a very clear anti-alcohol related mission and that is going to be rare.

              1. KellyK*

                But I think there’s a difference between representing the company to a specific client/donor/etc. who knows you by sight and representing the company to the general public every waking minute.

                1. Anon*

                  Lucy: I disagree here.. just because you work for an organization doesnt mean they “own” you. You are not their pet or their robot to perform 24/7 at their whim. You are allowed to be an actual person with interests, friends and to let loose and be silly w/o fear of repercussion. I can’t wait for the class action suits to begin (and no, I’m not a lawyer)

    4. Joey*

      It sounds ridiculous on the surface until you’re an employer that has to deal with it. I’m not saying I agree with big brothering employee’s personal lives, but I know if I were an owner of a company I wouldn’t want people that do embarrassing or inappropriate things and post it for the world to see linked to my company.

      1. Cat*

        And yet, many employers manage to suppress this urge and not try to control every facet of their employees’ lives, much as they might like to.

        1. VintageLydia*


          If its actually affecting the business.(and you absolutely know it, not just as a hunch) I’d deal with it on a case-by-case, but premptively banning otherwise normal activity? Nope nope nope nope.

          1. Joey*

            If this matters to a business you can bet they aren’t going to wait until after it affects their business before they take action. Their going to try to prevent it in the first place.

            1. Cat*

              And if they have some sense, they’ll also think about the costs of this kind of policy, which is that it’s yet another thing that is going to alienate any employees that have other choices.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Will it though? I agree that some of these policies are over-reaching, but I don’t see people leaving over a policy that they can’t have photos of themselves doing a keg stand on their Facebook page. I see them rolling their eyes or locking their page down or not caring at all since they’re past the age where they’d post things like that and thus assuming it won’t affect them in the slightest. I’m not sure you’re going to get people caring enough to leave over it.

                1. Cat*

                  I don’t think in and of itself it’s going to influence much. But I think it’s the kind of thing that when taken in concert with other command and control-type policies (for lack of a better word) is ultimately going to foster a much less attractive workplace. Especially since in this case, it’s not just keg stands (which I agree – whatever); it’s any picture of you standing around holding a beer with friends, which your sister-in-law might end up posting and tagging you in without you ever noticing. That’s the kind of thing that adds some mental burden and starts to tip the scales away from your current job when you’re considering options.

                  I feel this way about a lot of the intrusive employer policies that get discussed here – creepy wellness initiatives; roaming office chaplains; illogical dress code policies. Everyone’s office probably has something stupid like one of these things; but once you start piling them on top of each other, they start to have a measurable effect on your job satisfaction.

                2. Cat*

                  And to expand a little further, I think that the real harm of this kind of stuff is often that it makes people feel a little more nitpicked and a little more disconnected and like they have a little less agency. In the long term, you keep good people in part by letting them feel like they’re trusted to do what they do well; the more you weight them down with irrelevant baggage, the less they’re going to feel like they have the kind of investment in their job that you want them to have.

                3. Jamie*

                  I agree – this isn’t the kind of thing that’s going to drive professionals back onto the market in droves.

                  I also think for the rare employer that is policing this, the majority of them aren’t looking askance at a picture of someone with a beer or a drink visible. But more along the lines of posting pics about how wasted you got.

                  And if you think about it, if you were in a bar and your boss walked in and you were completely wasted and obnoxious would you be a little embarrassed the next day – because you’d rather your boss didn’t see you like that? A lot of people would and the reason is because they’d be afraid it changed the way they were seen and that maybe the boss lost some respect for them.

                  When you post the pics where your co-workers or boss can see it it’s inviting them into that very scenario after the fact.

                  I’m not saying employers should police Facebook pages – but it’s not new that if the boss were to see you drunk there could be some social or political ramifications of that. Posting it online just makes it more likely that the boss is exposed to parts of you that in pre-internet days they probably wouldn’t see.

                  I doubt very much people are getting called into HR on a regular basis because they were pictured out at dinner with a drink on the table. But if a company wants to be concerned about what they consider OTT behavior shown online they have a right to worry about that – because if an employer can google it so can a client. Maybe clients don’t want to work with reps who are posting partying pics online – who knows?

                  An employer has a right to be concerned about whatever they think is affecting the bottom line and an employee has the right not to work there if they don’t like the policies.

                  But no one has the right to do whatever they want and not have it affect the judgements of other people. If I get drunk and jump on the bar and start singing badly and embarrassing myself it would hurt my credibility at work if my co-workers saw that. The odds of them seeing them go up immensely if I post that video where they can google it.

                4. Cat*

                  But Jamie, we’re not talking about chance encounters at the bar, which are embarrassing but people move on. We’re talking about a company specifically bringing a lawyer in to lecture its employees about truly irrelevant behavior. Maybe there was something egregious that sparked it; in fact, probably there was (this seems like a classic case of dragging everyone into something instead of just addressing a problem with someone who caused it). But from what’s presented, the company is also addressing completely mundane behavior.

                  No, their employees aren’t going to quit in droves over it, but that doesn’t mean that this type of thing, when aggregated, doesn’t affect how people view their jobs in the long term. Personally, this isn’t the kind of culture I think it’s a good idea to foster in my workplace, or the kind of culture that gets and keeps the employees I want in the long term.

                5. VintageLydia*

                  The issue I have is that other people can upload pictures of you. Even if they don’t tag you, it doesn’t mean you won’t be recognizable in other people’s photos, and you have absolutely no control over that. You can try avoiding other people’s cameras, but when everyone has one in their pocket, that’s a bit of a fool’s errand.
                  Sure, keg stand photos are in bad taste. Something tells me, though, it’s not an issue widespread enough to enact a policy over. The specific example given in the OP is holding a beer. That’s a ridiculous thing to try to police. Hell, you could be holding a friend’s beer when they go to the restroom when someone decides to snap a photo.

                6. Jamie*

                  @Cat – I don’t agree with the policy. Except in cases such as the HIPAA example, I think it’s ridiculous and Big Brotherish and I’d find another job if I were told to police personal FB accounts.

                  I was just responding to the sentiment, and it wasn’t from you so I shouldn’t have included it in this comment, that work is work and personal life is personal life and what one does in one’s personal life is none of the employers business. And while I agree it may not be their business, how we behave in our personal lives has always impacted how others see us – and posting it online just gives it a longer life than when it was something seen live. And gossip and reputation has always mattered to some businesses.

                  But I don’t think this is a good use of policy and I do agree that it probably stemmed from one incident and instead of addressing one person they throw a blanket policy in place and that’s always bad practice.

                  Because yes, if a business loses or could lose a client because their sales rep posts pics easily googleable on a personal page of herself naked and doing body shots they should be able to address that – because unprofessional behavior outside of work affects work if people can see it. But to broaden that to include monitoring everyone’s accounts just in case is insulting and bad business.

                  Employers shouldn’t try to police behavior, but employees should understand that if their behavior is going to hurt the business there will be issues.

                  Would a pic where you’re holding a beer rise to that? Unless it were TeeTotalers Inc or some kind of business where it was explicitly forbidden then to most reasonable people, no.

                7. BCW*

                  I don’t know that I’d leave an otherwise good job over it, but if word got out about how bad they were with this type of thing, people may choose not to apply there.

                  Even if you do want to do a keg stand, what does it matter. Trust me, I can do a keg stand and not be nearly as drunk as some soccer mom’s and their sneaking wine into juice boxes at their kids soccer games. But then that goes back to the judgement that people have about how/when it happens. I’d argue that getting drunk at a kids event is far worse than doing a keg stand at a friends party.

                8. Joey*

                  But if it matters to an employer and they anticipate it may happen again a policy is the best way to go, legally. It becomes much more defensible to fire someone when there’s a clear policy violation, both for EEOC and unemployment issues.

                9. Lora*

                  You’ll get people like me looking at applications asking for all your social media accounts and passwords and saying NOPE NOPE NOPE.

                  Had an ExJob CIO push hard on how we all had to lock down our whatever, I think it was LinkedIn profiles? The resounding chorus of “That’s stupid, how else am I supposed to get a new job when you people run out of money?” shouted him down. He was eventually fired because all his ideas were similarly foolhardy and everyone just alternated between ignoring him and making fun of him. Pretty much, you don’t want the entire staff telling you to go soak your head when you present bright ideas like that. It’s embarrassing.

                10. Anon*

                  @VintageLydia: I agree re: being tagged in pics. If you have a FB account, you can lock that down. BUT that requires that you have a FB account – which it seems a lot of ppl on here don’t have/don’t want to have. Then you have no control over what’s posted of you. Plus a pic of you can be posted and not tagged and you’re still recognizable, and unaware that pic of you exists out there.

      2. Anonymous*

        Drinking a beer is not embarrassing, though. And honestly, can’t the company just request you don’t put the name of the companion your page if they’re so worried? So much easier.

        1. KellyK*

          Also a good suggestion. My FB is pretty tame, but I have opinions (lots of them, in fact), and I don’t want anyone to foolishly think that I speak for my company when I’m talking about politics or religion or why Sleepy Hollow and Once Upon a Time are such fantastic shows and Twilight is an abomination.

          1. Chrissi*

            I watched the pilot of Sleepy Hollow so I could see how much of a train wreck it was going to be and ended up enjoying it instead and now I can’t stop watching it. Darnit.

          2. Omne*

            “…Twilight is an abomination.”

            Seeing the fluffy werewolves was enough to make me avoid it.

            Now the Lycans from the Underworld series… those are Werewolves.

          3. Tiff*

            I have enjoyed Sleepy Hollow so far, but I have to say it: I can’t stand Ichobod’s clothing! He looks like he smells bad.

      3. BCW*

        I think there is a reasonable expectation though that needs to be looked at. A picture of me with a beer shouldn’t be a problem. Now a picture of me passed out drunk I could see a company not wanting you representing the company. However, I also think privacy settings need to be looked at. Yes, if you are completely public AND have your company listed, ok, they can ask you to take it down.

        Also, to me these things tend to lead to a lot of judgement about context of the event\. Many places like this would probably frown on a picture of you at a bar with a beer or shot, yet have no problem of a picture of you at a wedding with a glass of champagne. Which is totally dumb. If I’m an employer, why do I care what activities (within reason of course) my employees do if they are a good employee.

      4. Mike C.*

        Lets say I get wasted and pictures show up on my Facebook. How is that linked to my employer?

        What is it exactly that the employer has to deal with? Is a client of yours going to get upset that the guy in the mailroom smoked a joint a few weeks ago? That the receptionist had a few glasses of wine while dressed up at a Halloween party?

        What do you mean exactly by “when an employer has to deal with it”? What is it that they are dealing with exactly?

        1. Joey*

          You might develop a reputation as someone who hires immature people. Or your more conservative clients might not agree with doing business with people who excessively drink, do drugs, etc and may choose to take their business to someone who shares their values.

          Granted, I’ve seen this more in small towns where everyone knows everyone and local business are dependent on the local community for business.

          1. TL*

            In which case, it’s probably less Facebook-dependent than rumor-mill-driven. And it doesn’t really matter what goes on your Facebook or even if you have a Facebook once the small-town rumor-mill gets involved. :)

            1. Joey*

              True, but I can understand why an employer might not want to hire someone who has public information out there that MIGHT negatively impact their business.

              I know if my mom had a choice between say a real estate agent who she researched and saw partying on FB vs. someone who posted about going to church you can probably guess which one she would choose first.

              1. TL*

                I would actually pick the parties over the church- goer, but then again, I don’t look up people on Facebook unless I want to friend them. I would just ask around for references.

          2. Lora*

            If that was the case, pretty much every stockbroker and high-finance M&A type I’ve ever met would have a reputation for hiring illicit drug-fueled idiots. Those guys live to party and go out clubbing/boozing.

            Fair’s fair, I’m pretty fussed about who I trust with my retirement accounts because of that…

            1. Anon*

              The hard hitters I’ve worked with in the past usually party hard once in awhile. Alpha at work = alpha at play. Doesn’t mean they’re not good at their job, and if that job is making me money, just get it done.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      For what it’s worth, it’s pretty rare for a company to do this. There are some obvious exceptions — teaching, law enforcement, politics — but generally you don’t otherwise see policies like that. (And in those three fields, you pretty much know when you get into them that that’s likely to be part of the package.)

      1. Mike C.*

        And the only way to keep it that way is to push back against it when someone “gets a brilliant idea”.

      2. Joey*

        Public sector in general is pretty strict as well. There are so many people out there looking to say “gotcha” to government mismanagement.

      3. Lora*

        Yup. Dating a junior high school teacher who is nearly impossible to get in touch with any way other than making a land-line phone call during hours when I know he is home, because he avoids even having more than an emergencies-only flip phone. He does not text, he rarely emails and does not do social media. I get it why he has to do that, but it’s kinda frustrating to send an email Sunday night that says, “here’s my schedule this week, can we get together on Tuesday?” and he doesn’t respond till Thursday. His employer has ALL THE PASSWORDS. I sent him an email once that said “it was great to see you, can’t wait to kiss you again,” and THAT was a big deal. Just…really? He’s a single guy who kissed a woman of a similar age after a night out dancing (without drinking anything stronger than lemon water) and the delicate psyches of 13-year-olds will shatter?

    6. Elizabeth*

      I’ll say this, as someone who has had occasion to monitor employee FaceBook pages: when the employer is being held legally responsible for the actions of the employee even outside of work time, the rules change.

      The LW in #1 said that they deal with HIPAA*. On September 23, 2013, the regulations that enforce the Privacy & Security requirements changed in ways that most people who aren’t intimately familiar the details don’t understand. Someone posts a picture to Facebook that identifies a patient/client as receiving services? That’s a breach, and the service provider has to notify the patient/client that it occurred, even though the patient/client may have been thrilled that it was taken & posted. The following January, the provider has to notify the Department of Health & Human Services that the breach occurred, potentially opening up the provider to a federal investigation of the actions of their employees, leading to possible fines and federal prosecutions, depending on if they determine that there was negligence in how the posting happened (Did we miss training someone? Or did they violated their training?)

      I deliberately do not ever friend a colleague or co-worker on FaceBook. I absolutely do not want to know what they are posting, because I am legally obligated to my employer by the terms of my employment to report any actions that violate these regulations. It is bad enough that I’m the one these violations get reported to when others do find them; I don’t have the mental energy to deliberately go out looking for them.

      *HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act. 1 P, 2 A’s. I have a HIPAA Hippo sitting on my desk, but that is the only time 2 P’s apply to HIPPA. (Yes, it is a peeve, especially when someone says they work at an organization affected by it!)

      1. Jamie*

        I agree with it as it pertains to the situation you described.

        I do think they should be stringent on posting identifiable pictures of patients in any setting. If I saw a health care provider taking pics of any kind while I was in the office I would definitely ask about it.

        I can’t imagine a scenario where it would be okay to post a pic of a patient on any personal FB page…and it’s for a business or promotion purpose even we have waivers people sign before we post their pics…it would be even more critical in health care.

      2. BCW*

        Yeah HIPAA regulations are one thing. I get the privacy aspect. But I don’t see how a picture of an employee with a beer will compromise those regulations.

      3. Anonymous*

        One small tweak to your summary – you cannot post the picture / share protected health information without permission. The patient is allowed to consent.

        Unfortunately, that little twist is why I now read consent forms for medical procedures and privacy policies very carefully. I have had some that include consent to use your image in their advertising! The first time I found one of those, my jaw dropped.

        More common is consent (or notice that this is what they do!) to share information with insurance companies and as part of research studies where your information is aggregated. I do pay attention to the wording, but it’s not an automatic strikeout like the consent to use you in their ads. I understand that they need to get paid.

        I have also seen medical procedure consent forms that include consent for the doctor to perform any procedure he or she feels is appropriate – um, no, I don’t think so. Informed consent (whether mine or the person making decisions while I’m unconscious) is not a step I’m willing to skip. There are already protections for doctors acting in emergency situations (you don’t have to wait for permission to stop the hemorrhage) and if it’s not an emergency, I get to hear about it and make the decision.

        I have inserted “with informed consent” in those forms and had the change accepted. I wouldn’t proceed with a doctor who wouldn’t agree to that.

        I’m not sure that this is specifically job related (sorry for the digression), except as an illustration of what some companies are now doing to make sure that they are compliant with HIPAA – namely, getting “permission” from patients who don’t read the forms to protect themselves in case an employee messes up.

    7. Yup*

      I’m not much for social media, so I tend to agree with you that people’s online activities shouldn’t be a big deal to their employers, with the usual exceptions for good sense and sounds judgement.

      But I’ve worked in a couple places that had cultures of total commitment. How you looked, how you spoke, how you talked about your work socially — in their worldview, it all reflected back on the company and therefore made it their business. You had to toe a pretty tough line to have any workplace credibility, let alone get promoted. So the decision makers at the top were the ones who had either drunk the Kool Aid or just naturally fell in line with the desired standards. Which meant that the people making the policies about Facebook use (and LinkedIn and Twitter) were the ones who wholeheartedly believed that you were pretty much representing the company every minute of every day.

      I personally didn’t ascribe to this view (or meet their standards) but it’s a view that does exist and people do subscribe to.

      1. Mike C.*

        Those sorts of expectations are completely reasonable and out of line. Not even the Military is that strict.

        1. Yup*

          :: shrugs :: I found it all very Victorian, which is why I don’t work for those places anymore. But if you get a group of people together who’ve bought into it and mutually agree that this is their standard? It’s a tough mentality to counter from the outside.

    8. Ruffingit*

      Yes, I sure do and would be pissed if anyone tried to implement such a thing at work. So it’s not just you.

    9. Josh S*

      Yes, it’s insane, but it’s perfectly legal (with the caveats that Alison noted).

      I’d be very much tempted to push back against the policy on the grounds that so long as my online profiles don’t mention my affiliation with the company (which they don’t), any legal activity mentioned or depicted should have no bearing on the influence I have on the company’s reputation.

      I am NOT a 24/7 representative of Employer. If they would like me to be that, they’ll have to pay me accordingly.

      1. Rana*

        Bingo. Heck, as the owner and sole employee of my own business, I suppose technically that I represent it 24/7… but my friends and clients are both capable of discerning between me on the clock in business mode and me in personal mode.

        I am suspicious of companies that assume their own clients are incapable of making that distinction, and use that assumption to justify policing their employees when they are off the clock.

  12. Anonymous*

    I would never do business with a company that had any employees who drink beer. Drinking beer is clearly a sign of total lack of control and judgement. And even if it isn’t , people might think it is, so posting a picture of it clearly a sign of total lack of control and judgement.

    1. Terra*

      If this person is serious, they’d better not do business ever in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, etc. In these places, NOT going to the pub for a pint with your boss or coworkers would be viewed almost as negatively.

      1. Anonymous*

        I would never do business with a company that had any employees who don’t drink beer. Not drinking beer is clearly a sign of total lack of ability to be social and reflects poor judgement. And even if it isn’t those things , people might think it is, so posting a pictures of oneself never drinking beer is clearly a sign of total lack of ability to be social and reflects poor judgement.

        1. Jamie*

          What if you had perfectly delightful and social employees who just happened to prefer a vodka tonic? Or a french martini?

          I think there should “people who don’t like the taste of beer” should be a protected class which would prohibit you from firing us. :)

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Well, I’m certainly not going to be drinking anything on company time. But I don’t think I would want customers who are that strident about what I do off the clock. That is just too high-maintenance for me.

  13. Job Hater*

    I’ve told my manager that I hate my job. It recently changed. I was asked if I wanted to cross train on a new skill, I said sure, thinking this would be a side project, and it’s not. It’s a completely new job that I do 100% of the time. Now they’ve changed things around and I’m on a new team and have a new manager. I’ve been asked how I like the new stuff, and I’ve been honest, I don’t like it. I’m ticked that I was mislead about this being a wholly new job, and there’s no way to go back. For various reasons I already was looking for something new, so I’m hoping something pans out soon. As for what I hoped to accomplish by expressing how I felt, I was asked a direct question, I gave a direct answer.

  14. Just a Reader*

    #1 I’m slightly alarmed that someone who works for a company focusing on HIPAA doesn’t know how to spell HIPAA.

    #2 There’s absolutely no need to make your employees want to crawl in a hole by telling them there’s a glitch in your lady business.

    1. TL*

      Oh, grow up. Nobody should crawl into a hole because of the mention of a very painful medical condition that happens to involve a reproductive organ. It’s like telling someone they shouldn’t say they have breast or prostate cancer because some people might get embarrassed.

      I agree with Alison’s suggestion, but only because medical conditions are a private thing and you shouldn’t have to share the details.

      1. Just a Reader*

        What a mature and polite response :/

        I actually have endometriosis, but I would not disclose that to my team. It’s personal and, whether or not you think it’s mature, discussion of the state of a boss’s reproductive system–especially something that affects periods– is likely to make people uncomfortable. It’s also completely unnecessary.

        Endometriosis is not at all like breast or prostate cancer. It’s not life threatening, it doesn’t require debilitating treatment and it’ s a lifelong condition that can be managed. Discussion of one’s uterus just doesn’t belong in the workplace.

        1. Forrest*

          Not to start a fight but you probably would of gotten a more mature response if you yourself started off as mature, rather than saying “There’s absolutely no need to make your employees want to crawl in a hole by telling them there’s a glitch in your lady business.”

          1. Bea W*

            Absolutely. It also implies that the thing to do when hearing about “lady business” is to go crawl in a hole, because folks should talk about such things. What’s next, women admitting they fart? Oh the horror!

            I really found the statement and tone to be derogatory towards women.

        2. ExceptionToTheRule*

          I didn’t see Alison (or anyone else for that matter) suggest that the specifics be divulged.

        3. TL*

          The “grow up” was uncalled for – I’m a grouchy morning person and I apologize.

          Nonetheless, while I don’t want my boss making any sort of public announcement as to their medical problems, I don’t see a problem with letting endometriosis being generally, but quietly, known around the office, just as you might do with, say, lupus or arthritis or a permanent hip injury.

          If she doesn’t want anyone to know, that’s absolutely fine but nobody should be grossed out simply because it’s endometriosis. (I know some people don’t like medical stuff in general.)

          1. Just a Reader*

            Trust me–it makes people uncomfortable and is just not a good idea.

            I struggled with 7 years of infertility due to endometriosis (finally had a baby this year) and I chose to divulge it to my boss at my former job, who chose to divulge it to the team that I managed at that time, against my wishes. They were weirded out by knowing something so personal and it impacted the manager/staff relationship.

            Unfortunately this is something best kept private.

              1. Just a Reader*

                Thank you! I am just back to work after maternity leave and hoo boy is working motherhood a can of worms :) It’s great though.

            1. Rana*


              (And sympathies on dealing with people’s reactions to your medical situation – even when I am not embarrassed by something, it doesn’t mean I want to deal with other people’s embarrassment.)

          2. Jamie*

            I do see what you’re saying and to that point I agree that there is no shame in medical issues. But there are still social conventions that dictate there are things we just don’t discuss because it makes people uncomfortable.

            Kind of like how it’s okay if you’re waiting for a meeting to start to mention you have a headache or that your tennis elbow is bothering you but you wouldn’t talk about menstrual cramps or digestive issues.

            Some things are just on a need to know basis – but that doesn’t mean they are shameful.

            1. Ruffingit*

              Agreed. There’s a gross factor (which is different than shame, no one should feel shame for being ill) that accompanies some medical issues that people just don’t want to think about. Endo is one of those. The thought of tissue growing in places where it shouldn’t be is not something I want to picture in my head just as I don’t want to picture someone’s diarrhea, but I have no issue with headaches or back pain or whatever. I think that is part of the issue – it’s the gross factor associated with some things.

              1. mia*

                Thanks so much for [most] of this discussion related to question #2. I love the idea “cosmetic surgical feet enlargement”. That made me laugh out loud. The comment about making people want to “crawl into a hole” is cruel in the way that anonymous internet people who will never meet the person they have offended can be. Such is.

                I appreciate Alison’s response. I’ve played it that way for years. The problem is I’ve been around for six years and it’s a chronic illness that sometimes I cannot hide – especially now that I’m not a manager.

                For years I said nothing. Then when I had to I said as least I could to as few as I could. While I’ve disclosed a bit more to the Associate Director in my office (my second in command) I’ve not told her everything either.

                But in an effort to raise awareness – surrounding this difficult but not impossible life challenge that is endo – such that there might be more understanding, research, and a one day a cure, I am getting more involved in the community. That means helping to coordinate the million womans march for endo in March 2013 (large) as well as drinking my daily tea out of a “fight like a girl” endo awareness mug. So while I’ve not said exactly what I’m going through, my actions and activism in the last two months points directly to this being my chronic issue.

                So thank you again.

                Oh and, not that anyone (but one) suggested this, there is NOTHING to be ashamed about with regards to any disability. Live long enough and you’ll have one or more as well.


                1. mia*

                  I was typing quickly and at 6am before getting ready for work. I meant to say “…now that I AM a manager.” It’s all eyes on me.

  15. Jamie*

    #2 – I agree with letting them know there is something you’re dealing with, but not getting into specifics. I would keep the tone very light as to convey that yes, it’s a medical thing you’re dealing with, but that they shouldn’t worry about you.

    People form personal bonds so it’s nice to give them cues that it’s okay to not be concerned.

    It’s difficult though, because withholding specifics is absolutely the way to go, when stuff is unspoken it’s this weird vibe. I’m going through it myself now, as my surgery is in less than 2 weeks so I’m starting to be more open about my out of the office plans and no one knows the specifics except my boss and HR (and a work friend – but that’s because we talk outside of the office.)

    People know I’m having surgery, how I have coverage set up, when I’m planning on returning and my work from home plans…but what is wrong with me is this big unspoken thing. I work mostly with men and so the fact that I’m being unspecific in an of itself is making people treat me differently. Like I’m fragile or something – not work related, but people keep getting doors for me and helping me carry stuff unasked, and offering to help more. It’s sweet because it comes from a good place, but it’s also kind of weird and I want things back to normal. But there’s a weird vibe in the air.

    My party line is that it’s just something I have to take care of, nothing too serious, and then I steer the conversation back to work or pretty much anything else.

    Only one person didn’t take the hint and kept asking what I was having done…so I told him it was cosmetic and I was getting my feet enlarged. It took him a second, he laughed, and never asked again.

    1. ExceptionToTheRule*

      I went through something similar and if people got overly pushy, I just told them I was having my innards fixed and to trust me that they didn’t want the details.

      Trust me, you don’t want the details. =)

    2. Colette*

      If I had a coworker going on leave for an unspecified medical issue, I’d wonder what it is.

      I mean, I’d recognize that it’s none of my business and I definitely wouldn’t ask, but there’s a big difference between cancer and a knee replacement or donating a kidney to a sibling.

      So I guess my point is that I understand why it feels weird, and I hope it goes back to normal when you’re back.

      1. Jamie*

        Oh I get it too, it’s totally understandable.

        I think the rule of thumb is if it’s something easily discussed in polite company people tend to mention what it is. They do not have to and it’s certainly everyone’s prerogative to keep it to themselves, but from what I’ve seen people tend to be pretty open about knee replacement, ankles, andoinds…that kind of thing.

        So if people are playing it a little closer to the vest it’s probably because it’s something co-workers really don’t want to hear about.

        There were a couple of guys who seemed genuinely concerned, in a more than casual way, and to them I just reassured them that it wasn’t cancer – I was going to be just fine – and not to worry.

        1. Rana*

          Yes, good luck with the surgery!

          I think where the nondisclosure gets awkward is that people can’t tell if it’s in the category of “so serious I don’t want to talk about it” or “not that serious, but gross and/or personal”. So clarifying in a vague way which it falls into may be helpful.

    3. LD*

      Jamie, LOL! If I ever have to have anything done I’m going to remember “cosmetic surgical feet enlargment”. That was awesome. And I join the others in wishing you a safe and quick resolution and recovery.

    4. Anon*

      +1 on the feet enlargement story! I’m totally going to use that if you don’t mind :) I love a funny but kind way to let Nosy Nellie’s know to stop being nosy.

  16. Jubilance*

    #3 – when I read the letter & you said you’re old job was salacious, I assumed everyone there was having an affair & having sex in the conference room. If you didn’t mean that sexual stuff was going on, you definitely want to stop using that word. It sounds like you mean the work you did was very heavy mentally and emotionally, and perhaps you can find a succinct way to describe that.

    #4 – My previous job was one I HATED, like the only thing keeping me from packing up all my stuff and never coming back was the fact that I have bills and I don’t think I’d enjoy being homeless. So I played the game and did the “oh yeah I definitely see a future here, here’s what I want to do next, blah blah blah” thing, because when I tried to transition to a new role within my company, I was shot down and told “we’re not letting you do anything else, you can’t leave your role”. I job hunted secretly for 2 years before I found a new role, and I just had to play along with the old job until I was able to leave. IDK if your situation is that bad, but that’s maybe what you have to do, to avoid being pushed out.

    1. fposte*

      What I was thinking about #4 is that the OP may be surprised by how little her bosses care if she likes her job or not. I don’t mean that as a condemnation of the bosses, but most of us are at work to get paid for stuff we wouldn’t do otherwise; our bosses aren’t usually thinking happily that we must love our jobs, and they wouldn’t be hugely disappointed to find that we don’t. What they want to know is if the employee is requesting they change something or planning to change (as in leave) herself. But a general emotional state reading with no plan? There’s nothing particular for them to do about that, and the answer to “I don’t like my job” might be “Neither do the rest of us.”

  17. Anonymous*

    #3. The ‘why do you want to work here?’ sounds like a trap question to me. The interviewer will always know the facts about working there, whereas the interviewee would just be guessing, more often than not seeming delusional or misguided to the interviewer.

    And I do find it strange that I’d get asked this question during interviews for jobs at my alma mater though I clearly state on my resume that I worked there during my four years as a student. I’d think the answer would be obvious. In any event, whatever tumbles out of my mouth always seems hokey.

    1. Jen in RO*

      I used to think the same – until I met people who interviewed candidates and I heard the horror stories. My former team lead (who I’m friends with) is interviewing for the position I just left. When asked why he wanted the job, the latest candidate said that “he found it on [job site 1]… or maybe it was [job site 2].” I don’t think he realized that this did not qualify as a reason…

      Trust me, reiterating that you worked there for 4 years and *that’s* why you want the job won’t make you look silly, it will probably be a better answer than most candidates give.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      But if you were hiring people, wouldn’t you want to understand what attracted them to the job? It’s pretty reasonable to want to understand what interests about them (especially since if the thing they’re most excited about is X and X is about to dramatically change, that’s worth discussing, and so forth).

      1. fluffy*

        Absolutely. I’ve interviewed enough people who not only had no clue what my industry did but also thought we did the exact opposite of our real work. Perhaps the interviewees were sheltered and naive, but really!

      2. Lucy*

        Agree. Or they are most excited about X but X is only about 5% of the job and they will mostly be working on Y and Z.

    3. Cat*

      But if it turns out the interviewee has a misguided impression of what they want to work there, I want to know that so I can correct it. They may or may not want the job once they know what it’s actually is. It’s not about “tricking” people; it’s about getting people who actually want to do the job I’m hiring them to do.

      For instance, I interview a lot of law students for entry level legal jobs; an amazing number of them think we practice a different kind of law than we do. I’m not sure why since it’s clearly stated on our website, but whatever. The point is when they come in and tell me they want to do labor law, we are all better off when I find this out and let them know that’s not what we do.

  18. Sunshine DC*

    #5 As a side note, I was hoping I misunderstood the part where you wrote: “After I accepted the offer, she went on to tell me that they were looking to start me off at $57,000 a year.” To me that was a far bigger issue (even if unchangeable at this point.)

    In no circumstance should one EVER accept an offer BEFORE salary has been negotiated. And one should NEVER EVER accept the first thing an employer offers. EVER EVER. When they say “$57,000,” that’s merely the STARTING point for your salary discussion. (Unless you are in a rare field where a government contract may present an absolute salary term. Even then, NEVER EVER accept a job before you even know this!)

    1. Joey*

      I say its fine to accept a first offer when:

      1. Its the max of the salary range;
      2. Its more than what you’ve already asked for;
      3. You know and they know its far above what the market normally pays;or
      4. You’d prefer to save your bargaining chips and negotiate other pieces of the employment terms for whatever reason.

    2. Manda*

      I’m looking for entry level jobs and really wouldn’t have much leverage, if any at all. On top of that I’m pretty timid. It is just not in me. Even later on, if I actually feel confident about my abilities, somehow I still can’t see myself asking for more. And this is the problem I have with negotiating – it gives more daring and aggressive people an unfair advantage. Sorry, you’re just not convincing me.

    1. kasey*

      I wonder what OP thinks it means? Or what word she is confusing it for? That probably just freaks the interviewer out and they don’t hear anything else you said….just thinking, hmm ok,where’s the sex part?
      I also don’t get the OP’s “… I won’t say where I worked…” they have your resume, right? I think they can figure it out, or maybe it was contract type stuff, but over a 5 year period? Good advice, keep it focused on the current job and that will help.

  19. Andrea*

    I have a very, very minimal online presence. Most accounts are not in my real name; I’m not on FB at all because I just don’t like people knowing my business. (I know that there are privacy controls, and I can limit who sees my posts/photos, but those change all the time and I would want to limit them so that only people I see or speak with regularly would see it anyway, so what’s the point?) And yeah, everyone I know is on there. It’s also irritating how more and more things online want to link to your FB page, as if everyone has one and wants to do that.

    But anyway, the OP’s question about policies on employees’ FB pages just rankles me, because I also recall questions before where people wanted to know if it was weird that job candidates didn’t have an online presence, or at least not much of one, and some employers seem concerned about that. (I’m certain that Alison advised them that this isn’t a problem, but I’m sure some places would think it odd, regardless.) I realize that not every employer is enacting policies and trying to control what people post on their personal websites or social media accounts, but it does seem like more and more of them are, and frankly, it irks me because they just want it both ways: Those of us who don’t use those sites are seen as somehow strange and maybe not hirable, and meanwhile, some employers want to be able to dictate what gets posted and punish employees based on their posts and photos? Sheesh.

  20. LD*

    #4: I agree with the other posters who say that you really shouldn’t tell your managers that you don’t like your job. That would come across as a flag that you may not be working up to expectations or that you are considering leaving. Even if you have great managers, they are going to be concerned about you leaving and that can influence whether they provide you with feedback, or growth opportunities. I’d suggest you keep looking for a job that better fits your interests, and think about how you could get more of those skills and interests incorporated into your current role. If your interests are tutoring or teaching, do those opportunities exist in your organization? Does the organization need people to do training? Or presentations? You could offer to create and deliver presentations. Tell your managers that while you value your current role, you’d like to know what other opportunities exist because you want to grow in your role with the organization. Describe some of the skills you’d like to use and explain how those could benefit your managers or the organization. If you are having trouble thinking of where your skills would be useful, then it can be okay to ask. “I really enjoyed using my tutoring/training skills and would like to know if you think those would be useful to ABC Org.” It’s better to come up with your own suggestions and observations, but asking is better than now knowing. The worst would be that they say, no, there are no opportunities and we don’t need those skills. So you are still right where you are. But I believe asking is a smarter way to handle your current disappointment with your role than telling your managers you don’t like it and are planning to leave. Good luck!

  21. HR Gorilla*

    Re: OP#3 – I think s/he meant sensationalist, but said ‘salacious’ instead? i.e., making all those remembrance videos seemed to just capitalize on that ‘it’s a train wreck but I can’t look away’ quality, which would understandably begin to wear on you, making that same type of video over and over.

    1. Collarbone High*

      Oh thank you! This has been gnawing at me, and “sensationalized” seems like a good match to the intended meaning.

  22. HR Competent*

    A lot of outrage voiced re employers acting on facebook posts. I’ve been an active participant in 3 employment law forums the past 10 years as well as following a bunch more. I have never read or heard of a single case of this happening in the private sector.

    I have read it in news articles but it has been a public employee or some salacious act.

    Ha! That’s my word now.

  23. Manda*

    I’d like to know how to answer #3 when there really isn’t anything that stands out about this particular job or company. In a lot of cases, my honest answer would be, “because I’m looking for an entry level job and this looks like something I’m capable of doing and wouldn’t mind,” but that’s not gonna fly. Very few of the jobs I’ve applied to honestly looked interesting to me. There simply aren’t a lot of jobs related to what I studied, and related or not, most jobs are above my head and want experience. Lots of people take whatever job they can find, but how do you ever manage to convince someone that you’re interested when you kind of aren’t? I don’t get it.

      1. Manda*

        Thanks, that was helpful. I get why they wouldn’t hire someone who seems uninterested, but obviously, some people manage to get hired for jobs that are lower than they’re used to or way outside their field or whatever. It helps to know how to pull it off.

        1. Felicia*

          I try to find what one would like about the job, if i can’t think of anything myself. Like I really like working independently and organizing things or information , and that can be applied to a lot of jobs, so i may not be especially enthusiastic, but there are things i could like. Or i try to find really basic jobs that i know i wont love at non profits i care about, so ill be enthusiastic about the job. At my current job why i wanted the job was because i needed money, nothing else, but i talked about the liking quiet organizing type tasks, and its mostly data entry, so that works. and i pretended to be more interested in the company than i was i will admit – i just made up stuff about why one might be interested.

  24. Working Girl*

    #4 job tasks. Never tell your boss you are looking for a job, unless you already have one, i.e. when you are giving your current boss notice you are leaving.

    #1 social media. My facebook is my personal space and I don’t post often and delete anything I feel is inappropriate anyone posts to me. I do not put my work place for the reason you are stating. Facebook is not Work-book – use Linkedin for that.

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