who has the final say in hiring, sick day favoritism, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Who has the final say in hiring?

I had a two-part interview this past Monday at a company for a role that is my dream job. Although I rocked the portion of the interview where I got to meet the executive VP and VP of the department, my meeting with the HR manager did not go as well. (There was a question she asked that I did not expect, so I wasn’t thrilled with my less-than-stellar answer.)

Who has the final say in hiring? Human Resources or the executive Vice President of the department to whom the role would report? (The executive VP and VP gave me a writing assignment and they did say it would really depend on the pitch I turn in.)

HR should never have the final word on hiring (except for HR jobs, obviously). The person who should be making the final decision is either the manager who the role will report to, or — in some cases, if that manager is very junior — a manager directly above her (for instance, the VP of marketing might make the final hiring decision for the assistant marketing manager job, even if that role reports to the marketing manager rather than the VP).

HR’s job is hiring is to facilitate the process, ensure that laws are being followed, do some initial screening (sometimes), and — in some companies — help train managers on how to interview well. They might provide input from their interactions with a candidate, but they shouldn’t be deciding who is hired in any department other than their own.

2. My employer pays some people for sick days but doesn’t pay others

My question is about sick day favoritism. I work at a very small company. Our vacation policy is that we get 10 days per year, which start from exactly one year after your start date. For example, I started on June 13, 2011, which means on June 13, 2012, I got 10 vacation days to use until June 13, 2013, when I got 10 more. Vacation days do not roll over into the next year, so it’s a use-it-or-lose-it policy and everyone gets 10 days/year no matter how long they have worked here.

We do not have a policy for sick days. The first time I called in sick, I was unsure if I would get paid or not or if I would have to use a vacation day. When I did get paid for it, I thanked my boss (who is the owner). She said, “Oh, no problem, I pay sick days within reason as long as someone doesn’t abuse it.”

I have worked here for over 2.5 years. In that time, I have called in sick twice. The first time was in June 2013 and the second time was in the last few weeks. I did not get paid for the second time. I really don’t think two days in 2.5 years is unreasonable or abusing it. My only thought for her justifying this is that in January I needed 1.5 days for my grandfather’s wake and funeral. When I told her I needed the time off, I provided her with the obituary that named me as a granddaughter and provided info about the services. She did pay me for that time, and I did not use vacation time. I don’t know what the laws are for bereavement and if she is required to pay me for that or not.

My issue is that I know for a fact that certain other people and definite “favorites” of hers have taken and been paid well over their 10 vacation days and have been paid on many, many, many sick days. One person has taken over 10 vacation days and received pay for them, and has also taken 4 sick days and has been paid for them. Am I making a big deal out of this? Is it worth saying something? Or should I just suck it up and forget it? We don’t have an HR person I can go to, and there are no policies on this which makes it really uncomfortable.

Only a few places in the U.S. require paid sick leave (Connecticut, San Francisco, and a few jurisdictions), and most of these laws only apply to employers over a certain size, so I’m going to assume they don’t apply here. No law requires employers to provide bereavement leave; that’s up to the employer.

So ultimately this is up to your employer and she can change the policy for different people if she wants to … unless she’s doing it in a way that discriminates based on race, religion, sex, or another protected class. In other words, if everyone who gets extra vacation happens to be race X, that could be a legal issue (as long as there isn’t another obvious explanation, like they’re all in a different job category from the people who don’t get the extra vacation, or otherwise different situated than them).

That said, it might be worth advocating for one clear policy, so that people aren’t left guessing about whether or not they’ll be paid for sick time and only finding out after the fact.

3. Should I be reimbursed for spending huge amounts of time on new hire paperwork requirements?

I recently left a company where I had a high level position. A few weeks after my departure, they offered me a position as a temporary remote consultant, fulfilling many of the same duties I previously had, until a replacement is hired. I was happy to help them out in this way for a few months.

The problem is that the administrative process of being rehired has been horrible. It’s a large, slow-moving organization and both HR and my supervisor have been little help in the new hire process. For example, when I was hired the company required that I have my I-9 form notarized since I now live too far away to come in to HR personally to have my documents verified. Unbeknowest to me, apparently this is something notaries are not supposed to do and I had a very difficult time finding one willing to do it. All told, I spent a total of about 5 hours searching, calling around, and driving around to eventually get the I-9 notarized as they required (I alerted HR to the issue but they were unhelpful). Not to mention the gas money spent driving around to various notaries and the $25 I had to spend to overnight the form to the company as they required. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time working with IT by phone to get my email back online (which took over 2 weeks!). Now, after 3 weeks of work, I’m trying to work with payroll to actually get paid, since I’m hourly but unable to get access to log my hours in a timecard due to HR’s mistake in filing my new hire paperwork. No one follows up or calls back, so I’m spending a lot of time on my (personal) cell phone calling around to various company divisions to try to resolve the problem.

Since I’m hourly, should I be charging the company for the time I’m spending on all of this? One of my mentors said no, because it’s not included in my job duties, but I say it’s my valuable time spent doing this in service of my work with this company. I’m trying not to let my frustration cloud my judgment, but I have to admit I’m feeling pretty fed up with the company at the moment.

Those sure sound like work expenses to me. Generally speaking, if your company requires you to engage in specific activities in the course of your work for them, those are work expenses (with some obvious exceptions, like obtaining work-appropriate clothing). Obviously, you apply some common sense to this; you’re probably not going to charge them for the stamp it takes to mail new hire forms back. And frankly, I’d probably eat the $25 overnighting fee in normal circumstances, but five hours locating a notary because most notaries don’t do the work they wanted?  No way — that’s an expense that should be reimbursed.

So I would just write up these expenses and submit them with receipts like you would any other business expense. However, if you’re unsure, just ask your manager beforehand. (Make sure to explain it took five hours, so that you don’t sound like you’re nickel-and-diming them, which she might assume if she figures it took 20 minutes.)

4. Can my employer make me stand up all day?

Can my employer expect me to stand for a full day? The bank at which I work has recently refurbished and has introduced a policy of no seating. I am expected to stand all day talking to customers as an advisor. In a seven hour shift, I am allowed 30 mins downtime. Is this allowed?

I can’t think of any law that it violates, although if you had a disability qualified under the Americans with Disabilities Act and which made this difficult for you, they’d need to provide you with reasonable accommodation.

5. Online applications that require a current job when you’re not currently employed

As part of the job search process, I am finding that many employers ask you to create a profile on their web site as part of the application process. Usually “current employer” and “current title” are among the required inputs. How should a stay-at-home mom answer those questions?

I have been a stay-at-home mom (voluntarily) for the last 3 years after 10 very successful years at work. I don’t want to be screened out of the process for jobs I am extremely qualified for just because I’m not currently working. I have kept current with professional training and updates to my industry, but any consulting projects I’ve done in the last 3 years were small, informal and unpaid. I am definitely networking, but I haven’t found a personal connection yet for some of the companies in which I’m interested and I think I have to go through their system.

Yeah, online application systems are not set up to deal well with any deviations from the norm (and sometimes they don’t even deal with the norm well). Can you lump that consulting experience into a “current” freelance role for yourself, just to get around this? It’s unlikely you’d be called out on it in an interview, and if you are, you can explain.

{ 282 comments… read them below }

  1. Eric*

    #4, some areas have what is called a “seat law” that requires they provide you with a seat, if it is reasonable to do so. (Washington, DC has one, for instance).

    1. Sarah*

      That’s interesting since I worked retail for a few years in Washington DC and employees were only given a seat if they were ill. It would not have been unreasonable to put seats at the cash registers, they simply didn’t.

      Standing all day is simply the norm in many jobs such as retail and food service, I’m honestly surprised that banks didn’t already operate similarly.

      1. Fucshia*

        Most banks that I have been to, the tellers stand but the bankers and advisors sit at a desk. Maybe in the letter writer’s bank, even the tellers were seated so that’s why they were so shocked by the change.

        But wondering if it is legal seems like a stretch. Do their local grocery store registers include seating for the cashier and bagger? Surely they would have been exposed to jobs where people stand all day.

        1. Kelly L.*

          I really wish more grocery stores did do this! I’ve heard that it’s the more common thing in Europe (hence why Aldi, a chain that originated in Germany, has stools) but that in the US, customers really like seeing cashiers standing up. I have to think it would be better healthwise to allow a person to sit occasionally, even if not all the time. When I worked retail, it did a number on my feet and the feet of the people I worked with.

          1. VintageLydia*

            I had to have a stool post-surgery when I was a cashier and one customer got super snarky with me about sitting on my ass all day. “I just had a tumor removed” in the most bitchy tone I could conjure shut her up.

            1. Sourire*

              And how much would you like to bet she has a job where she sits at a desk all day herself. I will never understand why some people see those in the service industry as some type of sub-human species.

              1. Jen in RO*

                Reading this thread makes my back ache in solidarity. Most cashiers around here (and most places I’ve traveled to, as far as I can remember) sit down…

                1. Jen RO*

                  Retail cashiers, that is. McDonalds and the like have their cashiers standing up all day, but that’s pretty understandable, they need to keep moving back and forth to get the items.

              2. JoJo*

                Tell me about it. Many years ago, I worked a cash register, and the abuse I got from outraged customers whenever I sat down for a minute was unbelievable.

            2. Melissa*

              I really don’t understand this sentiment. If my cashier is ringing up my groceries correctly, why the heck do I care if she’s sitting or standing?

              1. Kelly L.*

                I’ve theorized about this and I think it’s a power thing. Some customers like to feel like they’re in charge and the cashier is a servant, and a if a cashier sits while the customer stands, they subconsciously feel like the power dynamic is flowing the other way.

                I’m thinking of how, for example, in monarchy, nobody can sit unless the monarch sits first, and only the really important people get to sit even then. There was a whole hierarchy at Versailles of who could sit in a chair, who could use a stool, and so on. I’ve wondered if this is why our presidents stand to give addresses–to denote that they are a “servant” of the public rather than a ruler on a throne.

                1. fposte*

                  Though some of those situations involve people in close quarters where chairs and stools would need to be very carefully placed to avoid becoming obstacles, too.

          2. Mariette*

            I live in Israel, and in EVERY supermarket, the cashiers are seated. It never occurred to me to be annoyed that they’re sitting down! Must be very hard to stand all day, so I’m glad they get to sit. Come to think of it, it’s like that in most retail establishments here- the cashiers sit. Not in places like McDonald’s or other fast food places, though- they stand there.

              1. April*

                I was happy to learn that too, until I also learned what type of working conditions the employees have to endure. I wasn’t so impressed then. Among other things, they are apparently timed to the minute on every little task. I’d noticed the workers at my Aldi never spoke and rarely smiled. Once I read about the conditions they work under it made sense as to why. Google it.

              2. Rachel*

                I work at an American specialty grocery store that is owned by Aldi (you can figure it out easily enough if you look it up online) and while it’s very true they pay better than almost any other grocery store, they’ve done a lot – a MASSIVE amount – of cuts the last two years. Raises, benefits, starting wages, all of it have been slashed like crazy. I got in early enough that I’m okay with my wage, but I will be losing my company health benefits this summer and bumped to the ACA and a lot of folks have really plateaued with their hourly rate. It’s been really frustrating to see a company that spent decades treating their workers like gold and with the respect they were due turn more and more into a classic corporation. I still enjoy my job and believe it’s the lessest of the evils, but definitely a letdown for us.

        2. Mike C.*

          What about a stool? I really don’t understand why someone has to be standing all day long if there isn’t a need to.

          1. Cat*

            Yeah, grocery stores in the UK all seem to have stools and tall chairs for their employees, and miraculously their groceries still get rung up just fine.

            1. Liz*

              As someone who once worked on the checkouts in the UK, the presence of chairs/stools doesn’t mean it’s better than standing if the station is so cramped that you can’t align yourself correctly when lifting heavy items, causing back strain. (The reason I quit.)

      2. AdAgencyChick*

        +1. I worked retail when I was in high school and college, and there was never a seat — if we weren’t working the register, the store wanted us moving around, arranging clothing by size, refolding sweaters, that kind of thing. I think that’s why they didn’t have even a stool at the register — that and to save a few bucks not buying a stool!

        1. Chinook*

          Up in Canada, it is the same deal – retail and hospitality typically requires you to be on your feet all day with no legal requirements for a seat unless you have a disability. Health & safety requirements, though, do recommend modifications to reduce injury such as mats to keep you from standing all day on cement (they give cushioning) as well as a way to put you feet at different heights (I.e. A small box or phone book) to reduce lower back strain for those who are standing only (ex. Tellers, cashiers).

            1. Elsajeni*

              Have you worked a shift without the mats? I always thought the mats at my retail job were completely useless, because I’d still come home with awful aches and pains at the end of the day — then one year on my Black Friday shift I was assigned to one of the rarely-broken-out portable counters, which we didn’t have mats for, and it was shocking how much worse it was.

                1. KLH*

                  I went to my old store recently and saw they finally got a mat for the fitting room desk, and almost cried.

                  People wondered why I was so bouncey and movey, but it’s easier to be on your feet if you’re walking and active. And when you buy the good shoes.

          1. Lindsay J*

            At my last job they refused my request to buy a mat. I got laughed at for putting it in my purchase request for my department :(

        2. Lynn Whitehat*

          I used to work as a cashier, and my back and feet hurt so bad after a shift. Horrible. I absolutely do not get the “standing desk” fad for office workers. You’ll never convince me that’s good for you.

          1. IndieGir*

            I have horrible sciatica, and am lobbying at my job for a sit/stand desk (one that converts at a touch of a button). My company is now installing these in all the new offices/cubes. Strange as it may seem, sitting all day can be painful too.

            I think the key is having the option to rotate between the two — people weren’t built to either sit OR stand all day long!

            1. LisaLyn*

              Yeah, we were shown (can’t buy them of course, too pricey) adjustable desks. That way, you can sit when you want to and stand a while too. I think changing up the position is important.

            2. the_scientist*

              Sitting all day is extremely bad for you from a metabolic standpoint (sitting =sedentary behaviour= weight gain=metabolic issues etc etc.) but I’m one of those people who has difficulties with staying seated for extended periods due to hip injuries and issues with lower back alignment (and I’m not even 30 yet). When my office moves I will get an adjustable desk and I am ridiculously excited about it.

              1. Melissa*

                Yeah, one of the things I like about my current position is that I can get up frequently and walk around. I have lower back problems, too (hereditary – thanks dad!) and I can’t sit for long periods of time without pain shooting through my back.

            3. Al Lo*

              I love my standing desk — and I love my tall chair that goes with it. I’m about 4 weeks into having the desk, and I find that I spend my day about 2/3 standing, 1/3 sitting, which seems like a good balance for me.

              (I also have a really good gel mat, which makes a big difference, too.)

              I also find that at a standing desk, I do more moving — when I’m thinking or having a conversation, I’m more likely to pace or just move around the room more.

          2. A Dispatcher*

            Where I work (911) we are often at a desk for 12 or 16 hours in a row. The height adjustable desks are lifesavers. It is absolutely horrible for someone to be sitting for that long. I wouldn’t want a desk that was standing only, but I honestly can’t imagine doing my job without being able to stand some of the time.

          3. A Cita*

            I love the standing desks! I wish I had one (or actually, the treadmill desk, but I think that will be harder to pull off in my job). But the key is that at a standing desk, you don’t have to stand for 8 hours straight…you can taking sitting breaks. But sitting all day is really really bad for you.

            When I was young and worked in retail and food industry, standing on my feet all day didn’t bother me so much. But I can’t imagine how hard it would be as you get older.

          4. Jen in RO*

            I’ve been reading about them and I just… don’t understand. If I sit for an hour my back starts hurting (a have a bit of lordosis). Sitting down for 8 hours only hurts if I don’t move around at all – with frequent breaks I’m fine. Are standing desks only recommended for people without back problems? But even if my back were fine, my feet would still hurt… What am I missing here?

          5. Melissa*

            I don’t understand it either. It’s because of all these studies coming out lately that say that sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy, and that people who sit all day at work are unhealthier even if they exercise frequently. But IMHO standing all day at work is not the solution – I don’t think it’s the *sitting* as it is the sitting compared to people who don’t sit all day but are usually moving around and getting busy (like doctors, nurses, park rangers, field scientists, etc.). You can’t tell me that cashiers and bank tellers, who stand in the same spot for hours, are healthier than people who sit most of the day.

            1. Kelly L.*

              And this doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. I think ideally employers would allow employees to spend some time sitting, some time standing, and some time walking during the day.

            2. Elizabeth West*

              I hate those studies; they sound so extreme, almost like they’re telling you “Don’t even bother.” In my experience, extreme results almost always get backtracked later, so I’m not going to worry about it. I know I look and feel better when I do exercise regularly, regardless of how much I sit the rest of the time.

            3. Rana*

              Agreed. I’ve been following the sitting/standing debate for a while now (because I do sit a lot) and it’s looking like the real problem is that human bodies don’t do well doing the same thing all day, whether it’s sitting, standing, or lying down. It’s variety that’s healthy, not one particular posture.

              (All of which seems common sense, but we’re encouraged to think of people as akin to machines, rather than the animals we are, who need breaks for rest, food, and play.)

          6. Zillah*

            I don’t think that standing desks should be required, but having the option to stand while I work is actually something I would really appreciate. I wouldn’t want to do it all day, but it really helps with my ADHD symptoms.

        3. holly*

          same here. every night my feet felt like they were going to explode. i’d spend 1-2 hrs after work with them propped up above my heart. ugh! seats4all!

        4. Simonthegrey*

          We were not even allowed to lean on the shelves behind the counter (it was a bookstore, a very common one that sells e-readers, if that helps) or on the counters at all. Much less sit.

      3. Catzie*

        I worked at a local branch of a national bank for two years. We had a couple stools behind the counter, but not enough for every teller. We could sit when the bank was empty, but if there were any customers at all in the branch (even at a manager’s desk) we were supposed to stand. It seems like that was pretty standard to me at the time, I’m surprised that the OP hasn’t encountered that before now.

      4. Penny*

        I have an office job and I wish I could stand and move around more often. I could do a standing deck if I wanted but I’m afraid I’d get sick of standing ALL day. I could see cashiers sitting, but not baggers as they need to move around and reach.

        Heath wise I’d think standing up is better” you get better circulation and probably use more calories and move more.

      5. Kelly*

        Another side to consider is dress codes in departments stores and higher end specialty retail stores, especially those that target women and certain higher income levels. I worked in a department store for a couple of years and had a dress code but was free to wear most shoes except athletic shoes or flip flops. One commissioned sales area had a much stricter manager who strongly encouraged them to wear heels. They stood on hard concrete for 6 to 8 hour shifts and their bodies had to hurt.

        It’s tough to find good shoes that provide enough foot support for standing for long periods of time that are deemed work appropriate. I had co-workers who loved Danskos but I think the clogs are too heavy to wear for long periods of time and they are expensive. I personally am big fans of both Toms and Birkenstocks because especially the Toms stretch out to fit your foot after they’ve been worn in. I like the arch support in the Birkenstocks.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        When I was a student I worked in a factory putting labels onto clothes and adding size stickers to the hangers. We did not sit down for an 8 hour shift.

        1. De Minimis*

          I worked retail in California, we were definitely exempt from whatever requirement there is.

          Not in California, but I worked for the Post Office for several years, and there was always a lot of negotiation anytime there was a new piece of equipment….the union would try to get management to allow sitting if at all possible, like if there was a station on the machine where someone was just feeding mail and not really having to move around much, but they didn’t always prevail.

    2. KayDay*

      I worked at a pharmacy many years ago and they did provide a folding chair behind the cashiers’ area in case we “needed” to sit down. Generally, we weren’t allowed to sit, but every now and then I would see someone sit for a few minutes when we had some down time. I have no idea if this was related to a law or just something that the manager provided (we also got a 15 min break paid break in addition to the legally required 30 min unpaid break, so they did go beyond what the law required for employee comfort).

    3. Rebecca*

      Am I the only one who thought of the Seinfeld episode when George brought the security guard a chair?

      I’ve worked retail and been required to stand all day, which can be tiring but now that I sit at a desk all day I’ve had much worse back problems! I take pretty frequent standing/walking breaks throughout the day. If you aren’t used to standing all day (as it sounds like the OP isn’t) it can be a tough adjustment. Comfortable shoes make a big difference.

      1. Windchime*

        No, you’re not the only one…I thought of that episode, too.

        We have cubicles at work and the desktop can be adjusted to either low or high (for standing). Those of us with high desktops have tall chairs, so we can sit or stand as we choose. I’m tall (5’11”) and the desktop height is not quite tall enough for me to stand for very long, but for most people it’s a really good compromise.

  2. PEBCAK*

    #2 — Are all employees in this scenario non-exempt? I was under the impression that you can’t dock an exempt employee’s pay if they work at all in a given week, but you could for a non-exempt employee.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m assuming they’re all non-exempt or they’re just being told to take vacation time. (The letter was a little unclear on that point, but at one point she wrote, “I was unsure if I would get paid or not or if I would have to use a vacation day.”)

      1. OP #2*

        The problem is I don’t know if we are exempt or not, but I suspect we are being wrongly classified. When I was hired, they literally said, “Your salary is $X per hour.” My paycheck is not the same every two weeks, it is dependent on how many hours I work. I am expected to work 40 hours/week. I know it’s silly to be confused about if my job is exempt or non-exempt, but I really just don’t know. I work in an office setting and am not in sales or anything. We are not eligible for bonuses at the end of the year, but I have received raises in my hourly pay. Everyone is on the same “level” in terms of most job responsibilities and everyone’s “salary” is $X per hour.
        A whole other issue is overtime: we are never forced to work overtime, and we don’t have to get it pre-approved if we want to. If we choose to work overtime, we are only paid straight time, not time and a half. I don’t think this is right. I contemplated filing a complaint, but there’s not a way to do that anonymously in Illinois and it’s not worth risking my job.

        1. Ash*

          Are you paid biweekly or semimonthly? This may seem like semantics, but I went from being paid biweekly (every other Friday) to semimonthly (the 1st and 15th of each month) and there’s a big difference having nothing to do with being exempt or not. The former is dependent on the actual hours worked, the latter is the same amount each time. In the end it all adds up to the same salary.

          Also re: overtime. If you actually are exempt, there doesn’t need to be any pay for overtime (part of normal work duties, some give comp time or the likes) . Nonexempt should definitely be time and a half…

          1. Emily K*

            The only difference between these is how many paychecks per year you get. If you’re paid biweekly, you’ll get 26 paychecks (52 weeks / 2 weeks). If you’re paid semimonthly, you’ll get 24 paychecks (12 months x 2 paychecks).

            In either scenario you could have a variable amount or a steady amount paycheck. In my last job I was paid twice a month and in my current job I’m paid every 2 weeks – both jobs were exempt, salaried positions where I was paid the same amount every paycheck.

          1. OP #2*

            We are paid bi-weekly.

            And yes, you pay is “docked” when you work below 40 hours. So, say I only worked 38 hours in a week, I’m only getting paid for 38 hours, not 40.

            So technically I’m non-exempt? What does non-exempt mean in terms of paid sick/vacation day policies… is that dependent on each company’s policies?
            And what can I do about overtime? I’ve known it’s illegal for a long time, but I can’t report it anonymously in Illinois. I don’t think bringing it up with my boss/the owner would do anything but start a fight, and I suspect she knows this and just continues to do it anyway because people are terrified of her (toxic work environment) and of losing their jobs. And now I’m suddenly going to bring it up after 2.5 years? That seems like it would put me at a disadvantage. I think the people that take care of her taxes/payroll should be catching heat for this too…. how are they possibly getting away with this?

            1. Ethyl*

              “I can’t report it anonymously in Illinois…”

              I took a poke around the Illinois DOL website, and yeah, it looks like you would need to file a wage complaint. What you could consider is speaking to an employment lawyer before you take any actions so you understand what your options are and what the process would be and what consequences you may face. That might be outside of your price range, but an initial consultation may be cheap to free. I think it’s worthwhile in this case, although usually I’m hesitant to say “lawyer up!,” because it does sound like there are some shady shenanigans going on.

              1. OP #2*

                Yeah, I’m not generally a litigious person but I don’t think it would hurt to look into it in this situation. Maybe when I have another job offer in hand…

                1. Ethyl*

                  Well I’d definitely want to file claims when I was sure I had something else lined up, but just speaking to a lawyer doesn’t obligate you to take any particular course of action. Good luck, though, this sounds like an unpleasant work environment from top to bottom :(

            1. Elysian*

              I was just going to add that overtime rules are different for some government employees.
              It sounds like you’re non-exempt and that you should be paid time-and-a-half for all hours over 40.

              A lawyer may take this case for free or a very law rate because if you win your employer would most likely have to pay your attorney’s fees. I would look into a consultation with a local employment attorney, because your situation doesn’t seem right.

  3. TeaBQ*

    This isn’t in direct response to #3, but speaking as a former notary I thought I’d toss this in for anyone in a similar situation:

    Basically, depending on where you live, the law may not allow a notary to sign off saying that what you have presented as legal identification is, in fact, legal identification. However what they CAN do is notarize a sworn statement from you that you are saying the identification is legal.

    The notary guidebook for your location should have the wording that can be used for these situations. Unfortunately for the OP, the first notaries they tried either didn’t check their guidebooks or were never in a situation where they had to figure out what to do. I only know myself because at one point I had to get my own citizenship related paperwork notarized and was not overly keen on having to go to another state to do it.

    So hope that helps someone avoid a similar headache in the future. =)

      1. Gjest*

        Yeah, even my last company, who did pretty much everything the most difficult and bass-ackwards way possible, would just “re-instate” anyone who left and came back within 6 months, so they didn’t have to go through any of the hiring paperwork other than just updating anything that changed (address, etc.).

      2. HR lady*

        gd, yes, there’s even a section on the I-9 form that allows you to just write in the rehire date (there are a couple of caveats to that, such as the length of time since the person was originally hired, but there’s a good chance the employer could have just filled out the rehire section).

        Also, as someone else said, since they are treating her as an employee (you would never get an I-9 from a non-employee), she should be paid for the time that all of this paperwork is taking. Within reason, I’d say – for example, you don’t pay a “local” employee for the time they spent at home digging through their files to find their passport (for the I-9), even if it took them a couple of hours to find it.

      3. OP #3*

        OP here. Typically they wouldn’t have had to go through the whole I-9 process with me again since I was re-hired within 6 months, but there were some unusual circumstances that made it necessary, unfortunately.

      4. Payroll Lady*

        Unfortunately with the I-9, even if the employee terminated for 1 day, it has to be at the least re-certified, with the documents being presented again. In my industry (construction) it becomes comical since we do so many temporary lay-offs this time of year, and have to re-certify each time the employee comes back.

    1. OP #3*

      Thank you for your advice! I hope it helps others that encounter similar situations in the future.

      It was incredibly frustrating because every notary I took it to would say they couldn’t do anything with I-9s. The company actually didn’t want the I-9 itself notarized; instead, they wanted the notary to sign an attached sheet (including instructions for the notary) provided by the company. I think the sheet was meant to show that the identification documents were valid, but it was very confusing and it might have just been asking them to do what you’re saying here (verify that I am stating they are valid).

      In any event they all refused to touch it, citing an article from a professional association of notaries public that they interpreted as saying that it can put a notary at risk to deal with I-9s because notaries are not trained to examine and verify identification documents.

      The company doesn’t hire many remote employees and the HR office was totally mystified by this. They basically said it had worked in the past for others, so I needed to just get it done. I was between a rock and a hard place – HR saying it needed to be done and the notaries saying it can’t be done. Ugh! Fortunately I finally found someone willing to do it.

      1. AHK*

        I’m not entirely sure that what your company wanted the notary to do was legal or even necessary. Part of the I-9 application paperwork is the company signing off saying that they have seen your ID in person and that you are the person that you’re saying you are.

      2. Payroll Lady*

        In this case only, I do disagree with the notary. If they READ the I-9, it states “the above listed documents “appear” to be valid.” The instruction manual for the I-9 even states that if a notary certifies the I-9, they enter the Employer’s name and address. Even the employer does not have to go out of their way to make sure they are valid. They just need to appear valid. With Social Security changing the looks of the social security card every few years it does get interesting to say the least!

  4. Nina*

    #4, I worked at an airline as a gate agent and we weren’t allowed to sit down during the shift at all. Except for lunch, anyway. Most airlines don’t even have chairs at the gate because pilots and flight attendants use those same computers to check their schedules, so the tiny area can get very crowded, very fast. The only agent I knew of who was allowed to sit was eight months pregnant.

    The no-sit thing can be dangerous anyway because standing for hours on end can lead to poor blood circulation, and cause varicose veins.

    1. anonymous*

      Yes, I was going to say this. I waited tables for a number of years, and very young people were getting terrible varicose veins. Invest in good shoes, it’s worth it.

      1. Kelly L.*

        My mom got awful varicose veins from retail, and I got plantar fasciitis. Ow ow ow. It doesn’t help that most businesses have a brutally hard concrete floor under whatever carpet or tile they use.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I have plantar fasciitis and it is definitely painful. I had it in one foot, it got better, then moved to the other foot. And I have a desk job. I’m thinking it was my shoes.

        2. Jessica (tc)*

          I’ve had PF in both of my feet for almost seven years even after a bunch of treatments, and it’s incredibly painful. I know that I got it from my job way back then: teller at a credit union. Because they wouldn’t work with me (even though they said they would: we had a very spiteful manager at the time), I eventually had to quit. I couldn’t be on my feet for eight hours a day, and they gave the front “greeting” desk (basically a teller position, but no cash transactions, to catch the quickie in-and-out customers who are just depositing checks or asking account questions) job to someone else after they told me they’d let me do it due to my physicians’ notes and physical therapist’s recommendations. They then assured me that, instead, I’d be in the back to start the scan process for the new digitization system for all account records, but then they gave that to a guy who couldn’t quite figure out the computer system we were using to maintain accounts. (He wasn’t doing well on the line and his lines were always backed up. They tried to put him in drive-through only, so he wasn’t doing certificates or money orders, but he still seemed to mess things up a lot.)

          I really don’t miss working there at all…but I still have this delightful PF in both feet to help me remember them fondly.

      2. Anonymous*

        I know a girl who’s 24 and had such bad varicose veins that she had to have some kind of surgery on them, and both of her legs were in huge casts. Kind of gross.

  5. Purr purr purr*

    I’m not saying this to troll but sometimes reading this blog makes me so grateful to live in the country I’m in. I can’t imagine bereavement or sick leave not being enshrined in law and only getting 10 days vacation time.

    As ever, lots of useful information. #5 is particularly relevant to someone I know. I’m going to send her the link to your site!

    1. Feed Fido*

      While I don’t now if it’s AAM aim, this blog’s comments and letters often highlight the sad state of the US worker’s “rights”. Of course, there are trade-offs ( to working elsewhere) namely taxation rates and difficulty getting professional job in Europe. It’s actually getting worse in US, if you read reports about the REAL unemployment rates. And I just read of the trend of having two jobs- imagine the impact on a family?

        1. TL*

          Fairly common here in the US and a lot of families prefer to have both parents working. (Some have to; some choose to only have one parent.)
          It’s not an automatic bad thing to be in a double income family.

          1. Judy*

            Dual income is fairly common, but Feed Fido was saying dual income with at least one parent working more than one job. I’m not sure that’s very common in the US.

          2. Xay*

            I think Feed Fido is talking about where each parent has two jobs. That isn’t a new thing either – my grandmother was a teacher by day and took in laundry at night when she first started teaching – but we are seeing more people with two part-time jobs.

            1. TL*

              Ooh, I totally didn’t get that. Thanks for clarifying.
              And yea, that is no good.

              Though I know a lot of teachers who hold down a second job over the summer, I don’t think most jobs are easily conducive to that.

      1. ETF*

        I work for the state and I’m pretty happy with what I get- lots of vacation and sick time. I don’t take much of it. 40 hour weeks. Decent pay, good benefits. I’ll never be rich if I stay in this job, but I’m comfortable, for now. I’m in debt with my professional degree, but will eventually be out of it, and I have the potential to make lots of money eventually. I had a terrible time finding a job, but now that I’ve got one, I’m set.

        I’ve got a brother who didn’t go to college, but he hustled. He found a niche career that utilized his unique skills, he worked hard at that, and he is making a lot more money now.

        I think it really depends on where you work. A lot of people in America have a different attitude from people in Europe. They strongly believe in working hard and long until you are at the top of the pyramid. The proverbial American dream. Unfortunately, if you aren’t educated, or don’t work really hard and make smart career moves, you won’t be able to get ahead.

        1. Gjest*

          There’s a bit of luck thrown in there as well. Luck to be born into a family that has resources, and then even then your life can get thrown off the tracks if you get sick at the wrong time, or you get laid off, car crash, or many other bad luck things happen. I think this is forgotten a lot. You can work hard, educate yourself, and do everything right, and still be completely screwed by bad luck.

          1. ETF*

            Yeah. I was born into a blue collar family, but it must be nice to be born into privilege and wealth. People can totally be screwed by bad luck, sometimes permanently. Fortunately, America still has many opportunities, and many folks are able to pick themselves back up and make a decent life for themselves even if they experience some bad luck.

      2. Laufey*

        Also consider that, in most cases, we’re only hearing from people who are upset at their jobs for some reason. There are many people who are perfectly content or leave get good jobs after leaving bad ones, but they don’t write letters talking about their workplace.

      1. fposte*

        True, but the ones coming for the jobs with those limited benefits aren’t generally arriving from countries with greater worker protections–it’s not like we’ve got Danes clamoring to work fast food here.

        1. Kelly L.*


          There are better places for workers than the US, and worse places too; they’re not mutually exclusive.

          1. Xay*


            America is the dream for some of my South African relatives while others have had great success in white collar jobs there. It just depends on your position in life and what you want.

      2. Jen RO*

        I know (of) many people who work in the US and, to add to fposte’s point, they all work in jobs with (I assume) good benefits, places like Microsoft and Google, not at Walmart.

        Of course, some people just see foreign countries as automatically better. Someone I know wants to move to the UK to be a maid for a “great” salary – except the salary is NOT great when you factor in UK prices and she could make the equivalent if she stayed here and worked as a housekeeper. To her, the second you get to that mystical “Western Europe”, you are instantly rich. Another couple I know moved to Canada and live on benefits, because somehow that’s better than working in their home country…

    2. TL*

      I don’t necessarily like all the bad benefits I see over here in America – but some of the things we here from other countries, especially the high amounts of rules and regulations, would be really difficult for me to live with. Different strokes and all that.

  6. Anon1*

    It isn’t clear what the op3 is – an employee or self employed. If an employee, wouldn’t the on boarding time be work time and paid accordingly. I checked and an i9 seems to be an employment related form

  7. Anonymous*

    On #1 – HR shouldn’t decide who is hired, but should have the ability to veto a hire if that person’s hiring would somehow be a negative influence on the organization. This should be very rare, but it’s important to have a perspective on the organization as a whole in hiring, and in extreme cases the manager may not have that.

    1. Suzanne Lucas--Evil HR Lady*

      I was just popping over to say something similar. HR never says, “YES! HIRE THIS PERSON!” But they can say, “Nope, not gonna happen.”

      Usually, of course, they don’t. But if there’s a policy violation or a serious issue with the background check, many HR departments have veto power.

      That said, the business can ALWAYS override HR, but since part of our job is to protect the company, we need to speak up if we feel that hiring his person can damage the company.

      I will say, in practice, I’ve only seen this play out when it’s been clear violations of policy to hire a particular person and never a “Well, I don’t like him!” Thing. Of course, the “we don’t like him,” generally means the resume doesn’t get out of the recruiting department in the first place. YMMV.

  8. Anonymous*

    At my job chairs were banned (front desk type job) until the supervisor got pregnant and now pregnant women are allowed to sit. A couple women are pretending to be pregnant so they can sit down.

    1. Chinook*

      Won’t someone notice when their pregnancy goes beyond the 9 months or are they planning on pretending to have many miscarriages? Lying about pregnancy is never a good idea, especially just to be able to fit.

  9. FD*


    Yeah, this question is really strange to me to be honest, but that’s probably because the job I’m in now is the first time I’ve had a job where I’m not on my feet the whole day. (Weirdly I find I get sore from sitting around way more than standing, but it’s probably because I’m not used to it.)

    At any rate, get not only good, practical shoes, but inserts! I absolutely swear by Dr. Scholls inserts–I use the Tri-Comfort ones myself. (They provide the best arch support for me.) Also, at the end of the day, consider lying down flat and elevating your feet for a while, it can really help.

    1. Sunflower*

      Same for me. I have to get up from my desk at least every half hour even if it’s just to walk around the office. It’s so hard to keep still!

      But yeah, when I was a server you had to eat standing up. Or sometimes you could flip a glass rack over and try to sit steady on it but there usually wasn’t any room anyway.

  10. Anonymous*

    Its sad that the jobs where you need good shoes the most are the ones where you make minimum wage.

    1. The Clerk*

      The best shoes I ever found were L.L. Bean Comfort Mocs. I worked 13-hour standing/walking shifts in them and never felt a thing. They’re $50, which is a stretch on minimum wage, but I also wore them every single day for several years before the inside heels got so bad they were wearing holes in my socks.

  11. BCW*

    #2 Just seems like a company that doesn’t value employees. You get NO vacation your first year? Thats absurd to me for a full time job. And up to the owners discretion whether or not you get paid for sick time? This place really needs to re-examine their policies.

    #4 This will sound mean, but really how naive are you? My first jobs in high school (movie theater and retail) we were on our feet all day. Many nurses are on their feet all day as are most security guards (Seinfeld reference). Have you really never encountered a job where they don’t have a chair there? If thats a deal breaker for you, fine, but don’t act like its some grave injustice either.

      1. BCW*

        Yeah, maybe for that role its not the norm, but to act like its somehow its an illegal thing because SHE hasn’t had to do it before is naive.

        1. Anonymous*

          Its not that naive. It doesn’t sound like standing is an essential part of the job as it would be for other positions. If you work as a security guard or nurse you expect to stand. If someone has health issues and standing isn’t essential, then as AAM pointed out you could ask for an accommodation and you could have potential legal issues.

          In fact, requiring people to stand when its not essential to the job probably creates more problems for the employer because its likely you’ll have more people asking for an accommodation than you would in the absence of such a policy.

    1. Katie*

      It’s completely unnecessary for bank tellers to be barred from having chairs.

      Most likely the new bank design was done by someone who’s never actually been a teller and they thought it would look more clean to have no stools. Or it was a cost saving measure. Who knows.

      I worked as a bank teller for several years and we had stools. When we were busy we stood, when it was slow we sat. It had zero impact on our productivity or client impression.

      1. Joey*

        Well when you think about it its completely unnecessary to require standing all day in a lot of jobs. But there are a lot of things that are not absolutely necessary that the business feels adds value. Whether its absolutely necessary or not isn’t really the most important factor, it’s how can we add value at the lowest cost.

        1. Cat*

          “Completely unnecessary” is different from “not absolutely necessary.” Which one do you think it is?

          And when you talk about “adding value at a lowest cost,” you – and many businesses – are ignoring the externalities, namely the costs of preventable health conditions caused by lack of attention to ergonomics and the business’s vague sense that something “adds value.” Since this is most common in minimum wage jobs where, often, the employer isn’t even providing health insurance, they’re not forced to internalize those externalities at all and yet they still exist and should be part of the discussion.

          1. Melissa*

            To be clear, they’re shunting those externalities off to the rest of us. These businesses may create the problem by forcing people to stand unnecessarily all day, but since they don’t provide health insurance, guess who’s paying for the preventable health conditions to be treated (usually once they are very bad and very expensive)? Taxpayers. And I’m not against universal single-payer healthcare (quite the contrary) – but people tend to ignore that a lot of times these businesses are offloading their indirect costs to the taxpayers.

          2. Joey*

            I don’t think they’re completely ignored by employers that don’t provide health insurance. Because if the injuries happen due to work related conditions it should hit their workers comp costs. And most companies look for ways to reduce those costs.

            1. Cat*

              Something like back and foot problems are hard to directly link to a particular activity, and thus often don’t get covered under workers comp. That doesn’t mean they’re not ultimately attributable to something like being unnecessarily forced to stand all day.

      2. OP #2*

        To BCW: YES! You are correct on so many levels. I am trying to get out of here, but it’s taking awhile. (And during the first year, you can take time off, I think I took 4 days? But you’re not paid for it at all.)

          1. Editor*

            When I first started working in the 1970s, it was common for an employer to award vacation at the end of the first full year or first calendar year of service. There are still a few employers who require more time — someone may be hired in October, get no vacation, then work the full calendar year from January to December before getting any vacation, even if the anniversary was in October.

            Earning vacation and sick time based on a particular number of hours or weeks worked seems more recent to me. I prefer it, but I am not surprised a small business clings to an old-fashioned way of allocating vacation.

    2. Anonicorn*

      Having done both types of “on your feet” work, I feel that being on your feet like nurses do isn’t the same as standing in one spot all day. While the former is tiring, the latter is much more painful.

      I also think there’s a difference between a work environment changing like that and accepting a new job with these conditions.

      All that said, I would still like a standing desk option at work since sitting has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Most of the jobs I’ve had (food and office) you didn’t get any vacation until you’d been there a year (only one food job had vacation and it was five days a year). You could take off if you had to, but it was unpaid. In fact, every single one until I got this one (full benefits at 30 days).

  12. Stanley*

    Regarding #5 and consulting work: about a year ago I was out of work for 9 months. During that time I did some consulting work for a former manager. It was probably not 100% on the up and up – I was paid legally and they withheld taxes, soc sec, etc., but the process he used within his company to pay me was the same as if he were paying a gardener or someone fixing the roof (some sort of local temporary labor account or maintenance account, I’m not really sure .)

    I’ve never listed this on a resume since it wasn’t anything that could be verified by anyone other than him, and he has since left that company. So, what are the best, most honest ways of talking about private consulting? I’d like to cover that gap in employment, but I’ve always thought it sounded too sketchy to list.

    1. Katie*

      You’re being overly cautious. List it. I assume if they withheld taxes you received sometime of 1099 or W2. You can use that as your proof if it came down to that, but I doubt it would.

      I list my years of freelance work on my resume, even though I’m the one that would verify it since I was the boss. I have the body of work to speak to my experience and I can provide client references but I’ve never needed them.

    2. the gold digger*

      I don’t understand what the issue is. He was probably paying from whatever account where he actually had money. This happens – you get your budget at the beginning of the fiscal year and certain amounts are supposed to come from certain accounts but it doesn’t always work that way. As long as the proper taxes were paid, I don’t see why it matters if he paid out of the consulting account or the maintenance account. If I were finance, I would want to know the proper account just so my analyses are accurate, but there are no issues for you on this. I would totally list it on my resume. I think it looks good that a former employer thought highly enough of you to employ you again.

      1. Stanley*

        I think my concern stems mostly from there not being anyone else in his company that could verify it. I do have a tax form if it comes down to “proving” it, but if anyone were to try to call and check a reference on it, I’m not sure what kind of response they would get and if that would seem like a big red flag somehow.

        Thanks for the input!!

        1. TL*

          If they mention they’re going to call, just note that the manager you worked nearly exclusively is gone. (And I’m sure they have records of having paid you.)

        2. Evan*

          For my present job, I listed a job on my resume where the company had gone out of business and my manager had changed all his contact information. When I went through the background check, I was able to verify my employment with a scanned copy of a paycheck and W2. If you’ve got either, I think that would be more than sufficient.

    3. CAA*

      Go ahead and put it on your resume. Put Consultant or Contractor after or as part of the title so people know it was intended as a short-term job.

      In the unlikely event that you need to somehow prove that you really did work there, then you just say “These types of freelance positions were handled at the department level, not through HR, but the manager I worked with was X. I also worked with him at Company Y. He’s moved on, but here’s his current contact information.” (Which you got by reaching out to him on LinkedIn.)

  13. Mike C.*

    With regards to #4, I really, really hate this idea that a boss would make employees stand for hours on end when there’s no need to. There are plenty of different types of chairs, stools and the like out there that can accommodate many different work spaces and safety requirements. I get that there are some positions where people are actually walking around all shift and that’s one thing, but those jobs are relatively rare.

    Furthermore, just because one had a boss that required standing for hours on end doesn’t mean that it was a good idea.

    Comfort while working isn’t about “feeling good”, it’s about avoiding long term ergonomic injuries. These injuries cost the company money in the short run, and cost the employee money in the long run. Telling people to “tough it out because I said so” is disrespectful, spiteful and harmful to long term business performance.

      1. Mike C.*

        Yes, it’s really a lose-lose situation here. I don’t understand it except out of a belief that either employees aren’t worth the one time cost of a chair, or that if they’re sitting they aren’t working.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          I have a sitting job, but had a job where occasionally us sitters had to run a booth at a trade show. Our boss wouldn’t pay for chairs (and it did cost extra) because he wanted us to be busy, look busy, engage with people. He also didn’t pay extra for the padding under the carpet. When there was no-one around, we’d sit on the floor, make friends in a booth with chairs, anything to sit for just a few minutes.

    1. LisaLyn*

      I am feeling cynical this morning, but it does seem to me that there are employers who go out of their way to make things as difficult and uncomfortable as possible for their employees, as though any sort of improvement for their workers is some type of defeat.

      Yeah, cynical. :)

    2. Joey*

      This was par for the course when I worked at the Four Seasons hotel. The theory was that when you’re in a chair guests have to come to you and when you’re standing you are more likely to approach them. Made sense to me.

      1. De Minimis*

        Same concept makes sense for retail, too.

        I transferred stores at one point and didn’t like how things were done at the new store. We were expected to just stand behind the information desk and let customers come to us, instead of going out and engaging with them, which is what we were expected to do at my first store. It was interesting that the first store generally had customer survey ratings in the 90% range, while the second store was at the bottom of the barrel.

      2. Jen RO*

        Can you give an example? What sort of position did this apply to? I can understand it for a doorman, for example, but why can’t a receptionist just have a really high chair? She’s behind the counter and you can’t even see that she’s not standing.

        1. fposte*

          I suspect some of this is convention as much as logic, but front desk people at US hotels are almost always standing. They do move around a fair bit even behind the counter, but I don’t think it would be harder to hop off a stool myself.

          1. Joey*

            That’s debateable. If you’re sitting a guest is more likely to assume they are expected to approach you. I know I assume that when I see someone sitting.

            1. Jen RO*

              But… why would a front desk person need to approach a guest? They can say “hello” sitting down, and guests will approach them when they need them. I’d be weirded out if a receptionist came up to me and asked if I needed something!

              (I think standing is the norm everywhere, actually… but I still think the entire world is silly for requiring it.)

              1. Joey*

                Mosts front desks that I’ve seen are pretty big and require staff to man the whole desk, not just the area in front of a specific computer

                1. Jen RO*

                  In that case, it makes sense to have the receptionists standing, but I’d expect (or hope!) they have a chair available for when they don’t have any guests to attend.

            2. TL*

              If your job is to stay behind a physical barrier (e.g., working the info desk or the cash register), that doesn’t really make sense.

              If your job is to interact with customers on the floor, that makes more sense.

                1. Pennalynn Lott*

                  I worked the Customer Service desk at a Home Depot once. We were not allowed stools to sit on, even though we were boxed in by counter tops on three sides and a wall behind us (we had a doorway-sized gap between the wall and one counter to get to our area). Management got mad if we left the area to go assist a customer (like walk them to the where a product was located) because Customer Service needed to be manned at all times, but they refused to let us sit – even when the store was empty – because it “looked bad”. To whom???

        2. Joey*

          Every customer facing position. It was to encourage getting out from behind your physical barrier to enhance the interaction and level of service.

          1. Lora*

            Did it work? I mean that sincerely, I see a lot of weirdness in organizations where nobody ever seems to follow up and determine whether a policy change or marketing strategy change actually worked.

            Which makes me suspect that if it isn’t that important whether this change achieved its goal and that the benefit outweighed the cost overall, then the individuals who come up with these things are not adding value to the company.

            1. Mike C.*

              And even so, they refuse to use things like control groups. It drives me absolutely nuts.

              “We changed policy X in late November and month to month sales skyrocketed!”

            2. Ann O'Nemity*

              As someone who loves FS, but has never worked there, I think the strategy is working. FS employees will jump to help guests, if you so much as look in their direction. Standing at attention does convey the impression that they’re ready and happy to help. And it does seem more personable when they come out from around the desk when they see a guest approaching.

              I’m not saying that they couldn’t do their jobs while seated; it’s just that standing conveys a different message.

              1. Ann O'Nemity*

                I should also admit that my opinion is likely affected by the cost of staying at a FS. I do have higher expectations there than I would at a less expensive hotel.

              2. fposte*

                What’s FS?

                I stay at some fairly nice hotels for conferences, and mostly the person at reception stays behind the desk; if I want help up, they get a bellperson to help.

                1. Joey*

                  It’s not so much just Four Seasons hotels, but any hotel aspiring to claim a five diamond rating. There’s some really personal service expected. For example every person in the hotel was supposed to refer to you by name. I know that would weird some people out at first. But we also did things like lay out rose petals for couples celebrating special occasions, create vacation pictures for forgotten stuffed animals before we mailed them, assign assistants to guests holding functions, the list goes on.

                2. Kelly L.*

                  Yeah, the name thing would weird me out! I like to imagine that after I check in, every member of hotel staff magically forgets my name until it’s time to check back in, and will stay out of my (legal and non-destructive) beeswax.

                  The stuffed animal thing is adorable, though.

                3. Jamie*

                  For example every person in the hotel was supposed to refer to you by name.

                  If I ever go there I can add all them to the list of employees at my grocery store compelled to use and butcher my name.

                  Maybe I’m just cranky, but I can’t imagine ever being so precious that I would be put out if I had to walk a couple of feet down a front desk or deal with service people being polite but not calling me by name.

                  Now every time I see someone standing anywhere I’m going to wonder if it’s some weird policy I don’t understand.

                4. Joey*

                  Jaime, its funny you say that. There were plenty of regulars that would roam the hotel when they visited to chat with some of the staff. I’m sure a big part of it was everyone “remembering ” who they were made them feel like VIPs.

          2. Melissa*

            What kind of enhanced interaction can you have with a hotel receptionist? I just want her to be pleasant and check me in; it’s not like most of the hawk things from behind the counter.

            On a retail floor I can understand, and even with cashiers who have to double as retail sales associates on the floor. I can certainly see the marketing value behind having sales associates working directly with customers. But if your sole job is “cashier” or bank teller and you aren’t expected to walk the floor, what could a cashier or bank teller possibly need to get from behind the register and “enhance interaction” for?

            1. Joey*

              We’ll wouldnt you want him to meet you at the end of the desk you’re approaching? And wouldn’t it enhance the experience if he came around the desk and escorted you to the elevators or specific area of the hotel you were lookin for? Or even offer to grab your heavy luggage from where you plopped it down?

              1. Cat*

                I stay in plenty of hotels and I’ve virtually never seen this happen. Normally you walk up to where the person is standing behind the desk because that’s where their computer is. I have never had a front desk person come and take my luggage to the elevator; they have to wait behind the desk for the next customer. Their may be someone else to do that, but that’s a different issue.

                The hotels I see, virtually always, the person could be sitting with zero ill effects on the business. And yet they never are.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  This. I mean, I don’t walk into Panera, bypass the line, and stand in front of the sandwich assembly line to be helped. I go to the register. Same with hotels–I go to where the clerk’s computer is because that’s where the work will be done. That same person won’t be helping me with my bags–maybe someone else does, or maybe there’s nobody, depending on how nice the hotel is or isn’t.

                  It being the Four Seasons, this may be a super-duper-elite level of luxury service with which I’m unfamiliar, but I think it’s overkill in most settings.

              2. Lora*

                Not really, I can see where he is and walk there. The computer to check me in is not moving, we have to go there anyways.

                I’m an anomaly though–I see that sort of behavior as overbearing and vaguely intrusive. Has a certain “used car salesman” feel about it. From a hotel, I want, in this order:
                1. FREE, very fast WiFi
                2. Free coffee/tea in lobby 24/7
                3. A nearby restaurant/bar that is half-decent so I don’t immediately have to search for someplace to eat when I’m tired and jet-lagged. Preferably that delivers.

                I’ve been in such hotels as you describe. Didn’t like it.

                1. Joey*

                  Yeah it can certainly be uncomfortable if you don’t expect it. But most people that go go to get that level of service.

                2. Lora*

                  Replying to Joey:

                  The lady I was traveling with thought it was great. That’s why I figure I’m probably something of an anomaly. To me that stuff feels like someone with no social skills is not reading or deliberately ignoring my “don’t bug me” signals.

                  Nowadays I try to stay in B&Bs. After a long day at work, I want to feel at home, have a cup of tea and unwind, not like I’m returning to my corporate pod for my scheduled On Call/Light Duty time.

              3. Elizabeth West*

                Um, no. But I’ve never stayed at a really fancy hotel; for all I know, that’s where they do stuff like this. At Doubletree or Marriot? Uh uh. I would absolutely expect to carry my own crap.

              4. Ethyl*

                “And wouldn’t it enhance the experience if he came around the desk and escorted you to the elevators or specific area of the hotel you were lookin for?”

                Oh my god no. No no no. That would read as creepy and threatening to me, I’m not even kidding.

                1. Joey*

                  Threatening and creepy if a hotel employee in a suit or uniform offered to show you to a part of the building you were looking for?

                  How so? I’ve never heard that or encountered anything like that. Usually there were 3 types of people:

                  1. This is a pleasant surprise type response.

                  2. No thanks. I like to do things by myself.

                  3. This is what I expect all the time.

                2. Ethyl*

                  “I’ve never heard that or encountered anything like that.”

                  That must be a nice way to go through life.

                3. Jen RO*

                  It wouldn’t be threatening or creepy to me, but I would still definitely *not* enjoy it. If I asked for help, then the receptionist could come out from behind the desk etc; if I didn’t, I would feel patronized if s/he did that, like I was told I can’t even carry my bags or find the elevator by myself.

                  A receptionist should check me in, offer me information and call other hotel personnel as necessary. That’s it.

                4. Jamie*

                  I’m with Jen. I wouldn’t find it creepy – but weird and unnecessary. Unless your elevator is hidden in a hedge maze, I’ll find it, and I wouldn’t want company.

                  A pleasant exchange during check out is lovely – we don’t need to develop an ongoing relationship.

                5. Editor*

                  A couple of times I’ve stayed at places with the level of service Joey talks about. I do get weirded out by people calling me by name, but one of the things I liked was that the rooms were quiet.

                  The national-chain motel near my in-laws is the noisiest place I’ve ever stayed. I don’t think there’s any insulation in the walls, and a normal conversation can be heard clearly through the walls. Give me a place that’s quiet, clean, and with plumbing that’s in good shape, plus extra towels in the bathroom. If your company can do that, I am totally ok with front desk workers having stools to sit on.

          3. athek*

            I checked in to a hotel once where you had to sit down with an agent at a cubicle/terminal. I think they were trying to make the experience more personable and comfortable, but really, I just wanted to move along and get to my room, and I felt like the whole thing was inefficient and dragged out. I think in hotels, the standing behind the desk scenario is much better.

            1. Prickly Pear*

              When I stayed in Hawaii, the front desk had a big desk area complete with a “living room” check in set up. I sat down with my super heavy bags and enjoyed a mimosa.
              Best check in ever.

              As far as being called by name, I’d be irritated, but the best meal I ever had involved the waiter remembering me from an earlier trip and letting me try something the chef was testing, and remembering that I’m not a big chocolate dessert eater and subbing out a dessert that knocked my socks off. He didn’t take it to calling my name, but that personalized attention makes me recommend that restaurant everywhere. (seriously, Roy’s Waikiki- major major love!)

      3. Mike C.*

        I said that it was fine for particular positions where you’re walking around all the time. Even then, I’m willing to bet that your manager never expressly forbid you from ever sitting during any paid portion of your shift.

        I’m talking about situations where the rule is made arbitrarily, and enforced to an extreme without consideration for common sense. Like in the OP. Just because a practice is normalized or provides a perceived benefit doesn’t mean that the practice should be continued or that the benefit isn’t real or isn’t worth long term costs.

          1. Emma*

            …create vacation pictures for forgotten stuffed animals before we mailed them…

            Joey, that is adorable! Sounds like the best part of the job.

            1. Joey*

              What’s funny is those unnecessary things are what people remembered and appreciated most. And I suspect earned us loyal business.

    1. Gilby*

      +1 !!!

      They are too long, so much time to invest, so much irrelevant info they want it is most often not worth the time.

      I joked to one friend I am surprised they don’t ask for my Grandfathers name and grades from grammar school.

      1. thenoiseinspace*

        Agreed – and because they have so many weird restrictions, the information isn’t always accurate. Case in point: low character limits for fields like “undergraduate major” and “awarding university.” I hate using the slang term for my school on professional applications (Georgia Tech), but frequently the full name won’t fit. More importantly, if you shorten the name of my degree, it sounds like something else entirely, so I have to just put down the school instead and leave off the major. I’m always worried that they’ll compare it with my resume and the discrepancy will confuse them.

        I’ve also got a particular problem that I’ve encountered of late that I’ve been saving for this Friday’s open thread, but if Alison does end up doing an online app problem roundup, I’d love to submit it.

        1. TL*

          Just put ” ramblin’ wreck” for school/major. :P

          My brother went to Georgia Tech and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it referred to by its proper name, even when he’s making formal small talk.

          1. Melissa*


            I’m from Atlanta and I had to think about what thenoiseinspace meant for a minute, because I was like “Georgia Tech IS the full name – oh wait, no it’s not.”

            1. Emma*

              And school name: GIT doesn’t inspire confidence, I’m guessing. (Just Googled Georgia Tech since I didn’t understand why that wouldn’t be its full name).

        2. Jubilance*

          Fellow GTech grad :-) and I also hate not spelling the full name out in applications. I think a lot of people think the full name IS just Georgia Tech.

          1. Tara B.*

            I can see that. It doesn’t really help matters when you visit their official website and they have “Georgia Tech” plastered all over the page and included in the logo.

            Before today, I never knew Georgia Tech had an official name (and I graduated from an A&M school). You learn something new every day.

            1. thenoiseinspace*

              Hmm…maybe I should start putting “Georgia Tech” on my resume and applications instead? It’s what I use whenever I’m talking about it and it’s how most stuff at the school is branded, I just thought that I should be a bit more formal/professional on applications. But going to a relatively big-name school doesn’t help you if people don’t recognize it… would you guys have known what “Georgia Institute of Technology” was if you saw it on a resume, or would you only know “Georgia Tech” ?

              This is why I love this site – excellent feedback and stuff you’d never know otherwise.

              1. HR lady*

                I’m not from Georgia, but I would not have known those were the same schools. (Maybe someone from Georgia, or someone who went to the school, would know that?)

                I’d probably put Georgia Tech, mainly because that’s how it’s branded and how most everyone knows it.

              2. TL*

                Everyone I know who recognizes the institute *by reputation* knows it as Georgia Tech.

                So…I would put Georgia Tech, as that’s the name that’s associated with its good reputation; anyone who will be impressed by it will recognize it and anyone who doesn’t can simply google it.

                (If you’re applying in the South or in an area with a major tech school, it should be recognized.)

                1. Jubilance*

                  IDK if I agree with that. If you went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, you wouldn’t just put “MIT” on your resume. The same should be used at Georgia Tech – sure informally it’s known by a shorter name but on a resume it should be the full name spelled out. And honestly, who in the US HASN’T heard of Georgia Tech? I was from Michigan & it was my dream school!

                2. TL*

                  Right, but if I was filling in a form and Massachusetts Institute of Technology didn’t fit (w/ or w/o my major), I would use MIT.

                  My old company’s official name was University of X Y.Z. Smithson Jane Judith Research Center for SuperSpecific Area. I sure as heck shortened it to the name it was commonly known by.

                  And, yes, there are people who don’t know what Georgia Tech is. They are not normally tech people, but they do exist. I have met them.

                3. TL*

                  @thenoiseinspace: maybe leave it as Georgia Institute of Technology on your resume and shorten it to Georgia Tech when you don’t have space, like on an application.

              3. Jubilance*

                I have it listed as Georgia Institute of Technology on my resume & I always spell it out in applications, but I just say Georgia Tech when I’m speaking of the school.

                For the record I’ve never had someone ask me if Georgia Institute of Technology = Georgia Tech. I suppose they could have the question after seeing my resume and then Google it to learn that yes, they are in fact the same school.

                Do people have these same questions about Virginia Tech? Or Texas Tech? Or CalTech? Any grads from those schools out there?

                1. TL*

                  I would be confused for a second if someone said Texas Institute of Technology (is it really called that?) I’m from Texas and I’ve never heard it referred to as anything but Texas Tech.

                2. Connie-Lynne*

                  People seem to understand that Caltech (no intercaps) and the California Institute of Technology are the same place. It’s not uncommon for people to just put “Caltech” on their resumes though.

            2. Anonymous*

              If the school uses the name Georgia Tech itself, than that is one of its names and it’s fine to use it yourself.

      1. Dan*

        USA Jobs isn’t that bad. I’m sure you’re complaining about the multiple choice stuff, but it’s *far, far* better than the old essay questions.

        1. De Minimis*

          It’s definitely improved a lot even from a few years ago. Now I’d say it’s not any worse than the average private sector website.

    2. Elizabeth West*


      I hated uploading my resume and then having to fill out all the fields anyway; or worse, having the application parse all the information from it and get it all wonky. >_<

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        And then on page 8 of 9, it times out because I’ve taken too long, and it doesn’t save anything — I have to start completly over. What did I write on that essay on page 6?

  14. The IT Manager*

    Hmmm …. For LW#3, I kind of disagree with Alison. It just strikes me as eaiser to get reimbursed for the the $25.oo overnighting cost (with reciept) than for 5 hours of work finding a notary especially is LW#3 had trouble finding one to do the work and technically the LW isn’t back on the books yet. Of course those 5 hours are probably worth more than $25.00 so she loses if she does this.

    It sounds to me like the company is not prepared to have long distance employees so there’s no process in place deal with ones who can’t come into the office to complete paperwork and their workaround isn’t as easy as they imagined.

    I was shocked when my job required me to do online training before I started work. It was so unexpected that I did not do it. I did not expect to be able to access the training website from outside the firewall. But then on day 1 they couldn’t start my network access process without proof that I had completed training. And then, although, you can access the website from anywhere it didn’t work with the latest version of MS Internet Explorer so I had to dig out an old laptop to get to an older version – not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t had that option. IMO too much work for a job that’s not paying you yet, but I sucked it up and did it becuase they were going to employ me soon.

  15. Jubilance*

    #2 – So you didn’t get any vacation time for the first year you worked there? That’s a sucky policy. No way could I work for a company that didn’t allow any vacation time for a year.

    #4 – This is very common in retail/service roles. My first job was McDonald’s and I’d often work an 8hr shift on weekends & have to stand the entire time, with the exception of my 30 min lunch. I got comfy shoes but still by the end my feet were aching. I’ve also experienced this working retail at mall stores. It comes with the territory. You have to decide if this is a role you still want considering the new requirement.

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      My company doesn’t allow paid vacation time for the first year. Unpaid only. It definitely does not foster morale.

      And when I was working retail, it was a thousand times easier to be walking all day long than standing behind a counter. Standing eight hours on a concrete floor left me aching, but walking was somehow easier.

    2. OP #2*

      Nope, no vacation time at all, but you could take time off. I think I took 4 days off my first year, but I wasn’t paid for any of them.
      Sucky, sucky policy. I could see no vacation time during the first 90 days as like a probationary period, but I think a whole year is absurd.

    3. College Career Counselor*

      Ditto on the comfortable shoes. Also, when you work fast food, you have to replace your shoes much more frequently. Fast food is HARD on shoes as well as feet. After about a month, mine started to fall apart.

      1. KLH*

        I wore out a pair of Danskos in 6 months. Granted, I also walked a lot on my commute, but they developed literal holes in the soles. My feet also swelled half a size larger and didn’t return to normal until 2 months after I stopped working retail. And I have bunions now, but they’re not serious.

    4. Alicia*

      I work at a university, and that’s the policy here too – that for the first year you are accruing your vacation, but can’t use it until the anniversary date rolls around.

      Generally EAs in the department end up having tallies going into the negative because it’s kind of a ridiculous policy. So it’s kept track of, but then HR doesn’t have a hissy-fit over us taking vacation when we technically cannot.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Where does everybody work that actually GIVES you vacation the first year?! As I said above, this is the first admin job I’ve had that gives it before a year. Have I definitely been in the wrong town/state?

      1. esra*

        I’m in Ontario. Pretty much every place has your vacation + benefits kick in after probation (3 mo). My current job started with vacation and benefits right off the bat.

          1. Jen RO*

            Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not, but I doubt I’ll get clarification on an old post, so… OK?

      2. NylaW*

        I’m in Illinois and my organization has our PTO setup on an accrual plan. Every biweekly pay period you accrue X hours of PTO. The accrual rates go up at 5 and 10 years of employment.

      3. Jubilance*

        Every place I’ve worked has given vacation in the first year. I’m on my 3rd role, and all my companies have been in the Fortune 100. No probation period for vacation or health benefits, everything starts Day 1, though my current company made me wait 180 days before I could invest in my 401K, which was annoying.

        I was actually really surprised to hear there are places that make you wait for benefits & vacation/sick time.

        1. Anonymous*

          If you’ve only worked in the biggest 100 companies in the US, you should recognize – not be surprised by – the possibility that many other people have different experiences.

  16. Kelly L.*

    Yeah…I could do that kind of job when I was 19, but it was tough doing it later when I had hit my thirties. Maybe because I’d already done it too much in my younger years? Ow.

  17. BadPlanning*

    For OP2, is the boss really playing favorites? Or is there a lack of a sick day system so sick time isn’t regularly paid because it isn’t tracked very well. So it looks like favorites…but it’s really a lack of organization? I guess it depends on how time is recorded. Does the boss have to punch in the hours worked every day? Or does the boss only have to deduct time not worked from a default amount?

    1. OP #2*

      No, we have a part time person who does general office tasks like data entry. She keeps track of who takes vacation time and when. Everyone has a file with a running list of when their vacation days started, when they have used vacation time, when they have been paid extra vacation days, when they have taken and been paid/not paid sick days. And we submit a time sheet every week.
      Some people have shown me their files, so I know that they have gotten paid for extra vacation/sick time. It’s all clearly organized and documented so it really is favoritism… I really think it depends on the owner’s “mood” that day…

      1. AVP*

        Ah, this is what I meant below – it’s not necessarily “favoritism” in the sense that Jane always gets her days paid, no matter how many she takes, and Bob never will, even if he only takes one ever. At my company it mainly comes down to the CEO’s mood and perception of you at the exact moment that you happen to ask.

        1. OP #2*

          Well for example, on the time sheet I saw, “Bob” got paid 3 extra vacation days and 4 sick days in one year, so yes, his got paid every time.

          Mine was paid for 1 extra sick day a year, then 1.5 days for bereavement, then 1 sick day unpaid.

          Soooo that pretty much looks like Bob’s gets paid all the time and mine does not get paid all the time.

    2. AVP*

      I think that’s probably what it is. My company works the same way.

      Also, I hate to say it, but if there’s no clear policy for everything, I doubt your manager is seeing sick time as different from bereavement time. Often in these situations your employees are either “at work” or “not at work,” so she’s probably counting herself as pretty generous for already letting you have a few days off this year already.

  18. some1*

    #2, I seriously can’t believe you had to provide an obit that listed you as the granddaughter to go to get time off for your grandparents’ funeral. I’d be SOL at your company; coming from a huge Irish family on both sides, I was listed on both my late grandparents’ obits as “survived by X number of grandchildren”.

    1. OP #2*

      I don’t think I HAD to provide it, I just did. I didn’t want her to go searching for it and then not find anything because it was a different last name. I’ve had teachers/bosses ask for this stuff before so I was just doing it as a courtesy.

    2. Sadsack*

      Yeah, that is crappy. I’d tell the manager to come by the funeral home during visiting hours if she wants to verify.

      1. doreen*

        I’ve seen a requirement for documentation – but only at jobs that had some sort of special provision for bereavement leave. One provided three days of extra leave for specified relatives and another allowed the use of up to three weeks of sick leave , again for specified relatives. Other jobs where I would have had to use vacation time had no such requirement.

  19. Sunflower*

    #4- I think this is very strange for a bank adviser. I’d have to assume they think by having you stand, you are more visible to clients and therefore more likely to be approached. I only worked with a bank adviser once and it was when I was 17 (8 years ago) to open my bank account. Maybe things have changed but I remember the process taking a while and it would have been awkward to stand the whole time. Are you allowed to sit once you’re talking with someone? Because I can see that making more sense.

    1. Kelly L.*

      I’ll also add that a former bank of mine suddenly changed their business model and started having a “greeter” who stood in the middle of the lobby all day and would effusively approach anyone who came in–and that I found it pretty off-putting. It felt like I was at the Gap being sold khakis. I know preferences vary, but I kind of want my bank to come across as quiet and reserved, for some reason. Not to mention how much that greeter’s feet must have hurt.

      1. Kelly L.*

        (Though now I’m curious and googling, and it sounds like it might be a security measure? Still annoying though.)

        1. De Minimis*

          I hate that practice at banks….I’ve seen it too, and I feel like it’s an annoyance–when I go to the bank I want to just get my business done and get on my way, and don’t like having to have to “check in” with someone just to be able to get in line.

          1. Kelly L.*

            I think it’s the loudness too–banks often have pretty echo-ey acoustics that make it more jarring than it might be in a different setting.

          2. Diet Coke Addict*

            I’ve seen that and hated it, too. I could not see a point to having a greeter intercept me so I could tell them “I need to deposit a cheque” or whatever and have them direct me to the teller. I could do that on my own, you know?

          3. Sunflower*

            Definitely. I rarely go into the bank unless it’s for a specific purpose. I am mostly running in and out. My friends have gone in a few times to discuss their account and see if they are utilizing the best options but those are always planned.

          4. Jennifer*

            +1. I work for a bank that does this, and it makes me nuts. I don’t work in a branch, but when I have to go to one, they corner me and it irritates me. The best ones are where the branch manager wants everyone to be overly excited or too perky. Those make me even more irritated. I hate the forced feeling of it. No one needs to act like a high school cheerleader to help me fill out a deposit slip.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          It is a common security practice–if someone (greeter or guard) makes eye contact with people at the door, it’s very possible that can deter a robber. Same as if you turn and stare at the person you think is following you. “I see you.”

          Most bank robbers are note-passers, not armed gangs like you see on TV. You can be at the window right next to them and not even know what just happened. Half of them don’t even bother to wear a disguise (idiots!) Part of the fun of writing Rose’s Hostage was trying to figure out how I would armed-gang it without getting caught.

      2. Judy*

        Our credit union has a receptionist. As you walk in, there is the teller line, and the receptionist desk. So if you just need a teller, go to the teller line. If you want to open an account, or talk to the loan folks, or get in your safety deposit box, you go to the receptionist desk, and she calls the person you need. At our old bank, you had to wait in the teller line, and then ask for those things, which at times could be a wait just to ask a person who is available immediately.

      3. Mike C.*

        I hate greeters. I hate the idea that some manager thought it would be a great idea to spend their money on someone to pretend to be happy to see me enter the store. It’s fake human interaction and it feels gross.

        1. LPBB*

          Greeters aren’t so much about making customers feel welcome, although that can be a side effect. It’s all about loss prevention. For whatever reason, people are less likely* to steal from you if they are directly greeted with eye contact. It’s a relatively cheap intervention, which is why it’s so popular.

          *Obviously, this is a generalization and doesn’t always hold true. There are a lot of brazen shoplifters out there, such as the one who enthusiastically responded to my greeting and asked for my assistance only to rip us off 10 minutes later.

            1. fposte*

              I totally agree–I’m shopping, I don’t know you, stop talking to me. However, I think the actual greeting has a restraining effect on people less automatically virtuous than us, so it’s not likely to go away any time soon.

        2. Mints*

          When I worked childcare, I was assigned to be s greeter a few times, and the first day, I asked “I’m just supposed to say hello to everyone?” and the manager said “No you’re actually checking to make sure kids don’t wander away” Which I didn’t even realize we were doing (duh!)
          But that doesn’t make sense for banks and I’m not a fan of the practice in that type of business

    2. Diane*

      When I moved to this state, the DMV had a greeter who looked over my documents. It saved me tons of time because I had to run home for one more document, and he remembered me and pointed me to the right line when I came back. Best DMV experience I’d ever had.

      1. Jennifer*

        Now this I like. My post office does this at busy times and I’ve seen it at the DMV too. Sometimes the grocery store I shop at has a floater that helps you find a shorter line or unload your cart, too.

        That’s the type of customer service that’s in everyone’s best interests.

    1. Dan*

      I thought the same thing. And when we tell someone that here, they inevitably respond back with “here is why I think my prospective job is really, really good.”

      Nobody is questioning *why* you think your job is really, really good. We want to point out that there are so many things that you aren’t aware of, and can’t be until you start working there. A job is far more than the words you see on paper, and a company is far more than the image you see in public.

  20. Mike B. (@epenthesis)*

    #3 – I don’t think there’s any legal or ethical question that you’re in the right, so the issue is just whether it would be wise to pursue compensation here. But it would appear that the power lies with you and not with your former employer; they would most likely have replaced you promptly if doing so was a simple matter, whereas you were prepared to move on before they contacted you. You’re already doing them something of a favor by continuing your working relationship as long as they need you, so why should that favor extend to spending uncompensated time and money on administrative duties? Bill everything. They’re really not in any kind of a position to balk at a few hundred dollars.

  21. AM*

    #5 – What would you advise if you are in a similar situation to the writer (about 10 years of work and a few years at home with kids) but you didn’t have any consulting experience during the limited years out of the workforce?

    And I second all the comments about doing a thread just on the problems with applying for jobs online.

  22. BeenThere*

    OP4 Make sure you have a fatigue mat to stand on.

    I was a bank teller (in Australia) for a year and a half and I stood all day long on a fatigue mat. You get used to standing pretty quickly and it’s probably better for your back and definitely counts as exercise. (There was a study showing that parts of your metabolism switch off when you sit down) I liked it better than sitting down because I could move around the space quicker. I once was sent to another branch for a day, they didn’t have the fatigue mats and I had back pain all day. The difference that piece of rubber made was unbelievable.

  23. Re: #4*

    I used to work in the back stock room of a dept store several years ago, my job was sticking security tags and price tags on incoming store items, so that the newly-tagged item can be brought out on the store floor to be purchased by store customers.

    The rule for employees working in the stock room was “In store within 24” (as in 24 hours). We were literally ordered by the store’s head manager that we were to work standing at all times, not ever to sit nor move (as in stretching / walking), unless we’re moving our bodies only for the purpose of either getting more tags and/or getting more items to tag. The manager flat-out told us “Every single item in the stock room MUST be ‘in store within 24’, and every time you move around (as in stretching / walking), it slows everything down, and that means we automatically lose hundreds of dollars worth of sales, and that is absolutely unacceptable”

    1. Re: #4*

      Oh and to clarify, a truck full of new merchandise arrived every morning Monday – Friday, so we had to tag everything that same day before the end of our shift (and before next morning’s truck), and so on…

  24. Wren*

    Q1 reminds me of a hiring swap by fiat that happened where my husband works: the executive assistant of the VP of Dept. A was going on maternity leave for a year, and members of Dept. A interviewed seasoned experienced candidates for the position. People upstairs in the fancy glass offices became interested in the candidate they chose and poached her, then plucked a new hire from Dept. B, a fairly inexperienced young admin and sent her to be the executive assistant. To fill the vacancy in Dept. B, they sent an excess admin of their own. So both VP of Dept. A and Dept. B got admins they never interviewed.

  25. Becky*

    I used to waitress at a famous pancake house if anyone wants to guess, I was working 60 hours a week (between 3 different jobs) and was going to school full time. I was working a Saturday shift and my boss required me to do a double from 8am to 8pm and I was on my feet the ENTIRE DAY! I didn’t get to sit down once. Around 3pm, the people that get doubles get to take about 1 hour of a break and eat, relax and do other stuff. That never happens. My manager had all the other servers leave before I had a chance to break and by the time the closer go there at 5pm, we were so busy I was practically running around. I was so achy, my back hurt so bad and I was a healthy 19 year old at the time. I came home crying, I hurt so bad. I quit that day and never will go back there. The whole place is bad management. If I had though about it at the time, I would of sued.

  26. Becky*

    *** I would like to add that I was not schedule for a double. Some girl called out because she was had to study (IE: too hungover from drinking) and my manager forced me to do that double.

Comments are closed.