my boss keeps asking to borrow money, employer wants to know how much my other job offers are, and more

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

1. Employer wants to know how much my other offers are

My question is whether my wife, who is graduating with a masters in nursing, should disclose details on the offers she has received to the company she really wants to work for? She interviewed and received offers at two companies. She now has an upcoming meeting with a third company, where the hiring manager indicated that they will give her an offer. The hiring manager knows that she’s received offers from the other two companies, and asked her if she could share what the two other companies were offering, so that “they would know whether they are in the same ballpark.” My wife likes this third company the best, so she doesn’t want to alienate them by refusing to disclose the other two offers.

“I feel uncomfortable sharing other company’s specific offers, but I’m looking for a range of around $X.” After all, this isn’t an auction where the highest bidder gets her (or if it is, she at least shouldn’t imply that).

2. Why does my recruiter from two years ago want to talk with me about my new job?

This week was my last week at a job, and I’m starting a new job on Monday (yay!). Today, I decided to update Facebook and LinkedIn with the new information and not an hour later, I got an email from a recruiter I worked with to get my Old Job. It was a brief email saying he saw the update on LinkedIn, doesn’t know about the company, and would like to chat with me on the phone.

The email seems very weird. I was at Old Job for a year and 8 months, so I doubt any commission he received from placing me was jeopardized. I actually enjoyed working with the recruiter the last time around, but the new gig sort of fell into my lap (no outside recruiters involved). I’m finding this message pretty bizarre and wondering what his motivations might be. Do I respond to the email or schedule a call out of courtesy? Do I ignore it?

Yeah, I don’t think this is about any kind of commission. It’s more likely about him wanting to keep his network current. He saw your update and he wants to know what you’re doing now, to update his records and keep in touch with you. Depending on your job, he might also want to pitch you using his services for your new company or pick your brain about candidates for roles he’s working to fill. No reason not to talk to him, especially if you might want to work with him in the future.

3. My boss keeps asking to borrow money and doesn’t pay it back

I lent $220 to my manager last December. She promised to pay me on the second week of January, but has not mentioned anything about it til now. How can I ask for the money in a polite and professional way so as not to ruin our working relationship? Also, please give me more excuses not to lend her money because in these three months, she has tried to borrow five times again. I lent her some the fifth time and again she has not paid on the agreed date. The amount this time is $45.

To give you a brief background, I live in the Philippines. My manager is the best boss. That is why I have not asked her to return the money these three months because I am afraid our relationship will turn sour. I also like my job a lot. I am also an introvert who has difficulty in expressing my intentions verbally. Another problem is I can’t help but feel some disrespect for her because she broke her promise. Well, I have noticed that she easily breaks her other promises to me too. Hope that you can help me because I am running out of excuses to not lend her money. I am afraid that I have to resign to avoid lending more money.

To get back the money you’ve already lent: “Jane, you were going to pay me back in January. Can you give me that money back today?” If she says she doesn’t have it, say, “I do need it now, so when do you think you’ll be able to repay it?” (Keep in mind though that you may or may not get that money back. Generally with lending money, it’s smart to only lend an amount that you’d be comfortable not seeing again, because that sometimes happens with personal loans.)

To refuse further requests: “I’m sorry, but I can’t lend you any additional money.” Or you might be more comfortable with, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any money I can lend.” And you definitely should start refusing — lending money to your boss is a bad dynamic to get into.

4. I didn’t get a bonus and I think it’s because I took FMLA leave

I found out that I got “Inconsistently met expectations” when I busted my butt all year for my company. I was supposed to get about a $10,000 bonus based on company funding and got zero. I think it is because I took FMLA. The negatives on the review are so trivial and being in a client facing role, not a single client complained about me. In fact, several took the time to write positives and talk to my boss about me in a positive way. What recourse do I have? Should I talk to HR?

I am so steamed that I am about ready to blow. We had many extra duties this year and I did them all.

Yes, if you think that you were penalized for using FMLA, you should talk to HR, since they’re going to be much more versed in the legalities here than your manager probably is. (And yes, penalizing you for taking FMLA violates the law.)

5. I want to reach out to a professor who offered to mentor me two years ago

A couple of years ago (2012), I took a summer course for my graduate program. At the end of the course, the professor approached me and mentioned that she would like to be my mentor. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I didn’t keep in touch with her and now I really regret it. She has a lot of knowledge on a unique field, and I’m finding myself with a lot of questions about career development in this arena that I think she would be able to answer.

It may or may not be important to note, I am not hoping that she will get me a job, and that would not be the subject of any conversation I would have with her. However, I know it could seem like I blew her off earlier, when really I just didn’t understand networking/mentors and the opportunity she was giving me. At several points since then, I’ve thought about getting in touch, but it always seemed like too much time had passed. Is there any salvaging this? If so, how should I make that first contact?

You have nothing to lose by trying. Send her an email letting her know what you got out of her course, what you’ve been doing since then (ideally talking about how her course helped you with that, if you can), how much you appreciated the offer she made you to mentor you, and how much you’ve regretted not following up with her about it. (You could potentially say that you weren’t sure how to follow up at the time.) Say that you’d love to get back in touch now, and ask if you can buy her coffee to reconnect.

{ 90 comments… read them below }

  1. The IT Manager*

    For #4, I’m curious about this I was supposed to get about a $10,000 bonus based on company funding and got zero.

    AAM addressed the specific question, but I wonder how the bonuses are awarded that LW is so sure that her performance deserved such a large bonus. (That sounds like a huge bonus to me.)

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      There could be a performance programme where a bonus amount is fixed at the start of the year and you have to achieve certain targets so it is paid?

    2. MissM*

      In our company, bonus plans are very clearly spelled out as to how they are calculated. If you have a Satisfactory performance review and your annual sales are $X, then you get Y% of $X as a bonus, for example (more complicated than that, but very clear so everyone knows what they are going to get.)

    3. VintageLydia USA*

      In my husband’s company, if the overall profits reach certain goals, then you can get a certain percentages of your salary as a bonus, up to 10%. If you make 6 figures (and in his company that’s not unusual) then a $10K+ bonus is very possible.

      1. CAA*

        My company does that too, but it’s calculated on actual earnings instead of salary. So someone who’s out on unpaid FMLA for 12 weeks will get a smaller bonus as an indirect result of taking FMLA.

        1. Judy*

          Our company is similar. Earned income is multiplied by a percent based on level, 10, 15, 20% to get a “bonus target”, managers make more. A company multiplier based on the company meeting its goals ( I’ve seen between .25 and 1.25 in the last 13 years). And a personal multiplier based on your rating. So a 1 (highest rating) would have a 1.5, a 2 would have a 1.25. All the 3’s have 1, and the 4’s have .5. If you get a 5, you don’t get a bonus.

          For a senior level individual contributor, even getting a 3 in a good company year, could have a 25% bonus.

      2. EM*

        Same for my husband’s company. They always meet their metrics so he is assured about 10% of his salary which translates to roughly $8,500.

        1. Judy*

          That’s nice. It seems like it doesn’t always work that way here. It’s quite demoralizing to see that we have record sales and profits, but we don’t meet our goals and projections for the year, so the company as a whole is not “meeting expectations”. “This was the best year ever based on earnings per share, but it wasn’t the projected value, so the multiplier is .9”

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

            That’s annoying.

            We try to structure things so that annoying thing doesn’t happen. It’s not easy when you are on the other side of setting up bonus structures, which I am, to put out a structure which pays for the right things, without the potential to rip the rug out from under the very people you are trying to incent.

            There’s a lot of math.

            The way your company does it, based on overall projections, is common and maybe the only way to do it when a company gets to a certain size. I do it by having different bonus groups, with incentives tied to things they can directly control, that together tie into my projections.

            I can see how at a certain point I might have to throw up my hands and tie everybody overall to projections but trying not to, ’cause, what you said.

    4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      As others said, $10,000 isn’t uncommon in a formal bonus structure where bonuses are tied to specific company metrics.

      My guess is that the metrics were met but the poor review meant the OP was deemed ineligible.

      If they really are trying to screw her over the FMLA, they’d be wise to revise the review and pay up quickly. Lot cheaper than legal fees.

      I hope HR can help sort this quickly. Just *looking* like it is FMLA is bad.

  2. JessA*

    #3 Boss borrowing money but not paying it back.

    I once had a friend like that. I got to the point where I just told her, “I’m sorry, I can’t right now” or “I haven’t gotten paid” (obviously this might not work if it’s your boss asking. “I can’t afford it right now” works too.

    1. Jessa*

      Yeh those are good reasons. You can’t, if you’re in the OP’s position go with “I can’t loan more when I have not been paid back.” I have a lot of friends in the Philippines and asked one and she said that, culturally you can’t really be that blunt. So yeh, lots of apologies and “I just don’t have it, sorry.”

      1. Confused*

        Hi Im the OP of Boss borrowing money but not paying it back. Thank you Alison for answering my question and I hope that I can get a way out of my problem through this forum so please keep the suggestions coming. I will definitely try Alison’s tips and I understand that lending money to my boss is really a bad situation. I have more complications that I did not mention in my email so hope that you can read further.

        Unfortunately, I cannot use “I can’t afford it right now” because since my manager interviewed me, she knows my financial background and I am single so no additional expenses.

        Thank you Jessa for that explanation. We are indeed sensitive by nature and cannot accept frank remarks complicated by the fact that she is my direct supervisor. So I need excuses to decline her requests. I forgot to mention that she always starts expressing her requests by saying that she is borrowing money from the revolving fund (USD 378) assigned to me by the company. We have to return this every end of the month. And when you minus the amount of the fund from the amount she borrowed (USD265), the remaining does not subsidize my monthly company-related expenses. And yeah she signs my expense reports too. Basically she is my manager so I tend to ask a lot of favors from her eg approving my vacation leave etc etc.

        Did I mention that it’s only been six months since getting hired?

        To give you an idea of my excuses,

        1. My house caught fire so I have additional expenses. (worked for less than two months)
        2. Revolving fund is used up. (cannot use this when she borrows money at the start of the month)

        Thank goodness I don’t have a credit card. The first time she borrowed money from me, she asked if she can use my credit card to pay for stuff because (1) she does not have one and (2) if she pays through credit card, she gets a 30% discount as opposed to paying through cash (for that particular stuff).

        Sorry for the long post…

        1. Arbynka*

          I hope you find solution to this because this is ridiculous. She actually asked to use your credit card ? You know my biggest fear is the she is not intending to return any of the money and she is using her position as a boss to “have you in a corner”. If you have to apologize like hell, do it but please do not lend her anymore money. Personally, I feel like this should be reported if possible. I would be very concerned if my boss asked to borrow money from me repeatedly and again the whole “can I use your credit card” thing is disturbing.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Totally agreed, this is your boss using her position and power over you to extort money. Her superiors would likely be shocked and appalled to hear this as it’s absolutely NOT the norm anywhere. Please go to your manager’s boss and if that is not an option, tell her that you simply CANNOT loan her anymore money. If she fires you for that, then so be it.

            1. bullyfree*

              I agree with Ruffingit. No one should have to deal with this in the workplace! I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. Please up date when and if you are able, OP.

        2. Lamington*

          OP I would just tell boss that my family is having financial issues and I need to help them. or maybe that a relative auntie myrtle is ill and she needs help paying medical bills. also don’t carry any cash with you that the boss might see. sorry that you’re in this situation.

        3. Artemesia*

          Do you really have no management above this person you can complain to? This is a form of extortion; she is bullying you in order to steal money from you and keep you in fear for your job. If she claims to be taking from the revolving fund then at minimum you should have receipts from her taking that you can show when the funds are accounted for.

          The whole ‘excuse’ thing is disturbing; she should not be as knowledgeable about your finances as she appears to be. And it is shocking that she thinks she is entitled to steal your money because you are her subordinate and single. Is this common in your culture? If you have no other alternative you need to come up with a better excuse and stick with it. Do you have an extended family? a mother or father living? If so or if you can claim so, start putting your money each month in a restricted savings account like a CD and claim to your boss that you are needed to provide support for family and have no excess cash to lend. And insist on a receipts for any money from the revolving fund because ‘I can’t put any back at the end of the month and so I need to show it was used for work here when it is accounted for.’

          AWFUL. Hope you can get a new job or this boss can be brought into line. She should clearly be fired for this behavior which is abusive and misuse of her power over a subordinate.

          1. Arbynka*

            “Do you really have no management above this person you can complain to? This is a form of extortion; she is bullying you in order to steal money from you and keep you in fear for your job.”

            YES. You said it so much better than me, Artemesia. +1 to your whole post.

        4. fposte*

          And Confused, your manager may otherwise be very pleasant to deal with, but she is not “the best boss.” The best boss doesn’t make her staff give her their personal money. This is a big enough thing that it makes her not a good boss, even if she’s otherwise pleasant.

          1. Arbynka*

            Well said, fposte. And let’s not forget that lots of, for example, con artists, are very pleasant people. It’s how they get what they want, it’s how they manipulate people, that’s how they manipulate the public opinion should their con become known.

            1. fposte*

              Exactly. It’s hard to get close enough to people to take advantage of them unless you’re really likable, and the more likable you are, the longer it’ll take them to push back.

              1. fposte*

                Somebody quoted Shakespeare on this situation below; I’ll add another Shakespeare line: “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”

          2. Ruffingit*

            Totally agreed and I’d also take issue with the OP saying that she needs her boss to do her favors like approve vacation time. Approving vacation time is not a favor, it’s part of the boss’s JOB. OP, you need to start realizing what is a favor vs. what is expected in a professional environment. Things that are expected of a boss: handling vacation time, managing your work, NOT BORROWING MONEY EVER FROM SUBORDINATES. Sorry to shout, but you have to understand that last one is not ever appropriate. This needs to stop.

          3. Elizabeth the Ginger*

            This was my first thought, too. “The best boss” doesn’t break promises frequently, also.

            Confused, I also want to tell you that if your working relationship with your boss does go sour eventually over this, it is NOT because you were unreasonable – it is because your boss was. You are not the one that created this bad situation.

            I admit that I don’t know much about how the culture of the Philippines affects this situation, but I very much hope this is not normal there. Good luck.

        5. fposte*

          Oh, and while admittedly I’m not aware of the cultural nuance in this situation, I don’t see any reason why your answers to your boss have to be strictly truthful–she’s not entitled to your money, and you don’t need to justify why she can’t have it, so even if she knows you’ve got billions, I think it’s fine to say “I’m sorry, I can’t afford it right now.” (And seriously, your house just burned! That’s reason enough for a decade.)

          It also seems to me that your manager is, culturally speaking, cheating. I love cultural codes of indirectness myself, but they only work if everybody is playing on the same level. Your manager isn’t–she’s relying on directness and literality to get past your politeness barrier, taking advantage of your politeness to get what she wants from you with her rudeness. Ugh.

          1. Smilingswan*

            That’s a very good point. The manager is not playing by the cultural rules, so why should the OP?

            OP- you should never need an excuse to not lend money to anyone. No one is entitled to your money but you.

          2. Ruffingit*

            Emily K posted this on another AAM post awhile back and I loved it so much I saved it. It totally applies here:

            “Those who are unfazed by violating social norms often reap the benefits of people around them being unprepared to hold their ground in the face of such unexpected transgressions.”

              1. Confused*

                +1 to the quote. I have read all the comments and thanks everyone. I’m really glad I wrote to Allison. I was in a state of denial that my manager is a con artist because of her good sides. Wonder how many people she has conned because I got a feeling this is not her first time.

                This is what I plan to do:

                1. Put my extra cash in a restricted account so I will never lend money again to my manager. (Thanks Artemisia.)
                2. Ask for the money back.
                3. Try to redefine the relationship to a professional one.
                4. If I ever lend her money again, I will start job hunting because it means I cannot control the situation anymore.

                A new outlook really helps. Instead of thinking she is too nice to be a con artist, I will remind myself that I have no obligation to lend her money since she is earning at least three times my salary, among a lot of other reasons.

                1. Emma the Strange*

                  Yeah, this boss is not nice if she keeps trying to take advantage of you like that. Think of it this way: a con artist can’t succeed if they can’t convince their mark that they’re a nice, honest person.

                  Also, I think the odds are very good that you are NOT the first person your boss has asked for money. I would not be surprised if you discovered that a lot of your coworkers went through something similar during their first few months on the job. I’d also be willing to bet that she’s asked her family and friends plenty of times before.

                2. Arbynka*

                  Confused, I am very glad to hear you found help here and please keep us posted. Hope everything goes well for you.

        6. FiveNine*

          Wow, I know I’m too confused and scared by this new info to provide much help, but it now reads to me like the money you’re lending her (1) isn’t your money but the company’s and (2) she’s not paying it back, you’re the one in charge of the company account, and when the company wants the money back guess who it’s going to go to first.

          1. ABC123*

            Yes – that’s how it reads to me too. It sounds like there is a revolving company account that is used for business expenses (i.e.,travel), but the account balance must be replenished each month either between company-reimbursed expenses (that the boss reviews and approves), or in the case where expenses are not reimbursed at 100%, from OP3’s personal funds. It seems to me that the boss has access to this account and is “borrowing” funds from OP3 by dipping into this account, thereby forcing OP3 to use her money to replenish the account. If this is incorrect, OP3, please correct me!

            1. Confused*

              You’re correct except that my manager has no access to the account. I give the money to her. No excuses for me, I guess.

              1. Jamie*

                So, if I understand this correctly you’re giving her access to company money for her personal reasons and then you’re paying it back to the company so she owes you?

                I don’t know anything about financial regulations outside of the US but here even if you pay it back it’s still fraud and someone doing this would be lucky to only lose their job.

                I truly do not understand this situation.

                1. Confused*

                  Yes that’s how it goes. It is common practice in our company to use the Revolving fund for personal expenses, but of course no one admits it.

                  The accounting dept just deducts the deficiency in the fund from the employee’s payslip. This is also done in my previous company.

                  I do not agree with this practice. That’s why she lost some of my respect. I am tempted to tell her that what she’s doing is unethical.

                  I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t let it happen again.

        7. Ruffingit*

          This is totally ridiculous. You have to put a stop to this ASAP. I would suggest you have a discussion with your boss’s boss if this continues. This is really out of line. Others have given you ways to get out of this and you really, really need to do that. This is not OK by any stretch of the imagination and there are few jobs where this would be expected as a way to keep your job. Start job hunting immediately. This is a toxic environment, you need to get out. Good luck!

        8. ExceptionToTheRule*

          Confused – are you working for an American- or European-based company? If you are, you could to resort to going over her head as this type of situation is a huge ethical no-no in those companies.

          When my mother worked in the Philippines several years ago, she had many of her employees talk about how they sent money back home to help their extended family, especially those who came from rural communities. Even though you’re single, is that an “excuse” that could work for you?

          1. Confused*

            No I work for an Indian company, but our head of HR is Filipino. I also do not come from the rural communities, but I came up of some more excuses like I invested in a business, my best friend or relative needs money because of sickness or going to college.

            My last resort is going to HR because my manager has a lot of contacts in major companies.

        9. KrisL*

          This is terrible. I don’t think this boss of yours is that good of a boss.

          Can you invent a relative who needs extra help sometimes who could “use” your “extra” money?

          1. Elizabeth West*

            She’s not only a horrible boss, she’s a criminal. She’s EMBEZZLING money from the company and coercing the OP.

            I think she’s doing it so that the OP will take the fall. Confused, PLEASE stop doing this immediately and tell someone higher up what’s going on.

        10. Stephanie*

          She would borrow your credit card?! Aye yai yai.

          (I will concede that I’m in the US and there may be different cultural norms in the Philippines about money lending.)

        11. Stephanie*

          Unfortunately, I cannot use “I can’t afford it right now” because since my manager interviewed me, she knows my financial background and I am single so no additional expenses.

          *steps on soapbox*

          OP, not sure how much you mentioned in the interview, so my points may all be moot. But can people stop the single-people assumptions? Just because you don’t have dependents, does not mean you don’t have expenses. Maybe you have elderly parents, a sibling, or another relative you’re helping out. Maybe you have giant student loans. Maybe you’re trying to save aggressively for something. Or maybe you just want to spend your money on chocolate teapot miniatures. You’re entitled to spend your money on things you want to.

          Same goes for vacations. Single people want vacations, too.

          *steps off soapbox*

          1. Stephanie*

            That veered more off-topic than I intended. OP, it’s your money! You’re entitled to spend it on other things than monetary gifts (as that’s what they’ve turned into at this point) to your boss!

        12. Tinker*

          Wait a minute, is company money involved in this whole thing? Because that’s, uhm, kinda very not good…

        13. College Career Counselor*

          Did you say your “manager is the best boss?” This is NOT behavior of a best boss. This is behavior of someone who is using her position to bully you into giving her money.

        14. Elizabeth West*

          This can’t go on. She’s going to leave you with nothing. She’s a vampire, and she’s sucking you dry. This is a horrible situation you’re in. :(

          I second the other commenters who say maybe you should talk to her bosses about this. If they can’t or won’t do anything, you may have to leave to get away from her.

        15. holly*

          dear Confused,

          i agree with all the others that “I can’t afford it” is a legitimate reason.

          “I can’t afford it.” “Why not?” “I just don’t have the money right now, sorry.” just keep saying that. you don’t have it, not for her.

          can you suggest she borrow the money from her boss?

  3. Carrie in Scotland*

    Alison, your title link is missing the usual “and more” after the comma =)

  4. straws*

    #4 – Have you tried asking your manager why you received “Inconsistently met expectations” or why you didn’t receive a bonus when you were led to believe that you would? It could just be a lack of information from the short letter, but I’d at least find out if your manager has an explanation before jumping to the conclusion that this is a legal violation. I’d be pretty pissed if HR approached me with accusations of FMLA violation if I had a completely reasonable explanation for the marks and was never approached for a discussion.

    1. Geegee*

      Yep, the op wasn’t entirely clear on why she believed this was because of taking FMLA. I’d have calm conversation with my direct manager first and try find out where exactly they believed i wasn’t meeting exexpectations. Id also mention thati should be penalized for takingFMLA but still show that i we a consistent high performer on the job. If the managers explanations are weak, then i would probably take it to HR. At least you got an explanation from the manager which may or may not be valid.

      1. Jessa*

        And also taking FMLA doesn’t exempt you from having to get work done, so if there are issues of projects being late or the OP not properly passing work across if they’re on pre-scheduled FMLA, that’s not a violation from the company side. Obviously if you’re on FMLA because you fell and broke your leg this doesn’t matter. But if you’re not properly handling your absences for your weekly dialysis appt or something similar. Unless you’re out weeks at a time, you’re expected to hold the same job standards as anyone else (absent a condition that also makes this an ADA issue and has to do with your reasonable accommodations, that is.)

        And this may not be the OPs case at all, but if it is there are things to work on. You can get dismissed on FMLA, it’s just a higher standard to make sure you’re getting tossed for work issues, not FMLA absences.

    2. ClaireS*

      I agree. I’d phrase it as “what could I have done different to achieve a higher bonus?” And don’t settle for platitudes, ask for specifics but keep your tone one of “I want to learn so I can do better next time.”

      That will hopefully reveal either a) some areas you need to improve on (it’s not just what you do but how you do it) or b) that a convo with hr is necessary.

    3. KrisL*

      Agree with straw. Check first with your manager. An unfounded accusation (if it actually is unfounded) will probably be something your manager remembers for a long time.

  5. Geegee*

    About the recruiter, i know recruiters like to keep in touch with their current networks. A couple years ago, i was a new grad looking for a job. They were not ask that helpful to me but they always asked me for a list of references which i would provide. But they rarely had any jobs that they could talk to me about. I later realized that my list of references was really a way for them get leads so that they could try sell their services to the places i worked for in the past. These days i get emails from recruiters because i now have 3 years of experience and there are jobs that i might qualify for that they are looking to fill. I never respond though because i don’t trust them. And i suspect they are just looking get information about my current employer. I could be wrong though and i know some recruiters are actually very helpful but in my experience they’ve been useless.

    1. BeenThere*

      This is why I don’t let recruiters link on Linkedin unless they have been useful. I did a huge clean out of recruiters and locked down my profile about a year ago so now only I can view my connections. Any recruiter who wants to link before they’ve done anything for me gets the response “I would like my search to be discreet and prefer that my current boss isn’t aware I’m speaking with recruiters”. Instantly some of the magic positions disappear and I never hear from those recruiters again. It’s a good way to weed them out.

    2. Stephanie*

      I haven’t found them useful, either. I’d send them my resume, only to realize they were farming it for contacts.

      I’m guessing they might be useful once I get more experienced?

    3. Mike*

      Used recruiters on my latest job search and they were extremely helpful. Talked to them on a Monday and had a little over half a dozen phone screens that week and then 4 onsite interview the following week. Worked with another recruiter that go me some solid leads and phone screens/interviews.

      That said I did run into a few useless ones. I talked to one who afterwards sent me an art director position (I’m a programmer and couldn’t draw a credible stick figure) so I ignored him completely.

      1. Stephanie*

        Your experience gives me hope with recruiters. I keep running into ones that call about positions that aren’t a match (I’m guessing they’re trying to get requisitions filled with anyone) or are just incompetent.

  6. Neme*

    Re: 2. Why does my recruiter from two years ago want to talk with me about my new job?

    I don’t see anything wrong in speaking to your recruiter. Actually, I think it would be a really nice thing to do, especially when you got your old job through the help of this recruiter. It would probably help you in the future because not many people typically respond to this type of request, so you would certainly stand out in his mind if you are one of the few who respond.

    1. OP #2*

      Thanks, Neme. I think it was less about the request for me than the very abbreviated nature of the contact. I really liked working with him before and would work with him again.

      So I think Alison’s advise is spot on and I’ll contact him without feeling weird about his email and have a quick chat.

  7. Artemesia*

    I really feel for someone who feels they have to give their money to the boss or lose their job. This is completely outrageous.

    One should really have a policy that they never lend money. If a relative is in need and you have money, give them some. Anyone else: either just say ‘I never lend money.’ (and say nothing more) or if you can’t do that you say ‘I don’t have any money I can lend.’ If you are a person who can’t say that, then arrange your finances so it is true e.g. have money for savings automatically deducted and deposited each month so that you only have the money you need for bills and essentials available — the rest is mysteriously locked away out of your immediate reach.

    But most of all, don’t open this up. Don’t get the in the lending business. There is no such thing as loaning money among acquaintances — it is almost always ‘giving money.’

    The boss should be fired for this behavior.

    1. Arbynka*

      +1 again. I really feel upset for OP in this situation. If my boss asked me to borrow money, I would have to say no – don’t really have any extra to spare right now – but I would be mad at him to put me in that position. And in the position I would be in afterwards, wondering – is he going to hold this against me, is my job in trouble ? Getting feedback and thinking – is this truthful or is it a payback for not lending him the money ? And as I said before, the thing about boss asking to use OP’s credit card just makes my stomach turn. The boss is completely out of line.

    2. Stephanie*

      I really feel for someone who feels they have to give their money to the boss or lose their job. This is completely outrageous.

      This was the part that hit me. There’s definitely an element of extortion to this, since it’s the boss and she controls your employment. But, uh, I guess if she fired you, she’d have no money lending source.

  8. Name*

    #3: “No.” is a complete sentence. I don’t like how in AAM’s response she suggests you say “I’m sorry,” but I suppose that is polite, when your boss is the rude one. You don’t owe her anything! She is the one putting you in a bad place. If the relationship does go sour, don’t blame yourself for refusing, blame her for asking.

    You can always quote Shakespeare, never a borrower nor a lender be.

    1. Arbynka*

      Normally I would agree and say “No, I cannot” is the best answer. If OP was in the US, that would be my advice. But it sounds like OP is from the culture where direct no is not socially acceptable. That’s the challenge on advising people from different cultural background – what would work best for us here can back fire horribly for OP over there. This is sucky situation because OP boss is not only taking advantage of her from the position of power, the boss is using cultural norms to manipulate her as well.

      1. The Maple Teacup*

        I’m getting the cultural influence here, and it can be hard to push back against. Can you say “I can’t loan you any money until you repay me the $X I gave you?” That will give you an out for now. And once all the money is repaid you can think up five or so excuses on why loaning future money is impossible.

        1. KrisL*

          It’s tough to advise on what is partially a cultural issue when I don’t know enough about the culture. It seems like there must be some way of declining to loan money without saying “no”. Otherwise, wouldn’t a few people just ask everyone for money?

  9. CAA*

    #2 — it’s completely normal for recruiters to contact you when you get a new job. This one even told you why he’s doing it. He doesn’t know anyone at the new company except for you and he’d like to find out more about the company and your job. The part he didn’t say is the reason he wants that info is so that he can find a way to provide talent to the company, either because you’ll hire from him or because you’ll give his contact info to people who are hiring.

  10. Mena*

    #3: You do not need to provide a reason or excuse for not loaning your boss money. Decline as AAM suggests and resist the urge to provide a reason for the refusal. “No, I’m not able to do that.” repeat-repeat-repeat.

    This person is not the best boss – you are very mistaken – she should never had taken advantage of her seniority over you and put you on the spot for the request of a loan. This is an abuse of power. Asking for the loan abuses her power and not keeping to the repayment commitment abuses power.

  11. Beti*

    #3 “Basically she is my manager so I tend to ask a lot of favors from her eg approving my vacation leave etc etc.”

    I’m not sure why approving your vacation is considered doing you a favor but if it really is, I’d suggest starting to address this by redefining your relationship as strictly professional. You may not be able to control her actions but you can control yours. Don’t ask for favors (but also don’t think of her responsibilities towards you as “favors”). Stick to your interactions being all about the job for now. You can say no and still be polite and professional. If directness isn’t culturally acceptable, I would think the Miss Manners line “I’m sorry. That’s just not possible right now.” is indirect enough and very polite.

    And I’m not sure what your HR rules are like but I’d start documenting these highly inappropriate actions. If there is a threat to your job, you’ll have some information on your side. Good luck.

  12. Sophia*

    I’m Filipino American and have spent two years living in the Philippines so OP#3, I get what you’re saying in ways that others may not. The favors (sometimes bribes) are such an integral part of how business is done there. Do you have a relative that you could say you’re putting through school? Or helping your mom/dad/immediate family? That would make it a long term excuse so to speak

      1. Judy*

        And, based on the people I know from the Philippines, it would not be unusual. There was a very kind and generous lady who used to work with me, and it was noted at her retirement party that during her 26 years at the company, she had sent 12 of her nieces, nephews and her cousins’ kids to college. I’d heard similar things from others, too.

        1. Mints*

          Yeah, lying once about this (Ateh just had a baby or something) can then make the “Sorry I can’t afford to” more believable and easier to say over and over

          1. Confused*

            I told her my house caught fire and she still keeps trying to borrow money. I will just keep saying that I can’t afford it. I think she has been doing this for some time so she’s used to it.

  13. Colt*

    I am number 4. I did have a meeting with my manager and the negatives are just completely trivial and unfounded. The positives I had for the year were huge, in my opinion. When hired, we can earn 20% or more of our annual salary as a bonus. Actually, the bonus just gets you up to what your annual salary should be so when you don’t get it, it is a huge pay cut. So, making $50,000 instead of $60,000 is a killer. Other jobs in the industry pay atleast $60,000 so I am now wanting to start looking. How can one remain loyal after getting screwed? To me, this is really crummy.

    1. KrisL*

      Sounds like a good reason to start looking.

      I wonder if managers in this company are encouraged to avoid giving bonuses to keep pay lower. Of course, this would be a very bad idea in the long run because people would tend to leave the company. Losing good people is expensive.

  14. Smoki*

    Colt – what specific negatives did your manager point to in your review? What makes them minor in your opinion?

    1. Gilby*

      Were the minor issues and the reason you didn’t get the bonus specifically related to the FMLA issue?

  15. anon-2*

    #1 – If you want to gain employment at a company – and they want you — they are probably trying to ensure they don’t “lowball” you. This is a good thing, it’s working in your favor.

    #2 – Some recruiters/headhunters take interest in their subjects’ careers. AAM is likely correct on that, the recruiter merely wants to keep his network going, and probably wants to know if anything was wrong with the position you took on under his direction. And finally to keep in touch with you if something goes wrong in the NEW place. I’d call his call a good sign and probably , very professional.

  16. Jamie*

    I was thinking about the borrowing money question and I admit I don’t know anything about the cultural issues surrounding needing an excuse not to lend money – but I was thinking this is where resting bitchface comes in handy.

    For all the times it’s a detriment and a pita it really does keep people from asking you for stuff.

    I had to stop by the mall to pick something up and was in a wicked hurry and some guy taking surveys caught me from the back and said “excuse me, miss….” and as soon as I turned around he stopped – literally – mid sentence and said…”never mind.”

    I wasn’t even pissed, just in a hurry…but it makes me wonder if this is the reason no one ever asks to borrow money from me. (Except the kids – they have no problem with it. They know the RBF is a big ruse. :))

    1. AB Normal*

      But see, the problem is even worse, because the OP is taking company money (as if for business expenses) and letting the manager use it. Then, when the money is not repaid timely, the OP goes and replenishes the business account.

      At minimum, the OP should stop to take the company money, and make any loans directly from her personal account. I’m not advocating that, just saying that if saying no to the boss is not an option, the second best option is to use your own money, rather than taking the company money with a fraudulent excuse, since there is no business expense to cover.

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