responding to an unprofessional resignation, pitting companies against each other to get a better offer, and more

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

1. What to say to an employee who resigned unprofessionally

An employee I supervise in an hourly role working with children resigned today. I am not his direct manager, but rather the overall coordinator for this program working with youth. We regularly hire a number of tutors who know from the start that they need to make a commitment to the students, and we look for that as a quality when hiring.

This particular employee chose to resign this morning by text message to a coworker, not his direct supervisor. She heard it secondhand from the coworker after the employee was supposed to be at work. I’ve since followed up with him (after hearing about it THIRD-HAND – still no direct notification) asking him to clarify the rumor that he was resigning, to which he essentially responded, “Yeah, I was going to tell you later, but I’m really tired after work all the time and I appreciate the opportunity but it’s just not for me.”

For his own sake, I want to tell him to never ever do this again. He’s still a student (college age) and is learning about the professional world, and I want to leave him with some good constructive criticism. I want to phrase it well, but also let him know he messed up, and at the moment I’m stuck on the disrespectful tone of his response, AND the fact that we’re now in a bad spot for the next few weeks….and I’m concerned that whatever I send is going to be too much of an attack and therefor not actually useful advice.

How about, “Please give me a call so we can talk about the logistics” (or simply giving him a call yourself to have that conversation). Then, in addition to whatever logistics you presumably really do need to cover (final paycheck, etc.), you can say, “I want to be candid with you: I was surprised by the way you handled your resignation. It’s true that no job will be for everyone and every role will have some turnover, but I was a little taken aback by the way you handled this. I know you’re new to the working world and this stuff isn’t always intuitive, but in general, I want to encourage you to talk face-to-face with managers when you resign in the future and make sure they don’t hear it second-hand.”

The other issue here is that his wording to you was incredibly cavalier, but I’m not sure you’ll achieve anything by going into that with someone who’s already clearly checked out.

2. Should I pit two companies against each other to get a better offer?

I’ve interviewed with Company A and Company B over the last month and a half, keeping Company A waiting several weeks while I went through a longer interviewing process with Company B. Company A had indicated that they would like to give me an offer over the phone when I am ready. Company B called me this morning to let me know they want to give me an offer as well!

The thing is, the two choices involve completely different roles. While I like both companies, after all these weeks of interviewing and soul searching I now realize that I really, really want to be doing the type of work I’ll be doing at Company B.

My partner thinks I should let Company A know I have an offer from B so that I can “pit them against each other” and negotiate my way to higher salaries/benefits, etc., but I’m pretty sure I really want to work at Company B and that there is no amount of money that would convince me to choose Company A. To me, it doesn’t seem nice of me to waste any more of Company A’s time if I don’t intend on accepting the offer. Given that, should I get back in touch with Company A and negotiate two job offers? Or should I negotiate Company B’s offer (on its own merit) and politely tell Company A that I’m going elsewhere?

Don’t play games with Company A. If you know you won’t accept their offer, there’s no point in trying to negotiate with them; you’d be wasting your time and theirs, and you’d be potentially burning a bridge by drawing out the process without any sincere interest. Moreover, if you try to use Company A’s offer to get more money from Company B, you risk Company B saying, “Sorry, we can’t do that, so you should accept the other offer” — and losing the offer you really want. Plus, companies want to believe you’re genuinely excited about working with them — not that you’re just auctioning yourself off to the highest bidder (even if you are). So negotiate with Company B on your own merits, and don’t negotiate in bad faith with Company A.

3. Research projects versus internships

I am currently enrolled in an advanced degree program, as well as working full-time in my field. My program is wrapping up and I need to commit to my final class. This class is either an internship or research project that focuses on an issue in our field. My intention throughout my program was to do the internship route and gain new technical skills that I would like to develop (as the skills I want to learn are being listed as a requirement more and more in my field). Due to my significant other’s recent job move, my plans had to change, as did my schedule. This means that a remote internship is likely the only option with my time availability.

When I brought up the possibility of a remote internship to my adviser, she contacted the Assistant Director for advice on this possibility. The Assistant Director seems to suggest the research project to anyone who works full-time and can’t do the internship on-site. We have been in talks about this, but I would like some other opinions: What are employers’ thoughts on remote internships? Are they counted in the same light as on-site internships? Does it depend on the industry and the projects undertaken? And am I putting myself at a disadvantage if I do the research project option instead of the internship option? Can I work my research project into my resume as I could with freelance work?

A remote internship isn’t always as valuable as an on-site internship; you lose some of the value of simply learning how to operate in an office and you often don’t get the same exposure to colleagues that you’d get if you were on-site. However, a remote internship is still vastly superior to a research project. Employers will see the research project as simply an extension of your academics, whereas an internship is actual work experience. Go for the internship if at all possible, even if it’s remote.

(And while you could possibly put the research project on your resume, depending on the details of it, it won’t be counted the same as freelance work. For it to really be counted as work experience, you need to be accountable to a manager, not just to yourself or a professor, and it needs to be outside a school context.)

4. Should I apologize for taking feedback badly?

My boss is great most of the time, but she got me in the office as soon as I walked in today and lectured me about staff training. I was in a particularly bad mood and basically sulked and moaned about “having my coaching questioned,” which she didn’t really do. Should I apologize with a “bad day, won’t happen again” vibe?

It’s hard to tell based on the limited information here, but probably. Sulking and moaning are generally not great moves, and complaining about having your actions questioned when your boss is giving you feedback generally doesn’t make you look great either. One way to approach it is, “I wasn’t as receptive as I wish I’d been when you talked to me about staff training the other day. I’ve thought about what you said, and I’m taking the feedback to heart, particularly X and Y. Thanks for talking to me about it, and I’ll be vigilant about not getting defensive in the future.”

5. I have a job offer but might get a better one in a few months

So I’ve been unhappy with my current job for awhile and have been job hunting for a few months now. I scored an interview at my dream agency, a place I used to intern at two years ago. It went really well, as did the follow-up interview. However, they called me a few weeks later to tell me that, although I am their first choice for the position and they would like to offer me the job, there’s a delay with acquiring some new business and they wouldn’t be able to hire me for about two months. I didn’t get a hard “yes,” but it seems as though the new business was delayed, not on hold or postponed, and was an eventuality that was likely to happen.

Fastforward a few weeks and I’ve been offered a position I’m much less excited about, but one I still like better than my current job and I’d be happy to at least work somewhere else, but I’m still waiting to hear from my dream job. How should I proceed? Would it be wise to call up the manager I’ve been speaking with at Dream Agency to tell them I’ve been offered a position, but I really want to work with them and could they give me any info about timelines moving forward? I really don’t mind sitting tight for another month, but I just want to know it’s a sure thing before I turn down this other position.

First, don’t assume it’s a sure thing unless you have a firm offer that you’ve accepted (after all, they could end up not coming to terms on salary or other details), and a start date. Without that, there’s no offer — just an employer that is kind of interested in you.

Contact the first place and explain that they’re your first choice but you have a firm offer from another company that you need to respond to by ___, and ask if they’re able to expedite things on their side. If they do, great. But if they tell you that they can’t, then you need to decide if you’re willing to turn down a definite offer in favor of one that might never materialize.

It’s helpful to think about how you’ll feel in two months if they end up not hiring you after all — will you regret having turned this one down? There’s no perfect answer here; it’s about how much risk you’re willing to tolerate, how much you want the other job, how much you do or don’t want the job you have an offer for now, and how much you’d regret ending up with no jobs at the end of all this. That sounds like I’m pushing you to take the offer you have now, but I’m not; it’s truly about where all these factors shake out for you.

{ 167 comments… read them below }

  1. M. in Austin!*

    #5- I was just in a similar situation. I graduated in December and had been job hunting for a while. I finally got an offer from Company A after interviewing with Company B (one of my dream companies!). I told Company B I had an offer from Company A and needed to know if I would be offered a second interview (yeah, not even to that point yet). Company A only gave me a few days to think it over, and Company B said they would know about second interviews the day AFTER my deadline with Company A. Ugh!

    I ended up taking a risk and turned down Company A, hoping Company B would come through. Well, I got the second interview and accepted the job offer a week later! I guess the moral of this long ramble is that sometimes putting it all on the line pays off! (but seriously, sometimes it doesn’t, so really think about how you would feel if you lost out on both offers)

  2. Geegee*

    Op#1- an employee who resigns this way has loong checked out. He just doesn’t give Buck. I guess it’s incredibly nice off you to want to give him some constructive criticism but id say that’s really unnecessary and a waste of your time. Perhaps one day geek look back and realize that this was a jerk move. Or maybe he wont and he has no reason to care. But it’s really not your job to explain that to him. Id say you should focus on making the transition as seamless as possible. Make more of an effort to find more professional and reliable people in the future. And also find ways to keep the other employees happy. This doesn’t sound like the kind of job where people stick around forever anyway but at the very least people should do it in a weedy that is professional and respectful to their supervisors. This guy was a jerk but it also makes me wonder if other employees are thinking if quitting in a similar manner. This could indicate a bigger problem. Perhaps they are dissatisfied with the way the organization is run? I would focus on figuring out what those problems might be. Guy is gone. I wouldn’t worry Scott him though.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      People like this will occasionally come along and plague perfectly fine organizations; I wouldn’t assume that it’s indicative of a bigger problem unless there’s other signs pointing there. (It’s still useful for the OP to look at whether they can change anything in their hiring or operations to minimize this kind of thing, but I wouldn’t jump to assuming the organization is the problem rather than this one guy, particularly given his unprofessional way of handling it.)

      1. Geegee*

        I agree that this guy was most likely the problem. But that he had no problem telling his peers that he quit this way made me wonder if that was maybe because he thought they sympathized. Maybe they even had conversations among themselves about this before. But of course that’s pure speculation. My thought was the average person would not do something like this after taking a serious commitment to an organization where their work is valuable. It also shows they have no respect for their peers or their managers and in this case he doesnt care about the kids hes supposed to be helping.This could just be because hes a jerk or because the organization is poorly managed.

        1. OP 1*

          I’m happy to say it’s not an issue that comes up frequently, which is why it took me so much by surprise. Generally when people resign they are extremely apologetic and genuinely sad to need to leave (and it’s usually for scheduling reasons, I’ve rarely had someone quit because of fit).

          I’m definitely looking into hiring, but I think sometimes people just speak convincingly in the interview and don’t follow through. There were some yellow flags with this guy already, although nothing that made me expect his leaving so abruptly.

          1. De Minimis*

            I think if it were an organizational problem there would be more of a turnover problem in general.

            The OP is probably right, the guy just interviewed well and I guess was never that invested in the job. Maybe there’s some way to improve the interview process, maybe not.

            Unfortunately, younger people tend to do stuff like this. I did it at least a few times back in my early 20s.

        2. some1*

          “My thought was the average person would not do something like this after taking a serious commitment to an organization where their work is valuable.”

          Some people, especially at that age, just don’t want to have that awkward conversation with their boss. Especially if they have little work experience, they may not realize the hardship this causes for their coworkers who are still there, or the ramifications of burning the reference bridge.

          1. Us, Too*

            Indeed. We had someone quit by fax a few years ago – as in she faxed her resignation to us one morning and never showed up again. We used the fax machine so infrequently that someone found it laying there hours later and brought it to her boss assuming it was some big joke. Nope. FAX!!! Who does this?!?!

            The surprising thing is that this was someone who wasn’t “new” to the professional world. She had at least 15 years of experience, so this was an absolute shock to us.

            So I think some people just suck at confrontation and don’t care what bridges they may burn in avoiding it.

          2. Anoners*

            I’ve been guilty of this. I quit a few call centres without notice or anything. I quit one right before moving to a major city, and my boss called and I for whatever reason I picked up not realizing. They were like “Hi, It’s Bob, you know, your boss?” and then I hung up on them because I panicked.

            I still cringe at how I handled that. I was young (er) and just didn’t care. I’m now an allstar employee and would never dream of doing that to my boss.

    2. AVP*

      I can attest that this isn’t true for everyone – when I was young I was given some rather intense feedback after handling a work situation very poorly – and wow, it woke me up. It really never occurred to me before I took this job that being professional and handling things appropriately was, like, an important trait that would follow me down the road and affect my future career. So I wouldn’t write him off – OP could be doing him a big favor, even if it seems like the feedback is falling on deaf ears. And it’s not a very hard or time-consuming favor to do for someone.

      1. JustKatie*

        Yes, I think we should teach some sort of professional competencies course in high school (in addition to personal finance!).

  3. Chocolate Teapot*

    5. It may be that the business takes longer to come through than 2 months. My own experience of a “We need somebody to start immediately” was a grindingly slow delay of 4 months, so it can happen!

    1. AB Normal*

      Another thing to consider: if the company you really want needs to get new business in order to afford you, there’s always the risk that the new client (or another key client) will take their business elsewhere after a few months of you being hired, and at that point the company may not have other option but to let you go.

      I’d be very careful with taking an offer from a firm that needs a new client before being able to afford to pay your salary…

      1. Sydney Bristow*

        I was thinking the same thing. OP #5, I’d recommend considering the stability at the dream agency when deciding what to do.

      2. Ruffingit*

        I completely agree and had this same thought. Sounds like the company may not be as financially stable as they want to appear to be.

      3. OP #5*

        The thing with this company is that they’re a fairly small firm, with some core clients that have been with them for 10+ years – I got the impression that this new business would be where the majority of my responsibilities would lie and that they just wouldn’t need an extra person for all their other existing business right now.

  4. Jessa*

    #4 and after you take Alison’s advice and then prove you mean to follow the feedback, once everything is cooled down, you might want to talk to your boss again. Because seriously your boss may have given good feedback but did it in an awful way. No time to sit in the office with them and discuss it, just jumping you when you walked in before you even got your brain in gear is not the way to do this. Now if this isn’t normal behaviour for your boss I’d just let it go. But if I was close at all to my boss I’d definitely comment on the timing/locale of the discussion (but only after I’d proven I was doing what they wanted me to do.)

    Because part of your defenciveness was totally your boss’ fault. That’s really not the best timing to be dropping feedback on someone with no pre planned discussion.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Hmmm, I’d want to know more before saying it was partly the boss’s fault. Ideally feedback would be an ongoing and normal part of regular interactions, not something that requires advance warning. There are certainly ways in which the boss might have mishandled this, but I wouldn’t automatically assume that “gave me feedback as soon as I came in” falls in that category, especially if the topic was highly time-sensitive. Maybe the OP can tell us more!

      1. LBK*

        The fact that OP referred to it as “lecturing” does seem to signal that it wasn’t delivered well, but that may also just be lingering negativity about the situation influencing word choice.

      2. Josh S*

        I’m with Jessa here. As much as I like to think I hit the ground running at work every morning, the truth is that it takes me a bit to get my work hat on all the way and really have my head in the game. A cup of coffee helps too.

        If my boss grabbed me into a meeting the very first thing, and offered critical feedback, it’s likely I would be a bit–not in the right mind state to receive the feedback at all.

        Now, that’s not really the boss’ FAULT, so much as it is matter of understanding the tendencies of your employees. But I don’t think it would be bad at all to go back to the boss later and say, “Hey, I’m always open to hearing feedback from you. But I’m always on my A Game first thing in the morning. I want to be receptive to what you have to say, so if possible, it might be best for that kind of meeting happen once I’ve gotten a moment to collect myself for the day. Again, I’m always open to feedback any time, and I’ll do my best to be receptive. I just want you to be aware of this tendency I have. “

        1. fposte*

          I think also it’s something the employee should be able to say at the time–“My brain’s not in gear yet–can we talk in an hour?”

        2. fposte*

          Thinking more about the “tendencies” thing there, which I think is an important point. Some people are out of the gate right when they’re there, while some people need to acclimate, and they may each fail to realize that the other category exists.

        3. Us, Too*

          I think fposte makes some good points here. However, I’d expect that within a few minutes of getting into work, I’d need to be “in gear”. So I’d be coffee-ing up on my way in if that’s what engages my gears. Or wake up a little early for a brisk walk or whatever. Once I’m in the door, I think it’s reasonable for my boss to expect I’m ready to be working soonish, rather than an hour from now. I’m a “slow to start” person at times so I often get to the office an hour early to acclimate myself, have my second cup of coffee, check emails, and plan my day. However, I am mentally prepared to deal with anyone who walks up at that point. I spend my commute “psyching” myself up for this. ;)

          1. fposte*

            This is pretty much where I am as well. I don’t think you can assume a workplace is okay with you not being ready for some aspects of your job at the start of the workday.

      3. red tape*

        As a manager, I totally disagree with the idea that the employee’s reaction is the boss’s fault. Perhaps they had a busy schedule that day and first thing in the morning was the only free time on their calendar, maybe it was a really time-sensitive thing. It doesn’t matter what the reason was though, if your boss gives you feedback at any point during a normal business day there is absolutely no excuse for not acting professionally.

        The only person who controls your behavior is you, not your boss. I would be really insulted if one of my employees took my feedback like that (especially because giving critical feedback is often just as difficult as being the recipient).

        1. Pam*

          I don’t think it’s up to the boss to choose the best time of day to give feedback to any particular employee. The boss likely has loads to handle every day, and needs to get things done according to his schedule, not based on the sensitivities of the employees.

          Maybe I’m being insensitive- but I do think that the employee works around the boss. The boss doesn’t work around the employee.

          1. Us, Too*

            This is one of those things people skills can mitigate. For example, if the boss needs to give 8:01 am feedback to someone they know isn’t a morning person, they could say this:

            “I apologize for having to pounce on you first thing in the morning before we’ve even had a few minutes to drop off our purses and grab some coffee. But but my schedule is jammed today and this is pretty time sensitive. . If you want to chat further about it, I’m open after 2 pm. Drop by my desk so we can discuss it further if you like. Again, my apologies for the early morning ambush.”

          2. fposte*

            I’m going to disagree here. I think it’s perfectly professional to assume that somebody is ready to do all of their job when the day starts. I don’t have a problem with somebody who needs to acclimate for a little bit, but that’s not the default, and it’s up to that person to make that preference clear.

            1. Jessa*

              I get your point completely. I guess my point was that it seemed to be a jumping upon, instead of a discussion. Now I could have misread that, true, but most people do not expect to start their day being jumped at by the boss. Even if they ARE morning people/start of shift people, they might have other work things on their mind at the start of work. My main issue with the whole thing was by using the language the OP did it really seemed like the boss was “Hi, howareya, annoyed tone of voice, lecture mode – feedback, feedback, feedback.” And that’s just not on.

              1. fposte*

                I think we’re going to agree to disagree here, because I’m still not seeing it–I think what I like to start out with during a day isn’t as important as my boss’s need to let me know that something didn’t go well.

            2. A Cita*

              I agree with fposte. I’m am not a morning person at all and I generally don’t enjoy being pounced on any time I just walk in any door. But, I expect that at work; I expect that as soon as I enter the office, I’m on work time and I need to deal professionally with anything that may come my way even if I haven’t had time to take my coat off. Also, maybe it’s just me, but aren’t folks head in the game long before they even enter the building? I know I’m checking work emails on my phone as I’m on my way in, and possibly answering calls before I even get to the office.

      4. Jessa*

        I think the part where the OP said “but she got me in the office as soon as I walked in today and lectured me about staff training,” was what got me regarding the boss. I don’t know about everyone but in general when I’m just getting to work, I don’t completely have my “talk to people sensibly” brain on. I’m thinking what I have to do for the day, running through lists of issues, etc. I’m not instantly ready to get hit with feedback. Now maybe other people aren’t like that. And maybe the OP didn’t really mean what I took to be “grabbed me pretty much as I was getting in, or right after I put my stuff down by my desk,” in which case yeh true you have a point.

        My other issue is the fact that the OP used specifically LECTURE rather than discuss, talk to, counsel, or anything else. Lecture is a very loaded term in this instance. It doesn’t make you picture a sensible sit down conversation about feedback.

        Also and this may be reading into it and I may have mis-parsed “got me in the office,” which I read to mean started talking to right away and not “took me into the boss’ office to talk.” In which case again, totally agree with Alison. But the tone of voice “lecture” reads to me is not the way feedback should be given by someone who doesn’t want the employee to overreact. I mean let’s face it people are prone to react badly to negative feedback. A good boss knows this and tries not to trigger this by basically blasting the employee with the information.

        I guess my take off this was the employee was basically grabbed and bashed over the head with this feedback. Again, I could have misread the meaning. The information absolutely, even the timing yes if need be, but I got the impression overall that it was not a calm discussion from the boss’ side.

        1. TrainerGirl*

          I agree. I worked for someone years ago who would ask for a status on some work when folks were walking in the door first thing or coming back from lunch. Now, maybe some of you have all work info on 100% recall at all times, but I’m one that likes to get back to my desk, open my files, read e-mail and make sure I have the most updated information before I give a status. This person was a bit of a “gotcha” manager, so she was probably hoping to catch someone off guard and then accuse them of not being prepared.

          Unless it was an absolute emergency or the feedback had to be given right that moment because the boss’ day was packed, I might have asked for 5 minutes to put my purse down and get ready for the meeting. Not the boss’ fault, but as a poster said up above, courtesy and professionalism goes both ways.

  5. Dan*


    I recently was in a somewhat similar position. I had an offer from Company A on the table when I interviewed with Company B. I really wanted an offer from Company B. I had received the offer from A the day before I interviewed with B.

    A called me the day I interviewed with B, wanting to feel me out. The problem with A is that they offered me the absolute bottom of two sets of numbers we had talked about, so I was a bit sore about that. I tried to negotiate a little with A on their own merits, and they came up a whopping $2k. I then dropped the bomb that I had just interviewed with B, and needed to wait for B to get back to me before I made any final decisions.

    B came through with an offer that once the 401k match was taken into consideration, was $10k more than A.

    At the end of the week, A called to ask how I was feeling about things. I told them I was likely going to take B’s offer. A asked if there was “anything they could do” to change my mind. Well yes, for the right price I would have gone and worked for A. But that price would have been about $15k more than their first offer, which even if they could do, would have left a sore taste in their mouths.

    Instead, I told them that if I talked specifics, then I’d be negotiating in bad faith.

    I didn’t negotiate B’s offer. It was solid, with generous benefits. I just took it.

  6. Kera*

    I’m in a similar situation to 2/5 – yesterday, I received a job offer. Great company, lovely people, interesting work, £5k increase, *amazing* benefits. Would mean a relocation, but I like the city they’re in, and I’m not keen on my current town. Tomorrow, I interview for another company. Slightly different work to the stuff I’ve been doing, more seniority, a starting salary £10k higher than my current, plus generous bonus. I don’t know that company B’s climate and style suits me. They’re rather mercenary, and I’ve had bad experiences with that. But, no relocation costs, and a salary close to double what either if my parents ever made is tempting.

    I wish I had an easy answer, but I don’t. The only thing I would say is to play straight with them – do as you would be done to, and find out their management style into the bargain

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      If the only thing drawing you to Company B is the money, then my advice is to really weigh that decision carefully. The one time in my career that I took a job just because of the salary, it was a complete disaster. I lasted about six months and I was miserable pretty much the entire time.

      What I learned from that is that whenever possible, take the job with the company that gives you the “warm fuzzy” feeling. I know — nothing specific to point to. But during the interview process you should get a feel for the company, the people you’d be working with, the person you’d be reporting to, and so on. You should be able to tell if it’s a good fit for you personally, and if it is, then ideally it’s the job you should take. I’ve used the “warm fuzzy” approach in all my job searches in about the last 15 years, and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet. And, it’s gotten me to a place in my career that is very satisfying.

      1. Jen RO*

        On the other hand, I recently took a job that gave me the warm fuzzy feeling… and the company started going to hell 3 months after I joined :( I don’t regret my decision, but sometimes I do wonder if maybe I should have taken the other offer (an OK company with better benefits, but didn’t give that warm fuzzy feeling). I *do* agree that it’s not always a smart idea to go for the better-paying job.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          Ugh, that is such a drag. You never really know what you’re getting into, no matter how carefully you consider, I guess.

          The job I referenced above, that I took mostly because of the huge salary increase, was one where I knew it was not the right place for me, almost from the first day. The guy who hired me, who I hit it off with very well, retired as soon as I started because he’d sold the company to a larger corporation in Texas. It went downhill from there. Then the parent company bought another one in our area, and had some redundancies. They used that as an excuse to eliminate my position, and quite honestly when it happened, I was relieved after I got over the initial shock of being let go because that had never happened to me before. I’d been planning to give it a year and then quit, because I got that job through a professional acquaintance, so I didn’t want to burn that bridge. So when they made the decision for me, it was a huge load off my shoulders.

          That job propelled me into what put me onto my current career path, and the salary I was offered was based on the salary from that other job, so it did end up doing me some good in the end.

          1. Jen RO*

            I also got a pretty significant raise in my warm fuzzy job, so I feel much more comfortable asking for lots of money in my current job search!

      2. Miss Betty*

        On the other hand, warm fuzzies won’t pay your rent or buy you food. If the job you’re currently in has you living from paycheck to paycheck (or worse – and it can be worse!), holding out for warm fuzzies over a good jump in salary won’t serve you well.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          Of course, you have go for what is going to pay the bills and take care of the basics. I’m talking in an “all other things being equal” or “all other things being similar” kind of way.

          1. Kera*

            As a coda, I went to the second interview today. You know when you walk into an interview and get the feeling you may as well just turn straight around? Yeah, that. Not “organise a party for us” weird, but y’know. Weird.

            Not helped by the interviewer’s inability to actually look at me, sweltering hot office, and pride in the fact that in the last 6 weeks, they’d been in the office 24-7. It’s a lot of money, but not enough for that. In the end, it turns out to be an easy decision – slightly less money (though a damn good salary, all-told) , but brilliant job and career progression potential, vs more money and dysfunctional career black hole.

  7. Ann Furthermore*

    #4 – Bad reaction to feedback

    I’ve always found that the best thing to do when I’ve reacted poorly to something is to be up front and apologize, and then move on. People appreciate when someone acknowledges the fact that they screwed up (in whatever way — reacting badly, missing a deadline, making an error), and just the act of accepting responsibility goes a long way towards smoothing things over. As soon as you’re able, stop by your boss’s office/cube/whatever and offer her a quick apology along the lines of, “I had a terrible morning and was in a wretched mood when I got here,” and then ask for a few minutes of her time to to make sure you heard and understood everything she had to say, and ask any follow-up questions for clarification or further guidance. This will show that you are open to feedback, and want to use it to help you do your job better.

    This goes both ways too. A few months ago I had a consultant working for me, helping me design a very complex solution for an ERP implementation. He showed me what he’d been working on for the last couple of weeks, which turned out to be completely NOT the direction I wanted to go. I thought I’d been very clear with him about what we wanted to do, and our discussions had been supplemented with many process flows and diagrams. Obviously, he had misunderstood our conversations. At one point I got pretty testy with him. I was on my way to grab some lunch, and then dash off to another meeting.

    A couple hours later, I went over to his desk and the first thing I did was apologizing for getting so upset with him. I told him that I thought we’d been on the same page about the direction to go, and I was surprised to find out that we weren’t. Then I also added that I understood how it had happened, because what we were working on was very intricate and complex, with quite a bit of confusing terminology. That really cleared the air between us and we were able to set that aside and move forward.

    1. Kit M.*

      In high school, I had a teacher who apologized for being harsh with me the previous day in class. I was really surprised! I told her I didn’t remember her being unpleasant to me at all, but thanked her anyway. She clearly wished she hadn’t said anything, but honestly, I still remember that moment as reflecting well on her. I thought it showed she was conscientious about how she treats people (even people who were being asshats, as I probably was), and it made me feel good that she was willing to apologize to me like an equal.

  8. Celeste*

    #5 potential dream job vs offer on the table

    The part about how much you dislike the current job makes being in limbo even harder. My suggestion is that you talk to the Dream Job as AAM described, but also have an idea of how long you would be willing to wait on this spot at Dream Job before giving up on it. I feel like it helps to put a limit on it for the sake of being able to go forward. Also, giving up on this position doesn’t mean you wouldn’t look at them again later on, when you don’t have the pressure of a job you dislike. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt to get in with the company you want.

    Good luck! I hope you are soon counting down the days of your notice at the job you don’t like.

  9. Not So NewReader*

    #1 Does your company tell new hires what the proper procedure is for resigning? Many places lay that out in plain talk at the time of hire: here is what we expect from you if and when you resign. I have seen this done with hourly workers and salaried people.
    I realize this does nothing to solve your current dilemma but there are a lot of folks that just don’t know OR need to be told “Do X, Y and Z.”
    Heck, I have had bosses that would ask “You are coming back after lunch, right?”
    Well they HAD to ask that question, because employees would go to lunch and not return.
    I have seen some companies point blank say “Failure to hand in proper notice will mean that we will be unable to provide you with a reference for your future endeavors.” [That didn’t work either, as people walked out anyway, but it did let me know that the company had problems.]

    Again, not very helpful for your immediate question,sorry. I tend to agree that this person checked out a while ago and there is not much you are going to be able to do or say that will make an impression.

    1. OP 1*

      No – that’s actually really helpful. I looked back at our employee handbook and there’s a lot of information about absence policies, dress code, hours, etc, but nothing about what we expect if they need to resign. It comes up enough for scheduling reasons anyway that I think it would be useful to include.

      Thanks for the idea! :)

      1. Elsajeni*

        That’s a great idea, especially since you’re already emphasizing to new hires that they’re making a commitment and that the students, not just you, are counting on them being there — it seems like “so, if you decide to leave your position, we expect…” would fit right in.

      2. Jessa*

        And if you want to add any leaving processes like what will happen with badges, personnel talking to the employee about any benefits they may have afterward, etc. That’d be a good time to do that as well.

        I worked for a company that had a lot of add on pay because of the way they did business, you had weekly reviews of statistics and things and you got x or y depending on the review extra, etc. The policy was if you left without notice (and no decent reason like being very ill or having to move to take care of your sick family or something,) your last cheque was base pay no matter what your numbers were. Don’t get me wrong base pay was very good, but those extras could be as much as $2 an hour for a general worker. More for supervisors. You signed a paper making it very clear you understood that if you leave the company in a lurch to replace you, you’re not going to get “good worker” bonuses, because that was not being a “good worker.”

      3. Mints*

        Relating to the emotional aspect below, in addition to “we expect you to resign in person, or on the phone” I think adding a line about “how to tell kids you’re quitting” would be good too. Having a couple sample scripts might make it easier for the tutors to tell the tutees it’s their last day with them

    2. CanadianWriter*

      Ah, the old “go to lunch and not return” trick, a classic. I used to work in a call centre that had a lot of that. Unprofessional, but not as bad as putting your customer on hold and then going home!

      1. Jessa*

        Oh yes. Call centres are famous for turnover, because well a lot of them treat the general worker in the cubicle HORRIBLY. At least some of the ones where I worked, the worker would be “I QUIT,” and walk out. But there was a lot of passive job abandonment, and I would have loved to go to those employees and explain that they’re burning bridges even if it IS just a call centre where they treat you awfully. Even if it’s last straw and leave, call your supervisor, write a letter, email personnel. Don’t just disappear because passive job abandonment will follow you around as “terrible worker, just stopped showing up,” for a very long time.

        1. JustKatie*

          I think that once quitting like this becomes the norm (or at least not a once-in-a-decade occurrence), it becomes a part of the workplace culture. I’m not sure how you can turn this around though, employers can’t exactly demand two more weeks out of their workers.

    3. BadPlanning*

      I worked at a factory via a temp agency for a summer and didn’t really believe the other workers that people would just leave during the day. Then I was working a line with a new temp and she asked to use the restroom. She never came back. Blew my mind. She didn’t even make it to the mid-morning break. And the work wasn’t even that hard — it was filling/packing shampoo/cosmetics/etc and the line leads were good at making sure things were balanced (not producing I Love Lucy style chocolate disasters).

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I had a temp job like that once…filling little bags with bath salts. It was fun because they let us talk on the line. We all went home smelling wonderful at the end of the day. :)

      2. Joey*

        To put it in context though temp factory work is a lot of the time about bodies and both the company and people know it. A lot of them would rather take a chance on someone than leave a position vacant. Especially when there are lots of temps and lots of vacancies.

        1. Jessa*

          I can’t ever understand temps just doing things that will kill their relationship with the temp agency. It makes no sense to me, they talk to each other, where do they expect to get their next job?

          1. Ann Furthermore*

            I really think it depends on the state of the economy. The wife of a guy I used to work with was a recruiter/placement person for a temp agency. At the time of the dot-com bubble, when jobs were plentiful and there were not enough people to fill them, she couldn’t be too picky about who she placed, because companies were really just wanting warm bodies and butts in seats. Some of the people she placed were absolute train wrecks, but she couldn’t find anyone else. At one point she had a list of people that she would call at 6 AM to tell them to get out of bed and go to work! Some others she had to map out bus routes for them to get to and from work. It was all done to keep people showing up each day so that her clients would not be left in the lurch or get upset with her agency.

            Fast forward a few years to the sub-prime mortgage crises and all the jobs had dried up. Some of those same people called her looking for jobs, and she was able to say, “Sure, I’ll let you know if I have any openings,” and then hang up the phone. And laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

        2. BadPlanning*

          Yeah, it was clearly about body count (ha) — it was “day to day” temping — you had to call and check if they needed you and for what shift every day for the next day. Still, my naive self was shocked that someone wouldn’t at least finish out one day.

          1. Onymouse*

            I just hope that she’d really walked off, and not had a heart attack and fell into a ditch or something (mind you I’m only thinking this after the recent story about the woman who’d been dead for 6 years before anyone found her)

  10. Katie the Fed*

    #4 – maybe schedule a follow-up meeting with the manager and say something like “I’m sorry, I had a lot on my mind this morning, but I want to make sure I understand your concerns” or something like that. It will show your manager that it DID sink in and you want to improve.

    At least you didn’t kick off the meeting with “I’m having a really bad week. PMS, you know?” which is what one of my employees said last week during a discussion about some concerns I had. She has some work to do on her professionalism writ large. Oy.

    1. The IT Manager*

      Not only unprofessional, but a blow against equality for women in the workplace. Terrible thing to say.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        No kidding. I think she thinks because we’re both women we can talk that way. Nope.

        1. MaggietheCat*

          This would be an interesting (separate!) post… if AAM had readers submit the most *interesting* things co-workers have said to them “because we’re both women” or “because we’re both men”.

      2. ghostwriter*

        I dunno… personally I don’t see how it’s much different than saying “I’m coming down with a cold and it’s been slowing me down”. Bad cramps/headaches/&c really can make it hard to work, and it doesn’t help if you’re supposed to hide it. I know convention says it’s a subject we’re not supposed to talk about, but since such a huge proportion of the population has to deal with it on a regular basis, I think it’s kind of ridiculous that everyone has to pretend it doesn’t exist.

        1. Student*

          PMS can make work difficult for some women. It doesn’t have the same effect on all (or even most) women. There are also medical solutions to PMS once you’re an adult, and I would urge any woman who has frequent difficulty working to see a doctor about it. There is no reason this should hold back the vast, vast majority of women.

          I had crippling, disabling pain with it for seven years. As soon as I was out of my parents’ house and able to take the problem to a doctor, boom, it was solved. Every once in a while, I have a bad episode, but it’s more like once-a-year or less and a non-issue for work responsibilities.

        2. Katie the Fed*

          You can say “I’m not feeling too great today” and leave it at that. You don’t need to specify that it’s PMS. I doubt she would have said that to a male supervisor, and it’s just not appropriate for the workplace.

        3. JustKatie*

          I have sympathy for this, because I can get very sick from it, but wouldn’t a “I’m feeling under the weather” suffice?

  11. Not So NewReader*

    #4 Go ahead and extend the apology. For the most part people are really great about things like this, especially when someone takes the time to say “I need to apologize for the other day…” So this will probably go well for you and heal over very soon. (I have been on both sides of that question. When someone apologized to me, my opinion of them actually went UP. I thought it was classy and I took mental notes so I could handle my own apologies better. When I have apologized to others, I thought I could feel their relief and some how the working relationship became better.)

  12. Brett*

    #3 I wish I could be more helpful with this… but when I am looking at a resume, I also have serious doubts about any “advanced degree” that ends in an internship or research project. For me, it needs to end in a thesis or significant publication. Any substitute does not convince me that you actually learned how to do research in the field as part of the degree, which is the whole point of an advanced degree in my field.

    I am certain this has a lot to do with my particular field. Research papers are pretty much for people who cannot finish a thesis and advanced degree internships just don’t happen (you would do that with an undergrad degree instead).

    1. Artemesia*

      Advanced professional degrees frequently end with internships e.g. counseling, MBA, social work, HRD, education, divinity i.e. anything the focus of which is applied. For an MA, you are absolutely right — a thesis and preferably a publication is the expected outcome, but then for those kinds of careers, an MA is a fairly useless terminal degree. An academic advanced degree pretty much has to be a PhD to be of much value.

      1. Brett*

        Even that still depends on the field, like I talked about below. MS/MA with thesis is not considered terminal for my field, so it is very common to stop at that level and begin a work career. When I heard “technical skills”, I assumed it was not a professional advanced degree since I was thinking CS/IS :) But you are probably right, with “advanced degree” it is probably a professional degree where second year internships are common.

        Although you did just made me realize why a research project has a stigma in my field; a research project MS/MA is normally a sign that it was a terminal degree. The vast majority of people with a MS/MA with thesis never return for their PhD, but they still do have that option.

        1. The IT Manager*

          A lot of the online/night-school/professional masters degrees end in a professional project, research paper, or the like (not internship since that would be hard for a person already working full time).

          I do take them to be less rigerous than a tradtional masters that ends in a thesis of some kind. I have one of those online degrees and the quality of the education was a disappointment to me – not that I have any desire to research or do a thesis (not my career path). It depends on the career field though.

    2. Brett*

      Thought about how to be more helpful :) Like I said, the field does matter. So, do you have anyone you can reach out to who hires in your field? Get a feel from them on what is normal for your field and what would be the preferred option?

      If it were my field, well, I would find the situation unusual first off because even advanced degree internships are unusual. Networking is normally the great focus for workplace development at the post-bac level rather than internships. While the skill development in a remote internship would be more difficult, it certainly is possible and a research paper under the same circumstances would have even less guidance on technical skill and research skill development. And, as I mentioned above, research papers have a stigma to them.

      And for the most part in my field, advanced degree work is never viewed the same as freelance work or other work experience, not even a thesis or three papers route. It just places you in a different category, showing that you have a specific valuable skill set (research, writing, presenting). It is better than no work experience, but it is not a substitute for work experience.

      Academic work and an advanced degree are highly valued in this field, an advanced degree can easily double your starting salary in this field because it qualifies you for a different class of positions. It just is not going to act as work experience like an internship would.

    3. OP - 3*

      The thesis/internship question is definitely field specific. My chosen field is a niche segment within a mostly niche field. If a program only had the thesis or research project option, then it would get blackballed rather quickly in the profession. Internships are preferred, which is why I would try to make a research project look as much as an internship as I could. For example, I might learn this industry-specific skill at one or more places and compare their workflow to another organization or best practices for the industry. This would be doing 75% of the skill like I would in the internship and reflecting upon it.

      The problem in my case is not graduating with limited experience. I understand and agree that the internship option is best for my field. The problem is that my schedule doesn’t allow for a traditional/local internship. The research project is really a back door to try to gain experience with an industry-specific skill that I lack.

  13. BCW*

    For #1, you seem to be taking this pretty personally. To me its just a cost of doing business. Sometimes you get employees who leave in a bad way. I did it once in my career, although it was more like 2 days notice than just not coming in. I regret it, but at the time for me it was the right decision. If he would have called/texted/emailed you instead of you hearing about it 3rd hand, you’d still be in the exact same situation and probably just as mad. Just like I’ve had employers who have pulled some shady things, most employers will have employees do less than ideal things. I will echo what someone said though, make sure that in the future these expectations are made very clear. If this is his first job, he may not even know about the “2 weeks notice” rule, which I honestly think is becoming somewhat outdated anyway, but thats another story.

    1. Celeste*

      I think that OP#1 was particularly upset because the work is done with children in a youth program, and the disruption is a little bigger than the average workplace. Besides just having to replace the person for state mandated ratio coverage, it’s better for the kids to be able to announce that someone is leaving, let them prepare and say goodbye, etc. Obviously things sometime happen to cause a sudden departure (illness, injury, etc.) but I’m sure the program wants to minimize that for the kids’ sake.

      1. OP 1*

        Yeah, each tutor works one on one with the kids long term so a huge piece of the program is the bond they form. His cavalier response to me also made no mention of the student he worked with or any desire for her to continue to succeed, which had a significant effect on my feelings about the situation.

        Thankfully ratios are in pretty good shape and we will manage without him, but his student has been asking about him and really does miss him.

        1. Dan*

          I think your comments really are validating BCW’s assertion that you are taking this personally. Staff departures are a cost of doing business, and not everybody is going to give you the notice that you want. You’d be doing yourself a favor if you would start to let go of the situation.

          Why should the departing staff member make mention of his desire for his student to continue to succeed? It just sounds so much like a social nicety that really has no material impact on the situation. No matter how you “feel” about the situation, your staff member is gone and the work has to get covered.

          1. Celeste*

            It’s more emotional because it’s about children; a little more is implicitly asked of you when you are entrusted to give service to children. The departing staff member didn’t think of the child’s feelings of trust in walking away from the bond he had formed. While the OP has the situation covered with other staff, he’s still upset about how the guy behaved. I’m sure it felt like a betrayal not to give any notice like that, especially after he was observed to be great at the work.

            1. BCW*

              Thats kind of my point though. Now matter what your job is, people are going to do whats in THEIR best interest, which is logical. I don’t think someone working with kids should be necessarily held to a higher standard than someone in a different industry.

            2. Dan*

              Again, I’ll emphasize the “feelings” aspect, when it should be about business.

              I don’t know why “children” change the dynamic. In general, we pay school teachers poorly and treat them like crap, so it seems like the “for the children” argument is really just to take advantage of the employee without giving them anything in return.

      2. BCW*

        As a former teacher, I completely understand that. One year, my other grade level teacher left at Christmas break. She told me on the way out, never told the kids (or at least most of them). I get how it can affect them. Now in this situation they were older, and they didn’t like her too much, regardless, I know how it affects kids. But you really do have to make the best decision for you. Should he have probably said bye to the kid? Absolutely. And just know, I’m not saying he was right, but I’m saying these things can happen, and its best to just not dwell on it.

  14. Ann Furthermore*

    #2 – Pit 2 companies against each other

    I guess I’m just showing how long I’ve been off the job market, but I found the OP’s statement, “keeping Company A waiting several weeks while I went through a longer interviewing process with Company B” to be pretty surprising. I can see asking for a few days, or even a week, to consider an offer, but several weeks?

    Either Company A is very accommodating and doesn’t need to get the position filled right away, or the OP has a very specialized skill set that is very much in-demand. Otherwise, wouldn’t Company A get tired of waiting and move forward with other candidates?

  15. Rye-Ann*

    I’m curious – would the answer to #3 be different if the OP’s field was a scientific field? Because research is more or less what scientists do. Granted, if it were a scientific field, the person would probably be talking about a thesis or a dissertation, not just a “research project,” but still.

    1. Artemesia*

      I interpreted ‘research’ here as it is used as a fall back when someone won’t be at the college to be just ‘write an independent paper.’ Work in a research lab would be an entirely different thing.

    2. TL*

      It would be different, and even without a thesis or dissertation, a research project would be helpful moving into industry (though it depends on the lab they’re in and the project they do; if they’re a Master’s student, I would expect them to be very competent in the lab but if it was an undergrad, I would want to do a lot of probing. Undergrads often think they are way more competent then they actually are.)

    3. the_scientist*

      I think it would be, yes. But then it would have to be a thesis and preferably one that ended with a publication, not just a “research project”, as you said.

      1. OP - 3*

        Well the degree does have science in the name, but it is not the type of science most people imagine. I would have to ask more in the field, but it seems like we are one of the few fields that feels a full-blown thesis is impractical. Usually research in my field is more on usability of tools/techniques or case studies. Other areas within the larger profession umbrella might be more okay with publishing, but my niche is less so. But I admit our niche can be an odd-ball.

  16. Lyndz*

    #5 – Just take the offer you are getting now. If something opens in 2 months you can always leave.

    1. Sunflower*

      And what if Dream Agency finds out what OP did? Do you think they’ll be happy about that and still want to hire OP as much? I would start having my doubts.

    2. Dan*

      Heh. While I was unemployed, I applied to several jobs (go figure). I applied to one that finally called me back two weeks ago, after I already started a job that I had been at for two months.

      While there’s no harm in talking to them, I know the bar is pretty high. I can’t lie to them and say that I’m still unemployed, and I’ll also have to a pretty convincing story as to why I want to leave this job after two months and go work in a field that is “unknown” to me, and that would also require relocation.

      My current job is a huge name in this field. Torching my rep is not high on my list.

      Needless to say, second job never called me for an onsite interview. No biggie, but it was certainly worth the call.

  17. Artemesia*

    If the first OP were going to graduate school then a research project would serve her well. (well a real research project, no just writing a library research paper.) But for a future job an internship would be most important. I don’t understand why the internship has to be ‘remote’. Why not try to negotiate an internship in a business in your new city with remote supervision. Internship supervisors from the college rarely spend much if any time at the internship site, so having a site mentor for the internship and keeping in touch with the campus internship supervisor or the professor would seem to give you all the advantages of doing an internship at a business in the college town.

    This would mean you would need to find your internship, which most good internships programs require anyway, albeit with some help from college staff if doing it in the college town.

    In this particular situation, writing a paper will be of almost no value, whereas an internship in the new town is valuable as internship and perhaps as networking opportunity.

    1. Lizzie*

      Yes, are we talking about actually conducting independent, novel research or about doing a literature search? They’re completely different things, and any research focused job might be very pleased to see a project that ended up published. If it’s a literature review, it’s a waste of time as far as your CV is concerned.

    2. OP - 3*

      Maybe it wasn’t clear in my initial query. My program is very open to students doing internships anywhere locally. A student did one in Japan last year. The location doesn’t matter relative to the school’s location.

      The problem is that I am in a niche industry and those organizations that meet my university’s policies are only open when I am working. Essentially they are only open Monday-Friday from 8-5, which is my new schedule. This is why I considered the option of doing a remote internship (where I am at a different location than the parent institution).

  18. TotesMaGoats*

    #1- I would say something. I had an employee quit with about 2 days notice. It was an entry level position and I tell everyone that if you are looking, which you probably will after a year or so, tell me. I won’t hold it against you. I’d expect that you’d want to move up. I told the employee that it was pretty unprofessional to quit with such short notice. Also, that while it’s true that some bosses would hold job hunting against you, I wouldn’t and you knew that. All that to say, give the advice.

    1. fposte*

      And this was technically a no call/no show. The worker may not realize that he could cost himself unemployment that way, too.

    2. some1*

      I’ve never quit a job with less than two weeks notice, but I still wouldn’t tell my boss if/when I was job hunting.

      Job hunting can take weeks or months, especially when you are currently employed and can afford to be pickier than someone who’s not, and in the end you might not find anything worth leaving for.

      In that time, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the better projects or development because my boss thinks I have one foot out the door.

      Also, it would be a pride thing for personally — if I told my boss I was job searching and was still her here 4, 6, 12 months later I wouldn’t want her to assume no one else wants to hire me.

      1. Sunflower*

        Yes to alll of this.

        Also, I might trust my boss that he isn’t going to kick me out the door but I’m not sure I trust the guys above him.

      2. Jen RO*

        Yep, this is why I didn’t tell my boss when I was job searching. I even changed my mind once mid-job-search – that would have been embarrassing to explain!

      3. TotesMaGoats*

        Let me clarify, I meant more that when she was in the final interview stage, she should have told me. There was a lot of last minute “doctor appointments”. And that threw staffing way off. If she’d been up front, we could have planned for it.

        I don’t mean that you should say up front, I’m looking for a job. Sorry.

    3. BCW*

      Also, it may be the situation that forced him too. As I mentioned upthread, I quit on 2 days notice once, and it was NOT an entry level job. But, I got an offer on Wednesday and they NEEDED the person to start on Monday. I was their first choice, but if I couldn’t do it, they would have had to take someone who could. So these things happen. Also, just because you say you wouldn’t hold it against him, doesn’t mean he knows for a fact its true. If it was right when your peak work time was starting, you may feel a bit different.

  19. AdAgencyChick*

    #5 — I’ve been in a position several times where an agency interviewed me but they didn’t have a firm commitment to the business yet. How senior are you? The lower down the totem pole you are, the more likely it is that they’ll find room for you if they really like you, even if the business doesn’t materialize — good junior people, at least in my niche of advertising, are hard to find and get promoted quickly. So, they may want to snap you up before someone else does.

    But if you’re more senior, it’s too expensive to hire you without a client commitment — a *sizable* client commitment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interviewed only to hear “We loved you, but the client cut the scope of work in half, so we’re just going to spread it among existing staff (or hire someone more junior).”

    None of which is an answer to “what should OP do?” but just more food for thought.

    1. Sunflower*

      I’m thinking OP is more junior since she said she interned there 2 years ago.

      But that info is super helpful to me since I’m looking at ad agencies and hoping to score some interviews!

    2. Number 5*

      Sunflower is correct, I’m fairly junior – but this is super helpful advice, especially since you may have also guessed correctly and I’m responding to some ad agency positions. Thanks!

    3. Dan*

      My former company was hiring college grads while laying off more senior people because of declining work and an effort to “balance” the budget. It was awkward as hell. Nobody wants to befriend the new hires because they didn’t know who would be next on the chopping block. I certainly didn’t want to befriend them, because fresh out of school, they don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, and I don’t want them going to their managers saying “so-and-so told me is that true?”

  20. LBK*

    #5 – Would it be too bold to ask the company that wants OP for an official offer with a start date 2 months out? Or at least starting there, and if they say that’s definitely not possible, I feel like that gives OP the chance to tell them he can’t wait for their offer anymore without potentially looking bad. At this point there doesn’t seem to be anything that indicates they won’t take him 2 months from now exactly like they said, so if he goes to them and says “Well you might not actually have it available in 2 months” it could come off like he thinks they’re lying or they don’t know their business well enough to know when they can hire him (even though things like big clients pulling out at the last minute do happen).

    1. BB*

      IMO I don’t think that’s too bold if it’s tied in with OP talking about the other offer. Considering OP’s position of having another offer on the table, I think the worst they will say is ‘We can’t commit to anything right now so you should make your decision based off of information you have now’. However, whether the agency guarantees an offer in 2 months or not, if big client does pull out than the job offer could also get pulled.

    2. AVP*

      That might help the OP flesh out whether this hypothetical client really exists or not. My fear when reading that question was, I’ve worked with agencies who really did know that in two months they would be awarded Major Contract and have a lot of work and need new people. I’ve also known agencies to say something along those lines when they’re really hoping that this one new client meeting they had two weeks ago might pan out into something even though no one has talked about budgets or scope of work yet. But asking for more specifics might put you in a better frame of mind for making your decision.

  21. squid*

    #3 – in my area, at least, the remote internship is fairly common. We’ve hosted interns from a variety of programs including one located over 3000 km away. The school usually has standard forms or reports that they need both the student and the supervisor to fill out; nothing onerous from my perspective.

    This probably varies between fields, but if it’s not common at your particular school, maybe check to see how it’s done at similar programs in other schools? I’d think your school is perhaps limiting itself and its students by putting a geographical restriction on internship locations.

    1. Artemesia*

      This seems like such an obviously good idea that I interpreted ‘remote internship’ differently. I assumed the internship itself was remote i.e. doing work for a local (college town) business but while located elsewhere e.g. helping develop their website or something else that could be done remotely. Perhaps I totally misread that. Certainly being supervised ‘remotely’ by a college staff person is commonplace in the internship world with actual work in the new city or another city. People in colleges in small towns do this all the time e.g. work in NYC on an internship with credit and faculty contact back in Puddleville Iowa.

    2. OP - 3*

      A “rival” school does offer remote internships and some job boards for my profession do have entirely remote internship/jobs. I have contacted o few people that has supervised remote internships in my profession(as well as contacted others that showed interest from my information gathering on the profession’s listserv for this technical skill) like the one I am proposing for my internship.

      The problem is not the location. I have never stepped foot in the state my school is located in and probably never will. Our school listserv advertises positions/internship opportunities across the country. Here and there students do on-site internship abroad. The problem is that my work schedule is prohibitive to the on-site internship option.

      I suspect that my program eventually will allow remote internship in cases like mine (already in the field and connected to the profession but does not have the availability for a traditional internship). The program is going from completely in-person to mostly online (it is a top 15 for my profession) so this seems like a step it might take. It will be interesting to see if this change happens during my time.

  22. anon*

    Considering employers sop is to layoff with no notice and give them a box to pack personal items , I dont see any problem with what #1 did.

    1. fposte*

      Some places do do that, sure, but that’s not really SOP for all employers. And it’s one thing to do this if you know it’ll cost you unemployment and a reference and not care; it’s another if you do it without realizing what it may mean.

      1. Dan*

        It’s hard to get unemployment when an employee voluntarily separates, so that’s probably a non-issue.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, duh, good point. (Okay, there are situations where a voluntary quit still gets you unemployment, but we’re not talking about those.)

    2. BB*

      I don’t think it’s fair to cast that net over every employer, especially considering this employer cares enough about this kid to help him after being a no-show. Do you think if he continues through his career resigning this way that that is going to help him more than doing it the respectful way?

      I’m sorry if that has been your past experience with employers and you feel that is the best way to do things but people who get caught up in this sort of bitter thinking only end up hurting themselves in the long run.

    3. some1*

      The SOP for a lot of orgs to do this (when it’s a layoff vs firing) is to offer severance amount depending on budget and years of service (and I’ve personally never known anyone in this situation who got less than a month severance which would equal a generous notice period), and an agreement that the org won’t fight you on UI.

      If you quit with no notice, you lose the salary you would have earned working your notice period, and you don’t get UI.

      1. Dan*

        If you quit with notice, you aren’t going to get UI anyway, at least in Virginia.

        And, um, you now “know me” at least virtually, and I only got two weeks severance after almost five years of service at my previous employer.

        1. A Cita*

          I’ve never been offered severance any where I’ve been laid off (back in my very early career). And everyone I know who has been laid off–various industries–have never received severance. No fight on UI, but no severance. So generalizations don’t really fit.

    4. anon*

      Its not about money. Its about being able to avoid the stigma of being unemployed when job searching.

      OP would have been in the same situ had an employee had a medical emergency. Poor contingency planning.

      1. Colette*

        The thing is that if you quit without notice, you are harming yourself. It will affect the willingness of people at that organization to hire you again, as well as whether they’d be willing to recommend you. It can also tarnish the opinion of the company you’re moving to.

        And, in my experience, top performers don’t do this.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      When most employers lay people off with no notice, they generally provide severance for multiple weeks. So the comparison doesn’t work.

      1. A Cita*

        I’d like to know the stats on “most.” As I’ve stated above, I don’t know anyone who has ever received severance for a lay off. Neither have I. I am thinking this happens only in really large companies where there are mass layoffs (as opposed to smaller places where the layoff is of one or two people because of loss of business).

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’ve seen it at many smaller organizations too. Not saying it always happens, but it’s certainly more common than not, at least in my experience.

          1. A Cita*

            This is interesting. I’d love to hear more about different people’s experiences with severance in a lay off. It would be a good thing to have some baseline knowledge on (in which industries is this common practice or not, if years of tenure have an impact on receiving severance, how often is it typically offered vs. negotiated for, does size of layoff matter, etc). I think that info could give people a nice starting point for feeling empowered (or setting their expectations for) to negotiate a severance. Because it would never occur to me based on knowing of absolutely no one who has ever gotten one.

      2. anon*

        This isnt about severnce. Once you are laid off, you are job searching as unemployed and at a huge disadvantage.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m not sure what comparison you’re making here then. People should feel free to leave any job without notice because they might be laid off by some company at some point in the future?

  23. Persephone Mulberry*


    I’m in a similar situation, albeit at the undergrad level. An internship/practicum is required for graduation, but I work full time so I’m stuck hunting for options that can be done remotely/during off hours and have at most a 10 hour/week commitment, but that will still offer me a somewhat substantive educational/feedback opportunity. I don’t need an orientation to workplace culture, but I do want a situation where I’m given substantive work and clear bar for what constitutes success. I don’t want to make it up as I go along, and I don’t want to know more about the role I’m filling than my site supervisor does.

    1. Artemesia*

      I have seen working professionals arrange to do an internship at their current work site but with a special project outside their normal work. E.g. someone in HR who wanted to move into training and is getting a masters with that focus, might develop and implement a training project in her own workplace with the training director as the on-site supervisor. Obviously this has to be cool with the workplace and it has to be a distinct activity from the normal workload — and in most cases adds extra time for the internship on top of the work day.

      An advantage to this in a large company is that it might set one up for promotion or at least visibility within the organization. Worth a try if it makes sense in your case.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        My school offers that option, too, but (a) my company doesn’t really have any opportunities that would complement my degree and (b) I’m not willing to give them one minute more of my time than the 40 I already put in. ;)

      2. OP - 3*

        I have the opposite problem. My current institution would be very open to me doing my internship during my lunch hour or on those few days a year that we are open on a Saturday. The problem is that university does not allow students to intern where the intern also works. Basically enough students were getting their degree because they needed it for advancement and they just “structured” an internship to be the same as their job duties. The university got sick of it and decided that internships have to be at a different location, cannot be paid, and has to develop a new skill.

    2. OP - 3*

      I forgot to mention, that I feel the “orient” students to the work environment element would be superficial for me. Since 2006, I have worked/interned/volunteered in my field or allied industries. I have learned that there are certain things that are a big no-no in my field (no food at workstations) and that there are certain personalities that are gravitated to my field.

      With that being said, I can understand why an internship can help students learn about different environments. Many of my classmates have only had on-campus jobs and may have only worked for one place so they think that’s how it is industry-wide.

  24. Dulcinea*

    Re# 2: I don’t think you should pit A &B against each other, but I think it might be worthwhile to see what A offers just for a data point in the market rate for your field.

    This depends on A & B both sending their offers within a relatively short period of time and within a few days of each other.

    Also, as Allison always says, you don’t have a job until you have an offer that you have accepted. Right now my understanding is you don’t have a formal offer from either A or B so I would say, don’t tell turn either of them down until you are sure you have a job at the other.

    I don’t think you should try pitting them against each other, though.

    1. OP2*

      Hi! I think that’s a thoughtful point about seeing what A offers as a data point. But the job A is in a different (though related) field than job B, so I’m afraid that they won’t even be comparable…

      1. Dan*

        Sure they are. They’re both in a market for your skills, right? Your skills are worth what they’re worth.

        I do government research, and I have applied (and interviewed) to jobs in “industry.” Different jobs, sure, but I can certainly compare the pay. Industry pay sucks compared to my little corner of the world.

  25. VictoriaHR*

    UGH, #1. I would write a blog about just this topic if I had free time. I hire almost 100% college and high school students, and they are notorious for just abandoning their jobs, not showing up, not answering the phone, etc. It’s like they’ve been taught that confrontation is BAD BAD BAD and they should avoid it at all costs, but resigning from a job =/ confrontation.

    Last week I had a high schooler who applied for one of my jobs. I called him and left him a voicemail to please give me a call to discuss the position. He called me at like 7 pm on a Friday and left me a message, then emailed me Monday morning to say “did you get my voicemail?” I responded that yes, I did, but I only work until 5 M-F and I didn’t get the message until Monday morning.

    He responded, “what did you want to talk to me about?”
    Me: “You applied for a position with us, I was hoping to discuss your application with you.”
    Him: “Can I come in for an interview then?”
    Me: “Our first step is a phone interview. Please give me a call when you’re available to do that. I’m here 8-5 M-F.”
    Him: “All right, I will be sure to do that.”

    You guessed it, he called and left me a voicemail after 5 pm yesterday.

    IMO parents of teens are doing their kids a huge disservice by not teaching them professional job hunting skills.

    1. Joey*

      How in the heck is it possible to hire 100%high school and college? Sounds like you’re avoiding older workers.

      1. Kelly L.*

        Some types of work skew that way. The summer I graduated from high school, and the summer after that when I was home from college, I worked at the local park district at the pool and later the softball concession stands. There was no bar to older adults working there, and indeed some did, but the applicant pool (and the actual staff) was mostly teenagers because (a) the work was seasonal and so worked really well with a school schedule, (b) the wages were low enough that the jobs mostly appealed to people who were single and possibly had additional income such as help from their parents or financial aid, and (c) it was talk about, word-of-mouth-wise, in town as a good way to get a little work experience if you were a teenager. Now, the caveat is that the economy was really good at the time, so the low wages repelled more adult workers than they would now, but it is an example of a job that mainly drew teenagers without being age discrimination.

        1. Joey*

          Yep, I’d believe it if so many people weren’t looking for work, but I can’t imagine older workers are not applying to those jobs now. Maybe I’m wrong though? Although I’d be shocked if older workers weren’t interested.

          1. Kelly L.*

            They may not even realize the jobs are there. I knew they were there when I was a teenager because I was using the park services and so I could see other young people were working there, and I know they’re there now because I remember working there. But the park usage skews young too, and people who didn’t know about the jobs when they were teenagers might not even realize that the park hires people to serve soda at the youth ball fields, etc. It might not even cross their minds to look there.

              1. Kelly L.*

                Heck, I didn’t think of it when i was looking, even though I can miraculously remember it now! LOL!

          2. De Minimis*

            I used to work at a tutoring job in college, there were not many hours available to where most older workers probably would not have considered it to be worth doing, and the reporting time was still during the traditional workday so it would not be something most people could do as a second job.

            Most tutoring gigs tend to be just for an hour or two right after school, and often aren’t 5 days a week so that often isn’t worth it for anyone other than students trying to pick up a little extra money or who just want some kind of work experience. Not sure if that is the case here, it’s just been my experience.

          3. Lily in NYC*

            Well, she did write “almost” 100%. There are plenty of places where employees are almost all that age – especially seasonal jobs. Last time I went to the Outer Banks in high season, most of the workers at the crappier jobs were young European kids. One of my friends owns an ice cream shop there and said that they bring over tons of kids from Ireland and Russia and give them housing and a stipend for the summer and that there isn’t enough local population to fill the jobs that only last three months.

            1. Joey*

              Yeah, although frequently people use that as an excuse to hire people who are naive about the workplace.

            2. De Minimis*

              My mistake, I thought Joey was asking about the OP’s workplace, not VictoriaHR’s.

              Still, I think it’s easy to have a mostly high-school/college workforce if it is a similar situation, where you don’t have a lot of hours and they are at a time of day where it usually won’t work out for a second job.

            3. Katie the Fed*

              Yeah, the lifeguards at my neighborhood pool in the summer are usually eastern European. I will say swimming next to an 18-year-old Croatian model-look-alike is great motivation to keep up those workouts.

      2. VintageLydia USA*

        I grew up in a resort city where most of the work was seasonal and/or very low paid. Amusement parks, beach t-shirt shacks, ice cream shops, hotels/motels, etc. Only those in management were older than high school, and usually those were college students.

    2. monologue*

      Not saying you’re wrong, but when you’re working hard in high school or college, it can feel annoying that certain offices are only open during business hours. I’m constantly going, “oh fuck I was supposed to call such and such office person today and now they’ve gone home.” It’s easy to put stuff like that out of your mind during the day when you’re focusing on course work all day. What about emailing with these people to schedule a phone interview time? Then if they screw that up just drop them.

      1. Amy*

        I agree. I’m surprised someone who hires almost 100% high school/college kids isn’t more flexible about taking an interview slightly after hours, or at least using email. When I was in school, I wasn’t allowed to use my cell phone and we couldn’t leave campus for lunch, so I was unavailable basically all the ‘normal work day’ unless I called while on the bus home. It seems really short sighted that someone hiring schoolkids is only available 9-5 on weekdays, and apparently isn’t flexible about it.

        Less excuse for it in college, but your example was a high schooler and I think you sound quite unreasonable.

  26. Audiophile*

    #1: I can’t wrap my head around resigning by text. It makes no sense. Beyond being unprofessional, every time I’ve resigned from a job I’ve been given the opportunity to express my reasons for resigning, which is beneficial for both parties I think.

    #5 I’ve done the weighing two offers thing and ur bit me big time. I had a firm offer from a bank branch for part time work. And had just applied to work for a school (where a friend of my mom’s knew someone on the BOD who was going to put in a good word) so I turned down part time work, figuring I’d be sure to get a full time offer from the school. Lo and behold no offer comes in from the school and I had nothing to fall back on. I didn’t find a job for another three months. I learned an important lesson and now my philosophy is generally to take what’s right in front of me, and if things change down the line to take that into consideration at that point.

    1. Artemesia*

      The thing is that this guy didn’t resign by text; he didn’t resign at all. He texted a co-worker not his supervisor. He just failed to show up.

  27. Anonathon*

    #1: Ah, youth. In a nutshell, I think that it’s absolutely worth it to talk with this young man. I am going to take a wild guess and say that this is his first job, and he doesn’t realize that resigning from a job isn’t the same as quitting an extracurricular because you’re over-scheduled. Really, he may just not understand the difference yet — and he should learn now rather than later that quitting by text message to a co-worker is a serious misstep. (I supervise college-age interns and similar issues have come up. They are not being deliberately cavalier, I find, just naive.)

  28. T*

    OP #3, I somewhat agree with Brett. It all boils down to what is appropriate for your field. I recently completed my MA in a program that required both a traditional thesis and an internship (plus a second internship for a certificate program). In my field, internships are considered good in that they provide real-world experience.

    I would definitely follow the advice to ask people in your field who make hiring decisions. Keep in mind what will be better for you in building skills or gaining useful knowledge. I notice that you used the term research project rather than research paper. Is the research itself significant in your field (as it might be in some sort of physical science)? Is a remote internship going to provide you with the skills you hope to gain?

    On my own resume, I include selected class projects only if they are real-world projects done for real organizations (as opposed to something done just in class) because they directly relate to the sort of work I might do at many of the jobs I’ve applied for. Ask people in your field (hiring managers and decision makers, not necessarily your peers) about this.

    1. OP - 3*

      Internships are the preferred way to go for my niche. I would prefer that since a research project (and professional development) tend to be the first things to go when I apply for a job in my field. The problem is that I may not be able to do an internship since my schedule does not allow me to be on-site at any of the local organizations in my field. The Associate Director might say no to all remote internships, so I would have to fall back on the research project option. I guess I would have to really think about how I can make a research project resemble the skills I would learn at an internship (as in be supervised in mini-versions of the internship at multiple remote organizations and compare).

      As for your other questions – research in my field tends to focus on tools/techniques and case studies. It is not a traditional lab science. As for if a remote internship would provide me with the skills I seek, the answer is yes. The industry-specific skills I seek to gain only exist in the digital world. I have taken a few workshops during my online program so it is something that can be done remotely. I have contacted a few in the field (there is a listserv from the national professional organization that focuses just on this skill) and there is a lot of interest for someone to do a remote internship and create the final product they and I would like. It sounds like there have been others that have either interned or volunteered with these organizations to use this skill.

      The problem I for see is that professionals jump up and down for people to assist with this task remotely but might be prejudice against someone who learned and displayed this skill remotely.

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