coworkers who roll their eyes in meetings, my friend went after a job I wanted, and more

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

1. How to deal with coworkers rolling their eyes in a meeting

How do you deal with staff attending a meeting and being very noticeably annoyed with whatever is being said? Two particular coworkers always roll their eyes, I guess to show how they feel about the situation – no matter what is being said. It is visibly noticed by everyone at the meeting. People are afraid to make a comment or share ideas, opinions, etc. It is a very awkward situation, but even the manager running the meeting ignores it because I don’t think he even knows how to address it.

I’m not their manager, but if I could help remedy the situation in some way, I would. It’s embarrassing to attend these meetings and not being able to address this with them or even knowing how to address this with them, as an observer. Help!

The people who should be addressing this issue and who are being negligent for not taking this on are, in order of who should be speaking up the fastest: their manager, the person running the meeting, and anyone else witnessing this who’s above them in your office’s hierarchy. Any of those people have both standing and obligation to address this, and they’re really screwing up by not telling these two employees directly that it’s not acceptable (or asking the direct manager to do that).

It sounds like you’re a peer, in which case you don’t have much standing to tackle this, but if you have a good relationship with your own manager, you could certainly point out that this behavior is making the meetings unpleasant for everyone and inhibiting discussion and ask if it can be addressed.

2. My friend went after a job I wanted and gave me bad advice about my own interview

I am a newly licensed registered nurse. The job search has been brutal and I managed to get a call for a phone interview to a plastic surgeon’s office. I told a close friend of mine, who is also a registered nurse and who already has a full-time job as well as an on-call per diem position on the weekends at another establishment. This friend of mine called the office of the plastic surgeon and managed to get an interview that same week for a part-time position at the same place I was going to be interviewed.

When speaking to her about the job before she or I interviewed, she expressed a lot of negativity, as well as encouraged me to demand to know the salary upfront. I did no such thing, but when she interviewed, she presented herself as someone who didn’t care how much they were going to pay her. She managed to get a call back the same day to meet with the doctor the next week. I did not get a call back.

When I confronted her about what she did, she justified by saying she was going for a part-time position and wouldn’t have taken a full-time position if offered. I believe that even that part-time position she received could have been offered to me, which I would have readily accepted. I feel completely betrayed and am wondering if she just wasn’t thinking or was malicious about the whole situation. There might be a job opening at her full-time job, but I am reluctant to accept a job offer where I would have to work closely beside her. I realize now that I should have been more discreet about my job search, but I didn’t think that someone who already has a full-time job that she loves, as well as another job to make additional income, would go interview for the same position I was. They were not even considering a part-time position at the plastic surgeon’s office until she called. The position was for a full-time nurse.

Your friend sucks. It’s true that you can’t call dibs on a job, but a good friend wouldn’t have tried to elbow you out of the way (especially when you’re out of work and she has two jobs), let alone purposely give you bad advice that she didn’t use herself. She is a crappy friend. I’m sorry.

3. Asking for extra vacation days during a salary freeze

I have been working as an administrative assistant for 2.5 years at my current job, a family owned company with about 20 employees. Each December, performance reviews are done. At each of my 3 performance reviews, I have been given nothing but stellar comments on how well I perform my job as well as my willingness to go above and beyond. However, I have never gotten a raise. At the last 2 reviews (the only ones at which I might have anticipated a raise), I was told that there simply is not enough money and no one will be getting raises. I do believe this is true.

I plan to sit down with my manager in June, as she asked me to do last December, to see if a raise may now be in the cards. I don’t think the company will be able to give me one, though. If they aren’t, would I be out of line in asking for an extra 5 or so days of paid time off? It would not affect my ability to complete my work, but would allow me to have a total of 4 weeks, or 20 days, paid time off (my company does not differentiate vacation time from sick time). Regardless of whether or not I get a raise, I do not plan to job search in the foreseeable future.

No, that’s not out of line. Point out that you haven’t had a raise since starting 2.5 years ago, not even a cost of living adjustment, and that you understand that the company has had a salary freeze but that you’re wondering if there might be other ways to recognize your increased level of contribution, such as additional vacation days. If you’re a great employee, a good manager will see this as a way to retain you when she can’t do it via salary.

4. No application instructions, but a contact in HR

There’s a national organization that is based out of my town that I would love to work for. I have family friends who have worked for them and they are a wonderful organization that is loyal to their employees. I was childhood friends with one of their HR employees, but we went separate ways in high school (different schools) and have been casual acquaintances since then.

One of the jobs at the organization came through in my job hunt and I was going through the website to apply, but there is no link to the exterior website they have used in the past for applications, nor an email address to send the applications to. I have my childhood friend’s email from a previous application (a stretch job that I was under-qualified for). Do I email her a quick note to tell her that there is no application links or directions (on any of their listings-including one for a director’s position) or do I email her my cover letter and resume and just mention in the cover letter that there was no link for applications but I had her email from a previous application?

I’d do a hybrid of those two — email her a note to let her know that you’re interested in applying for a job with them and noticed there’s no longer any information on the website about how to apply, so you wanted to give her a heads-up about that, and add that in case she happens to be able to funnel your application to the right place, you’re attaching a resume and cover letter for the position of ___.

5. Explaining a move due to my employer shutting down

I work for a nonprofit organization that is folding. I’m heartbroken, but I’m taking this as an opportunity to relocate several states away, to be near my parents. I’m applying for jobs in advance of my move, but I am not sure how much I should say in my cover letter. Should I come right out and say that I’m leaving my job because the company is dissolving? I love my job. I wouldn’t be leaving it for any other reason.

Also, should I come right out and say that I am looking to relocate for personal reasons? I am worried that getting a long-distance interview will be more difficult because a hiring manager doesn’t want to waste time on someone who may or may not relocate, and might expect relocation assistance.

How long have you been there? Assuming it’s not an amount of time so small that thinking of leaving would raise eyebrows, you don’t need to get into your reasons in your cover letter — and really shouldn’t, since your cover letter should be focused on why you’d excel at and are excited about the job you’re applying to.

On the relocation question, follow the advice here and here, and explain that you’re moving to ___ to be closer to family. (Don’t say “personal reasons” — that sounds oddly secretive when there’s no reason to be.)

{ 179 comments… read them below }

  1. Lizzy*

    2.) It is hard to say if I would cut out a friend entirely for doing something like that (does the friendship have other merits?), but this person would no longer be privy to personal information I might have once shared with her. I don’t think we would be as close anymore. That sucks and I hope you can resume your search with more prospects soon.

    1. Nina*

      What she did to the OP was pretty foul. If it were me, I wouldn’t be friends with her anymore simply because I couldn’t trust her. The most she would be is an acquaintance, especially if we were working together in the future.

      OP, it’s entirely up to you if you still want to hang out with her, but keep any personal and work related details to yourself. I hope a nursing position comes through for you.

      1. ixiu*

        Similar situation happened to me, I wouldn’t have mind if my “friend” would just talk to me about applying to the job that I told her I have applied to. Instead she chose to do it secretly, knowing fully well I have applied to it already.

        Needless to say, I have avoided talking to her. This person has betrayed your trust, she does not deserve to be your friend. I would distant myself from her if I were you, but don’t burn bridges, you never know how the future might play out considering you are both RNs. Good luck with your job hunt!

      2. Lizzy*

        Oh, I agree it was foul. I just find it can be hard to cut out toxic friends entirely, especially if you have to run into them. In a perfect world, you can tell them to *beep* off. Unfortunately it is not uncommon to run in similar social circles, so civility becomes necessary, even when you have to keep that person at arm’s length.

        However, I would cheer the OP on if she wrote in an update about how she confronted her friend, told her off and ended all contact with her (and landed a good job).

        1. Bend & Snap*

          This is one of my biggest faults or talents depending on how you look at it. I would have no problem cutting this woman off and never looking back. There are ways to deal with overlapping social circles.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Completely agreed. Overlapping social circles would not be enough reason for me to bother trying to be diplomatic. I’d burn that bridge and never look back. It’s disturbing that she would do this to a friend. I can only hope she’s more compassionate to her patients than she is to her friends.

            1. Jessa*

              Seriously, unless upon confronting said friend, I found out that she’d lost the permanent job and was so desperate for a 2nd part timer that she’d do that to me, I wouldn’t be talking to them anymore.

          2. Bea W*

            Same. I don’t lose any sleep over walking away from someone who no longer acts like a friend.

        2. 2horseygirls*

          One of my dearest friends call it being ‘church polite’. You can be cordial, and chat about the weather or inconsequential matters, and still have the boundary in place to not share anything significant. I’ve used it to distance myself from people successfully. If she is in the same field, you never know when she might be the next interviewer, so having it out (while SOOO tempting, I know!) and cutting all ties might come back to bite you in the future.

      3. Ruffingit*

        I would sever all ties. This is a person with a full-time job and another job who basically undercut her unemployed friend’s chances at getting work. Friend didn’t need the job. OP did. It just shows such a lack of compassion and understanding that I would not want that person anywhere near me anymore.

      4. Bea W*

        I would totally be re-evaluating my friendship someone who would behave like this. At the least i would pull back. What she did was super crappy. As they say, “With friends like these, who needs enemies.”

    2. JPC*

      I read this weird Daily Mail article about a woman whose sister stole her husband. She forgave her sister, who then went on to steal her second husband.

      Obviously, this isn’t as bad but it’s reminiscent. What OP’s friend did was obviously malicious and intentional. Some people just can’t let others be happy.

      1. louise*

        I’m so confused by those kinds of stories! Husbands don’t just “get stolen,” they have to be complicit. What kind of morons was this lady with that TWO of them would do that??

        1. Zillah*

          Yeah, this. I mean, I think it’s a pretty significant betrayal to even try to get with your sibling’s significant other, but human beings can’t get stolen. Her husbands are equally terrible, IMO. Who runs off with their spouse’s sibling??

    3. Anonsie*

      This. I’ve heard the old “nurses eat their young” adage, but I didn’t think that applied to your friends as well.

  2. Nina*

    #1: If your coworkers are as obvious as you say, I’m sure management already knows. They could be dealing with it privately. And while the eye-rolling is rude, it doesn’t necessarily effect you or anyone else at the meeting (as opposed to something like eating or a ringing cellphone, which is distracting), which could be why mgmt is either ignoring it, or not discussing it with you and your other coworkers.

    Managers are often looking at the employees during meetings, so I highly doubt this has gone unnoticed, and they could be thinking along the lines of “Well, Eye Roller, since it’s so hard for you to show any interest in the meeting, I don’t need to consider you for a promotion/raise/etc. And I certainly don’t want you meeting clients, because what if you roll your eyes at them?”

    1. A Dispatcher*

      “And while the eye-rolling is rude, it doesn’t necessarily effect you or anyone else at the meeting (as opposed to something like eating or a ringing cellphone, which is distracting)”

      Per the OP though, it is affecting others. It’s causing them to not want to share ideas for fear of this silent ridicule. You could argue that people should just attempt to not let it affect them on their end, but you could also make that argument for the cellphone or food. This behavior absolutely needs to be shut down by management. I do however agree with you that it they may already be dealing with it individually and OP wouldn’t/shouldn’t be privy to that.

      1. Nina*

        Fair point, and the OP did mention that. Again, I do find their behavior to be rude and attention seeking, but for me, it’s not aggravating enough to keep from participating. I brought up the cellphone and food because those make noise, plus some foods have strong smells and so on. Eye rolling is a rude, but silent gesture, and unless you’re looking right at the person, you wouldn’t know they were doing it.

        Furthermore, from what the OP is saying, the coworkers are rolling their eyes no matter what is being said. And the lack of participation from their coworkers isn’t having an effect, so they continue to eye roll.

        I’m not saying toughen up, but OP, I would reconsider participating in the meetings. If management is still acting clueless, then I would calmly voice my ideas during a meeting and see what happens. If the eye rolling commences, then you have something legitimate example to take to your manager. “This behavior has been going on for some time, including today when I spoke up about XYZ. I do not feel comfortable voicing my ideas and opinions during the meetings because of this behavior” and so on.

        Please understand that I do not want the OP or anyone to be ridiculed or embarrassed. But it sounds like people are keeping quiet out of fear of being mocked/eye rolled, yet the behavior continues even when coworkers do not participate. So you may as well participate.

    2. FiveNine*

      It’s insubordination. Aside from everything else unprofessional and rude about it.

      1. Artemesia*

        This. Allowing this kind of repeated blatant disrespect undermines everyone who wants to contribute to the organization. The leadership is signaling to everyone that they can’t manage.

    3. Mallory*

      If management is dealing with it behind the scenes, they sure aren’t dealing with it very effectively if the eye-rolling is continuing. That seems like a one-time conversation to me, not an on-going coaching and counseling-type thing.

      1. John*

        My thought, exactly. And that kind of open ridicule is truly poisonous to an organization so the conversation has to be, “That behavior is completely unacceptable and needs to stop now.” And, when it doesn’t, the perpetrators need to be moved immediately to final warning and or a date with the axe.

  3. Sunshine*

    #1 – if the OP were one of the people mentioned who can and should step up and address this, how would you recommend she handle?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ideally one of them would address right in the meeting it in the moment when it’s happening. For instance: “Jane, you look bothered. What’s going on?”

      But the manager could also say afterwards, privately: “I’ve noticed you rolling your eyes in meetings. What’s going on?” … followed by an explanation that rolling your eyes is disruptive and disruptive to the person speaking and others in the meeting and not something that’s okay.

      And frankly, that behavior is so incredibly out of sync with the way a good employee behaves that I’d assume there are plenty of other problems going on with these two too, and would start taking a close look at the rest of their performance. I’d be shocked if there aren’t other problems to address.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I have a tendency to make faces when I’m thinking, and during meetings I’m often listening and thinking about what’s being said, which might mean my face is scrunched up or I have a furrowed brow as I process things.

        The worst part is I didn’t realize I did this until a colleague brought it to my attention, actually IN a meeting like you described. I was just thinking and making a thinking face, so it caught me totally off guard and I was mortified. Now I try to be much more conscious of what I’m doing with my face in meetings. I’ve improved, but let’s just say I’ll never be a poker player.

        Eye-rolling is different, of course. But there’s the chance that they’re not aware that it’s noticeable so saying something will help, a lot.

        1. LMW*

          I actually have a tendency to roll my eyes when I’m thinking, unless I’m looking at something specific. It’s something I have no awareness of or control over, and I was mortified when it was brought to my attention. I’ve tried concentrating on looking at specific things during meetings, but I have no idea if it’s helped at all. It’s not a medical or lazy eye situation, so there’s nothing I can do. Sigh.

        2. Kobayashi*

          Actually someone once told me that I tend to roll my eyes in conversation and they find that demeaning. I wasn’t aware of it. After it was brought to my attention and I started to catch myself, I realized the eye rolling was my looking up in thought, so I’ve tried to be more conscientious about that. I’m not saying that is what is happening here because there is, of course, obvious eye rolling, complete with slight sigh and turn of the head. But maybe bring it politely to their attention in casual conversation.

          1. The Real Ash*

            To me there’s a difference in body language when you roll your eyes because you think something is stupid versus when you look up to think. Someone who doesn’t get the differences between the two I think lacks the ability to read body language, or at least can’t do it very well.

            1. LMW*

              When it was mentioned to me at work, I actually told my boss that I thought it said more about the person who commented on it to her than it did about me, and she agreed.

            2. Not So NewReader*

              I agree. It’s normal for a person who is thinking to look up. This is a much slower gesture than a eye-roll to indicate intolerance. The intolerant eye roll tends to pan the ceiling or upper walls. Where as the thinking gesture does not looks up and focuses on one spot. Generally, speaking, of course.

              A few years ago, I read that eye-rolling in combination with other behaviors is considered bullying. It is a silent attempt to berate/overrule what other people are saying.
              Some people honestly do not know how insulting it is.
              Done routinely, I think that it needs to be addressed. After all, this is repeated attempts to discredit the person who is speaking.

          2. bearing*

            I think if I found out other people were reading my “look upward while thinking” face as “eye-rolling,” I’d cultivate some other “thinking” body language to go with it — twiddle a pencil, frown thoughtfully, go “hm,” etc.

      2. Hooptie*

        I would bring it up in the meeting. I consider time too precious to waste in meetings where the participants aren’t engaged, so I would either ask that Meeting Protocol be added as an agenda topic to the next meeting, or bring it up if there is an ‘Additional Topics’ section to your agendas.

        “I am concerned that not everyone is engaged in these meetings, and that some people are uncomfortable bringing forth their ideas and contributions because others aren’t always showing respectful behavior. Can we talk about appropriate meeting protocol?”

        If I said something and caught an eye roll, I would call it out right then and there, and press the issue as needed.

      3. Phideaux*

        So how would one deal with this if the eye-roller is one’s own manager? My boss is very direct, very opinionated, and has a very high standard of what her employees know and how they should do their jobs. During a meeting, if someone is conducting the meeting or addressing a point and it appears that they are not prepared, don’t have all of the facts, or otherwise shooting from the hip, she starts with the eye rolling, sighing, head shaking and other such signs of displeasure.

        When she’s done this with me, I’ve addressed it after the meeting privately, asking if there was a problem with what I was presenting but I can’t speak up for other people not reporting directly to me. It is to the point that no one wants to be the one to speak up or offer commentary at meetings.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          “You know, if you used words instead of gestures, I would be able to tell quicker how to fix this so it becomes what you are needing from me.”

    2. MJ*

      I think if management is not handling it (or is attempting to without success), the OP could preface her remarks in a meeting with, “This will probably make Bob and Margaret roll their eyes, but I think that we could try….” or after an eye roll, say, “I realize this idea has been greeted by eye rolls from Bob and Margaret, but I really think we should weigh the pros and cons of it.” If you call out the obvious, give it a name, make sure no one is ignoring it, you will show others not to be afraid of it. You would probably only have to do it once or twice, and Bob and Margaret would succumb to peer pressure.

    3. Sam*

      If there’s a chance the eye-roller/face-maker doesn’t realize she’s doing it, I would have the conversation privately rather than embarrass her in the meeting. If you can make the conversation about wanting to help the person present themselves more professionally, you don’t want to do it through humiliation.
      In a similar situation, I have said something along the lines of “I don’t think you realize you’re doing it, but whenever Wakeen makes a recommendation that you disagree with, even if you don’t say something about it, it shows in your facial expressions. It’s starting to affect how people perceive you professionally, and I want to help you break that habit and find a better way to express disagreement” With this person, she had no idea it was obvious, she was mortified (but not publicly embarrassed) and we worked out a plan where whenever Wakeen proposed a half-baked idea, my employee would make eye contact with me first, just to break the habit of the immediate eye roll/face scrunch, and then decide if she wanted to professionally disagree with Wakeen or let it go. Just this exercise over a few weeks broke the habit so she could look at the table or a wall or something instead of me whenever she felt the urge to respond with a negative facial expression, and I didn’t need to be in every meeting.
      I could be super sensitive to it; I have a “serious” resting face, and have been called out in a meeting for it, when I was just thinking, and I felt embarrassed and it made me lose a little respect for the person who called me out. I wasn’t being disrespectful, I was just thinking. So I try to assume that people may not always know what their facial expressions are saying to the world and give them the benefit of the doubt the first time.

  4. Diane*

    I have been known to call out eye rollers with a concerned tone: “Jane and Wakeen, you look like you have something to add.” Repeat.

    1. Colette*

      Yes, that’s what I was going to suggest the OP do if she is comfortable doing so.

      The other choice is for her to bring it up with her manager, but that’s a little trickier. Maybe something like “I’ve noticed that Jane and Wakeen roll their eyes every time I contribute something in a meeting – is there an issue with how I’m participating?”

    2. LBK*

      Yes, I do this and it works wonders. It’s the equivalent of students whispering in class and the teacher calling them out with “Bob and Philomena, do you have a question on something I could clarify?”

      1. MaryMary*

        I was just thinking that this tactic sounds very much like a teacher trick. “Mary, is there something you would like to share with the class?”

        1. Mallory*

          And don’t most people get the public eye-rolling coached out of them, in school, by just such teacher tricks? The fact that they’re still doing it as grown adults says ‘no’, but it really seems like something that they should have learned to control in, say, fourth grade.

    3. Joey*

      I do something similar, but a little more on the spot: “Bill, you look like you’re not on board with what we’re doing. We’d love to hear how you think we can do it better.”

    1. Tasha*

      This may or may not apply to eye-rolling, but I’ve asked something along the lines of “Wakeen, is there anything I could clarify about this slide?” when professors make funny faces in meetings. I’ve made sure to use a cheerful/helpful tone, like I would when I’m not sure if someone has actually raised their hand, and it’s gone over well. (We have a culture where it’s normal to bring up questions in the middle of a presentation.)

    2. Kacie*

      This! We have high level managers who are not good at controlling their expressions when annoyed or exasperated by others. It really shuts down sharing of ideas and communication.

      1. Paloma Pigeon*

        Yes, and when the leader of the organization does it, it is really off-putting.

    3. Lora*

      “Apollo, did you have a question, or was there something in particular you wanted to talk about?”

      Be warned: This usually launches them into a massively obnoxious display of pontificating. If they were reasonable, they’d just say “excuse me Wakeen, can we talk more about the teapot decorations? I think we are already familiar with the state of the spout issue” and that would be that.

      Although I did have a managerial eye-roller who was himself the world’s worst presenter, and would eye-roll at anything he deemed too easily understood or interesting. His slide decks were never written in anything larger than 8-point font, his graphs were a weird illegible mess of overlapping colors and axes without labels, he Umm’ed and Ahhh’ed and had awkward silences in nearly every sentence, spoke entirely in jargon and acronyms. He felt that since this was so common in the business world, it was the way things were supposed to be done, and that anything not a bone-dry blue-and-white blur of KPIs and ERPs with no questions asked or answered was somehow unprofessional.

      I asked him once, if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you jump too? He didn’t understand the question: “Why would anybody jump off a cliff?”

  5. Aussie Teacher*

    I used to work in a department of three – my head of department and myself and another teacher. The two of us shared an office and she was incredibly difficult to work with – not sharing materials and resources, and using rude body language to signify her disdain for me. It was so hard to call her out on her body language, since if she hadn’t said anything verbal, she would just deny it and act like I was making it up. And you feel incredibly petty going to your HoD with complaints like “She rolls her eyes if I ask her a question” or “She won’t share her worksheet with me”. She also rolled her eyes whenever we were collaborating as a department and I made any suggestions or offered input, which was not addressed by our HoD. Definitely a nightmare couple of years for me (as a brand-new teacher too!)

    1. Apple22Over7*

      I used to work with someone similar. In addition to the eye-rolling and hogging of resources, she was generally very passive-aggressive, condescending in speaking to me (I was 21, 15 years her junior) and had a patronising tone. She liked to undermine me too, especially just as I started to have confidence in my role and abilities. We were technically peers – same role, same title, same pay – but she took it upon herself to be the “the leader” of the two of us. Our manager worked remotely and was in the office only once or twice per month – and of course, whenever he visited the coworker would turn on the charm and be a totally different person.

      It was horrible, demotivating and really knocked my confidence.

      The worst part was not being able to tell our manager – as a 21 yr old just starting out in the professional world I was conscious of coming across as childish and naive in the first place. No matter how much I tried to think of ways to describe my coworker’s behaviour, there was no way I could phrase it that didn’t sound silly. I took to writing a daily journal of the things she did – reading back, each incident on it’s own sounds like no big deal but it was the cumulative effect of the constant negativity and doing-me-down that got to me – especially when the manager couldn’t see what was going on.

      Unfortunately there was no resolution – the coworker left for 12 months on maternity leave which was some relief, and by the time she came back I’d handed in my 4 weeks notice to move on to a new job anyway (largely due to her returning).

      1. Aussie Teacher*

        That sounds so awful, especially as she was older and could have done so much to help you out instead of undermine you! I had exactly the same experience, except my colleague was the same age as me and we were both brand new graduates. It really bugged her that we were equals (same title/role/pay) as she clearly saw herself as superior to me in every way, and liked to let me know about it. The worst part was – I believed her! When my HoD told me years later that my skills in some areas were superior to my ex-colleague’s, I was floored! Wish he’d told me earlier.
        She also knew our HoD before she got the job (I think he tutored her a few years previously) so I didn’t want to be the one running to him with complaints when they already had a prior relationship and I was just building one with him.

        Luckily she had a falling out with him and ended up leaving under a cloud – I was at the point of quitting myself because I couldn’t handle the stress anymore. When I heard her heels clicking on the tiles leading to our office, I would feel physically sick.

        Of course, now I’m looking to re-enter the workforce after 4 years off having children, and she managed to sweet-talk her way straight into a HoD position at another school in my town. Needless to say I won’t be applying to work there, although I will have to deal with running into her at networking events since it’s a small town and we both teach the same subject.

  6. A Dispatcher*

    #2 – Yeah, I’m not so sure you should consider this person a “friend” anymore…

    Is she keeping her other part time job as well, or is she leaving that one for the one at the plastic surgeon’s office? She might be really hurting for money and felt she needed this extra job, but that negates neither her treatment of your nor your own need for a job. I’d probably feel differently if she were extremely apologetic after the fact (though still have my concerns) but her behavior coupled with the lack of remorse shows she really doesn’t seem to have much regard for your feelings and well being. I’m so sorry, both about the job and your friend. Best of luck to you that you find something soon!

  7. Chris*

    Oh man, I have a coworker like that. She audibly sighs and crosses her arms, etc, during parts she doesn’t like for whatever reason. She’s great at her job, and she’s otherwise a nice person, but it drives me INSANE. I still say what I want/need to, though. But some might not.

    You have a crap friend. She had no reason to contact the doctor for a PT job, when she already has two one of which is FT. Especially when she’s basically trying to job-block you. Dump her. Sorry, but she’s either a sociopath or is deliberately trying to sandbag you. In this economy, friends should be working together and networking, not stabbing each other in the back. DTMFA

  8. GrumpyBoss*

    #1: I wouldn’t be so sure that the manager isn’t addressing it. A manager should do that in private (unless they are a jerk), and if that adjusting behavior isn’t occurring, the manager should again be following up in private. I do love Alison’s feedback. Let your boss know and then maybe it’ll get mentioned in another way to the offenders.
    #2: she’s not your friend anymore. I wouldn’t even consider her explanation any further. I’d phase her out of my life. Hope you find employment soon.
    #3: I really like how creative this OP is with the solution. Not many people would be OK with no raise in 2.5 years. I’ve been there and know that it happens. It’s frustrating. But I find it admirable that you found an alternate and really hope it is received well.
    #4: did you and your friend reestablish contact after your previous app? The way I’m reading it is that you applied for a job out of your range before and just happened to have an email. If you haven’t opened that friendship back up, I’d strongly recommend reaching out first and asking how they’ve been, how has life treated them, etc. then, by the way, I’d really like to get into this company, I noticed this job, would you be able to tell me a little bit about it? I’ve personally landed 2 jobs this way. By using your relationship, you may get some more immediate attention/feedback on your candidacy than you would by just shooting your resume over or asking for a link to their tracking system.
    #5: I was in a somewhat similar situation recently where I had to move several states for a new job because I was concerned about the viability of my old one. My old employer wasn’t out of business yet (still isn’t), but was very prominently featured on CNBC and the Wall Street Journal as a company in great distress. It’s very public failure was in no way my fault, but it was amazing how much it hurt my job search. So to add to Alison’s great advice, one interview question I would be prepared for since I was asked it a lot is: “what could you have done to prevent or slow the organization’s decline?” Please note, I’m not saying this is a fair question or even a good one, just one that I encountered frequently. As far as moving elsewhere, I always put it out that I’m interested in the most ideal position and the right company, where that is located is a secondary concern to me. Some companies said great, we’ll discuss relocation if you are our ideal candidate. Others said they didn’t have a budget for relocation and asked if I was interested in continuing in the process (I was not). And oddly, companies from Florida all responded that they thought I was just using them to move to Florida and rejected me immediately.

    1. Jen RO*

      #4 – I don’t know if it’s just me being weird, but I really dislike it when people fake interest in my well-being just because they want something. I don’t even mind helping most of the time, but I wish they’d just get over the chit chat and say what they want!

      1. GrumpyBoss*

        I guess different strokes…. I’m much more likely to go the extra mile in helping someone I’m communicating with than someone who I haven’t really heard from in 15 years. It’s like that “friend” who only calls you when they need something. It becomes pretty easy to ignore them after awhile. That’s a big reason why I spend a lot of time caring and feeding for my network. A simple reach out to see how things are going once a year or so helps keep the contact fresh.

        1. KerryOwl*

          That’s true, but if she hasn’t been maintaining ongoing contact, saying “hey what’s up how’s life oh btw here’s my resume” is going to seem pretty transparent. At this point I’d just be straightforward.

          1. GrumpyBoss*

            Yeah agree. I meant to imply have those conversations then hit them with the resume during a later exchange :)

          2. Kelly L.*

            Ha, yeah. I’m thinking of my old high school classmates who sell Mary Kay and the like. “Hi Kelly OMG it’s been so long how are you wanna come to my makeup party?” :D

            1. OhNo*

              Ugh, blegh, that is absolutely the worst. Especially if it’s someone that you weren’t ever friends with in the first place.
              (Speaking from recent experience – a guy I barely knew in school just started sending me messages on Facebook. Not surprisingly, after a couple of awkward messages he dropped the pretense and went for “So, is your dad’s company hiring?”)

              1. OP#4*

                I had spoken to the ‘friend’ in HR about an year before my original application, but didn’t know that she was in HR there until after I applied and the OTHER family friend who works there mentioned me to her and she said she knew me. (It was a lack of recognition of her married name on my part, I didn’t know I knew here until after I had sent back an email saying thanks so much.) I also didn’t want to seem like I was trying to skip their process to get in at the front of the line.

                What ended up happening was after writing in and talking it over with a few other people (I threw out the options I saw to 2 friends and my parents to see what they thought), I wrote a quick email saying I’m interested and having trouble with sending in the application – putting the issue on me not being able to find the correct link (I managed to get into the system on an old job listing but couldn’t search the new listing)- but here’s my updated resume because I know my old one is in the system. I got a response on Monday saying that there was a website issue (I wasn’t the only one confused by it) and here was the proper link.
                Application is in, keep you fingers crossed for me!

      2. EE*

        Ever watched Brooklyn Nine Nine? Every time Santiago wants something she starts with something really fake like “Jen RO, I really like your shoes, they’re such a nice colour” and is met with a flat “What do you want.” She never learns.

        1. Mallory*

          Ha. I was chaperoning a middle-school field trip once, and one of my daughter’s friends was really mean-girls manipulative during those years (she seems like a lovely young woman now).

          Anyway, we had about 80 girls lined up for the girls’ bathroom, and Dani comes waltzing up to the third girl in line, coos, “OH!! I just LOVE your jacket!! Where’d you GET it??!” while massaging the lapels and sleeves and very deftly inserting herself as the second person in the line.

          If one is going to do a work-related version of that, maybe they should work on the subtlety a bit so that it isn’t quite that transparent.

          1. OP#4*

            This was exactly what I was trying to avoid… I didn’t want to be THAT girl.
            I was polite but not sickeningly sweet- my email was something like-
            ‘Hi J- I hope all is well- I was just wondering if anyone else had brought the lack of application instructions on the website for the Associate Project Manager position to HR’s attention. Let me know how to submit my resume, I’ve attached it in case you no longer have a copy.
            Thank you- E’

            1. Mallory*

              That seems just right to me! You acknowledge that you know her with the “hope all is well” and then get down to the purpose of the contact. Perfect!

        2. Phyllis*

          Makes me think of my kids when they were teenagers. When my girls complimented my shoes, or my son told me I looked “hot” they would get the slit-eye from me and “How much do you want?” I knew it was either money or they wanted to borrow my car. :-)

      3. The IT Manager*

        I agree. If you’re getting back in touch because you want something, lead with it. It doesn’t fool me, but it annoys me that you think you can and are faking interest because you didn’t bother to get in touch with me until you wanted something.

      4. Audrey*

        Totally agree, JenRO. If you want something from me, don’t pretend otherwise. And if you’re up front about what you want, I will probably try to help.

        1. Bea W*

          Same. Buttering me up before asking for help makes me feel used. I’m also the kind of person who likes to help when i can even if you are a complete stranger. Being my buddy is not a condition for asking for something.

      5. Jamie*

        I’m with Jen. Do not maintain a quasi social connection to me or feign interest in me so you’re more comfortable asking me for a favor if someday I can help you.

        I don’t mind helping either, most of the time, but don’t waste my time with this faux friendship so you think you’ve got me in your pocket if you need me. I know that’s kind of black and white – but just be genuine.

        1. Mallory*

          This sums up exactly how I feel about it. If I can help someone, great, contact me and I’ll see what I can do. But don’t act like you think I need to be “handled”.

    2. Noah*

      #3 – I totally agree with you. I hope she gets the vacation time. HR once explained the details of how you account for the cost of PTO to the company, but ultimately it boiled down to nothing for most white collar jobs. The employee either works harder before and after vacation or another employee (already on the payroll) covers for them. Only when you have to hire an additional employee is there a real cost involved. They did have some formula for lost work time and potential revenue, but it still wasn’t much unless the department was already short staffed.

      1. OP#3*

        I hope I’m able to get the extra time! To be honest, my job isn’t particularly busy so I could easily take time off at the right time and not have anyone cover for me at all. The only potential problem with this soulution, if I do get extra PTO, is actually being able to use it. The big boss will be the one making decisions, but my supervisor hates approving time off for me. She always does but gives me a hard time about it. I’ve never been unable to complete work to prepare for time out of the office, but it’s just her personality. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    3. Relocator*

      #5 OP here. Thank you for that advice– I will definitely think about what I can say in interviews about my role in the company’s dissolution. I truly have learned a lot through this experience, and I do have some good things to say on this subject. It’s a delicate situation because obviously things went wrong and mistakes were made, but then there’s that other big point of interview etiquette– don’t badmouth a previous employer. Any tips on handling this without coming off too critical?

      And, oops, I am relocating to Florida. I am taking Allison’s advice and using my parents’ address on my resume– that’s where I’ll be living for a while, anyway.

      1. Paige Turner*

        I think it helps that you’re moving to be closer to family. I am from Florida originally, so if I ever were applying to jobs back there (hypothetically), I wouldn’t have even thought of the employer thinking, “Oh you just want to move here.” In my opinion (although I’m no expert, I am currently in a somewhat similar situation), I also think that it makes sense to mention the situation with your current job coming to an end (sorry about that!) and say something like, “Since my current job will soon end due to blah blah blah, I have decided to take the opportunity to move closer to family. This job would be an excellent fit for me due to [talk about how you would be a great choice for them to hire].” Good luck!

  9. Worker Bee*

    #2: I am sorry to slightly disagree with AAM. That person is not a crappy friend, that person is NOT your friend at ALL. If she pulls a stunt like this, who know what else she would do to gain advantages. I suggest to be careful around her… Sorry to say..

    1. Colette*

      I’m not so sure about that. It’s possible, of course, but it’s also possible that this friend is someone you can call in a crisis at 3 am, or who will pick you up when your car breaks down, or who will babysit your kids at a moment’s notice.

      Yes, she did something wrong & hurtful, but people aren’t just one thing.

      I think the OP should reevaluate the whole friendship based on this (i.e. is this a friend she can count on in general?), but it may still be possible for them to be friends.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        Hm, I’m not sure I agree with this. It’s kind of like saying “my husband is so great except for that time he hit me”. There are things that are worth ending a friendship over, and I think this is one of them. But I admit I’m not that tolerant of shenanigans and have no problem cutting people out of my life.

        1. Colette*

          I think the nuance matters in this case. Yes, it was a bad thing to do – but the OP might not have gotten the job either way, and it sounds like they weren’t even interviewing for the same one (part time vs. full time). The bad advice is an issue – but a lot depends on what the friend actually said and the tone she said it in.

          To paraphrase Alison’s response to the eye-rolling letter, this is a sign that you should look for other issues. It doesn’t mean that the OP shouldn’t tell her friend how she feels – of course she should – but none of us from the outside can tell whether it’s worth ending the friendship over, because none of us know the entirety of the friendship.

          1. Ruffingit*

            It was one full-time job until the friend called at which point they considered making it a part-time position: They were not even considering a part-time position at the plastic surgeon’s office until she called.

            So this wasn’t a case of there being two different jobs to be had. It was one job to be had until friend called and they decided a PT job was possible. Whether OP would have gotten the job or not doesn’t matter in my eyes, it’s that friend did things to undercut her chances. Nothing is guaranteed, but when someone is in the river of unemployment and desperately trying to grab a rope, you shouldn’t drag that rope further from them. Maybe they won’t be able to reach the rope, but the least a person can do is not undermine the effort.

              1. fposte*

                I’m not clear about a couple of closed-door moments that the OP makes statements about–that’s one of them.

                If it’s because the friend said so, I’d suggest that the believing-her train has pulled out of the station.

                1. Ruffingit*

                  If it’s because the friend said so, I’d suggest that the believing-her train has pulled out of the station.

                  I’m not sure I understand what you mean here. Do you mean the OP shouldn’t believe the friend?

                2. fposte*

                  Yes. If we’re going with the notion that what the friend said about the job before wasn’t reliable, I don’t see any reason to switch gears and consider her the source of gospel later on.

                3. Colette*

                  Yeah, the entire letter reads somewhat emotional to me. ( “I did no such thing”, “I confronted her”, “She justified”, “I feel completely betrayed”), and there are several mentions of things the OP would have no way to know directly (“she presented herself as someone who didn’t care how much they were going to pay her.”, “They were not even considering a part-time position at the plastic surgeon’s office until she called.”, “She managed to get a call back the same day to meet with the doctor the next week.”).

                  Let’s say this letter was written from another perspective.
                  “My friend Tammy is job hunting, and I was excited to find out that she has an interview at an office that my friend Sara works at. I even did a practice interview with her! She is really struggling with being unemployed, and she kept emphasizing that she would take the job for any pay. It just sounded desperate! I suggested she remember that she needs to be paid what she’s worth, and suggested she ask for the salary range so that she knows what she should expect.

                  After thinking about it more, it really sounded like a great opportunity. I called Sara to ask whether they were expanding, and to see whether there were part time opportunities as well. I was thrilled to find out there were, and she even got me an interview!

                  The interview went really well -I felt like I really had a good connection with my interviewer, and I even got called back to interview with the doctor! Unfortunately, Tammy didn’t get called back, and now she’s really mad at me.”

              2. Ruffingit*

                I would imagine the friend told her. There’s no other way for her to know unless she called the business and asked. Could very well be the OP asked the friend how she was going to fit the job into her schedule and friend said “The doctor’s office said I could fit it around my other two jobs by working part-time. They weren’t even considering that until I came along.”

                OP can clarify of course, but that makes the most sense.

        2. Bea W*

          This! People aren’t just one thing, but sometimes that one thing is so bad it doesn’t matter for you.

        3. LQ*

          You can isolate a friend to just one part of your life. I have a friend I never talk with money about, it just doesn’t ever enter our conversation. I’m not saying the rest of the things about this friend are great, but if there is something, they share they may be able to continue to share that one thing but not the rest of things. (Though this is a pretty low blow and I’d be surprised if this doesn’t shine through on all other character elements.)

          You can’t really use the abusive spouse analogy in that same way. We are going to stay married but never be in the same physical location again.

          1. Ruffingit*

            I could not isolate this to one area because in my friendships there is a mutual desire for all of us to succeed and we help each other to make that possible in every way. No one in my friend’s circle would do what the OP’s friend did. It just wouldn’t happen. The people who would do that were cut out of the circle long ago. More power to anyone who can compartmentalize like that, but I know for me it just wouldn’t work.

            1. Bea W*

              I couldn’t isolate it either, for this reason and in addition because I don’t consider myself friends with someone I can’t trust and who would sabotage others’ success , and not sabotage, but sabotage for personal gain. That does not fit my definition of a friend. Isolating may work with differences of opinion and lifestyle choices, where you may not agree with or even like certain aspects of a person, but you can still treat each other with mutual respect, honesty, and support.

              1. Worker Bee*

                My point exactly. I am not all black and white, but betraying my trust like this.. Just for me personal would be a deal breaker.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I lean more toward what Worker Bee is saying.
      I learned of a job opening. I told my friend. She applied and got the job. I told her that I was interested, too, but since she did not have any job I would wait. I applied for the job TWICE! The first time my app got lost in the system. The second time my paper application vaporized somehow.
      The huge difference in my story and OPs story is that my friend and I knew each step of the way what the other one was doing.
      No surprises going on, no punches anywhere. When my apps disappeared my friend was hugely supportive in trying to find out what happened. I basically gave up. I chalked it up to destiny/fate. Friendship fully intact, life goes on.

      Seems to me, OP, that a true friend would have been able to tell you to your face what she is doing before she does it. If her actions were so benign then why couldn’t she just say so???
      I see two problems here not one problem.

  10. Noah*

    #2 – That is one really horrible friend. It seems that nursing jobs for new grads are really drying up recently, at least he desirable ones not at LTC. More and more was shifted to techs and other allied health professions during the nursing shortage that facilities have grown used to not having nurses. Lots of hospital also stopped hiring RNs who don’t have a BSN. I know where I work we require nurses to have four years of experience, BSN, and host of other credentials before we can even accept an application. I wish you the best of luck.

    1. Brittany*

      I work for a hospital. I agree, except for us the problem isn’t the demand, it’s the vicious cycle of most hospitals (where 90% of the jobs all are) require 1-2 years of experience before even considering recent grads. Thus, you can’t gain experience unless you have a job and if you don’t have a job, you can’t gain experience. I really feel for nurses out there.

      1. BCW*

        I think that is most jobs at this point, not just nursing. Teaching may be one of the few that aren’t, and thats because the average teacher stays in the field like 5 years.

  11. Anonimo*

    Noah, I’ve never heard of that excuse for not hiring nurses and quite frankly it seems dangerous. I sure hope your facility is not having non-nurses do nursing duties outside their scope of practice.

    I’ll be beginning my nursing program in the fall and graduating December 2015. This made me think about how open I’ll be with my job search to my fellow graduates. I always like to think the best of friends, but obviously there are some crap ones out there.

    1. Noah*

      I don’t work for a facility like a hospital, we have to hire RNs with a certain level of experience to meet our accreditation, there is no other option.

      However, I do know that all of the local hospitals have changed up nursing ratios and do have others assisting on the floors. One hospital has also made use of paramedics in units like the ER and ICU. Paramedic scope of practice in my state is essentially whatever their medical director allows them to do, so no legal issues there. Nurses are not supervising them, so there is not even the question of nursing delegation.

  12. Hcat*

    #1- This happened at the place where I used the work. The meeting facilitator started asking one staff member ( usually the eye rollers) to take the minutes during the meeting. Or if there was an agenda, then the trouble makers were usually chosen and asked to be the timekeepers and keep the meeting on track. Or asked to write ideas on a whiteboard if there was brainstorming. Whatever, if it’s feasible, then give them tasks. Engaging those types keeps eye rolling at minimum. Just an idea.

    1. Monodon monoceros*

      This is a really good idea. I’ve done something similar- when there’s one person who is notoriously difficult to get information from for a report, I’ve had them put in charge of completing that report. Amazing how they suddenly see why it’s so annoying when people don’t supply their info for the report!

  13. eemmzz*

    #2 With a “friend” like that who needs enemies? If she gets the job and you know for definite that you are out of the running for a full time position I’d ask her if she realised what it is she did and see what she has to say for herself. I’d also never share any form of personal information with her again regardless. Sometimes with job searching you need to keep your cards very close to your chest.

  14. TotesMaGoats*

    I’m not saying it’s true for this particular situation but consider that the eye-rolling may be the only safe way to express displeasure/disagreement with management actions/decisions. I’m an avid eye-roller but I save it for the times and places where it’s safe for me to do that. Like in meetings with my direct reports, it’s usually done in jest or teasing. I also flare my nose when I’m pissed. It’s so unconscious of a move, I don’t even notice that I do it anymore.

    Realizing that I’m probably the outlier on this one and gonna get some backlash. That’s cool. It’s Friday and a casual day at work.

    1. fposte*

      I’m okay with doing it among friends, but it really isn’t a safe way to express displeasure–it’s not much subtler than saying “I think this is stupid.” If it’s a situation where you could say that, then an eyeroll isn’t going to hurt you either.

      Nose-flaring tends to fly under the radar (I just love writing that) so I don’t think it bugs people. But I think eye-rolling is closer to flipping the bird than to nose-flaring–it’s a deliberate sign of disrespect that everybody understands. Which of course is why it’s so popular.

      So I guess I’m lashing back. Wet-noodle style, anyway.

    2. Audrey*

      I do what I think of as an internal eye-roll – if you were looking at me at that moment you would think that I just looked slightly to the side. But I am rolling my eyes!

      1. Mallory*

        I have a look of concerted patience that I put on when I’m consciously avoiding an eye roll. It’s eyes-slightly-widened, eyebrows-slightly-raised. My office friends who have shared the same irritation with the same person saying the same crap for the past several years recognize the expression, and we’ll exchange very brief glances. I think the only people who notice are those who also share in the irritation; the person who is the subject of the conscious effort to maintain a respectful expression seems oblivious to anything.

        1. fposte*

          There’s a meeting I attend with a regular irritant, and the group response is to sit absolutely stock still to avoid making any revealing gestures of irritation. I suspect that’s interpreted as our being absolutely rapt.

          1. Mallory*

            We do the stock-still thing, too. And sometimes after the meeting is over, one of us will go to another one’s office to “check the ceiling for spiders”, which is code for “roll our eyes to our heart’s content”.

      2. Yet Another Allison*

        Heh. Mine is narrowing the eyes and slightly tilting the head. If I do that, then I’m about to ask the presenter a question that could undermine all the conclusions.

  15. David*

    I was once in a three person meeting with a very obstinate project manager that was doing absolutely nothing to fulfill the requirements of the project. She was a peer and the third person was my manager. After a slightly heated back and forth on a very small item, I finally said that we had probably spent more time on that topic than it was worth and we could move on to the next item. She agreed, but accompanied that agreement with a sigh and an eye roll so big I’m surprised her head didn’t topple off her shoulders and on to the floor. It took all I had not to call her on this and re-open the discussion.

    Point is, the eye roll can be as rude, counterproductive and telling as anything someone can say, and I can understand how it would bother the OP. It’s just so passive-aggressive and gives the offender the out of claiming it never happened because unless someone was directly looking at them when they did it they would be none the wiser.

  16. Hummingbird*


    I’m very sorry to hear about a friend treating you this way. Or someone you thought was a friend. I hate to say that, but unfortunately, this is a person you should write off as a friend. She knows you are looking for a job while she sits there with 2. Maybe they aren’t well-paid jobs, but nonetheless, she has 2 of them. She should have let you try for this job by yourself without adding in more competition than you already have, and on top of that, she should not have given you lousy advice for interviewing. No, OP. She’s not someone to be trusted. Looking back, has she ever done something that made you feel slighted or lose a little bit of trust in her? I totally understand if you overlooked those things, which many of us do, but hindsight is 20/20 and things do add up eventually.

  17. BCW*

    #2 Is tough because there are 2 sides to every story, and its possible that the OP is just a bad interviewer, or that her friends is much better at interviewing. I think anytime 2 friends are going for the same job, it leaves it open to bitterness. If she has 3 jobs now, and you have none, well she is apparently doing something better than you are. This isn’t to sound mean, but aside from the bad advice about salary (which in fairness, some people would give the OP even if they weren’t going for the same job) the only other supposed bad thing she did was “talk negative” and I don’t even know what is really meant by that. It sounds like there was a part time position and a full time position, and she got a call back for a part time one. Does the situation suck? Yes. But I don’t know that I’d assume she maliciously tried to keep you from getting the job, maybe you did that on your own and just are looking for someone to blame. My opinion, moving forward, don’t tell her about upcoming interviews.

    When I was looking, I stopped telling people about my interviews for a few reasons. First, unsolicited advice. Next, people constantly asking “How it went”. Now, I know they are just trying to be nice and encouraging, but when you don’t know, or don’t get it, its no fun to talk to.

    1. BCW*

      Also, I think people are making a HUGE leap to assume that if it wasn’t for the friend, the OP would have gotten this job. If the OP didn’t even get a call back for a 2nd interview, then I think that would have been the case whether or not the friend was there. Plus, this friend clearly has more experience, so maybe they were just a better candidate for the job in general. I just don’t see any concrete evidence of malice, except giving bad advice, which as I said can happen with the best of intentions.

      1. Colette*

        Yes, I think it was wrong for the friend to give the OP bad advice, and not to mention that she was applying for a job at the same place – but that doesn’t mean it’s the friend’s fault the OP didn’t get a second interview or the job itself.

      2. Poohbear McGriddles*

        There is no guarantee that the OP would have gotten the job, this is true. However, the frenemy had no interest in the job until the OP clued her in to it, then she acted uninterested all the while apparently trying to sabotage the OP’s interview. Did it hurt pulling the knife out of your back?
        I would not recommend taking a position where she works, either. My concern is that she might worry about a new person encroaching on her territory (and taking “her” hours), and try to get that person fired or something. She seems competitive and territorial, based on what the OP said.

      3. BB*

        I wonder if the friend wanted OP to ask for salary upfront so the friend knew what it was and could then decide if it was worth it for herself to pursue the job further

      4. Sue Wilson*

        Did anyone say that OP would have gotten the job? I didn’t see any comment that said that.

        Regardless, it looks like the friend made a case for part-time position that didn’t exist, for the same duties as the full-time position. Thus, the friend undercut the need for a full-time position at all.

      5. Artemesia*

        It isn’t the friend’s fault that the OP didn’t get the job. It is the friend’s fault that she deliberately sabotaged her friend’s job search. This is not a person to have in your life.

        Some faults are forgivable; intentional maliciousness is not one of them.

        1. BCW*

          Explain how she sabotaged it? At best the friend gave bad advice that OP didn’t even follow. My mom has given me bad advice, I wouldn’t say thats sabotaging me.

          1. Christine*

            There is a difference between a parent giving well-meaning bad advice based on old-fashioned social norms and business practices of a different era or industry, and a “friend” with a background in the same industry and current business experience giving bad advice that would her own undisclosed conflict of interest if it was followed. She got the job – you know she probably didn’t walk into the interview with an aggressive demand for salary information. She knew better.

            1. Christine*

              That should be “bad advice that would SERVE her own undisclosed conflict of interest…”

      6. Bea W*

        I don’t think it matters if the OP would have gotten the job or not, and I personally am not assuming she lost the job because of her friend. Whichever way I slice it for myself, the friend’s behavior wasn’t that of a friend. It wasn’t even the applying for the same job, it was the negatively, discouragement, and crappy hypocritical advice. The OP may be her own reason for not getting the job, but her friend was a dbag and did not act like a friend at all.

    2. fposte*

      I think that’s mostly coming from the OP–I agree there’s no reason to think that the OP would have gotten the job anyway. And I know people fall into different camps on this one, but I don’t think you’re obliged to avoid applying for a job that your friend is applying for, or a second job if you already have one.

      But I do think the friend has handled this badly, and if the timing is what it sounds like, she was not just silent but deceptive about her application for the job in a way that was designed to put the OP off. I think a friendship can negotiate two friends being up for the same job, but you have to be open and straightforward about it and treat each other well in the process; let the hiring manager be the person that doles out the bad stuff, not the friends.

      1. BCW*

        I agree with everything you said. Personally, I think if 2 friends want to apply for the same job, then thats fine. As you said, people are split on it. I don’t know if she was deceptive though. It seems that she told her she was applying and they discussed it. I also think that if the OP was applying for a full time job, and the friend was applying to a part time one, then they are technically 2 separate jobs, and there was no malice there. But clearly many people feel different.

        1. LBK*

          I don’t think they were applying for separate jobs, I think they applied for the same full-time job and then the OP’s friend negotiated it into a part-time position (probably since she has 2 other jobs already so she can’t work full-time). That’s how I read it in the letter.

      2. LBK*

        My only issue with this is that the OP’s friend presumably knew the OP was unemployed and desperate for a job. Unless she was also desperate to get a third job, it seems really shady and rude to apply for it as well. We know now that the OP didn’t even make it past the first round of interviews, but if it had gotten down to a situation where the OP was the employer’s second choice behind the OP’s friend, so the OP remained unemployed just because the OP’s friend had applied…that would really suck, and it would probably destroy the friendship.

  18. Mike C.*

    Re: #1 Why does one have to be so passive? Why isn’t it appropriate to say, “You keep rolling your eyes when others speak, everyone can see it, knock it off”?

    1. Colette*

      I’d guess that’s not likely to work, because they’d just say “I wasn’t rolling my eyes”. Calling them out as suggested above (“You look like you have concerns about this approach. Where do you see an issue?”) might work, though.

      1. Mike C.*

        It’s worked in my experience. Folks like this usually keep doing what they’re doing because no one else feels it’s right to tell them otherwise.

        1. LBK*

          Are you doing this as a manager or as a peer? Depending on the culture, I could see that type of call out in a group setting being REALLY inappropriate from a peer.

          1. Mallory*

            Depends on the group, I think. As a university departmental admin, I go to both staff meetings and faculty meetings. The staff meetings are very decorous, and nobody would call a peer out like that, not even the one irritating one who makes under-her-breath huffy sounds and off-the-wall negative comments because she’s been her for 30 years and thinks she’s earned the right to express herself that way.

            The faculty meetings are much more lively, with way more peer-to-peer interaction: open eye-rolling; people calling other people out for their open eye-rolling; people raising their voices and talking over the original speaker, while other people call down the interrupter and demand that the original speaker be heard out . . .

  19. CH*

    #3 — I did this successfully last year. My company policy was PTO jumped from 16 to 20 days after 4 years of service. However, we had a salary freeze last year, so I asked at my 3 year annual review if I could be bumped up a year early. They not only agreed, they changed the policy so now everyone gets 20 days after 3 years. And they gave everyone an extra 2 days to use last summer. I think they were looking for ideas to make up for the lack of raises and I just happened on one they liked.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      My company does this as well – we got an extra week off (one time deal) after a year with a raise freeze. We also can sell back up to 15 days of vacation once a year (we get 5 weeks vacation). It really, really helps with morale.

      1. Mallory*

        I wish we had the sell-back thing. My husband’s company does that, and he usually sells a week in January to help us recuperate from the holidays. I have about six weeks of vacation built up right now, and I’d love to sell a week or two of it for summer vacation money.

  20. Sunflower*

    #2- ughh so many perks and downfalls to having a friend in the same industry as you and job searching. I have one friend who I was job searching with at the same time last year and it was kind of awkward. We would talk about job searching a lot and often gave each other tips where to find postings but we never forwarded each other jobs unless it was something we weren’t interested in. We never talked about jobs we applied to until after we had gotten through a few interview stages or were given an offer. For the most part, I think this worked really well. Neither of us ever felt like we were stepping on each other’s toes and I always felt that whoever was the best candidate would get the interview/job- just because a friend is applying doesn’t take anything away from me.

    OP, I would try to take a more backed off approach with this friend. I don’t know her so I can’t say she went into it with malicious intentions and you should write her off but it sounds like she is willing to go after any jobs that you are so I would not tell her anything about your job search. Also, if a full time job opens up at her organization, I would go for it. Don’t let your feelings about her stop you from going after what could be a great opportunity. And if you get that job, you know she won’t be going after it.

  21. TaterB*

    Im on the fence about the eye-rolling thing. I have been called out about it in previous jobs, and some of it was justified. When I was teaching, I had a private conversation with the principal about it and it really helped our communication with one another. I didnt even realize I was rolling my eyes…and I felt terrible about it.

    However, the point is we dealt with it in private. I am not a fan of the “call it out in the meeting” technique. Like me, some folks just have resting bit*hy face and don’t realize how their expressions come across.

    1. TaterB*

      Yikes….that comment was all over the place. In the scenario I mentioned, I was genuinely not upset or frustrated. But other times, I was being passive-aggressive. My point was that it needs to be a private conversation, not more passive-aggressiveness.

      1. Sadsack*

        I don’t think it is passive-aggressive to say to someone in a meeting, “Jane, you appear take exception to what Bob just said. Do you have any other thoughts on this?”

  22. Samantha*

    Ugh, #1…eye rolling, annoyed sighing, irritated facial expressions, etc. are unfortunately a regular fixture in so many of the meetings I attend, and this behavior is NEVER addressed. I miss the days of attending meetings where people were at least civil and respectful toward one another.

  23. Mimmy*

    #1 – I’m not so sure eye-rolling is something that needs to be directly addressed in the moment since, as someone else pointed out above, it doesn’t affect the actual meeting. I do think it should be addressed as soon as possible after the next meeting it happens in, saying that this is a pattern and that it needs to stop.

    This made me remember when I was in supervision with my manager at a temp gig a few years ago. During our meeting, someone attending the workshop that was going on came in to complain about something; my manager rolled her eyes visibly. It caught the woman’s attention because when I was reading evaluations from that workshop, I saw it written in the notes that when she went into complain, the woman “rolled her eyes at a coworker”.

  24. Anon*

    #1 I got called out for eye rolling back in my high school dance classes. I didn’t know it at the time, but annoyed facial expressions and mannerisms (like frustrated huffing and puffing), can be much more noticeable than people might think. There may be people who do it on purpose to express dislike (jerks) and there are people who think they’re being subtle or don’t realize they’re doing it. But whether it’s intentional or not, it’s still happening; it’s an attitude issue that can effect the energy in a room and bring down morale, not to mention it’s disrespectful to the person talking, so someone needs to address it.

  25. Tiff*

    #1 – I can only think of one consistent eye roller, and she’s pretty high up. But at this point we’ve all accepted it and basically ignore her bad behavior. Generally she has over-sized reactions, good or bad.

  26. Lora*

    Re: Eye rolling

    I find this indicates that there is a problem where someone feels they are not going to be heard simply by speaking up–that they are not going to get a turn to talk, that they will not be listened to if they do get a chance to talk. Which is why I prefer to address it in the moment. If the person just has RBF, they just kind of look startled and say, “no, I’m good” and we move on, because hey, they had a chance and if they had something to say I totally would have listened.

    And 100% of the eye-rollers I have had in meetings were people who were habitually talked over and interrupted and ignored. Some facilitators are like that and consider a few people out of a dozen with raised voices “having a lively debate” and are cool with it; I’m not because why bother having all of us to a meeting if you’re only going to pay attention to the three strongest personalities? Either cut off the strong personalities and tell them to take it outside because we need to hear from everybody else, or let everyone else get back to work.

    It strikes me as sort of petty that someone would go to the person’s boss and complain about it. It doesn’t make the complainer look good, I can tell you that. If the boss likes the eye-roller, they’re going to be all, “really? what will you complain about next, her sweater being your least favorite color?” and if they don’t like them, it’s ammunition to make someone truly miserable–they’re not allowed to say ANYTHING, not even non-verbally, EVER at this job, might as well hire a robot, paste a McDonald’s smile on your face and ask if they’d like fries with that.

    The closest thing I have seen to a good outcome from reprimanding a chronic eye-roller was telling the person, “I know you don’t like this, and you’re welcome to talk to me about it afterwards and vent as much as you like, and I’ll try to raise your concerns to the appropriate people or you can talk all you want at our weekly group meeting, but in meetings like (Important Meeting) I need you to play nice.” The key is still making sure they do have a place to talk freely. You can’t just forbid them from having facial expressions, that’s ridiculous.

    1. Colette*

      Eye rolling is a deliberate choice, not an inadvertent expression, and it’s disrespectful and dismissive. It is absolutely something the manager should address. There may be underlying causes (i.e. not feeling heard), but this is not the appropriate way to deal with that.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I don’t get the conflation with RBF or even thinky-face–thinky face is exciting to watch, but it’s not the same thing as an eyeroll, which is pretty unambiguous.

      2. Lora*

        Gonna have to agree to disagree then. In my experience, nothing good comes of attempting to manage people’s facial expressions that carefully. Either it’s a habit that is a lot of work if not downright impossible to break or it makes the person feel incredibly nitpicked and micro-managed to the point of alienation. Yes, it is disrespectful, but you don’t get respect by telling somebody, “you HAVE to respect me because I am The Boss!”

        1. fposte*

          But you do have to behave respectfully. This isn’t behaving respectfully, and it affects other people. If it takes work to break it, then the employee needs to put in that work. It’s not like eyes are any less capable of being controlled than vocal utterances.

          1. Lora*

            I mean work on management’s part to remind the person constantly to cut it out. Habits, whatever they may be, take a solid couple of months of constant reminders to break. And that is IF the person really wants to break them, not just because their boss is telling them to. That’s a giant investment of time, and somebody had better be freakin’ AWESOME to deserve that investment. So the question becomes, is eye-rolling evil enough to fire someone and do a 3-6 month candidate search? When the other option is simply asking them to share their opinions with the class like a good moderator? Oh heck no, I am not going to fire someone for giving funny looks at presentations.

            I’m also in a very different work culture where people default to behaving downright badly a depressing amount of time, so this may be part of it. If I worried about every unprofessional, whiny, disrespectful thing people did, I would have 80 hour workweeks and never get anything else done.

            1. fposte*

              Ah, I definitely misunderstood you and thought you were sympathizing with the poor eyerollers, about whom I gave no damn. I totally get the pragmatic calls that happen in keeping an organization running.

  27. Stephen*

    ‘Franco is pretty smart, but Franco’s a child, and when it comes to the day of the contest, I am his father. He comes to me for advices. So it’s not that hard for me to give him the wrong advices.’-
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron, 1977

    I see big things in store for #2’s friend. She has the competitive drive it takes to win.

  28. louise*

    #1 eye rolling:
    My last long-term role had a few eye-rollers. The manager attempted to address it, but the eye-rollers then complained about the manager to the owner. The owner hated conflict, so told the manager to back off this employee since “she’s a high producer.” End result? The manager (a good one, when she’s enabled to actually do her job), I, and several other good employees are no longer there. Good thing the owner likes the eye-rolling high producer, because she’ll contribute to run off good employees and he’ll find the eye-roller is the only one he’s left with.

    And it should be obvious, but eye-rolling was just one of many, many of her problems. Mainly, she enjoys being a queen bee and making her workplace as much like high school as possible.

    1. louise*

      Um, *continue to run off.

      Also, I initially referred to a “few eye-rollers.” Yes, there were a few. The others had merely adopted the queen bee’s behavior and were perfectly capable of getting through meetings without rolling their eyes.

  29. anon-2*

    1) Yeah, been there, done that. But having grown up in a neighborhood where gambling is prevalent, I also knew that the law of averages comes into play — if you bet on post position #1 to win, over and over and over, you may lose – but eventually you will have a winner.

    Same thing applies to the guy or gal you all roll your eyes at. Listen to his/her concerns with an open mind. Because one day, that person is going to be sounding a legitimate alarm, and will point out something critical — and the group plays its little eye-rolling game, have a yuk-yuk, and then because the group scoffed — something bad happens. The person who spoke up can get satisfaction = “I warned you!!!” — not as satisfying as having one’s advice or suggestions heeded – but satisfying just the same.

    And the eye-rollers have to squirm out of a big-time problem… been there, done that, seen it happen.

    3) Just be careful — is the company profitable? Doing well? Expanding? While you might not get an increase, and the company might grant you other concessions like extra time off — you end up doing the same amount of work under more stressful conditions. In the IS/IT game, I often work a 50 hour week BEFORE I go out on a week’s or two weeks’ vacation. So I can go on vacation.

    1. OP#3*

      The company has not been doing all that well, as evidenced by running out of money to give people raises. I definitely would not need to work overtime to take time off. I have plenty of time in the workweek to get everything done. If I did need to stay longer, I’d get paid for it at least because I’m hourly.

      1. Paige Turner*

        Obviously I don’t know the whole story, OP, but if the company isn’t doing that well and there are no raises, it might not be a bad idea to update your resume, get in touch with some references, and at least look at what other jobs might be out there. I can think of some reasons why you might choose not to do that, but at least based off of my experiences when I was laid off (small business that hadn’t been doing well and went out of business), I’d say it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Good luck!

  30. I, Roller*

    I have been guilty of eye rolling.

    I just wanted people to know that it isn’t always done malevolently, like Katie the Fed above, some people have a face when thinking, it should not stop people from saying their piece. I wonder though, is management not saying anything because they aren’t interested in letting people say their piece?

    I have been in work places where management really did not care about hearing everybody’s feedback or ideas, would witness flat – out rudeness (actual comments) amongst coworkers and did not care.

    Could this be why nothing is said?

  31. Vicki*

    #1 eye rollers

    “Francine, do you have something add?”
    “Jezabel, do you have a comment you would like to share?”

    Repeat as necessary. Every. Single. Time.

  32. Relocator*

    I’m #5; Thank you for the response! I hadn’t come across those long-distance job searching articles yet, and they were really helpful.

    I have been in this job for three and a half years and it’s my first full time job out of graduate school. I don’t think it would raise eyebrows at all if I was just looking for new opportunities. It feels, somehow, dishonest not to mention the dissolution. I suspect that’s my own emotions getting the best of me. It feels so important to me, but it doesn’t say anything important about why someone should hire me. Thanks again!

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