open thread – May 2, 2014

IMG_0204It’s the Friday open thread!

The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

{ 1,335 comments… read them below }

  1. Chinook*

    Ooohh – first comment. Love the picture of Olive. she looks like she is just waiting for someone to ask her advice (maybe on how to properly use a litter box?).

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Olive’s fetching is out of control, y’all. She wants to fetch constantly. Right now she’s sitting at my feet making this weird insistent murmur noise because she wants me to throw the toy mouse she’s brought over (which I’ve already thrown multiple times for her) so she can fetch it some more.

        1. Marcy*

          Try it at 2:00 a.m. on a work night. Mine taught herself how to play fetch and her favorite toy is a bird that makes bird noises. It was really cute at first having her run after it and bring it back to you and drop it in your hand for you to throw again. Running around on the bed for half an hour at 2 a.m. with a noisy toy trying to force the lazy humans to get up and play fetch was not so cute. Ok, it was cute, but I was really tired the next day. We hide the bird toy before bed now.

      1. Anoners*

        Stop trying to make fetch happen! It’s not going to happen! (sorry couldn’t resist).

      2. Esra*

        My cat did that as a kitten. I would get four packs of those golf-sized foam balls and he would want to play fetch for hours. He still wants me to throw the ball, now that he’s older, but is less inclined to bring it back.

        What I love about cat fetch, is a dog will drop a ball at your feet. But if a cat can look and see the ball and you? Then he’s brought you the ball.

      3. nyxalinth*

        Carly did that during her fetch phase. If I tried to ignore it, it went from mrrrping into meering. Loud meering!

      4. KnitWorthy*

        My cat goes nutso over those little disco ball toys, the soft ones with tinsel or something stuck inside. She will play fetch with those foreevveerrr and then try to drown them in her water bowl.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Lucy tries to drown everything in the water bowl! I’m constantly finding toy mice in there. I’ve seen her spot a toy, pick it up in her mouth, walk straight to the water bowl, drop it in, and walk off, utterly calmly. She would be a very efficient and unflappable executioner.

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            Our older cat never did that, but Sammy LOVES drowning stuff in the water dish.

        2. Chinook*

          Better to drown the cat toy in her water bowl than in the toilet bowl. It took me about a year to remember to keep the lid down because I swear the cat was trying to decide what could float in the house.

          What is really funny is the line up outside the bathroom when someone is in there – the dog is waiting to see if you leave to seat up so he can have a drink and the cat is waiting to see if he can sneak a toy in there (and I say sneak because the one time I caught him in mid-carry he mrrped, dropped the toy and ran).

      5. Windchime*

        Mine doesn’t play fetch as reliably as Olive does, but he has a different toy (a feathery thing on the end of a boingy string) that he wants to play with constantly. If I ignore him, he will stare at me intently making the little meowy sound. If I continue to ignore, he will touch my arm or face with his paw. When I look at him, he races off to the cabinet where the toy is stored. Nothing works to quiet him down except for playing with the toy.

      6. Vicki*

        I love kittehs who play fetch!

        Truffle has a rattle ball she carries in her mouth (less now than when she was a kitten) and still plays Mouse! in the mornings.

      7. Callie*

        My cat Sookie does this except she doesn’t always bring the mouse to me. She’ll fetch it, then fuss at me halfway across the room and the mouse falls out of her mouth, but she comes over to me and fusses at me some more because I am not throwing it. Well, you didn’t bring it back, cat! First rule of Fetch Club. :)

    2. I'm happy to be here*

      Remind me to NEVER click on the “notify me of follow-up comments by email” box on a a Friday open thread again!!

        1. Sam*

          Oh no! I got that warning with the malaria pills too…

          I’m going to look on the positive side…if I get typhoid or malaria i’ll fit into my jeans from college again…??

          (feel better!!)

          1. Kat M*

            My old flatmate when I was living in Malawi once had typhoid and malaria simultaneously and almost died. But either or isn’t usually any worse than a rotten flu unless you’re immunocompromised.

            So says me, who refused to take any prophylaxis the entire time I lived there. I’ll take malaria over paranoia any day. Side effects can be scary.

            1. Sheep*

              That sounds really bad! Luckily I don’t have malaria too! I’m actually on one of the ‘bad’ malaria meds (Lariam)- and I’m starting to wonder if it’s making me a bit depressed..

    1. fposte*

      Good heavens. I’m freaked enough by the fact that there’s mumps around here, since I had a pre-MMR childhood. I should probably call somebody about that.

      1. anon-2*

        And don’t forget measles! The anti-vaccine crowd finally found out what happens if you DON’T vaccinate your kids.

        100+ cases in the United States, over 300 in Canada.

        1. fposte*

          I got a measles vax as a kid because those were available on their own (and I was accidentally vaccinated for German measles several times). The mumps vaccine was just coming out when I was already past the recommended age at that point, and it didn’t get packed into the MMR until I was way outside of the vigilance range.

          I need to find out if our health service offers the MMR–they might.

          1. MaryMary*

            Some providers are bundling MMR boosters with tetanus shots now. Next time you update your tetanus (or poke yourself with a rusty nail), ask if you can get the MMR at the same time.

            1. fposte*

              No, I had the TDaP last year because I hadn’t had a pertussis vaccine either ever or since childhood, and it didn’t come with the MMR. I’ve called the clinic and asked about getting one booked–they’re doing the paperwork.

              Looks like the measles vaccine I had was an earlier version that wouldn’t have been as effective anyway, so an update on that as well is no bad thing either.

        2. Mimmy*

          YES!! It is especially problematic for pregnant women–they can pass the virus onto the fetus, resulting in multiple disabilities and/or health conditions. I am proof of that–thankfully I am on the mild end. I know of people with much more severe issues.

        3. CC*

          Ha, no, I wouldn’t say that. The anti-vaccine true believers will say things like measles isn’t that bad, or “natural immunity” from catching it is better than immunity from a vaccine, or any number of things. And if even a single vaccinated person catches measles (which happens in an outbreak; nothing is 100% effective) then they’ll claim that the vaccine doesn’t work anyway so why bother. I saw many of these arguments in an editorial in the newspaper recently.

          This is far from the first time there’s been a measles outbreak. (There was one when I was in university.) It doesn’t teach anti-vaccine true believers anything.

          1. Laura*

            And the vaccine isn’t 100% effective. But, if you ask me whether I’d rather play the game with the odds the vaccine gives me or the ones no vaccine gives me….

            …yeah, well, we’re all as current on our vaccines as age allows in this house. (And health, but we luckily have no contra-indicating medical conditions or allergies, so.)

        4. Chinook*

          They have actually put out a measles outbreak warnign for this part of Alberta so that adults can get their second MMR shot if they didn’t already and so that those under 6 months can also get immunized (though they will still need their regular ones).

      2. danr*

        You can get a blood test to check for the mumps, measles and rubella antibodies. If you had them as a kid, you should still be immune.

            1. Lora*

              Nope.

              (Disclaimer: one of my clients makes vaccines. For what it’s worth, I have in fact had all of theirs recently, so I obviously believe in the efficacy of their products!)

              1. Golden Yeti*

                I was actually wondering this yesterday. I’ve had the original and a booster back when I was a kid. Are those 2 supposed to last your entire life?

            1. Kerry (Like The County In Ireland)*

              Free vaccinations came with my drug test. I was even told to save my copy of the vaccination certificate because it’s like $200 to get them done and they are good for 10 years.

      1. Sheep*

        Thanks guys! I’m not feeling too bad at the moment, it was worse the first day I had it (last Wednesday, without knowing that it was typhoid). I’ve actually been at work every day this week – with typhoid!

  2. Audiophile*

    First! Maybe?

    Two questions: I have trouble accessing articles from the daily email, I’ve been getting errors lately. Anyone else having this issue?

    Also, is it necessary to respond to a confirmation email about an application? I’ll have another question at some point soon, forgot what I wanted to ask.

    1. New HR*

      What kind of confirmation email?

      If it’s a standard form email letting you know that your submission was successful, no need to respond. These are sent to every candidate to avoid phone calls from frantic job seekers asking if their resume submission worked.

      If there is some kind of call to action (they require further information), or is personalized enough to indicate that this was written specifically for you and was not sent to every candidate, then yes, you should respond.

  3. Stacie*

    Just found out this week that my company is being acquired. After some momentary freak out, I’m trying to figure out how to make it through. Supposedly, nothing is supposed to change (at least in the near term). Any tips for going through an acquisition?

    1. ArtsNerd*

      I’ve never been through it, but I would be ready to talk about your job from a high-level perspective, both in a quick elevator pitch and a bit more in depth. Don’t expect important people to know what you do and how you’re awesome!

    2. Chocolate Teapot*

      I once worked for a company which acquired another, and has since acquired another after I left. What I found was a period of limbo, in which you were aware the acquisition had taken place, but day-to-day work hadn’t changed.

      The other thing I can recall is the whole saga of re-branding and those company-wide emails about “Working stronger together” or words to that effect. (I swear these upbeat messages from different companies, which all start to sound the same after a while, are all written by one person in a shed somewhere).

      1. LBK*

        And they are all equally stupid. I hate them, honestly – how much do you think a cheery email generically sent to every employee is going to improve my morale? Yeah, I’m glad the CEO(‘s assistant) who I’ve never met hopes I’m doing well with the merger.

        Few things set me off on cynical rampages and “We’re all in this together! We’ll make it through the tough times!” emails are one of them. Very annoying.

    3. BCW*

      Start documenting your major achievements and what you mean to your department. Also, be wary of management. This happened to me about a year ago, well the process started anyway. All of a sudden my manager was far more interested in the day to day aspect of what I do and started taking a more “active role” in my duties. Essentially, she was trying to cover herself and in the process make me look expendable. Well, I was laid off, and she got a nice fat promotion, based a lot on things me and my co-worker did that she didn’t even manage well most of the time.

      Also, I’d say start putting out feelers for new jobs. I’m not saying to panic right now, but no immediate changes may be true, but 6 months down the line, who knows.

      1. Anon333*

        I haven’t been through a merger, but I’ve been through a recapitalization, and I second BCW’s advice, and will add to be prepared for a lot of confusion and whipsawing. Rumors may not match or move too fast for official communications.

    4. LMW*

      From what I’ve seen with acquisitions, this is what I’d advise:
      – Take a realistic look at how your function overlaps with the company that’s acquiring you. If you are in sales, engineering, anything that requires a specialized expertise, you are generally considered an asset. If you are in a function like finance, IT, HR, etc., there’s a better chance that long-term they’ll centralize those functions.
      – Make sure you really start reading communications from management. Not just about the merger, but about overall company goals, where they are planning to invest effort or money, etc. If they do quarterly meetings (common in large corporations), you’ll often know where they are planning to focus and you’ll get clues to where they are planning to cut through words like “streamlining,” “centralizing” and “optimizing.”
      – See if there’s a way to get involved in the integration process. It’s a great way to get to know people in the parent company. Sometimes it does mean that you are working yourself out of a job, but if you are visible to the people making decisions, there’s a better chance they’ll find a spot for you. If there isn’t a realistic way you can do this (and a lot of times there isn’t) don’t get frustrated! A lot of times uncertainty and waiting wears people down and the bad attitudes do get noticed.
      Acquisitions can present opportunities for real career growth (my sister got a big career boost from helping convert an acquired company’s accounting system to the parent company’s system). You just have to keep your eyes open.
      If you aren’t already, start saving an emergency fund (they are good to have in any case). On the off chance that they do make cuts, and that you are one of the unlucky ones, you have time to get a cushion in place now, and prep your resume, and work on networking.

    5. Steve*

      It’s not always a bad thing. Keep your eyes open and start putting out feelers, but sometimes being acquired gives you great opportunities to grow.

      I’ve actually been with the same company for almost 20 years – but in that time we’ve been bought and sold 3 times. In essence I’ve worked for four separate companies during that time and have been given chances to advance that I would never have had if it weren’t for the acquisitions.

      Where possible, step up. Be the subject matter expert for your job or for your whole department. Offer to get involved in the transitions teams or functions. Be smart about it and don’t just do it to brown nose, do it to show you’re one of the people that can help the company grow.

      In the back of your mind realize that you might be put on the chopping block and be aware of your other options, but don’t go to work every day with the thought in your head that you’re just waiting for the ax to fall. No one can live that way.

    6. Anlyn*

      I’ve been through several.

      Listen closely to what management says, both your immediate and the corporate higher-ups. As the acquired company, it’s much more likely that the company coming in will keep their own people. BUT, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll let you go. Try to read between the lines…are they vague about your future, or do they have specific plans? Do they understand what it is you do, and why you’re important to the position? Do they throw out buzzwords and “rah-rah company” messages, without talking about the challenges?

      Go through your work history and document everything you’ve done and the contributions you make to your organization. Be prepared to explain what it is you do in a way that is easily understood.

      Watch your organization’s actions. See if they are strengthening their position or offloading work. Keep in mind that organizational reshuffling is normal…it doesn’t mean your job is cut. Sometimes it’s done to better align the position with the new company’s policies and practices.

      Update your resume. Make sure it’s up-to-date and you have references. You don’t have to contact them yet, just know who they are. Look around to see what’s available.

      Above all, don’t panic. You’re just getting prepared. “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

    7. krm*

      I went through this just about a year ago. We were assured that nothing was going to change, at least not in the short term. So far, nothing has changed, at least as far as my job functions. The same people are still here, we just have a few more of us, which is actually pretty nice. My biggest difficulty has been adjusting to the new software and more “corporate” culture. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is to be open to the change. It isn’t necessarily going to be bad or good, it is just going to be different. In my case, it has turned out to be a blessing.

    8. I'm happy to be here*

      I’m going something similar but internally. My group had a great manager and an awesome reputation. He got a promotion to another group and his directs were absorbed by our rival group (the “rival” term is me being nice) under a manger that has been down right hostile to us in the past. I’m not looking forward to this!

    9. Mena*

      I successfully survived two acquisitions (read: didn’t get laid off). I think it is important to be open and available, view this as an opportunity (in my case they were both HUGE opportunities for my career), be prepared to demonstrate your value and try to get to know everyone related and interelated with your function. In my case, both companies were not local – every chance I had I showed up at HQ (business trip 50 miles away? stay and extra day at HQ). I not only made friends and contacts, but I was a face to the name with the executive team.

      You may feel that your credibility is well established with your existing employer but you need to do some legwork to get yourself know and respected by the new group.

      Good luck!!

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Read up on everything you can find about the acquiring company.

      Understand what prompted the sale of your company.

      If you can, find other acquisitions made by this new parent company and see how those went.

      If you have a reasonable boss check in with her to find out her sense of where things are going.

      I have seen this go different ways. One friend got a big fat check from the outgoing owners. He thought it was a secret severance check. Nope. It was a “thank you”. The new company was fine, except for changing things at the very core. Imagine you go into work and you are told you will speak in Russian all day. Yeah, those type of changes. My friend made it work out for himself.

      Another friend had his company bought up in a manner that was not clear. Everything seemed to be pretty good. Slowly people realized that the parent company was a 24/7/365 operation. Not what they were used to. At all.

      Another friend had his company sold because of the owner’s retirement. This one went very well. He ended up with nicer bosses, better working situation and was respected by the new company.

      I think that it’s never all bad or all good. It’s just different than it was before.

    11. Lora*

      Been through two.

      -Be valuable, and be able to demonstrate your value with numbers.
      -Get on board with the new corporate culture post-haste. Or fake it. One of my current clients has me helping to integrate one of their acquisitions, and they’ve given everyone a couple of years to adjust (big, big merger). Anyone not currently toeing the line on the new owner’s business methods is losing their job as of 4th quarter. These decisions were made at the beginning of this year, so even if folks shape up in July, they’re still going to be shown the door.

    12. Vicki*

      The worst are the companies where they decide that they don;t need multiple people doing the same job and lay off a bunch just before (or after) the acquisition.

      Good luck!!!

  4. cyclingprincess*

    Is it rude to blow my nose at my desk? I share my office with one other person. I’m not obnoxiously loud or anything when I blow my nose, but is that something I should be going to the bathroom for?

    1. Bryan*

      I don’t think so. I share an office with another person and think nothing of when they blow their nose.

    2. Sunflower*

      I think it’s fine- because I have constant allergies and if I went to the bathroom every time I needed it, I’d be there all day. I usually just say ‘sorry, allergies are acting up. Let me know if it bothers you’

    3. CanadianWriter*

      Nose blowing is always obnoxiously loud. You should at least go into the hallway and do it.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        I disagree. Some people sound like fog horns for some reason or another, but a lot of times, blowing your nose is just like a loud exhale. I’ve got PLENTY worse distractions in my office that I’m perfectly able to tune out.

        Different people’s tolerances are different, of course – so it’s up to the coworker to let cyclingprincess know if it’s disruptive.

        1. Mittens*

          Completely agree. If you’re a tooter, sure, please go outside. But most people blow their noses politely.

      2. Sadsack*

        If I did that, I’d never be at my desk. Allergies, already on meds. I try to be discreet.

    4. Felicia*

      As long as you’re not one of those people who is constantly blowing their nose, I think it’s fine! It wouldn’t bother me anyways. And as long as you throw out the kleenex , obviously (though I worked with someone who didn’t!)

    5. KitKat*

      Assuming you’re not working in one of the countries where their culture finds nose blowing rude, I think you’re probably fine.

      And god bless Claritin.

    6. matcha123*

      I would feel it was rude if you left the tissues on your desk and didn’t wash your hands afterwards.

      Other than that, I don’t think it’s all that rude.
      But, I would probably go to the bathroom myself heh :)

    7. BCW*

      I don’t think so. I mean, during cold season, if I was in the hall everytime I had to blow my nose, I’d get no work done

      1. The IT Manager*

        +1 Yep, I rarely have to blow my nose, but when I do it is usually while I have a cold and I will be blowing a lot during the day.

        This is a crazy question to me – just because my desk in a cubical is my personal space. I’m not getting naked in there or anything or curling up under the desk, but I figure that things than can be done in public can be done there. I would try to be conscious if I knew someone nearby was using a a speaker phone or during a meeting, but nose blowing not something I think you have to go to the bathroom for.

    8. danr*

      No, don’t go to the bathroom for it. Your time might be tracked by someone. See #2 in the compilation post below. If there are a lot of tissues just make sure they don’t pile up at your desk. On the plus side, a bad cold with a lot of nose blowing keeps people from bothering you all day.

    9. A.*

      I’d much, much rather you blow your nose than harshly pulling it back into your throat constantly. Not that I’ve ever had to listen to THAT 8 hours a day…

      1. So Very Anonymous*

        Someone in my cube farm does this all day, every day. I’d 1000x rather they’d just blow their nose.

    10. Amy B.*

      I’m in the minority here; but nose blowing is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I prefer if someone step out of earshot to blow their nose. Of course, as A. said, the constant sucking sound is not a pleasant alternative either.

      1. Grey*

        I’m the same way. Don’t even get me started on people who do this at the restaurant table.

        1. Amy B.*

          +1. I try very hard to be a compassionate person; but I will stare down the offender that dares blow their nose in a restaurant.

          1. Shortie*

            What about discreetly wiping the nose at a restaurant? I’m always curious/paranoid whether this bothers people because I have TERRIBLE allergies, and if I excused myself to the restroom every time I needed to wipe my nose, I’d just have to eat my dinner in there. Thanks for your feedback!

            (For what it’s worth, I have a doctor and take steps to rein in the allergies, so they are much better than they used to be, but still terrible.)

            1. Grey*

              If I don’t hear it, it doesn’t bother me. It’s just the sound of snot flying into a tissue that I find a bit unappetizing.

      2. Mallory*

        I think if you’re just wiping your nose, at the desk is fine. But if you’re going to do a big, long, snotty blow, for god’s sake please go somewhere else.

    11. Esra*

      Oh man, I am allergic to the world. I would be in the bathroom constantly if I had to blow my nose there during allergy season.

      But for gross, super bad cold nose-blowing, that should happen in the bathroom.

      1. Mallory*

        Yeah, it depends whether it’s just a little sniffly blow or a big, super-productive snot-fest.

    12. Robin*

      As we can see by the variety of responses here, I think it really depends. The person most impacted by it is your office mate, so why don’t you ask them?

    13. ValleyWriter*

      I think it’s fine to blow your nose at your desk, but PLEASE use hand sanitizer afterward – and keep it visible on your desk. If my officemate was blowing his/her nose and not washing his/her hands (or using sanitizer), I would be thoroughly grossed out–not to mention, at a much higher risk of getting an infection. Even if it’s just allergies, you always have some sort of germs in your nose. They may not always cause you to get sick, but they might infect someone else.

      1. C average*

        PSA for fellow workplace germ-phobes: Don’t use the water cooler.

        I’d never thought about the water cooler as a vector for disease before, but then I read about it somewhere and it totally made sense. During cold/flu season, the office is full of people who are catching, suffering from, or recovering from various things. They’re all bringing their water bottles and cups in and refilling them. Nobody ever washes their personal water bottle or cup–they just refill it. So everyone’s nasty, germy water bottle or cup is getting pressed up against the refill button.

        Since reading about this last year, I always refill from the tap. This year, I’ve caught nothing except for seasonal allergies! There may be no correlation whatsoever between these two things, but I’m convinced refilling from the tap rather than the water cooler has helped keep me healthy this year.

    14. Eden*

      If this is rude, I am the epitome of rudeness. My nose runs constantly, and I can’t fit my desk in the bathroom.

    15. The Other Dawn*

      I don’t think it’s rude. But if you’re someone who is a loud, honking nose-blower, and sound like you stepped on a duck, I’d try to do it elsewhere. Unless you have a cold or allergies. You’d be away from your desk all the time in that case and that’s not feasible.

    16. bellymancer*

      I’ve been wondering this as well. I have allergies pretty much all year long, so I need to blow my nose at least once per day. One of my coworkers comments that it sounds like I’m doing coke at my desk (jokingly), but I wonder if that’s his way of saying he’s bothered by it.

  5. Sunflower*

    Does anyone here live or has lived in Charleston, SC? It’s creeping higher on my list of places to look for work and I have family I can stay with until I get settled down there.

    1. Anonylicious*

      I haven’t lived there, but I have family there and I might can answer some of your questions about SC in general. (I’m from Greenville and went to school in Columbia.)

      1. Sunflower*

        I will admit- I was somewhat intrigued by this town after watching Southern Charm on Bravo- no one on that show works so I know unless I marry one of them, no way I will be them. The town seemed really cute and closer knit yet there also seemed to be a good amount of night life (I’m 25 and single). Also a friend of mine got a teaching job down there but I don’t know much about job prospects there. I’ve only lived in the North east so it would be an adjustment for me but I’ve been turned off by most other beach towns- this seems a little more exciting

        1. Stephanie*

          My dad’s company opened a big office there. The cynic in him said it was so they could take advantage of SC’s strong right-to-work laws (they moved a lot of operations from Washington State).

          1. Anonylicious*

            Yeah, we’re a better state to be an employer than an employee in. Not to derail this into politics.

            We also have fantastic food and weather, though. Which is why I’m sort of eyeing Charleston for a job eventually, myself, because jobs in my field are hard to find in SC. (I moved away for my current job and I’m so homesick.)

      2. TotesMaGoats*

        SC in the house. Lived in Union for 12 years. Family from the Anderson/Seneca/Clemson area.

    2. Stephanie*

      Someone just contacted me about a job there. Looks beautiful from the pictures. I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread.

    3. Lily in NYC*

      I love Charleston, it’s so beautiful and clean. I was debating moving there, spent a summer there, and decided it wasn’t meant to be. It made me realize that I can’t live someplace with such a lack of diversity. I’ve always lived in melting pot areas and after a few months in Charleston it just felt so…”white” (I’m white myself). It also felt kind of segregated if that makes sense. I had the same feeling when my parents lived in NC for a few years and it’s the main reason they moved away.

      1. TL*

        I grew up in a very Latino area (but am white) and I completely get what you’re saying. Places that are lack diversity feel…off.

      2. Anonylicious*

        Really? Like I said, I’m from clear across the state, but I grew up with a significant number of black classmates and neighbors. I thought the lowcountry had a slightly higher percentage of black South Carolinians, but maybe it is more segregated. Or maybe it was just the part of town I grew up in. It wasn’t something I thought about much until I lived in the PNW for a few years. I don’t have an experience of the whole northwest, but where I was at was super-white and it was just weird. Obviously not as weird and/or difficult for me as a white person as it would be for a person of color.

        Anyway, the Upstate’s the best part of the state, anyway. ;)

        1. The IT Manager*

          I grew up in the deep, deep south. When I joined the military I had to attend some kind of EEO training. The woman doing the training asked us if we remembered the first time we saw a back person? Which was a super odd question to me because obviously growing up in the south you will see them in your community from birth. The lady asking could remember beause obviously she had grown up in some super-white place where there was very few POC around.

          1. Anonylicious*

            When I was in AIT there was this one girl from some tiny town in eastern Washington who had seriously never met a black person before joining the Army. It was the weirdest thing.

            1. Windchime*

              I am originally from a tiny town in Eastern Washington and I can attest that this could really be true. I didn’t know any black or Asian people until I went to university in Seattle at the age of 18.

        2. Lily in NYC*

          I meant that it felt socially segregated. I lived in the heart of downtown, so maybe that made a difference. Coming from urban NYC, it was a huge culture shock. I’m used to living in a building with neighbors from 20 different countries and everyone having a rainbow assortment of friends. I now live in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the US, and it’s a much better fit for me. But I’d love to live somewhere both beautiful and diverse – Hawaii would fit the bill!

        3. Mallory*

          I grew up in a southern town with half black and half white, and no other diversity at all. Then I moved across the state to an area that is about 98% white and it was really weird at first. I kept wondering where all the black people were.

          My husband grew up in southern California. He says that what he really noticed about the south is that people socialize in a more segregated way along socio-economic lines. Since I’ve always lived in the south, I have nothing to compare my experience with, but my husband says there’s an attitude among wealthier southerners that they’re almost “gentry” that he says wealthier southern Californians didn’t have.

      3. The IT Manager*

        Hmmm “segregated,” maybe that was the vibe I was getting when I described it as “blue collar” below. As I said I was in the military so there was diversity in my work place, but there was just a lack something that made Charleston feel less intellectual and progressive – maybe that something was diversity.

        Funny thing prior to that I lived in Colorado and discovered and enjoyed bagels there. I lived overseas and then moved to Charleston and and was disappointed with the lack of bagel places which were all over Colorado cities.

      4. Sunflower*

        I grew up in Philadelphia suburbs and live inside the city now. NYC, Boston and Chicago are at the top of my list because I love the hustle and bustle of big cities but I’ve been traveling to California a lot and thinking ‘man it would be kind of really nice to live near a beach’. I’m not a fan of LA though. I’ve heard it’s not very diverse but it’s hard for me to gauge how much that would matter to me. I’d probably need to spend some extended time down there like you did to get a feel for it.

    4. Liz in a Library*

      I don’t live in Charleston, but I live in Columbia and spend a lot of time there. It’s a great city, and our friends who live there absolutely love it.

    5. The IT Manager*

      I lived in Charleston spcifically North Charleston. I was in the Air Force and worked on Charleston AFB.

      My impression was that it was mostly a blue collar town – more blue collar than Colorado Springs which was the previous American city I lived in. It’s town-like and not city like – without major metropolitan ammenties. Crazy hot and humid during August. Great tourist attractions for when people visit you. Lovely, lovely downtown. Seemingly nice beaches if you like that sort of thing – which I do not so can’t comment about them much. Also big on ocean boating.

      It really just didn’t suit me personally, but I enjoyed living there for the time I did. No major complaints – just not my kind of town.

    6. cuppa*

      I don’t live there but I dated someone there. I don’t think it’s a love – or – hate town, but it’s definitely a really like -or -really don’t like town. It’s a smaller city, a lot of history and culture, and definitely very southern. It is a bit segregated, and there are amenities but not tons of them. It was too much of a culture shock for me and I don’t see myself living there.
      Also, the heat, humidity, and peat smell can be stifling. I had to catch my breath the first time I stepped off of a plane in August.

    7. AAA*

      I grew up there! It’s a lovely and beautiful place to live. If my partner weren’t firmly rooted on the other coast, I might be looking to move back.

      1. AAA*

        …although as others have noted, there is a segregation problem. I always forget about it, and then I am surprised by it every time I go home to visit my family. It is striking if you aren’t used to it. (Not that you should get used to it!)
        I’m also a bit wary to move back there as a gay woman–though they do have a burgeoning LGBT community, it’s not Atlanta.

    8. AAA*

      Also also–if you happen to be in the field of early childhood education, I know someone who is desperate for good people to hire.

    9. kdizzle*

      We lived there for several years (downtown on the peninsula), and love love love it. It truly is the friendliest city, has a great arts scene, and an up and coming restaurant scene.

      If you can get a decent job there, please go for it. I don’t think you’d regret it.

      The reason that we left was because it wasn’t really a hotbed of employment. I’m in government finance, and basically needed my boss to die before getting promoted. After a few months, she started to get suspicious of the gifts of donuts and cigarettes left on her desk.

      1. Christy*

        I lived there too and agree with all this. I would love to live there again, but only if my husband and I both have good, stable jobs. Not exactly a hotbed of employment is right unless you want to work in hospitality. I worked at one of those ghost tour shops for two years.

    10. Piper*

      I do. But please don’t take your cues about my city from Southern Charm! Oy.

      But anyway, it’s a great city and the there is a growing tech scene here and more and more “knowledge” jobs versus blue collar ones. (I work in tech.) That said, the tech scene is young, which can be a good and bad thing. It’s still developing, so all of the jobs that really create a booming knowledge economy don’t exist in large quantities yet, but ones like engineering are all over the place. Engineers can get a 5 job offers in a week, I think. The fact that it’s developing also presents opportunities for people who do work in the lesser represented tech disciplines to really shine and direct things at these companies.

      I haven’t found it to be extremely diverse, but I also live in Mount Pleasant (just over the Ravenel Bridge from downtown – that’s the Ravenel Bridge if you’re a tourist).

      I, too, am from the Northeast and I’ve lived in a few other cities. To me, Charleston is not a big city. If you’re looking for big city life, it doesn’t really exist here. It’s a small city and it’s very vibrant. There’s always a million things going on, the beaches are great, the downtown area is filled with good shops and restaurants, and the you can’t really beat the weather.

      Let me know if you have specific questions.

      1. Sunflower*

        Thanks for the info! I’ll definitely have to check it out and make some visits down soon

    11. Mouse*

      It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I can totally see the draw; it’s super charming, with amazing history, architecture, and fantastic food. But culturally it’s very insular. There is an “us and them” mentality. Geographically, it’s insular as well, which exacerbates that. Many of the locals have family histories there going back many generations, and I totally understand their pride in that – but outsiders will never be accepted as one of them.

      Now, obviously, there are super nice people everywhere, and you might have no issues. But that is the reputation and my personal experience.

      1. Carmen Sandiego*

        I love Charleston. But I agree that it is insular. Anyone without generations of roots there is considered “from off.” I had relatives who lived there for close to 30 years, and were STILL “from off.”

  6. TheSnarkyB*

    Woohoo!!
    Any word on collapsible comments by the way? I feel kinda bad posting in open threads these days!

    How’d your last job search go?
    I’m trying to get a sense of how bad the job market is these days, so I want to hear about people’s response rates & job applying experiences. If you’re willing, please tell me:

    – Your field
    – Your region (either specifically or like “urban” “rural” etc)
    – Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search
    – Your success rate for interviews
    – Your seniority/level or yrs of experience
    – And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Collapsible comments — or a way to distinguish the first comment in a discussion thread from replies — is on our list for a site upgrade that work has just started on. We’re a couple of months out from you seeing anything here, but it’s underway!

      1. Smilingswan*

        It would also be great if we could choose to get follow up e-mails on particular threads as opposed to the entire post. The number of notifications can be rather unwieldy.

    2. Chloe*

      Marketing/Comm/Editorial
      Boston
      3 months hardcore, 2 months passively searching before I moved (I was relocating), just under 70 applications
      -6 in-person interviews (I think, not counting multiple rounds), few other phone screens, 3 meetings w/recruiters in the city
      -3+ years
      -LinkedIn had the best success rate in terms of # of applications and # of responses, but specialty/industry-related job sites were the best to look at for leads in general.

    3. Anonylicious*

      -Defense
      -Major metropolitan area
      -About 1/12 and four months.
      -100% (Didn’t get many, though.)
      -Mid-career
      -Use industry-specific job boards and your network. General boards like Indeed or Monster only ever got me insurance sales spam.

    4. Bryan*

      Fundraising
      Urban (mid-atlantic and midwest)
      5 months, I sent out about 25 apps, didn’t hear back from 3, and I’m pretty sure another 3 were posted by mistake or something because I was rejected super quickly. I had a phone screen or more from the rest
      3 in-person interviews, 2 more pending that I cancelled after I got an offer (had a second offer coming too)
      Slightly above entry-level, 1 year experience

    5. Calla*

      – Admin with most of my experience in healthcare companies/hospitals
      – About 4.5 years of related experience
      – I’m in Boston.

      I’ve been searching probably since the beginning of February but am being very particular. I’ve had 3 interviews since then (1 with a recruiter), but received a few more offers for interviews that I ended up deciding to decline. So in all, I’ve probably applied to ~30 jobs and received 5 or 6 interview offers.

      I’ve actually been targeting a few specific companies, checking their careers section regularly, and applying there. 2 of the 3 interviews I’ve had happened that way. So that definitely works, if you have the time to wait!

    6. Ash (the other one!)*

      – Your field: Education Program/Policy Management
      – Your region (either specifically or like “urban” “rural” etc): D.C.
      – Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search: Job searching now for 8 months. Sent out ~50 applications, 8 first interviews, finalist for 5 positions, 0 job offers (ugh!)
      – Your seniority/level or yrs of experience: Ph.D., 10 years working
      – And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know: I made the mistake of becoming too specialized too early which is biting me in the butt when trying to broaden what I’m working on.

    7. AMT*

      – Social work
      – NYC
      – Pretty good response rate — I’d say about a quarter of my applications netted interviews.
      – I started my current job as a forensic social worker 9 months after graduating with my M.S.W. and 5 months after LMSW licensure. My graduating class had job searches of similar length, which is kind of scary.
      – M.S.W. with 1 year of post-B.A./pre-master’s experience, 1.5 semesters of post-master’s university-level ESL teaching, plus relevant jobs/internships while in school. Top-ranked undergrad with lots of awards/fellowships (my supervisor tells me that the second thing was a relevant factor).

      1. I Love Books*

        Forensic social worker? that sounds awesome! where do you work? where can you do that kind of work? (MSW here too!)

        1. AMT*

          I work at a nonprofit legal services organization that contracts with the city to provide public defenders. My job is mostly assessment and written advocacy. When a client comes into the criminal justice system and the attorney feels like there are psychological/social mitigating circumstances of some sort (e.g. mental illness, addiction, homelessness), I come into the picture. I do a psychosocial assessment, then write up a memorandum for the court that basically says, “Okay, he did steal a lot of stuff from the Gap, but he’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia and thought that a few new button-downs would protect him from the FBI. I recommend psychotherapy/med management/whatever in lieu of incarceration.”

          It requires a lot of analytical skills (though not formal diagnosis, I do a lot of “client seems to meet the criteria for…” types of reports) and a lot of writing. I’ll also be doing oral advocacy in court at some point, though that hasn’t happened yet. You have to be really, really comfortable working with offenders of all sorts (including sex offenders and people convicted of violent crimes) and going to correctional facilities. It’s not for everyone, but I love my work and my organization.

          Any other questions, feel free to reply!

          1. AMT*

            Forgot to mention the third component of the jobs: referral and follow-up. I’m the one who actually has to find programs and make sure that clients follow through on their plans to get treatment/housing/whatever.

            There are other types of forensic social work (family court, juvenile, civil) but I don’t know a lot about them. Any public defense organization should be able to give you some info.

            1. I Love Books*

              THANK YOU!!! Sounds like such an awesome job, would it be called forensic social worker when looking for jobs?

              1. AMT*

                Typically, yes. You might also search for “legal” and “social worker” in the same job posting, or look at the career sections on public defense organizations’ web sites.

    8. AnonForThisAndStuff*

      – Your field – HR/Recruiting
      – Your region (either specifically or like “urban” “rural” etc) – Midwest
      – Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search – I’ve been sending out feelers for a month or so now. I have had one phone interview, two rejection emails, and haven’t heard from the rest even to confirm that they’ve received my application.
      – Your success rate for interviews – 12% if considering phone, 0% for in-person
      – Your seniority/level or yrs of experience – 5-7 years of experience
      – And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know – the waiting game SUCKS.

    9. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      – Nonprofit program management
      – Twin Cities, MN
      – Mid-level (10 years experience, graduate degree)
      – Four months search. Applied to ~6 jobs. Two interviews, one offer.

      I was obviously picking and choosing my applications. I ended up getting the first job I applied for; it just took 4 months of interviews.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      – Your field
      Clerical
      – Your region (either specifically or like “urban” “rural” etc)
      small city, so I guess urban but not like NYC or anything
      – Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search
      I searched for almost a year, but I had trouble because many of the jobs I was looking for had been consolidated with something I couldn’t do. Response rate: about the same as when I was searching in 2005, but there were far less jobs listed
      – Your success rate for interviews
      In ten months of interviews, I got one offer and I wanted to take it, but it didn’t pay enough for me to live on. I would have had like $14 left over at the end of the month.
      – Your seniority/level or yrs of experience
      10-15 years in current field (clerical). Senority–what’s that? LOL!
      – And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know

    11. LMW*

      Editorial/Communications/Marketing
      Major Midwest City
      I started looking in earnest May/June of 2012 (I was a W2 contract employee with a great boss, but no benefits and found out there was no plan to make me permanent. I was looking for something that was an improvement on that situation, which meant there were a lot of jobs in my field that I didn’t apply for. Before May I was very passively looking for about a year, but applied to maybe five jobs). Received a really good offer in early Nov. and started the first Monday in December.
      – Interviewed with six companies. Two offers (turned down one for low pay), withdrew from two processes, one rejection, one disappearing act.
      -10 years experience, two industries (publishing and corporate)
      – After I turned down an offer due to low pay in August (after a series of 5 interviews with that company), I started applying for higher level jobs and I started getting a much better response rate and genuine interest from companies. Between September and October 2012 I had interviews with 5 companies, and I think I would have received another offer if I hadn’t accepted my current job.

      1. CLM*

        LMW, what do you mean by “higher level jobs”? I’m also looking for something in the editorial/marketing/communications area, have about 10 years experience, live in a major Midwestern city, and I keep running into the low pay problem myself.

        1. LMW*

          I started out looking for anything that wasn’t entry level with a real focus on jobs that required 5-7 years experience — mostly because I’d switched industries. Once I started focusing on jobs that said 7-10 years experience or had “manager,” “senior” or higher-level editor titles, I got a much better response rate. Since I’d switched industries, I was really worried that I didn’t have enough communications/marketing experience to meet the requirements (I spent seven years in publishing as an editor).
          When I interviewed for my current position, the hiring manager even mentioned that she thought it might be a bit of a reach, but I pointed out that my variety of experience gave me a unique perspective that was a good match for the position…and I got the job. So, in my case, apparently it was time for me to start reaching.

    12. gotta go anon*

      How’d your last job search go?
      I’m trying to get a sense of how bad the job market is these days, so I want to hear about people’s response rates & job applying experiences. If you’re willing, please tell me:

      – Computer programming
      – Illinois relocating to Tennessee
      – 3 out of 4 companies I submitted to resumes to responded. One apparently fell off the face of the earth and missed the phone interview and I haven’t been able to get ahold of them since. One rejected me after a horrific interview on my part. The other gave me the job offer :-) The whole process took about 6 weeks.
      – One I totally bombed, the other two went fairly well
      – About 5 years of experience, also with a college degree in Comp Sci
      – My field is very much in demand, but more so in certain regions than others.

      1. Onymouse*

        Out of interest, is there a particular tech hub in Tennessee, or were you relocating for other reasons?

        1. AVP*

          According to the NYT, Chattanooga is trying reallyreally hard to become Tennessee’s tech hub.

          1. Stephanie*

            When I was driving from DC to Texas, I took I-81 through western Virginia (runs from Front Royal to Tennesee). The freeway had signs designating it as the “Virginia Technology Corridor.” I wasn’t seeing the tech aspect, but there were some really picturesque farms, complete with red barns, cows, and hills.

    13. vvonderwoman*

      – Health Ed
      – rural CA
      – No clue on the general response rate for apps, but the total job search lasted about 9 weeks total
      – Applied for 7 jobs, got 4-5 interviews, so ~70% interview success rate?
      -3 years experience
      – I work in a niche field of health ed (sexual health). It’s something a lot of people will think is “fun” and that anyone can do–who doesn’t like talking about sex after all? But in reality, it’s actually a field that requires a lot of work to be properly qualified for. So while specializing has reduced the number of jobs I apply to, it’s much easier to be interviewed and be a top candidate more often. I’m sure this applies to other fields as well.

        1. vvonderwoman*

          Honestly, a lot of volunteering and training yourself. I read blogs and went to every free/low-cost training I could get to. Laci Green on YouTube is a good intro. Look for resources on how to develop your use of language. The one question I ask everyone who wants to get into this: Are you interested in learning (and talking) about the kinds of sex you’re not interested in having yourself? Hopefully the answer is yes!

          Despite being niche, it’s a very holistic field. You should be somewhat knowledgeable about/can specialize in many different aspects: medical, politics/rights, violence, pleasure, LGBT/other sexual minorities, social justice/intersectionality, right along with disease prevention and general sex education. Finding organizations that specialize in one or more of these is a good start and volunteering in any capacity (I worked in the finance department of a sexual assault/domestic violence agency my first 6 months there).

          If someone really needs paying work, I generally recommend working in sex shops.

          And if none of that works, I suggest searching for jobs working with high-risk populations (racial/ethnic minorities, LGBT, homeless, young people in the corrections system, etc.), in any capacity and then doing work on your sex ed skills independently. Working with many different types of people from all walks of life is vital to this work. And then you’re better positioned to work with that group in a sex ed context.

          1. TL*

            I love Laci Green!

            I’m not sure if it’s necessarily something I’d want to make a career out of, but it’s definitely something I talk about a lot (and I am the person that all my friends go to for advice/stories/lectures).

            Thanks for the information!

          2. Stephanie*

            If someone really needs paying work, I generally recommend working in sex shops.

            Interesting, why do you say that? I ask because I’m hunting around for all kinds of stop gap work and finding everything swamped.

            1. vvonderwoman*

              It’s the one industry that is always paying (albeit at minimum wage or close to it) but if someone is working at the Gap, and wants to be a sex educator, they should be working at a sex store instead. Get awesome at your job, in terms of selling–know your product. Maybe they’ll let you create/host educational workshops where if you attend you get a 10% discount card on all purchases that night. That’s one hell of an accomplishment. Also, you will get comfortable talking to all sorts of people–young shy/giggly, uptight, gross old men, gay, trans, people with different medical conditions, etc. And that’s a big plus when hiring for a sex educator at another more traditional agency.

      1. anonness*

        Happy to see that health ed worked out for someone! I got an health ed major in college, interned at PP among some other health places, but just couldn’t find a single thing that paid well OR they wanted Spanish. (When I was quoted $12/hr, I was flabbergasted.) This was also around 2011 during the downturn, though.

    14. LV*

      – Librarian
      – Urban
      – Applied to 5 jobs, got called in for interviews by 2 of them, got a job offer for one of them, which I accepted
      – I was very lucky in that I only job-hunted for 3-4 weeks before getting an offer, and I was employed that entire time (I got my offer a few days before my contract was over at my position at the time).
      – I’m pretty much entry-level – graduated with my MLIS in the spring of 2013. I’m in my second full-time job in the field post-graduation.

      1. OhNo*

        Congratulations on the short job search!
        I’m currently in my last school for my MLIS and it’s always nice to hear success stories from the other side of graduation. :)

    15. Tiffany In Houston*

      How’d your last job search go?
      I’m trying to get a sense of how bad the job market is these days, so I want to hear about people’s response rates & job applying experiences. If you’re willing, please tell me:

      – Your field – Accounting/Finance
      – Your region (either specifically or like “urban” “rural” etc) urban
      – Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search I have applied for/been submitted for 97 (there are some others I forgot to track) jobs since April 2012. I’ve had 25 interviews and gotten 3 offers. The first one was a contract gig for 6 months that I took in October 2012. The second one was for a indefinite contract that started in April 2013 and I am still here. I got another offer in January 2014 that I turned down (another contract gig, same $ I’m making now).
      – Your success rate for interviews – About 25%, which is not bad.
      – Your seniority/level or yrs of experience – 14 yrs.
      – And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know – I get a lot of calls which I think is great, but a lot more contract and contract to hire type stuff. I really want a perm role and I’ve gotten to the second round on some of the gigs but no cigar. I’m a bit discouraged now, but thankful to be working. For the right job, I still think it’s taking quite a while.

    16. Librarianon*

      Public Library
      Major Metropolitan Area
      – 6 months of job searching with literally zero response (didn’t even get any rejection letters!) until I finally landed one interview and got the job as their first choice.
      – 3 years of experience, but I’m a recent MLIS graduate

      In school the #1 piece of job hunting advice that we got was that in order to get a job promptly after graduation we would either a) have to be willing to move anywhere or b) have to be willing to compromise on the type of job. I didn’t follow either of those pieces of advice, because I absolutely couldn’t relocate (husband’s job) and I wouldn’t compromise on the field (I work in youth services and would not apply to jobs that weren’t working with children/teens, but did apply to non-library positions).

      I was really only able to be this hard-headed because I had enough savings to get me by for a year, and I wasn’t surprised that it took that long to get a job (library school set us up with the expectation that it could often take 6 months to a year to find a job). If I hadn’t had substantial savings, I would have been a lot less picky! I did end up with an amazing job that was exactly what I wanted, so it ended up paying off.

    17. New HR*

      – HR Coordinator for a software company
      – Urban (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
      – As I was not desperate to leave my last job, I applied strategically and took a long time to seek out roles that would be the right fit. I applied to 5 jobs over 4 months. My current job is the last job that I applied to, but their hiring timeline was faster so the whole process took about 2 weeks. Once I had been hired in this role, I received interview requests from 2 others jobs, and have not heard back at all from the other 2.
      – 1:1 (I didn’t schedule the other 2, as I was very happy with the job that I got)
      – I have been working professionally for 5 years, in HR for 1 1/2
      – I was openly told that the only reason I got an interview was my cover letter (thanks AAM!). I did research on the company and talked about why I wanted to work for them specifically and why I was excited about the role. On paper, I was not the best candidate for the role, but I am pursuing further education, and, as the company is a start up, they value bringing in employees and training them to help them reach their goals (yes, I got very lucky!)

      1. Golden Yeti*

        I’m from the area and looking toward more tech-y type companies, though I don’t have a background in that. Any advice? Thanks!

    18. A Jane*

      Your field: IT Project Management
      Your region (either specifically or like “urban” “rural” etc): NYC
      Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search: 3 responses /10 jobs
      Your success rate for interviews: 3 responses /10 jobs
      Your seniority/level or yrs of experience: Manager, 7 years

    19. Sarah*

      -Fundraising
      -Relocated from DC to Denver
      -Response rate approx 1/10, searched for 2 months
      -Had 5 first round interviews, made it to 2 second round interviews, got 1 job offer
      -1.5 years of job experience since graduating college
      – Tips:
      *Don’t be scared of relocation. I really had to steel myself against all the people who told me I’d have to move out here before finding a job or that it would take me over a year.
      *Save. Smart money management will afford you the opportunity to take more risks and do things like fly across the country on a few days notice to interview.
      *Don’t be afraid to aim high. The job I got is a huge step up from what I was doing before. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to cut it. Been here almost a month and I’m doing great!
      *Numbers matter. Apply to a ton of jobs. Expect to hear back from very few of them.
      *As others mentioned industry specific job boards are the way to go.

    20. Dang*

      – Your field

      Healthcare research

      – Your region (either specifically or like “urban” “rural” etc)
      NYC suburbs

      – Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search
      Have been looking since June 2013. Currently temping.

      – Your success rate for interviews
      I’d guess around 20%. I’ve been on 25-30 interviews and gotten most of them are disappearing acts.

      – Your seniority/level or yrs of experience
      5 yrs

      – And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know

      Don’t quit your job before finding something else if you can help it.

    21. CalicoK*

      – Your field: Contracts management
      – Your region (either specifically or like “urban” “rural” etc): Major west coast metro area
      – Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search: Searching for a year and a half. Response rate: 1 out of 30
      – Your success rate for interviews: 1 offer out of 3 in-person interviews (I had many more phone interviews)
      – Your seniority/level or yrs of experience: 3 years
      – And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know: My goal was to transition from one industry to an unrelated one as a junior attorney. It was an uphill climb esp in an area saturated with smart people w/tech experience

    22. KnitWorthy*

      I graduated with an MS last August, but won’t include my job searching around that time period. I got hooked up with an internship, and started hunting again a few months later because it is a term position and I wanted to relocate.

      -Entomology/ecology/could argue “environmental sciences” because I have very broad training but never took any policy classes. Was looking in research, government, non-profits, consulting…I guess I was desperate.
      -Midwest, wanted to relocate to 1 particular state. Can do urban or rural.
      -My most recent search started in October, but not too earnestly because I wanted to finish out my year appointment. I applied to 6 places; never heard from 4, heard from 1 after emailing (they weren’t interested), and got an in-person interview with 1
      -100% success rate with my 1 interview…starting next month!
      -went straight to grad school from undergrad, so technically <1 year experience

    23. Eden*

      -Have worked in diverse fields; administrative, graphic art, veterinary, editing, was looking for something vaguely administrative with the possibility of editing/proofreading
      -Moved from FL to NC without a job (I know)
      -Response rate for apps was abysmal until I found this site, I think I got 2 responses out of ~20 applications
      -Response rate post-AAM: virtually every app! Ended up having a total of 3 job offers
      -1 interview pre-AAM, 7 post-AAM
      -N/A on my level
      -I languished on planet unemployed for just over 4 months, which, considering I was CLUELESS about the modern job app scene, is really a win.

      Big epiphany for me: my resume was not “fine.” Also, I had been customizing my cover letters, but this site helped show me how to make them less wordy (my downfall) and more personable. I was definitely in the rut of writing in that zombie corpo-speak style that I learned in the 80s.

    24. mango284*

      -psychological research
      -west coast
      -5 months, over 150 applications (I was REALLY unfocused at first and for the first 2 months was also applying to part-time jobs because I was still in school)
      -14 interviews (not all in my field, some wildly bad fits)
      -new graduate (master’s degree)
      -I had the best response rate from Craigslist but found my current(new!) job through Indeed… I started having better success around month 3-4 when I re-focused my search and revamped my resume/cover letter (thanks to advice from this blog)

    25. Piper*

      Your field: Tech (software development and e-commerce)

      Your region: Coastal Southeast, small city

      Your response rate for apps & how long you searched for your current job or your most current/recent search:
      It took me two months to find my current job, I applied for somewhere between 5 and 10 jobs (a mix of ones I found and ones who recruited me) – I got a response from at least 5 or 6.

      Your success rate for interviews:
      I interviewed for 5 or 6 jobs (can’t remember the exact number), and was offered 4 of them.

      Your seniority/level or yrs of experience:
      11 years, manager

      And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know:
      My experience isn’t typical of most job hunters outside of my field. I work in a growing, booming field, in a high-demand job type. I know I’m fortunate to have had such an easy job hunt.

    26. Vicki*

      I’m still in my “last” (aka current) job search.

      – Your field: Intranet content management & support.
      – Your region : San Francisco Bay Area / Silicon Valley
      – Your response rate for apps : mediocre
      – Your success rate for interviews: low
      – Your seniority/level or yrs of experience: 20+
      – And anything else you think it’s be helpful to know: I’m picky. I know I’m picky. I had a job that worked well for 5+ years; then the job was eliminated. I could say I’k a tech writer but I don;t want to do that anymore. And I REALY don’t want to work in an openplan office.

    27. Tinker*

      Engineer / Software QA

      I live in the Denver metro area, and was looking ideally for a job near downtown, preferably with a startup-ish sort of atmosphere.

      Job search was about three months, though truthfully a lot of it involved lounging and/or plowing through HL2 and Portal >_> I forget how many apps I sent out because once I’m done with applying I don’t think about them unless I hear back, not all that many, maybe 20 or so tops? Four or five phone interviews. The end of it I basically said to myself “look, you need to apply for unemployment so you need five applications, how about… dum dee dee, these five, including these yahoos with the funny name” Next day the yahoos with the funny name basically pounced on me like my cat on a can of beer and bam, hired. In downtown. At a startup. So, 100% hit rate on in-person interviews for this search.

      Turns out there’s an epic shortage of good QA hereabouts, and everyone is getting snapped up. Including all the folks we interview for the two more positions we’ve had open the whole time I’ve been here, which was going on 6 months.

      Far as my qualifications go, at the time I’d been in QA specifically for about two years, with another four or so years of engineering experience mostly having significant software elements, also a MS in electrical engineering. So basically intimidating in a certain sense but a bit nontraditional for what I’m currently working in, although that said I don’t think I know any QAs that don’t have some sort of wacky career path.

      My sense of the field is that folks in my immediate vicinity, which is to say places that are calling for specific technical skills and are in relatively young phases of development (i.e. not the big metal telecom folks who laid me off) aren’t really thinking “recession” anymore, they’re thinking “oh sweet various deities of communication, where are the people we need people to do our stuff sooo bad”, more or less.

    28. Tomato Frog*

      Finally, a use for the job search records I kept!

      – Archives
      – I applied all over the continental US. I was based in a city.
      -I sent out 11 job applications over the course of 3 months. I got 7 rejections, no word from 2, and 2 interviews. For one of those I got the job; for the other I withdrew my candidacy.
      – Entry level (I’d just completed my MLS, but I’d been working in the field for a little over a year before that)

      1. Tomato Frog*

        And I’ll add: I only applied for two jobs in the city I was living in, and didn’t get interviews for either. Both of my interviews were out of state.

    29. anonness*

      – Your field: Health IT
      – Your region: urban CA
      – Response/Search Length: 6 months, had something like 8+ interviews (3 for current job, 4 for second-place, plus a number of phone interviews)
      – Success Rate: very low
      – Experience: 1.5yrs when I was hired
      It’s such a difficult market to break into, but once you get in and certified in major products, you’re set.

  7. Asteria*

    I’m just really excited to be early to this thread today. So tell me – does anybody have any grand plans for the weekend?!

    1. Ayeaye*

      My niece is 18 and I am making her a chocolate and honeycomb truffle cake tonight and then her party is tomorow, I have been summoned to a family gathering on Sunday for a surprise event, and on Monday I’m seeing lots of people for lunch and drinks in the sunshine. What are you doing?

        1. Ayeaye*

          Pop in a search for chocolate honeycomb truffle cake and clandestine cake club and voila. :)

      1. Asteria*

        Oh that sounds delicious! I took the day off today for a bit of an impromptu mental health day (i.e. let’s get my house clean day) and this weekend is full of NHL games, errand running and meeting up with friends.

    2. Felicia*

      Tomorrow night I am going to something called “Fanfiction: The Show”, where they read the worst, weirdest, often most sexually explicit fanfiction from a given fandom and act it out. It’s hilarious and super nerdy. This month is Harry Potter themed, so I will be wearing my shirt that says Muggle

      1. H. Rawr*

        This is fantastic!

        However, even the some really terrible/explicit/terribly explicit HP fanfic I’ve stumbled upon by accident is mortifying to read in the comfort of my own home, imagine what they’ve found by looking for it!

      2. Anna*

        We JUST did something like this at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. Dramatic readings of badly written (and sexually explicit) fan fic. It was a HUGE success.

        1. Felicia*

          We do it here (Toronto) every month! If you’re ever in town, you should go:) Has any read the amazingly terrible Harry Potter fanfic where the Hogwarts castle and the giant squid express their love for each other sexually? Rumor is they will be performing that one!

          Ive been going to this show every month for the past 6 months and it just gets more hilarious and wonderfully awful. So far my favourite was at the Buffy show, when they did a fic with Spike and Xander admiring each others’ “throbbing manhoods” :)

          They also read the words exactly as they’re spelled, so you get the added hilarity of the spelling/grammar mistakes.

            1. Felicia*

              Fanfiction the Show is at Black Swan Tavern on the second floor, 154 Danforth Avenue, at Broadview and Danforth. First Saturday of every month. Starts at 8pm, 10$, and does all the nerdy fandoms. You should go! I found out about it by chance , and I’m so glad I did.

                1. Felicia*

                  Well you have High Park, which will soon have Shakespeare in the Park, so that’s cool! It’s not hard to get to Broadview and Danforth from there, just one not very long subway!

          1. brightstar*

            I’ve read the Squidwarts fic! If I remember correctly, it was done as a joke by someone at Fandom Wank. Which was an amazing community (that still exists) during the Harry Potter days.

            My favorite was the “Snapes on a Plane”, about women who believed Severus Snape really existed and that they were married to him on the astral plane.

      3. OhNo*

        I hope to god someone performs the Pikachu/Voldemort fanfic.
        It became something of a legend at the college I attended – one year someone read it as a joke at one of the events during the freshman welcome week. Ever since it has been passed around my school, and let me say that it is truly a marvel of weird depravity.

        1. Felicia*

          I did not know that the Pikachu/Voldemort fic existed, but that is AMAZING! I hope they do that. I imagine it’s sexual? I know there will be some self cest preformed, which involves time travel and have sex with one’s self :) I’m sure there will be some twincest too. I’ll let you guys know! They always choose good (and by good I mean horrible) ones to perform :) The more misspellings, the better!

          1. OhNo*

            It is very sexual. And let me just say that it is incredibly creative about it too.
            I hope you will let us know how it is next week, because this sounds like an awesomely fun event!

      4. Cath in Canada*

        That sounds brilliant!

        There’s a show in Vancouver called “Say What?” that does this for all types of writing, not just fanfic, but fanfic sounds like it would be particularly amenable to this kind of treatment. (I haven’t made it to Say What? yet, but I love their podcast!)

    3. Ash (the other one!)*

      Traveling to my friend’s bridal shower this weekend — haven’t seen her in several months so pretty excited.

    4. Sascha*

      Celebrating my 30th birthday with my best friend – karaoke! I’ve never done karaoke before so I’m really nervous but she assures me it will be a blast (and I’ll be drinking so hopefully that will help?…).

      1. Puddin*

        Helping Mr Puddin with a PowerPoint voice over, visiting my Me-Maw, and then off to Wing Fest 2014.

      2. StaminaTea*

        I’m turning 30 this year too – happy 30th! Hope you have a great birthday.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Homework and two skating lessons and that’s it. :P

      I might begin The Great Purge if I get the homework caught up by Saturday, in which I get rid of massive amounts of junk I’ve been too lazy to throw out so I can paint inside my house. Most of it is going to donations or in the garbage. I don’t really want to bother with a garage sale this year–it’s so much work and I never even break $100. In my neighborhood, all I get is people with handfuls of change. I’ll wait until I decide to move and then sell everything the Purge didn’t eliminate, including furniture.

    6. Midge*

      I’m going to a high school reunion that I am not at all excited about. And this isn’t the reason why I’m dreading it, but it’s a BYO party. Who does that?!

    7. StaminaTea*

      I’m doing my first spring triathlon this weekend!! 0.5 mile swim, 12.4 bike, 3.1 run. And it’s an all-woman event, so that’s cool.

      1. StaminaTea*

        Oops, meant *sprint*, not spring. Though it is spring so I guess that’s appropriate.

    8. TL*

      Going hiking on Sunday! The sun is shining in precisely one state within driving distance, so I’m driving there and going hiking and getting out of my cramped city!

    9. Arjay*

      Celebrating my mommy’s 80th! birthday and going to see the sea lions at the zoo. :)

    10. shaky bacon*

      Off to Vegas for the week! Mostly excited to be escaping the dreary weather here in Canada where winter never seems to end.

    11. nyxalinth*

      No. I’m unfortunately too poor to have a life right now, or so it feels!

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        I feel your pain nyxalinth. I’m very much like that as well.
        This weekend is a mixture of meeting some work people for lunch, volunteering at the charity shop I work in (specialises in books & music only) and going food shopping….and writing/procrastinating from writing 2000 words by Thursday! (I took Monday & Tuesday off work at least)

    12. Cath in Canada*

      I’m going to get stuck into the two Coursera online courses I started. Yes, two – apparently I did not learn my lesson last time I doubled up. But the ones I’m most interested in always start at the same time!

      (one is for work – I know the subject area well already, but I’m vetting it to see if it’s something we would recommend to others interested in getting into the field. The other is just for fun).

      I’ll also be trying to write but mostly getting distracted by cats, as on most weekends…

    13. Ann Furthermore*

      I’m planning to do a whole lot of nothing tomorrow. Last weekend I did a cooking marathon and loaded up the freezer with 20 meals. At the grocery store by 6:30 Saturday morning, finished the final clean-up at 11:00 Saturday night. So tomorrow I’m just going to relax.

      Sunday I’m heading for Long Beach for a 3 day business trip.

  8. Ayeaye*

    Just an update to last weeks (or the week before? I’ve lost track!) where I was unsure of going for an opportunity due to lots going on – I decided not to go for the job in the end, and once it was decided I haven’t thought of it once since, so clearly the best decision!

    In other news, red shoes + mid-calf length white wedding dress + red flowers = I need to have red in my hair? I can’t find anything red I like, and have three weeks! I’m not bothered and have found a lovely thing to have, but other people seem to feel it’s vitally important… any ideas? I am so bad at wedding planning. I just want to be married.

    1. Dana*

      Could you put a few baby roses in your hair? Not sure what style you’re going for, but I could see a few little ones fitting in nicely for a number of different styles.

      1. Ayeaye*

        I think that’s the best plan so far, although I have found a silver/pearls comb thing that is so lovely. I migh just buy both and see what mood I’m in on the day.

        1. Dana*

          Aw, that sounds so pretty! I’d go with that and not worry about the red in your hair – I don’t think you absolutely need it :)

    2. Chloe*

      Look at Etsy for cute hair clips. I’m assuming that’s what you’re looking for? If you’re asking whether you “need” to have red in your hair, I’d say no, you can mix in a metallic or something else… but up to you.

      1. Ayeaye*

        I’m UK-based so a lot of etsy stuff wouldn’t get here in time unfortunately. And yes, I’m wondering if the red is an “opinion stated as fact” sort of situation, of if I would look a bit odd tottering around in red shoes with no other red bits. I also think the reason I don’t know the answer is because I think I should just do whatever I like, even if that means wearing clown shoes and a crown, but apparently that’s frowned upon.

        1. Observer*

          TOTALLY “Opinion stated as fact”. Either the roses or the pearl thing sound lovely. Do what you want – you’ll be perfectly appropriate either way.

        2. straws*

          I wore purple shoes & zero purple in my hair, so no pressure! I’m sure you’ll be lovely either way!

        3. Carrie in Scotland*

          What about folksy instead, would that be any better? Or something from Monsoon/Accessorize? Do you have any unique independent shops that might have something suitable?

        4. Diamond Lil*

          I got married last year, and wore red boots with a tea-length (think 1950s) white wedding dress – and that was the only red in my ensemble. I wore a gold & amethyst necklace, my earrings were gold, and my headdress was cream & white beads (it was a 1950s piece from my family) holding up a white veil. Oh, and a blue puffy petticoat. It all looked very nice together, kind of Polish/Ukrainian.

    3. fposte*

      It so doesn’t matter, so if you don’t find anything you like, don’t do it. You could look for white, or not put anything in your hair at all.

      (Cute straw hat with red silk scarf? Too informal?)

      1. Ayeaye*

        I’ve found a lovely little thing I do like, so I think I’ll buy that and perhaps something red if I like it enough and decide on the day. I am dreadful at all of this! It’s definitely going to be the most informal/low-key thing, but my family can’t quite grasp I’m not just pretending I don’t want a big old thing. Don’t think I could pull off the straw hat look, although I wish I could!

        1. Ruffingit*

          I am fascinated with the UK fascinators and find it interesting how many people wear rather outrageous ones. Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding for example…

          Anyway, the important thing at any wedding for a bride is that she feel comfortable. If that means you wear white, red, yellow, or whatever other color, flowers in your hair or not, it’s all OK. Really, it is. Wear what you want, be comfortable and many wishes of happiness and joy to you and your spouse!!

    4. CTO*

      Your hair accessory is not vitally important to the act of committing yourself to your partner for life. If it feels important or meaningful to you, do it. If you don’t care, don’t let other people tell you what is or is not “vital” to your wedding. Offbeatbride.com is a great source of moxie to do things your way, not anyone else’s way.

      (And have a wonderful wedding day!)

    5. Aunt Vixen*

      If this is a question, I do not think you *need* to have red in your hair if you don’t want to or can’t find anything that’s perfect. obAAM: Much like a job, you want your accessories on your wedding day to be a great fit! It’s your and your husband’s day. Feel gorgeous. Who the hell cares what anyone else thinks about how you’re dressed.

      signed,
      another three-weeks-from-now bride who just wants it to be over

    6. Asteria*

      I would go for something gold-colored or maybe teal? Do you have an accent color?

    7. SaraV*

      Who/what says you need red in your hair? You said you found a comb you like (which sounds lovely), so I would just go with that.

      Your wedding…not theirs. Don’t acquiesce (sp?) to someone else’s whims.

      (Sorry, stuff like that just unnerves me a tad)

      1. fposte*

        I’d be tempted to put on red deely boppers, but that may not be the look everybody is going for.

      2. Mints*

        Or be extra cheeky and get a little sign or jewelry that says “something red”

        I think I’d be a snarky bride

        1. fposte*

          Or carry a book that you know well, because that’s “something read.”

          Yeah, I think you and I could be each other’s bridesmaids, Mints.

    8. Celeste*

      I don’t think you need it. Will you have red nails or lips? If so, that’s plenty.

    9. Can't Think of a Good Name*

      If you have a different hair accessory you like, you could always do a bold red lip. With a silver or white hair accessory it could add a little vintage flair to your look.

  9. Sunflower*

    Is it possible to have a job where you aren’t always just looking forward to the weekend? I know I need to get out of my job but I’m worried I’ll never find something that doesn’t always have me yelling ‘is it Friday yet’? Example: My friend is happy at her job- she just moved and has a terrible commute now but says she likes her job too much to look for another one. The thing is, she still says every week ‘is it Friday’? I’m not looking to be super fulfilled by anything I do and I’m sure no matter what I’ll be happy to welcome the weekend but I fear the Sunday night dread of work on Monday will never go away. Just need some confidence this isn’t forever?….

    1. Kara Ayako*

      I look forward to Fridays, but I also never have that dreaded feeling on Sunday. I’m going to call that a win.

      You can love your job but still look forward to the break of a weekend.

      1. Lucy*

        I totally agree! I’m really looking forward to a job I love- nothing’s worse than the Sunday night blues :(

      2. A Bug!*

        Same here. I’ve had jobs where I dreaded the first day of the work week and then counted down the seconds to Friday, and they were the jobs that I needed to leave.

        But even in jobs that I enjoy, I look forward to the weekend. Maybe earlier some weeks than others, depending on what’s going on, but looking forward to Friday doesn’t necessarily mean the job’s bad, just that it’s work and it can be exhausting. (It’s trite, but it’s true: That’s why they have to pay you.)

        1. the news from poems*

          “just that it’s work and it can be exhausting. (It’s trite, but it’s true: That’s why they have to pay you.)”
          —-

          I respectfully disagree on this one tiny point. They have to pay you because there’s something awesome about you which allows you to produce the results they desire within the timeframe they desire.

          Are there many, many (too many!) things one has to put up with, or simply accept, in order to get a paycheck?

          Of course, but that’s not why they have to pay you. The specifics vary from job to job and assignment to assignment, but the reason they have to pay you is that you can turn raw materials into something they want (or to put it in the colorful language of a former co-worker: because you can make chicken salad out of chicken sh–).

    2. Ayeaye*

      I had the Sunday (and every other) night dread until my current job, which despite it’s issues I have never woken up and thought “I can’t face work today” in the 5 and a half years I’ve been here – it does happen and goes away when you find the right kind of place – at least it did for me! The other jobs weren’t even terrible, there was just something that wasn’t right for me at those places.

    3. HAnon*

      I still feel like that, even thought I like my new job much better than my old one…I think one thing that helps is throwing my energy into projects at work that I really do enjoy. They are few and far between, since at this point in my career there’s a lot of menial stuff I have to do during the day that I’m not senior enough to delegate, but I try to volunteer for projects that I know will energize me, because those days make it worth it. There are some things I look forward to one day in a job that will make it easier to get through Monday – Friday…like more flexible hours (I have a long commute :p) and working from home sometimes (not an option in my current job). What makes it worth it is 1) the paycheck, but more importantly what I aim to do with that paycheck 2) holding onto the vision of the life that I’m creating for myself and working towards…which makes the delayed gratification worth it. I’ve started accepting some of the less enjoyable things about my current situation, because I know this isn’t forever and it doesn’t do any good to complain about things that you can’t change…I know that I have to make this work for me for a little while, but my work doesn’t own me, and no job is forever…so that perspective helps. I think another thing that’s helped is revising my own expectations and not comparing myself or my progress to anyone else (friends, family etc)…and focusing more on what works for me.
      But I think I definitely relate to the “living for the weekend” mentality…I too hope it won’t always be that way…

    4. BCW*

      I’ve had jobs I really liked that I never dreaded going to work. But I would never say I was looking forward to work either. So having 2 days off is always something to look forward to.

    5. BW*

      I don’t know. I love my job and my job treats the employees simply great., as in, 24 days PTO + 10 days bank holidays per year. 100% health/dental/vision insurance premiums paid by company. 9 to 5 hours in a field that’s rarely 9 to 5 (and they mean it too. I get no work emails outside of normal business hours, none on weekends either)

      But I still find myself looking forward to the weekends and bummed when Sunday night rolls along. And it’s not that I don’t want to work, because after about one week of staying at home I get stir-crazy. Maybe I’m just spoiled.

    6. Kerry*

      I really, really love my job but I still look forward to the weekend! I think you might be reading more into your friend’s comments than is there: “Is it Friday?” is a long way from “always just looking forward to the weekend” (emphasis mine).

      1. Colette*

        It probably depends whether she’s saying it on Friday or Monday. :)

        I like my job, but I still like the weekends – down time is important. And there have certainly been weeks when I wanted it to be the weekend on Monday, but that’s generally because I didn’t get the downtime (or sleep) that I needed that weekend, not because I hate my job.

        (I spelled down time differently in that one paragraph. I feel like Chaucer.)

      2. Jamie*

        When I was miserable at a job it would ruin Sundays for me because my first thought upon waking would be that I had to work the next day. And I’d watch the clock all day with sadness and it counted down my weekend.

        But I like my job and I still look forward to the weekends. I get to spend time with my family, putter around the house, cook and freeze for the week. It doesn’t mean I don’t like work, it just means I like those things, too.

        So tldr I agree with Kerry – being happy it’s Friday doesn’t mean you’re just living for the weekend.

    7. AMT*

      It is absolutely possible. I’m 26, almost a year out of grad school, and I used to think that no one really loved their jobs and that everyone dreaded Mondays. In the interview for my current job, I asked about the company culture, and my 65-year-old interviewer (now my supervisor) said he’d been working there for 35 years and looked forward to coming in every day. I didn’t believe him at the time, but after working there for two months, I love it to death. My coworkers seem happy and energetic, too. I actually look forward to coming in every day. The kicker? I’m a social worker, and my field is rife with job dissatisfaction, low wages, funding cuts, and labor law violations. The fact that I found a job that has none of these is a miracle.

      I don’t know what the lesson is here except that great workplaces do exist, satisfying work does exist, and wonderful supervisors do exist. They’re hard to find, but they’re out there.

    8. Who Are You?*

      Every week, by around Wednesday, I am looking forward to Friday. I don’t think it’s because I dislike my job (I don’t!) but because I know my batteries are getting low and I’m looking forward to the recharge that comes with the two days off.

    9. cuppa*

      I love my job. Seriously. But a lot of times, I can only make it four days out of the week, and Fridays are hard to slog through. I think it’s because I’m worn out by the end of the week, and I don’t dread Mondays too much.
      I guess you could say, I like my job, and I like my weekends!

    10. Observer*

      If your in a line of work that’s appropriate for you, then the Sunday night dread should not be universal. Of course if you are an accountant who hates numbers or another round peg in a square hole, you are going to have a problem wherever you are. But otherwise, just make sure you are in a reasonable work-place.

    11. LV*

      I love love loved my last job – one Saturday, I was shocked to find myself thinking sadly, “Oh, tomorrow’s Sunday – I don’t get to go in to work.”

      But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t always really happy when Friday rolled around and I had 2 days to myself!

    12. LizB*

      I love my job, but after 5 long days of work, I always need a break! Some weeks my feeling is “Yay, now I get to relax for two days,” while other weeks are more “THANK GOD THIS WEEK IS OVER,” but I’m always happy when Friday rolls around. I got the Sunday night dread with my last job (along with the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night dreads — it was a terrible job), but I don’t get it at all with this job. There are jobs out there that won’t make you hate Sunday evenings!

    13. LAI*

      Absolutely! I had a job for 8 years that I looked forward to going to almost every day, and had to force myself to leave at the end of the day. I did interesting and fulfilling work and had amazing coworkers and the best, most supportive supervisor ever. But there were definitely still days when I said “is it Friday?”, not because I didn’t love my job but because I was exhausted from putting so much effort into it, and I wanted to sleep!

      1. Prickly Pear*

        This! I even would come in when I wasn’t scheduled and hang out (and this was retail!). I remember a time that we had a holiday pitch-in and I left for the day and came back- I still have a picture from that. Definitely wouldn’t do that now.

  10. MTG*

    I’m cranky today. Still job hunting. There’s a completely unstable manager here who makes my life so difficult. I was put in charge of a project that ALMOST fell under her umbrella of work. At first I was left to my devices and was doing great job with it. Then she had a meltdown after I was getting attention for my work, about how I was stepping on her toes and doing her job (I 100% was not) and she literally screamed and cried and stormed out of a meeting that had 5 other employees in it.

    Ever since she has been butting into everything everyone else does. She shoots down all my ideas and then suggests them to higher ups herself. If I mention my ideas to anyone else before her, cc other people on emails, or make suggestions in a meeting, she freaks out about how i need to go to her first with anything. Higher management does nothing. Other executives have had similar experiences with her and have made numerous complaints.

    I found out yesterday that the problem is she was hired for a job that is now obsolete for our operations, so they are trying to find a place to fit her in. After she screamed at me they’ve been sending her to management training.

    I’m just incredibly frustrated because they have this employee who has frequent, totally out of line, bordering on abusive meltdowns, has no actual work to do, offends everyone she works with and refuses to collaborate with anyone, and instead of replacing her with any of the rest of my team who actually could manage our projects, they are wasting resources to try and teach her how to be a functioning adult. I understand that managing is hard and may require some training, but any relatively reasonable person does not need to be sent out state to learn you cannot scream at your subordinates and executives, and literally use the phrase “because i’m in charge” at least ten times a day.

    1. Anoners*

      Ugh. I know it’s hard, but do your best to ignore them as much as you can (in a “you don’t exist to me kind of way”). Ignore all her comments, and only really respond to ones that you absolutely need to (like job related projects and the like). Try not to let anything they say get to you. Hopefully since there are so many issues, your workplace will eventually get rid of them (and plus, you know they are the crazy one, not you).

      1. MTG*

        Yes I am definitely lucky in the sense that the rest of the teams I work with have a great, collaborative rapport, and give me good feedback. Which I think makes her behavior stick out even more. Normally it’s just something to internally snicker at as we go about our days, but this week was just especially rough. Not usually the “living for the weekends” type, but TGIF for sure today.

    2. The Real Ash*

      I would still never give her your ideas first, without letting anyone else know them, simply because you deserve credit for your work. Even if it creates small drama for you from her reactions, I would still never let her steal my thunder like that. You deserve recognition for your work.

    3. AMT*

      This reminded me of The Office.

      ANDY: So Michael had a little chat with corporate and they decided to send me to management training. Anger management, technically, but still. Management material.

    4. ella*

      Sounds like she is trying to not get fired and desperate to make herself needed, and is employing strategies that are extremely likely to backfire.

      I am often in the “keep quiet and put up with it and let events play out” camp myself, but I have to say, the one time at work that I got so angry at a coworker that I told her, “I have NEVER, in ten years of working in retail, been spoken to by ANYBODY the way you spoke to me earlier, and it is unacceptable, and I will not put up with it,” it a) felt really good and b) she never spoke to me that way again. (Or at all, now that I think about it.) She’s a manager so you’ll have to judge for yourself if you can get away with speaking so frankly. It might just give her more ammunition to try and undermine you with.

    5. Sydney Bristow*

      You might enjoy the book 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. It covers some of the things she is doing like rejecting your ideas then taking them and suggesting them to the higher ups. You might be able to find something in there that could help you.

  11. en pointe*

    So, I understand from the “things that don’t matter in your job search post” (and previous ones) that nobody cares about high school.

    I’m wondering whether that counts if I’m still in college (2nd year), and applying for internships, etc.? Should I include high school stuff or leave it off and focus on things I’m doing now?

    Thanks for any advice!

    1. Sunflower*

      I would include it but don’t include EVERYTHING. If you worked a bunch of different jobs in high school, maybe put only the most recent one from from around when you graduated and leave the ones in your younger years off. You’re more showing that you have work ethic and an initiative to work as opposed to gaining technical skills.

      1. en pointe*

        The one from around when I graduated was as a Hooter’s Girl, which I left off because I know some people find the nature of the restaurant offensive.

        I’m more referring to grades, extra-curriculars etc., so I guess I’m concerned about looking like I think they matter more than they actually do.

        1. fposte*

          Grades, no. Extracurriculars, probably not unless they’re likely to have application to what you’re searching for (if you were a fabulous mathlete or JA bigwig, for instance).

          1. en pointe*

            I was a state champion debater, which I hope demonstrates good communication skills. Although, I realise, not necessarily the right type of communication skills, depending on what they’re looking for.

            If I don’t include grades, would it be okay to stick this with my volunteer work and call the section ‘Other’?

            1. fposte*

              That or Paige’s example below, which is very neat and tidy. I think you’re okay with high school being on there until you graduate from college.

              1. en pointe*

                I’ve done Paige’s example, and I’ll probably cut it down when I get more relevant internships, for length. Thanks Paige and fposte!

    2. Paige Turner*

      I think if you’re still in college it’s a different situation…I’d say (and I’m not a hiring manager or anything FWIW) include at the most three things from high school, and only if they are noteworthy. For example, include a job if you had it for over a year/several summers; include a volunteer activity if you’re still interested in that field and held it for some time; include a major award like National Merit Scholar, Valedictorian, Student of the Year or something; include clubs/extra-curriculars only if you were involved for several years and held an office, are still interested in that area, and if you haven’t used up your three HS activities slots on the above categories. Just my two cents ;)

      1. Paige Turner*

        Example listing on your resume-

        BEVERLY HILLS HIGH SCHOOL 1991-1995
        President of Art Club 1994-1995, VP of Art Club 1993-94

        WORK EXPERIENCE
        Barista, Josh’s Coffee Shop, Berkeley, 1995- present
        Barista, Murray & Dionne’s Cafe, Beverly Hills, 1993-1995
        Volunteer, SPCA of Beverly Hills, 1991-1995

        1. en pointe*

          I like this thanks, it’s short and sweet.

          I don’t think I even need three things, as I was just going to include an academic merit thing and one extracurricular of which I was captain (a debate team that won a lot of stuff). I was just concerned that school stuff and not work experience would look a little naive or something.

          But I like that as a general rule, and I can probably use it for school going forward.

    3. Ash (the other one!)*

      It’s all about relevancy and transferable skills. I still keep one of my internships from college (I’m 7 years out) on my resume as it is directly relevant to my field and shows the diversity of work I’ve done. It gets a much shorter section on the document though.

    4. LV*

      I have some extracurriculars from my undergrad on my resume (I’m still pretty entry-level in my field – finished my MLIS a year ago). I was an exec of my program’s student association for 2 years out of 3(VP Communications and Publicity) and an editor of the student journal.

      I figure they’re relevant because one of my major responsibilities in all my library jobs was advertising services and products to patrons, which is in line with the duties I had as VP C&P, and the editing shows writing/language skills. Although this thread is making me wonder if I should take that stuff out…

    5. en pointe*

      Thanks to everyone who responded :) I feel much much more confident about this now.

  12. BB*

    Anyone have any recommendations for books about twenty-something girls that aren’t so chick-lit like? So many books premise are ‘Brooke is feeling sad and then meets handsome man but there’s a problem! Then they live happily ever after’ I read Girls in White Dresses and loved it. I’m not looking for anything super hard hitting- just looking for stuff with a little more substance.

    1. Ayeaye*

      I’m reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson which covers a whole range of ages and is amazing, but perhaps not quite what you’re looking for. I’m just in the middle of it and love it so couldn’t resist a recommendation!

      1. Eden*

        I started this one and bogged down. Does it get better then? I adore Kate Atkinson, have read everything she’s ever written, but somehow could not escape the overwhelming sepia tone of the first chapter.

    2. Kara Ayako*

      I read a ton, and there’s very little realistic modern fiction with a young female protagonist that isn’t chick-lit or young adult. If you find some, let me know too!

    3. Random Reader*

      I don’t have any suggestions, but I’ll be interested to see what other people suggest! I’m always looking for new books to read.

    4. Mints*

      Ooh let me plug Tamora Pierce here. Not exactly what you asked, but she writes like sword slinging and wizards plots, but with a modern mentality. There’s like magical birth control, a transgender character, lady knights. It’s still very much in the fantasy genre, but a little less tiring for me. It feels fun, and then I don’t get the like “Ughh” when i think critically about other books. I just read the Beka Cooper series, and I want to reread the Lioness Quartet.

      1. EG*

        I second this author. I’ve had books from her first two series for several years and still re-read them every year or two.

      2. Midge*

        I really enjoyed the Lioness Quartet books as a high schooler. But rereading them as an adult, I realized there was some kinda inappropriate sexual stuff going on with the main character in the first or second book when she’s supposed to be, like, twelve. Still enjoyed the books overall, but I just wanted to point that out.

        1. Mints*

          The ages are a little fuzzy, but I think she’s older than that. Several years pass until the end of the book, and I think she’s about 15 when she does.
          I don’t mean to be nitpicky, but some parents are like “sex? The horrors!” but 15 or 16 is the average age for girls to first have sex, so it’s pretty accurate. I actually really like the way Pierce handles sex in the books, considering it’s a YA genre.

          1. Midge*

            I guess I should have clarified. The fact that there’s sex is not what I objected to. It’s the you-know-you-want-it vibe, particularly with between the main character and older men with some authority/influence over her.

      3. Mephyle*

        As I write this, Jennifer Weiner has been mentioned only once. Let me mention her again. In a way, she writes chicklit, but her work is much broader and deeper, without losing the light tone and readability of classic chicklit.
        The best way I can explain it is that if the main character gets the man at the end, it’s only incidental to the more important things in the book. For example, in In Her Shoes, the main relationships are a troubled woman finding herself, two sisters reconciling, and a woman reunited with her adult granddaughters, all of which is much more wonderful than this dry summary makes it sound. Oops, I may have spoiled it, too.
        Also (and I mean this in a good way), there is always a point near the end of her books where the reader might cry.
        Furthermore, Jennifer Weiner herself is a tireless campaigner for respect for women authors whether they are writing literary fiction or not, in spite of all the nasty feedback that has elicited.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This isn’t exactly what you described, but it’s in a very close neighborhood. I just read and enjoyed:

      * The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, by Teddy Wayne (the imagined inner life of a pre-teen pop idol — surprisingly poignant and good)
      * Little Known Facts, by Christine Sneed
      * One More Thing, by BJ Novak (darkly brilliant short stories by Ryan from The Office)
      * The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman

    6. Lucy*

      I loved Jennifer Close’s second book, The Smart One, as well. Have you read the Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing? I LOVED it in high school and recently re-read it. It definitely held up. Americanah by Chimananda Adichie is a commitment, but it’s FANTASTIC- cannot recommend it enough.

      1. BB*

        Yes Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing was awesome! I try to find books through Goodreads or Amazon and looking up books I’ve read to see what they suggest. I also loved the Jessica Darling series which is kind of a cross between YA(also a big fan of them still) and twenty-something but they were all great. I’m flying cross country in a couple weeks so I wanted to get my to-read list up to date!

      2. AVP*

        Yes! To Americanah, and Chimananda Adichie’s first book, Half of a Yellow Sun, even though that one is completely devastating. And The Love Song of Johnny Valentine, mentioned above, which is like the interior dark side of US Weekly.

        If you like those I also think you’ll like:

        – The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach. More about boys and baseball, but it’s a perfect depiction of late teens / early 20’s, beautifully written, and has a few really brilliant female characters.

        – On Beauty, Zadie Smith. I didn’t love this but many other women do. She essentially takes on the idea of a snotty New England university town/family. She’s a great writer, but I liked her earlier books better.

        – Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons. Fun book from 1930’s Britain about a young socialite’s comedown in life to living on a rural farm and trying to “fix” the social lives of it’s inhabitants. And shout out to Fposte for reminding me of its existence.

    7. Felicia*

      I like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It has murder, and mystery and suspense. The Southern Vampire Mysteries books by Charlaine Harris (the series that the show True Blood was based on) are also amazing, particularly if you like fantasy/magic books, and Sookie Stackhouse is in her 20s.

          1. Mints*

            I definitely liked it! It was just more than I expected. I read a recommendation that said something like “Nick’s wife has just gone missing, and he’s a prime suspect. This book starts out like a murder mystery but a twist halfway through will leave you at the edge of your seat!”
            And then I started it, and some of the early reveals made me feel smug like “Psh I saw that coming” then THE REVEAL. And my jaw literally dropped and I felt like I was having a heart attack. I recommend reading it in a one day marathon. It’s really good though

        1. Littlemoose*

          Yes! I was so engrossed in it that I finished it in a couple of days. And I started telling my boyfriend about it, even though he could not care less. That big left turn in the middle is crazy. I just reread it on vacation, actually.

      1. Annie O*

        Yes, Gillian Flynn is great. I also liked her early work, specifically Sharp Objects.

      2. Kelly L.*

        I’ve been on such a “twisty thriller” kick lately. Ironically, I haven’t read Gone Girl, because I accidentally got spoiled for it, but I liked her Dark Places quite a lot. Also like Laura Lippman, Sophie Hannah, Jennifer McMahon, and probably some others I’m not thinking of.

    8. HAnon*

      I just finished Middlemarch and loved it! The main characters (almost all) are in their 20’s…it’s not a modern read, but it’s one of the most highly ranked novels of all time. I recommend the audio book narrated by Juliet Stevenson.

      1. C average*

        I am attempting Middlemarch right now. My husband and I read aloud to each other (OK, actually more like I read to him) at night, and we usually alternate between classics and more recent books. We’re about 100 pages into Middlemarch, and I’m really not sure we’re going to make it. My husband falls asleep practically the second I start reading.

        And it’s not like we haven’t read some dense stuff in the past. We’ve read The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Moby Dick . . . the whole project began with us lamenting that we didn’t remember whole sections of the classics we read when we were young.

    9. C average*

      Try “Tracks” by Robyn Davidson. It’s about a naive, unprepared, and shamelessly self-deprecating twentysomething woman who treks across the Australian outback by camel. It sounds insane, and it sort of is, but she writes so well and is so willing to laugh at herself that it just works. It’s one of my favorite books ever.

        1. Kerry (Like The County In Ireland)*

          They made it into a movie with Mia Wasilikova–it comes out this summer, I think.

          1. AVP*

            I saw a preview of this movie and LOVED it. I didn’t read the book, and had never heard of the story, but the movie was great. And what beautiful scenery!

      1. Algae*

        Seconding that. They have the best reviews.

        Also, seconding the recommendations for these fantastic books:

        Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café
        The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – I cry every time. It’s lovely.
        Gone Girl
        A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent – I loved this. There’s a second one coming out/out already I need to get.

        And adding:

        To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis – a time-traveling comedy of manners that is brilliant and sparkling.
        Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein – FANTASTIC. Be prepared.
        The Rosie Project by Grame Simsion – sweet and nice and I gobbled it up.
        Janice Thompson writes Christian Romances about mostly 20-year olds that I felt were better than the usual chick lit or Christian romance genres. I’ve liked all of them.
        For romance, anything by Courtney Milan is great.

    10. CTO*

      Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s not fiction, but a very captivating story. While there are definitely some deep and dark moments, the overall tone is one of healing and redemption.

    11. Calla*

      – Imaginary Girls, Nova Ren Suma. One of the main characters is in high school but her sister, the other mc, is older.
      – Gone Girl & Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn.
      – The Other Typist, Suzanne Rindell.
      – Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan.

      Ones I haven’t read, but really want to:
      – Lives of Girls and Women, Alice Munro.
      – The Door, Magda Szabó.

      I wasn’t a fan of Life After Life but it probably fits into what you’re looking for!

      1. fposte*

        I’m not sure Imaginary Girls is what’s really looked for here, but God, I love Nova Ren Suma. 17 & Gone is heart-rending, too.

        1. Calla*

          I had to include it because I recommend it to EVERYONE! I didn’t quite like 17 & Gone as much but that’s because I hated the ended, otherwise I agree.

    12. Who Are You?*

      Anything by Sarah Addison Allen. She’s kind of quirky, there’s a magical element to them, and they’re funny.

      1. LMW*

        She really reminds me of Alice Hoffman. So if you like one, you might like the other.

    13. anon in tejas*

      Marian Keyes! I love her books, and they are a little more than Chick Lit, but not too deep.

      also see Meg Cabot. Emily Giffin was also a favorite read of mine.

      1. krm*

        Emily Giffin is a favorite of mine as well. Not so much “Something Borrowed”, but I really enjoy her other work.

        1. C average*

          Second the Emily Giffin recommendation. She’s a far better writer than some of the other authors who get crammed into the chick lit category.

    14. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Americanah! It’s about a woman who comes to the US for college and settles in Princeton for a while before moving home. She blogs about race in America from the perspective of a Black immigrant. Amazing.

    15. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Ooh, and The Interestings. And Commencement. And more I’m forgetting because I’m in the airport

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        The Marriage Plot! Sharp Objects. If my friend wasn’t using my computer I’d go to Goodyear and post my whole list instead of remembering these piecemeal.

        1. Lucy*

          Victoria, I think we share a reading list :) Americanah was FANTASTIC- it made me cry!! I also love any of Meg Wolitzer’s books.

        2. H. Rawr*

          Ooh, Sharp Objects is on my list! I love Gone Girl, but didn’t love Dark Places, so I’m not sure how I feel going into it!

          1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

            Sharp Objects is my favorite of the three. I also didn’t particularly care for Dark Places.

        3. TL*

          The Marriage Plot! I loved The Marriage Plot.

          And it is the exact opposite of what you don’t want.

          (Also, Jeffrey Eugenides is a pretty cool person.)

          1. Littlemoose*

            Honestly I couldn’t get through The Marriage Plot, but Middlesex is fantastic. Highly recommended.

            1. Windchime*

              I loved Middlesex. I should read that again. Another good book I finished recently was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Don’t read it if you’re looking for something happy and light; it’s dark and has some pretty sad moments, but ultimately I really liked it. It’s one of those books that stays with you.

          1. Jamie*

            Judging by what Facebook thinks of the books I’d like I shouldn’t be in your group.

            When I set up my Facebook account last weekend the books it “suggested I might like” were Goodnight Moon, 2 Dr. Seuss books, and the Little House series. Kind of disconcerting because I do love little house, but I had no activity prior to that point.

            Facebook thinks I have the reading level of a child.

          2. Morgan*

            Yes please!

            Also I second the Code Name Verity recommendation! It is an intense and amazing story of friendship between two women in WW2.

          3. Persephone Mulberry*

            Yes! I love that there’s a book recommendation discussion in almost every open thread, but it’s hard to keep track of them. I might actually use my Goodreads account once in a while if this were a thing.

          4. Windchime*

            I would love this. I’ve been trying to slog through some horrible thing for a week now and I just can’t get in the mood. I need a new book but I’m feeling peevish and unable to commit when I browse Amazon, so I’m going to make a list of the suggestions here.

              1. Stephanie*

                Hmm, informal book club?

                Post work/career-related book selections? (Just going with the website theme.)

                I’m open. I read primarily nonfiction (and have no clue where to start with fiction sometimes), so I’d even just like to see what everyone is reading.

              2. Stephanie*

                Also, if you’re open to it, I’d post a link on the “Connect” page along with the LinkedIn and Facebook groups.

    16. Lily in NYC*

      I would look into the historical fiction genre. Sharon Kay Penman has fantastic books based in the Medieval era and they always have interesting female characters in the age range you mentioned. I like that her books don’t have as much sappy romance as other genre writers like Philippa Gregory (Girl With a Pearl Earring, etc). I also like the author Helen Hollick – her female characters are great and I love that she doesn’t give them modern feminist sensiblities like other authors. My all-time favorite historical fiction writer is Bernard Cornwell, but his protaganist is always male (even thought there are plenty of awesome female characters in his books). But if you don’t like to read about bloody battles with axes and shield walls, you won’t like Cornswell. I love a good axe fight.

    17. LMW*

      I just went to peruse my huge book collection and realized that I actually don’t have many books about twenty-something women, which is weird. I’m not a huge chick lit fan though, or romance. And for a while there it was hard to find anything that wasn’t in those categories.
      Anyway, I’m going old school with some of these (my criteria is a primary character who is a woman in her twenties):
      early Barbara Kingsolver – The Bean Trees.
      Isabelle Allende has a few
      Rebecca
      Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
      A Thousand Splendid Suns
      The Help
      And I second The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing.

      1. Windchime*

        Ohh, and don’t forget The Secret Life of Bees. It’s a really good one.

    18. H. Rawr*

      A few that I enjoyed to varying degrees, but might give you some variety:

      The Paris Wife (fiction based on Ernest Hemingway’s first wife and their time in Paris)
      The Glass Castle (a memoir that reads like fiction focused more on family life spanning from childhood-30s)
      Wild (another easy to read memoir about a woman’s solo hike up the west coast in her 20s)
      Little Bee (fiction from the point of view of two women, a Nigerian refugee and a British housewife)
      American Wife (another full life type story very loosely inspired by a recent first lady)
      The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (WWII, more of a cast of characters)
      Never Let Me Go (a not-distant-future type dystopic fiction, but not in the Hunger Games/Divergent vein)
      The Language of Flowers (coming-into-her-own fiction)

    19. The Real Ash*

      There’s always Marion Bradley Zimmer and Octavia Butler, for your fantasy and sci-fi needs.

    20. Sunflower*

      Curtis Sittenfeld is great- I loved the Man of my Dreams. I have all of Catherine McKenzie’s books on my To-Read list- I haven’t read any yet but the books seem a little deeper. Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen was really good too- about thirty somethings but deals with interesting life issues.

    21. HRNewbie*

      Try Bright Young Things by Scarlett Thomas
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bright-Young-Things-Scarlett-Thomas-ebook/dp/B008R9PRK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399048256&sr=8-1&keywords=bright+young+things+scarlett+thomas

      Bright Young Things wanted for Big Project.’

      They’re in the prime of their lives but our bright young things are all burnt out. Six sparky twenty-somethings just out of university and working dead-end jobs, they are all bored to tears with their lives and looking for a way out. When a mysterious job is advertised in the newspaper, they all apply. What they least expect is to find themselves prisoners on a deserted island. There’s food in the fridge and they have a bedroom each, but there’s no telephone, no television, and no way to escape.
      About the Author
      Scarlett Thomas is twenty-six and lives in Devon. She is a journalist and writer.

      I bought it because it was cheap and I was tired of the ‘Girl is sad, Girl meets Boy, Girl is Happy’ books and loved it

    22. girlonfire*

      I’d recommend “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, or “The Lace Reader” by Brunonia Barry. Both are fairly easy reads, but they also deal with some heavier issues.

      I’d also recommend anything by Rainbow Rowell. “Eleanor & Park” is an amazing book, even though it’s YA and the protagonist is a teen. But “Attachments” and “Fangirl” are both pretty good, too.

      1. girlonfire*

        Ooh, also, books by Jennifer Weiner. They’re chick lit with substance, exactly.

    23. TL*

      Robin McKinley, if you like fantasy.

      A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent for historical fiction in an alternative universe (much like London, but with dragons)

      Terry Pratchett’s works – some feature a young female protagonist. Comedic fantasy.

      Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series – they start in high school but they follow her through her early 20s. Fiction, modern-day. They do have a boy-meets-girl element and are chick-lit like, but it’s way more about the development of the main character and doesn’t follow the chit-lit path you’re describing by any means.

      The later Anne of Green Gables books (seriously. They are so, so good!)

      Margaret Atwood, if you like sci-fi that is very much a social critique.

      Anna Karenina, if you want a classic. (depressing but I loved it.)

      The later Shopaholic books my mom likes and they’re focused on what comes after the happily-ever-after, so no boy-meets-girl stuff. Very light and chick-lit-y.

      1. EG*

        Oh, yes, I’d forgotten Robin McKinley. Hers are a nice combination of female heroine with a bit of magic. Always helps me escape into fantasyland where I wish I could do a little magic.

      2. Persephone Mulberry*

        I’m rereading the Anne of Green Gables books right now. Love them, such classics.

      3. karen*

        TL, I clicked on your link a few weeks ago and came across a natural history of dragons. I really liked it. I’m glad this question came up bc I’ve been meaing to post a thank you in the open thread.

    24. A Teacher*

      The Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Pie Society (based on a true story in the Guernsey Isles during WW2–funny and sad)

      I’m Down (again based on a true story–hilarious but with some touching moments)

      Breaking Night and The Glass Castle–excellent memoirs that are retold from an adult perspective

      Anything by Kristen Ashley–it is romance but the female characters are kick butt and the books are funny.

    25. StillLAH*

      I’m reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl). The main character is in her 30s, but it seems realistic enough. Definitely not chick-lit by any stretch.

      I also really enjoyed Transatlantic by Colum McCann which follows the women of one family of Irish descent from the 19th century to the 21st. That’s probably my favorite book I’ve read so far this year.

    26. AAA*

      Margaret Atwood? She’s one of my favorites. The MaddAddam trilogy (Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood, MaddAddam) has several strong young women in it. And there’s always Handmaid’s Tale.

    27. ella*

      Seconding Fried Green Tomatos. Oh man, I need to re-read that.

      It might be a shade younger than you’re wanting to go, but Seraphina by Rachel Hartman was AMAZING. A young woman (it’s a teen novel, but I’d put the main character in her low twenties) who lives in a city in a world where dragons can sort of….fold themselves up into human shapes (though they can’t pass for human), and also live in the city. There’s tensions between the humans and the dragons. It was the best (and most original) dragon book I’ve read in a long while.

    28. GigglyPuff*

      If want a little fantasy, Mercedes Lackey Valdemar world has some good female characters.

    29. AmyNYC*

      I devoured Girls in White dresses on the beach! Great read! The author (Jennifer Close) has another book too.
      I also love Jennifer Lancaster – nonfiction that feels like a chat with a good friend.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        I read Girls in White Dresses recently and loved it!

        Life after Life is wonderful, I love Kate Atkinson, her novel ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ is also excellent. Highly recommend. For those of you who liked Gone Girl, ‘Mother Mother’ by Koren Zailckas would be of similar sort of twisty and ‘The Amber Fury’ by Natalie Haynes who explores the affinity between teenage and ancient Greek angst.

        I would LOVE an AAM goodreads group – I’m always on the lookout for things to read.

    30. Chinook*

      Book recommendations – I say the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. This one has the added bonus that they are filiming, right now, a series based on it and Diana is involved as a creative advisor and she beleives that the actors who play Clair and Jamie are perfect for it.

      Don’t let the size of the books intimidate you. They don’t feel that long once you are in the middle of it. But, if you want to get your feet wet, try one of her “short” stories in the Lord John series (a spin off character). They are more regular novel length and will give you a taste of what the series is like.

      Be warned though – no one is ever neutral on them – you either become addicted to the books or can’t stand them.

    31. SLD*

      Jen Lancaster – they are memoirs but hysterical, she’s snarky and funny… her first book “Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office” is about how she loses her job and survives, might be good for our first book club reading… :) It’s important to read them in order!

  13. Dana*

    Ooh, I’ve never been to an open thread so early in the game before!

    My question is about my husband – he’s leaving his librarian job in July to move back to our home (he’s working in a different province, so he’ll qualify for unemployment – trust me, we checked! lol). Is it better for him to go out and just get ‘any job’ or take some time and be applying to something a bit more in his field?

    Librarian-related jobs are super hard to come by in our area, but I think we can swing the finances while he’s looking for other work. I just wasn’t sure about leaving a gap on his resume while he’s looking. We have talked about him volunteering (hopefully at a library) during this time, too.

    1. Paige Turner*

      Volunteering sounds smart, and it also might be good to look into free or low-cost classes, workshops, conferences, or other activities to stay involved in the field and as up-to-date as possible. Since you say librarian jobs are really hard to come by, I’d say apply to those jobs, but don’t turn down another type of job if it’s reasonably well-paying and interesting. I have an MA in Anthropology, and I’ve barely been able to find anything that’s even distantly related to my field (no surprise there, really…). Not to be negative, but I’d keep in mind that a decent library job may take a year or more to find, and budget accordingly. Good luck!

    2. Bryan*

      Maybe volunteer, spend a little time looking for jobs he’s super interested in and then branch out to other jobs.

  14. Laufey*

    A coworker of mine is pregnant. We don’t work directly together anymore, but while I was in her unit, she gave me lots of training and advice about our job. She’s still one of go-to people to ask when I have a question.

    Prior to her pregnancy, she enjoyed drinking (not to excess, but a glass or wine or two each night, etc.) and she has joked that her husband’s going to need to bring a bottle of wine to the hospital when the time comes. She has also told me how much she’s looking forward to reading books aloud to her new child. Would it be cute/clever or overreaching to get her a gift of a couple of children’s books and one of those little-one serving bottles of wine? The office will probably throw her a shower, but I didn’t know if a more personalized gift would be appropriate or tacky/not well thought out.

    1. Sunflower*

      I think it would be cute. You seem to be closer than just a person you work next to. You could even attach a cute note to the bottle like ‘For whenever you need this’ to show it’s a light hearted thing. Anyone who takes offense or thinks it’s not appropriate would be ridiculous IMO.

    2. Q T Pie*

      I think it’s totally appropriate. I saw a cute cup at The Paper Store last week…it was a wine glass encased in a plastic tumbler and it said “Mommy’s Sippy Cup”. My wine drinker mom friends all have asked for one for mothers day. :)

  15. Calla*

    OK, what’s the acceptable number of follow-ups for a really long process? I applied to a job that’s been open since 3/11, interviewed 3/20, followed up the first week of April, and never heard back. It’s still showing up as open and that I’m still being considered in their tracking system. Should I follow up again? Take a hint/let it go? I am still pretty interested in this job, but not desperate (since I’m employed and interviewing somewhere else currently) and definitely don’t want to come off that way.

    1. B*

      I would suggest letting it go. It’s possible they never changed their online system to show it closed, the process got tangled up, or some other reason. Best bet is to let it go and be a happy surprise if they get back to you.

      1. Calla*

        Thanks! That’s what I’m inclined to do, but I was wondering if I was making a mistake by doing that.

    2. Lily in NYC*

      Ugh, it is just inexcusable not to get back to someone who has actually interviewed. I understand not contacting everyone who sends a resume, but not contacting someone who has interviewed is just so unprofessional. However, I wouldn’t analyze the tracking system – I don’t bother to update a candidate’s status in them unless they are completely rejected for a job.

      1. Calla*

        I know! Normally that would completely ruin my desire to work somewhere, but I have co-workers who either have worked at the company in the past or left to work there and they rave about how amazing it is, so apparently the HR just isn’t great about response times…

        Yeah, the only reason I consider the status at all is because they did update/close the other job I applied to around the same time. But I’ll just let it go!

    3. LAI*

      I wouldn’t contact them, but I wouldn’t give up yet either. I just got a job offer last week from a job that I had applied for in January!

  16. a regular, anon b/c paranoid*

    So, I’ve recently come to realize that I need to leave my current job. Though it’s a very sad and hard decision, I’ve been finding the resume/cover letter archives extremely helpful! Thanks, Alison – this is such an immense service you’re providing.

    (Wish me luck, guys!)

  17. Ash (the other one!)*

    Fingers crossed, interviewed for another position yesterday. They have a long timeline, though, which is bad because I have a feeling I will be fired (laid off?) in the next month or so…

    No job question today, but here’s a fun one:

    How much is your monthly budget for work clothes. I definitely spent way too much this month updating my wardrobe for spring/summer so I’m curious!

    1. New HR*

      I don’t really have a “monthly” budget, but every season I’ll spend $200-$400 updating my wardrobe (that could be new shoes, new pants, etc.). When it comes to work, I found that investing in quality, timeless pieces (like black trousers, or plain pumps in a neutral colour) that don’t go out of style is worth the extra money as they can last several years. I’ll then keep up with trends by buying far less expensive pieces to pair them with.

      The best thing I ever purchased was a plain black dress that fits me well. I’ve had it for 5 years and can dress it up or down based on the accessories I wear it with.

    2. Bend & Snap*

      Lately, early in the season I tend to spend $500-$1500 over a couple of months. Later in the season I taper off.

      BUT I have an infant and none of my old clothes fit. I don’t normally shop to that degree all at once.

    3. AndersonDarling*

      I used to work in the fashion realm, so I was always spending on new clothes. But now that I am in a regular office, I only pick up a piece now and then.

      I agree with New HR about the basics. I stopped buying the “in fashion” items because they go out of style in a season. No one is going to be wearing draped t-shirts in 5 months (I don’t know who is wearing them to work anyway, but the department stores think I should.)

      I have a great upscale resale shop that I go to a lot. I get pants and blazers in black, grey, or tan. I get bright tops to make things look fresh. Everything can be mixed with everything else. I like the resale shop because everything has already shrunk, so I’m not buying something that won’t be able to wear after I wash it.

      1. Bend & Snap*

        Ha…the department stores also think you should wear a button down unbuttoned half way with hot pants to the office.

      2. Persephone Mulberry*

        This is my strategy, too – neutral bottoms, bright/patterned/interesting tops. And upscale resale FTW.

    4. AMT*

      Oh, God. Don’t get me started. I’ve had put a moratorium on buying myself new work clothes. I probably went through a few hundred bucks a month in the last two months, which is a lot for me. But Banana Republic keeps having saaaaales…

    5. Mints*

      Work clothes–like zero dollars. Only if I ruin something
      Weekend clothes–like $100 / month average probably.

      I just want to buy all the cute summer things, and none are work appropriate

      1. Sunflower*

        Same. I haven’t been buying new work clothes so I’ve just been borrowing my roommates to liven my wardrobe up.

        I’m job searching and am trying to hold off buying anything big or nice until I get a new job. Sticking to mostly all sale items or thrift store since I’m letting my style and fashion go a bit since I’m getting more and more exhausted by my job. Hopefully I can reward myself soon!

      2. Fee*

        I spend virtually nothing at the moment. At OldJob there was no dress code, so I never had a ‘work wardrobe’ per se. When I left I also moved country, so I just brought enough ‘formal’ office wear to get me through interviews and figured I’d buy new gear depending on the workplace. Started NewJob within 3 weeks but as it was a short contract, I just got enough cheap pieces to get me through that period. Still there 18 months later and still reluctant to spend much on work clothes, I guess because ultimately I don’t see myself taking a permanent job in an environment like my current one (not super-corporate but definitely very conservative). Also after the moving process I swore to myself I would live more minimally and I’ve stuck to that to date. My overall wardrobe is probably a fifth, if not less, of what it used to be.

        I just repeated the initial process as it came into summer and rotate the same outfits constantly, depending on season. I’d say my co-workers can practically predict what I’m going to wear every day at this stage but I really don’t care. They say “dress for the job you want” but if I was to do that I think I’d be dressed too casually for my current job! It’s funny though, I’m the only woman on the team, but we had a female manager for about 6 months and I used to privately marvel at how vast her wardrobe must be as she repeated outfits so infrequently that I would actually notice when she wore the same thing twice, like Kate Middleton :) It did kinda make me feel a bit inferior; I really like fashion but you could never tell that in a million years if you only know me through work.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Ehhhh.. I don’t spend much on clothes at all, especially now that I can wear jeans to work. I mostly wear company t-shirts or polos with them. When I updated after the layoff, I went to Walmart and the department store outlet, so overall I probably spent $150 total.

      Recently, I’ve spent more on jackets and coats since I didn’t have any decent ones. Especially now that I ordered a good raincoat both for my UK trip and for the blustery fall weather here. Now I’m on a hunt for good comfy shoes I can walk in that aren’t sneakers.

    7. Lia*

      I recently traded a lot of t-shirts left over from high school (why was I holding on to decade old clothing??) for some very cute dresses and shrugs at a clothing swap. Entry fee was $10, and I got a voucher for every item I donated. (The money and any excess clothing went to a women’s shelter afterward). I highly suggest checking around your area for such a thing, or even organizing one yourself.

  18. B*

    Does anybody have any advice on how to just sit down and just WRITE a cover letter? I just finished my program on Monday and here I am putting off writing cover letters and not applying for jobs that I should be applying for. I get so anxious when I even think about opening up my cover letter/resume document to re-write it and edit it. Any advice on how I can get over this cover letter-induced anxiety??

    1. AMD*

      Write to a friend about why you’re excited about the job and it would be a good fit? You don’t have to send it, but it’ll help you to break out of overly formal language and figure out why you really think you’d be good at the job.

    2. Ash (the other one!)*

      Make a list before you write (like outlining before doing an essay). Brainstorm:

      Why do I want this job? Why do I want to work for this company? Have I engaged with this company in anyway before?

      What skills/experience are they looking for? What can I highlight that matches those skills?

      Do I have any specific circumstances I should mention/explain (e.g. changing fields, gap on resume). What about acknowledging something in the job description (e.g. one job I just applied for is part time and temporary, so I acknowledged that I understood that and was okay with it).

      Then, sit down and use that information in narrative —

      Dear Hiring Manager,

      Enclosed please find my resume for the XX position advertised on your website.

      I am passionate about X, Y, Z. I have long admired your organization for its work on A, B, C.

      etc. etc. etc.

    3. ArtsNerd*

      Things I did to cope with writing anxiety in school:

      -Talk my points into a voice recorder or video camera. Then transcribe them (no thinking! just typing!) Then edit from there.

      -Type on an old-school typewriter – can’t obsessively edit that single sentence over and over. Then transcribe.

      -Close your eyes and just open the document, and start typing content appropriate blather (eyes still closed) just to get the blank document gone.

      -I actually would email a friend with what I wanted to say about the topic, and even send it! (What a good friend) and then copy and paste that into my paper document.

      Really though, at the time I hadn’t realized how much anxiety was affecting my life. Therapy (and antidepressants for a while) have REALLY helped me with this. Just something to think about if you’re truly struggling.

    4. BB*

      It’s helpful to start with the easy parts and work on the hard parts later. That’s how I always wrote papers. The intro and ending were the easiest for me so I wrote the basis of them first. Then things that I knew I could easily talk about I went with. I left the hard parts for last and sometimes would walk away and them come back later.

    5. Colette*

      Give yourself a reward for finishing one (not necessarily sending it out) – maybe it’s watching an episode of your favorite show or turning the internet back on or going to the gym – i.e. something that you would rather do than write the cover letter but that you won’t let yourself do until you have a draft.

    6. AMT*

      I used to teach writing. Sometimes, I’d ask a student, “What are you trying to say?” And they’d give me a very eloquent explanation of what they were trying to put across. It’d usually be better than what they’d written down. Or if they were struggling to start, they’d be, like, “Wait! Let me write that! What did I just say?” So maybe it’d be a good idea to talk to a friend about why you’d be good at the job and have him/her jot down ideas while you talk.

    7. Jamie*

      I used to do this weird thing in that I’d write it as if I was my awesome former boss telling a peer why I’d be a good fit for this job. He was direct and not salesy…so I’d just write in his voice and then change the verbiage to make it first person and make sense.

      My hang up was I was really uncomfortable saying *I* was good at anything when I was newly on the market. Not because I didn’t believe it, but it always felt like bragging so I’d water it down until I was almost self-deprecating. This little trick helped me break that pattern.

      I have a lot of mental gymnastics to get me over my own neurosis.

      1. Eden*

        I agree. I tried to think of things bosses/co-workers have told me I’m good at, so it didn’t feel as much like bragging.

    8. summercamper*

      Try using some speech recognition software and just talking.

      I have a hard time sitting down in front of a computer screen and starting from scratch, but I’m a total blabbermouth. When I was in college and speech recognition software was still super-expensive, my best friend (who happened to have a significant physical disability and couldn’t type) took pity on me and granted me access to her top-of-the-line speech recognition software. Within 30 minutes I had a rough draft of my senior thesis – the difference between talking and typing was just the push I needed to get started. It also gave my writing a more conversational, informal tone – while I later edited it down, I needed to develop a lighter, less stilted writing style and it really helped.

  19. Jasminekam*

    I’ve been job searching for awhile. I received an email from a company I applied for saying they were interested in setting up a phone interview, and asked me to email days and times I am available. I replied almost immediately. That was Tuesday morning, and now it’s Friday and I haven’t heard from them. Is this weird? Should I follow up?

    1. ArtsNerd*

      Not weird- they’re likely collecting this same info from a bunch of candidates, and waiting to get more responses in before they wrangle a calendar together. Also, it’s just been 3 days. That isn’t a lot of time that’s passed in hiring-time. The person managing this is probably working on lots of other projects on top of your phone interview.

      1. Scotto*

        Agreed – as Alison always preaches, don’t follow up too much. If they want you, they’ll call you.

  20. a*

    I am currently at a company where upward mobility is very difficult – most assistants leave after the 3 year mark because there are no positions available.

    I’m currently at about 1.5 years and would love to continue to grow at the company. I recently heard a position may be created soon, which is very exciting. However, there is another assistant who has been at the company for 2.5 years, and I would even admit myself she is more qualified. We get along pretty well, and I would be thrilled (albeit a little jealous) if she was able to get the position.

    My boyfriend (ever the optimist) tells me I should still go for the position because “you never know.” I don’t want to get my hopes up about a job that I am 75% sure I would not end up getting, BUT I don’t want to be seen as less than the ambitious go-getter I really think I am!

    I would love to hear your thoughts and advice about my predicament. Is it worth getting my hopes up in order to appear ambitious?

    1. Kara Ayako*

      You can still apply but be realistic about it. If you interview well, it’ll open yourself up to other positions in the future–that’s a good thing.

    2. BB*

      Talk to your manager and express interest. You never know what the other assistant’s plan is and it’s not your job to decide who is more qualified or deserving of the position- that’s for the hiring manager to decide. The assistant could be looking elsewhere and have no interest. Definitely talk to your manager about the process since sometimes internal applications are different than externally applying

    3. Chocolate Teapot*

      Upward mobility is often difficult for assistants. I once had an argument with my then Boss about it.

      The thing that stands out here is if the position does materialise. From experience, there might be talk of setting up this new position, then for whatever reason, it doesn’t happen. Or that the intention is to bring in an external candidate and internal ones are not considered. Not that I am trying to shovel on the pessimism, but it’s worth being aware of.

      1. a*

        Yep, I’m completely aware it might never happen! I do know that they prefer to hire internally if this ever comes to fruition.

    4. Beti*

      Absolutely apply. The other person might have more experience but for any number of reasons you might be a better fit for the position. Management might assume you are going to leave at the three year mark like so many others and not consider of you for anything unless you show them otherwise. Good luck!

  21. BCW*

    About 2 months ago I started at a new company. Before I started, I wasn’t aware that your insurance doesn’t kick in for 90 days. Is there any way at this point (its been about 60 days) that I could convince my manager to let me get it started early. I don’t have any real NEED right now, but I just don’t like being without insurance. My company is very small, and we don’t even have an HR department, so I feel like it would be a fairly easy thing to do, but I don’t want to look bad asking. Any thoughts?

    1. KitKat*

      There might not be anything you can do. Many companies have a 90 day probationary period. Kind of a “okay, you’re actually cut out for this, here are the benefits” thing. I mean, it couldn’t hurt to talk to your boss about it, but don’t be surprised if he says no.

    2. Kasia*

      I’m pretty sure the insurance company wouldn’t let you anyways. Most don’t have open enrollment all the time, so you have to wait until the probationary period is up. It might not even be up to your boss.

    3. HAnon*

      You might be able to get it pushed up. My company’s normal policy is 90 days, but I was able to get it in 30…doesn’t hurt to ask. In the meantime, BCBS offers (not sure if this was affected by ACA or not) temporary/transitional plans that are specifically to cover you during life changes like this. I think mine was around $3/day or something like that…worth looking into. I think you have to pay upfront for however many days of coverage you need, and it cannot be more than 6 months. It didn’t pay squat towards ordinary visits or pharmacy, but would have covered a trip to the ER, which is what you really need…

    4. CTO*

      In my area, temporary insurance plans (30-90 days) are really inexpensive. The coverage isn’t always awesome, but at least you’re covered in case of an emergency during a gap.

    5. Annie O*

      Another option is individual short-term health insurance. Depending on need and budget, catastrophic may be a good option. Just in case.

    6. Jamie*

      With us it’s our deal with the insurance company, not something we could waive. 90 days until benefits kick in is really common.

    7. MaryMary*

      The waiting period for health insurance is set by the plan. Some employers will bend the rules, but most don’t (and could get in trouble for doing so if audited).

      Were you eligible for COBRA from your previous job? If you were, you should have received a notice regarding your COBRA eligibility, and you have 60 days from when you receive the notice to decide if you want to elect COBRA. If you left your previous job two months ago, you’re probably right around that 60 day mark, so you’ll have to decide quickly. Keep in mind, COBRA is usually pretty expensive. You could also look into an Obamacare policy, but by the time you sign up and get through their waiting period, you will probably have employer coverage again.

    8. EG*

      I think you’d be better off looking for temporary insurance for a month. At my small office our provider won’t waive the 90 day waiting period, and can’t because it could be seen as discriminatory toward those who didn’t get a shorter wait.

    9. Eden*

      While the company might have no control over it, I strongly agree with the maxim “it never hurts to ask.”

  22. Golden Yeti*

    I have just a curiosity question:

    If you are a hiring manager conducting interviews for a dysfunctional company, do you hire candidates who are also dysfunctional similarly to everyone else in the company? Or, do you hire a non-dysfunctional candidate who would probably butt heads with everyone and not end up staying very long?

    For example, if you know that Managers Jane, Bill, and Paul all hate change, do you hire Candidate A who also hates change (and therefore would fit right in), or do you hire Candidate B who likes to shake things up (but who would probably not get along with Jane, Bill, and Paul)?

    1. Jules*

      If the organization is set to change, they would probably hire Candidate B and let the games begin…

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      A good hiring manager will be thoughtful about who will do well there and who won’t. For instance, I used to have to hire people to work closely with someone who was brilliant but difficult. I absolutely screened for people with a thick skin who would stick around.

    3. BB*

      Well my organization is dysfunctional and I don’t know if they hire for fit at all. It’s kind of a joke around the office that people who are hired always have amazing credentials but never pan out to be great and there’s always something. It seems like they only hire on credentials alone because almost everyone who has been hired in the past 5 years has left within a year or two.

    4. Golden Yeti*

      Thanks for the feedback! My company is quite dysfunctional (high turnover), and I’ve wondered if I were the one doing the hiring, which way I would choose: the person who would conform to the dysfunction, or the person who would shine a light on it and try to make things better. You know the latter wouldn’t last, but the former isn’t really helpful, either, in the long run…

  23. Rayner*

    Uuuuurgh, flying home for a funeral next week. Joys of joy.

    Question one: I have an issue with one manager – I don’t have any enough projects on the go for this period of time to be able to be classified the way I want to be and I have a month yesterday to solve this problem. Thinking of emailing on Monday, with plans for three separate project ideas, and starting them this weekend anyway, and hoping they’ll approve it.

    Or it could get difficult.

    And I can’t believe I have just two months left in Finland! Seriously going to miss this place – it’s so beautiful here, and I feel like I’ve come home.

    Question two: Thanks to my grandfather’s death – not okay D: – I’ve come into some money and I’ve decided to take everybody’s advice on here! I decided that I will be travelling to do my Masters in a few years – my plan is to go home to England, work for two years to shore up enough money so I’ll be able to live comfortably, perhaps take a year off afterwards to travel, and then apply for University in Bergen or somewhere else.

    Does anyone here have any recommendations for great universities/travel spots? I’m looking to spend a few months darting around and doing everything so anywhere fun is good :D

    1. Aunt Vixen*

      My overseas Masters was in England, so I may not have anything useful for you in terms of recommending universities. But I’m sorry about your granddad.

      1. Rayner*

        Where was your Masters, by the way? My bachelors was at Bangor, Wales, and I’m contemplating a second Masters at York St John.

        1. Aunt Vixen*

          It was at the university I sometimes refer to as The Big O. :-) They do love them some US dollars there.

          1. fposte*

            Yeah, the earlier thread made me look at that MBA program–it looks to be quite the cash cow.

            1. fposte*

              Clarifying that I know you didn’t say that was the program you’re in, just that I looked at that because somebody mentioned it.

          1. Rayner*

            GODDAMNIT, THERE IT IS.

            Seriously, it’s like six degrees of separation with Bangor Uni. Every. Single. Person. that I speak to online or offline, knows someone who went to Bangor or went to Bangor or has a neighbour or who went to Bangor or their nurse went to Bangor.

            The WHOLE entire world is connected to someone who goes to Bangor or went to Bangor.

            And now it’s moving online too. GOD HELP ME.

            XD No, seriously, it just cracks me up. A lot. Bangor FTW!

            1. fposte*

              That is hilarious. What an odd choice for the crossroads of the world!

              I was in Neuadd Rathbone back when it was a residence hall, on the second floor, with a lovely view of the countryside. Wish I’d gotten a sweatshirt back when it was the full University College–Coleg Prifysgol y Gogledd Cymru would be a great thing to have on a shirt in the Midwestern US.

      1. Beti*

        We finished up our first UK trip last spring in Edinburgh. We were only there for a few days but it seemed like a fun town. And Armstrong’s? Holy vintage treasure chest, Batman!

        1. Blue Anne*

          Oh my god, Armstrong’s is amazing. If you only found one, you should know for the next time you’re here that there are actually three or four locations across the city, and all of them are treasure troves.

          1. Beti*

            I do know. And it’s probably just as well I only made it to the one. By that time, I didn’t really have much spare room in mys suitcases. We’ll be back though. Scotland was lovely!

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Edinburgh, Glasgow, York – I would love to be live in any of them. My sympathies for your Grandad.

  24. CanadianWriter*

    I’m using my college education to make huge stacks of cash! I’m now writing articles about hotels and stuff for some American company. Zero research required! Spelling words wrong on purpose is really weird, though.

    1. C average*

      For about two seconds I thought this was spam. Make huge stacks of cash! Zero research required!

      1. Stephanie*

        Like those spam Facebook posts? “My aunt makes $13,000 a month on the side,,,….just click this link!!!!”

      1. CanadianWriter*

        Kind of by accident, actually. I hate non fiction and this is a first for me.

    2. Monodon monoceros*

      Ha, I made the spelling move the other way, from the US to an org in Europe whose business language is British English. It’s so weird! It’s especially weird when I get text from US colleagues that I have to “fix” to add u’s (colour, harbour) and change z’s to s’s (expertise, etc.) It is weird!

    3. Elizabeth West*

      LOL!
      I’ve been reading so many UK websites while trip planning that I’m starting to think American English looks wrong. I’ve noticed myself using words like “whilst” and “whinge” also.

  25. Trixie*

    Recently the interview question of “Why you’re the best candidate for this job” was discussed. Aside from all the points mentioned about why this is a poorly worded question. I was also considering overall “fit” and is this a person that would pass the airport/roadtrip test: could you spend two hours somewhere with this person for two hours and pass the time pleasantly for lack of a better word.

  26. KarmaKicks*

    I’ve been with my company for over 15 years, but it’s not as stable as it used to be, so I’ve been casually looking for a new job. I applied for a position in February and heard back yesterday that they want me to come in and take a secretary test on Monday, yay! If I pass that, I go back for an interview on Friday.

    I have two questions that are quite different.

    Does anyone have a good practice site for Word and Excel? I use them everyday, but there are a few things I need to brush up on.

    Second question…I found out I was pregnant after I applied and I’m kind of up in the air about changing jobs in the middle of this. Obviously I don’t have an offer of any sort, but thinking ahead, if this job pans out, does anyone have a tip about how to handle this? I guess I’m mainly concerned about changing insurances (although my current job and this one use the same company). I have one child, but he’s 20, so my job situation was vastly different at that point in my life.

  27. Random Reader*

    Shout out from Chicago! Quick question for you guys: I’m the oldest child in my family and I’m having difficulties… setting boundaries with my mom? That sounds more intense than what I’m looking for.

    About two years ago, I lost my brother in an accident that really messed up my family. As someone who’s turning 26 soon, I need to figure out what are appropriate boundaries to have as someone who’s an adult and living on their own not in the same state as my family. My mom really appreciates when I call her, but she tends to want more visits and phone calls than I have time for. I guess I just don’t know how much I should be devoting to being a child/sister and how much of me should be not a part of my family.

    Sorry for the stream of conciousness!

    1. Aunt Vixen*

      I don’t have anything helpful boundary-with-your-folks-wise, but I’m very sorry for your loss.

    2. cuppa*

      No advice, just commiseration. I love my mom, but she’s clingy… I think she’s lonely and sad and just won’t admit it. Other than finding her a gentleman friend, I don’t really know what to do… she’s very sensitive and I know that saying something to her will absolutely break her heart.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I had to tell my old-fashioned thinking father this. He was shocked. And I think he went on to find a companion- I’ll never be 100% sure.

        I probably could have used a better approach. But I still believe that it was the right thing to let him know that if he found someone to be a companion it was okay with me.

        But yeah, when I said that he was really flipping surprised but I didn’t get any arguing/upset over it.

    3. Rayner*

      Perhaps set up a time together that’s a regular phone date, rather than dealing with lots of calls at random times. Set aside two hours on a weekend to devote to your parent/or an afternoon to visit once/twice a month, and explain to her that you can’t do phone all the time during the week and what your work/financial situation means in terms of visits etc.

      Other than that, it’s just a case of working out what your personal limits are (I know that I can’t take more than one phone call home a week or I get bored and frustrated), and then enlisting your younger siblings to share the burden. If you all visited once a month, she might have one of you a week (depending on how many there are of you) or slightly less.

      And it’s not that you’re being ‘not part of the family’. You’re growing up, creating your own space and home, and need a little distance from your family.

      I’m trying to tell myself the same thing, but I fled a thousand miles away to prove the point to myself. Don’t generally recommend it XD

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I was going to suggest a regular phone call also. That will give your mom something to look forward to and also let her know that you do care. And it’s easier than random calls.

        I’m sorry about your brother. :(

    4. ser4ph1m*

      I highly recommend the book “Boundaries” by Cloud & Townsend. It does come from a Christian background, but the tips on dealing with people and what healthy boundaries look like are AWESOME. That book has seriously helped me with creating some space with my mom while also helping lessen my own stress of the situation.

      1. Just thought of another one...*

        I highly recommend this book as well. I’m in a very (almost eerie) similiar position with my mom – she’s divorced, lives in a small town and doesn’t have any friends outside of work. I’m her oldest AND only daughter (it really is a curse!).

        When I moved several hours away last year, she completely freaked out and made my life miserable for several months. She also hates my boyfriend. I started going to counseling because of it. The best recommendations I got from my counselor were to 1.) live my life exactly the way that I wanted to, without apologies and 2.) to set very clear boundaries when she did come to visit. For instance, if she started “acting out” while visiting, I was to remain calm until her tantrum was finished and then calmly continue with our plans.

        1. Just thought of another one...*

          I forgot to mention/remind that death has different effects on everyone. My father passed away a few years (well after my mom and him divorced), but they were still on good terms. I don’t know if she will ever really “get over” his death. :(

    5. Sunflower*

      I haven’t lost a family member (and I live about 30 minutes from my mom) but I’m having a lot of trouble setting boundaries with my mother(I’m 25). My mother has openly stated she wants me to move home(even though she begged me to move out 6 months ago) and will often attribute my not spending as much time with her as not loving her (I go home once a week). I’ve contemplated moving out of state to make things easier(I live in Philly and would love to move to Chicago- she would freak out)

      My best advice would be 1. If you can afford a therapist, consider going to one. I started and feel like I have gotten much better at setting boundaries with my mother than I was before. It’s helped me to separate her from ‘my mother’ and to look at her as a person. In addition to losing a son, she is also just dealing with her kids growing up and being their own adults. There is no perfect line of what is enough and what isn’t and every family is different. My roommate’s mom calls her 3 times a day- my roommate is fine with it (It would drive me nuts). Maybe if you send her something that doesn’t take a lot of time, like a funny article or video every so often, she won’t need as much extensive attention from you.

      This is still probably my biggest personal struggle(and I’m dealing more with my mother trying to manipulate me into doing things) so I’m still figuring out what is right for me and it might not be what’s right for you so I’d urge you to see if you can even do a few counseling sessions. It’s important to try to look at your mother as a person, not just your mother, and realize that just because she needs this, doesn’t mean it’s right or you have to do it.

      Good luck, I obviously know how difficult it is to say no!

    6. Manders*

      I talked with my parents before I left for college, and we decided that I would call them once per week. That’s worked really well, and I have continued doing it now that I’m out of school. It’s enough time between calls that we’ll have done/read/seen something interesting in the interim to talk about, but not so infrequent that my mom will start to worry about my safety. If I call more frequently than that, it’s usually for a quick question and not a long conversation.

      Visiting is trickier, because I live 3,000 miles away and going home is expensive and time-consuming. I think it depends on how far away you are and how much time you can devote to travelling without destroying your social life in your current city. Even if it’s easy to see your folks on weekends, you’ll be happier if you set some time aside for local friends.

    7. LMW*

      My mom was like that when I was in my early and mid twenties too, but she’s backed off quite a bit as she’s gotten more used to me being out on my own. (I still drive out to see them a few times a month though, and we usually talk about two times a week).

      When I was in college it really bothered me because she would always call at the worst times and it was hard to get her off the phone. She just didn’t understand that I was busy…but somewhere along the line my thinking shifted. My mom is one of my favorite people and she’s not going to be around forever, and not necessarily going to be healthy or mentally coherent forever (we went through long, drawn out Alzheimers battles with both my grandmas) so I should enjoy her company while it’s available. Thinking of it that way helped shift my thinking from “Ugh, mom again” to “Oh, it’s Mom! I need to tell her about [random thing that no one else would care about]”

    8. Jamie*

      Everyone is so different in what they need/want out of communicating.

      When my parents were alive I spoke with my dad daily. I know that’s weird, but it would typically just be once a day and pretty short with superficial topics. He wasn’t an emotionally expressive guy but it made him happy to hear from me once a day so he’d know I was still alive and okay. (A bit of a worrier.)

      I spoke to my mom a couple of times a week, usually a lot longer. Usually just chatty stuff, but more serious discussions when something was bothering me.

      The danger for people like me who have lost parents is to advise everyone to speak to theirs as much as possible, but you don’t need a psyche degree to know that’s because we wish we could.

      So my bias aside (as much as possible) your parents aren’t your friends or buddies…if they need you to call more often try to make the effort. And if it’s not always the most interesting thing you could be doing try to remember that going to our school functions, recitals, or spending Saturdays sitting in waiting rooms of orthodontists and daily listening to us blather on and on about who is talking to whom, and which cute boy is causing us distress this week, or listneing to the same damn song over and over because you just can’t get that step right in your pom routine. Spending a fortune not just on the stuff they were legally obligated to provide like food and shelter – but prom, private tutors, piano lessons, dance class, little league, cheer camp…canopy bed which just makes it harder to clean but if it makes us feel like a princess…

      You get the idea. Life is a give and take and for people who spent most of their sacrificing their own interests so they could indulge yours and always putting your well being above their own, a phone call isn’t that big a price to pay.

      Obviously this doesn’t apply to those with toxic parents. No parent is perfect, but if there are issues where contact with someone isn’t good for your mental well being that’s a completely different story and only you can determine what is healthy for you – and sometimes that means zero contact. I’m talking about the imperfect and sometimes annoying parents whose mistakes weren’t for lack of trying…and who mean well even if they are colossal pains in the ass about it.

      1. fposte*

        I loved my dad dearly and miss him very much. But he really was an early prototype of the helicopter parent, and I developed the once-a-week call plan in self-defense. I do regret that I didn’t change the habit once he became frail, but it was a necessary thing in the early days.

      2. Eden*

        I was in the middle of my divorce when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She was calling every day practically in an effort to make me reconsider (she loved my ex). I would see her name on caller ID and let it go to voicemail. I only had 6 months with her after the diagnosis, and when she passed, I bitterly regretted not picking up the phone. Worst daughter ever.

        With some time and distance, I can see though that it was okay. We talked frequently, once a week or so, and we had a great relationship. I couldn’t have known what was coming, and while there still are some things I regret not doing with her, I have forgiven myself for avoiding her calls during that time.

        I totally agree with Jamie, that my bias will tell you to talk all the time, but the reality is that you need to figure out how much contact you feel comfortable with. If you’re pushed into more, it’ll feel coerced and won’t be as satisfying.

    9. TL*

      I’m seconding the “set a phone time every week and stick to it.” It’ll help your mom feel more secure if she knows you always have time for her Sunday at 3 pm or whatever and it’ll help you set a clear easy boundary.

      If she calls at other times, just use something along these lines: “Oh, hey Mom, what’s up…. Oh, that’s great/interesting/sad…Okay, well I’m busy now but I’m really looking forward to talking to you on Sunday!”

      With my mom, I straight up don’t answer at certain times. (Anytime before 10 am, if I’m out late at night; if she calls more than X number of times in a certain time period.) I make it very clear that I always listen to voicemails and read texts, so if it’s an emergency I’ll know. But I’ve also been clear that I’m not rewarding certain behaviors. (Like calling me at 7 am. No.)

    10. Dang*

      I’m so sorry about your loss. I’m sure this complicates your relationship and boundary settling difficulties a great deal!

      I’m an only child and I have a similar problem. Right now I live with my parents so I’ve been struggling with how to draw boundaries with them (mostly my mom) while I’m in there house. It’s a challenge. But it’s always been a challenge. I lived a plane ride away for a few years and I felt like I was constantly flying home and stressed out about stepping on anyone’s toes.

      So I haven’t figured it out, obviously, but I think the idea of having a phone schedule to stick to is a good one. As far as how much of your time should be spent as a daughter/family member, how much is good for you? How much contact do you want? It will likely never be enough for your mom (who probably would love to see you every day but we know that isn’t feasible!) but starting with what YOU’RE comfortable with is totally key.

      1. Dang*

        OMG I can’t believe I wrote ‘in there house.’ Horrible. I have Friday-itis.

    11. Anonsie*

      Eh, talk to her when you want to, don’t when you don’t. There isn’t some set rule about how much an adult is allowed to or should be interacting with their parents still– do what you want.

      Unless she’s trying to guilt or penalize you when you don’t have time/don’t want to have a long phone call, in which case I don’t have any advice. I have the opposite problem with my mom where she never seems to want to talk to me or visit. Recently I’ve taken to leaving her voicemails where I dramatically sing AND THE CAT’S IN THE CRADLE AND THE SILVER SPOON because she hates that song and I think I’m funny… And is also probably why she doesn’t wanna talk to me.

    12. Kara Ayako*

      I live VERY far from my parents (it takes me about ten hours by plane with layovers to get home). When I first moved (I’m also the eldest), my mom would call me randomly at all sorts of times upset that I never called and wasn’t excited to speak to her when she did. So we had to have a heart to heart that if she calls randomly and often then I generally won’t be able to chat with her like she wants me to. Instead, we set up weekly calls. Now I call every Sunday. She gets a call to look forward to, I don’t get any drive-by guilt trips, and everyone’s happier. We’ve been operating like this for over 10 years, and it works well.

      Visits (because of the distance) are tremendously tough, but we, as a family, have committed to at least having Thanksgiving together every year. It’s kind of the same thing as the phone calls. Because we have a plan and we know it’s coming up, we all have something to look forward to.

    13. Not So NewReader*

      First thing to tell yourself is “I can’t fix this.” Nor should you. You can only process your own grief/sadness you cannot process other people’s grief for them.

      I think that is the hardest loss when a parent loses a child. There are support groups, grief counseling and all kinds of stuff to consider. But you can’t do it for her. At some point you might need to say that “If I could cry for you, I would. But you have to shed your own tears. I can only stand beside you.”

      Just my opinion that it takes two years to get out from the heavy, debilitating grief after a loss. I know with in cases where a spouse dies the statistics show for the next two years the likelihood of the remaining spouse dying is very high. This pattern holds across any demographic. This is how powerful grief is. It kills.

      Since losing a child, to me at any rate, is worse, I cannot imagine what it is like for your mom. But. She has made it this far. YAH!
      Definitely set your boundaries, as others have said. “Mom, I will call you ever Sunday at 2.” Or whatever. When you call don’t be afraid to bring up things such as “Mom, what have you done to help yourself this week?”
      Lots of stuff assists in processing grief such as good diet, exercise, counseling, and activities. She can find something to do with her time. Just my guess, but her high reliance on you could indicate that she is having a hard time filling up her days. Encourage her to find something that interests her and get involved.
      My mother passed when I was in my early twenties and had just gotten married. I had no clue what it was like to be a spouse who had lost their partner. So I encouraged my dad to talk to other men his age who had lost their wives. I could not be my father’s peer. Nor can you be a peer to your mother. Please remember that and encourage her to seek numerous resources in her journey of processing her pain. (Some losses are so massive that it takes the support of many people. No way can you do this on your own. No way.)

      My aunt lost her adult daughter (my cousin). We talked every day. I did not mind at all. But the basic conversation followed
      this pattern: How did things go yesterday with your plans for the day? And what are your plans today? (She had lots and lots to do so there was quite a range of topics. She was actually interesting to talk with.) What was key here was the expectation that there was a daily action plan and the actions were actually done.

      One final comment: When being around your family feels like drowning, then you have gotten waaay too involved in their lives and you need to reclaim your own. I never once felt like I was drowning with my aunt’s daily calls. Just the opposite. I couldn’t wait to talk to her.

      I am sorry for your loss.

  28. TJ*

    Any advice on how to diplomatically speak to my manager about a coworker who’s slow pace of work is affecting the team? The way our daily workflow is structured, everything must be approved by one person, creating a backlog and high turnaround times. This then leads to a lot of frustration and inefficiency within the team.

    1. Jules*

      If all else fail, chart it as workflow and talk about the bottle neck and suggest what could be done to fix it? Don’t talk about the person, it’s not helpful. Talk about the work.

      1. TJ*

        Thanks – good points. It’s something that I think could be easily remedied with a few workflow tweaks, so I’ll plan to keep the focus on that, not on the individual.

    2. ClaireS*

      This is definitely something to bring to your manager. Ask for advice on how to deal with the challenging process; don’t focus on how slow the person is, talk about the roadblock as a process. “Projects are often held up because they all need to be approved by Jane. This becomes a roadblock and slows things down considerably. Is there a way we can revisit the approval process or do you have another recommendation on how we can get past this roadblock?”

  29. Jules*

    I am honestly struggling with my project mgmt. But I hope by faking it, I would make though this rather difficult time.. I know it’s partly my mental issues but for the love of everything else, why can’t everyone be pro-active? I thought that it’s an inbuilt feature. Boy was I in for a surprise..

    One day at a time…

  30. Stephanie*

    Hi everyone! Two (related) questions about keeping my skills fresh while I job search.

    1. I’m looking to bolster my programming skills. Not trying to get a programmer role, but I thought it could be useful to say I have a familiarity with languages. In college, I mostly used MATLAB or Excel, but am looking to learn other languages. I’m looking at Python or C/C++. Would MOOCs/self-directed learning be sufficient for this? Or it would look more legitimate to take the class at a community college (or even the local university)?

    2. I’m looking for more substantial volunteer experience. I’m in a technical field and trying to find related volunteer work. I currently volunteer as a docent at the science museum, which is fine, but the museum’s so overstaffed with volunteers (and regular staff) that I don’t have a lot to do. Closest things I can find usually relate to STEM advocacy, which is ok, but usually falls into the area of educational policy. I’m thinking along the lines of FIRST Robotics–I volunteered with a HS robotics team and was able to get some accomplishments with that (but it’s only during certain times of the year). Anyone know of anything along those lines?

    1. KitKat*

      I don’t know if this is quite what you’re looking for, but CodeAcademy is a great resource I’ve poked around in. Maybe you can find something useful in there? I know they delve into Python a bit.

      1. Stephanie*

        Doing that right now, actually! It’s been really helpful. I just wasn’t sure if that looked less legit than taking it at State U.

        1. KitKat*

          I feel like anything self-taught will always look “less legit”, but if the skill is there, a reasonable hiring manager shouldn’t be that prejudiced.

    2. fposte*

      Lynda.com also has some programming (including Python) resources, though they won’t carry as much resume weight as an actual course.

    3. The Real Ash*

      In my metro area, we have a computer education-oriented non-profit organization that has two types of roles. One is being a teacher for people who have no experience with computers; you’d teach them basic things like how to use a word processing program, how to type, how to use the Internet, etc. The other role is for cleaning, rebuilding, refurbishing, etc. donated computers to give to low-income people. You should see if there is something similar in your area.

    4. the_scientist*

      I’m doing this as well- I use SAS/SPSS but am using CodeAcademy and Learning Python the Hard Way (I think?) to learn some Python. My first real exposure to programming languages was learning SAS in grad school and while I like what I can *do* with it; I don’t find it intuitive. I’m hoping that adding a general programming language will make coding a bit more intuitive for me. Also gives me a way to exercise my brain while I’m stagnating at my job and unsuccessfully searching for a new one. 10 job applications, zero interviews. woo.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, exactly. I can do some coding, but I’ve never found it intuitive and always write the clunkiest code.

        I took an operations research class and that’s helped a lot, actually. We don’t do a lot of coding, but learning the math’s helped me with the logical aspects of coding.

    5. Brett*

      Python the Hard Way.
      It will take you several months to complete, but I think it is the best self-guided curriculum. (Actually, I teach python courses and it is better than my curriculum, but doesn’t fit for a classroom setting.)

      Volunteering: Find a Code for America brigade or if you are near a city with a current fellowship deployment, contact the fellows. FIRST Robotics still needs lots of volunteers.

    6. KSM*

      There are two great programming MOOCs I would recommend, both on the website edx.org:

      CS50x: intro to programming for non-major, lots of C, touches on lots of things. It’s from Harvard, by David Malan, runs all year (until end of December) untimed (so long as you completed by Dec). It has a VERY helpful system.

      6.00.x (MIT): Python-focused. It is timed (you have a semester) and has a followup on data structure (6.0.2x or something like that). You will probably have to wait until Fall to take it again, but I encourage you to check it out. Far drier, a lot less help (because Malan is super into things like creating a subreddit for his course and the MIT profs, less so), but more thorough about the language you’ll be dealing with (Python) and much more traditional in its outlook–it is for people who are presumed to be entering the field, unlike CS50x.

      I took 6.00.x and enjoyed it (although I did find the last bit, which introduces object-oriented programming, to be a bit rushed). I’m taking CS50x and enjoying it.

    7. KSM*

      Oh, re: MOOCs and programming — I understand that you might be in the non-T aspects of STEM (science, engineering, mathematics). Is that so?

      If it is, I recommend Python a lot; it has a really solid userbase in the STEM community (thanks to MathPy and Matplotlib, although this userbase is contributing to the split between Python 2 and Python 3, whiiich is quite a rift) but it’s broad enough that it can be used for non-data-crunching reasons (websites, games like EVE Online, version control systems).

      That said, Python (even with libraries) won’t be as feature-complete as Mathlab for specific STEM purposes.

  31. Katie the Fed*

    Hi everyone!

    Can I ask a wedding question? I finally found a dress I liked and that is pretty flattering on me. It accentuates my hourglass and plays down my big old butt.

    Now, I know I should order it at the current size, but I’m doing P90X and am trying to tone up and lose weight.

    If I lose 2-3 sizes, can a dress be fitted for that kind of loss? Obviously I’d get a good tailor for it.

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      I used to work in wedding dress sales.

      I must urge you in the strongest possible terms to order the dress for the body you have. Something like 75% of women are working out and trying to lose weight for their dresses and not many of them achieve it. A dress can indeed be taken in a bit, but it is going to be a MAJOR problem if it is 3 sizes too small. Wedding dresses are sized differently from regular dresses to begin with. A good seamstress will be able to take it in quite a lot, but if you lose more than about 4 sizes, there will be significant restructuring of the dress itself.

      Many boutiques will have you sign a waiver stating that you know you measure at X size and are choosing to purchase Y size instead and will not pitch a blue fit when it doesn’t fit. It happens. A LOT.

    2. AdAgencyChick*

      It can — it’s crazy what those Kleinfeld ladies do on Say Yes to the Dress sometimes!

      Just make sure your last fitting is close to your wedding date. Don’t be like me and lose MORE weight after you’ve had it fitted. (Not my fault — I got sick and couldn’t eat for a week — but to this day I’m still sad about how my wedding photos show me in a dress that isn’t at all the well-fitted look I was going for.)

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        And — what Diet Coke Addict said. Sizing down is FAR easier than sizing up.

    3. Diet Coke Addict*

      More questions! 1. When is the wedding? 2. What is the lead time on the dress? 3. How involved is the dress structurally–would there be a major component to fix (like an intricate skirt or corset back)? All of these are big important questions.

      So yes, a dress can usually be taken in about 2 sizes (roughly, depending) without damaging the structure of the dress. But it is extremely difficult to let out a dress except for a few things (hems, sleeves). There is very little seam allowance in wedding gowns.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        OK, I am DEFINITELY going to order for the body I have now – I wouldn’t risk it to that extent.

        Wedding is in mid-October. If I order the dress this weekend, it’ll arrive mid-August so that gives me two months for alterations.

        It’s not terrible complex – lace with a bit of ruching. God bless ruching is all I can say.

        1. Diet Coke Addict*

          You should be fine! Ordering two or three sizes down “to lose weight for” is probably THE most common thing dress salespeople hear, and lots of times it ends in sadness. Be careful that you find a good seamstress or tailor, especially with lace, which can be tricky. But you should be fine.

    4. Aunt Vixen*

      What kind of timeline are we looking at? When is the wedding, when is the dress coming, who’s doing the alterations? (Can we see a link to the dress – is it elaborate or less so?)

    5. Chocolate Teapot*

      I know nothing about weddings, but I do know that alterations can depend on the dress (and technical ability of the person doing the alterations). For example, if there is beading or lace overlay or complicated seams, it might not look right after it’s been taken in.

    6. Liz in a Library*

      My wedding dress was misordered by the shop and arrived last minute, about 4 sizes too large. It took a lot of altering and would have been pretty expensive, but it looked great and not at all like it had been altered down so much.

    7. AndersonDarling*

      I am a dressmaker on the side and I had a friend bring me a bridesmaid’s dress to take down 2 sizes. It was so constructed with boning and lining that it took a whole day to do right. I would have charged $80 if it was a client.
      You can probably find someone to do the alterations, but you may end up paying more for the alterations than for the dress.

      And watch out if there is a pattern to the fabric, taking out 2-4 inches will change the overall look.

      1. cuppa*

        I think I got hosed on alterations — I got charged $95 to move a snap an inch over and to do a bustle….

      2. Katie the Fed*

        OK thanks! I think a size is about 10-15 pounds so if I lose 30 pounds that’ll be two sizes.

        1. GigglyPuff*

          Just a word of warning from someone who has lost some weight. You might not lose it from where you want to, when I first started working out, I knew I was losing weight, but it wasn’t until we actually looked at my measurement progress, and compared the updates, realized it was all in the thighs! In total, I lost like 8 inches off both my thighs before I really started losing it anywhere else, which I know is awesome, but at the same time, I was like “I could care less about my friggin’ thighs right now, I want this belly fat gone!”

          But good luck!

          1. Katie the Fed*

            I usually lose in my belly and butt. Luckily I can usually keep the girls. My arm fat holds on to the bitter end.

            1. GigglyPuff*

              Nice. One of the next things to go, were my girls and I was so friggin’ happy, since most people told me, it’s not that usual to lose fat off your breasts. Went down an entire cup size, I almost cried in the dressing room, it was so awesome.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        My sister had asked me and her friend to be co-maid/matrons of honor at her wedding. The designer dress she picked 1) was a size too big for me (I swam in it), and 2) was a cool lavender, which I look HIDEOUS in.

        I took it to a seamstress and because of the way it was constructed, she told me she would have to charge almost as much as the dress was worth to alter it. So I gave it to my mother to return and bought something of my own, and I did the guest book instead. Which was fine–she had no one to do that so it worked out.

        Her friend, who had blond hair and a much bigger front than me, looked fabulous in the dress. :)

        1. Algae*

          Wait – because the dress didn’t fit, you were no longer a bridesmaid? Was that your choice or the Bride’s?

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I told her it didn’t fit, and I didn’t have anything that color to wear. She suggested I do the guest book. I was happy to do it because I didn’t want to be her co-maid of honor–we lived too far from each other.

    8. Jubilance*

      By the dress at your current size – it’s always easier to take in than to let out. If they have to take it in a lot it may be more costly but at least you know you have something that fits well.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I promise you guys I’ll order it at the current size – I said that up above because it’s been drilled into my head plenty :)

    9. Celeste*

      Is there an alterations person at your bridal salon? She can look at the dress you want and talk about the alteration options.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        She didn’t seem too on her game. I’ll probably take the dress to a local seamstress/tailor. We have a few good ones in this area.

        1. Littlemoose*

          I assume you’re not in the St Louis area – I know a fabulous wedding dress tailor if so.

      1. Mints*

        I know! I know this is cultural, but big butt was always up there with big boobs in “dream bodies” for me growing up.
        Nicki Mnaj, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce = body idols for people I know

        Sorry that was a huge tangent

  32. meesh*

    I’m about to accept a job without ever seeing their offices. Is that really strange? Its a huge TV network. I don’t think there would be any surprises there.

    The day of my original interview, President Obama had the NYC block under lockdown LOL

    1. Colette*

      I don’t see that as a big issue due to the circumstances. (If they wanted to meet you elsewhere for interview without an explanation, that would be a warning sign.)

    2. Beti*

      Can you make an appointment prior to accepting, just for a quick ten minute tour? I’d certainly want to see my future workplace before agreeing to spend 40+ hours a week there. I shouldn’t think that would be a huge imposition or considered unreasonable.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I could be off-base here but I wouldn’t be looking at an office to see the office itself. I’d be watching the people. What are they doing? How are they interacting with each other?

    4. Cautionary tail*

      I once accepted a job without seeing the office first. The interview was at a coffee shop in a different town and even though I asked for an office tour was told that it was inconvenient and the hiring manager was headed somewhere else.

      Imagine my surprise when in 2009 on my first day I walked in and saw WWII steel desks with WWII chairs, cabinets, etc. Its a great testimonial to the quality of that 70 year old furniture, and a miserable testimonial to the miserable company that still used it. The building, the company, and everything else about it was miserable. I no longer work there.

  33. New HR*

    I recently started working for a software start up that is starting to move out of the “start-up” phase and is gaining employees fast. My role is to establish a formal HR department.

    One of the challenges we’re facing right now is creating an effective on-boarding process for new employees without bogging them down in paperwork and process. (Our CEO is working hard to avoid putting in more process than necessary) Our company is aiming to have a culture similar to that of Netflix, Zappos, and Google where there is a lot of trust in employees and not a lot of hard and fast rules.

    My question is…does anyone have any advice on things to include in an effective on-boarding process?

    Currently, we have an intro with our CEO where he explains the mission behind our company and why he started it. New hires have a sit down with their manager to talk about what they’re doing and are assigned tasks to get started on (the level of detail in these meetings depends on what they were hired to do, and who their manager is) . They receive standard payroll and benefits forms, and their manager takes them out for lunch at one of the nearby restaurants.

    1. Jules*

      Create a standard on boarding checklist for managers to do when the new person comes in. Elementary I know but useful for managers who has not on board anyone for years.

    2. OriginalYup*

      I love checklists, agendas, and buddy systems (aka shadowing).

      An onboarding process I went thru that I really liked went as follows:

      The first day was all scheduled out for me: filling out HR paperwork, an office tour (bathrooms! supply closet!), meeting everyone in my dept, IT basics (logging into all the systems to test your user id, setting up a vm greeting), etc.

      The rest of the first week as a semi-scheduled structure where I met with reps from each dept/project who gave me a quick overview of the work and some resources (reports, readings, etc). The rest of the month were weekly check-ins with my boss and set times, a few short online courses I was expected to complete by Day 30, my first project and team meetings, and side-by-side working rotations where I would sit with different people to learn how a given task was performed. At the end of the first month, my boss and I sat down and mapped out my next 30/60/90 days as a roadmap for what I should be working on and what needed to be accomplished.

  34. Blue Anne*

    I’m currently at a tiny company whose HR function is covered by a freelancer. Our old one retired recently, so the new one is in the office today having one-on-ones to get to know us.

    We had a long conversation that was good and productive. Upon her asking I mentioned that yes, I am looking for other jobs, although not with any sense of urgency. She was totally unsurprised and at that point actually mentioned that, you know, she tended to know a lot of people who were hiring… and of course it would be a conflict of interest for her to help me get hired away from this current company, but…

    I’m really not sure what I think about that. I’m usually enthusiastic about any offer of help or networking, but from this source I just… yurgh. I dunno. More to the point, the fact that she would offer even while mentioning the conflict of interest gives me some concerns about her professional integrity. If she were in any other position, I might mention a concern like that to my manager, but because it’s sensitive for me, I’m not sure what to do.

    Anyone have thoughts? Am I just being way too uptight here?

    1. The Real Ash*

      I personally think you are being too uptight. She admitted that there was a conflict of interest and is leaving it up to you to decide. Has she actively tried to poach you from your company? Has she given out your resume to anyone? Have she actually done anything unethical or underhanded? If not, I wouldn’t mention it to your manager at all, because to me, that would fall under the definition of tattling. If you are uncomfortable using her as a resource, then don’t. If you don’t really mind, then just have her give you a heads up about things, so that you are still doing all of the contacting and the work, and she is only just giving you helpful information.

    2. Prickly Pear*

      I think your yrurgh response was the correct one. Maybe because I’m currently embroiled in office politics, but I would feel like that’s a big ol’ setup for management to find out everyone’s ‘loyalty’.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Don’t take the bait. And don’t mention it to your manager.

      Take the high road on both sides of this question.

      Telling the manager does nothing. You could have been the only one she said it to. He may know that she does this and is not worried about it. Or she might be helping him get a new job also.
      Not worth getting involved in.

  35. HAnon*

    I want to vent on the topic of gift giving in the office. One of our coworkers (a manager for another department) is pregnant, and the team organized an in-office baby shower for her, complete with decorations and cupcakes, which was perfectly lovely. However, the pregnant manager “hinted” that she wanted a particular gift — costing $500. We all received an email from one of the shower organizers asking for “donations” to the gift, and I did not respond because 1) I do not know the manager very well 2) I do not have any extra funds at my disposal, as my income is tight right now. I did, however, write the pregnant manager a note of congratulations and told her how much I enjoyed having her as a colleague and best wishes during this time, etc… I found out at the baby shower that there was a card passed around prior to that only the gift givers had signed. Essentially, they presented the present with a card stating who had donated money to the gift (which was fully paid for), while the people who had not donated money stood there awkwardly holding cupcakes (me and maybe another person or two). It felt uncomfortable on a number of levels. I felt like I was being singled out for not giving money to the gift by omission of my name on the card, the underlings ended up funding the manager’s expensive gift out of their own meager paychecks, and no one commented on it like it was out of the ordinary…anyone else think differently, or am I overreacting?

    1. Blue Anne*

      Yeeesh. Yeah, that’s uncomfortable and not okay. At the very least, even if donations were asked for, *everyone* should have been given the opportunity to sign the card.

      I’m not sure if there’s anything to do about it, though. :(

    2. Sascha*

      Ugh, I would have been very irritated but probably would not do anything about it…I don’t like conflict to begin with and I’m not sure what can be done in this situation. That was very rude and thoughtless on a lot of people’s parts.

      And a gift that was $500??? What did she want? Like a stroller or something??

    3. Who are you?*

      I don’t think you’re overreacting. The school my kids attend just had to change the gift giving policy for the teachers because this very thing happened. Now the way the rules for gift giving are written the teacher cannot accept a gift unless it’s from an individual OR the entire class. Not both. An individual gift has a dollar limit for $10 and the class gift can not exceed $50.

    4. Loux*

      my workplace does the same all the time. However I had the opposite, I did donated but the admin forgot to give me the card and now coworker gives me the evil eye because she thinks i didn’t contribute to her gift.

    5. Anonsie*

      Ehhh this is so iffy. On the one hand, I think it’s totally acceptable for a group of folks to get together and pool money and buy something nice and all sign a card together. It shouldn’t make you feel weird to not participate because it’s not really a statement of anything, just a gift from a couple of people. And yeah, the whole gifts going up thing, but since they didn’t press you to contribute after asking once I wouldn’t be too offended by that alone. Sounds like they did it the right way.

      But in some crowds this absolutely would be a judgmental thing, pointing out who didn’t want to participate. It really depends on your office climate and the people in question who set it up. And it is more than a little lame that the manager wanted something so expensive in the first place, though I always wonder when someone talks about hints being dropped if it was really a hint or if she was just talking about baby gear and someone decided it was a hint.

      1. HAnon*

        The organizer sent a few emails asking for money…I think 3 in total, I just didn’t respond to any of them (they were group emails). The manager sent someone the link to the gift she was “hinting” at, so it wasn’t really a hint…the link was actually in the “donation request” email. Originally they were only asking for donations from her department, but they opened it up to the whole company when (I suspect) they figured out that 5 people weren’t going to be able to give the half-thousand dollar gift she wanted. It doesn’t bother me enough to do anything about it, I’ll just have to be the office scrooge (since I have a feeling that’s how a few people now think of me). I’ll happily attend a celebratory event and sign a card, but I’m not going to donate. These are coworkers, not family members or close friends, and I think sometimes people need to be reminded that’s the reality…if you have super tight-knit relationships with your coworkers, that’s great but it’s out of the norm. An office isn’t a family, as much as people want to think otherwise, and based around that misconception are unfair. At the end of the day, it’s still a business.

        1. HAnon*

          that was supposed to say “expectations based around that misconception are unfair”

        2. Anonsie*

          Oh bleh that’s all straight up crummy behavior. Who asks for a $500 gift from their staff??

        3. Ollie*

          I’ve been a work scrooge before too. I really don’t see any reason to pitch in to buy gifts for people that I’m not friends/family with. If the extent of my relationship with someone is having conversations with them everyday because we work in the same building and I want to be friendly and get along with them, then it doesn’t warrant me spending money on them.

          I had a part-time, minimum wage job once where I worked in a separate area of the building from everyone else, so I didn’t get to know my coworkers at all, and they’d still ask me to pitch $20 every time it was someone’s birthday. Just told them I couldn’t afford it.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      This stuff baffles me. If she could have afforded it, she could have bought it herself. How does she expect others can afford the item?

      In the end the employee has to weigh out which is worse? The financial loss or the negative reaction?

      I used to think of it as paying to stay on the good side of some people. I made sure I had a $5 bill on me most of the time. And that is what people got- $5. (Most people in my department qualified for food stamps. That is how tight money was for us.)

  36. CatK*

    So my confidence at work has really taken a hit. I feel really defeated by recent events and having a hard time motivating myself to get anything done. Any suggestions on how to overcome this?

    Basically the promotion my director said he was going to get for me over a year ago is not materializing, and he is making statements here and there (but none directly to me) like he is never going to promote me. The promotion would be taking me off front-line user support and putting me on a specialized team. The other two people on this team are super helpful and friendly – training me in all of their duties, helping me learn new skills – they want me on the team, because they need an extra person anyway and we work well together. However it feels like my director is not going to go through with it after all and it’s left me very discouraged. I’m having trouble motivating myself to do the tasks I need to get done for this new team. Any advice would be most appreciated.

    1. C average*

      Oh, man. That’s tough. You have my sympathy.

      If you can, try to frame the director’s decision on this as something other than a value judgment on you and to not take it as a reflection on your ability to do the job you wish you were doing. There are a million reasons a promotion might be put on hold–current needs, budget, delays in potential promotion processes, bureaucratic realities, the human tendency to favor the status quo–that have next to nothing to do with the capabilities of the person being considered or not considered for the promotion.

      It’s important that you have this clear in your head so that you can stay motivated, effective, and positive where you are, which makes you a more appealing candidate for . . . well, anything. The job you want. The job you have. Maybe another job somewhere else, if it’s clear that there’s no mobility where you are.

      Don’t let one person’s outlook determine your ability to hold your head up and take pride in the things you know you’re doing well.

      (I’m giving myself this advice, too. I can very, very much relate to where you’re at.)

      1. CatK*

        Thank you! Those are good things to think about. Part of what is discouraging me is that getting this promotion and being moved onto the special team would help me immensely with changing my career – it’s the first step in the direction I want to go. My work experience is kind of hodge podge and I have a liberal arts degree, but I’m going for a specialized area in IT. I feel like I’m already behind the curve since I don’t have straight experience in the field I’m aiming for (all the jobs I look at want at least 2-3 years experience), and so not getting the promotion/new title feels like I’m never going to be able to move into the field I really want.

        I am very thankful for my coworkers though, they are awesome.

        1. C average*

          One more thing, from a fellow liberal arts grad who works in a technical field. Expertise gained on the job is still expertise–don’t ever doubt it and don’t sell it short.

          I think for a long time I had it in the back of my mind that you’re not really a chocolate teapot expert until you get your Chocolate Teapot Expert card, but I’ve found in practice that it doesn’t really work that way. In my current role, I am designated a subject matter expert–it’s official, it’s in my file–at something I did not go to school in, did not get certified in, but just taught myself through day in and day out experience. I was, in all fact, a subject matter expert long before HR put a note in my file SAYING I’m one.

          The expertise you’re gaining is absolutely real. Keep stringing it together and you’ll find that your work history may present a more coherent narrative than you think it does now.

    2. Rayner*

      I would go to your manager and clarify if this training + promotion is actually going anywhere, and what his time scale is. If you can’t get a straight answer, or if he says no, after so much training and time has passed, you have to make a choice.

      Stick with your boss, or start job hunting. If he’s not willing to go the distance on your promotion, there’s little you can do to force him to change his mind.

      You may be able to speak with the manager of the team who’s been training you, but they could be in a bad position, and not have the leverage to make your boss move you. Leapfrogging him could leave a bad taste in your manager’s mouth, too.

      But take those skills, and learn them as well as you can, because that’s stuff that could help you get into a similar position in a new job. Think of it as planning for the future, and that every day that passes gives you more building blocks to add to your resume. If your boss can’t recognise the potential that these other guys see in you, it’s his problem, and he’s going to lose you.

      Focus hard, brush up your resume if you don’t get a good time line, and tell yourself if you haven’t heard concrete news in six months, you’ll kick the job search into high gear, and take your best offer.

      1. CatK*

        Thank you! I’ve been asking my director ever so often what the timeline is, and he just gives me vague answers like “I need to see how things go after X,” and when X rolls around, I ask again, and then it’s something else.

        My awesome coworkers are also helping me look for jobs and giving me the skills I need to get there, so I do want to stick it out a little bit longer so I can benefit from that. I’d be long gone if it weren’t for them. I probably should have left this job a long time ago, or advocated for myself better, but oh well. That’s a lesson that is taking a long time to sink in.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          It sounds like job hunting time. BUT. Just to be sure, perhaps your awesome coworkers (they sound really great, btw) could give you some pointers for one last ditch effort in talking to your director. Maybe one of them has clout enough to pull you over to their team.

  37. Del*

    1) I can’t see any reason why you would pay only part of the cost for her to fly. The extra seat charge is not negotiable or optional for her. It isn’t a perk, it’s a necessity of travel. She’s traveling for your company, so you pay it. It costs her $x to get to the destination you want her to go — why should she have to pay to work for you? (and depending on what you’re paying her/how frequent the travel is, how would this impact her effective paycheck?)

    2) What logistics do you mean? I think before you decide whether or not you’re going to have the conversation, you would need to sit down, do your research, and actually figure out what is a serious logistical concern versus what is just “you’re fat so we’re going to assume you’re more difficult.” Cost is one logistic. There are hoops an extremely overweight customer needs to jump through before getting on the plane, but most of those are incumbent on the person doing the flying (a different check-in process, getting an advanced boarding pass, etc) rather than on the one purchasing the flight. I would keep the conversation very tightly focused on “these are the specific issues that we foresee being of concern” rather than going into it on a general tack.

    3) As far as I’m aware, obesity is not considered a disability under the ADA, so you would not be legally prohibited from considering it (obligatory IANAL disclaimer).

      1. Laufey*

        No, I think that post disappeared. I wanted to see responses to it, but now I can’t find it anywhere.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yes — I deleted it (mere seconds after it was posted, so Del is crazy fast!) and alerted the author that I was doing that because it was sent to me as a stand-alone letter and I’ve already written a whole stand-alone post on it (including getting a lawyer to weigh in), so I’m hoping to save discussion on it until then. (In general, I try not to do posts that were also posted here, except in extreme cases where I can’t resist. I know that makes it tricky on question-submitters, since they don’t know if I’m going to get to their question or not.)

  38. Diet Coke Addict*

    I had a beautiful wedding on Sunday! It was great.

    I am slightly miffed, though, because in my small office of 6 people, there is usually a birthday lunch for every person with small gifts, and two employees who are having babies had elaborate baby showers with food, cake, presents (and a lot of them!), and another employee who got married the year before I came had a wedding shower as well. I did not get so much as a card. I don’t really care either way, but slightly irritated.

    1. fposte*

      Congratulations, DCA! I know what you mean about annoying office asymmetries, but hey, you got a spouse you like.

      (I’d be tempted next time I was invited to a shower to ask if this was joint for me and the honoree, though.)

    2. anon in tejas*

      I would be bothered too. Try not to let it get you down though. Congratulations.

    3. Diet Coke Addict*

      Thanks all!

      I feel RIDICULOUS now because there was a shower downstairs for me at lunch. I was flabbergasted. Truly I had NO idea (hence my crabbing). I guess it was intended to be a surprise? IT WORKED.

    4. Dang*

      Congratulations! And glad to hear you ended up getting a shower at work! Good on your coworkers for actually keeping it a secret, that can be tough!

    5. Ruffingit*

      Congratulations!! May you and your spouse enjoy many years of happiness and love.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Congrats and all the best to the both of you. (And very cool about your coworkers and the shower. yeah!)

  39. la franca*

    Does anyone else find this site addictive? My friends don’t understand why I spend so much time reading a career site, which I admit sounds like it would be a boring topic. I don’t know how to explain to them why I like it so much but I love it.

    1. Sascha*

      Oh I do. First, I’m just addicted to advice columns in general. Second, the advice here is practical, useful, actionable…and I’ve found a lot of it is applicable to other areas in my life, not just work. I can’t count how many times I’ve sent articles to friends when they ask me about cover letters, resumes, interviewing, people behaving bizarrely at work…

    2. CanadianWriter*

      I came for the career advice and stayed for the drama.

      I also get story ideas here sometimes.

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      AAM has become an integral part of my morning coffee and lunch break routines. Sometimes I even read it before I check Facebook.

    4. Sunflower*

      I do!! It’s the first thing I open along with my email everyday when I get to work. I also don’t contribute to any other community or whatever on the internet. I think I’m more addicted to finding a place where people are civil and actually want to help each other as opposed to just prove a point. Also these topics seem to appear here and only here so I’m happy to be addicted!

      1. Fee*

        ” It’s the first thing I open along with my email everyday when I get to work.”

        +1 !

        I’m always mentioning ‘this work blog I read all the time’ and getting slightly puzzled looks :)

      2. Windchime*

        I can beat that. I get up in the morning, put on the kettle, play with the cat for a minute and then I read AAM while I am drinking tea and eating toast. It’s a really nice way to start the day. Except today I didn’t get to work until after 9 because of the horrifying bathroom post.

    5. Mimmy*

      Oh my goodness YES!! Especially the Open Threads and the ones where Alison does a random “ask the readers” post, like the Excel tips or worst career sin.

    6. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I find this hugely gratifying … and also fascinating, because I have the same “who would have thought career advice could inspire this much interest?” reaction sometimes. My not-very-humble take on it is that it’s a combination of (a) the fact that lots of our topics are way more interesting than what’s traditionally presented as career advice (we get into tons of interpersonal stuff, bad behavior, etc.), (b) most career advice is presented in a completely boring, generic way, whereas Ask a Manager is probably more like your opinionated coworker who may or may not have just had a glass of wine at lunch, and (c) we obsess on the details here, in a way that appeals to other people who find details/nuance fascinating (which is absolutely not everyone’s cup of tea).

      1. Mints*

        Ask a Manager is probably more like your opinionated coworker who may or may not have just had a glass of wine at lunch

        This is why I’m here!

        1. TL*

          To be honest, I came for AAM and stayed for Jamie and fposte. (Actually, basically the whole commenting community but if no one gets offended, I’ll admit that they’re my favorite.)

      2. Blue Anne*

        I think for me it’s a combination of B and C, in a way. When I recommend this blog to friends (which I do, often) the phrases I use most are “actually realistic” and “no bullshit”.

      3. Fee*

        A big draw for me is knowing that somewhere out in the world there is a bunch of other people who think exactly the same way I do about work nonsense/drama/incompetence. It’s strangely comforting. Sometimes the nature of the workplace is such that you can feel like a lonely buoy of common sense floating in an ocean of idiocy.

        It’s crossed my mind more than once that a business staffed by some of AAM’s regular commenters would make a pretty awesome workplace :)

      4. Shell*

        Yes, yes, yes. I wish I found this site years ago. I think I knew about it years ago but only took a passing glance, and it wasn’t until my last job went sideways that I really started looking and went “WTF, I could’ve dealt with LastJob’s shenanigans so much better if I had armed myself with all this advice!!” (And with a healthy dose of perspective…well, while I still think my LastJob’s management handled things badly, I no longer froth at the mouth when I think of them because I was probably no prize, either. :P)

        Alison, aside from having a ton of helpful, no-nonsense, realistic advice, also writes in a really personable fashion. So it really is like talking to her, rather than the really boring generic advice I got spoonfed with by my college career counsellors (the extent of which I probably could’ve looked up on the internet myself).

        And +1 for the commentors keeping me here. Jamie, Colette, fposte, Joey, and probably a dozen more that I’m forgetting…I love the wildly different perspectives on this site and it really makes me think about perspectives when issues crop up in my work life.

      5. College Career Counselor*

        The commentariat here is probably another reason why people stick around. The people here are interested, experienced, helpful, thoughtful and frankly way more *polite* than just about any other place on the internet I’ve ever been. Even when there is a disagreement or communication issues, there is a distinct lack of trolling or name-calling.

        And now I’m sure I’ve jinxed it.

      6. Ruffingit*

        For me, part of the allure of this site is validation of things I’ve always believed. I never felt comfortable calling up employers to see if my application had been received or trying to find the name of the hiring manager to address the cover letter, etc. This site has given me the validation from a reputable and knowledgeable source who has said “Nope, not worth the time/doesn’t matter.”

        Also, it is a relief to know you’re not alone. Crazy boss, psycho co-worker, depressed over the job search? This site has so many people who say “Me too. It’s not you. You’re not alone. That co-worker, boss, jerk guy is not behaving appropriately. What they’re doing is not ok…”

        Even if you can’t exit the work situation or life situation causing the problem, at least you know you’re not alone, that certain things are not normal, and even more than that, there is a way out, there are things you can do to help your resume/cover letter. And in the meantime, there are people who understand (Alison and all the awesome commenters). It’s a huge emotional help to have this space. Thank you for it Alison. THANK YOU.

      7. Not So NewReader*

        Off track by a bit- but I have been curious, Alison, have you ever met any of the posters in person?

        Apologies if that is a tacky question.

        I realize I will probably never meet the people here, but I feel like I know them on some level. It’s weird to describe.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            You gotta be curious about some people who comment often.
            Or do you think meeting them in person would make the commentary less “magical” for the lack of a better word?

        1. Ruffingit*

          I too feel that I know people here on some level. Clearly not the same as an in-person relationship, but bits and pieces of who people are come through in their various posts and eventually you end up with a composite of who they are. Obviously, not everything about that person or, as I said, as in-depth as you’d get in person, but things do come through in the online world that help you get to know people.

          P.S. Not So NewReader, I always enjoy your posts and would totally meet you in person if you lived anywhere near me. Just saying :)

    7. The Real Ash*

      Ha, I get the same thing all the time. I recommend this blog to everyone I know, not just those who are job hunting, and they’re confused like, “Why don’t you read blogs about your other interests?” They just don’t understand me and my love of Alison dammit!

        1. The Real Ash*

          I say that [in my head] to the people who write into Ask Amy and Dear Abby (the two other ladies in my Advice Lady Trio) with workplace questions. I love them, but they don’t know management and HR like Alison does!

    8. Mints*

      Yes! In addition to what was said, I’m drawn towards sites/blogs with a consistent author. Like even if there’s a theme, if the author once in a while says like “no posts for a week, I’m playing WOW for three days straight/marathoning Hannibal/watching 1D concerts” I like knowing that they’re a real person.

      Also, like Alison said above, the site is really nuanced. Lots of commenters are sort of…pedantic. I can’t think of a positive word of what I mean, but I mean it positively. There are lots of discussions about the grey areas of answers. What makes things okay, or not? It’s more interesting

      1. Fee*

        “I’m drawn towards sites/blogs with a consistent author.”

        THIS. I’ve often sadly stopped reading blogs I used to really enjoy as they’ve got more successful and introduced (or given over the whole site to) other regular bloggers whose voice just doesn’t appeal to me as much. I hate when that happens :(

        1. Ruffingit*

          Same here. I hate it too when the person just stops writing altogether, but promises there will be posts. Either post or don’t, but stop promising you’ll be posting about a certain topic and then you never do.

    9. anon for this*

      Yes! I am SO addicted to this site and its comment area, not just because it’s interesting, but because I’ve learned so much useful stuff that helps me every day.

      So much of the advice here deals with soft skills and unwritten stuff, stuff that isn’t taught in school or in training or in any other structured setting. And so much of the advice that’s given here is, I suspect, the kinds of advice people would LIKE to give to their colleagues, but it’s just too awkward.

      I often read things here that ring very, very true for me and I can act on them and become a better employee as a result. I don’t think I’d be nearly this receptive to this kind of advice from the people I actually work with, even if they were comfortable giving it to me!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Bingo. Real world stuff. It’s the stuff we should have learned at home or in school yet some how missed the memo.

        I have learned more here than I learned in 4 years of college.

        I think people around me are finally starting to get used to me mentioning a story from this blog. I consider it continuing ed.

    10. Jamie*

      It is – and it’s weird. I go through phases with my online habits, daily for a while and dropping off. I’m not big on commitment to online communities – but this one? I’m embarrassed to admit that when I get crazy busy and can’t read I will catch up when I have downtime. I have to read all posts I missed even if the topic isn’t remotely applicable to me, because otherwise I feel like I’m skipping chapters in a book.

      I do feel weird when I post too much, like today – because people who don’t know how my schedule works might think I’m a giant slacker…and then I get irritated with myself for caring what people who don’t know me think…and then I get irritated with myself for disregarding my reputation because that does matter.

      No, I don’t over think things. Why?

      But yeah – and sometimes when someone posts a link to another site I’ll head there thinking maybe I’ll have another place to amuse myself…but my interest isn’t sustained.

      One strange collateral benefit/weirdness is irl I will chime in with little facts about best practices in other industries with which I’ve never had contact. And I was once asked why I know about the differences between ours and California labor law and I said learning about labor laws was a hobby.

      Yes, I am a dork – and when I say things that that it just confirms it for everyone.

      1. Colette*

        I’m actually disappointed when I come back from vacation and read threads that are a week old – because it’s too old for me to sensibly comment.

        And I can talk knowledgeably about US labor law, even though I don’t work in the US.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’m taking my computer with me on vacation–I can’t live without AAM, my chat, and of course I’ll be blogging. :)

          Given that I also plan to write another book this summer and hopefully will get my critique back, I’ll probably be editing too. >_<

          1. Colette*

            I always take a computer with me – but internet isn’t always available (or free), so I don’t tend to check in often. Plus I’m on vacation and my focus is elsewhere.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I’m pretty sure I can find wireless in London, and I made absolutely sure my B&B in Cardiff has it. It will probably be only a couple of times a week that I need it to blog, but I’m also addicted. >_<

              1. Colette*

                You’ll definitely find it, but the speed may be an issue depending on where you’re staying. The hotel I stayed at in London last year was ridiculously slow.

        2. Chinook*

          I actually like reading AAM for the US labour law because it has given me useful insight when working in a Canadian subsidiary of an American company (which has happenned twice). Knowing that what I think is just odd or unfair is actually standard in the U.S. makes it easier to take. And, more importantly, knowing that something would also be unacceptable in the U.S. means I can push back without wondering about the cultural implications.

      2. Chinook*

        Jamie, you are not alone in your dorkhood. I too find myself with information about industries and countries I have no experience in because I read it here. I have learned so much while, at the same time, seen that not all places are as toxic as some of the places I have worked at.

        And this truly is an addiction – since I have started reading AAM, I have moved 3 times and gone through 6 office jobs. My phone number may change but not my love of AAM.

      3. Ruffingit*

        I have to read all posts I missed even if the topic isn’t remotely applicable to me, because otherwise I feel like I’m skipping chapters in a book.

        I thought I was the only one who did this! :)

    11. KJ*

      Count me addicted too. Here’s my theory on why. Alison writes really well so when I read this site, it’s like having a conversation with a friend. It’s entertaining, interesting, personable and often wise. So it doesn’t really matter what the topic is a lot of the time, just like it doesn’t really matter what the topic is when you’re talking with a good friend. I like her voice and what she talks about. And it doesn’t hurt that work stuff is a topic we all have loads of exposure to so it’s personally interesting in that way.

      1. Colette*

        That’s part of it for me, certainly. I like reading blogs by people who are passionate about their job, even if it’s not something I would ever do. The other part is the comment section, because I feel like I know (and like) the people here.

      2. Mints*

        Okay, I have too many opinions about this, but Alison’s voice is important too. She’s plainly just a good writer. But also, in sticky situations, she gives really good scripts. Other websites would just say “Ask for more money in a professional way” and I don’t know what that means. Or like “Talk to a coworker you’re concerned about in a respectful and caring way” and I don’t get it either. She can explain basic things to young people without being condescending

        1. Eden*

          Agreed. I never found another site that gave any advice that intuitively made sense to me. And most were written in that gung-ho, pep-talk kind of style that reminds me of being shunned by cheerleaders.

    12. TL*

      One of the things I like best about this place is how there are lots of very prominent female voices who say lots of great things.

      There are lots of men who also say great things, but I feel like spaces on the internet where women are prominent commentators or contributers and are respected and not harassed are actually pretty difficult to find.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        You found a need and found a way to meet the need. Employees everywhere are having their share of issues, there is very little help for them… unless of course, they come here.

        I have long thought that you are doing more to rebuild our economy than other people who say they are helping. Just my opinion, though.

    13. Ali*

      I definitely do. I am thrilled that I work from home and my company doesn’t monitor my Internet use (we all use our own networks; we don’t log in to a VPN or anything) so I can browse AAM when I need a break or whatever. I think my favorite part is that the advice is good, but it’s also realistic and that Alison doesn’t encourage doing anything borderline insane to get a job. Which is a nice change from everything I heard in college.

    14. Stephanie*

      Uh huh, totally. Most of my friends are very confused by this.

      Alison’s a good writer, plus all her advice makes sense and is so different from career advice sites that just tell you to run to HR or call to follow up on your application.

      I also really like advice columns, in general. Bonus points if the writer’s really honest and straightforward (this is also why I like Dan Savage).

      Also, the comments section. Most comment sections are hopelessly snarky or just make me want to bleach my eyeballs after reading. Not here.

    15. Eden*

      My husband does not get why I’m still reading, even though I finally have a job. I have become somewhat obnoxiously evangelistic about this site to my friends who need this advice.

    16. summercamper*

      I’m horribly, horribly addicted… and looking for more! Does anyone have suggestions of similarly awesome blogs?

    17. bridget*

      Definitely. And I’m not even a regular commenter, just a lurker. Plus, all of my jobs thus far (and for several years into the future) are not the sort of office jobs with managers, HR, negotiated salaries, etc., so the advice is usually not directly relevant to my work life. I am, however, an employment lawyer, so it’s interesting to get a general idea of the day-to-day workings of the companies of clients.

      I think it’s part the fact that advice columns are fun, because crazy things happen to people, and part because there is a fair bit of “how to be a good, reasonable person” advice that applies to everyone. Alison is a great example of one of those people, and so I like reading everything she writes, so I can get continued exposure to people I’d like to be like.

    18. Golden Yeti*

      AAM is my most visited Speed Dial site on my computer. More than Facebook, Twitter, etc.

      I started reading a over a year ago and haven’t stopped. Even days like today when all I have time to do is frantically toss out a question and get back to work, I still try to come back at the end of my day and see what I missed.

      I think one of the main reasons AAM is appealing is because it’s real people going through real situations. A generic career site might give pointers on writing a cover letter (quite possibly bad ones)–and AAM covers that too (not only just with Alison’s experience, but the combined experiences of the community–however, where else are you going to find practical advice on some of those really out there situations Alison’s covered? Probably nowhere. This site runs the gamut: from the ordinary to the Springer-esque. Nobody is excluded, and that’s awesome.

      (Just realized I should probably clarify…I am the poster formerly known as non-gravatar JustMe. I decided to change my posting name in deference to the JustMe with gravatar. You can’t trump a gravatar.)

    19. Littlemoose*

      Um, yes. So addicted. I read the short answer posts with my cereal every morning, and check Feedly during the day when I need a mental break from the task at hand. And I am also big on telling other people to come read this site. A friend of mine is having a lot of work issues and is looking for a new position, and the advice I give her is so heavily informed by what I have learned here – and I keep telling her to read the site itself, of course.

      Part of my love for this site is probably attributable to my love of advice columns in general. But, like everyone else who has commented here, I really dig the community and the practicality of the advice Alison dispenses. Today I was behind on a project and couldn’t detour to the open thread in good conscience, and I hated feeling like I was missing out!

    20. MJ*

      I also read this most mornings. Reading other people’s questions, thinking through my own possible advice, mentally agreeing or disagreeing with others’ answers, sometimes being surprised by other perspectives, learning about topics that are new to me, seeing what topics light a fire in me… It’s brain exercise that gets me ready for the day, thinking laterally about the range of employment issues before focusing on the issues that are on my own plate. Much appreciated, Alison!

    21. JessA*

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be getting ready for bed and I’ll think that if I just stay up a few more minutes (or another hour or more) there will be a new post up on AAM.

  40. wondering*

    I’m currently working in an entry-level position that I sort of fell into after graduating from college, but before I found this I was interviewing (unsuccessfully) for a bunch of administrative aide positions. I always got stuck on the questions about why I wanted the position and where I saw myself in five years.

    The REAL answers were, respectively, “I’m a college grad with bills to pay, and this is all I’m qualified for at the moment” and “having finished my MA and working somewhere else.” I honestly don’t remember the answers I gave, but what SHOULD I have said?

    1. CollegeAdmin*

      Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Here’s some ideas for answers for those questions:

      Why do you want this position?
      Talk about why you want to work for that company – sidestep the position part of the question. So for example, let’s say I was interviewing for a receptionist position at a medical company: “I’m really interested in working for YourCompany because of how groundbreaking their research is in the medical field. I was just reading an article the other day on your new Whatsit machine and thought it sounded really interesting.” Alternatively, if pressed to answer about the specific position: “I’m not really sure what I want to focus on in my career at this point, but I think admin work is a great place to start for anyone, since you get to learn so much about different parts of a company and do some ‘behind the scenes’ work to see what keeps a company going.”

      Where do you see yourself in five years?
      I’m a big fan of answering this question with “I’m not sure” if you truly aren’t; you just have to phrase it well. Example: “Honestly, I’m not sure – coming out of college, I’m a little at sea in terms of what I’d like to do in the long term. But for now, I’d like to start here at YourCompany, since I think being an admin can let me explore the kinds of fields I could go into; I know you have several departments like marketing and research that I haven’t ever heard much about.”

      (OMG, you have a wug as your avatar! I majored in linguistics in college :) )

      1. wondering*

        These are great answers! I was asking because I was asked by someone who’s now in that position, and I didn’t really know what to tell her!

        (And I majored in linguistics, too! I was more of a syntax/semantics person than a psycholinguistics enthusiast, but the wug is so cuuuuute)

  41. Xay*

    I was in the odd position where I was ok with my job, although a little bored, concerned about the future of the company I work for and getting concerned that there is no career track for me to move up within my current company. Then within the last month, I got recruited for a more challenging job with better pay and benefits while my current company switched to an unacceptable medical plan and my on site supervisor has started throwing me under the bus at an alarming rate.

    I’ve never seen a possible escape hatch open before I wanted it. It’s strange. It’s put me in the strange position of going from where I was just exploring the possiblility of leaving because the position did sound really interesting but not being completely sold to trying not to want the position too much because things have changed so much at work.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Not sure- so you took the new job?

      Maybe you didn’t get an offer yet. Alison says to pretend you never applied and keep looking around.

      I hope things land well for you.

  42. Loux*

    hi readers, maybe you can help me. How do you deal with a moody boss? i never know if my boss will come to the office in a good mopd. When is bad is BAD! Better get put of the way.

    1. Esra*

      What kind of bad mood? Like tantrums, silent treatment, needs space, something else?

      1. Loux*

        silent treatment most of the time or will answer you very tersely if you have a question.

        1. Esra*

          I guess for that I’d just try and roll with it. It isn’t personal, just a lack of professionalism on their part.

    2. Bend & Snap*

      I actually used to start making fun of my former boss for this and it lightened him up. “Uh oh, Monday Bob is in the house” etc.

    3. Dang*

      I used to have a very moody boss, and we shared an office. It was.. interesting. I learned to tell right away by her body language, and even the way she greeted me in the morning if she was in a bad mood…

      And honestly, I would just avoid her as much as I could on those days. No chit chat, just a cheerful hello and pretending to be absorbed in work. A few times she would get snippy with me over NOTHING but I just tried my best to ignore it and not take it personally, because I knew the next day she’d be sunny again..

      1. Dang*

        Oh, and compile a list of questions so you could ask them at once if possible. Limits interaction.. haha

    4. Not So NewReader*

      It could be new job time.

      I have had luck using sincerity: “Gee, boss, you seem upset. Can I help with something specific?”

      I have luck with diversion: One boss loved, loved, loved pets. I could get her talking about pets and the nasties would go away.

      But honestly, it worked into a baby-sitting job. I had to monitor the boss’ mood. Forecast which way the wind was blowing today. This became twice the effort than the job itself.

      Just as bosses should not mollycoddle us, we shouldn’t have to bend to their every mood.

    5. Cautionary tail*

      My SO had a coworker that had multiple personalities. One was sweet & innocent, another was a completely different person who had a different name and mannerisms, and the third was effectively Satan’s daughter. So before going into her office you always had to check with others to see which personality was sitting at her desk at the moment.

  43. Bend & Snap*

    I am having trouble with a coworker. She is not only lazy, she actively tries to get out of work. She’s handling a project for me (per our boss) while I’m overloaded and she’s blowing it. She informed me that she was busy with other things so some things on my project might slip through the cracks, and is now actively dodging people asking her for time sensitive updates.

    My name is on this project. I’ve already elevated to my boss and she addressed it but nothing has changed. Colleagues are also coming to me to tell me that this person is shoving work off on to them, making mistakes that’s costing them time they don’t have, etc. I’m not a manager but I’m the most senior person on the team so people bring this stuff to me when they don’t want to go to the bosses.

    So–do I elevate again? I’ve addressed as many times as I can at the only level I can. This is going to impact my project and possibly my reputation.

    1. fposte*

      Back to the boss, and maybe come with proposals. Do you want her off the project and for the work to be redistributed? Ask for that.

      1. fposte*

        Sorry, hit Submit too soon. Make it clear that the redistribution is because she herself has said that she can’t make it a priority and is having trouble delivering on time, not just because she’s baaaad.

    2. The Real Ash*

      I would be repeatedly all over the boss, and I would make my coworkers go to the boss as well. If it’s just you complaining about her, it could be brushed aside as a possible personality conflict. But if everyone is having the exact same problem with her, and they are letting the boss know, then something will [hopefully] be done about it.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, if they are letting the boss know.

        Please be sure to redirect your coworkers to you boss. Don’t let yourself become their dumping ground for their frustrations.

        “Oh, I am sorry to hear that about Sally. Did you mention that to Boss? Really, she’s the only one who can fix this situation.”

  44. Liz*

    How do you stay positive while job searching? Laid off in December due to a loss of clients. I was last in, so first out. In a rather closed industry, real estate related. Since December I have sent out over 60 resumes, for all types of work. Almost no responses, very few interviews. My unemployment is up the end of June. I am getting ready to try to sell my house before I get foreclosed on. I am soo discouraged and depressed. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

    1. nep*

      Wishing you strength and courage in this rough patch. You never know when and where a door will open. You’ve likely gotten through tough times in the past, and you’ll do it again. Keep taking care of yourself — it will help in every way.

    2. Sunflower*

      I also feel for you. It’s an incredibly difficult time. Are you stressed more about money or about finding a a job(if that makes sense)? If you’re stressed about money, maybe finding a part time job, even if it’s only a couple hours a week, will help you feel more in control of your financial situation. If you’re more stressed about finding another job, just remember that work and jobs aren’t everything and as long as you can eat and put a roof over your head, you’ll be fine.

      I’d just suggest looking back through other open threads for advice on this. I feel like there is always good words of encouragement. They’re really long so I’d also suggest using the ‘find’ option on your browser.

      1. Liz*

        I have tried applying for part time jobs, no luck on that even so far. I just filled out an application for IHOP today. I am at the point that so long as it is legal & honest, I will take the job.
        I have tried temp agencies as well, and no feed back from them either. It is now more about money. My mortgage is paid ahead by a few months, but the end of June, I will have to come up with the July payment.
        I am just so frustrated. Everything is online, no one seems to want to bother to see the face behind the applicant.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      So many people still in this boat. Am shaking my head. Am having my own issues regarding my house.

      Sending positive energy your way and hoping for a miracle for you.

      The only thing that I have ever found of any help is going to sound trite and, okay, kind of stupid. Turn around and help someone else with a problem they are having. It’s the only thing I have ever found that has consistently lighten my load over the years.

      Counter-intuitive. yep.

  45. thenoiseinspace*

    So I just discovered this company and now I want to share with everyone! You know how people are starting to 3D print food? This company is selling 3D printed candy! There are sour candies and peppermints and OMG I WANT THEM. http://cubify.com/Store/Design/GWJ43Q2W6R

    They also do printed guitars (the spider one, holy crap!) and lighting and furniture and shoes…this is so cool! I love technology! :D

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      I work for a company that represents Cubify!

      I’ve had their printed candy. I hate to admit it, but it’s….not terrific candy. It tastes a lot like you’d expect candy to taste from being extruded through a tube and sitting for a while!

      1. thenoiseinspace*

        That’s so cool! You should tell them to put some videos up – I was showing my boss the printed guitars (she’s a guitar lover) and she was questioning the sound quality. We’d both love to see and hear the guitars/drums in action.

        As for the quality – yeah, I kinda figured they wouldn’t taste great. I’m okay with that, though – I mean, ten years ago, printing out food was just an idea on Star Trek, and now we’ve essentially got the early versions of replicators! NASA’s even reportedly working on one that prints pizza! It will take a while for it to actually taste good, I’m sure, but I just find this whole concept so supremely awesome that I want to support it anyway. :D

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yes, replicators! That was literally the first thing I thought when they started talking about those things.

          I still want a holodeck, though. REALLY REALLY BADLY.

    2. LadyB*

      And this is why I love AAM!

      Where else would I find out about printable candy and Wugs?!

  46. KAS*

    To Whomever recommended Tea Forte’s Belgian Mint on one of the threads this week —thank you, thank you, thank you!! Delicious tea happiness for a Friday AM.

  47. Rayner*

    Alison (AskAManager) What’s the turn around time for questions emailed in to being published? Just curious, as I know you queue up posts in advance, and there’s no dates on the letters themselves.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It varies wildly. Sometimes it gets answered the next day, sometimes it’s more than a month later (and sometimes it’s never, unfortunately, because I’m answering 7-8 questions a day here but receiving 40+ daily). Short answer ones are usually within a week and nearly always within two weeks. Questions I’m going to use for a stand-alone post sometimes have a longer lag time (although if something grabs me on the spot, it can be immediate). But I have a long backlog of questions that I’m excited to answer at some point, and some of them are embarrassingly old.

      1. Just thanks*

        Alison — I never said thank you, but you answered an e-mail from me about a salary negotiation within hours and it gave me the confidence to ask for more money the next day. The company agreed to the higher number you suggested.

      2. Rayner*

        See, I like knowing all this behind the scenes stuff for blogs. I’m just phenomenally nosy, I think, but it’s definitely interesting stuff. I hope you don’t get too bogged down in them all!

  48. I Love Books*

    How do I tell my boss I’m pregnant in a few weeks? I’m sure it’ll be fine. However, it’s a bit odd because I’m not married and not seriously dating anyone (it was planned). What should I discuss at that time?

    1. Bend & Snap*

      I don’t think anything except you’re expecting, you’re excited, you’re planning to return to work post baby (if that’s true) and you’ll connect on maternity leave planning at a later date.

      Congratulations!

    2. Jen*

      I’ve had to give that talk twice to two different bosses. I like to make sure they realize that I’m going to keep my doctor appointments scheduled at the start or the end of the day as much as I can and that I’m happy to develop a transition plan on how duties can be covered when I am on leave.

    3. Sunflower*

      I would follow all the regular advice on this site about telling a boss you’re pregnant. Don’t let the fact that you’re not married or seriously dating affect the way you tell him. Congrats!

      1. I Love Books*

        Thanks!! I knew that. I do know that he’ll be curious, but not say that (I would be too). Anyway, I’ll let you guys know how it went. :-)

  49. Anna*

    I’m in this weird spot where I’m technically a manager (I’m on the management team, go to the management meetings, I just don’t actually manage any staff) but I work on occasion with a counterpart at our satellite location who is NOT a manager. I don’t think he realizes I’m a manager and because of this, I’m now in this weird position where I’ve had conversations with him that indicate he’s not super happy with his lot and finds the work boring. He’s a newish hire and still in his probationary period, he’s getting his work done, but we work in an environment where you need to roll with things and move on (something I have struggled with myself). I’m not entirely sure what my obligation is as a manager. Do I need to give my boss a head’s up about his issues or let it go and assume if there’s a problem it’ll be seen?

    It’s part of a larger issue that I seem to see, which is people not being aware of my status and gossiping with me as if I’m one of the gang and will agree that crazy management is crazy. I work very hard not to get sucked in to the complaints and gripes (not perfect there, but not terrible either), but I’m not sure how to handle people saying things to me or around me that they wouldn’t say in front of other managers.

    1. Bend & Snap*

      I think you need to speak to him, maybe in a mentorship-type way. Tell him you’re on the management team, and urge him to talk to his boss about how he’s doing and whether he’s ready to take on more interesting projects.

      Otherwise I think if managers dress or carry themselves a certain way it would help to align to that, and if not, just urge them to talk to their managers to resolve issues, making it clear that you’re on the management team and are invested in happy employees.

    2. MaryMary*

      This kind of came up in an earlier post regarding a negative coworker, but I’d ask the newish hire (and other folks) to help you understand if they’re just venting, or if they are looking for you to do something. It’s a subtle reminder to them that you are a manager and might be able to help them, but also a way to set up boundaries.

  50. ser4ph1m*

    Long-time lurker, first-time poster here.
    So, my husband is stuck in a dead-end job, no options for advancement, no raises, no benefits, and issues with the management. Basically he desperately needs a new job. He really drags his feet with job-hunting, seems to be convinced that if he doesn’t have a connection that he *can’t* get that position, downplays all of his strengths, etc. (I honestly wonder if he’s dealing with some level of depression but he’s not interested in seeing a therapist either).
    Any suggestions on how to encourage him? I’m at a loss!

    1. Esra*

      A first step might be seeing a counselor or therapist together? It does sound like he’s pretty down about job hunting.

      1. ser4ph1m*

        I would be willing but at that point it feels like I’m his mom, dragging him to an appointment he doesn’t want to go to. Though I’ll ask him if that’s something he would prefer, thank you. ^_^

        1. Esra*

          I was in a long-term relationship with a guy who had depression and OCD issues. It is definitely hard to avoid feeling like a mom. But for him at least, going through the therapy steps as a couple initially helped.

        2. ella*

          I would tell him you’re concerned and ask him what he would like you to do. If he is depressed (even if it’s just because of the situation he’s stuck in, and not something more long-term/biochemical), often the logistics and time-consuming nature–not to mention the uncertain outcome and feelings of futility that can happen in the best of times–can make something like job hunting seem impossible. Same with seeking therapy: he may want it or acknowledge that he needs it, but the expense, the time of searching for a therapist, of maybe having to go to multiple therapists until you find one you get along with–those are all big tasks for anyone, much less someone who’s not at the top of their game. Maybe if you help him with resumes and cover letters, he’ll be willing to spend time browsing classifieds and pointing out ads that sound interesting. Some people need help to share the load when they’re depressed; some people need space to get through on their own. You know better than us which he is. Best of luck to you both.

        3. ella*

          A therapist would probably also be able to advise you on how to help while avoiding feeling like a parent, for whatever that’s worth.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Ask him what he thinks he can do. Tell him it’s a quality of life issue for him. Unfairly, he’s the number one person that can bail himself out. (This is hard when you feel like you are being kicked in the teeth repeatedly.) Ask him what he thinks he can do with some modest success. Be low key in your tone of voice and word choice.

      “I think this is a bummer for you and it is beginning to impact your life. Your life isn’t going like you thought. What do you think you can do that might be helpful for you?”

      IF he manages to pick something- say something positive, encouraging. If you don’t like the idea, he may find something else in the process of following up on his first idea. Play it by ear.

  51. anon in tejas*

    I just got my annual review, and a small (3%) raise! I was a bit anxious about it, because I have a new boss. But I am happy it went well.

    happy friday yall.

  52. a.n.o.n.*

    For anyone who has followed my saga througout the open threads, this is about the company I turned down and then realized I took the wrong job about a week after I started the new job at another company.

    So would it be stalkerish of me to attend an event at the company I want to work for that’s open to the public (t’s advertised on their website)? The CEO would definitely be there and it’s a very small company so no chance of missing him. I would want to just say hello and see how things are going for the company. Not to ask for the job, but to just keep me in his mind, hopefully.

    It’s killing me to wait a few more weeks to actually call him about the job. (A couple months ago he said we would speak about the job again “in a couple months,” and that’s around mid-May.)

      1. Sunflower*

        As long as you don’t hound anyone about jobs. Keep it about whatever the event is for or to talk about the company in general

      2. a.n.o.n.*

        No, it’s definitely not to stalk. :) Just to keep me at the top of his mind. And also to really see how their plans are going.

        I ran into someone at an event last week who talks to the CEO occasionally and WORKED for him at one point. She emailed the guy to say, “hey I bumped into Jane and I heard you’re talking about possible opportunities. She’s awesome and you should hire her.” He replied that he “loves,” me, but I turned him down for two different jobs. She wrote back and said maybe third time is the charm. Hopeful! It’s small, but it feels HUGE to me! So miserable at this current job.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Not stalkerish because this is a public event, where it is expected that many people will show up for all different reasons.
      I caught HR at a job fair once this way. I could not have cared less about the job fair. I was just there because I found out that HR would be there.

      Stalking is invading people’s private spaces without an invitation. And doing so repeatedly. Additionally, the motives are not above board. None of this describes your setting.

      1. a.n.o.n.*

        Thanks! Now I just need to work up the nerve to go. So unlike me to feel nervous like this.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Practice what you want to say until you are bored to pieces by the practice. Then GO.
          It is surprising how modestly we can “perform” and still impress. I would have given myself maybe a “B” or a “B-” for how I did with that HR person. I got a very cool reference from a former boss and I got the job.

          1. a.n.o.n.*

            Good news…I got a call from the CEO. No update right now, but at least I can go to the event and not feel weird.

  53. Antonymous*

    How did you choose/find/settle on/discover your career path? I’m a recent grad about a year out of college, trying to figure out what I want to do in the wide field of “something to do with literature and/or linguistics,” and I was curious about how other people have figured out what they wanted to do with themselves.

    1. Sunflower*

      I’m still a relatively new grad(out 3 years). I graduated with a hospitality degree(knew I didn’t want to do it), took a job doing it anyway and quit after 8 months. In my major, I realized I was interested in event planning and marketing so I took a part-time marketing job and then transitioned into an event planning role at my current company. I’m thinking my next move I want to be a little more into project management and communications. While I’m interested in this now, I’m not sure I want to do this forever. Eventually I might want to get more into writing or content management or maybe strategy.

      I don’t think people pick or settle on a career path. It seems like a lot of people end up doing things they had not ever expected or planned to do. I think it’s important to try new things and pay attention to what interest and excites you and what you don’t care for. You might find in a couple years you’re interested in something totally different than you were 4 years ago. There are SO MANY jobs out there that I didn’t know ever existed until I started getting involved in the actual working world.

      Also, I think you will find a lot of people very late into their career who will tell you they still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.

    2. Eden*

      I shouldn’t be handing out advice, seeing as how I’m 45 and have not had anything like a traditional career path, but here it is anyway: keep your eyes open, wherever you are now. The parts of your job you enjoy and are good at will help you identify what you want for the future. Being out in the world will offer you a view of other jobs and entire fields you were previously unaware of. You’ll meet people who will introduce you to things you’re interested in. Mostly, just look around. So many people start into work and keep their gaze focused on just what’s right in front of them.

    3. Windchime*

      I fell into mine. I was doing billing tasks at a company and they were just getting an IT department going. I thought I wanted to go into desktop support, so I started taking some classes at the local community college. One of the required courses was a C++ programming course and I loved it. I changed to the programming track and never looked back.

      I didn’t figure out what I wanted to do until I was in my very late 30’s.

  54. PitaChips*

    (Random anon name for this one)

    I don’t like my job anymore. I hate the people I work for, I’m given too many things to do, priorities shift all the time with no warning, and I’m underpaid and under-titled (if that makes sense). Plus, there’s some serious bad politics going on within my department and bad signs in the company (several higher-ups and long-time folks have suddenly left).

    I can’t leave, though – I’ve been here just over a year, which isn’t that long of a time, and I’m currently in grad school. The company has a generous tuition remission program that makes it so I can afford to go, and I’ll definitely be looking to leave in 18 months when I finish my degree.

    While I work on just getting through the next year and a half, does anyone have any advice on cutting down on the complaining that I do with my coworkers? I know I shouldn’t, but I just get super frustrated and end up venting (quietly, to just a few trusted people who also occasionally vent, but still).

    1. Lucy*

      I’m in a similar boat, and it can be really difficult to tough it out. I just passed the year mark at my company, which means I’ve just become eligible for tuition reimbursement, but I’m itching to get out! Are there any transfer opportunities available? If not, I would try to focus on your future and the fact that this job is allowing you to pursue a higher degree (and eventually into a new role soon). And, it sounds like you realized that venting doesn’t make you feel better- if you have time, take a nice lunch, bring a book, buy yourself a coffee and sit outside. I really feel that spending quality solo time can do wonders for my attitude!

    2. Elizabeth West*

      You know what I did? I vented–in Notepad. I had a flash drive and every time I felt the need to vent, I stuck it in and just UNLOADED. Then I saved the textdocs to the drive and at the end of the day, took it home with me. No one could see what I was doing and it really let me get it all out so I didn’t do it verbally.

      Just make absolutely sure you take it home with you EVERY day.

    3. MJ*

      While we all need to vent occasionally, when you vent in the workplace you are actually contributing to the negative energy you are complaining about. Choose a higher road. Make your goal for the next 18 months to improve the tenor of your workplace by being a positive force. Be the one who brings a wildflower bouquet into the lunchroom, who notices the grumpy admin’s new haircut, who changes her gravatar every other day just to keep people guessing…

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Realize that your venting is almost surely making you more unhappy. Chronic complaining has a way of making you less happy, and making the things you’re complaining about seem even worse. Vow not to complain for four weeks — that’s not very long, after all — and see if you feel any different at the end of it.

  55. Darth Admin*

    In early!

    I’m looking for a script. I have an employee who takes a lot of personal calls, usually from family but sometimes from friends too. I don’t mind a few calls – e.g. the one from her son each afternoon where he tells her he’s arrived home safely from school – but it’s getting to be a lot.

    I’m having a hard time with this for a few reasons. First, how to quantify how many calls are is too many. Second, she has her own office but her voice carries, so unless she shuts her door I hear her. Third, how to stop judging which calls are reasonable and which aren’t.

    Her work product is good but there are times when she will miss a noncritical deadline and I find myself wondering if she could have made it if not for the number of personal calls. She’s pretty new so I don’t have any other experience with her to measure against.

    So I need to say something to her about the calls, but I’m looking for a script to make it clear that a few calls are ok, but the current level is distracting. I should add that we work very closely and she has a bit of “PTSD” from her prior toxic work environment, so I need to balance firm and gentle.

    Suggestions, AAM Nation?

    1. anon in tejas*

      I would suggest starting the conversation with something that you’ve posted here…

      I appreciate your good work product, but it is not always consistent. In observing the past few weeks/months, I wonder if it is because I have seen quite a few personal calls.

      And then I’d talk about some specific examples.

      I would then talk about the personal calls. What is bothersome? seeing her on her phone, door closed, carrying voice, going through office receptionist, appearance of nonprofessional (not focused on work at hand, checking phone/taking calls when other people are in her office, etc.).

      And then try to come with strategies around if necessary. If she has a situation that warrants her being on her cell (i.e. family in hospital, etc), then let her know to let you know. If not, put limits out there.

      Reassure that she is doing a good job, but that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

      Those are my suggestions. Take or leave them. They may not be 100% the best, but a starting place?

  56. Chocolate Addict*

    Does it look bad on a résumé when you are a “jack of all trades”? I do a number of different things in my role (graphic design, admin, etc).

    1. Esra*

      Are you primarily a designer or an admin? For a lot of designers, it’s a good thing if you have supplementary skills like programming, illustration, excel/admin, etc. I’m sure an admin with an understanding of the adobe suite would come in pretty handy too.

      1. Daisy*

        Mainly designer but I’m actually trying to get away from that because it’s not my passion (and I had no design experience starting). I am pursuing more of the finance/accounting path that I learned here. In that case, would it help or hurt to put the design experience?

      2. Chocolate Lover*

        Mainly designer but I’m actually trying to get away from that because it’s not my passion (and I had no design experience starting). I am pursuing more of the finance/accounting path that I learned here. In that case, would it help or hurt to put the design experience?

        1. Esra*

          If you’re trying to get away with it and pursuing the finance side of things, I’m not sure it would help very much. It’s one thing to pull an admin on to assist with design, but it would be strange for most places to want their finance/account people to be spending time on that kind of work.

    2. Elle D*

      I don’t think it looks bad at all, however I would recommend emphasizing one skill over the other depending on what type of job you’re applying for. If you’re applying to admin roles, talk about those responsibilities and accomplishments and maybe only mention the graphic design in one bullet, and visa versa if you were applying to graphic design jobs. Good luck!

    3. HAnon*

      What kind of job are you applying to? I’ve done both (graphic design, office admin, account management, etc) and I had two separate resumes when I was job hunting. One for more traditional jobs (where I emphasized the account management stuff) and one for creative work (where I emphasized all of the graphic design, creative, copywriting etc that I had done…and then I used the other stuff as a footnote in my favor. “I’m a full-time designer, but my experience with Account Manager has really given me insight into communicating with our clients and understanding their needs in a way that really enhances the design process…” etc. It depends on the job you’re applying for and the company. If you want to get hired in a marketing department of a small business, those extra hats you wear will be in your favor. But if you’re applying to an ad firm or something like that, you’ll want to really hone in on what it is you’re really wanting to do, to show them you have a sense of direction and you’re specialized in your field. Good luck :)

  57. Esra*

    One week into post-layoff unemployment.

    I’ve set some rules for myself:
    1. No sleeping past 9:30.
    2. No going more than 2 days without showering.
    3. Must go outside for at least 5 minutes daily.
    4. Must put on one of: bra, proper pants, clean shirt, every day.

    So far so good, and I have a maybe job lead. I really, really hope I find something before my severance and savings run out. =\

    1. Sunflower*

      Something I got sucked into when I was unemployed was I was so focused on trying to stay busy, I forgot to relax. Let yourself have a weekend and watch movies sometimes. It’s great that you’ve set goals just remember that like in job, you would need downtime if you wanted to stay sane!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This. I did job stuff during the week, and just like when I was working, NONE on the weekend (except the weekly unemployment data entry on Sunday night).

    2. Bryan*

      Those are great rules. See if there is a free class you can take or can volunteer somewhere close by just to have something. Also you didn’t mention unemployment, it sounds like you’re eligible so you should apply.

      1. Esra*

        I’ve applied, but with 3 months of severance it’ll be a long while before I see any.

        1. Bryan*

          That’s good. It might take awhile so it’s good to just get the ball rolling. I know from my own experience that they needed documentation that was not listed anywhere on the website and I had to call in. Luckily I had the time.