asking for a raise when your commute changes, feeling left out of a going-away party, and more

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

1. My new job is moving and my commute is changing — can I ask for a salary bump?

On Monday, my first day of work, my new boss told me that the office is moving 10 miles north next month. With traffic, that will add 20-25 minutes or maybe even more to what was a 15-minute commute. If the job listing had originally included the area we are moving to, I probably never would have applied in the first place. No mention of a move was made during the interview process or when I was offered the job.

I don’t want to just pointlessly gripe about it and seem ungrateful, but I also don’t want to wait til my 90-day review to use it as an extra reason for a salary bump. If it matters their original offer came in at the low end of what they advertised, and what I asked for. Any suggestion on how to handle this?

This is tricky, because it’s not a huge change, like adding an hour (and you’re still well within what’s considered a pretty reasonable commute in many metropolitan areas). But you could try saying something like, “I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. To be honest, the short commute was a major factor why I accepted a salary at the lower end of the range I was looking for and the range you advertised. I saw it as a perk worth forgoing some money for. So it was a surprise to find out on my first day that will be changing so soon. Is it possible to take another look at the salary for this role, and move a bit higher in the ranges we’d both talked about earlier?”

This is going to be tough to pull off, because trying to renegotiate salary after you’ve already started generally comes across as bad faith, but if you stress that the commute was a major factor in your not negotiating earlier, it’s possible that it could work. It’s risky though, and will probably depend on your particular manager.

2. Asking HR for employees’ birthdays

I have some direct reports and, as a morale thing, I’d like to acknowledge their birthdays when they come around. I’m sure they would tell me themselves if asked directly, but I was wondering whether it would also be kosher to ask HR for the dates? No years necessary, if that matters.

Eh, it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if you did, but why not ask people directly and explain you like to acknowledge birthdays? Some people are weird about birthdays and don’t like celebrating them at work, and that would give them the opportunity to opt out.

3. I feel left out that I wasn’t asked to attend a colleague’s going-away celebration

I am a lower level manager within public sector. I sit with the senior management team. I have a good relationship with them but they just organised a work night out mainly to say farewell to the boss who I also provide PA support. They have discussed in front of me but haven’t invited me. I am quite upset and would like your advice on how to deal with situation. I am the only person in room not invited.

Well, you have three choices — stew and feel terribly, decide it’s not that big of a deal, or say you’d love to come along. I vote for options two or three. If you do the third, just say something like, “I’d love to come with you to send Jane off. Would I be in the way?” You will either hear that you’re welcome or you’ll hear that they were making it senior management only. (Who knows why they’d do that, but if they want to, who cares? It’s not personal.)

4. Explaining to a former boss that a medical condition was causing me to make errors

I was an intern for a small but highly influential company in my field. The person with whom I apprenticed is extremely important in particular. I also worked closely with another key member of the team on a number of more detail-oriented and logistical tasks. There were several instances when I couldn’t remember something properly, or couldn’t remain alert and focused after long hours of work, or misplaced something, etc. This caused a rift between she and I, and possibly diminished my favour and competence in my boss’ eyes.

Since leaving, I have been diagnosed with a medical condition that explains a lot of the trouble I was having that year. It took almost a year and a lot of tests, but I am on medication and have regular meetings with a specialist. Is this worth disclosing to my old boss, as I still rely on him for a reference? If so, what would be the best approach? I feel as though some of the errors I made were absolutely a direct or indirect result of the condition, and I respect him so much that I’d be horrified to think that he might otherwise be chalking it up to incompetence, laziness or a lack of caring/respect on my part.

Sure. I’d reach out by email and say that you’ve long been mortified by some of trouble you had staying focused while working for him, and that you’ve since found out that you have a medical condition that was causing that, and it’s now under control. Explain that it’s bothered you that those problems occurred at all, and that they might have impacted his impression of you, and that you want him to know that you did take it seriously at the time and you’re happy to be able to say you’ve resolved it.

5. My interviewer might know that I just started a job somewhere else

Two years ago, I did a 6-month internship at Nonprofit Teapots through an agency, let’s call it CTV. I have kept in touch with my manager at Nonprofit Teapots and she has been a reference for me multiple times. Nonprofit Teapots is expanding their programming and creating a new permanent position, and I have an interview for this position in 2 weeks. (Yay!)

However, I am currently doing another 6-month internship through CTV at State Teapots. My manager at Nonprofit Teapots was a reference for me for this position. I don’t know if she is aware I accepted and started this position, but since she has worked with CTV agency before there is a good chance she knows I have this internship.

My question is, do I mention the work I am doing at State Teapots in my interview at Nonprofit Teapots, which is with my old manager? I have only been at State Teapots for 1 month, and if I were to take the job at Nonprofit Teapots I would have to abandon my 6-month commitment at State Teapots after just 1.5 months. I know you generally advise against mentioning jobs you have not been at for very long, but due to the nature of thus internship program I have learned a bunch of new skills in the last month that would make me a better candidate for the job at Nonprofit Teapots, including certifications I have received. So should I mention my new position and skills, therefore also acknowledging that I would be abandoning the 6 month commitment I made, or not?

I’m not convinced that there’s much that can happen in a month and a half that would strengthen you as a candidate, especially not enough for it to be a deciding factor in whether you get hired or not, so I don’t think there’s a lot of value in mentioning it. Plus, there’s something distasteful about using that experience to try to get a different job, when it means you’ll be breaking your commitment there. Of course, if she asks you about it, then you have to be honest (and most people won’t fault you terribly for leaving an internship for a full-time job), but I wouldn’t proactively bring it up.

{ 260 comments… read them below }

  1. Dan*


    I don’t place any weight on employee “commitments” when the employer can’t be bothered to do the same and put it in writing (and call it a contract.) So break it if/when you have to.

    Running off on a tangent about leaving jobs that you’ve just started, I had someone call me about a job that I had applied to about four months prior to the phone call. I had been at a new job for about 6 weeks or so. The interviewer asked if I was still interested (sure why not) and would I send him an “updated resume.” I sent him what he asked for, and made no mention of CurrentJob.

    At the conclusion of the call, he says, “I assume that you are between jobs?” Nope, I tell him, I’ve been at this gig for 6 weeks. Then he asks, “You responded to my email asking for an updated resume. Why would you leave your current job off?” I loved being able to pull out two AAM-isms on him: “A resume is a marketing document. As I have only been at this employer for six weeks, I have yet to make significant contributions. At this point, this job does nothing to strengthen my candidacy and therefore I left it off.”

    He shut up and fast. I did not get invited to a full interview. No biggie, it was out of state and I’m happy at my current gig.

    1. #5 OP*

      There is a written contract for this internship, it is actually a bit more formal than a typical internship that was just the easiest word to use to describe it that I could think of.

      I like your point of using AAM isms that way though. I guess maybe things seem more important when you are living them (the skills I have picked up at State Teapots) than they might to an outsider/interviewer.

      1. Artemesia*

        But using the AAM phrase in this case may have turned off the recruiter as the person posting that didn’t even get an interview after having been called. I would be pretty put off if someone said that to me although I agree with the sentiment; it has a pretty churlish feel spoken like that.

        I agree that businesses would drop you in a heartbeat if it suited them and so ‘loyalty’ if it hurts your own career is not to be expected but how you phrase this is important if you don’t want to burn bridges.

        The whole point of internships is to prepare for real jobs. It is unfortunate if one can’t complete one because someone else could have had the opportunity. But if the business is actually damaged because someone didn’t complete an internship then they are abusing internships.

        1. Kona HI*

          What I’ve said in similar circumstances is: While I don’t want to leave them high-and-dry, this is a temporary position, and I would be willing to move into a permanent position should one become available.

          1. Mints*

            I like this better too. When I was working retail in between jobs, if it came up I said something more like “It’s a part time role, and I’m still focusing on finding something full-time”
            The first line sounds a bit confrontational to me

        2. Dan*

          It wasn’t a recruiter I was talking to, it was either a senior technical person or a department manager.

          Either way, I don’t care if I put the guy off. After all, I applied to the job *four months* before hand, and had been at a job for six weeks that I was happy with.

          So why even talk to the guy, you ask? Because it never hurts to see what someone else has to say, and second, sometimes its nice to take an interview you’re not desperate for so you don’t have to act like its such a one sided process.

          And I didn’t get an interview for reasons far beyond that.

  2. Hiding*

    #2 Please ask the employees. I personally wouldn’t want an acknowledgement. Your questions gives me an opportunity to ask why you think birthday celebrations build morale? The worst morale issues I’ve seen all center on management being unclear, deceitful, playing favorites, etc. Or just ignoring/not asking about the needs of the employees. Giving me a birthday cake isn’t going to make me love the company if they change my work conditions without ever asking me what I need or what is and is not working.

    1. OP #2*

      Sure. I’ve seen people feel sad that no one remembered and thought it would be a nice gesture to be the “safety” for my direct reports, but I can certainly see the other side now that you’re pointing it out. I didn’t intend to bring cake or make a public acknowledgement, actually, although I didn’t say that in the question — just to send an email on the day saying “happy birthday” so that at least one person would remember, and the employee wouldn’t feel un-acknowledged, if that makes sense.

      Given the responses from both you and Alison I’m certainly rethinking whether I’ll do anything about this at all. If I do, I’ll go directly to the source and give them an opportunity to opt out as suggested. Anyway, getting this kind of feedback is exactly why I asked, so thank you for the candid reply!

      1. Lillie Lane*

        I think it’s a nice gesture, and I’d enjoy it. Others might not feel the same way, but if you ask, they’ll tell you.

      2. snuck*

        A little email that’s just directly to the person would be a nice gesture.

        Sadly too often people think buying a cake, standing around in a circle singing happy birthday and then leaving the remains of said cake to slowly congeal on the poor birthday sod’s desk is a great way to build rapport. For some people it is, but many many people don’t actually enjoy it that much at all (and a few really dislike it and it does more damage for that than it gains).

        1. GrumpyBoss*


          I HATE the cake and singalong! I’m not 8. I don’t need the validation that it’s my birthday. It is one of the most uncommon workplace situations for me.

          1. Lillie Lane*

            At a place I used to work, there was a guy who refused to eat cake or participate in the birthday celebrations. Then someone shared the backstory…years before, the director had made him a cake for his birthday, but used *salt* in the recipe instead of sugar as a joke. He was livid. I asked him about it once, and he explained that he had lived in a group home and found out one of the residents had messed with the food (in the worst possible way). After being burned by food sabotage twice, he wouldn’t eat anything that he hadn’t prepared.

            1. snuck*

              And the sad thing about this is that he would have been under regular pressure to disclose why he wouldn’t eat cake… thus under pressure to reveal some pretty awful stuff, that goes well beyond “salt in the cake” (people who know you lived in a group home often treat you differently at times etc)…

              1. NoPantsFridays*

                Yeah, exactly, that’s awful. Plus, some people can’t have sugar due to various medical/health conditions, or they are just cutting back. I’d hate for them to have to explain this every time there is cake. If there’s cake for every coworker’s birthday, that’s going to be a lot of explaining!

                1. snuck*

                  My son is violently allergic to eggs. (And that’s the most common food allergy)

                  No cake for him. Not unless it’s prepared at home and nice and safe.

          2. Andrea*

            I used to just take my birthday off, whenever possible, and then do whatever I felt like doing on that day. Avoiding the forced sing-along and crappy cake* was at the top of the list of reasons.

            *I love cake, but I’m fairly picky about things I eat. I’m not going to eat cheap, dry sheet cake from a grocery store with the sugary sweet icing that I hate.

            1. Penny*

              Exactly – cake is a special treat, so it had better be WORTH it. Why would I eat crappy grocery store sheet cake when I could save myself for a delicious dessert at a restaurant on the weekend?

            2. Lia S*

              My birthday is the day before a holiday, so I always take it off if I can. Avoiding the whole “forced-fun” activities of office birthdays is half the point, though.

          3. Ed*

            If an office insists on having cake for birthdays, it should be clearly stated that “we have cake in the breakroom for those that want it” with no pressure to attend. The same goes for holiday-related things. At a previous job we were forced to go to a 2-hour Christmas dinner every year which included forced singing (including solos). It was by far the worst work day of the year for me. I worked that job for four years and the last two I faked being sick that day.

            1. C Average*

              Forced conviviality in an allegedly adult workplace is the WORST. Why do people think this is fun and a good idea?

          4. Angora*

            I prefer to skip them. My birthday is on a holiday so I get missed or lumped in with other people.

            If you want to do something for me for my birthday. a $5 giftcard to starbucks would tickle me. I hate having people sing and the forced interaction that takes me away from my work.

            I do not like forced group functions at work; be it birthdays, baby or wedding showers etc.

        2. StarHopper*

          An old workplace of mine used to do a birthday cake on the last Friday of every month. The person in charge of such things would send out an email acknowledging every birthday from that month, and there would be cake in the breakroom at lunchtime. I was always a fan! Could be a nice middle ground between no cake and individual cakes.

          1. C Average*

            We do the monthly birthday cake thing at my church, with a general acknowledgement that we’re celebrating June birthdays. I like it a lot because a) cake, but not every damn day; b) no one’s day gets celebrated more than anyone else’se day, so no hurt feelings/perception of unfairness; and c) the people who think birthdays are for kids and don’t really want to participate can opt out without it being a big deal.

          2. Annie*

            My old job did the same thing- you got a signed “card” (usually something that said ‘Happy Birthday ____’ with the entire office’s wishes on it) on the day and we did quarterly birthday celebrations (for us- an office of 25- it became a reason to have a potluck lunch together) based on a theme (we did a chocolate one- which included mole & chocolate chili; an heritage one which was interesting). Yes there was cake, and we did sing but it wasn’t really about that.

          3. Graciosa*

            You can also have a monthly celebration event (celebration rather than birthday because it can also include work anniversaries, which some people who don’t want birthdays noted are willing to acknowledge).

            I also encourage a bit of variety in the treats – I’m quite fond of cake, but the same thing every month (and possibly even the same cake if it’s from a place convenient to the office) can be less interesting that a changing menu. There is an incredible world of food appropriate for sharing!

            1. Vancouver Reader*

              When we celebrated individual birthdays I was always the one who chose pizza (being the cheapest, easiest savoury to share) as opposed to cake. But that’s the salt monster in me.

              1. Felicia*

                I’d so prefer pizza to cake! I’m super picky when it comes to cake, especially with icing, and most store bought cakes with icing one would get in an office I wouldn’t like, but I’m not at all picky with pizza and just love it

                For my 10th birthday party since I don’t like a lot of cakes, we had birthday pie. Thats another option :)

          4. Artemesia*

            I have seen so many offices where someone goes nuts over birthdays escalating what must be done and favoring some over others till the whole thing collapses like a sodden souffle. I think the idea of a monthly cake would actually be the best of all — everyone gets cake and no one is differentially singled out.

            I once worked in an office with a terrible AA who sucked up to the boss and was hateful to women managers. She always wanted elaborate and expensive events to celebrate the boss. His birthday was very near mine — and so when someone pointed this out, she put my name on the cake. He was publicly presented with a leather briefcase; I was given at the same time a wrapped gift which turned out to be the little furry thing with a stick back that you put on the floor of your car near the gas pedal so that your high heels aren’t scuffed when you accelerate — a totally hilarious product. The whole group burst into laughter including me and that was the end of stupid birthday worship of the boss (who didn’t particularly encourage this but also didn’t handle it)

            I still have the object. It didn’t hurt my feelings; it amused me since this woman had been sabotaging me and other women regularly. But many people are hurt by this sort of differential caking and gifting — and the monthly cake takes care of that.

            And cake.

            1. SherryD*

              Here’s a story of an admin “ruining” a birthday — unintentionally!

              I worked at a place that had 2 offices, 45 minutes apart. Jane from the East office and Nancy from the West office had birthdays the same week. On Jane’s birthday, she got a card signed by all the staff, just like everyone else on their birthdays. Kind of lame, but kind of nice, right? On Nancy’s birthday, though, she got a card AND a big bouquet purchased by the West office’s receptionist with the petty cash. As luck would have it, Jane was visiting the West office that day, and her feelings were hurt that Nancy got flowers for her birthday and she didn’t.

              It turned out it was nothing personal. The admin assistants at the two offices had different ideas on what they were expected to do for a birthday, and what was an appropriate use of petty cash. However, I don’t think Jane ever got over the idea that they were playing favourites.

              If I had been the manager, I would have put my foot down and said that we do the card, and that’s it.

              1. Vancouver Reader*

                Was the manager involved in the decision of who gets what, or did the receptionist take the initiative to buy the bouquet on her own? I can understand being miffed at the time, but certainly nothing to hold a grudge over.

          5. scmill*

            One of my previous employers did a birthiversary cake every month to celebrate that month’s birthdays and employment anniversaries. They had a standing order with a local bakery for 1 chocolate and 1 vanilla sheet cake large enough for everyone in the building to get a piece of their flavor of choice.

        3. Bea W*

          I’m not a birthday celebrator type either, but I love cake. So if someone wants to use my birthday as an excuse to take 20-30 minutes to break to have cake at work, I’m not going to stop them. If I have to suffer through 20 seconds of singing for cake, that’s okay. Nothing like leftover cake first thing in the morning too.

          I really lucked out at my current job. We’re all hopeless cake fiends who are not above singing in exchange for cake, especially if it’s got a lot of flowers on it. It’s an excellent cultural fit! I get too much email already. I don’t want email. I can’t print out an email and lick the delicious frosting off the paper.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I have a coworker who makes cake for people’s birthdays. It’s alternately fabulous and terrible, since I’m trying to watch what I eat. But I usually have a small piece, because cake is my kryptonite. If it’s more than one in a week, I only have one.

            I’m completely helpless when she brings in brownies, though.

        4. Melissa*

          I like cake, but I don’t like the cake-and-singalong thing. I would rather not have cake if I had to do the sing-a-long.

          But I do like cake.

      3. Outsider*

        I dont like my birthdays mentioned/celebrated at work – find it insincere & pointless. So yes, please ask them if they’d like it

        1. HR “Gumption”*

          Whether through the individual or HR, only ask for day and month, leave out the year.

          I’m not a big-deal birthday guy but we do have one Exec who simply emails a birthday wish as OP intends. It’s a pleasant gesture.

          1. neverjaunty*

            This misses the point. People who don’t like birthday parties at work are not saying “it would be great if they just didn’t mention my age.”

            1. HR “Gumption”*

              How does this miss the point? He’s asking for b-date, not age. Whether you like b-days acknowledged or not, there is no potential discriminatory action. If collecting age date, there is.

              1. Ed*

                You are completely missing the point if you think this is about possibly getting sued. You assume the only objection is because people don’t want their age to be public. It’s about people not liking being called out publicly for personal things like their birthday.

                1. blu*

                  That’s not HR Gumption’s point as I read it. His point was if your going to ask, don’t ask for the year which is good advise.

                2. HR “Gumption”*

                  I’m offering direct input to the OP that is 100% 0n topic with his question.

                  The point you think I’m completely missing was a point raised by others, not the OP. I do not argue their concern, I’m simply staying on topic as AAM has asked for.

                  Thank you blu and The Real Ash!

            2. The Real Ash*

              No, it’s a good idea because even if someone is pro-birthday celebration, they might not be pro-tell everyone how old they are. There could also be a case made about age discrimination if something ever happened in the future. It’s not a bad idea to not ask about the birth year.

      4. Elkay*

        I’d be weirded out by getting an email from my boss wishing me happy birthday. Say it when you see them by all means but an email seems both impersonal and like you’re trying too hard to show you remember these things.

      5. esra*

        My work, instead of cake etc, gives people a free day during their birthday month. You can take your birthday off, or any other day of the month, up to you. People seem to like that.

        1. Kate*

          This would be perfect for me because my birthday is in December and I could use it toward Christmas travels!

        2. JoAnna*

          My husband’s job does this too (although only after you’ve been there a year). His birthday is December 24 so he’s happy he’ll get it off fairly regularly (not this year, unfortunately, as he started in January).

      6. YoungProfessional*

        OP – I was at a temp job on my birthday this year and one of the admin assistants sent an email to everyone (as they do for salaried employees) wishing me a happy birthday. Since I was having a rough day it really cheered me up. I think birthday emails are a nice gesture but I might be in the minority.

      7. CH*

        The president of our company (of around 50 people) gives us each a handwritten company logo notecard on our birthday, with just a line or two thanking us for our contributions to the company in the past year. I think it is a nice thought–I imagine he writes them all at the start of the month and then his exec assistant delivers them on the appropriate day.

      8. Anon Accountant*

        My workplace scaled back from 1 cake for each person’s birthday (we have app. 25 employees total) to 1 cake per month. So far it’s worked out well- no complaints.

        There’s an email sent out “there’s cake in the kitchen area. help yourselves” and there’s no singing or cards. Just cake and no hard feelings if someone doesn’t want any or wants 2 slices. We order a 1/4 sheet cake and it’s plenty for all of us as some don’t or can’t eat sugary foods.

        When I worked at a grocery store at the end of the month there’d be a 1/2 sheet cake, soda and pretzels to celebrate all birthdays for that month. All were welcomed to have cake and it was enjoyed. Maybe this is an option?

      9. Jamie*

        A lot of people have chimed in regarding some people not liking this – but from a practical perspective, I would find it odd if it were acknowledged in email without cake or something.

        You don’t owe anyone cake, and saying Happy Birthday when you see someone is typically a nice gesture – but if there is an email about a birthday from a boss I think the expectation in most offices is that there would be cake. Or at least a muffin left on their desk, something.

        Again – not saying you have to – but it could have the opposite effect than you’re intending if you set up the expectation.

        And as others noted – this isn’t a morale booster. It’s a nice gesture for those who enjoy it, but it’s not going to make anyone feel more positively about the workplace as a whole. Good management does that.

        1. Bea W*

          We got cake every month at my last job, and ice cream every month in the summer. It was delicious, but not miserable job trade-off delicious.

        2. scmill*

          It would be really hard for my manager to do anything other than wish me a HB via phone or email since 1) we work in different states, 2) I’m a FT telecommuter and 3) we’ve met once and she has no idea what my tastes/allergies are.

          I’m fine with just a note or call or nothing. My family provides more than enough cake and good wishes! :)

        3. Cassie*

          The ballet studio I used to dance at got me a donut for my 18th birthday. Typically it’s the kids/parents who bring in treats to share with the class if they want (mostly with the little kids; I don’t think any student did this once they passed middle school) – so it was a nice gesture on the owners’ part. And yes, I went to ballet class on my 18th birthday :)

      10. Lily in NYC*

        Hi OP, I am one of those people who does not really celebrate my bday now that I’m an adult. I really dislike when offices celebrate bdays (for many reasons that have probaby already been written here). However, what you are suggesting, a simple email, would not bother me at all.

      11. Kat A.*

        I am very private and would fume if you went to HR to get my birthday info, even without the year. And I don’t see how a birthday email would build morale. Being a good boss builds morale.

        Your employees most likely have other people in their lives who will acknowledge their birthdays. They’ll probably get 100 “happy birthday” messages on Facebook alone. So it’s not like it would go un-acknowledged.

        If you’re Facebook friends with any of them, I recommend acknowledging their birthdays on that platform.

      12. Programmer 01*

        Work here has an opt-out process when you’re hired (but you can opt out anytime) for birthdays, but if you’re opted-in you find a bottle of wine on your desk the morning of your birthday. Opted-in or out you also get an email on your birthday asking if you’d like a free game from the company’s backlist. My partner doesn’t drink but the bottle of wine works as a good back-up gift, heh.

        It’s a huge office, if we did cake for every birthday it would be the Birthday Unending.

        1. C Average*

          Wow, now THAT is an awesome way to do birthdays! You guys aren’t in need of any wine-loving html copywriters, are you?!

    2. Christine*

      I personally hate the big deal birthday stuff – no cake, no potluck, no cards for me at work, please – but our company president’s admin assistant takes a minute to email everyone a quick note on their birthday, and I frankly do like that. She sends a similar note on your work anniversary.

      1. Ollie*

        I think the work anniversary note is cool. :]

        I think acknowledging birthdays will be appreciated by some people, but I’m one of those people that hate birthday acknowledgements and would rather opt out.

        1. Lora*

          Count me as another birthday hater. I don’t celebrate at home, either, I just hope fervently that it goes unnoticed. The happiest birthday thing for me is when a Birthday Cake Person asks, “when is your birthday?” and I get to tell them they missed it. Of course, I ALWAYS tell them that they missed it last month, no matter what month it is…

          1. Nichole*

            Also a birthday hater. I just don’t like the attention (goodness please no singing) and copious small talk that comes with it. I usually just don’t mention it at work and it goes relatively unnoticed. While I would not be opposed to a short e-mail, whenever I start a new job I secretly hope they don’t make a big deal of birthdays because I know it’s not a hill I want to die on, and people that do make a big deal of it tend to see refusing to participate as a personal affront. If ever necessary, I plan to steal your “you just missed it” strategy.

            1. Lily in NYC*

              I swear I have actually wondered how to ask this in a job interview but realized there is just no way to do it without sounding like a crazy curmudgeon.

              1. Bea W*

                My current boss actually brought it up in the interview while discussing her management style and the office culture. So maybe that’s the way around it, asking general questions about the office culture and how people interact with each other.

    3. Ed*

      We had one co-worker who absolutely insisted we do something like this. We had never discussed it among ourselves because it was obvious she wanted to make a big deal out of every birthday so we went along with it. I was a little shocked at what happened when this woman resigned. At the next staff meeting, one of my co-workers said matter-of-factly “so, I assume we can stop doing that Birthday crap with Joan gone?” Everyone sort of chuckled and said they had the exact same thought the second they heard Joan resigned.

      My point is just because one or two people feel bad is not an indicator the office as-a-whole wants to celebrate birthdays. I would guess a handful really do, a handful really don’t and the other 80-90% are indifferent. I would personally do something more passive like give people the option to publicize it. For example, we have a panel on the right side of our Intranet homepage with important announcements like birthdays, births, anniversary of hire dates, etc. Just to ensure we have content (since most don’t care either way), you have to opt out if you don’t want to be included (and a link to those instructions is under the announcements). I think the anniversary of your hire date is the only thing we put up for everyone since that’s a company-related celebration.

  3. Ann Furthermore*

    #1: If I had an employee ask me for a raise solely due to a commute of 10 more miles, my eyebrows would raise so high that they’d probably disappear into my hairline.

    Yes a longer commute is a drag, but like Alison said, it’s not an unreasonable distance. If the OP gets a raise for this reason, does everyone whose commute is adversely affected get one too? And conversely, if someone else’s commute has gotten shorter because of the new office location, should they be expected to take a pay cut because they won’t be spending as much on gas as they were before?

    It’s too bad the OP’s commute has increased, but I don’t think that’s the employer’s concern. I used to have a 40 minute commute, and it sucked. Then we moved, and now it’s about 15 minutes and I love it. But if my company were to move and my commute went back to 40 minutes, I wouldn’t ask for a raise. I’d look into public transit options, try to put together a carpool, or something similar.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Another option would be to negotiate a different schedule. I had an employee who lived in my area but about 5 miles further away. If she had to be in the office by 8, she had to leave her house at 7. If she could start at 8:30, she could leave at 8 and miss the worst of the rush hour. I was fine with that. In a call center that might not work, but it’s worth asking the question and it’s a reasonable solution.

      1. Feed The Ducks*

        Agreed, or perhaps there’s an option negotiate on parking or working from home one day? I think asking for a raise this soon isn’t a great choice.

    2. Fucshia*

      Yes, but if you were in the process of hiring a new employee while you were also planning a move, wouldn’t you at least say something during the interview and/or offer stage. It seems very suspicious to me. Makes me wonder if the new location is in a bad area or something.

      1. KarenT*

        Yes, this. I find it pretty shady they didn’t tell her the office was relocating. Any reasonable hiring manager would know a commute is an important factor potential candidates are considering.
        I remember once going in for an interview and mentioning conversationally to the hiring manager I loved the location (short commute + ample parking) and he was like, “Oh, awkward. We’re moving to a new office next week.” The new location was pretty undesirable to me. I would have been furious if I had accepted the job and they told me after I’d already started when they would have known all along.

      2. doreen*

        It’s possible that they weren’t yet planning the move when the OP was in the interview/offer process. There’s always a cutoff where “today we know we’re moving and yesterday we didn’t” and sometimes there’s a very short window between the knowing and the moving. One of my agency’s offices just moved with less than two weeks notice because it wasn’t a planned move- they had to move due to issues with the building.

    3. Elysian*

      I generally agree, but I think this is a little different because she just took the job and no one told her about the office move. If she’d been told during the interview, maybe she would have negotiated for more money then, or taken a different job altogether. I think its a little different for employees who have been there for a while.

      Plus, just because a commute seems reasonable to one person doesn’t make it reasonable to another. Where I live, anything up to an hour and a half is a “reasonable” commute, but I just couldn’t handle that length. Especially because I get motion sick on public transit. I sympathize with the OP – they should have told her this when she interviewed.

      1. moe*

        Good point on the reasonableness of the commute. To me, there’s a good bit of privilege and assumptions in Ann Furthermore’s responses: an assumption of reliable transportation that is capable of any distance, of no childcare or eldercare responsibilities, of a schedule that allows for sudden changes. It’s nice that Ann could and would make changes to accommodate a situation like this — but why the assumption that anyone else could and therefore should?

        OP said (s)he would not have applied for this job had (s)he known of the actual commute, and I think we should take OP at their word.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          I’m not saying that the situation doesn’t stink. It does, and if it happened to me I’d be pretty steamed. One of the things that keeps me at my job is that my company in general, and my boss in particular, are quite flexible about work schedules, being virtual, needing to step out during the day for an appointment or and errand. Many bosses/companies are much more rigid so I’m very fortunate. I know that I could probably go someplace else and make more money, but this is such a great benefit that I’m hesitant to give it up. It’s not the only thing that keeps me where I am, but it’s definitely a factor.

          But as much as the situation stinks, I just don’t think there’s a way for the OP to ask for a raise because of a longer commute without a serious risk of looking naive or entitled, and (if the OP is young) getting labeled as a “millenial,” which we’ve all talked about here before.

          I don’t think there’s any privilege or assumption in bringing up that most employers, right or wrong, fair or unfair, aren’t going to care about a longer commute, especially in an economy like this one. How one gets to work is not the employer’s concern, only that you’re there when you’re expected to be. Which also stinks, but that’s just the reality that we’re all (sadly) living with these days, at least in the US. I’ve got a great job that I love, but I’ve heard some higher-ups say in recent years that we shouldn’t gripe about the additional workloads and hours (due to headcount freezes) because in this economy we should all just be thankful to have our jobs. I think that’s a pretty crappy mindset, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.

      2. RG*

        Except “reasonableness” is usually an objective standard defined by the collective, rather than the individual (thinking of the reasonable person standard within the law). It goes more towards a societal norm than an individual preferences/circumstance.

        So, I think it’s fair to think of the new commute as continuing to be reasonable, even if it isn’t preferable to the OP.

    4. LBK*

      But a current employee presumably would’ve been told about the move a while ago and would’ve had a chance to deal with it if they had a problem with it – whether it be moving closer to the new location or finding a new job.

      Location is a pretty big factor for me when choosing a job. I love short commutes and convenience to stores/banks/etc. so I can run errands during my lunch break. If I took a job in a location I liked and on the first day they told me it was actually going to be somewhere else in a place I wouldn’t have even applied to if I knew that would be the location, I’d be pissed and I’d think my manager was pretty crappy for not telling me from the get go.

      1. Moved!*

        Location was a really big factor for me too, and I looked really hard for a job that was close to where I lived. If the listing had had ‘Office Park Valley’ instead of ‘Close Mesa’ I simply wouldn’t have applied in the first place.

        1. LBK*

          I totally feel your pain on this. I’ve ruled out many positions because I’m so picky about location that even a supposed “dream job” can be crossed off the list if it’s going to take me an hour to get there.

      2. Angora*

        Just thought of something. Instead of the interviewer being dishonest or not thinking during the hiring process.

        I have an additional concern if the interviwer is also the OP’s supervisor. This lack of … rather not sharing valid information during the hiring process can by a sympton of an overall problem. The supervisor shows a lack of “attention to detail” and “does not share valid information.” The failure to share a very important point “location of job” during the hiring process shows both. If the supervisor suffers from both of those faults the OP is going have a miserable time at the job.

    5. Lanya*

      OP, I feel your pain – I would be pretty ticked off if I were in your shoes. But no offense, to me it sounds like you wanted more money than you were offered in the original dealings with this company, and now that they are suddenly moving and it’s an inconvenience, you feel entitled to recoup something in this negotiation. I would totally feel the same way, so I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. But if I were you, I would not ask for a salary bump outright at this point. It will not make you look good. Instead, you might be able to negotiate for something else, such as weekly prepaid gas cards, from the angle that they neglected to tell you they were moving and it was a large part of your choice in taking the job.

    6. olives*

      I generally agree with this, though it really depends on the situation – someone who lives in the suburbs versus the city would be able to handle a 10 mile difference very differently. Similarly, not everyone has the option of public transit or carpooling, for reliability reasons. It’s very situation-dependent as to whether a new commute distance becomes “unreasonable” or not.

      That said, in this case it’s an increase of 10-15 minutes, so in all likelihood you’re right on, and anyone looking over a raise request with this as the only reason would likely balk.

      1. Moved!*

        It’s an increase FROM 10-15 minutes BY 20-25 minutes, so a 10-15 to a 30-40 commute in total.

  4. Apollo Warbucks*

    #1 I think the company has behaved badly, they must have been planning the move for a while and they should have been up front with you about it.

    It’s hard to negotiate more money just for the move, when the move is so local and if they give you a rise then they would have to do that for everyone.

    I like Alison’s point about the short commute being a reason you accepted a lower salary than you would have otherwise, I’d also factor in the cost of the extra gas you will be using and see how yo get on.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      You’re right, and my reply to this probably sounds unsympathetic. My old commute was 25 minutes until I had a child. Then it went to 40 because daycare was in the opposite direction from work, but my husband works in a different part of town and we needed something workable for both of us. So I do get it, but I think the OP risks coming off as naive asking for a raise, especially being so new.

      The actual location makes a difference too. If my company moved 10 miles south, it would be a drag but I could deal with it. If it moved 10 miles north the commute would take me right through downtown, which would be a much bigger problem.

      It’s also possible that the move was just announced and wasn’t public knowledge yet. The company could have been negotiating the terms of the lease and didn’t want to make anything official until things were finalized. Groups like Facilities or Legal would probably know something was in the works, but not everyone would.

      1. Saturn9*

        Your situation is not similar to the OP’s unless your employer dictates your reproductive decisions.

        The OP accepted a salary based on an understanding of the details of the job that were provided by the company. Whoever did the interviewing either didn’t know about the move or didn’t think it was relevant. Neither of those explanations makes the company look good.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          I didn’t say my situation was the same as the OP’s. I said that I’ve had my commute be lengthened so I understand that it sucks when it suddenly changes.

          1. LBK*

            I think Saturn9’s point is that you made your own decision to lengthen your commute, whether the resulting commute sucked or not. OP had no choice in the matter.

      2. neverjaunty*

        And the company just happened to learn about the move publicly on OP’s very first day of work? Color me highly skeptical.

      3. E.R*

        I agree with Ann’s position here and above, although I sympathize with the OP. I would never ask for a raise based on my own needs (nor would I really consider a request from someone for a raise based on their needs vs value) – its based on how much added value you bring the organization. As someone mentioned above, would a person getting a shorter commute be expected to take a pay cut?

        If you were truly negotiated for less money based on your commute, and that was your deciding factor, maybe ask in the future if an office has any plans to relocate in the next few years?

    2. OhNo*

      Eh, I feel like asking for a raise might come across poorly. Bringing up your personal situation is something Alison has counseled against before (in terms of using your personal finances as a reason for a raise), so I feel like this is getting too close to that line to be a good idea.

      That said, there’s no reason the OP can’t ask their new boss what the deal is. Ask why this wasn’t mentioned during the hiring process, mention that the short commute was a major reason they accepted the low salary, and then instead of asking for a raise, ask, “What can we do to solve this problem?”

      If the boss is unwilling to give a raise (which seems likely given they just started), they might have other suggestions: flex time, different schedule, subsidized bus pass or gas card, creating an office carpool, etc.

    3. TheSnarkyB*

      I really don’t like this logic of “if they give you a raise, they have to give everyone else one too.” We all know that it doesn’t actually work this way and that this is not how well-run companies work. If they’re especially worried about retaining you, or if they see you as especially valuable, or any other number of factors, they’re entitled to pay you more than any random coworker at your level. And they often do.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        What I was getting at is, to give even one person something extra for the move would open the flood gates to claims of hardship from everyone who wanted a rise due to the move, it can be sometimes simpler to draw a line and say there is nothing for anyone.

        but I agree with you that there are always exceptions to these things but from the firms point of view if the move is minor I can see why they don’t want to deal with 101 requests for assistance so its an easier position to take.

        1. neverjaunty*

          But OP is not just asking for extra gas money. OP took the job on the assumption that (as they were told) the job would be located in a different place than it actually is.

    4. Red Librarian*

      It’s possible they knew but weren’t allowed to yet make it public. Before my company moved to the other side of town, certain managers knew for months in advance but couldn’t tell anyone. Had they hired anyone in those intervening months (and I can’t remember if they did or did not), they wouldn’t have been able to say anything to them during the hiring/interviewing process

      (Luckily the move made my commute shorter).

      1. Michele*

        One company told us 2 weeks before the scheduled move because there were issues with the new building and they almost had to back out of the deal.
        My last company told us 2 years ahead of time that we were moving from Chelsea to TriBeCa and they really should have waited because the move just kept getting pushed further and further out. It was annoying to hear at every monthly meeting that the date had changed.

  5. Apollo Warbucks*

    #2 someone I work with doesn’t celebrate their birthday for regions reasons. Giving people the chance to op out is really important.

    1. M Lyons*

      Agreed – Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate any special days. I work in HR and I’ve had managers ask for their employees birthdays. I always say that birthdays are considered personal information and I will not release them, but they are welcome to ask their staff if they want to be acknowledged on their birthday, and if so, to provide the date.

    2. NoPantsFridays*

      Yeah, this is important. Even in grade school as kids I knew several classmates of different religions who didn’t celebrate their birthday– unless “forced” to by the school. In school, it was the whole singing/party hat deal, but I think it’s inappropriate even in an office setting.

    3. Rat Racer*

      I think this and the conversation above demonstrate that you can’t please everybody. We recently stopped celebrating birthday’s at the request of our HR department, and I got like 6 e-mails saying “No more birthdays recognized at our quarterly staff meeting? What gives??”

      I don’t get why this is a big deal one way or the other, but think it’s wiser to err on the side of not offending people who get offended by birthdays.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        Banning birthdays entirely seems silly, just give everyone the option to be included or not. My coworker doesn’t sign birthday cards, accept birthday cakes that people bring in or take part in any Christmas celebrations I normally give her a heads up something is coming up so she can go and do some filing, make a coffee or whatever. It doesn’t take much effort for her to be comfortable with what is happening and for the rest of us that want to, to recognise an occasion.

  6. snuck*

    #1 It’s always possible to ask but what might the impact be on your reputation? Why not wait the three months and ask then? Is it really worth three months of slightly bumped pay (what are we talking here? $1-2,000/yr which equates to 250-500/3mths?) to damage your reputation? I would be thinking “So how do I calculate what sort of raise to give this person? I’m not paying them their hourly rate to travel to work, and if I make it about $50/week before tax then how is that going to satisfy them?” and realise it was probably not going to resolve the disatisfaction anyway. I might talk it through with the staff member if they were very valuable and come up with something, but not indefinitely because that’s not fair to all the other staff who have to travel more (and what about those who travel less… do you cut their raise later in the year? No.). It is pretty cruddy that they didn’t mention this in your interview – I’d be keeping that in mind and looking for other signs of poor communication and not caring about these sorts of lifestyle relevant details.

    #2 I am one of those who is “a bit weird” about birthdays. Working in close proximity to people all day you find out all sorts of things about people, and a big one of those is that I could answer practically every ‘security information’ question for every one of my colleagues – I don’t make a fuss of my birthday partly for that reason (can you tell I’ve worked with some real creeps?) but also partly because I have a messed up family history and birthday’s are a time of tension for me. I don’t want to tell everyone about that, so I just say “I prefer not to do anything big for my birthday” and leave it at that. On the rare occasion someone has taken it upon themselves to ignore my request I am gracious but remember it to the ends of the earth and begrudge it. They have taken their own need to make a public spectacle and share something as more important than my need to not doing anything special and they’ve done it on the one day they should have respected my wishes.

    1. Spiny*

      It makes more sense not to wait- this isn’t a raise so much as an adjustment due to poor info- and three months is too early to ask for a raise anyway.

      1. snuck*

        Personally I think the whole idea of asking for a raise is a bit ridiculous and smacks of self entitlement. BUT the company didn’t tell the OP about the new location and that wasn’t fair of them.

        I’ve arranged allowances for staff who have had to travel further as a result of an office move – but that was when their commute increased more than an hour – and it was for a finite period of time. Ten to fifteen minutes? Get over it! A traffic jam or roadworks could cause that.

      2. snuck*

        And to add…

        I’ve found that staff that penny and pound for all this sort of little stuff are often more hassle than they are worth – staff who want to complain and change all sorts of small things often want it for more than just the commute. They want X brand of pen, they want the seat near/away from the window, they want a different brand of chair, they want gloves for opening the mail so they don’t cut their fingers, they want a different stapler because this one is too hard to press… whatever. None of that is unreasonable, but in combination, constantly… we all put up with small annoyances in life don’t ask our employer to fix everything up just ‘tickety boo’ purely for us. Staff who want such minute control over every element of their workday aren’t generally ones that I want to have working for me unless they are exceptionally talented or have a rare skillset.

        I’m not saying the OP is like this, but it’s her first week… the honeymoon period still exists and she’s already not happy with being there … so I’d be unsure about her into the future.

        The whole issue of the pay rate being on the lower end of the pay scale is a separate issue in my mind also – unless we know more about the companies practices in hiring – whether they routinely offer the lower scale (why offer a higher one then?) etc. Maybe the OP was at the lower end of what they were looking for and that’s why that’s what they offered, maybe they are a bit frugal and decided to offer low and see what happened (and got away with it)… time will tell. Companies that are willing to save a few dollars in wages at the expense of employee satisfaction often find they have a higher turnover (expensive) and higher absentism etc.

  7. HR “Gumption”*

    “1- I’d suggest not bringing it up right away, I could see it not going over well with a lot of people. New hires are under a microscope.

    Show them your a strong, reliable worker first and voice your concerns at review time.

    1. Angora*

      Ref: 1. My new job is moving and my commute is changing — can I ask for a salary bump?

      I agree with the others; do not bring it up. But I feel that they were dishonest in letting you know during the hiring process that they were considering going this route.

  8. UK Jo*

    #2 -this may not be something you want to emulate, but just in case it is useful:
    At my old place of work we had a large team and did cake for each person’s birthday. I emailed round for opt in participation and asked for date/month only (not year). Only one person opted out, fair enough. However I didn’t want them to stand out so asked if they would like to nominate an “unofficial” birthday date. That way they could still enjoy cake and kind words, but hopefully without feeling uncomfortable. For that individual, this worked very well (and incidentally closed a gap in the cake schedule -you can’t wait toooo long between cake hits!)

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      I’ve worked at a company that did a single birthday celebration every month, and named the employees that had a birthday. Worked great for those of us who didn’t like the attention on our actual b-day.

      1. UK Jo*

        Sure thing – work arounds are good :) I guess it boils down to whether someone hates being the centre of attention (alternatives not great) versus not wanting people to know the actual day, always take holiday etc.

      2. Del*

        That’s the same thing my job does — although sometimes they skip a month if we’re busy and then we get a cake covering 2-3 months’ worth of birthdays. Either way, it’s a nice balance.

  9. ZoeUK*

    #2 Just agreeing with other posters – please ask the people directly. I’m a very private person and while I love celebrating my birthday with family and friends, I don’t want or need it acknowledging at work.

    In my last job my manager sent round an email asking if people wanted to ‘opt in’ for birthday celebrations. A few of us opted out (toxic workplace, bad manager, empty gesture etc). Then sometime later I noticed that this manager had our birthdays in her Outlook calendar anyway. ‘Zoe’s Birthday’ right there where anyone in the company could see it. I know you are not suggesting to do this, but it made me feel really cross because my wishes had been ignored and I would feel very similar if a manager had gone over my head and asked HR for my birth date. It’s really none of my managers business.

    Also I realise this probably makes me a freak but I don’t like cake. :-)

    1. Henrietta Gondorf*

      I am incredibly picky about cake and usually won’t eat it.

      Ice cream cake, on the other hand…

  10. Henrietta Gondorf*

    Regarding the commute time, I live in the DC metro area and a request for a raise due to a 35 minute commute time would be met with either outright disdain or a bless your heart. If this wouldn’t be quite so unorthodox in your region/workplace culture, it’s still going to depend on the salary negotiations you already had. If you’re at the top of the range for the position already, I think you have to let the matter go entirely.

    1. FiveNine*

      OT is at the bottom range for the position, news that the job is moving 10 miles wasn’t shared until the first day if work, and OP’S estimate that it will add 20-25 minutes to the commute might be modest. In the DC area that could be at least twice as much additional time depending on the direction (with or against traffic to and from DC) and work time. I don’t know what the answer is — it probably wouldn’t occur to me to ask for a raise. But it would take me aback, seem possibly in bad faith, and might well be enough in itself to look for another job.

      1. Henrietta Gondorf*

        I’m not quite sure what you’re saying. In my region (DC metro) being seen as complaining about a 35 minute commute will garner you no sympathy. If the OP were to make this request in my area, it’d likely come off as a bit clueless and entitled. Having said that, if this is a deal breaker for the OP, it’s a deal breaker and everyone’s entitled to make that call.

        1. LBK*

          I think the point isn’t the length of the commute necessarily, but the fact that this wasn’t even mentioned to the OP in the entire hiring process. It’s pretty clueless and naïve of the employer to think that the OP wouldn’t even want to know or have factored in the location of the company when deciding to work there. An extra half hour would be a deal breaker for me – I hate commuting time, I feel like it’s a complete waste of my day and I’ll gladly pay more rent to live in the city 15 minutes from my office than get a cheaper place in the suburbs. And I’ve lived in the DC metro area so I’m familiar with your situation and how much the commute sucks there.

  11. Alter_ego*

    I think perhaps my reaction to question 1 is over-strong because I live 15 miles from work, left at 5:40, and am just now getting in at 6:40. And that’s the commute when I leave before 6 am. Later than that, and it’s far, far worse. I would do unspeakable acts for a 15 or 35 or 40 minute commute on a regular day (I don’t normally get in this early). So ask, I guess, but if it’s any kind of a metro area, I can’t imagine anyone feeling much sympathy.

    1. FiveNine*

      I live 5 miles from work, don’t have to fight the DC traffic but flow against the jams both ways, and have a late work start time — and it still takes 20-25 minutes to go 5 miles. Because I’m in the suburbs, taking public transportation — buses and metro — makes it closer to an hour (and that’s if I hit all the transitions without missing a bus, etc.). A 10 mile addition could go either way — if it’s a straight shot (either by metro or by auto), it could be actually less of a hassle. But in all probability it would add so much more time. Commute is not necessarily a small thing for people. I have friends who have moved their entire families, basing career and family-life decisions on location.

      1. Alter_ego*

        That sounds rough! I’m lucky, in that I can take public transit to work, and it does take less time than driving, but the nature of my job means that I sometimes have to work earlier or later than the trains run, or I need my car on me to drive to a job site. So usually at least once or twice I week, I have to drive in.

      2. Annie*

        And in DC 10 miles could be an additional hour if you’re in the beltway and have a specific start time (esp. when its raining or snowing (my 55 mile commute from the a northern suburb to NE was usually an hour and 20 minutes it snowed and it was 4 hours- I left my house where there was no snow at 645 and didn’t get to work until after 11- thank God for good managers).
        At the same time, when my second job moved- while they had let us know they were looking for new space for months before the announcement was made- the only 3 people who knew were the Exec. Directors- everyone else only found out about 2 weeks before we moved and I think they only told us so we could help pack the documents and get used to our new computers.

        1. VintageLydia USA*

          I remember when I lived in Alexandria and my husband worked in Crystal City (he drove, but metro was a very viable option) and his workplace was considering a move to Seminary Hill. Not that far at all, and I think technically closer to us by miles, but the traffic around there is insane and the public transportation options are nil. It would have more than doubled his commute. He had coworkers as far as Fredericksburg who took the VRE in and there is no way they could get to Seminary Hill in less than two hours (VRE from Fredericksburg to Crystal City is roughly one hour IIRC.) Thankfully they decided to nix the plan entirely.

    2. AB*

      I completely understand where the OP is coming from. My job decided to move me from one office location to another without any warning or discussion. I got into work one day, my boss sat me down for a meeting and then dropped the bomb on me.
      The new commute is only a few miles longer than my old one, but my old commute was going away from the city center and against traffic so my commute was consistent and shorter. My new commute is extremely frustrating and is seriously starting to affect my job satisfaction.
      While the actual mileage may not be much different, the new commute typically adds an hour to my day. It’s going with traffic into the city center (in a city with notoriously bad traffic) and can change drastically depending on the day (an accident on one of the major roadways, even if it’s not one I take, can easily double my commute without warning). I try to leave early in the morning so I’m not late, but traffic is so volatile that even giving myself a 15 minute cushion, I can still end up being late to work some mornings (and ridiculously early other mornings). This creates a lot of stress and makes for a much longer day (I left early, but traffic was horrid and I got in 15 minutes late, so I needed to stay later to make up time, but staying later means I miss the window of lighter traffic and am stuck in heavy traffic on the way home and my total commute that day went from 1.5 hours to almost three. Top that off with the fact that new office is closed on Fridays in the summer and we’re working 10 hour days Mon-Thurs…) To surmise, a few extra miles may not seem like much but it can make a huge difference and create a lot of dissatisfaction.

        1. AB*

          Yeah, the unpredictability is so frustrating. The first thing I do when I get into the car is check the GPS to see how long my commute is going to take and what route is the fastest (at that moment). It can change halfway through. Plus, an hour commute where you’re moving the whole time is generally fine, but when your commute is 15 miles and it takes you an hour and you’re stuck sitting there, inching along, that’s when my blood pressure goes up.

    3. LBK*

      Okay, but didn’t you take the job/choose where to live knowing all of this information beforehand?

      1. Alter_ego*

        Sure, but in my industry, in my area, basically all the jobs are in the downtown area of the city. And unless you’re the ceo, or you want to live in a hovel with 6 roommates (and some rats), then you can only afford to live outside the city. Obviously if it mattered more to me than anything else in life, I could move to a different part of the country, or I could start posting on craigslist for roommates, sell my house, and move to a crap-hole but both are sort of unrealistic for me. I acknowledged that my response was colored by my bitterness towards my current traffic situation. The OP’s situation certainly sucks, I just don’t know that she’s going to garner much sympathy from her manager.

        1. neverjaunty*

          The point isn’t whether some of us have longer commutes. It’s the bait-and-switch.

          1. Alter_ego*

            You’re right. I understand the point. I was posting in frustration, having just come off a commute longer than I expected it to be because I left so early, and I literally posted as I was getting out of my car and grumbling to myself, then reading a complaint about a commute I would die for (hyperbolically speaking). I was wrong.

          2. MK*

            I think “bait-and-switch” is an exaggeration. People are commenting as if it is certain that the employer knew the importance of the commute to the OP, or even that they concealed the prospect of the move to get the OP to accept the job on a low salary, but there is nothing to indicate that. The employer and the people that did the hiring probably spared no thought at all to the OP’s commute; they probably don’t even remember where the OP lives.

            1. Nichole*

              I agree with this-the idea that the commute mattered to whether OP would have taken the job or not is probably pretty far from the employer’s radar. It also doesn’t always sound like as big a deal on paper as it is in practice, making it much harder to get any leverage to improve the situation. Alter-Ego’s comments, while not necessarily a direct parallel, are an example of why commute might be a dealbreaker to some people, even if it sounds like a small distance to fuss about from the outside.

            2. Angora*

              Let’s take the longer drive out of the equation. Normally when you interview and hire people; you tell them which office they’ll be working out of.

              Either they didn’t think about it; or decided to change the location during the hiring process.

              You still tell someone if the physical location of said position changes. My employer has a couple of different locations … if they changed mine to the next down over it would be terrible parking conditions … which would be a turnoff — unless they let me adjust my schedule to 7:30 – 4:30 vs 8 – 5. You can spend 20 minutes finding a parking spot in the other location and the parking pass costs more. Here; no problem. Pass is about $80 less; and I come in five minutes early and I can park right up front. The other town; 2 – 5 blocks away.

    4. LQ*

      I think we should be able to find sympathy. I have a less than 10 minute commute in a large metro area that loves their cars. Not everyone had the ability to have short commutes but many many people do have that ability and decide that a larger yard, different school district, etc is more important than a shorter commute. When you say you would do unspeakable acts does that include moving?

      1. Alter_ego*

        I mean, obviously “unspeakable acts” was hyperbole. There’s not really anywhere I could move that would have a commute that short that isn’t either waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay above my price range, or a slum, that I would still need roommates to afford. Plus I own my home. Honestly, I take the train most days, and it isn’t that bad. I was frustrated when I made that post because I needed to have my car with me today, and I thought leaving at 5:30 would SURELY be early enough to avoid the traffic, which makes my commute about 25 minutes, but nope, apparently rush hour starts at 5:30 by me, and ends at 10:30. Then starts up again at 3:30 until 7:30.

  12. John B Public*

    #1- OP would in all likelihood NOT have taken the job if it had been in the new location, and even if she had would have asked for more money. Back of the envelope estimating puts the extra time at an extra 3 1/2 hours a week, and 166 hours a year. If she were getting paid for that time (let’s call it $25/hr) that’s $4,150.
    Now, considering she was offered the low end of the pay range, and considered the location/short commute to be a prime factor in accepting the job, I’d certainly argue for talking to your boss about it.
    I also think that not negotiating the offer earlier means you’re less likely to get what your asking for.
    Keep in mind that the subtext of this conversation is “…or I’ll quit.” Are you prepared to quit over this?

    1. Artemesia*

      I would keep quiet and search for another job and let them know when you left that the distance was an issue.

    2. MK*

      I don’t think these calculations are in any way relevant. But I would agree that the OP needs to ask themselves this: If the job offer included the long commute in the first place, would they have accepted it? Also, would they have accepted it on a low salary? If the answer is yes, maybe it would be better to suck it up and ask for a raise later. If the answer is no, then the OP should start looking for another job.

      I don’t think that the earlier the OP brings it up the better chance they have to get what they ask for, rather the opposite. The fact that the company offered a salary on the low end of what they were prepared to pay and what the OP was asking doesn’t exactly indicate that they will be desperate to retain the OP, so it might be better to wait a little till the OP has shown his work ethic and settled in the job; then the company might want to avoid the hassle of hiring anf training a new person. Since there is already a 90-day review coming up, waiting to mention it won’t seem odd.

    3. M. in Austin!*

      I like your response. The real issue is not that her commute will be longer by X minutes each day (which some users are unsympathetic to); the issue is that she didn’t get to consider this information during negotiation. She probably would have asked for more money or some other compensation, if she chose to take the position at all. 30 minutes extra each way is an extra hour a day. That would be a deal breaker for me.

      Honestly, I would keep looking for a new job.

  13. Kentucky Proud*

    #2 – As someone whose birthday has been “forgotten” the last two years at work, I think it’s kind you want to do something to acknowledge your associates.

    If you do decide to acknowledge them, I would recommend a.) checking with each person and making sure they are comfortable with it (like many other posters have said previously) and b.) do the same thing for everyone, whether it’s a private email, a cake, card, etc. My office, while it’s a great environment in general, isn’t fair about this kind of stuff – one person might get a cake, a card and a lunch out, while others get nothing.

    1. Hiding*

      This is the type of thing that can definitely back fire. everyone should be treated the same or how they want to be treated if appropriate. Worked for a company with no official policy about personal celebrations. When employees got engaged, married or had children they brought in backed goods if they chose to. Some managers would bring in items after big projects (for everyone, not just their group). This worked great, no problems. For retirement or general job leaving it was the friend who organized something. So of course there were some big differences in what employees got. A card and cake at the desk for retirement is so not the same as lunch and gifts at a local restaurant ar lunch for someone who quit.

      1. Red Librarian*

        We have no official policy either and it’s handled by the person’s manager. My manager is the president, birthdays aren’t exactly on his radar so mine went unacknowledged which wouldn’t be that big of a deal if I didn’t see other employees get cake and everyone in the break room singing to them.

        1. Angora*

          When I worked at the bank .. 20 years ago we used to give $2.00 per pay period to the “Sunshine Club” and would get a cake for our birthday or pizza.

          I did these for a couple of years and when my birthday came around … it was on a holiday I didn’t get a think for two years in a row. The 2nd year I got in a twit and said something to my manager and refused to put money towards it again. They sent me flowers and a balloon; but I was mad by that time I didn’t give a loop.

          They used to give us a day off for our birthday; could take that day or take it later as a comp day. I had one manager that tried to tell me I wouldn’t get it because my birthday was on a holiday … I had to go to HR to get it. That was the prior manager they fired her for other reasons.

    2. ZoeUK*

      I don’t know, I don’t think that a ‘treat everyone the same’ policy is necessary. I don’t want or need my birthday celebrating at work but I don’t begrudge those who do at all. My colleague has a birthday three days before mine and she arranged a lunch out, had a cake, some of the team decorated her desk, arranged a card etc. Mine passed without comment because I’d only told one person about it. I’m happy with that. Just because I don’t want a fuss for mine doesn’t mean I care what other people want for theirs. Some people love a fuss – they should go for it! :-)

  14. Mike C*

    I feel like many of the folks who have made the decision that a long commute isn’t a big deal telling forget that they have made a compromise that their benefit from. A commute is a huge quality of life issue, one that the OP wasn’t allowed to decide if it was right for them.

    The difference between a 15 minute commute and a 40 minute commute is huge. You lose the ability to pop over to home over a lunch hour in an emergency and you lose access to alternative options such a biking and possibly mass transit. To hear other people say “well it’s no big deal to me” ignores the fact that there are other benefits that explain why you live farther away, and tolerate such a commute – benefits this OP doesn’t have in exchange for a short commute. Oh wait, that’s gone too and the OP was never given the chance to make an informed choice.

    I don’t know about asking for a raise, but if it were me I would be absolutely livid.

    1. Betsy*

      Yes, this! I am currently living with a commute which I LOATHE. But I walked into it with my eyes open, because it’s in a “richer” area than where I live, and it pays better. In a year or two, I’ll have socked enough away to upgrade to the new town, and be back to a shorter commute and a house where I want to live long-term.

      Other people make the choice to live away from the major business areas because they can support a lifestyle of big house/big car/iphone/regular vacations by dealing with the longer commute, and that’s a valid choice. But if I’m dealing with the small apartment and high rent by living close to the business center, and then the company I work for moves to the suburbs, I’m going to be really cranky. Similarly, if I’m living in a small town at small town costs and get a job that pays 20K less than the one I could get in the big city, I’m going to be cranky when that job moves next door to the place that would have paid me 80K instead of 60K.

      I also think that people need to look at this through their lens. If 45 minutes is normal for you, how would you feel about them moving 15 miles away, so your commute was up over an hour? What if, like the OP, the commute more than doubled and you were expected to spend 90 minutes each way?

    2. Sunflower*

      I agree with this so so so much. My commute is about 40-50 mins and it’s doable but in my next job, one of the top factors is I’ll be able to walk to work(I live in the city, my current office is in the burbs). It would put a terrible taste in my mouth if I accepted a new job and the company didn’t tell me something that is a huge deal and they were aware of the whole time. Even if they didn’t think it was a huge deal, why is that not something they would mention on the off chance anyway? What are they hiding?

    3. MousyNon*

      I agree. I don’t think OP will be able to swing a raise with it this early in their stint, and I agree with Betsy below that given the general “get over it” response OP’s manager is likely to respond unfavorably to such a request, but I would be seriously pissed off if I were the OP. Business don’t just up and move all of a sudden–this has been decided for at least the past month, and the company acted in bad faith by not mentioning this during the interview stages, so I think the OP is within their rights to act in “bad faith” (although I don’t consider it such) by wanting to renegotiate a higher salary.

      OP, I’d consider waiting until your 90 day review, when you have some sort of track record to justify them keeping you on, to bring this up. If that doesn’t work, I’d personally be pissed enough to consider moving on.

    4. ZoeUK*

      I agree with this. It’s up to you to decide what is acceptable to you and you make your choices accordingly. I’ve always had a commute of 30 minutes or less because I choose not to apply for jobs which would involve much longer travel. At times this has meant that when I’m job searching I’m looking in a much smaller circle, but I don’t care. I’m willing to make that sacrifice because it’s really important to be. I would be furious if this was me.

    5. Hous*

      Seriously! I don’t have a car and rely on public transportation to get to work, which means I always research anywhere I’m applying to make sure the commute is something I’d be both willing and able to do. Even if the new location was convenient to get to, I’d probably still be angry that the company didn’t inform me of the change so I could factor it in to my decision to work for them.

      1. Zed*

        I’m in the same situation. I’m used to fairly long commutes because I live in a big city and take public transportation everywhere. 10+ years ago, I had a 45-60 minute commute on the subway to get to high school! I have a similar-length commute now, and I don’t mind it. In fact, because I don’t have to deal with driving and traffic, I actually kind of like it–it gives me time to sit and zone out or read or people-watch or whatever.

        But while I’m used to longish commutes and wouldn’t bat an eye at the OP’s 35-40 min commute, I could also be in very hot water if my workplace moved without my knowledge! Operating without a car means that, like you, I would only apply to jobs that seem doable based on the commute time, transit schedule, and the amount of transfers required.

        1. Hous*

          Yeah, I love not having to bother with a car, especially because I don’t enjoy driving at all. My current commute is 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how lucky I am with the transfer from bus to train and the traffic. I don’t mind it, but a fifteen minute commute still sounds amazing, and if I got a job which I thought was going to be quick and easy and found out I’d have to add twenty minutes to it after accepting the job, I’d be pretty disappointed.

    6. Kiwi*

      Very true. A 15 minute commute is a beautiful, glorious thing. To have that bait and switched into a 40+ minute commute (and pay at the lower end of the scale!) without any heads-up whatsoever is extremely poor form.

      Companies plan office moves for 6+ months. The logistics are massive, contracts need to be signed, notice needs to be given, furniture and IT moves organised. There is no way they didn’t know about this when interviewing, and it would have been a done deal when the offer was made (and likely before).

      Either it was a cynical move to trick the OP into the role, or the management are so inept they simply didn’t think it warranted mentioning. Either way, it doesn’t bode well. I’d try for the pay rise at the 90 day mark (but I’d be planning my exit strategy, just in case).

      1. JMegan*

        Exactly. There’s no reason that they couldn’t have said “we’re moving soon, location and exact date are still confidential but we want to give you a heads up.”

        An extra 30 minutes each way would be a dealbreaker for me – I wouldn’t be able to pick my kids up from day care. So either I would have to move my house and my day care to accommodate the job, or I would have to leave the job.

        I’m with everyone who is saying that it’s not the X number of minutes that is the problem, but the fact that the OP wasn’t given a chance to consider her options before accepting the job.

      1. Andrea*

        I absolutely agree. I know that in many areas, folks do have long commutes, and they get used to them and even learn to enjoy them. I just never could do that. I work from home now, but before I did, I never could consider anything that was more than 15 minutes from my house. Spending so much time driving or in traffic would be awful for me, mentally, and would be likely to make me feel cranky and tired and anxious before even arriving at work! Plus I’d be annoyed at all the lost time I could be using to do things I need or want to do at home, not to mention how offensive all of this is when environmental impact is considered. That said, I don’t know what field the OP works in or anything like that, but I would consider this a big deal and I think she is right to, as well. I’d also have a bad taste in my mouth because they weren’t up front about this during hiring. I wouldn’t quit, but I’d continue the job search—she might get lucky and find something else quickly.

    7. LQ*

      I completely agree. Commute for me is incredibly important. I had a temp job where I was commuting for over 5 hours a day. Yes this is totally normal to some people. Those people are fine to make that choice for themselves. But you don’t get to say 5 hours or 15 minutes or 7 minutes (my current commute by foot!) is normal except to you. Especially when someone factors it into a decision to take or not take a job. I’d be livid as well and considering this a bait and switch job. Yes companies move. But to not say anything to me during the interview? That’s just disrespectful.

      1. Bea W*

        Apparently I really messed up my reply, because it is on an entirely different thread from last year. *sigh*

    8. Kerr*

      Agreed. I’m upset on the OP’s behalf, because this bait-and-switch would make me so mad, even if it wasn’t intentional or malicious. They’ve known about this for a while, and no one thought it was a relevant thing to mention? Wow.

    9. louise*

      There’s another side of the coin that occurs to me here too, though: if the OP does NOT ask for a raise or bring this up at all, yet decides to leave after a year or sooner to get a shorter commute, then I could see a really good manager during an exit interview going “Wow! I never realized our move made a difference to you. Wish we’d known–we could have paid you a more and kept you on!”

      I realize that’s not super likely, but it’s the kind of thing that could prompt me to ask for a raise despite all the compelling reasons to NOT ask for one.

      1. Laura*

        I think the comment someone else left elsewhere about approaching it as “is there anything we can do about this?” rather than a raise specifically is a good one. Because that lets them know it was and is important to the OP, and gives them a chance to approach a way of solving it, without being a request for money/a raise, especially so early in the employment. And if the answer is “no” or “you need to deal with it” then the OP has a data point.

        1. Angora*

          You never know … tell them so they are aware and disappointed at what has taken place. Or the manager will take this as they should be happy they have a job. If they truly did the bait and switch on purpose; they’ll be defensive. If the supervisor and/or interviewer is an idiot and screwed the entire process up; than they make take offense because they screwed up.

          Of as Laura states they may realize that they totally screwed up and will want to do fix it for retention purposes.

          It would be nice if the OP had an idea what the staffing retention rates are in the organization. If they place an emphasis on retention or have a high turnover.

          Not sure how the OP would find that out though. Sometimes your co-workers will tell you right off the bat.

          This is a rough spot to be in when you have no clue regarding your managers personality.

  15. Betsy*

    It seems like as a culture, we in the US are basically saying the reality of work is that a “typical” commute is around 30-45 minutes, and anyone who doesn’t like that is naive or high maintenance. But there’s evidence that a long commutes (as low as over 10 miles away) contributes to high cholesterol, depression, poor sleep, anxiety, and high blood pressure (both short-term and long-term), among other issues.

    It’s absolutely valid to value a short commute when making a job decision, and the fact that they didn’t tell her they were moving seems as legitimate an issue to me as if their offer said they had 9% matching on 401K and then the day she started she was told they were suspending their 401K matching program. (That 9% is based off of her moving from 8.5 hours work+commute to a 9.3 hours work+commute number.)

    Having said that, I think the company shouldn’t offer a raise. Sure, you can ask, but the company isn’t paying you what your inconvenience is worth to you, they’re paying you what you’re worth to them, and that’s not changing because of this move.

    I really feel for you, because this STINKS, and the worst of it is that so many people have that “suck it up” attitude that if you did decide to find a different job, hiring managers would probably view your reason for leaving as insufficient and peg you as high maintenance. :-/

    I wish I had better concrete advice to give you, but I think you’re a victim of our cultural norms.

    1. MousyNon*

      Yeah, I’m with you on the cultural aspect. The US has an over-abundance of the boot-strapping-“well I walked to school 12 miles uphill both ways in the SNOW”-mentality and it makes it difficult for workers to come together and gain any leverage in an already woefully imbalanced employer-employee relationship.

      1. Mike C.*

        Not to mention it’s ugly twin brother “someone else has something nice that I don’t think they deserve, therefore no one else is allowed to have it either”.

        1. Jen RO*

          For your random trivia of the day, this concept is known as ‘let the neighbor’s goat die too’ in Romanian.

        2. ZoeUK*

          Not just in the US unfortunately – both those attitudes are live in kicking over here too!

    2. Jen RO*

      See, to me a commute of 30-45 minutes is perfectly normal… on public transport, in a city. While the “setup” is different from the US (we don’t have suburbs), it still takes a long time to get to work for most of my coworkers. I now have a great commute if I decide to drive to work – 30 minutes tops, through bad traffic. If I don’t drive, it takes up to an hour (walk 10 minutes to the tram, wait 5-10 minutes, take tram, take subway – 4 stops, change subway line, take subway – 3 more stops). The commute to my previous job took 45-50 minutes regardless of the transportation I used.

    3. AnotherAlison*

      The sad part is it could have easily have been the situation where the 401k match was terminated. The company could have been in the process of being sold. The CEO could be changing. The manager who hired her could have been leaving (this one happens all the time). A 5% travel job could become a 25% travel job.

      I definitely don’t think the OP has to stay at the job, and I do think they should have mentioned it before she was hired, but I think the reality now is that the new commute is was it is. It’s not really so outrageous that she now deserves a raise. (I see the math and the rationale from the OP’s perspective, but I don’t think an employer would see it that way.) She can choose to put up with the longer commute, or look for another job that’s within her acceptable commute distance.

      1. John B Public*

        This is not logical. The company was basing the offer on what she was worth to them, AND she was basing her acceptance (and, indeed, her initial agreement to negotiate) of their offer on the circumstances of the job, a prime factor of which was the short commute! They’re changing the deal, and they knew about it ahead of time. That’s at best a lack regard to the applicant, and at worst dirty, unethical, and if I were the OP I’d be upset.

  16. One of the Annes*

    Re: the response to question 1: just wanted to mention that “foregoing” means going before, and “forgoing” means going without.

  17. Moved!*

    Hi, #1 is me. So many comments already!
    For me a commute is a real quality of life issue. I tried really hard in my job search to find a company that was as close as possible and reachable by public transportation. I saw plenty of other jobs in the area we are moving to, but didn’t apply to them because I deemed it too far. The area is not bad, just farther out of the city into a area dominated by office parks, the kind of place where I didn’t want to work. I’m also a recent East Coast transplant on the West Coast. Back east I lived in the city and walked, rode my bike or took the subway to my job in the city. Here I lived in the city and now have commute even farther into the suburbs. My bill for gas will probably go from $2k a year to $4k, and out of entry levelish salary, that’s a big chunk.
    I don’t think they were being shady when they moved, I just think my manager didn’t know and the owner (small company) didn’t have it locked down/didn’t think to tell me when I met him for five minutes.

    1. Moved!*

      And the addition of 20-25 minutes is just a guess right now, traffic seems to get really backed up from where I currently get off the highway all the way to the area of the new office.

    2. fposte*

      Does this mean that you’re likely to leave if you don’t get the raise? Or even if you do?

      1. Moved!*

        No, I have no interest in going right back into the job search right now. I do think it means that I will be much more likely to leave after a year though.

        1. fposte*

          Even if you get the raise you think you’d probably leave after a year? I totally understand where you’re coming from on this, but if a raise isn’t enough to retain you, I think there’s a risk that you’re going to leave a bad taste behind you (“We gave her more money and she *still* left!”). That doesn’t mean you can’t ask, but you may want to consider how important your reputation there will be to your next step.

    3. Sam*

      I would just consider it from the opposite point of view. If the original office had been farther away, and you were reluctant to accept the job, but they offered you something closer to the high end of the range that made it acceptable, and then on the first day you discovered the office was moving much closer and you’d be saving 20 minutes per day and $2K per year on gas, would you offer to take a lower salary? What if they approached you and wanted to renegotiate?

      1. Moved!*

        Yes, I actually might take $2k a year less if that was the case!
        But, obviously it would be kind of shitty of them and I wouldn’t feel awesome about it.

        1. annontoday*

          Years ago an employee came in at her 90 day review and hit the company up for a 10-15% (memory is not what it used to be) raise based on health insurance cost. The boss gave it to her, because she explained her situation well. He was prepated to give her 5% (everyone got 5% at 90 days), and she convinced him she needed more.
          You need to wow them in the first 90, then explain the commute, cost and quality of life issues and see if you can convince them you are worth more.

      2. Elysian*

        I think that regardless of whether the move was going to make the employee’s commute shorter or longer, she should have been told about it. The money isn’t so much about compensating for the commute on a dollar-per-dollar basis, I don’t think. The bottom line is really that she should have been told. Since she wasn’t, now its about what she can do to mitigate the bad taste left in your mouth when you’re basically lied to about your working conditions.

        I liked someone else’s comparison with the 401(k) plan – if you were promised a match and then they announced on your first day that they’re discontinuing the matching program, you’d be mad. You would have wanted to know that beforehand so it could play into your decision. I don’t think that comparing either of this situations to the “change for the better, would you take less money” works. In the end, no matter what the change, they should have told her it was going to happen. Since they didn’t, now its just about what they can do to take the bad taste out of her mouth.

        1. Jamie*

          Yes, I get it from the company’s POV that they didn’t want to announce until it was official. Understandable, but then they should have put off hiring until they could mention it.

          And while I understand the logic of asking if it was shorter would they have offered to take a pay cut, I don’t think that applies. This kind of thing doesn’t work like code statements of If then else; and paycuts are pretty rare in any circumstances where raises may not be as common as some would like, but the concept is common.

          If the OP had been there a while I’d think it sucks that it’s inconvenient for her, but what can you do, either accept the change or leave. But it’s the fact that they didn’t give her all the info she needed to factor so she made a decision based on incomplete data. That’s where I feel like ideally, sure, they should kick up the compensation a little exactly why you stated – get the bad taste out of her mouth.

          But in reality – I wouldn’t ask if it were me. Because while I understand commuting is a big deal breaker for many people it’s still not outside the range of what’s considered an average commute by many so I can see how asking could end up hurting her reputation.

          Although – if changing hours a little bit makes a difference than by all means that’s a conversation to have.

          1. snuck*

            One thing we are all not looking at – has the OP passed up other job offers for this one? Or just stopped job searching?

            In her comments above she explains she is new to the area and had a very different work/life commute experience where she was from.

            If she continues to job search and finds a new job she can just explain to the new job that she’s looking for something that’s a simpler commute, more like what she had before etc… like she has above – in that scenario I would understand why she’d want to leave in less than 12mths and not hold it against her. Different if she was familiar with the area, but given she wasn’t, that the employer moved the location on her etc – they are valid reasons to move on before the 12mths are up if she wants.

            So to the OP… why not just keep job hunting? The one year rule doesn’t apply as a blanket to every situation. Keep the job you’ve got but keep your eye out for something else. You might well burn bridges where you are if you leave quickly but if you are incredibly professional, upbeat, downright lovable you’ll be forgiven given the circumstances (but not if you ask for a raise and then leave anyway I suspect – hold off for the 90 days and see what happens).

            1. Moved!*

              I have stopped looking. So far, I like the people and think the new skills I’m learning are going to make me more employable. I also had some trouble finding a job as I am just coming back from spending a year living in Mexico and doing minimal work on the internet, so I’m not eager to get back out there with another gap on my resume that needs to be explained.

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      I posted a couple replies that probably make sound grumpy and unsympathetic, but I’m really not. If this happened to me I’d be ticked off too.

      That being said though, asking for a raise to compensate for it is really risky. Right now your manager doesn’t know anything about you. You’re new and there’s no history yet. So if one of your first interactions is asking for more money right off the bat there’s a good chance you could create the impression that you’ll be there with your hand out for every little thing. I’m sure that’s not true, but that’s how it could appear. Right or wrong, first impressions last and it’s so hard to overcome that if you get off on the wrong foot.

      I mentioned above trying to shift your schedule so you could at least miss the worst of the rush hour and not spend so much time commuting. Or ask to work from home 1 or 2 days a week to offset the increased gas costs, and still have the convenience of running quick errands during the day.

      I’d still wait a couple months to ask about that, until you’ve had the chance to establish a track record and show that you’re reliable.

      1. Moved!*

        You’re right, asking for a different schedule or some work from home time is probably the right call. The new office apparently will have a modern phone system that will be able to route calls to my cell, which is not a possibility now.
        I guess asking for a raise was just my first thought, especially with the recent salary negotiations in mind, but I thought my question invited all suggestions.

    5. Blue*

      I too think they just didn’t think about it. But for all the reasons you mention, it really is kind of thoughtless they didn’t. I went for 15 years without owning a car precisely because I lived on the East Coast in a city where I could pick jobs that I could get to reliably by walking, taking public transit, taking a bike, or taking a taxi if really pressed.

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        That’s what I was thinking as well. Perhaps the manager was focused strictly on the job functions and didn’t think about how a commute would affect someone’s decision to accept a job offer or not. For some people, a commute is just part of life, be it long or short, it’s what needs to be done to collect a paycheque and so didn’t even enter the manager’s radar that it would be a factor.

  18. C Average*

    I’d like to write briefly about the concept of “building morale” in the workplace.

    Want to know what builds morale? Paying people fairly, communicating with them clearly about what’s expected of them, giving them opportunities to learn and grow in their roles, praising them when they do a good job, providing them with the resources (tangible and otherwise) to do their work in an environment conducive to productivity, giving them the flexibility to have a life outside of work, listening and responding when they have concerns or questions, addressing the bad apples quickly and effectively so they don’t spoil the whole barrel, and keeping rule-making constructive.

    Want to know what can be perfectly nice (depending on what you’re into) but does not build morale? Birthday cake, getting to wear jeans on Friday, tchotchkes and T-shirts with your company logo on them, group trips to the climbing wall and the bouncy house and the ropes course, group trips to see the Nationally Renowned Expert In Morale Building On Chocolate Teapot Teams, eating lunch at a restaurant, taking personality tests, motivational posters in the break room, and pretty much any other thing that’s intended strictly to “build morale” but has no identifiable business purpose.

    Sorry if I sound a little scrooge-y, but I am so sick of hearing about what’s being done to build my team’s morale (especially when it requires me to actually spend time away from doing my work and feels exactly like a hindrance) when I’d rather that our management just freaking MANAGED us.

    1. LBK*

      Excellent point. All those little extras can be nice perks that make an otherwise good office just that much sweeter, but if you have a horrible manager in a toxic culture, a cake isn’t going to make you happy.

    2. Poohbear McGriddles*

      What heresy is this? Motivational posters are the very definition of morale building!

    3. Gilby*

      Great post.

      And might I add… train the managers !! Don’t just plop them in and go.. there ya go.. here’s is your promotion.. see ya !

      And don’t promote people just because they did the other job well. Selling the most chocolate toffee pretzels doesn’t not make a person a sales manager over people.

      1. Andrea*

        Oh, yes, and if I may, I’ll add—don’t promote people into management because they have been there the longest.

      2. Melly*

        Yes yes yes. This is exactly what I’m dealing with with my new manager who used to be a colleague. Smart guy at his old job. And now he’s basically doing his old job for $12k more and not doing the managing part of the new job. Makes me ill and so resentful of his promotion.

    4. Kentucky Proud*

      I love every bit of this and wholeheartedly agree. Can I come and work for you? ;)

    5. Jen RO*

      Well… it depends. To my team (which works in an office that’s reasonably well managed), cake or pizza or a team building would absolutely boost morale, because they would show that “the company” actually gives a shit about us “resources”. Motivational posters and personality tests feel different to me, since they don’t bring any kind of value to the employee, just the company. Though I have to say motivational posters do make my days a bit brighter with their stupidity.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        Yeah, I think it depends. I am fortunate that I have a good manager and I work on a great team, so we already have a lot of the solid “morale building” stuff (praise, good management, etc.), and we get along well and work well together. In that context, pizza or a meal out or a day trip to Disneyland are pleasing (and people can opt out without repercussion if any of those things sounds more stressful than fun), because they’re genuinely an appreciation gift. I’m glad we get them and, while morale would still be good without them, they definitely are a bright spot.

        But if morale was otherwise bad, they’d feel like a sad bandaid or a bribe rather than a reward. They work as treats for a functional team, not an attempt to smooth over a dysfunctional one.

    6. Allison*

      Those “morale boosters” can actually backfire if they’re used in place of things like decent pay/benefits, competent management, and reasonably flexible work schedules; some employees might be content with what are basically consolation prizes, but you’ll inevitably have some intelligent employees who will see this as an HR sleight of hand – look at all the fun things we give you so you don’t even notice the crappy benefits. Or, if the staff is fairly young, it can sound like “you’re young, so we’re gonna give you lots of chances to drink, party, and wear casual clothes! that’s what you want, right? well, you don’t deserve to be paid or treated like grownups yet, so just look on the bright side: JEANS AND BEER”

      1. Allison*

        forgot to mention, these morale boosters by themselves aren’t inherently bad – I’ve had fun on team outings – they just shouldn’t be used to compensate for the things that *actually* build morale. And they probably shouldn’t feel mandatory either, that can backfire too.

      2. Melissa*

        Yeah, this. An old job of mine used to do this – they didn’t pay us enough and they didn’t pay us on time, but they would have “morale boosters” like a pancake dinner or little free bags or whatever (it was residential life). I don’t want a pancake dinner. I want my paycheck. It definitely felt like “look at all this fun stuff we give you so you don’t notice the crappy pay/benefits and management” (even though my own manager was awesome, but the others were not so much).

        And the staff was fairly young – it was a grad student job, so most of us were in the 22-28ish age range, and so it felt especially insulting because it felt like our managers thought that they could give us crappy gifts instead of on-time paychecks and good management because we were young and wouldn’t know any better.

        I enjoyed that exit interview. (OF course, I said this all politely, but I did say it. Later I find out from my now-former manager that the director who interviewed me actually really appreciated my honesty.)

    7. JMegan*

      Do you work in my office? That’s exactly what it’s like here, down to the manager going “Look! I’m Team Building(TM)!” by having an offsite something or other, rather than doing anything to foster the development of an actual team.

  19. MR*

    Is OP #1’s first day also the same day that everyone else found out about the office move? If that is the case, you are pretty much SOL.

    If this is something that had been publicly known in the company for weeks or months, then yeah, you have a case to make, and is a great example of how the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing when it comes to companies and their hiring processes and operations.

    1. Moved!*

      No, I think the 5 other employees knew the boss was looking at a new office, but nothing was 100%. I think things solidified between the Tuesday I was offered the job and the Monday I started. My manager also took a I’ll-believe-it-when-they-tell-me-show-up-somewhere-else-the-next-day stance on the whole thing, which is more flippant than I would like, but his commute is getting shorter.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        This makes more sense now, knowing it is a 7-person office.

        My office is more like 700 people. We had a major move 5 years ago, and a whole new building was constructed, so everyone knew over a year in advance. It’s much easier to pick up and move 7 people.

  20. MJ*

    #2 At our organization, employees get a hand written note on their anniversary. As an employer, it is an opportunity to focus on and say just how much the years of commitment mean to the organization and you personally. This costs no money really – just a few moments of time and a piece of special paper – yet several staff members have become teary eyed to have their service acknowledged in this way. As a note, it is something the employee can read in privacy, share with a spouse, save for her file, and re-read at another time.

    As director, I write these notes (25 employees), and last year, our associate director wrote one to me. And I teared up. It’s surprisingly touching to have someone acknowledge that you have given a whole year more to the organization and to note something special you bring to the team.

    1. Diane*

      +1000 I still have a note my manager wrote to me 9 years ago, pointing out my accomplishments and giving me praise for a job well done. My department did this at year-end and each note was framed for the employees. Still the most outstanding thing a manager has done in terms of boosting morale for the department and showing appreciation.

  21. Brett*

    #1 My office just moved as well now. I was biking distance/8 minute drive before; now I am a 25 minute drive away. Like you, I am at the bottom of the pay scale. I actually make less than new hires.

    There are two differences. Four years ago I moved and bought a new house based on the location we were at before (and had been at for 50 years). And I have been with my organization for 7 years.

    With the culture here, I would pretty much be laughed out of the office to ask for a raise for that short of a change in commute. Because of traffic patterns, one co-worker even saw his commute jump 30 additional minutes. He has been here over 20 years, has no shot at a raise either, and will probably instead retire because of this. At least for the US, this is the culture in a lot of areas. “If you don’t like your commute, move.”

    1. Brett*

      I should add that this is particularly in the lower midwest. As the OP pointed out, I think attitudes change by region. When I did live in Southern California, long commutes and big location changes were the norm. My father actually lost one job because the company decided to move 400 miles (but nearly all of his co-workers moved with the company).

    2. MR*

      Why have you been at an organization for seven years – and make less money than the new hires? Different jobs? Do they have a greater skillset?

      1. Brett*

        We have been under a wage freeze since my second year and will be under a merit raise freeze until at least 2018.
        Starting pay, though, is set by market, which has gone up since I was hired.

  22. Mae*

    #1 I’m finding myself in an incredibly similar situation. I interviewed for a job, accepted the position, and was told on the first day that the office was moving 30 minutes away. I already commute an hour and a half to two hours round trip, and this will add an additional hour to my round trip. I am also an entry level employee and this move will cause me to spend one fourth of pre-tax paycheck on gas alone.

    Unlike the OP, I’m not thinking about asking for a raise as I am so entry-level the thought of asking for a raise would be laughable, but I seriously debating on leaving. While experience is important, a paycheck is also incredibly important. I’m just not sure how it will look to leave a job relatively soon after I was hired for this reason.

    1. Moved!*

      Normally, I wouldn’t have thought about asking for more money, but we had JUST had our salary negotiations a week and the short commute was part of the reason I took less money than I wanted. If I had known about the move I would have negotiated with that in mind.
      Sorry your commute sucks so much! I think when interviewing for future jobs, saying that the office moved is an understandable reason for not staying at a job very long, but maybe Allison can weigh in on that.

    2. Lyndz*

      You tell them the company announced they were moving on your first day. My old company decided they were moving 50 miles away to a very expensive area, knowing many of the people on our team didnt make enough to live in that area.

    3. CAA*

      This explanation for a short stay at a position wouldn’t be a problem for me as a hiring manager.

      Is there any chance you could move closer to work though? This could be an opportunity to try out living in a new area for a year or two and avoid having that short job on your resume at all.

      1. Mae*

        The rent in the area close to the office is over double what I am currently paying unfortunately. I have looked into it and researched it,but with my current pay I wouldn’t be able to afford to live there.

        In the interviews, I had even discussed the 1.5-2 hour commute and stated that I could make the drive. However, in that discussion there was no mention of the move and the additional 1 hour commute that the move would require, because I would not have even applied for the position had I known.

  23. OriginalYup*

    #1 commute — Alternately, you could ask for a more flexible work arrangement instead. Assuming your job is one that allows for this, you could ask for slightly different hours (7-3 or 10-6, in order to miss the worst of the traffic) or to work from home periodically. It could be a tough sell when you’re very new but it might be worth asking if you think the boss would be open to it.

    1. Moved!*

      The new office will have a more modern phone system, so I think this might be a possibility.

  24. Homme*

    #4- “There were several instances when I couldn’t remember something properly, or couldn’t remain alert and focused after long hours of work, or misplaced something, etc.”

    This sounds like me all the time, and as far as I know, I don’t have a medical condition. I’m only human.

    I’m betting your boss remembers the good more than the bad, otherwise he wouldn’t have offered to recommend you. But it can’t hurt to mention the medical condition to him in a casual way.

    1. Jamie*

      Sure, that stuff happens to everyone – but some things can cause it to happen to a degree far greater than normal to where it impacts your life to a point you have to medically address it.

      That’s something that’s said to people with ADHD a lot – how the issues are things everyone experiences. It’s the degree to which it’s happening that matters. (Not saying the OP has ADHD, just speaking from an issue with similar problems with which I’m familiar.)

      It’s sounds like that was the case with the OP, and I think Alison’s advice is right – an acknowledgement can go along way.

      I wouldn’t necessarily mention the specifics of the issue. Talking about specifics of medical stuff can make people uncomfortable.

      1. Bea W*

        I’ve been in the same situation as the OP a couple times. There’s normal forgetfulness, fatigue, and what not, and then there’s symptoms that are so pervasive that actually get in the way of work and life activities. It’s also a change in what someone has experienced as “normal” that makes it significant. If you’re generally someone who is most focused and alert late in the day or well organized and doesn’t tend to lose things or forget things regularly, and then you start feeling the total opposite – fatigued, foggy, forgetful – that’s not normal for you, and it can really become a problem that needs to be looked at and addressed.

  25. BadPlanning*

    I’m intrigued by all these office sponsored birthdays. In my office, you bring treats for your own birthday. Yes, a little backwards, but it means if you like birthdays (and treats), you bring in something. Then you can have what you want for a birthday treat, but only if you want it.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      In my first company, you had to bring donuts in on your birthday. I didn’t realize it was weird until I left. I guess it’s kind of like elementary school, where you have to bring treats for the class to celebrate.

    2. Cassie*

      I like this system better – if you want a big celebration for your birthday, you take care of it. If you want it to be just another day at the office, then no one’s the wiser. Instead, at our office, we have big parties for some people (the manager, the manager’s bff, the manager’s other bff) and then nothing for other people. Even though those “other people” may not necessarily mind, it makes the rest of us employees feel a bit awkward that there is such a disparity.

      The payroll person who retired a few years ago used to give me a card on my birthday. It was really sweet of her and not something that I expected.

    3. Anne*

      My department has a birthday group that is opt-in and not company sponsored, but we can use company time to eat cake and chat for a half-hour or so. You buy cake for the birthday before yours, so everyone buys one cake per year.

      Coming from an office that had really unequal company-sponsored birthday things (some got a card, some cake, some lunch, some all of the above, some nothing), I think it’s a nice middle ground; you get to choose whether to celebrate or not, and everyone is treated the same and knows what to expect. Yeah we have to buy the cake ourselves, but $15 in exchange for cake 1-2 times per month is not too bad IMO.

  26. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #1

    If the office move happened a few months after OP started the job, I’d argue there’s nothing she can do and shouldn’t try to get a raise; however, she was told on her first day and nothing was said in the interview. Because of that I think she could ask, but shouldn’t expect the boss will say yes. I think it’s doubtful she’d get a yes, actually. Or maybe she could ask for mileage expenses for the additional miles (not total miles) for a period of time, rather than a raise.

  27. Clever Name*


    I really don’t have any advice that hasn’t already been said, but I wanted to chime in to say that I would be mad about this too. Yes, 45 minutes may be considered a “reasonable” commute in major metro areas, but I suspect you’re like me in that you highly value a short commute. I used to commute 1.5 hours and it was soul-sucking. I actually left that job when I became pregnant because I did not want to spend that much additional time away from my baby. I currently have a 20 minute commute, 25 minutes during rush hour, and it’s heaven. My husband has a 5 minute commute. Some may disagree, but I love not having to spend hours every day in the car. I drive enough during the course of my job. I’m really sorry this happened to you.

  28. Hooptie*

    #2 – I am from the camp that hates having my birthday acknowledged at work, but loves the idea of recognizing service anniversaries.

    #3 – As someone who is mid-manager level who also sits with the executive team, this sounds like an executive level event and you shouldn’t invite yourself no matter how much you feel left out. Asking to be invited may make you look like you don’t respect the hierarchy, and just because you sit in the same general area doesn’t mean you get invited to their parties. Our management team has private stuff all the time, including farewell events.

    Also, I plan a lot of work events and it is very irritating when people ask if they can be invited. It comes off as extremely unprofessional and gauche, in my opinion. I’m not piling on you, just giving a perspective from the other side.

  29. Mae*

    OP 1, I feel for you. I am not a fan of commuting longer than 20 minutes and certainly would not have accepted a job that required something longer (probably wouldn’t have even applied in the first place).

    My current company pulled a bait and switch with benefits. After I accepted the position here (salary negotiated with benefits in mind), I found out that the benefits information on the company’s website was 3 years old and that the employee premiums had DOUBLED. In my case, it has been part of a pattern of very poor communication within the organization.

  30. Biff*

    People seem really focused on the time, and the perceived short distance of the commute change in #1. I’d like to point out that there are a lot of factors in commutes that people are really failing to consider and while they may not apply to the writer (Moved!) I think that they are worth talking about for future reference:

    In a situation where the employee is walking to work or using a bike or bus to get to work, ten miles may be a huge difference to their day. For example, where I lived previously only “trunks” were served by the bus. Going ten miles from a trunk line could reduce you to low or no bus options. My friend who lives in a large metropolitan area that has one of the best us systems in the country often has to do an elaborate bus tango to go just 4 or 5 miles.

    If the employee is forced to start using a car, they may actually have to BUY a car, or FIX a car that isn’t working. This can be a huge undertaking, especially if they were planning to walk, use the bus or bike to work. Removing the expense of commuting can be extreme cost savings — losing that ‘advantage’ can put people from ‘scraping by’ to ‘not making it.’

    If someone is working two jobs, then location and times are key. Many people HAVE to work two jobs to get by.

    An employee needs to know the location when they accept the job, period.

    1. fposte*

      I don’t think anybody’s saying that it was okay for the company not to tell her where she was working. The question is what does she do now that she’s set to work in a different place?

      1. Biff*

        Honestly, it looks like a rock and hard place unless she can talk to them about how this is problem.

  31. Not So NewReader*

    “I’d love to come with you to send Jane off. Would I be in the way?”

    For OP 3: I am chuckling. Yes, yes, yes, this. Learn how to do this. First off it takes presence of mind. Look for openings to ask for what you want OR create openings in order to ask.
    Second- it’s in your tone of voice. Use a light, happy voice. You genuinely would like to go.
    Last step, when you get the okay be sure to say thanks. Maybe include a brief insight as to why it is important to you. Make the grantor feel good about saying yes. “Oh great, thank you! You know I have always admired Jane’s knowledge and professionalism this is going to be a good chance for me to tell her.”

    Now you have set yourself up to walk into the event quite comfortably.

    The reason I am chuckling is because I have arrived at a few events and there’s always that one or two people that have to ask: “How did you get to come to this?” umm. I asked. So simple and for some so difficult.

  32. Programmer 01*

    #4, dealing with medical stuff myself, it’s absolutely worth touching base and talking to them about it — at the very least it’s worth reaching out to a potential reference now and then, so if you have a reason to, go for it. I’d absolutely care if someone who used to work for me emailed me to let me know about stuff and would be touched they were willing to be vulnerable with me.

    #2, I posted our opt-in opt-out policy above, but I have also learned from having a passel of nieces and nephews (and associated birthdays), that I am a heathen who loves grocery store sheet cake. I have no excuse, pure sugar with disney advertising is apparently my kryptonite.

  33. ECH*

    At our workplace the tradition has been to bring in doughnuts (it has now been expanded to other types of food) on our own birthdays. Some of my colleagues dislike it, but I think it is brilliant – you only have to do it once a year; you don’t have to be disappointed because someone forgot your birthday, etc. As a manager, I try to get a birthday card that will be meaningful to each member of my department on his/her birthday, then the three of us who are not the birthday person each sign it.

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