I tried to negotiate salary and haven’t heard anything back, bug bites at work, and more

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

1. I tried to negotiate salary and now I haven’t heard back for a week

I’m a recent college graduate who just got her first job offer. I attempted to negotiate the salary they gave me and asked if they would be willing to provide any sort of aid for my relocation. They asked me to give them a number for my expected salary and I said that I was hoping for something closer to $48,000 a year, which was about a $6,000 increase from their initial offer. They said that they would get back to me regarding the salary and relocation package but I’ve waited a week and have heard nothing from them. I’m starting to get really worried that I may have asked for too much and have turned off from officially offering me the job. I was wondering if I should call or email them for an update and if there is a proper way to word my request without sounding desperate?

It’s absolutely appropriate to check back in with them. I’d send an email to your contact there saying something like, “I wanted to check back with you about your offer. I’m extremely excited about the position and would love to move things forward.” If your’e willing to accept the original offer, you could also add, “I know we hadn’t resolved the salary question, but I’d be glad to accept the original offer you made.”

This whole thing obviously puts you in a tough spot; if you lower what you’re asking for now, you have no way of knowing if they would have met your earlier offer if you’d held out longer — but you also risk losing the offer altogether. Their silence is functioning as a mind game, whether they intended it as one or not. (They very likely didn’t — but it’s rude to keep you hanging like this.)

Ultimately, negotiating when you’re straight out of school is tricky. You don’t have much negotiating power at that point because you don’t have much of a track record, and salaries are more likely to be firm.

2. Bug bites at work

I work in a library. Recently at a work meeting in a public area, I felt like something was poking my bum. I tried to ignore it, figured maybe there was something pokey in the upholstry. Got home, checked and I have three bug bites on my tush, right where I felt the poking. I’m thinking that something might live in that chair? But what? Fleas, spiders, a louse, bedbugs (please let it be almost anything but bedbugs)? I know other libraries have this problem. But maybe it was me, and something I picked up on the bus? Which I hope didn’t go home with me. The bites don’t itch, although they hurt at the time I was getting bitten.

Anyway, should I say anything to any of the managers? I switched the chair I usually sit in with one from an area that doesn’t see much traffic, but I don’t know if whatever might live in the chair can travel. We get all kinds of patrons, including the homeless, but of course whatever bit me could have come from anyone, really. The staff here are great, so I probably could approach someone. What do you suggest?

Yes, speak up! Don’t you wish someone had spoken up about that chair before you sat in it, after all? It might have been a random bug just passing through, but in case it’s something more than that, warn your coworkers and mention it to someone in a position to order some kind of bug intervention.

3. Job offer from a dream company when I think I’m not the right fit

I’m the person who wrote in 2012 about interviewing at a company I was in awe of. I did receive an interview at the time but was not selected. I took the feedback they were kind enough to provide and took it to heart.

Now, almost two years later, I have been contacted by that company and received an offer for essentially the same position, slightly lesser, and am having some the same flashbacks! In those two years since, though, I took a job with a startup company and now, essentially, crammed 5 years of relative experience in to those two. I am so extremely flattered to even be remembered, much less to be offered a job, but as much as I was not a fit for them at that time, my gut tells me that I may not be the fit for them now. HELP!

I’ve earned so much experience in my current role it would be insane to walk away from it without moving up – or even sticking around another 2 years to gain another 5 – but at the same time this is exactly what I spent the last few years trying to achieve: to be in a position to work for this company. If I do decide to decline, how do I do so in a way that screams how flattered I am and that if something that aligns with my experience opens up for them to not hesitate to try me again?

Be honest with them. Tell them that you’re passionate about the work they do and would love to work with them, but that you’re ultimately looking for something more ___ and that you don’t think this is quite the right fit. Add that you’d love to stay in touch with them and talk with them about any openings that come up in the future that might be the right match.

4. Being told to use my personal email and cell number for a work project

Can a business that does not have a website and/or business emails require that I use my personal email address and my cell phone as log-on and contact for a free-access software program we use in the business? Specifically, I work in a private medical practice that has chosen to use a free-access electronic health record software program for Medicare compliance, and the software company is changing their log-in from a user name/password set-up to using an email address and providing a cell phone number so they can send access codes to a user if they log on at a remote location. I’m not fond of the idea of using my personal email address nor of giving my limited minutes cell phone number when I am not compensated for either (other than basic hourly salary) by my company.

Yes, they can require that. Why not set up a special email address just for this using Gmail or another free email service, so that you’re not using your personal email for it? There’s no real way around the cell number piece of this, but if it’s just to send you an access code, it’s not likely to use up your minutes. But if it’s an ongoing thing and it does cut into your minutes, talk to your manager about getting reimbursed for the expense, as you shouldn’t have to pay business costs yourself.

5. Is it rude to ask a company to remove a job posting they’ve filled?

I applied to a small marketing company two weeks ago after I saw an opening they had listed on their website. I had a suspicion it might be filled since one of the criteria was “able to start by April 1, 2014,” but I decided to submit my application anyway, given that it was still posted. The company has less than 50 employees, and luckily, I was able to submit my application directly to a person. She informed me the position had been filled so I sent back an email thanking her for her time. I just checked their website again to see if any new openings had become available as it is a company I really want to work for, and the one I originally applied for was still there.

Would it be rude to send her an email letting her know that the position they filled is still shown as open? Or would that come off as pushy and sound like I’m telling her she’s not doing her job?

It shouldn’t come across as rude but there’s a chance it will be taken the wrong way. Since ultimately it’s really not your business (it’s their mistake to catch), I’d leave it alone.

{ 235 comments… read them below }

  1. Ruffingit*

    #3 is not a job interview, it’s a job offer from the way the OP describes it so it doesn’t look like there’s an interview to go to or that giving them an updated resume copy would be helpful. They’re already offering the OP the job.

      1. Sarah*

        #3 I think it would be a good idea for the op to request an interview if one was not offered. This would help the op see whether or not there is a fit. I think declining at this point is premature.

        1. Jennifer M.*

          I absolutely agree. Plus if the interview involves the direct supervisor and so forth, there is a chance that the OP will find out that as much as she might like the company, this particular role would be a terrible personality fit.

    1. Monodon monoceros*

      Could the OP give them an updated resume and say (in addition to Alison’s script) something about the experience they have gained since last talking to the company, therefore they are looking to continue to grow?

      1. Monodon monoceros*

        Although I agree with the other posters below not liking the “5 years experience”. I would say something like “2 years of experience in a fast paced environment/lots of responsibilities, etc.” instead.

  2. kas*

    #3. You have given me hope.

    Also, I would ask questions depending on what you’re uneasy about. If it’s a company that’s hard to get into, I would go for it. I didn’t have an offer but was a main candidate for an interview but I had to turn it down. I’ve been kicking myself ever since because they rarely have openings and it’s in an industry I’d love to get into. I’d kick myself even harder if I had an actual offer and turned it down. Plus, if they’re contacting you after 2 years, I’m sure they have no issues with your experience. Good luck!

  3. ella*

    #2–Definitely say something! On the bright side, generally speaking, bedbugs are so small you can’t feel them biting you. Same with lice. I think a spider’s the most likely, but still, definitely mention it so they can do something about the chair.

  4. Befuddled Squirrel*

    #2 – Bedbug bites itch. They’re like mosquito bites on steroids. It was probably a spider or an ant.

    1. James M*

      Different people have different reactions to bug bites. I wouldn’t try to guess the culprit based only on one person’s reaction to it.

      OP2: in addition to speaking up, try to find information about likely pests in your area and the recommended precautions to avoid spreading the little beasts.

      1. Andrew*

        Also, bedbugs are nocturnal and tend to bite on exposed skin. They wouldn’t be able to penetrate through fabric.

      2. Buggy OP*

        Hi, All,
        I usually react strongly to mosquito bites, but I don’t know how I’d react to everything else. I guess these could be ant bites, I hadn’t thought about them. I really felt one of the bites, but again thought it was the upholstry.

        I’m afraid I’ll catch whatever it is and take them home with me, so I guess I better say something to my manager.

        1. Buggy OP*

          Oh, and thanks, all, for the information that may indicate that these aren’t bedbug bites. That is very much appreciated! (I realise that no one can definitely guess what the critter was based on a little bit of info here, but I really hope we don’t have bedbugs>)

          1. Bertie*

            Are you sure they are even bug bites? From your description it sounds like it could be a simple as one of the undercarriage screws poking through the padding on the chair. In which case you could just mention that the chair is broken and needs to be fixed or trashed.

            1. Melissa*

              I think it’s more likely to be the screws in the chair than bugs that just hang out there, especially if you’ve been sitting in that chair for months and never had this experience before.

              1. Buggy OP*

                This isn’t my office chair, it is one of the public chairs. We librarians might sit in this group of at most once a week, for maybe an hour. I happened to get this chair that day, it could have been a member of the public or another librarian. Better me than our guest speaker that day!

                I’m trying to get the response under the comment, but I havent quite got the hang of the nesting here.

                Also, I plan to say something next week. My supervisor will be back at work and the schedule is much calmer. This was a crazy week of putting out other fires and being sent to other library locations.

            2. Buggy OP*

              The bites weren’t along the outside edge of the chair, which I did check to see if a rogue staple was sticking out of the seat or something. Worth checking out, and I would have preferred to find something like that. I’m pretty sure something bit me though.

    2. Stephanie*

      There’s also a specific bite pattern (but not always): three bites in a line. They’re jokingly referred to as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

      1. olives*

        This is what I was going to add – telltale sign of bedbugs is three bites close together, so it’s certainly worth a check. But, on the other hand, they also don’t typically bite during the daytime.

        Good luck!

        1. Buggy OP*

          I definitely had that, three bites. Chomp, chomp and SUPER CHOMP! I was trying not to squirm during this meeting but there is a big bite and two small ones.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Yes, this happened at my local branch – it made the local news. It was one of the factors that pushed me towards getting an e-reader, because I can rent e-books from the library website without having to go in person!

  5. Dan*


    Hold on just one sec. If you’ve been at a job for two years, you have two years of experience, not 5 years of “relative” experience.

    While you may think you are getting rapidly increasing responsibilities (and you might be) the thing is, that’s the expectation.

    For example, if I see a guy with 15 years of experience (especially if he wants to get paid like it) but he has no role or responsibility growth, I can’t pay him as much as I would a guy whose grown in his position. At my old job, we had a saying: do you have 15 years of increasing experience, or 15 years of the same year all over again?

    At that job, I had 5 really good years of experience, and I’m able to articulate everything I’ve accomplished, and I’m proud of it. But I can’t claim I have 10 years of experience. That’s either naive or dishonest.

    1. Variation*

      Completely agree. This OP has two years of experience at a higher level position than they were anticipating, which puts them in an entirely different category of job opportunities. Two years is two years.

    2. Zillah*

      Yeah, I was going to say that, too.

      If you’ve been getting an unusual amount of experience – because of a lot of overtime/longer hours, having more responsibility than is typical for someone with your work history, etc – I think that you can certainly use that in a cover letter to make a case that you are qualified to do a job that usually requires more years of experience than you have.

      However, I don’t think you can reasonably call two years, five years. It just doesn’t make logical sense to me.

    3. MK*

      I took that to mean that in those 2 years the OP advanced in their career (were promoted?) very rapidly and are now in a stage that they wouldn’t normally have been after 3 years of expierience. I do agree that the wording could be taken amiss.

      1. LBK*

        Yeah, this was my impression – given that it’s a startup, the OP probably took on a lot of responsibilities in 2 years that normally wouldn’t be handled until she’d be there for closer to 5. Wearing lots of hats, making big decisions autonomously to keep things moving, etc. I think that’s all she meant – not necessarily that she would actually tell a prospective employer that she had 5 years of experience.

        I’d think it would be pretty obvious from the employment dates that she doesn’t, anyway.

  6. soitgoes*

    #1 is one of those questions where I wish the OP had revealed what field s/he is in. Sometimes I feel like the advice on AAM just isn’t for me, since things like salary negotiation don’t exist in my field or on my general tier of economic peers. Trying to jump from an already good $42,000 salary to $48,000 wouldn’t be taken well in my field if it were coming from a 22-year-old recent grad with no prior full-time work experience. Depending on the line of work, asking for $6,000 more is going to look really bad and make the company want to hire someone else. I’m sort of surprised that Alison doesn’t plainly say that here. Not to be too much of a downer to the OP, but ya know. Asking for almost $50k right out of the gate doesn’t make you look good, especially in this job market.

    As for #4, the remote access codes will likely be sent by text, so the issue of minutes is moot. And everyone should really have a firstname.lastname@gmail.com address for work crap and job applications. I understand the underlying question though – the company is trying to cut costs by having employees use the services that they (the employees) are already paying for out of their own pockets. IMO that’s not sustainable or even smart, considering that at least one of their employees is still using a pay-per-minute plan, which means that she doesn’t have a smart phone. I’ve seen companies try to instate these types of changes before (high-tech stuff that the employees lack the specialized training or equipment knowledge to use effectively) and they always end up going with something else that older, non-tech-savvy employees are more able to navigate. I wouldn’t worry about this too much. It might not end up sticking.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      What field are you in? It’s equally helpful to say in reverse like this :)

      I thought about mentioning that $6000 more in that range can be a lot, but there are jobs where it wouldn’t be, and these are short answers that aren’t exploring every possibility. You’re right that there are plenty of contexts where that wouldn’t fly, but there are are also plenty where it would (and plenty where $50K would be a low starting salary — it just depends). The other thing I thought about mentioning but didn’t is that I’m hoping/assuming the OP did some research to come up with the number she asked for and didn’t just pull it out of thin air; if it was more the latter, that potentially makes this harder to salvage.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        And of course regions matter a big deal.

        My eyes widened a bit when reading the OP as that’s about what we offer to new grads/couple years experience and someone coming back with $48 would make me feel as if I’d made the wrong choice. I don’t like starting someone who I think is going to feel underpaid and isn’t likely to make the sum that they’ve asked for within a few years of their start.

        But! Amounts are so highly specific to geographic regions and fields and the last thing I want to do is make general people generally overly cautious to negotiate. We DO negotiate although not really with new grads as our opening salary is pretty decent and we don’t require specific degrees or experience (unless it’s something like programming).

        Regardless, the employer not getting back within a week is weak. We’d reply pretty quickly that our offer was firm and see what happens next. (Pretty quickly = same day)

        1. Snargulfuss*

          I’m having a mental argument with myself about what you’ve written here. It sounds like you’re saying that if a new grad is offered a decent salary, he/she should accept it without trying to negotiate a higher figure. On one hand that makes sense. If that grad has done his/her homework, he/she will know that the offer is in line with what is typically offered in the field and will be happy for it.

          On the other hand, women are notorious for not negotiating salary, and there’s a lot of information out there advising women to always make a counteroffer, even if it’s only a bit higher than the original offer. I realize that the OP’s question had nothing to do with gender, but I’d love to hear what others think on accepting a good offer with no negotiation vs always negotiating (smartly) to see if there is any room for getting just a little bit more.

          1. BRR*

            This was talked about somewhere before on here (I can’t remember where so I’m a little less than helpful). In the end it comes down to personal opinion. Some people think you should ALWAYS negotiate. Others feel there are times when you should accept an off such as if it is near the top of a posted range, if you asked for a certain number and they gave it to you, if you gave a range and they responded near the top, or if they are paying towards the top of what a position might pay in the field.

            For me, I was unemployed and got an offer that paid near the top for what I do. I didn’t see any sense in negotiating because it was a really good job and even if it’s a small chance I didn’t want to risk them pulling the offer. Also I didn’t feel like I had anything to negotiate with. I couldn’t justify my skills as I was fired from my previous (and only) position and the salary was really good.

            1. stellanor*

              I didn’t negotiate my salary for my job. I’d looked up what the salary range was for my experience level and the type of job they were offering, and what they offered me was considerably over that. I would have taken way less than they were offering.

              I also knew someone who’d been offered a similar position who had similar background to me, and she’d tried to negotiate and they wouldn’t budge. So I took what they offered.

              Another job I’d applied for had brought up salary during the interview process and the range they were offering was insanely low for that field — as in, similar jobs paid 50% more and these guys claimed they couldn’t offer higher pay because they were a “startup” (despite having been in business for over 15 years). In retrospect I’m glad they didn’t make me an offer, because I was unemployed at the time and would have taken it.

          2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

            I think that a new grad who, absent any other information to the contrary, believes that she has received a fair offer should feel free not to negotiate. There are certainly reasons for a new grad to negotiate, even if she isn’t a high demand hire.

            If somebody low balls you and you’re not going to take the job at $X salary, why not ask for $Y. Nothing to lose.

            OTOH, if you’re pretty happy with $X and you think it’s fair, asking for 15% or 20% more than $X doesn’t make a good impression.

            I so very much do not want to discourage anyone from negotiating anything at any time. Just use some research + judgement and don’t pick a figure out of the air because you read you are supposed to negotiate.

            (My anecdotal experience with the whole women negotiating thing is that it’s gotten better in the last five or so years, btw. I don’t see nearly as much a gap as I used to. The gap used to be stark. )

          3. Dan*


            I’m a due. I’ve been on two job hunts in my professional career. The first time around, I had two offers, negotiated one but no the other. I ended up accepting the offer I didn’t negotiate. The offer I accepted was good, if not great. As part of the hunt, I was working with a recruiter (albeit not for that position.) I called him up and asked him if I should negotiate, because with such a decent offer, I didn’t know how to do it and was tempted to take it as is. He told me don’t sweat it, and it’s not worth negotiating. (Ultimately, that job shafted me on raises for the next two years, so while I felt I had a great starting offer, I wasn’t feeling so happy down the road.)

            On my most recent search, I again had two offers and negotiated one of them. But the offer I ultimately accepted was so much better than the first one, that I really had no negotiating room, so didn’t bother trying. That and I was offered the position on the Friday before Xmas. Negotiating would have delayed my start date until the key decision makers could be contacted. So, I would lose out on ~$1700/wk for the strong possibility that the offer was “firm”. It was a good offer so I took it.

          4. Artemesia*

            The failure to get what you can at the start will mean huge losses over time. I got nearly 50 years ago only a thousand more than the guy who started at the same time in the same type role. 10 years later I had taken home not only 10K more than him (which was money then) but also since our raises were percentage raises, the gap widened so the difference was much greater.

            On the other hand there is some research evidence that women are punished for negotiating whereas men are not and are sometimes either not hired when they try or treated as ‘difficult’ after hire when they have negotiated aggressively.

            It is unprofessional of the business to not have responded to the OP; I suspect they have moved on and decided not to hire her. I hope that is not so.

      2. Michele*

        In fashion the salaries can be relatively low to start for someone fresh out of school. $42,000 is pretty unheard of even in NYC for a new grad getting into fashion. It really is dependent on the type of position and even their education. Most companies in fashion will not provide any relocation allowance for what is an entry level position if they do it is a very small amount not anywhere near $6k. I actually had a candidate move from Texas for an entry/mid level customer service position and before I even hired her I made it 100% clear that she would not have any help with her relo. She told me she was fine. 6 months later she quit and moved back to Texas. Never again will I hire someone that is not local for that type of position. Lesson learned!

        1. Stephanie*

          It was nice when an interviewer was upfront about the specific of a high COL area. I had already lived in the area, but it was nice that she gave a couple of specifics like “And you’re aware of the housing costs and traffic issues of [area]” versus “You’re ok with relocating to [area]”?

          On the flip side, if I’m interviewing for an out-of-town role, I mention that I’m ok with relocation and try to toss in specifics that I’m ok with the COL/climate/etc.

          1. Dan*

            For my first job out of grad school, I was looking at relocating back to an area where I had previously spent several years. When we got around to salary discussions, I hemmed and hawed. The department manager told me that he just wanted wanted to make sure we’re in the same ballpark. I said, “Ok, then $X is too much money and you don’t have to worry about paying me that.” He laughed and said he’d never heard that before, that everybody always names a bottom line.

            I told him that I could cite national averages but if I got held to the bottom end of those figures, that I would not be happy. I told him that I had previously lived three miles from the office (and worked one mile from there) and I knew just exactly how expensive it is to live out here.

            They made me a better offer than I expected. Then I got shafted on raises for two years.

        2. Dan*

          As a math guy, I’d caution you in making sweeping generalizations based on one data point. If you had hired a handful of out-of-towners and none of them worked out (and all your locals did) then I’d understand. But one bad experience with one job shouldn’t create sweeping “policies.”

          1. T.*

            I second this. When I was job searching out of town I had a couple of interviews with a company who ultimately ended up rejecting me because they have a policy of not hiring candidates from out of town due to a previous bad experience. They invited me to contact them when I did eventually move there, which I did about a month later, and I ended up getting the job afterall because they had already fired the first person they hired for the role.

        3. Melissa*

          Never again, because of one person? If she took 6 months to move back to Texas, it probably wasn’t because of the relocation costs (and she had to break a lease, unless she was subletting or something). It could’ve been any number of personal factors that were related to that one particular person and not out-of-staters in general.

      3. Dan*

        In the DC area, an entry level person with analytic skills (data analysis, math, software development) can expect to see $60k as a matter of course. I’d be telling someone with an offer of $50k that they got low balled.

        1. Steve G*

          Are you sure? I work in Manhattan, live in Brooklyn, and $60K seems high unless the few coveted spots at top 3 accounting firms. I mean, what computer programs has a 22 year old mastered? You end up having to teach them EVERYTHING in excel. They aren’t worth $60K.

          1. Melissa*

            As someone who teaches those undergrads in college, TRUE STORY. I try to teach them Excel but they really only leave with basic level skills. In one class I taught pivot tables and you would’ve thought I was trying to teach them magic.

            I live in Manhattan too and an entry-level person with data analysis skills wouldn’t get $60K across the board here, either. Even the statistics majors really only know the basics at that point, nothing advanced yet unless they just happen to be a top performer. It also depends on where they went – even the data analysis person at many of our city’s nonprofits wouldn’t be making $60K; they’d be lucky at $50K! And the Department of Health wouldn’t pay $60K. That’s the level for their graduate-level hires with some experience.

            1. Dan*

              Damn. Would you believe me if I told you that I work for a non-profit and pull down six figures (including my 403b match) with an MS and five years of experience?

          2. Dan*

            Yes I’m sure, I worked with them. Even I was making $70k with my MS “in progress.”

            I’m not sure what field you think I’m talking about. The kinds of skills that my coworkers and I have center around being able to write code to do data analysis. Nobody I work with (at two different jobs) barely even touches Excel.

      4. soitgoes*

        I’m in bookkeeping in a suburb in NJ.

        One thing I feel like your site doesn’t address is the realities of job seeking for people who graduated and entered the job market after the recession hit. Negotiating isn’t something that exists when you’re only receiving interviews for jobs that pay a straight $10 an hour (As in, they’re being up-front about everything they can offer you, so there’s literally no room for negotiating). It’s utterly foolish to attempt to negotiate your first job out of college in the year 2014 unless you have competing offers or you work in a field where you’re 100% sure that that’s acceptable. I feel like people who are over 35 sincerely do not believe me when I talk about how hard it is to even get an interview for a minimum wage job.

        I guess I’m putting this out there because I’ve received really dismissive comments from people here about my real-life experiences, as if I’m some uneducated peasant. I’ve even passed your link along to friends because your resume advice is always very good. But everyone always asks me if I’m sure your resume advice will work for their field, since so much of what you write about is very foreign. And now I’m seeing how many of your commenters don’t have smart phones or even basic texting plans. Negotiating just isn’t something you can recommend to 20-somethings across the board anymore.

        Not sure if you wanted the input, but lately I’m beyond frustrated by how people over 35 talk about the employment prospects of 20-somethings, and none of them completely know what they’re talking about.

        1. C Average*

          Thank you for saying this.

          I’d add that I suspect a sizable percentage of liberal arts grads could cosign this post.

          By the time I got my first corporate job, I was so desperate and so hungry and so overjoyed to be getting an actual JOB with benefits and a desk and regular hours that I would never have dreamed of trying to negotiate. Nor do I think it would’ve been a useful exercise. It was an entry-level job. They needed a warm body. There were plenty of other ones out there as good as mine.

          I’d spent years working retail and food services. Weird hours, inconvenient locations, colleagues half my age, no respect, few or no benefits, no safety net, very little money, few opportunities to advance. The job search was demoralizing and exhausting. I’d spent money on a suit I couldn’t afford so I could wear it to interviews. I struggled to pay my rent, my phone bill, my ISP bill, and my car insurance.

          And this nice company was offering me $28k plus benefits in 2007! To come to a nice office in a nice building during the same hours every day! I wasn’t going to negotiate. I was going to fall on my knees and kiss the ground and thank my lucky stars.

          So yeah, I too find some of the salary discussions here too rich for my blood. The soft-skills stuff is fantastic–that’s why I come here–but I doubt I’ll ever relate to talk of salary negotiations, relocation packages, etc.

        2. Jamie*

          I’m not sure what you meant by basic texting plans and smart phones – but regarding the age thing, some of us over 35 work in companies that are hiring 20 somethings so we know how it works from that side of the desk.

          And you’re absolutely correct that when you’re talking about minimum wage jobs negotiating isn’t typically done and certainly when a company is upfront about what a position pays and is clear that it’s not negotiable it’s foolish to attempt it – this is often the case in customer service, call centers, etc where it may be over minimum wage but the job pays what it pays and it’s a take it or leave it conversation.

          But I’ve never seen anyone here, much less Alison, advocate for doing it in those circumstances. In this case it’s engineering – when we hire engineers we absolutely expect some back and forth over salary.

          Very little advice here, or anywhere really when dealing with employment issues, will be universal. What will work with one position/field will kill you in another – you have to select what works for you.

          But I wouldn’t write off advice from people who happen to be over 35 because often they are the hiring managers and it’s valuable insight to hear from the perspective of the people making the decisions.

          1. soitgoes*

            You kind of proved my point though: it seems like a lot of the discussions here are geared toward fields like engineering, but that’s never pointed out or stated clearly, or even listed in one of the tag links. Yeah, none of this stuff is universal, but by that same token, you don’t know what it’s like on “either side of the desk” in any field other than your own. So your advice needs to be clearly geared toward your field.

            1. Melissa*

              But I don’t think that’s true, either. I mean, obviously some fields are just very different from others – but most of Alison’s advice can be broadly applied with some tweaks. For example, I am in academia – a field that Alison frequently mentions is very different and that all of her advice won’t apply. But I have found that the underlying principles behind her advice do apply quite often – maybe not exactly in the way that she said it, but the thought process. (E.g., we use CVs instead of resumes – but much of her resume advice can be applied to the crafting of CVs, like using white space, using action terms and bullet points, etc.)

          2. soitgoes*


            My point about texting plans is about my suspicion of the default age range here. If you’re old enough to not have an inclusive texting plan, your advice to negotiate is going to be met with a shrug and an eye roll. Sorry, but anyone who’s so far removed from the millennial experience that s/he doesn’t even have unlimited texting isn’t going to have much to offer people my age on the job-advice front.

            That’s not meant to be insult. It’s more like…younger people read the comments here and think that their job struggles are being minimized by their parents all over again.

            1. Loose Seal*

              I don’t think it’s being removed from the millennial experience that keeps people from getting unlimited texting plans. My text-loving boss that I referred to earlier was 67 at the time. And it’s not like I was removed from the millennial experience either; I was just trying to save a buck or two. Frugality can cross generation lines.

              I get there are real problems in entering today’s workforce for the first time, regardless of one’s age. No amount of gumption or go-gettedness is going to land you a job. I think Alison and all the regular commenters get that too. If you are reading this and feeling as though people are parroting your parents, that’s your perception and you are entitled to it. However, I sort of think you feel as though every post on this site should be geared directly toward you. Most posts won’t be usable by everyone (my eyes glaze over when the conversation drifts toward IT, for instance, and I rarely find Alison’s articles at the other sites to be useful to me). You have to pick the advice that works for your situation.

            2. totochi*

              Wow, seriously?! I’m 45 and didn’t have unlimited text plan until 2 years ago (I was using Google Voice and unlimited data plan for free texting). Did I all of a sudden become relevant to young people overnight?

              I am responsible for hiring interns for my group and interviewing for a full-time candidate right now. Most likely the new hire will be a recent grad. I think it’s stupid to to discount what I’m telling you I’m looking for in a new hire because you don’t agree with my choice of phone plans.

            3. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I don’t think there’s any correlation between age and whether or not you have an inclusive texting plan. But look: I’m 41. If you think I don’t have much to offer your age group because of that, that is totally your call to make. But I think that’s a bizarre conclusion to draw (especially since you should want to know what older people who are hiring you think), and I also think it’s crazy to say that job struggles are minimized here (we talk about that here ALL THE TIME).

              1. One-time (the second time)*

                You don’t think there’s ANY correlation? I don’t know, the idea of “using minutes” sounds very old-fashioned to me.

                Also, soitoges didn’t say your site was useless, just that its primary community seems to be comprised of middle-aged, mid-career people. It’s pretty clear that it’s been a really long time since a lot of the people here were job searching–at least the way soitgoes is talking about, where you’re young, entry-level, and hungry. Sure, it’s good to know what hiring managers are thinking, in more direct terms than they’ll generally tell you to your face–but sometimes, what one learns is that hiring managers really don’t fully grasp what it’s like to be job searching at the entry level right now, and that can be disheartening.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  No, I seriously don’t think there is. The only pattern I’ve seen is, as AnotherAlison says, that people who are unemployed or in low-paying jobs might have limited texting plans to save money. I’ve never seen an age correlation.

                  The commenting community here includes a large number of 20somethings — probably equal to the 30something and to the 40somethings. And a huge number of job seekers.

                2. Shell*

                  I would be very surprised if the primary community of this site is middle-aged, mid-career people with established career trajectories. They make up a good portion of the commentors, but the commentors make a very small portion of people who read this site. Besides, I’ve definitely read a bunch of thread from younger, more entry-level folks on the open threads, many of them asking for advice about their jobs and careers at the entry-level.

                  Part of the reason that the commentors skew older is that they have more experience to talk about. I don’t know if a 21-year-old fresh grad would have much insight or stories to share about office politicking and, say, how to pry important information out of a boss who’s habitually a clam. (For example.) The mid-career folks would likely share more because they’ve seen it before.

                  That said, there is definitely a lot of white-collar, highly-paid (well, what I think of as highly-paid anyway, YMMV) folks here. So no, some of their advice re: negotiating might not work for the more entry-level jobs because we’re not there yet. But I really like the variety of people here so I know how higher-up white collar people view their jobs, as well as blue-collar, recent grads, established managers, people ready to retire, etc. It adds to the community.

                  For the record, I am firmly entry-level, so don’t think I’m anywhere near mid-management or established in anything.

                3. Jamie*

                  Sure, it’s good to know what hiring managers are thinking, in more direct terms than they’ll generally tell you to your face–but sometimes, what one learns is that hiring managers really don’t fully grasp what it’s like to be job searching at the entry level right now, and that can be disheartening.

                  I get that and if one is looking to commiserate about the market and how it sucks it may not be as emotionally fulfilling to hear from people who are employed and at a different level.

                  However, it doesn’t make sense to me if what you want is advice and an advantage in the market. Someone looking for work getting insight on the other side of hiring and what companies are looking for – yes – in a more direct way than people would normally say to ones face could be inordinately helpful to your career.

                  A mid or upper level manager fully grasping the struggles of 20 somethings won’t help our careers, or yours. We need what we need. Personally I have a ton of empathy for how hard it is, I have college aged kids now and I’m scared for them when they hit the market – we’re not making light of it. We’re just giving advice because it can help those to whom it’s applicable.

                  When my kids graduate and head out onto the market as new grads I’ll have all the sympathy and support in the world emotionally – but that won’t get them hired. Arming them with what I know about the hiring process and pointing them in the direction of others who can help them in different fields might.

                  I’m a little confused by what seems to be a an issue that this isn’t strictly geared toward entry level – AAM covered such a wide array of topics I’d think it would be understood you’d have to pick and choose that which is applicable to you.

                  I’ve learned loads here about hiring in libraries, academia, non-profits and I find that kind of stuff very interesting…but much of it will never be applicable to me.

                4. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Jamie makes a good point about the point of this site. It’s never been about support (although I realize some people use it that way, and that’s a lovely side benefit). My mission here is help people understand what their manager or a hiring manager is thinking, and to give people advice that will help them get what they want from their careers.

                  So it might be a question of what you’re looking for.

                5. Melissa*

                  I don’t. I’m only 28 and it wasn’t that long ago that people were using minutes. In fact, there are MANY telephone plans that still do have minutes – if you are on a pre-paid plan or trying to conserve money with some carriers, you can still get a plan with minutes. In fact, until about 2 months ago my plan still had minutes (I had 700 of them).

                  And also, I like that the commenters are mostly mid-career people. They have the BEST advice, because they’ve been through it all and can give us hindsight types of advice. I’m 28 myself, but I honestly kind of tire of the youthful assumption that many in my generation have that we can’t learn anything from the older folks because times are SO different now. There have been recessions before – perhaps not as big as this one, but still recessions. People in their 50s might have been trying to look for jobs in the recession of the late 1970s/early 1980s. Different fields have had belt-tightening and hard times in hiring before. Heck, women in their 50s and 60s may have had to deal with far more virulent gender discrimination than exists now (and the same is true for minority races and sexual orientations).

                6. One-time (the third time)*

                  It’s not that everything needs to be all about entry-level job seekers, it’s just nice, when getting advice, to feel that the advisor, in addition to being able to tell you what to do, also gets you. It’s not essential–I’ve learned a ton in this site in a very short time of reading–just nice.

                  I wasn’t trying to insult anybody. I just wanted to chime in as a lurker who tends not to comment to say that soitgoes isn’t alone, since s/he was getting a lot of pushback (including one person who actually called him/her stupid).

            4. AnotherAlison*

              Well, I’m over 35, I’ve had an all inclusive text plan for at least 5 years. I guess I had assumed differently than you, thinking un/under-employed people might be the ones without texting, not that it was age-related.

              I don’t direct my comments to entry-level making $10/hr, because I have little knowledge of that world. I have a pretty good grip on entry level engineering stuff, because that’s my field. I know what it was like 15 years ago, and I have currently have access to university data on graduate engineers in my state, as well as what’s going on in my company. I don’t pretend to give objective, across-the-board advice. Mostly, I’m not giving advice anyway, just relaying my experiences.

              It is kind of amazing that in one breath you will complain about receiving dismissive comments from people here about your real life experience, while simultaneously doing the same thing to me. I don’t know if you had a problem with my comments specifically, but I fall into the demographic/job class you’re complaining about being out of touch with your experiences. Personally, my advice was to *not* negotiate in general, but seeing the OP was so far below the norm for current new grad engineering salaries *that I have personally seen* I think the OP might consider it. No, that’s not something I’d tell everyone on here, but I don’t like being told that my advice sucks because it doesn’t jive with your experience.

              1. Jamie*

                I would also assume people with the limited texting and go phones would be more of an issue of the unemployed and underemployed so I’m a little surprised to see it’s an age thing.

                1. Melissa*

                  I don’t think it’s an age thing – not to mention that the time that minutes were ubiquitous is really not that long ago. I just upgraded to a minutes plan about 2-3 months ago and I am 28 (and I just *turned* 28 yesterday), and honestly I would say it’s really only 3-5 years ago (at best) that plans started offering low-cost unlimited talk + text plans.

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m confused by this, because I spend a lot of time here talking about how the job market has changed in the last five years and how difficult (and different) it is for people who graduated into this market. I also talk frequently about how new grads often don’t have much negotiating power.

          But certainly there are plenty of people who ARE in a position to negotiate. There are fewer of them among new grads, for sure, but they’re there.

        4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          While I’m sure you have better things to do than follow my comments on AAM religiously, most of the people we hire are either new grads or people just a few years in the workforce who may or may not be grads. I am pretty much always commenting from that perspective, albeit on the other side of the hiring desk. (FWIW, I’m also in NJ, across the bridge from Philly.)

          Here’s what I think – when you have a few more years experience, conversations about negotiating salary are going to be more relevant to you. As I said further up (I think in response to your earlier comment), we don’t really negotiate new grad salaries (although there’s no harm caused by a reasonable request). We DO negotiate someone with a few years experience, and that’s going to be you in a few years.

          Our positions aren’t technical – inside sales, art, administrative, marketing assistants, warehouse. I think our most popular degree at the moment is English. We’ve had a great run with English majors lately. Most people negotiate or attempt to negotiate, even the lower ends of the payscale. (An exceptional temp to hire, non college graduate, got from $14 to $16 in a warehouse job at hiring because he’d done a terrific job for us temp and made a compelling case for the extra $2 an hour. We wanted him to settle with us and not feel as if he had to keep looking for better paying work.)

          As your career progresses, negotiating is something you need to know about. It’s going on all around you. I understand that when you are trying to find any job, the finer points of “owning your own career” seem frivolous, but at some point, the info will be relevant.

        5. Melissa*

          I’m under 35, and I have to disagree with you. It’s not across the board true that it’s *impossible* to negotiate, even in 2014 as a new grad. I graduated from undergrad right as the recession hit and am graduating from graduate school this year. Many fields are tightening up, but I know plenty of people my age who have negotiated their salaries up, and I myself got my salary raised in a field that normally offers pretty flat salaries.

    2. De (Germany)*

      “Trying to jump from an already good $42,000 salary”

      Depending on the job, 42K might not even be all that good. A quick search tells me software engineers in the US have a median starting salary of over 60K.

      1. Alter_ego*

        I’m an electrical engineer whose starting salary was slightly under industry standard for the area, at 55,000. They asked me to make the starting offer, so I asked for 60,000, which is average for the area, and they came back with 55,000. Most of the people I graduated with make the same, or more than me. All of us would have been offended by a counter offer of 48,000, or worse, 42,000. It really is hugely industry and location specific.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Engineering is definitely a field that came to mind, too. $42 or $48k would be low in my market. I actually made $47k out of school *in 2000* and new engineers now are getting high 50s, low 60s. But, in a different industry or region, 40s might still be acceptable (a civil engineer in a rural area, maybe).

          I’ve heard entry level RN nursing salaries are in the low 40s, so that’s another possibility.

          1. #1 OP*

            I was the letter writer from #1 and I’m in the Materials Science Engineering Field. I was told by my Career Service that recent graduates do start off with about $50,000 within this field and that I should try negotiating somewhere close to there. I also contacted professors within the same field to ask for average salaries as well as researching online. Based on that, a salary around $50,000 seemed to be the norm in the field for entry level. It had never occurred to me that they would put me on hold for this long.

            1. MT*

              Knowing several recent engineering grads, plus many other who have 5-10 years experience. There is a growing trend in new hires where they are hired by contract companies, usually 5-10k less per year, to work at big name companies. These jobs are stepping stones into the main company where the pay catches up to what it should be. I am not at all surprised to see a ton of low paying engineering jobs.

            2. Stephanie*

              In case you haven’t done this, I’d be sure to research salary in that industry, not just that occupation. So for example, doing any engineering role in oil/gas right now is going to pay more than doing any engineering role in aerospace.

            3. MT*

              When i tried to negotiate my salary when i graduated(2006) the company came back and said they have a strict starting wage for new hires. The company hired 15-20 engineering graduates a year.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                But at least they came back to you with an answer! That’s where the OP’s story is strange to me. I didn’t negotiate, as I had no experience, not even interning, and was happy to work at my “dream” company, lol (see post far below). In my second job, I did negotiate (very poorly!), and the whole deal was done within a couple days.

              2. KTM*

                Same thing happened with me (in 2010). But they gave me a signing bonus so I was glad I made the effort :)

            4. AnotherAlison*

              From the BLS for Materials Engineers: ” the lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,900.”

              $42k just seems low. I don’t think you were out of line to ask for more, but without a competing offer, it is hard to know if you should. That said, a week to get back to you seems unusual – they can accept your counter, offer another counter/offer the original, or withdraw, but do something! It is possible the decision maker is on vacation or something, but I completely understand your frustration and worry.

              1. MT*

                I wonder if there were benifits that made up for the low offer? I started out about 10k less in salary than I should have. But the company paid for my rent and utilities and had extra vacation becuase I was expected to travel 90% of the year.

                1. AnotherAlison*

                  Well, that would more than make up $10k.

                  I do work in energy, so my views may be skewed. My company is F500, but we’re a little different and don’t have a lot of contractors. My former company did, but at that time new grads were direct hire. Around my city, it’s very competitive for new grads right now and offers are pretty good. The local U has 90% placement of mech grads.

                2. MT*

                  I think its highly dependant on what type of engineering. My former roomate (ME) is a manager for a contractor for probably one of the largerst engineering employers in the US. Their budget is so tight, that they have no room to budget on salaries. The benifit for working for them is that they get a foot in the door, since they work directly with the main company, and even work in the same labs.

            5. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


              I’d take a pass at $42, unless you don’t know where next month’s rent is coming from.

              If this is a good company that you really wanted to work in with work you want to do, I’d ceiling the counter offer at 10% though.

              On the other hand, if you think you can get $50 elsewhere, and you have some room to wait, what’s the harm in going back with $48. It sounds as if you were getting low balled.

            6. Juli G.*

              Way too low. COL where I am is pretty cheap and the difference between what I offer and your counteroffer is 5 figures! Unless you have a limited geographic area, keep looking! Young engineers are a hot commodity (especially if you are a diverse talent).

          2. Melissa*

            NACE reports that the average starting salary for bachelor’s degree graduates is $45,327 (class of 2013), so I would imagine that $42,000 would be low for several fields. In fact, there were only two major groups for which the average starting salary was less than $42,000 – education and the humanities and social sciences. And even for the H&SS group, the starting salary was over $37,000.


      2. Stephanie*

        I got a couple offers out of college in the low 60s (mechanical and the offers were from a F100 company in a high COL area).

        I had engineering classmates who got jobs in the energy industry receive between $65-70k.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            Interesting, as this was probably pre-crash. In early 2008, I was still getting regular headhunter calls for outrageously paid 6-mo contract positions. I bet if it was 2009-2010, the new grad offers were lower, although they’re back up there again now.

          1. Stephanie*

            It would be, since most of those positions are in oil/gas which is paying well (at the moment).

            1. Anonymoney*

              Unless you’re at an oil/gas consulting firm. I started at $50k as an ME two years ago in Minneapolis. Friends who work in the area were in the $60k range.

    3. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      Some people don’t have texting as part of their phone plan – I definitely joined that bandwagon late and only added texting to my plan about 2-3 years ago. Before that, it cost me 25 cents every time someone sent me a text. That’s not enough to break the bank, but it would have annoyed me if I had to use it often (e.g. daily) for work.

    4. GrumpyBoss*

      $6000 is nearly a 15% increase over the initial offer. We can argue all day long about fields, entry level, etc. But I’ve never been part of a negotiation where I wanted a double digit percentage increase over what I was offered and had it work out in my favor.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        Definitely not at entry level! Unless this was a situation where company B offered the $48,000 the OP was looking for but company A was where they really wanted to work, there’s not much basis for that big of increase.

      2. AAA*

        I just negotiated salary for my first “real” job in my field, and I asked for 23% more than they initially offered. (Their offer was pretty far below even entry-level salaries for someone with my education, let alone additional experience). They came up 13% from their offer within an hour of my negotiation call. I took the job.

    5. Liane*

      Your comments on #4 are inaccurate as regards prepaid cell phones. First, texts DO generally cost minutes, although often less than voice calls or data; half a minute per text, unless it is long is common. Second, smart phones–Android & iPhone, including latest models–ARE available to pay-as-you-go users. Many, many peopple, including my family, favor prepaid cells because you aren’t stuck with a long contract.
      A US reader, don’t know if this is true in other countries

      1. Liane*

        Above reply to soitgoes. Ended up in wrong place. Let’s hope I put this where it belongs. Early here, sorry.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          No, your reply is in the right place. And I was coming to say the same thing. My tracfone has internet and lots of other options, so I guess it’s a smart phone. And every text is charged, coming or going.

        1. KerryOwl*

          Wait, I’m sorry, you were specifically talking about pay-as-you go phones. I retract my statement.

      2. Snork Maiden*

        Canadian here, with a new smartphone, data and unlimited texting as per pay-as-you-go plan. Way cheaper over three years than amortizing cost in a contract. But then, we have ridic prices up here (~$65+/mo unlimited calls, text, data.)

        1. Lee*

          Ha ha, ridiculous prices in Canada?? Try Australia! My Canadian friend cannot believe how much mobile plans here. I’m currently on unlimited calls, texts and 3gig a month. It’s $100 per month.

        2. Melissa*

          $65/month for unlimited calls, text, and data is ridiculous? I live in the U.S. and my husband and I pay $125 for two lines of unlimited talk + text and 6 GB of data, and that’s after a 25% discount (he’s a veteran). I just checked my carrier’s website and the base individual plan is unlimited talk + text plus 2 GB of data for $65.

    6. Brittany*

      My initial thought was that the OP asked for that significant of an increase because it was part of a relocation package. Coupled with moving for a position, it doesn’t seem that high, but if it’s just negotiating coming out of college, I can see why that would be. I’ve been out of college now for 4 years and I still wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for that much of a salary increase in my field.

      1. Rat Racer*

        Yes, that’s how I read it too. But then what doesn’t make sense is to ask for 6k YOY when you only move 1 time. People usually ask for relocation assistance as a 1-time thing.

      2. Red Librarian*

        See, I read it differently: Negotiated the salary AND asked for money for relocation. Two different things.

        1. Jamie*

          That’s how I read it, and tbh the relo package would give me more pause than asking for the additional 6K. They offered 42, she wanted 48, some places the dance would end somewhere in the middle around 45.

          But maybe it’s just my industry, but I’ve never seen a relo package even being considered for mid level jobs like this. Maybe because we have more than enough local candidates, but to want to woo someone from another area enough to pay for their move would be for your c-level execs if at all.

          But again – could just be my industry – relocation packages are rare unicorns.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I really didn’t think about it before, but now that you mention it, it does seem weird that relo would be provided for new grads. . .in many cases, there’s no “re” they just need to “locate.” There are always commuter schools and commuter students and non-trads, but many new grads with new jobs will be moving from a college apartment or their parents’ to . . .somewhere. Whether it’s 30 miles or 1,000 miles, it’s not as big of a deal as someone with an established household.

            1. Dan*

              I got relo for my first job out of grad school, and it really surprised me. I asked the competing offer if relo was available, and they too offered it.

            2. De (Germany)*

              Maybe I am being dumb here, but I really don’t get the point. I went to college somewhere, so when I took a job in another city I relocated there (and got my expenses paid for by my new company). Four years later, if I now took a job in another city, the relocation wouldn’t actually look all that different.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                In my part of the country, you wouldn’t typically be living in your college town long-term, no matter what. I went to the flagship university in my state. It’s a city of about 90,000 people, 45 minutes away from a larger metro area of about 2.5 million. There are not many high paying jobs in that college town, so most people leave after they graduate. Many people are from the nearby metro area and return to there, so my point was whether they’re going back to the metro area or across the country, they can’t stay in their current apartment. (Many apartments are even set up with 9-mo leases). That’s a fairly typical midwestern US thing, I think. You aren’t moving because of the job specifically like you would four years into your first job; it was something you had to do anyway, so why should the company have to pay. (I do see your counterpoint, though.)

          2. Red Librarian*

            Agreed, asking for relocation for this seems….odd. Like AnotherAlison said, as a new grad it’s not so much “re” locating as just “locating.”

            1. Melissa*

              I mean, when you’re in college you’re living somewhere. So you are indeed *re*-locating – it’s not like you pop into existence the moment you graduate. New grads might not have a lot of stuff, but they do have some stuff, and they will often have to pay security deposits in their new town/city.

              I think perception also has a lot to do with where you went to college. I went to college in Atlanta, and graduate school in New York. In these cities, it is not unheard of (actually, quite common) for undergraduate students to have moved off-campus and living in apartments with 12-month leases, with actual furniture, by their senior year. One of my wealthier friends in college had even purchased a townhome (or, more accurately, her parents had purchased a townhome for her). It’s also quite common for these students to be looking to stay within their city for their first part-time job, so one can’t easily assume that the students were going to move anyway upon graduation.

    7. Poohbear McGriddles*

      I would recommend a Google Voice account in addition to gmail. You can receive texts through Voice but using a different number than your cell.

      1. Xay*

        This would be my recommendation. I think you only have to link your Google Voice number to a landline or cell phone number to set it up – once the Google Voice number is set, you can remove your cell number and send/receive texts through the webpage.

      2. CTO*

        I was going to suggest the same thing, since I assume these access codes are being texted, as others have said.

    8. PizzaSquared*

      Yes, in my field many new graduates are offered well into 6 figures, and I’ve heard of them asking for 25-50% more (though usually based on competing offers, and the increase typically is a combination of salary, stock and bonus). Someone who DOESN’T ask for more is almost the exception. So yeah, these things vary.

    9. danr*

      Text messages are not free unless you’ve paid for them in advance. They’re still not free, but you don’t think of it that way.

  7. In progress*

    Also, aren’t there privacy concerns for #4? It would be awful if a customer started hassling an employee during their off time.

    1. T*

      In this particular case that doesn’t seem to be the concern. The way I understand it, if the OP needs to access the system from her usual computer (say, the one at her desk at work), she would log in the normal way. However, if she is using a non-registered computer, then the company texts her an access code so that she can log in. It is just a security feature – I had something similar with my old bank.

      1. In progress*

        Oh, I misunderstood- I thought she had to use her personal cell phone as part of customer contact. I have to use my cell phone to clock in and out at my job. It sounds more like that?

        1. AVP*

          Yeah, I took it to be more like Twitter’s double-verification process. If I log in with my username from a known device, it’s business as usual. If I try to log in from a foreign computer, or request a password reset, twitter texts me a code that I need to enter so that they know it’s me.

      2. Erin*

        Yeah, it sounds like the two factor verification that Gmail uses. (Which I recommend! Highly!)

  8. De (Germany)*

    #3 what makes you think you aren’t a good fit for this role? You don’t say anything about this in the letter, and it might just be something you think just because you are nervous about actually starting at your “dream company”. Would these issues actually be resolved if you waited a few more years until you started there?

    Also, the “5 years of experience” really rubbed me the wrong way.

    (sorry, submitted this as a threaded comment at first)

    1. MK*

      My understanding is that “2 years of expierience that count as 5” is what makes the OP not want the job, even though they want to join this company. I think the issue is that the OP applied for one position 2 years ago, obviously thinking the role was on their level, and is now (after making what the OP feels is considerable advances in their career) being offered a “lesser” position. In other words that they are being offered a position that is lower than what they could do even 2 years ago.

  9. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


    I can’t solve up the cell phone number part of that but re email address: we work with many medical and dental practices, usually via email, and the contact information is almost always something like: fredflintstonedds AT gmail dot com or drfred AT yahoo dot com .

    Just make a gmail or yahoo under a general moniker and that part is solved up.

    (reposting because I stupidly wrote the email addresses out literally and of course got held in moderation, sorry for the extra work Alison)

  10. Michael.*

    Regarding the use of your personal email for work: do what is suggested, and setup another email account just for that job (e.g. name.at.business@gmail.com, or use another email provider if you don’t like Google). I’d be worried about if your account was the only one that could access particular information or do particular tasks. And then the company doing something stupid like demanding that you turn over your email account… (I’d also be worried about them doing the same thing for the phone.)

    Also, any business that doesn’t have their own domain name, and provide emails at that domain, really should think if they are making enough money to stay in business. Seriously, it can be less than $50 a year for a one page website with basic contact info, and a handful of email addresses.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Dealing with literally thousands of medical practices, I can tell you that the norm in that field is:

      1) to have a website, usually multi page with pictures of the doctors and often staff

      2) to have email addresses at yahoo or gmail or even aol. It’s rare to see a medical practice that is not attached to larger entity/large group practice that is @ domain. (This is all statistical information we gather for marketing, and it is across the U.S.)

      What’s weird in this case is that there’s no website and that there isn’t already an established set of email addresses at whatever free domain.

      1. Brittany*

        Same here. I work in healthcare and I always find it really odd/sketchy when a practice doesn’t have their own domain, email addresses, and a list of doctors within the practice.

        1. LBK*

          I think that’s actually the opposite of what Wakeen was saying – most medical practices DON’T have their own domain. I work with a fair amount of doctor’s offices as well and I see the same thing. Unless they’re owned by a larger entity or they’re a pretty large practice themselves, it’s usually just an AOL/Yahoo/Gmail etc. address.

          I’d imagine it’s because the business doesn’t really merit it – they probably do so little communication via email that there’s no point.

          1. LBK*

            Oh – and there may already be an email set up for the practice, but I’ve seen many where there’s just one generic email for everyone (that usually gets monitored by a receptionist). It sounds like each individual employee needs a login for the site now, so one email for the practice won’t suffice for that purpose.

      2. doreen*

        Most of my doctors don’t even have a website- except for the radiologist, they’re all solo practioners. Even the ones at “Multispecialty Family Care” or some such thing aren’t actually a group – they operate separately and pay the doctor who owns the building a fee for use of the office space and receptionist services.

  11. Stephanie*

    #1: Alison, when would it be acceptable to negotiate for an entry-level role?

    #3: Whoa. You got an offer after a two-year lapse?

    #5: Yeah, that’s overstepping. The posting’ll either expire or someone will realize it’s still up.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      #1 — when it’s an in-demand field and your skills are much sought after, or when you yourself are an unusually good candidate with multiple options. Or when the offered salary is really below market and you can argue that convincingly. Other than that, you don’t have a ton of negotiating power at that point.

      1. Stephanie*

        Ah, ok. I’ve been looking at entry-level roles (as a career change) and was curious when (or if, even) it would be acceptable to negotiate.

        1. De Minimis*

          I knew of some entry level people who negotiated in my field, but they had multiple offers among competitors. I think that kind of thing ended with the recession.

        2. Dan*

          There’s “acceptable” (pretty much always) and then there’s “has a reasonable chance of succeeding.”

  12. Ribiko*

    #2 – PLEASE say something. Whether it is bedbugs or not, it needs to be dealt with immediately – and if it’s not handled with an appropriate amount of urgency, that’s a big red flag for you. You don’t have to be confrontational about it, but you should raise it with whoever would be responsible for dealing with the problem.

    I actually got bedbugs from my boss (I am working abroad and was staying in his spare room while I looked for an apartment) and later found out there were bedbugs in the office as well. They are very common in our city, unfortunately, so there’s no telling whether they came from my boss, another employee, or one of our clients…but the point is moot. Nothing much has been done about it so I simply avoid all the upholstered chairs in the office now.

  13. Brandy*

    #2- if you work for the library and they have workers’ comp coverage, the bites will be covered (if you need medical attention and want to use it vs your own insurance). Never occurs to me bit a work friend of mine got a spider bite on a business trip and it got infected. He mentioned it over lunch and the HR rep there told him to file a WCOMP claim.

    1. Buggy OP*

      I think these bites will just clear up, they haven’t done anything since I got bitten, but it is good to remember that WCOMP is there if things get worse. Thanks!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        There’s got to be someone who knows more about it than me, who is reading here. Aren’t libraries more aware of bug infestations because it could mean damage to their collection? I remember reading something, but maybe it was about historical collections.

        Not trying to persuade you more, OP. I see you are already on it. However, am just pointing out that maybe your complaint will be taken very seriously and you will be thanked for speaking up.

        1. Buggy OP*

          I think it will be handled well once I bring it up, for all I know we’ve had this issue before. And it was handled really discreetly, because I’m not aware of any similar issue. This week got away from me, and we received news that one of our branches must close due to the ongoing budget cuts, so while I need to say something, I haven’t yet. I plan to next week.

  14. Loose Seal*

    #4 — I agree that if the cell phone usage is a one-time authentication code, there’s probably no need to bring it up with your boss. But if it’s every time you log in to the website, maybe.

    I didn’t have unlimited texting on my phone for a long time because most of the people I knew didn’t text and I found it cheaper to pay on a per-text basis. It was not that much cheaper but when you are counting every dollar, it’s better to get a text bill for $1.75 than to pay $5.00 just in case you got 200 texts that month*.

    Then I got a job where my boss loved to text. She’d text for everything and finish each text-versation with an extra LOL or TTYL, which cost me an additional twenty-five cents**. I finally had a conversation with her and, even though it was embarrassing to me to admit my financial situation, she agreed to pay me $25 per month to cover an unlimited texting plan. I though that was the perfect solution. I wasn’t using the plan prior to that job and was really only using it for business reasons then and it was cheaper for her to pay me the $25 than it would be to get me a company phone.

    If I had already had unlimited texting and used texting in my personal life, I never would have mentioned to my boss that her texts were by far the most I got each month.

    *Public Service Announcement: Please do not assume that when someone gives you their phone number that you can text at will. Ask!

    **For those unaware of how U.S. phone carriers bill: we get charged for each text we send AND receive, even if you don’t know the person.

    1. In progress*

      I still don’t have texting on my phone! It makes me feel Stone Age, but it’s not something I have control over since I don’t pay for it. For some reason, I can’t send or receive a text- even for a charge. It hasn’t been a problem though! I can either call or e-mail from my phone anyway.

      1. Tris Prior*

        I don’t have texting on my plan either, because of cost. Once a year, I have to work an out-of-town trade show for my job, and EVERYONE texts everyone else the entire time due to various logistical snafus that always seem to crop up.

        I get a horrible cell phone bill afterward, but I hesitate to bring it up because everyone else I work with – including the company owner – is a good 10-15 years younger than me and has a smartphone (I still have a dumbphone – again, cost.). I don’t think it occurs to anyone that I wouldn’t have a texting plan, and I don’t really want to go into my finances with my bosses. (or suggest that maybe if they paid me decently I would be able to afford a better plan. :/ )

        Still better to pay a big bill once a year than every month, but every year I get that one bill and cringe. :(

        1. LAI*

          Please say something. You shouldn’t be paying for this yourself. You don’t have to explain the financial side of things – you can just say that you don’t text in your personal life, so therefore you choose not to purchase an unlimited texting plan. If it’s possible for you to get the necessary information in another way, ask if you can be left off of the texts. Or if you actually need the texts to do your job, then ask your boss if they will reimburse just the text charges for that month.

          1. doreen*

            If neither of those options work, you might want to look into adding unlimited texts for just that month. Before smartphones were a thing, I used to add web access and a text package to my dumbphone just in the summer (when I traveled and wanted to check the weather/baseball scores/text my kids more frequently than I did the rest of the year)

  15. misspiggy*

    #3 – I’d be really careful about turning the offer down. Having moved from a smaller organisation to my dream bigger one, I’d say that if it’s a good larger organisation, it will be making very big demands on people even if they are in lower level roles. They will want someone who can do the main part of the role in their sleep, leaving capacity to take on the more challenging stuff as it arises. And they should pay at the higher end of industry standard if that’s the case. If someone joins and demonstrates strong capacities, there should be opportunities to move up.

    If this was me, I’d ask for a detailed discussion where I could tell them about my newly-gained skills, find out more about the role and the type of person they want. That should offer the chance for both sides to work out whether this is the best fit. If you do this, there’s a chance they may upgrade the role to fit your skills; put you in the running for a different role; or continue to offer this role but with you having a clearer understanding of what it entails. If you reject their offer without a discussion, it makes you look potentially ignorant of what their environment is like, which would shut you out from consideration by them for future opportunities.

  16. Minnie*

    #2: I worked in a large urban public library and I came down with an itchy, scaly, bumpy condition on my hands and arms, and while I could never exactly diagnose it, my doctor said it was likely scabies. I did also see it in some patrons. This is a very contagious bug that lives under the skin. I told my superiors and it was kept confidential. I believe it was also reported to the Dept of Public Health. Also, if we saw patrons who had the condition visible on their skin (it is pretty recognizable, especially on the hands), we could along with security ask them to leave the building until they had medical clearance to return. Whether yours are fleas, spiders, bedbugs, or scabies, these issues are no joke and you owe it to yourself, your employer, your colleagues, and the patrons to report it, see a doctor, and get treatment. Now I remember the upholstered chairs at the reference desk were also taken away for treatment but none of my colleagues ever knew the reason for it — I was given my privacy in the whole matter.

    As an aside, I know of several people who were often bitten massively by fleas in movie theaters and on public transport in San Francisco (where this was by the way).

    1. Buggy OP*

      I’ll mnetion it to a manager and see what happens, thanks! Sorry you had scabies, that sounds horrible.

    2. Brittany*

      Scabies are AWFUL! A friend of mine came into town and stayed at my place. He ended up having scabies (and hadn’t done treatment yet) and just omitted this from any conversation so once I found out, I freaked and basically had to decontaminate my entire apartment/self. I was *pissed*.

      1. Monodon monoceros*

        That is terrible. I think it is only common courtesy to not visit when you are sick, if you can at all help it. Even a cold, but scabies!

  17. Anon*

    To the OP #3.. I know not all situations are the same but I submitted an application for my ‘dream job’ about 2 years ago, wasn’t successful as they said I needed more experience. So I took a job doing the same thing they wanted by for another company. Got LOADS of experience, confidence etc.
    I was out of the blue contacted by a recruiter telling me a role had opened up at my ‘dream company’ and that she thinks I’d be a great fit and could I send her my CV. So I did, had 2 rounds of interviews and finally got the job.

    All is well, I loved it, lovely people, great job etc.
    Only to be let go after 2 months in aid of a managers position that they didn’t think I had enough experience in. Everyone there liked me, I for in culturally great, but ultimately my boss wasn’t prepared to stick with me and provide the training needed to be a manager (I’m 26 and haven’t yet managed a team)

    So all I’d say is just be wary of the initial “oh my god” excitement that makes you want to leave a perfectly good job, cause I am now unemployed after 2 months of buying my first home and am having to get help from benefits to help me survive and not loose my home.
    If I could go back I’d obviously do thinks different. So just take a while to really way up the pros and cons before leaving a job you’re doing well at just to go to your ‘dream job’

    Good luck!

  18. Betsy*

    #4, can you use a google voice # for the cell phone portion? Between that and a new email address, you may be able to completely separate from it.

    1. Steve*

      I was thinking the same thing. And I believe that texts sent to a google voice number can be read on the google voice page from any browser; it doesn’t have to be associated with your cell phone if you don’t want it to be. If you did want to use your smart phone, you could use the google voice app. I think that texts are considered data, so if you could log your cell into the company wifi, it might not affect your data usage allowances.

      1. Dan*

        Lots of uncertainty in that comment…

        I use GV, and the nice thing is, texts are free. Texts are data, and yes, if you’re on a wifi connection, you’re not paying mobile data charges.

  19. Janet*

    For #5 it could just be that they like to collect resumes so they can pounce when they have an opening. There’s a PR agency in my area that has had the same two PR jobs posted for 4 years. A colleague and I have figured out that they’ll do occasional interviews but only hire someone if they win a big account.

    1. LizNYC*

      It could be that.

      Or it could be like my office. We have a website. We build websites. We’re our own worst client when it comes to updating our own website, especially for stuff like this. If you’re our client, we’ll update your stuff immediately. For ourselves, eh. I’ve had a request in to make a small grammar change to something for a few months now, but, you know, paying work keeps getting in the way.

      1. Rebekah*

        Janet and LizNYC,

        I was the one who asked #5, and I appreciate your thoughts. The company is really “trendy” in terms of how its website is featured so my guess is that they are just so busy helping build other websites, they don’t check their own very often. Whatever. I know I applied for it so I guess that’s all that matters.

  20. Audiophile*

    1) This is so pertinent. You really need to know your worth. I’m making a career change and I know I’m starting at the bottom again, so I’m really more of an entry level candidate, despite my experience in non-profit and the corporate world. For this reason, I would be extremely hesitant to try to negotiate.
    Besides knowing your value, you have to look at the overall benefits package they’re offering you. If it’s crazy good benefits, that certainly outweighs a lower salary. I do hope they come back to you and you can salvage this.

  21. Anonypants*

    #2: Bed bugs were a workplace hazard at my otherwise amazing job in college. With most of the upholstered chairs having a bug or two, I aimed for work stations with plastic chairs, and covered the upholstered ones with trash bags, otherwise I’d get big, itchy welts on my back during my shift. Occasionally a bug would come home with me and live in my bed, until I’d find and flush it. Never dealt with an infestation, luckily.

    I was too afraid to say anything, for fear of the managers getting mad at me for being ungrateful (it was a really sweet gig for a part-time college job, and better than retail even with the bugs), but it came to light that the supervisors knew. Either upper management never got wind of it or they simply didn’t want to go to the trouble of having the workstations closed for treatment. But in hindsight, that’s not something employees should have to accept, so I’d encourage you to say something.

    1. Artemesia*

      Wow, you carry that stuff home and it can cost thousands to get rid of. I can’t believe a manager would allow that to continue.

  22. I Hate Earwigs*

    #2: Ouch! If you do find the culprit, try to catch it and take it to your local Extension office (if you’re in the US) for ID. I’m an entomologist, and love all insects….except for earwigs. A little incident where one somehow got into my buttcrack (sorry for the visual) during a shower at my parents’ house. Those pinchers are *strong*!

    1. fposte*

      I admire you for having a commitment to entomology that continued beyond that incident.

      1. I Hate Earwigs*

        Ha, thanks! I was in school at the time and told my ent professor about it. There has been some debate about whether or not earwigs use their pinchers for anything other than mating/territorial displays, but my prof also confirmed that they *do* pinch for defense. He did seminars for people with entomophobia and was holding an earwig to show the participants that the earwig was perfectly non-threatening. Except that the bug had somehow gotten its pincher around his thumb and it really got him….he said he had to repress his scream, pulled his hand around his back to hide the blood and say, “Hey, let’s go over here and look at the spiders!”

        1. Artemesia*

          I grew up in Washington where there were lots of earwigs; I always thought the pinchers were not used for actual pinching in defense. You have totally shattered my world view.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Ditto on that admiration, IHE. In my mind, earwig pinches are worse than bee stings. I see the little buggers and all I can imagine is miniature lobster claws. And I hate that crunching noise when I crush them. ugh.

    2. GrumpyBoss*

      When I was a child, I put a piece of toast in the toaster. When it popped up, there was a toasted earwig on it. I’m still scarred.

      Thought I would share.

    3. Cruciatus*

      I am so with you! OK, I never had anything that terrible…but when I was a teenager my parents built our house in an old alfalfa field. And apparently on an earwig nest(?). For years they were EVERYWHERE. Laying in bed–earwigs on the ceiling. Grabbing your towel next to the shower–earwigs behind it or on it. Stepping into the shower–earwigs. Moving the flour canister in the kitchen–earwigs. I took a trip to Germany and while I was unpacking…earwigs! GAAAAAAAH. I save spiders. Even the occasional fly. But I will smash the sh*t out of an earwig. Fortunately it’s calmed down and they are almost nonexistent now. But those first few years in the house were awful.

      1. Chinook*

        All this talk about earwigs is making me appreciate the fact that we only have mosquitoes here. They may be blood thirtsy and loud when buzzing you at 2 a.m., but they atleast die off with the first frost. Plus, they give you the socially acceptable excuse to (lightly) hit a complete stranger (which I did this morning when one was about to snack on the top of his head).

        1. Artemesia*

          Let me tell you about chiggers. Never heard of them till moving south. Their larvae get on your ankles then wander up until they meet resistance e.g. bend of the knee while seated, your underpants line (oh they do love that spot) and then dig in and bite. The resulting itchy bump lasts for weeks. total misery.

          I would not walk on grass in the south and northerners who didn’t know and lay out on grass or had a picnic might end up covered in these itches. So glad that having moved to a big northern city now all we have are there very occasional mosquito.

          1. Mallory*

            OMG, chiggers! And the more you scratch them, the worse they itch. You can practically claw your own ankle off.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        I’m not an entomologist, but I like creepy crawlies. I had a job where the first day, I saw my office had two black widows in opposite corners. When one moved down to where I could reach it, she went in a jar, so I knew where she was. Other co-workers would bring me bugs they found in their offices, and the reigning spider always had food.

    4. Loose Seal*

      I don’t know what earwigs are and I’m now afraid to Google them to find out. Are they a regional bug? I’m hoping that since I’ve never seen this lobster-bug that they don’t live ’round here. Because what you people are describing is the stuff of nightmares!!

      1. Mints*

        I think they’re the same as pincher bugs (regional name difference like lightning bugs vs fireflies)

      2. Artemesia*

        While creepy (like silverfish are creepy), I grew up with them and never had bite. I don’t think they are predatory to people, although apparently they will bite if crushed in your butt crack (things I didn’t know before today)

  23. AnotherAlison*

    #3 – keep in mind, you’re not obligated to have the same dreams now as you did 2 years ago, or even 10 years ago.

    I got a job at a company I had wanted to work at since 9th grade for my first job out of college, and you know what? It sucked. It still lived up to the dream — good global industry-leading company, well respected in the community, etc., but they treated people like numbers. The company I left for turned out to be a much better fit.

    Even though it has been your dream company doesn’t mean it will ever be the right professional fit for you. I think people often get caught up in fulfilling old dreams rather than objectively looking at what’s best for them now.

  24. Hous*

    #5, I agree with Alison, I just wanted to sympathize! I remember finding a job that looked amazing that I thought I’d be a great fit for and spending two days crafting and revising what I hoped would be a fantastic cover letter, only to immediately receive an automated reply with a list of their currently open jobs, which did not include the one I’d applied for. The entire thing was very strange and frustrating, but there ultimately didn’t seem to be anything I could do.

    1. Rebekah*

      Thanks Hous! It did look like an amazing position. In my case, I at least received a letter from an actual human being. Plus, a couple days after she told me it had been filled, someone else from the company looked at my LinkedIn profile so that’s a potentially positive sign. I’ll just have to keep my eyes open if something else pops up within the company.

  25. LBK*

    #5 I think you missed your opportunity to do that – I would’ve included it in your thank you email (“Thank you for letting me know! It’s still listed as open on your company’s job site so I didn’t realize the position was filled.”). I think it could come off as weird to say it now after the conversation has seemingly ended.

    1. LQ*

      I completely agree with this. In the thank you for your time email was the place to say it. (And to say it in a here’s how I found out about it way, not a take it down way.)

      1. Rebekah*

        LBK and LQ, I couldn’t agree with you more. I should have used that when I sent the thank you, but I got a bit trigger happy and didn’t think about it at the time. My fear was that to send it now would come off as “I’m disgusted that it’s filled. Get it out of my face so I don’t have to wallow in misery.” Glad I asked first! Here’s to hoping for another position to appear.

  26. C Average*


    I work for my dream company. I’ve worn the brand for many years, and submitted umpteen applications here before I got my foot in the door, initially doing something even the people who hired me thought I was overqualified to do.

    I say go for it.

    No one is ever 100% ready for a new job. No one. Ever. You get in the door and you figure out what you know, what you don’t know, who to ask, where to get information, what new technology you’re going to have to pick up on the fly, which cultural things you’re going to have to suss out through paying attention. Even if you’re as conscientious and careful as you can possibly be, you’ll make missteps in your early days. Reasonable people forgive this stuff, especially if you can demonstrate you’ve learned from it.

    I don’t know what kind of “dream company” you have, but at mine we have a distinct culture and some ways of doing things that are different from other companies. We don’t expect noobs to come in the door knowing all the nuances. If your dream company has a culture its own, they know that, and they know there’s a cultural learning curve for new hires.

    In the past two years, you’ve demonstrated that you can learn on the job and evolve quickly. Those are the skills you need to bring to your dream company.

    I think if you don’t do this, I have a hunch you’ll regret it later. Opportunities like this are rare. Just do it!

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      I enjoyed reading this. I love stories of people who know what they want, and take whatever actions required to get it, even if it means taking a step backwards. Nothing is ever handed to us. Long term strategy to accomplish your ambitions is undervalued in our world.

      Congrats on being with your dream company for so long.

      1. C Average*

        Thanks! Don’t get me wrong–it ain’t all kittens and rainbows around here. There’s bureaucratic silliness, there’s political shenanigans, there’s incompetence and antiquated processes and plenty of things that would be at home in a Dilbert strip. I occasionally ponder working elsewhere.

        All that said, I love this place. It really is an extraordinary atmosphere here–game-changing technology, exciting initiatives, some really good solid products that are improving life in small ways for a lot of people. On balance, I truly believe we’re a force for good. I feel proud when I read about my company in the business press, and I get choked up at some of our commercials. I get excited for my friends when they get hired here after months and years of trying.

  27. AnotherAlison*

    Can’t believe no one has mentioned the BBT episode where Penny gets the chair out of the trash and something bites Amy. . .

    1. Buggy OP*

      I did see that episode, and whatever that was it looked scary! But very visible to the eye, which in some ways is helpful. If I was dealing with a critter the size of a staplerI think I could spot it pretty quickly.

      My favorite episode of BBT is the one with Cousin Leopold.

  28. Persephone Mulberry*

    I agree with previous commenters who say that rejecting this job out of hand is a shortsighted move. Presumably you haven’t been keeping in touch with this company, so they have no idea what you’ve been up to for the past two years (I assume they don’t think you’ve been doing nothing but waiting by the phone?). You don’t say why you didn’t get the job the first time around, but because they’re offering you a “slightly lesser” position, I’m going to guess it was an experience issue combined with the fact that they might think you’ll take what you can get in order to get a foot in the door (and that’s a valid question, too – would you?). This is a great opportunity to open up a dialogue with them about what kind of experience you’ve gained in your current role.

    And on that note, I also agree with the other posters that if/when you speak to them, to avoid the “five years of experience in two years” analogy. Get specific about how you navigated the steep learning curve, made creative use of limited resources, or whatever your personal areas of growth have been. But don’t confuse quality of experience with quantity.

  29. LillianMcGee*

    I work in a law firm that does a lot of housing stuff so we have a bedbug scare at least once a year. A few staff brought them home as well. If #2’s employers suspect bedbugs, they should consider hiring an exterminator that has a bedbug-sniffing dog to do an inspection and be sure. Not kidding, you can train a dog to sniff out bedbugs.
    One other thing I learned about bedbugs is that in addition to beds, they like to live in stacks of paper. Library, paper… who knows??

    1. Betsy*

      I learned about that a few years ago in a news story from Denver. Someone returned some library books via a book drop, and infested the book drop. He was asked not to return them via the book drop, but didn’t stop. It cost the library a lot of funds in fumigation fees.

    2. Lisa*

      carpets, clothes, drapes, they can be anywhere and they don’t die during winter or summer. It takes no food source for a year, steam at a certain level, and extreme heat at like 130 degrees. The dog sniffer made me feel better than a visual check as the exterminator wouldn’t claim bed bugs unless he found a live one even with clear black marks / evidence of them on a neighbors bed. Even dead ones were not good enough for our building board to pay for an exterminator. They were like ‘oh its prob only one’, after like 4 apts in 2 years. They crawl like any other bugs and its not always in a bed, the food source just happens to be in a bed. They can be in a couch too and bite while watching tv.

    3. Artemesia*

      We sublet an apartment for 6 mos in big northern city where we have now moved and it was a ginormous building with about 300 units. They do the bedbug dog thing twice a year. They schedule with you so you can make sure your cat or other pets are secured and then bring in this trained dog to sniff the apartment with special attention to the bed. It was kind of reassuring to know that this was routinely done and that bugs would be caught before they got out of hand or migrated to other apartments.

    4. Buggy OP*

      We have a lovely bomb sniffing dog that works around the the complex the library is in. And since she isn’t a therapy dog we all get to pet her. Maybe she could be cross trained to find bed bugs? Then they would have a reason to bring her through the library. Win-win, we all love dogs.

  30. Nicole*

    # 4 – I wouldn’t feel comfortable using my personal phone number for business either, even if it’s true that only a verification code will be sent. I am actually on a limited minute and texting plan, so I guard my texts carefully. That being said, you could set up a Google Voice # to get around this. It works best if you have a smartphone, so you can install the app; texts will show up there. If not, you can still set it up on the web to email you when you receive a text. I actually have both the app and the email alert set up and give out my Google Voice # to non-personal contacts.

  31. mel*

    #2 wow I would be afraid of bedbugs too! We’ve had them and it’s not fun. Yes, bedbugs tend to bite three times, yes you can find them in daylight if the infestation is bad enough, yes you can feel them crawling on you. Just in case, I wouldn’t put any of your bags on the ground, and shake everything real good when you leave.

    I’ve gotten ant bites at work before, though you can really feel those ones and they’re more like “AH WHAT’S STINGING ME” than poking.

    1. Lisa*

      Its super expensive to get rid of too. Make sure your bags /purse has a zipper too. I put all luggage on counters and desks at hotels no matter what. I can’t afford $5k to properly clean my apt of them. landlords have to pay for removal but most tend to opt for steam clean as it is cheaper and no one bags your stuff or steams anything but the bed or furniture it seems. So it takes a lot longer to get rid of.

  32. YoungProfessional*

    #1 reads as arrogant to me. When I got my current job (first post-college position) I was offered a reasonable salary based on my experience. It’s not enough to live comfortably but the experience has been invaluable. It sounds like the OP might have overestimated her professional worth.

    1. LouG*

      I don’t see how there is any way to infer that from the OP’s letter. Negotiating salary does not mean you are arrogant.

      1. MK*

        Also, overestimating your professional worth (to this spesific company) does not necessarily mean you are arrogant. It could be just a mistaken evaluation of the value you will bring to the company, perhaps based on incomplete research, inaccurate information, inexpierience etc.

      2. Artemesia*

        Apparently it does if you are a woman. After I advised my daughter to negotiate and she successfully got a better salary, I remember reading an article about the way managers (both male and female) view women who negotiate hard coming in. They tend to view them arrogant, pushy etc. Men who negotiate hard are ‘go getters’ and ambitious and hard workers. She did in fact have problems with somewhat antagonistic bosses after that throughout the time she was there. (and she is a charming, friendly, nice person and not at all arrogant or brusk with others.)

  33. lrs5066*


    I am also in materials science, 2011 grad. I live on the Detroit area, and even in this region where the area is hurting, an entry level engineer still makes $55k out of college if not employed by one of the big three auto. If you get an offer from the big three, then you’re closer to $70k.

    I don’t make near either one of those numbers because I’m currently under employed, but I will be soon. Just sucks when compared to my other classmates who entered the workforce had offers of $65k from the steel mills.

    1. lrs5066*

      in* the Detroit area.

      I also do not have the common UofM degree, but a different Big Ten that causes lots of comments.

          1. Stephanie*

            My cousin went to the UofM and was in the band. He always had crazy stories (police escorts?!) about traveling to Columbus for the OSU-Michigan game.

            1. lrs5066*

              Yes it is crazy! I’ve heard many stories of people just being harassed for wearing red during the same week!

  34. GreatLakesGal*

    Regarding #4: I work with protected health information regularly, and this is just setting off all kinds of red flags for me.

    I realize my concerns are a bit beyond the original question, but I’ll share them nonetheless .

    Logging in to access any kind of PHI from a remote location ( ie, a personal computer or laptop) should be the rare exception. A one-time access code does not cut it, in terms of adequate security, in my opinion.

    I hope this is not something you are expected to do regularly.

    On the other hand, if your practice is trying to transition to EMR (electronic medical records) on the cheap and is using a system of emailing or texting discrete one time access codes to the ‘secure’ data for you to access only at work–well, that’s perhaps marginally better, but still woefully insufficient, given that it might be going to your unsecured gmail or aol account.

    Note that I’m not an expert in the issues regarding how-to set up secure access to PHI, and there may be things I’m not understanding from the OP.

    At any rate, I would want a copy, in writing, describing the new log-in and security protocols, for your own protection. This may give you some protection in case of a loss or security breach ( ie, I was following office policy to the letter.)

    Yes, as Allison states, your bosses can ask you to do this, but the real issue to me is what it might reveal about how much they are willing to invest in maintaining security for PHI.

    1. Jamie*

      As weird as I am about icky stuff this would never, ever have occurred to me. I’m really grateful for this thread – I’ve never had bugs (aside the occasional ant or moth or giant fly that gets in my house to torment me) and it just would never have occurred to me. And I go to my library.

  35. Cath in Canada*

    From the title of this post, I thought one of the questions was going to be about coming into work covered in bug bites, like I just did on Monday after a Canada Day camping trip! (The mosquitoes were biting through both clothes and clouds of Off). I was a bit self-conscious about it, because I tend to react pretty strongly and the bites are both numerous and large. But luckily everyone in my immediate team knew that I’d been camping, so they (hopefully) weren’t worrying about me infesting the office with bed bugs or anything like that.

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