the best day of the week to apply for a job, email accounts for former employees, and more

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

1. Is there a best day of the week or time of day to submit a job application?

Is there is a certain day and time of the week that is best for applying to online job postings? For example, is it better to apply Monday morning versus Friday afternoon? I was thinking that a Friday afternoon application might be overlooked because of the weekend (applications sent in Monday morning might be read before an application from the previous Friday afternoon). Thoughts?

You’re over-thinking it. Apply when it’s convenient for you to apply. What matters most is that you have an awesome, personalized cover letter and a resume that shows a track record of achievement in the thing they’re hiring for. If you have that, any halfway competent hiring manager is going to consider your application regardless of what day of the week or time of day it was received.

It’s certainly true that some hiring managers might read applications sent in Monday morning before those sent in Friday afternoon — but others are reading in order they were received with the oldest ones last, some are reading the most recent ones first, some are reading applications on the weekend, some have alphabetized them by last name, and still others are grabbing them in random order. There’s no way to know from the outside, and it shouldn’t matter anyway. Apply as soon as you have time to apply to do it well, and don’t worry about the timing.

2. How should we handle email accounts for former employees?

I handle all the email accounts at a small nonprofit. We recently had an employee leave the company (under good terms). A different employee left months ago and I can see that he regularly checks his email account, but our director was not necessarily concerned about this. We have several people transitioning in the coming months due to restructuring of our office and I want to have a procedure in place so that goes smoothly. What is the best way to handle staff email accounts?

I want to make sure inquiries sent to their address get answered, but I also don’t wish to infringe upon anyone’s private conversations they may have been having via their work account (though I understand that is par for the course with work email). I figure I should give them warning that their account will be closed in X days and then have their messages forwarded or something along those lines. Or should I just lock them out without letting them know? What do you recommend?

It’s typical to remove access as soon as the person is no longer employed. From there, you can (a) have the account forward to someone else in your organization, (b) set up an auto-reply explaining the person is no longer with the organization (and ideally suggesting who they should contact about the most common things they might be emailing about), or (c) turn off the account altogether so that anything sent to it bounces back to the sender. If you do (a) or (b), you’d usually only do it for some set period of time (like three months) and then do (c).

You don’t really need to worry about violating people’s privacy; it’s understood that this is typically how email accounts are handled. And you really should turn off their email access the day they leave for security reasons; sensitive all-staff email might be sent there, or a disgruntled employee might use it to cause problems, or who knows what — but revoking email access immediately is common practice for a reason. (And that means that you need to revoke the access of that guy who’s still checking his account months after leaving.) A warning that you’ll be doing this is considerate, I suppose, but it’s not necessary or expected.

3. I can’t afford to pay for a work trip up-front and wait for reimbursement later

My boss has recently told me I need to go to another city for a mandatory job training. I will be required to purchase my own tickets, pay for my own meals, and pay for the hotel room for the week I’ll be there. In the end, I’ll get a reimbursement check, but other managers have said it could take longer than a month for that to come back. I don’t have a petty cash account, expense account, or company credit card and am not normally ever required to travel for my job. Apparently, this is company policy (to pay for everything beforehand and get reimbursed) but for the amount of money this is going to cost me, I would have to budget for six months to plan for a “vacation” like this if my husband and I were going for pleasure. We have worked ourselves to the bone to pay off quite a bit of debt and do not have but one credit card. The one we do have is full of medical bills because said job decided not to cover our son on my insurance and didn’t tell me until he was four months old (different story entirely).

I feel like our company should pay for this business trip, but I’m just not sure of what’s allowed and not allowed. Is this something you feel is pretty standard in the industry or should I ask our HR to look at the policy?

This policy (pay up front and then get reimbursed later) is not at all uncommon — but it’s also totally fine to say, “Hey, unfortunately I’m not in a position to charge these expenses on my own card. Can we put the flight and hotel on a company credit card?”

If you won’t be able to swing the meals up-front either, have a discreet word with your manager or someone in HR about whether you could get petty cash for the trip and then return the remainder with receipts showing how it was spent.

4. Can I ask for more money when I move from temp to perm?

I have a question about salary negotiations when moving from a temp position to a permanent position. Right now I’m a temp at a company and I absolutely love the work and the people. They’ve been great with feedback about my work and based on their compliments and other signs, there’s a great chance they’re going to hire me permanently.

I assume that as with most temp positions, the company is paying several dollars more per hour than the agency is paying me. Am I able leverage this knowledge to negotiate for higher pay if I think I’m worth more than what they may offer me? Is negotiation even possible with hourly positions? I realize that there may be other factors, like benefits that need to be considered.

Negotiate based on the market rate for the work. The fact that they were paying the temp agency more doesn’t really come into play; they were pay the temp agency for the benefits to them of having you not be an employee (no hiring costs, the ability ask to have you replaced with someone else, the ability to send you away tomorrow without paying severance or unemployment, not being responsible for your payroll taxes, etc.). In fact, making you an employee might actually end up being more expensive for them once you factor in benefits and payroll taxes. Negotiate based on the market rate for your work and not the temp premium.

5. Explaining that I left a job due to an on-the-job injury

I’ve been searching everywhere to find a good explanation of why I quit a former job. I left due to an on-the-job injury; I was a deputy at the time and, according to their doctors, the injury prevented me from fulfilling the duties of that position. It hasn’t affected any other work I’ve done since. I fought to stay, I loved my job. What do I put on any applications for employment now and in the future as the reason I left? I’m applying for other positions with that same department (years later) and other security positions so I don’t want to red flag anything. Again, I loved what I was doing and didn’t leave because I was unsatisfied, looking for new challenges, etc.

“Recovering from injury (now resolved)”

{ 200 comments… read them below }

  1. Eric*

    For our last round of hiring, we took the stack of resumes that we had (in order by application date) and divided them in roughly 1/3rds to the 3 of us who were doing a first pass review of the applications. I was by far the most lenient, but got tougher as I went through my stack. I had the middle third. The person with the top 1/3 was the toughest, and also got tougher as they went. They had the top 1/3. So you need to make sure you apply at least 1/3 of the way through the candidate pool to get the best shot at getting an interview. Further than that could be bad for your chances, but not that far through could be dreadful.
    (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. But this isn’t too far from reality, in my case.)

    1. tt*

      In my office, the search members reviewed them all, then discussed. We often waited till we had a decent chunk of resumes before reviewing, and didn’t even look at application date.

    2. LBK*

      I imagine practices around this vary so wildly that there isn’t any advice that’s really worth applying consistently. As Alison points out, the applications could be sorted by last name, so unless you’re going to change yours to Aardvark there’s nothing you can do to ensure your spot at the top of the pile.

      1. Sunflower*

        I agree. Some applications are taken on a rolling basis where the person might look at new ones everyday and decide whether to keep or throw out.

    3. C Average*

      I remember listening to an episode of either Freakonomics or This American Life that described the success rate of pardon applications as graphed against the time of day the applicant met with the governor granting the pardons. The earlier in the morning, the better the applicant’s chances, with the odds moving out of his favor as lunchtime approached. After lunch, the odds were decent for the first hour or so, and then dwindled again. It was a really telling glimpse into mental stamina as well as the small, rarely-talked-about factors that affect outcomes.

      In addition to the mental stamina aspect of the question, there’s the fact that the candidate you’re looking at has to be better than the previous ones in order to stand out. That gets tougher and tougher as you get through the stack.

      Semi-related to the mental stamina factor: I’ve always thought you could probably write a fairly interesting thesis about the avoidable tragedies and missteps that have been caused by someone having to go to the bathroom and being forced to wait. I’ve no doubt there are car accidents and child abuse in this category. And in a work setting, I’ve been in meetings where a decision felt rushed and poorly thought out and, as soon as consensus was reached, everyone dashed for the restrooms because they’d been sitting in the meeting drinking coffee for two hours. I was once on a hiring panel that held back-to-back interviews throughout an afternoon, with no time for breaks in between. I’m pretty sure in the end, when we were ranking candidates, we made a couple of fairly major decisions without much discussion just so we could escape and do our business.

    4. Elysian*

      When I’ve reviewed publication submissions, this was a known problem. The advice we were given was to take all the submission and give them a really quick “first read,” sorting them into three piles based on your first read impressions (probably not, maybe, and probably yes). Don’t make any final decisions until after the “rough” sort, where you’ve had a chance to get a sense of the full poll. It doesn’t eliminate the bias of things getting harder as they go on, but it definitely lessened it for me. My “rough” sort piles were pretty bad indicators of my final decisions once I had gotten a good sense of the entire pool.

      You might try something like this next time you’re hiring to lessen to the impact of natural human bias. I’m sure you would hate to miss out on good candidates just because they applied at a different time.

    5. LawPancake*

      In our small in-house legal department we circulate resumes among the attorneys for comments before sending them to our boss who grabs a (pretty arbitrary) handful to bring in for interviews. We then re-circulate those and if we particularly liked a resume of someone who didn’t get picked we go ahead and throw it back into the interview pile. By the time I review a resume it’s been sitting on someone’s desk anywhere from this morning to 3 days ago and I’d have no way of knowing when it came in.

      We hire law clerks each semester and summer and since they rarely have relevant experience the decision to interview usually hinges on a lack of egregious grammar mistakes. Really, we’ll interview every student who manages to spell everything correctly and remembers to change “firm” to “company” on their cover letter. Out of 30-50 resumes we see every semester only about 5 look like they’ve been proof read.

      1. Elysian*

        This makes me both (1) sad for the future of grammar and (2) concerned that I never got more interviews if that was the quality of application materials…

  2. Malissa*

    #2. Please forward the email accounts to somebody who might have an idea of what’s going on. I just spent a month cleaning up a mess with a vendor who had somebody leave and they killed the email account that we sent payment information to. The 10 or so conversations I had that related to this were a big waste of my time and almost cost them our account.
    #3 It’s really not that unusual for a new hire to ask for an advance in a situation like this. Give it a try, you might be surprised.
    #5 It’s really common for first responders of any sort to be injured enough to not be able to do their job but be more than able to do other work. Most of the deputies I know that left service either work as claim adjusters for insurance companies or private investigators. Both job that require a lot of the same skills.

    1. Mike*

      For transactional type of emails I’m a big believer in using mailing lists or shared accounts. You should have been sending the information to one of their lists and they should have had one of your lists as their contact point. Makes it so much easier to transition people in and out of roles.

      1. LBK*

        Yes, agreed. Even if there’s only one person running it behind the scenes, it’s much easier to put Jim in charge of payments at teapotsltd dot com when Sarah leaves rather than trying to redirect all your clients to start emailing Jim instead.

        1. Judy*

          Wasn’t there a post a while back where someone quit, and the manager was getting all the email and the manager was responding as if they were the employee?

      2. Karowen*

        That’s not really up to the client’s discretion – If Malissa was only given one point of contact, it’s not her fault that she used that rather than sending to some generic inbox. (Ideally though, yes, the vendor should’ve had a group inbox or something that they could use.)

    2. Anonsie*

      HUGE agreement for #2. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to back up and re-do a ton of work with a new person because they couldn’t access any of the former employee’s emails or files and had none of the documentation from before.

  3. Callie30*

    #3 – Alison is spot on. Inform them that it isn’t possible for you and ask that they pay the airfare and hotel, especially since you don’t typically travel.

    BUT make sure that they actually PAY for the hotel and not only reserve it on their company card. A lot of times the company will reserve a room with a credit card, but then the hotel asks for the final bill to be paid upon check out.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      My last business trip, I had carefully budgeted for the (horribly expensive) hotel, only to be cheerfully informed at reception, they had to block a sum of money “as a guarantee” on my credit card.

      In these circumstances, I felt absolutely fine about emptying the room of all the pens, pencils, notebooks and toiletries from the bathroom.

          1. Sarahnova*

            I totally emailed that article to Alison.

            My burning question: did they have a Wakeen on the team? If so, I think we just reached peak cultural AAM, and we can add that to Alison’s list of “die happy” behind “two commenters getting married” and “tag-team advice with Carolyn Hax”.

      1. (at my) Expense Spending*

        Next time, ask your company to make a note on the reservation that says something like “all charges paid with cc on file”… I work in a hotel and we do this all the time.

    2. Frances*

      Exactly this – your company will have to submit a credit card authorization form for the charges to go on another card. Before you go, call the hotel and check that they have it on file – hotels are horrible about this. It seems they are constantly losing or “not receiving” these documents. It can be very frustrating, and you may have to send in the cc authorization form 3 times before they acknowledge its existence.

      1. Raine*

        Well, I’ve had to call three times to ensure a hotel had received the credit card authorization signed by a manager, but it absolutely wasn’t because the hotel was “losing” a form being submitted (cough cough).

        1. Frances*

          Ha that can definitely happen too! But sometimes I’ve been the person faxing in the form, and somehow it still “didn’t arrive.”

        2. GeekChick603*

          Exactly! Last time I traveled, I made sure I was the one faxing the form to the hotel. Confirmed via Email that the form had arrived and carried the original documents with me on the trip in case something ‘mysteriously’ happened along the way. It was a bit of overkill, but I absolutely could NOT have put the bill on my credit card if something went wrong.

      2. AVP*

        This happens to me all the time – even if you fax and email it and call three times to make sure they have it on file, the guest is still asked to put down their card and occasionally offended or put out (for good reason, if they’ve been promised a free room).

        One particular hotel chain that I really like is absolutely the worst about this, and I’ve replaced them for that reason. Hotel managers – you are losing money by being bad at this!

        1. Anonsie*

          Let me guess: Wyndham. I just refuse to stay in Wyndham hotels now, period. Their issues are so immense, it’s not even worth it.

        2. Case of the Mondays*

          The Sheraton I just stayed at also puts a $50 hold for “incidentals” because you can charge things to your room at the bar or restaurant.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            We had that happen when travelling with a group of teens (Mariott, I think), but it was about $50 per room, for perhaps 7 rooms, which maxed out the card that was going to be used for food for all of us for a few days. Oh, and it was a holiday weekend, so contacting the bank wasn’t an option. We were not impressed.

        3. Ani*

          I agree. I really think some hotel management simply fails to properly emphasizes to clerks how critical it can be to many business travelers that credit card authorizations (1) are in place and (2) is at least a smooth process and preferably a very easy process. All it would take is conveying to front-desk clerks when they’re coming on staff just how disastrous it can be for a business employee if this isn’t all set up; I just think it’s another piece of bothersome paperwork that has little to no real meaning to front desk clerks. But the price of not doing this smoothly can be the loss of individual repeat business customers or even entire companies.

      3. (at my) Expense Spending*

        I actually work for a very large hotel company so I’m not too worried about the hotel side of things but being in the service industry, it’s not like we’re paid like brain surgeons. I just thought they would book the travel arrangments for us minons…

      4. (at my) Expense Spending*

        Most of the time the reason people’s forms get lost is because they’re sending them to the wrong person. We have a position in our hotel that just handles CC Authorization forms but they only work 9-5, M-F. Most of the form losses happen on the weekends… the guests call day of arrival and are freaking out because they forgot to have their company set it up and need to get the card on file for their arrival. This is always a bad idea. If you ever get stuck in the situation, you need to call and speak with the Manager of Duty at the Front Desk. Have them apply the card directly to your reservation.

  4. Jen RO*

    # – My company has the same policy, but you can get petty cash upfront with approval. When my coworker had to travel before she got her paycheck (in her first job), she simply explained that she did not have any money and needed it upfront. Maybe your company is willing to do that too?

    1. Sunshine on the water*

      I had to do this too when my employer sent me to Italy (from the US). I asked my manager and he said they occasionally have people who need this kind of help and it wasn’t a problem. It was hard for me to ask though!

  5. neverjaunty*

    Is OP #3’s situation the norm in certain industries? It sounds ludicrous to me especially since reimbursement is slow. Why on earth would a company do this when airfarE, hotels etc could easily run into hundreds or (depending on the destination and length of trip) thousands of dollars?

    In effect, OP, your company is forcing you to give it an interest-free loan to pay for business expenses. And “interest-free” is to them, not you; if it’s on a credit card you are going to incur finance charges if it takes that long to pay you back.

    1. Lora*

      Small companies, yes, in my experience. And op3, don’t feel at all weird about stating that you can’t swing it–many times I’ve had to explain to management that they can either get a company credit card like a big boy or they can rethink this whole notion about mandatory travel on behalf of my employees. Sometimes it honestly does not occur to them that not everybody is in their personal (6-figure salary) financial position.

      It can also be very revealing about the stability of the corporate finances if they still can’t secure even one lousy credit account… I’ve worked for startups with 15 employees who had company credit cards, and 100-employee startups who couldn’t get one to save their lives.

      And sometimes it is just a matter of someone higher up in the food chain lighting a fire under the Finance department’s butt. When you can say as a manager, “sorry we couldn’t meet our milestone Mr. Board of Directors, Eric couldn’t get us a credit card to charge our travel expenses, so half our staff are stuck at Wrong Office all the time” magically corporate cards can appear like manna from on heaven.

      1. AVP*

        This…every time I’ve seen this, it’s been because whoever made the decision just doesn’t comprehend what budgeting is like on a salary lower than theirs.

        In my company it works so much in our favor to have corporate cards, I don’t know why others don’t. Maybe there’s a few hundred dollars in unnecessary charges that slip through every year, but by running about half our operating budget through Amex we get huge points that get funneled straight back into the “elective travel” budget and allow for trips that are valuable but not enough to fund them outright.

          1. Bea W*

            My corporate AmEx is linked with the expense reporting system, and I am responsible to pay anything that isn’t submitted as an expense and approved. The company will just simply not pay any unexpensed portion of the balance.

    2. Noah*

      My previous job we had the choice to either have a company card or use a personal card and be reimbursed. I always used a personal card to build travel points. However, we were reimbursed biweekly with our regular paycheck.

      Current job doesn’t hand out corporate cards like candy and prefers you to use a personal card. Apparently you have to make a huge issue out of it to get a corporate card and it’s not worth it to me. However, they also reimburse quickly, typically within 2-3 days of an expense report.

      Quick reimbursement is the key for me. I also like that my current job allows you to submit reports daily if you want, keeps the money flowing to pay off the bill before finance charges accrue and keep enough available credit to keep booking travel.

      1. blu*

        Yep, I think that is the key. My current company does this, but we are paid weekly so as long as you submit receipts by the Friday you get paid back the next week and you get the benefit of racking up serious credit card reward points.

        1. blu*

          I should also add that we use a mobile app in addition to a website so it’s super easy to submit your receipts even if your currently traveling.

      2. AdAgencyChick*

        YES. My company used to pay with a paper check three to four weeks after the expense report was submitted, which is just not feasible for those without a good-sized financial cushion. They would also withhold the expense checks for any employees who were late submitting their timesheets, which…okay, we need to get our timesheets done (in advertising, the agency doesn’t get paid unless they can give the client an accounting of how time was spent), but that’s a pretty obnoxious way of making people stay current IMO.

        Nowadays you get the reimbursement direct-deposited in your next paycheck, which is much better. But in the old days, I think an employee would have been perfectly justified in saying, “I can’t do this travel because I can’t wait that long to be paid back.” This did happen now and then as I recall, and usually the solution was to have the employee use a manager’s corporate card. Not a perfect solution, since as other posters have pointed out, the hotel usually wants a card with the name of the person staying in the room.

      3. Bea W*

        My employer requires use of a corporate card in all places where it is accepted. You can’t even book travel without one. The travel agency and expense system refuse to accept any other form of payment. If you don’t have your own card, you have to get your manager to approve the use of her card, and call the agency, etc….

    3. some1*

      My company requires this, however, flights are booked on the company account, I’d say 90% of travel is done by very senior people (most of whom have company cards), and our AP dept has never taken more than a few business days to reimburse.

      1. Bea W*

        Same at one place I worked for. I could book flights billed directly to the company through their travel agent. The rest I had to pony up myself.

    4. CAA*

      It’s fairly common for companies where most employees don’t travel frequently. I’ve worked at the largest companies in the US and seen this policy, and I’ve also worked at very tiny companies where the office admin had the boss’ credit card and prepaid everything for us. I’ve had several employees who needed to travel and either didn’t have credit cards or didn’t have cards with high enough limits, and it’s always been possible to get an advance for them, no matter what size the company is.

      OP — the words to use when you ask for help with this are “cash advance”. For a week long trip, you need more than what many places keep in “petty cash”, which is often actual money kept in a cash box at the front desk to pay for small miscellaneous things. Ideally, you want the airfare and hotel to be prepaid by the company on their card and you want a cash advance to cover meals and ground transportation (they’ll cut you a check, which you take to a bank and turn into cash before you leave). Hopefully you don’t need a rental car, because that can be hard for the company to prepay for you. Also, you will have to give back any part of the cash advance that you don’t spend.

      One other thing that a lot of inexperienced business travelers don’t know — save every single receipt. If you take a taxi, ask for a receipt. It will be blank. Take it anyway, fill it out yourself, and save it. If you buy a muffin at Starbucks for breakfast, get the receipt and save it. You might find out later that your company does a per diem for food and you don’t need meal receipts, but on your first trip, it’s much better to have them than not when you’re doing your expense report.

    5. anon*

      Silver lining in cloud. Pay with a credit card that learns 2x-3x miles for travel expenses. Would do this all day long.

      1. LBK*

        That’s great if you’re able and willing to get a credit card, but not everyone meets both of those criteria. And unless you travel a lot for business, it probably won’t accrue to a meaningful amount, even with bonus points (unless it’s a spend $X in Y months, get a $Z bonus new customer deal).

        1. anon*

          Working full time as a professional requires a lot of things (reliable transportation, business wardrobe, etc). Having a credit card is free or less than $100 a year, much smaller in the big scheme of things.

          If you are unable to swing a travel expense, then logically it would be a large amount that you’d earn a nice chunk of miles for.

          1. JMegan*

            Except the OP clearly said that she is not in a position to get a new credit card, or use the one she has:

            We have worked ourselves to the bone to pay off quite a bit of debt and do not have but one credit card. The one we do have is full of medical bills

            Also, lots of people can’t swing travel expenses that might be relatively insiginificant for other people. It doesn’t necessarily follow that if the expense is too big for *her,* that there would be a lot of bonus miles attached to it. And even if there were bonus miles available, there’s no guarantee she would be able to use them, if she doesn’t usually travel anywhere.

            1. Kelly L.*

              This. And business clothes and transportation are not really in the same league as expensive travel. You can thrift some of your business clothes in a lot of cases, and my monthly bus pass is $40. Nor is shelling out for travel expenses a requirement of all jobs, while that showing up and dressing appropriately are a requirement of all jobs. IMO, it’s unreasonable to consider “ability to pony up thousands for a mandatory trip” a qualification for “working full time as a professional.” It speaks to a cheap employer as much as anything else.

            2. anon*

              If you’re going to quote someone, at least try not to misrepresent what they said. They clearly said they do not want to get one (just like I may not want to pay money for new clothes), not that their credit score does not allow it.

              Again, its really funny how so many people are fine with shelling out thousands in wardrobe and transporation and other misc expenses, but can’t even figure out how to get a credit card.

              1. A Teacher*

                She also said she has a credit card with medical bills on it. I’m in the process of NOT using my credit card, it is for emergencies only–not to pay something my employer need to pay and when my boss asked me the other day if I’d bought something and asked for reimbursement, I said I can’t afford to swing that extra expense until I’m paid back. Yes, I have a savings account but that money is there in case of a personal emergency, not to pay for something for business out front. Yes, I also do end up buying a lot of little things that never get reimbursed, but more than $50 at a time would mess up my monthly budget, which is tight right now. Your whole commentary is really judgmental of someone’s situation that you clearly haven’t had to walk in.

              2. LBK*

                a) Wardrobe and transport is hardly “thousands,” or at least it doesn’t have to be.
                b) Getting a credit card is not a decision that’s really up to the person trying to get it.

                I understand your position that there are certain things you just have to deal with as part of having certain jobs, but I also think you’re coming at it from a relatively privileged perspective where obtaining multiple high-limit credit cards is easy and you’re comfortable running them up often enough that the rewards are worthwhile. For a lot of people that’s just not a feasible or responsible way to budget.

                1. anon*

                  Unless you wear the same thing every week, you need at least 10 outfits. $100 for one out fit is on the low end, not including shoes and accessories. With gas at 3-4$/gal, it’s pretty easy to spend thousands a year on transportation.

                  The fact that I get high limit cards to get rewards pretty much says I’m not privileged since if I were, I’d just pay for the reward airline tickets out of pocket!

                2. Kelly L.*

                  …I do wear the same thing every week. I have a couple of pairs of pants in the same style. I have a collection of work-appropriate tops that go with them–I’d say i have about 8-10 of them in frequent rotation. I got almost all of them at Goodwill or the equivalent. It’s not a fashion-forward workplace and no one cares as long as I’m clean and look office-appropriate.

                  My bus pass is $40 per month so $480 for the whole year, and I don’t buy it all at once.

                3. A Teacher*

                  But Anon–I may spend thousands in gas a year–at $25-30 increments. Much different than $500-1000 at a time. HUGE difference. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

                4. Smilingswan*

                  I’ve never been able to afford a $100 outfit. My last blazer cost me $6 at Goodwill, and $9 to take up the cuffs. Not everyone has that kind of money laying around.

                5. Kelly L.*

                  +1, Smilingswan. Like I said above, the most expensive part of my outfit is my shoes, and that’s because I grit my teeth and buy them new (but usually on clearance) because my feet are kind of shot and I don’t want to deal with someone else’s wear patterns.

                6. LBK*

                  I probably did spend nearly $1000 on work clothes when I got my job, but that was 3 years ago and I purposely treated myself to some fancier/more expensive items. I haven’t spent a dime since then. As for transportation, I spend $900/yr for my train pass, but that’s broken up across monthly payments, as others have pointed out. If I had to drop $1000 today on a work trip, that would be a significant blow to my finances, even if it were being reimbursed. Reimbursement is great but if it takes a month that won’t help me pay my rent.

                  Confidence in throwing things on a credit card (and again, even being able to get high limit credit cards) is definitely a sign of a certain level of economic privilege and wealth. Your out of pocket argument doesn’t ring true for me – the people that utilize points the most are the highest spenders, not the lowest, because they accrue them fast enough to make them worthwhile.

                7. JMegan*

                  @anon – “privileged” in this case doesn’t necessarily mean you have a lot of money. It means you’re assuming that everyone’s circumstances are identical to yours, and that because X is an option for you, it should also be an option for everyone else. The privilege comes in being able to make assumptions like that, because you’re not personally affected by the outcome if the assumptions turn out to be incorrect.

                8. teclatwig*

                  $100 for one outfit?! Not in my world.

                  Let me think about the last time I had to develop a new work wardrobe (about 6 years ago.). 2 pairs of shoes/boots that I wear with all outfits = $100, max. 2 pairs of slacks and 2 skirts, on clearance, $100. (And I buy secondhand when possible, so even this was a bit high.) 6-7 blouses/sweaters, 2 blazers, also on sale, $150. Maybe $50 for hose and jewelry. Let’s say $400, spread over the first few months, with maybe another $50-100/year thereafter.

              3. Kelly L.*

                Actually, if you read my post, I’m talking about shelling out much smaller amounts for wardrobe and transportation than this trip would cost. The outfit I’m wearing right now probably cost $50 altogether, including the shoes which were the priciest item. And you can accumulate clothes gradually. You don’t generally have to buy your whole wardrobe at once except in situations like Alison’s post yesterday (going from a casual to formal workplace). And even then, you can get some bargains, and you also know it’s coming. This trip is a sudden, unexpected expense that has been dropped on her out of nowhere and doesn’t fit her budget.

                She obviously knows how to get a credit card, as she has one already, so your “can’t figure out” statement makes little sense to me. She says that she would have to budget for six months to swing the trip, and I see no reason to disbelieve her. And all of that said, even if this particular OP could conceivably get another credit card, it’s still worth discussing in principle, because this situation has come up before on AAM and will come up again, and some OPs absolutely cannot get this credit card.

              4. Liz in a Library*

                I think that different people have fundamentally different views of credit cards, and that there are legitimate reasons people cannot or will not get them that you are overlooking.

                I have an excellent credit score, but with my current income and debt loads, I would find it nearly impossible to get a fee-free card if I were in the OP’s shoes (and extremely difficult to justify a fee-based one). Different folks have different experiences.

              5. Elsajeni*

                She didn’t say that either, actually — she only said that she doesn’t currently have a credit card (other than the one that’s at/near its limit), no explanation of the reasons. Anyway, even if she’s completely qualified for a new credit card with a high enough limit to allow this purchase, applying for one might not fully solve the problem (will the card arrive soon enough to make the purchase? If the reimbursement check doesn’t arrive for more than a month, as she’s apparently been warned might happen, how much of the bill will she be able to pay off without it, and how much interest will she get stuck with?). She says she’d have to budget for months to afford this amount; how about we do her the courtesy of believing her, rather than answering the concern “I can’t afford this” with “Sure you can!”?

                1. Another J*

                  She might be following Dave Ramsey. If you follow his program, you clear out your credit card debt as soon as you can and you do not add any charges to cards once you are on his program.

              6. ThursdaysGeek*

                I couldn’t figure out how to get our first credit card — I’d heard it was easy, so I just sent in one of those applications that kept coming in the mail. We owned our house free and clear, and were turned down for the card because we had no debt and thus no credit score. We had to link the card to our savings account to get it. So even with money it’s not always so easy to get a card.

                Not that this, or your comment, is really material to the OP’s position.

          2. VintageLydia USA*

            There are a lot of professionals who can’t get credit cards, though. My best friend had a ton of medical bills and an eviction on her record from her teen years which meant getting a semi-decent CC was nearly impossible until her late twenties, and even then they have very low limits.

            1. Pennalynn Lott*

              Yep, this. When I got a job that was going to require travel at least 50% of the time, I was in Year Two of a Chapter 13 (debt restructuring) bankruptcy and couldn’t get a credit card, and the company didn’t provide company cards. Thankfully my dad stepped up and opened an AMEX account with me as one of the card holders / signatories, or I would have had to turn down that very lucrative job (which allowed me pay off the Chapter 13 obligations early and leave me with no debt except my mortgage).

          3. KellyK*

            Only if you have good credit, which not everyone does. If “have a credit card and be willing to lend the company money on short notice” was a requirement of the job, the employer should’ve let the LW know that when they were hired.

      2. GrumpyBoss*

        I do this now and enjoy the benefits greatly, but I’m on a personal budget where I can make it work. If I was living closer to paycheck-to-paycheck, it would cause a lot of issues. Here is a timeline that demonstrates why it won’t work for many:
        – my Amex cycle closes on 9/20
        – payment is usually due 15 days later, so 10/5 I need to pay the balance.
        – I’m on a biz trip currently. Company paid the airfare, but a week of hotel, airfare, meals, airport parking is going to be > $1k
        – my company approves expenses on Fridays (assuming that they’ve been approved by your immediate manager, which can add weeks to the schedule for me!) They will hit your direct deposit on 2 Fridays from that date. I won’t have all my expenses completed on 9/12, so I have to target 9/19 for approval
        – my expenses will be reimbursed Friday, 10/3

        Doesn’t leave me a lot of turnaround for that 10/5 due date. I’ll be sending Amex their check on Monday, 9/22. If I was in my 20s, I certainly couldn’t afford it.

        1. The Real Ash*

          What about online payments though? Surely Amexis in teh 21st century and allows you tp pay your bill online.

          1. GrumpyBoss*

            Of course it does but you’ve missed the entire point. Not everyone has the cash flow to make this work.

        2. anon*

          Easy solution. Have multiple cards, use the one that recently closed a statement. Cmon people, you guys don’t mind dealing with annoying co-workers, pushy bossies, opaque interviewing processes, but get freaked out with dealing with credit cards?

          1. LBK*

            Messing with multiple credit cards has the potential for a lot more long-term problems than an annoying coworker or a difficult hiring process…and requires more prerequisites to accomplish. I’m lucky enough that I’ve built decent credit at a relatively young age but if I were straight out of college, I absolutely wouldn’t have had the credit to pull this off.

            I just don’t think encouraging people to accrue debt and run right on the edge of due dates like this is the right solution when the better one would be for the business to handle it all on their end.

                1. neverjaunty*

                  It’s also debt if you are not reimbursed quickly enough to pay off the entire balance during the billing cycle.

              1. Natalie*

                Just because you’re not paying interest on the debt doesn’t change its fundamental properties. It’s money you owe someone else, period.

          2. Kelly L.*

            Who is “freaked out”? This isn’t about fear, it’s about making the responsible choices for one’s own budget, and in a lot of cases that doesn’t include something like this.

          3. Smilingswan*

            We’ve repeatedly given you rational objections to your challenge, and you keep responding with the same idea. It feels like you’re trolling us.

            1. Dan*

              He’s not trolling. Some people just get really, really preachy on the subject.

              I do feel that some people are irrational about credit cards, like it’s some scary thing they don’t understand. There’s reasons to get some cards over others. If you don’t travel at all, then many cards aren’t going to be of interest. But if you have some interest in any travel whatsoever, then it’s worth thinking twice about “saying no to credit cards.”

              One of my coworkers is of the “just say no” variety. Then he tells me how he likes to travel to Las Vegas with his wife every year. I asked him if he’s looked into a particular card, which could cover airfare for both of them the next time they go. It’s none of my business, I told him, but if he’s going to Vegas anyway, he should think long and hard about leaving $800 in free airfare on the table.

              1. LBK*

                Well, I think a lot of people are also just more comfortable only spending money they actually have on hand – even if you know you’ll have $x per month so you only spend that on your credit card and then pay the whole thing off, there are problems with that scenario. Not everything can be paid with credit cards, for example, so running down your checking account can be a real problem if you need cash/debit for an emergency.

                It’s also easier to budget when you don’t have credit – definitely discourages spending beyond your means or considering your purchases carefully. I get that it’s totally possible to be financial prurient while running up credit card bills (I do it) but I don’t think it should be encouraged or treated like it’s a simple and safe option for everyone. Let people manage their finances in the way that works for them.

              2. Pennalynn Lott*

                We just recently got a credit card that earns miles because we plan to travel overseas at the end of next year. But when we make a purchase using it, the first thing we do when we get home is go online and pay for that purchase.

                I know that has nothing to do with waiting over a month for reimbursement from an employer*, but it is one way to have a credit card that earns airline miles without piling up debt.

                *I wonder if you could submit for reimbursement of interest charges if the company doesn’t pay you back within a single billing cycle?

          4. KellyK*

            Did you not read the comments where some companies take *longer than a month* to reimburse? You could have a credit card for every day of the month and still not be able to juggle payment dates that way if they take 6 weeks to pay you back.

            For that matter, it requires you to *already have* multiple cards when you’re asked to go on business travel.

          5. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Hey Anon, like I asked yesterday, can you please pick a user name? Doesn’t matter what it is; just pick one (that isn’t “anon”) and use it consistently here, like everyone else. Thank you!

            1. Dan*

              FWIW, “anon” isn’t unique enough where you should assume that the same person is using it from day to day.

              Second, how unique is unique? Other people use riffs of “anonymous” in their user name. Yet others who do have a regular username will sometimes change it because they don’t want particular things being traced back to them.

              I’d respect the later; I do text mining for a living, and your comments page isn’t secured. It wouldn’t be that hard for somebody to scrape your pages and put two and two together. I’ve posted some fairly personal stuff under the name you see here, and at least one person has properly guessed my current employer. I’d be a bit mortified for a coworker of mine to stumble across my posts and detect things that I haven’t disclosed to the office at large.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                In this case, it’s the same “anon” (which I can tell because I can see IP addresses). I know I can’t stamp it out completely, but when I see someone using it consistently, that’s when I’ve been speaking up and asking them to pick a name.

                I’m fine with the scenario you described, but I’d encourage people to choose something other than “anon” for their incognito posting, just for ease of others following the conversation.

                1. Dan*

                  Please see your email, I’m curious about something. It’s a subject called “IP Addresses” from an email I regularly use in the comments posting.

          6. Lora*

            I am not taking on ANY credit card expenses or credit management on behalf of an employer who is sitting on $75M in capital and pays their financial team so well that one guy has TWO new Porsches with vanity plates. Much in the same way that I am not buying a bottle of Dom Perignon for my CEO on his birthday, and also in the way that I do not pay for my own safety glasses or steel-toed shoes. They have plenty of money to pay for these things themselves, and running a business involves some responsibility for operational expenses (shocking, I know), therefore if they want me to spend a bunch of money on their behalf, they need to put on their big kid Underoos and establish a corporate account. This is one of the most basic aspects of running a business: establishing lines of credit and accounts. If they can’t do it for whatever reason, that says a lot about them.

        3. Dan*

          FWIW, some AmEx products are *charge* products, which have a shorter “grace period” (the two week window to pay that you’re talking about.) Other AmEx products are true credit cards, as are the Chase products that anon is talking about. My Chase grace periods are all at least three weeks.

          I’ve been playing the CC game for awhile (and doing quite well at it). I’ve got six figures in available credit. My dad, whose income is much lower than mine, gets limits of the $1k-$2k variety. You are right that when you are just starting out, and your credit history is less established, that it can be hard to deal with $1k-$2k in business travel expenses. Your limits are low, and it’s harder to get new cards. Because of the way credit scoring models work, you’d be maxing out your card, which isn’t a good thing for your score. Sure, it’s temporary, but if something comes up where you need emergency credit, you could be hosed. For that matter, even routine things like apartment rentals and insurance can pull your credit. (Side note: It’s the balance when your statement closes that counts against your utilization score. Even if you pay everything off in full on time, your utilization takes the hit based on what’s on your statement on the closing date.)

          That said, I do envy the people with reimbursable business travel expenses on their personal card. I’m currently working through a deal with Citi where I spend $10k in 3 months on their card, and I get 100,000 bonus American miles. I’d kill for some business related expenses to help with that. That 100k bonus miles will get me a business class ticket to Asia.

          The big scores in credit card points aren’t the one-off $1k business travel expense, it’s the bonuses for getting a new card. While some people may not be into the miles for travel, anon is right that products like Chase do have cashback options. Right now, their signup bonus is good for $400 cashback.

          1. KellyK*

            You are right that when you are just starting out, and your credit history is less established, that it can be hard to deal with $1k-$2k in business travel expenses. Your limits are low, and it’s harder to get new cards. Because of the way credit scoring models work, you’d be maxing out your card, which isn’t a good thing for your score. Sure, it’s temporary, but if something comes up where you need emergency credit, you could be hosed. For that matter, even routine things like apartment rentals and insurance can pull your credit.

            This is another good point. Not only could you be SOL in an emergency, but if you’re currently trying to move or buy a car, it could hurt you there too.

            Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t your credit score based on averages and history over time? So if you max your credit card for a business trip, then want to buy a house a year or three later, that could still have an effect.

            1. Dan*

              The kind of average and history that affects your score is the length of time you’ve had credit established, and the average age of accounts. What doesn’t have a “memory” so to speak is what you described — maxing out your card and paying it off. Once it’s paid, it’s paid. Granted, it will take the next billing cycle and whatever delay it takes to get the bureaus updated, but that’s it. You certainly aren’t going to suffer any effects from maxing out your card and paying it off 6 months ago.

              The perverse thing is that more available credit helps your score. Maxing out a $1000 card is going to hurt you, and hurt you good. But the same $1k expense on a card with a $10k limit is barely going to register. So more available credit (aka more cards) is actually helpful.

              I do find most people are afraid of something that they don’t understand, or for that matter, think they understand but get it wrong. While I think anon’s message is accurate, it’s way too pushy to get across to someone who isn’t already “on board.” Hell, if I had a true emergency (and I came close with a job loss last year) I’ve got $2,000 in Chase points that I could cash in to pay rent.

              1. LBK*

                Credit utilization is also a factor in your credit score, though – not over time, but as a snapshot of your current debt to limit ratio. The closer you are to your limits, the lower your score.

                Also, note that to accrue those $2000 in Chase points, we’re talking a minimum of $40,000 being spent on that card in a year – and that’s assuming you’re only using it for the 5% quarterly categories, not the regular 1% cash back. That’s most people’s entire annual income.

                1. Dan*

                  Re: Your first point:

                  While I didn’t use the word “utilization” in my post, what did you think I was talking about?

                  Re: Your second point:

                  I wasn’t talking about the Freedom card alone. Chase has several products that offer Ultimate Rewards points, many of them which come with significant sign up bonuses. There, I’m not talking about rewards from ongoing spend, which make up a minutiae of my point base.

                2. LBK*

                  1) I thought you were referring to the number of open accounts/total available credit, which is also a factor. Just having more accounts open increases your score, regardless of how much you use them. That’s not the same as the percentage of your overall credit you use, which is factored in separately.

                  2) I just picked the Freedom card since it has the highest % point-earning potential (as far as I know none of their other cards offer 5% cash back on anything, I thought it was only 1-2% max). The signup bonuses can definitely be significant but some require pretty significant spending to obtain, so it’s kind of a wash in terms of the benefits of accrual if the point is to avoid putting charges on there unless necessary.

                3. Dan*

                  I get your point with the later, but I think with this game it’s the complete opposite — it’s to look for areas to put spend on your card that YOU aren’t responsible for. It’s to drive up the activity without having to worry about the bill. I.e., free points, free cashback, free something. If my employer reimburses expenses quickly, and I have a decent grace period, I just wouldn’t worry about it.

                  FWIW, I’m always working through the minimum spend requirement on a new card, so the “ongoing reward” being small just isn’t a factor for me. I’d *KILL* for reimburseable business expenses. Not sure I’d want to do all that business travel in coach that goes along with it though.

                  I don’t have an issue where someone’s circumstances really don’t permit this kind of activity, but it’s when people speak out of ignorance that just drives me nuts. I mean, my parents were really slow to play this game, but when they come to visit me next month, both of their plane tickets are free. Their tune changes a bit after that, you know?

                4. LBK*

                  Dan – so to be sure I understand, you mainly just go after the signup bonuses and then don’t use the card beyond that? Or are there cards that continually offer points bonuses for spending X amount? I haven’t run into one of those yet, although I’ve had several cards with point bonuses if you spend a certain amount within the first few months of having the card.

                  That seems like quite a different game than what I’m thinking of, so maybe that explains why we’re on such different pages. That rent one is huge as well – I can’t charge my rent otherwise I absolutely would for the points.

              2. fposte*

                But it’s kind of its own sport, like couponing or CD rate-chasing or phone-contract juggling. I understand it perfectly well, and it’s still not worth my time over using a smaller number of decent cashback cards. If I had an infant at home and debts to pay, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole unless it was already my thing.

                1. LBK*

                  Thank you – I was struggling to make this point. It’s something some people are comfortable with, but a lot of people aren’t, and it does require a certain level of organization and attention to detail that’s just not worth it to most people. Especially when it requires cutting it really close on your budgets – if you’ve got $100k in expendable income per year, you’re probably not checking your balance daily and carefully budgeting how much to pay off with each paycheck like I do (which, again, I’m comfortable with because I am an analytical freak).

                2. Dan*


                  That’s more effort than I put into my game most of the time. While i don’t have $100k in expendable income (I could only dream). I know how much I spend on a monthly basis, and I know what minimum spend I have to make to reach a bonus. My usage is tailored so I don’t have to go out of my way to do this. I don’t go hog-wild 16 cards at a time, I get what I can easily manage over the next few months. I will admit that living in a COL area makes this game easier to play — it’s not so much that I have extra money per se from a big paycheck, but that it’s a big paycheck that supports a high expense area. I mean, I charge my $1400/mo rent, which helps a ton with the minimum spend requirement. If I lived in an area where rent was $600, it wouldn’t go nearly as far.

                  Most of the time I talk about this with the uninitiated, I don’t find them to be all that educated on how things really work, particularly when it comes to credit and scoring. When they say “but doesn’t…” and they’re wrong, should one actually answer them? Do they even care? Are they just going to be pissed off because what they really said was “no” and they’re trying to get you to go away? (Instead of getting pissed off, the “right” answer is, “Gee, I had no idea. I’ll have to look more into that!”) You can be lying through your teeth, but it’s a non-confrontational way to end a conversation.

                3. fposte*

                  @Dan–See, I’m a reformed CD-rate chaser. Much as I love my spreadsheets, when I realized how much time I’d spent to get like $20 more in annual yield, I decided I was about satisficing, not maximizing. I crunched numbers not long ago on swinging more into the cashback and points arena, and I’m just too low-expenditure to make it worthwhile to me.

                  Now, tax-loss harvesting, on the other hand…

            2. Tinker*

              Credit score is based on history over time, but not really averages. The history that affects your credit score is things like opening a new card, paying things more than 30 days late, having things go to collections, etc. Events like that stay on one’s credit report for seven years, although they don’t necessarily have a material effect on the score for that entire time — one 30-day late payment, for instance, might only matter for a couple years.

              Card utilization is more or less instant — it’s based on your current month’s balance, whatever ends up on your monthly statement. So in this case, if you max out your card one month and pay it all off the next, that’s the end of its effect on your credit score (well, once the statement posts). There are folks who do things like putting all their monthly expenses on credit cards to get rewards, then paying off almost all the balance just before the statement posts so that their credit score reflects the optimal utilization of credit (long story short, you want a certain percentage of your total available credit).

              There are people who effectively make this sort of thing a hobby, and they’re a source of useful information at times, but that does not necessarily mean that (for instance) everyone should take to gaming rewards systems. They exist in the first place, after all, because on average it benefits the house…

      3. Colette*

        Bonus miles are only a bonus if you pay your credit card off in full every time – and since it sounds like this company doesn’t reimburse promptly, any benefit in miles would be taken up by interest charges.

        Assuming, of course, that the OP was willing and able to get a credit card for work travel using her own credit.

          1. anon*

            Negative. Chase UR points can be redeemed for cash. Sapphire gives you 2x on travel, each point is one cent.

            1. LBK*

              You realize for a $1000 business trip, you’re still only talking $20 in rewards. I mean, that’s not nothing, but it’s pathetically small consolation.

              1. anon*

                Consolation for what? You swipe your card, you get imbursed by the co, and you get free miles! Now the company is shouldn’t drag their feet in doing reimbursement, but don’t play down the benefits.

                1. A Teacher*

                  but again you miss the point, many of us–I make an okay living, live pay check to pay check. Why should I pull out of my emergency savings fund to front a business expense? With the billing cycle, I’d have to pay out front myself and wait for the company to reimburse me, when I already am on a really tight budget. Pulling out of my savings account is scary to me and to others as well. That’s not freaking out, that’s being realistic.

                2. Natalie*

                  You do understand that other people aren’t you, right? They get to make their own choices about how they do or don’t use credit cards. Someone making a different choice than you isn’t a comment or a judgment on your decisions, and vice versa.

                3. Dan*

                  To be literal, if your company is solvent and paying back expenses on time, it really shouldn’t be “scary” to move money out of savings for a couple of weeks. If I thought there was reasonable risk that I wouldn’t be paid back, then I’d be scared.

                  As to why you’d want to do that? I have no idea what your interests are, but if you have *any* interest in travel, particularly on a limited budget, you’d want to do that. With the amount of points I’ve collected through credit card bonuses, my vacation decisions look like this: I can go to the beach for a week, or for the same amount of out-of-pocket cash, travel abroad for close to a month.

                4. Kelly L.*

                  @Dan: Ah, but if your company doesn’t reimburse in a timely fashion, or if you don’t have enough in your savings (like, say, if it had just been drained by medical bills, for example), it doesn’t work so easily. Even if one would love to travel.

                5. LBK*

                  I hate to go after someone personally but it really feels like you’re intentionally trying to avoid understanding my point. You’re asking someone to open up a line of credit (not something everyone can or wants to do) and have a huge charge sitting on it for potentially close to two months but that’s totally fine because hey, $20! Which, oh yeah, could take another few weeks for you to cash out, or could be totally useless if you can only use it for account credits or miles purchases.

                  I am personally a points person. I’m fortunate enough to be comfortable running several lines of credit and charging everything so I can accrue points, because I might as well get something out of it. But I can understand that that’s not a feasible scenario for a lot of people, or not something they would want to do, and it’s unfair for them to be forced into it by their job – which is the very thing that’s actually supposed to be supplying their income and giving them financial benefit in the first place!

                  All I’m asking you to do is find some empathy. It feels lacking in your comments.

                6. KellyK*

                  That’s only true if it has absolutely no negative effect on your credit, or your ability to cover emergencies. You’re assuming that’s the case, even as you’re recommending that people play deadline games with multiple cards in a way that can definitely hurt your credit score.

                  If you want to get a car loan or a mortgage, even a tiny hit to your credit score can cost you a lot more than 20 bucks. Say you take a $10,000 car loan at 3% interest. Over the life of the loan, that’ll cost you $756.23 in interest. If it’s 2.5%, the interest drops to $627.60. Little variations in your credit score affect the interest rate you can get, and that twenty bucks now may cost you seventy or a hundred later.

                7. Dan*


                  That statement about even little changes can affect your score is a bit misleading. If you’ve got good credit, any score over a certain amount (I think it’s 720 out of 800) isn’t going to impact your rates. I play this game like a mad man, and still qualify for the best rates.

                  Most rates are done in tiers; yes, if you’re sitting at the edge of one tier and apply for a new card (there’s a small hit for that) you could theoretically be knocked into a lower tier and pay more.

                  Last year, after playing this game like no tomorrow, I had to replace my car on the spur of the moment, and financed it. My bank had no problem giving me the best rates.

                  So I’d say that while your point has merit, it’s not widespread enough to be a “rule of thumb” to rely on.

                8. KellyK*


                  To be literal, if your company is solvent and paying back expenses on time, it really shouldn’t be “scary” to move money out of savings for a couple of weeks. If I thought there was reasonable risk that I wouldn’t be paid back, then I’d be scared.

                  That depends on how much of a cushion you have in savings. If you still have plenty to cover any emergencies that might crop up in the next two weeks (or six, or eight, depending on how your company handles reimbursements), that’s one thing. If that work trip means that you’re SOL if you break your arm or your car’s transmission dies in the next couple months, then it’s a much bigger deal.

                  To use myself as an example, most of the time, I’m quite happy to front work travel expenses and get reimbursed. But if a sudden work trip came up this month, I’d ask for a cash advance. In a matter of a couple days, I put four grand down on a car (a planned expense) and spent another four grand having a couple dying trees removed so they didn’t fall on the house. The second was very much *not* planned. We came home from car-shopping to find that a large branch had dropped, and it wasn’t even windy. When the tree guy came out to give us an estimate, he said, “That tree needs to come down *now.* I can rearrange my schedule and have a crew out tomorrow.”

                  So, right now, my savings account isn’t where I’d like it to be, and I would be less comfortable lending my company money than I usually am.

                  A Teacher referred to the money he/she would have to pull to front a business expense as coming from an emergency savings fund. If you have little enough savings that a work trip is coming out of the “emergency” pot, you’re probably not in a position where that feels comfortable or safe. You might not be in a position where it’s a good idea if you can avoid it, even if your company usually does pay people back promptly.

                9. LBK*

                  Dan – this is a totally nonscientific claim but I believe it’s harder to get your credit started up than it is to boost it once it’s going. Length of history is a major factor as is total credit, so starting with 0 years of $0 of credit means those minor factors have even more impact – it’s hard enough to get off the ground and you get less forgiveness in your scoring than when your score is higher. I’ve found mine has been skyrocketing now that I’ve got a car loan and a few higher limit cards, but it took me years to get there and it was a pain in the ass just to get the first card – which only had a $200 limit and it took me a year to get approved for the next one.

                10. A Teacher*

                  @Dan–I also have a great credit score like way higher than I would have ever thought, like others I try to put into my 403, my IRA, and still save a little each month plus pay all of my bills. Like many, I haven’t had a decent raise in several years and my expenses have gone up. I think there are many of us that live essentially pay check to pay check so it is scary. If I have to front $1000 up front, yes I have the money, and yes it would still be scary. I don’t think it matters how much I have saved up it is a lot of money. My point is, it would be a huge hit to me and the only way I could pay it off right away is to pull out of savings which I don’t want to do. I don’t make enough money every month to have that kind of money just sitting around. I feel like there’s not empathy in your statement, you don’t have to show it but at the same time it makes it pretty clear that you aren’t getting how people live pay check to pay check, at least from my perspective.

            2. fposte*

              Or you can get credit cards that don’t earn miles in the first place. My point is that the bonus is only good if it offers value to *you*.

              BTW, could you pick a name? It’s hard to track anons.

    6. Lia*

      I work for a public university and only senior executives get a university card. The rest of us have to front the money and get reimbursed, sometimes months later. I go to 2 or 3 conferences a year and even though I am careful with shopping around for the best airfare, etc, I still wind up floating 500-1K for a month or more.

      1. fposte*

        At my public university, you can get the admins to book the air travel and conference fee for you on the school account so at least that’s not waiting on reimbursement, but you still have to wait for room, board, and incidental travel.

        1. holly*

          we have the same policy where our department has a card for airfare and registration fees. the hotel is still a pain the butt although i think if i really couldn’t pay up front, my company would find a way to work around it. also none of my travel is mandatory, only professional dev. paying for your own mandatory travel is terrible.

          1. Kelly L.*

            One of my old workplaces worked out some kind of deal with a travel agency, where they’d book it and then send us a paper bill, and then we could submit that to accounting and they’d pay the agency. This was necessary because nobody got a work credit card and there was no way anybody had all that money!

        2. Lia*

          We used to be able to do this, but no more. They will help us find and book flights, but we pay for them.

          My boss takes several trips a year to Asia — he has a specific high-limit card he uses for that travel.

    7. AndersonDarling*

      We used to put everything on a corporate card, but so many employees would not submit their receipts that accounting was tracking down charges 10 hours a week. Now, all expenses are put on personal cards and reimbursed in a week.
      When I was an admin, I was planning travel and I had someone who only had a debit card and was in the same situation as the OP. Something was worked out with finance so that only meal expenses had to be paid on the spot (then reimbursed, of course).
      Travel is no joke. Seminars and training fees can run in the 4 figures, then add hotels and flights! No one can be expected to have that kind of money tied up for a month. I bet this has come up before at this workplace, and if it hasn’t, it’s time to figure it out now.

      1. Natalie*

        Our company just decided to put a time limit of corporate AmEx submissions. If you don’t turn your receipts in within 120 days the expense is on you.

    8. Traveler*

      It has been the norm for employees volunteering to do conferences/certification, but never for something that the company has mandated. That seems crazy to me, though I see this isn’t too out of the ordinary. Your personal financial situation shouldn’t be your boss’ business, and I’d feel compelled to explain why I didn’t have the money just so s/he didn’t think negatively of me – such a crappy situation to be in! I’d be itemizing the interest too if it took them over a month – depending on the percentage and how much the trip cost, that could be a chunk of money!

    9. Clever Name*

      I used to be a city employee of a huge US city (it has a TV show named after it….), and I remember traveling for work with a coworker and the hotel wanted to keep our cards on file for “incidentals” or whatever. My coworker was unable to use her card for that (I don’t remember why), and they really made it difficult for her. They weren’t going to allow her to check in without having a card “on file”. Finally, I just had them put her room on my card as well. It was super awkward, and I felt really bad for her.

      I think people making these policies (both on the hotel’s part and on employer’s part) don’t realize what kind of a position it puts many people in. I have many coworkers who don’t either use credit cards at all (because they overspend if they have them, so they don’t have them), or who have maxed-out cards and can’t charge any extra on them, or any number of financial reasons most people aren’t comfortable bringing up at work. Or sometimes they just don’t feel like fronting the company thousands of dollars interest free for the company.

    10. (at my) Expense Spending*

      I work for a VERY large hotel chain. They definitely have the cash. I’m just a little curious as to why they would even ask me to throw down over $2500 with less than a three day notice. The higher-ups all have admins that make their travel plans and company cards that they can all carry a high limit on. I asked my HR and they’ll pay for it up front but they were a little in shock that I couldn’t pay for it on my own.

  6. Mike*

    Re #2: I’ve had my email access removed before I even left the building on my last day (granted one of those times it is because I did it myself since part of my job was managing the email system).

    I would also suggest developing a retention policy and not deleting the account right away.

    1. The IT Manager*

      #2 question = Security nightmare! Why do former employees still have any access? I must assume it is some form of web-based email because it would be worse for a former employee to still have network/VPN login access, but still!?! It is very much a information security best practice to remove a former employees access to the network and email as soon as they become a former employee and occasionally even before that happens.

      And really why is that guys still checking email months later? Are you paying him to do so? It sounds like he working for no pay at this point. It’s a “no-no” (ie illegal) for hourly employees to check their email off-the-clock; this isn’t the same since he seems to be checking email as a volunteer, but the point is the law considers that to be working. Why is this guy still working for your company?

      1. Layla*

        The only reason I can think of me still checking the email is that I didn’t bother to remove it from my phone and it checks automatically when I go all mail
        But all the companies that I worked for definitely terminates email by at most a few days after the last working day

      2. Elysian*

        I don’t think he’s working for the company by checking his work email after leaving… unless he’s turning in work product to the company or the company is actually benefiting somehow, but I can’t imagine how that would be. He’s probably just on some mailing lists he wants to keep up with, or like Layla said he hasn’t deleted it from his phone. Its pretty unlikely that this would constitute unpaid work.

      3. Jamie*

        I assumed it was the email to his phone or web based – although you kill that when you kill the VPN access so I didn’t really understand the question either.

        Even if continuing as a consultant, which happens, they give you their own email addy where you can contact them. Even if they are still allowed in through the VPN as a consultant you get them off Exchange.

        I don’t get this – here you’re account (email and AD) is dead before you walk out of your termination meeting or within minutes I find out you quit without notice. With notice as soon as you walk out the building on your last day.

        1. bagworm*

          Some of my consulting duties involve administering Office 365 for my former employer so I do still have an email account on their domain but I don’t use it as my primary consulting account.

      4. SherryD*

        I’ll be honest, if I could somehow, magically, anonymously take a gander at my old work email accounts, I would. Idle curiosity about the quarterly reports, employee of the month, new hires, status of Major Project X, etc. But since I don’t have that superpower, I’m OK with the fact that I’ve moved on, and I don’t even try to check.

        1. Jamie*

          Would you? I can’t imagine caring about mine. But then I don’t get the whole high school reunion thing either – my super power is cutting ties with ease.

      5. OP#2*

        Yes it’s through Gmail business accounts. It’s a nonprofit so there isn’t any “work” they could be conducting. By the frequency of the access it seemed more like they were checking it occasionally to see if it still worked or if anyone had contacted them there. Nothing sensitive or proprietary they would really have access to. But I agree the accounts have to be cut off at SOME point.

        1. abby*

          We use Google Apps for nonprofits and I generally disable a termed employee’s email account on the last day. Disabling means you can re-activate and access in case you need emails or documents stored on Drive, but the former employee no longer has access and new messages to the account bounce back to the sender. After a set amount of time, we delete the account.

          For certain employees, and this is up to their manager, we might leave the account active for several months with a forward and auto-reply regarding the new contact person, but change the password so the former employee cannot access. After this, we disable, then delete. Under no circumstances do we let former employees access their email accounts.

  7. AnonyMouse*

    OP #1, when I’ve applied to jobs on Fridays or over the weekend, I’ve often heard back sometime Monday, and frequently even on Monday morning. So I think it probably doesn’t matter much. At the one place where I’ve had input on hiring, my coworker had been responsible for the recruitment effort, and she would forward applications to my email as they came in. I’d either read them when I got them if it was a slower day, or at the end of the day if it wasn’t. Either way, I had a scoring system I was using to evaluate, so it didn’t matter when I read it as long as they had certain criteria we were looking for.

  8. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


    I always perk up at temp to perm questions, hey, I know this answer. (We do a lot of temp to perm.)

    Negotiate it as you would any other job offer. It’s not a continuation of employment. You aren’t asking for a raise. It’s the same as any other job offer with the added advantage in your court that they know your work and they want you (plus, you are at least partially trained).

    It’s not usually recommended that one use personal circumstances in a job negotiation but, here’s something that worked with me 6 months ago, so food for thought:

    The circumstances were a department that I’d personally been trying to fix for two to three years, and after going through a zillion people (give or take), I’d finally found The Guy that I thought we could build around. After 3 months, we offered him a perm job at the same rate he’d been making + benefits.

    Now, The Guy had been looking for perm work for well over a year. (He’s young, no college degree and just out of military so, it takes awhile to land.) The Guy says, I love working here and I want to say yes but, honestly, at this pay, I’m just making all my bills with nothing left over and, honestly, I’d have to still keep looking because the minimum I want to work for is $X.

    The amount he wanted was about 15% more. It took me 30 seconds to agree to it.

    The Guy knew that I was desperate for stability so he had me at “I’d have to still keep looking”. I should see if he wants to go into sales.

    1. CAA*

      It depends on the situation. When we hire a temp, we tell them up front that we’re expecting to convert them to a perm employee in 6 months and we do the negotiating then. We work with the temp agency so that the employee is getting the same take-home pay from them that they’ll eventually get from us, assuming things work out on both sides and we’re able to convert them. Even though this is clearly explained to everyone, there are still a few who want to renegotiate at 6 months, and this is not looked upon favorably.

      Note to OP — your employer is paying your agency a lot more than a few dollars more than you’re taking home. Your rate as a temp is probably about 1.5 to 2 times what you are making. It’s also going to cost your company a lot more than they pay you to have you as an employee. It could easily cost them more than what they’re paying the agency if they have good benefits.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        That makes sense.

        While it is known that we often extend a job offer to temporary employees after 3 months, we don’t negotiate permanent pay ahead of deciding to offer. Even with somewhat careful screening, it’s a crap shoot who is going to work out, so we like to cross the perm bridge at 3 months. We’ve had enough problems with people who have gotten mad that we didn’t offer, to the point of making the end of the period have to play out like a termination.

        Re the other costs of to the business of perm employees, people have no idea unless they are getting the financials. As expensive as temp agencies are, I don’t think they are much more expensive than bringing someone on.

        1. FoxyMalD*

          #4 OP here – thanks so much for the feedback and information! I’ve obviously never been on the budgeting side/hiring side and didn’t stop to consider the “hidden costs” of hiring someone full time. I’m pretty pleased with what I’m making so if they do offer me full time at the same wage, plus a benefit or two, I’ll be pretty stoked.

          From reading this blog, I know that many people (ladies especially) don’t negotiate their salary – I just didn’t know how much of negotiation played for hourly positions.

            1. Isabelle*

              This is the same where I work. The pay goes down once an agency temp is given a permanent contract because they become eligible for benefits. I remember the last temp we hired that way was shocked when she found out her pay would be lower but then she figured out it was fair now she had access to the same benefits as the rest of us.

  9. KayDay*

    #2 (email): This depends on the person’s role, but if they handle anything administrative, I would say definitely do not delete the account right away. My old org had our website temporarily go down because one of the renewal notices (either for the domain or the hosting, not sure which) went to 2 addresses that were no longer active! This was something that was only renewed every couple of years or so, so it wasn’t something anyone was really looking out for. One account had been deleted completely and the other was on Auto reply mode giving a new contact, but they were automatic emails so the address was never changed. (p.s. I would also recommend that these sorts of things not use paperless billing in the future!).

    1. Judy*

      As someone said above, that’s why you have functional email addresses, like webmaster at company dot com.

  10. Judy*

    #3 – I’m certainly not an insurance expert, but if you’re in the US, it is my understanding that if your health insurance covers any dependent children, then it has to cover all children under the age of 26. A plan can choose not to cover any dependents, but can’t choose to cover some but not all of them.

    1. The Bookworm*

      But, everywhere I’ve worked (I’m in the US), you have a set time period to add a new dependent after a qualifying event.
      Adding a new baby to your coverage wasn’t automatic. The birth itself would be covered under the mom’s coverage, but if the baby was not explicitly added to the employer’s benefit plan – the baby’s expenses would not be covered.

      1. MJH*

        I believe on our insurance, the baby is automatically covered for 30 days. After that, you have to submit paperwork to add the kid.

        1. bluephone*

          That happened to my brother and his wife. They forgot to add their second child to my brother’s insurance plan within the timeframe so said baby had to wait until the next open enrollment to go on the policy. And of course, during that time, said baby had several hospital visits when she was about 5 months old (she’s perfectly healthy now). It took them a few years to pay off those medical bills.

      2. The Bookworm*

        The admins at a previous job would order flowers from the company when an employee had a major life event. I had the admins keep me in the loop – so when an employee had a qualifying family status change, I could follow-up and make sure the employee’s benefits were changed if necessary.

        1. Judy*

          Our benefits people gave out reminders based on the FMLA applications both times for me. I believe my husband’s manager also reminded him, too.

          But our company also sends out quarterly emails about life events, I guess it’s not uncommon in the event of a divorce for health insurance to be forgotten. Along with removing from life insurance, 401k beneficiary, etc.

    2. (at my) Expense Spending*

      It was a huge ordeal. Once the child is born, we have 30 days to submit proof of birth. I submitted this to our company but didn’t have it insured via USPS (lack of sleep/new mom brain). I went for one of his checkups and the Drs office said they’d received all necessary info from the insurance company. A few months later I was getting all these bills in full and still hadn’t received my insurance cards even after I called the company to see where they were and they told me to wait longer (red flag, I know.. again.. mom brain). Finally, my doctor’s office called and said they didn’t show him as being insured anymore and that I needed to call and figure it out. Never once did my company’s HR let me know that I had to turn anything in, had a deadline, didn’t have insurance. I’m a first time mom and just didn’t know how it all worked. The Drs office showed I had insurance in the beginning because they give you a grace period of 30 days of coverage once the baby is born because they think you’ll get your insurance set up and it will all be taken care of. If you don’t set your insurance up, that 30 days is revoked and all charges are charged in full. This is basically what happened.

  11. TotesMaGoats*

    #1-You are way over-thinking this. I wait until I’ve got a large batch of resumes to review before I do my first round review. After that it’s a daily basis, so it wouldn’t matter when you apply. Earlier is better but that’s about it. The day doesn’t matter but that’s my process. Everyone is different. Apply ASAP is the best rule to follow.

    #2-If someone is no longer working for you, whether resigned or fired, their email should no longer be accessible to them. Someone at your company should be able to get it and handle the incoming and AAM’s advice is spot on. But why should a former employee be allowed to keep accessing the email? That makes no sense.

  12. hildi*

    #3 – reimbursement

    I think others have alluded to it, but in my experience working for state and federal government(so obviously a specific experience), there was always an option to get an advance in order to pay for travel. Where I’m at now, I don’t have a travel purchase card (like I did in the fed gov’t), but we are able to request an advance to be deposited into the account we’ve chosen to receive our reimbursements. So… might be something your company does, but don’t advertise heavily. It’s worth asking, anyway.

    1. De Minimis*

      I approve travel requisitions, we do cash advances when employees request them and of course if it’s approved by higher ups. A lot of employees don’t bother with having a gov’t credit card due to all the hassles involved. Even a lot of employees who travel frequently don’t have one.

      Definitely ask. Also double check to see if all related paperwork is turned in to avoid delays–especially if you’re a new employee. I had to travel the second week of my job and there were a lot of paperwork snafus that held up my reimbursement–being new, I didn’t really know what needed to be taken care of.

  13. Ann O'Nemity*


    I’ve been on several hiring committees and each seemed to use a different methodology for reviewing applications. Some review applications as they arrive, some wait for a sizable bunch, some wait until a certain date. Sometimes the hiring committee divides the pile, sometimes all members review all applications. Because I’ve seen such wide variation, I’m reluctant to offer any advice on the best day-of-week or on deciphering patterns. My only advice is: don’t wait. Submitting late is more likely to hurt your chances than submitting early.

  14. GrumpyBoss*

    #1: I don’t think I have ever shown any consistency in reviewing resumes. I tend to review when I have time. And when I do review them, I don’t review in any specific order. I have a few questions that the applicant tracking system asks in the application process that will score you and the applications are presented to me in order. But knowing that so many people are dishonest in these questions, I skip around because I don’t look forward to reading the ones flagged as “Ace”. (Side rant: seriously people, do you think it won’t be noticed? If the question asks to rank your competency on skill XYZ from 1-10, and you answer 10, do you not think I’m going to look at your resume and see that you don’t have XYZ listed, let alone anything in your work history even related to XYZ? End of rant).

    Long story short, every manager has specific experiences and internal processes that impact how they review applicants. Apply when you are ready. If you are what we are looking for, we’ll find you.

    1. James M*

      LOL! Do you realize that an ATS asking an applicant to rate their skill in XYZ 1-10 is a form of Prisoner’s Dilemma? Rightly or wrongly, applicants are faced with the choice to either be honest and risk having the ATS instantly disqualify them in favor of dishonest applicants, or be dishonest and risk being disqualified by a human.

  15. Ms. Clean*

    #2 some work places will give access to the account to the manager for them to sift through before completely disabling it. One employer did this and we found it really helpful, particularly in the cases of sudden departures.

  16. Bea W*

    #3 See if your company has a “travel advance” policy where you can request money up front. After the trip the actual expenses will be reconciled against the advance amount and you would either be reimbursed the difference or have to pay back any unused funds. I also recommend getting a separate credit card just for work travel. It’s easier to keep track of expenses and you won’t have to worry about being maxed out on the card you use for personal expenses.

    1. (at my) Expense Spending*

      We try to keep our Credit Card use to a MINIMUM. We are currently just a little over spent because of health insurance. They company did say they would pay for it, I’m just a little shocked that they think I have that kind of money laying around (based on what they pay me).

  17. Puddin*

    #3 – AAM has some great options for you. When you go to HR/your manager, I would open the discussion by stating that you are excited and looking forward to the training. Maybe make some small chit chat about it. Even if you are not that excited, try to find something to discuss that shows you are on board and happy to partake in the opportunity.

    Also, I would simply state that you do not have the money to allocate. In your discussion to obtain funds, I would advise against bringing up the insurance issue, how much you make, or any personal financial information at all. This is personal information. Your employer does not need to know anything about your financial life. In addition, it could come across as whiny, that you are being difficult just for the sake of making a fuss, or that you are ‘entitled’ to special treatment because of your pay or title (either lower or higher than others).

    Keep the convo professional and positive and I think that will go a long way to helping you get what you want.

    1. (at my) Expense Spending*

      I did pretty much exactly this. I apologized for being a bother and just said I couldn’t afford it and needed to know my options. She did say “don’t you have a credit card you can put it on or something”… I said I did but with the insurance situation (she already knew about it and was helping me fight it (on my side)) I wasn’t prepared to pay in full for the trip. She said she could put it on her company card.

  18. Jamie*

    Email – Alison is right – no one expects to have access to company email after separating from the company.

    My cheat sheets on this slightly different depending on how they are leaving:

    Good terms and notice:
    1. Remind them to change any email they used the work email for like bank, Netflix, etc.
    2. Let them know their email will forward to Jane after they leave, so to let any of their personal contacts know.
    3. Ask them to clean out their mailbox of personal stuff before they leave, as I am giving Jane access to it once they are gone.
    4. Once they leave disable mailbox > archive > make archive accessible to Jane.
    5. Have email forwarded to Jane.
    6. If they asked me to I’ll give their personal email to Jane in case she wants to forward anything that slips through the cracks like an email from Great Aunt Tilly or renewal to the Pokemon newsletter. I don’t follow up on this – it’s up to Jane after that.

    Bad terms and no notice:
    1. Disable mailbox before the termination meeting ends. If quit, as soon as I’m informed.
    2. Clean out email and read through for evidence of gross misconduct (when applicable.)
    3. Archive and make accessible to Jane after removing anything involving legal issues or inappropriate (per above.)
    4. Run script to send message to any email sent to that address saying Wakeen is on the lam and running from the feds, so please contact Jane going forward for all your halo polishing needs. (wording dependent on circumstances and discussions with direct manager – or possibly skip this step and let Jane inform people directly while monitoring – depending on circumstances.)

    And this is why IT appreciates you leaving on good terms with notice – a lot less work for us and no one wants to read through all of your boring emails. If you’re going to leave with no notice and make us go through everything, be courteous enough to leave something entertaining and scandalous in there.

    1. Jamie*

      In between 3 and 4 should have been to forward email to Jane. This is why it’s so important to let people who email you personally at your work address know asap because Jane doesn’t want to see people declaring their love for you, chain letters, or unfunny forwards in her email box. She’s busy.

      Unless people send you lolcatz – because of course she loves those. Who doesn’t’ love lolcatz.

      1. Chuchundra*

        Are there many people who use their work e-mail for personal stuff?

        I haven’t received a personal e-mail in my work inbox, except for correspondence from retired co-workers, in well over a decade.

        1. Jamie*

          As long as it’s not anything prohibited or crazy I don’t care if people use their work email. My family and a couple of friends sometimes email me at mine – when the kids were younger their schools had it. Was just a faster way to get a hold of me; that’s pretty common ime.

          Where it gets sticky is when people sign up for stuff – apps, banking, whatever, and then leave. Because you can’t do the whole “forgot my password” thing if you can’t access the email so I tell people before they get their email and again before they leave that I’m not helping them with any of that after they are gone so it’s a bad idea.

          1. brightstar*

            It just seems weird to me that people would sign up for things like Netflix with their work email addresses. Though I know that not everyone has a computer at home and some people still use emails.

        2. Bea W*

          My mother would use her work email (at work) to send copies of her vulgar Yahoo chat logs to her personal email…where she kept them until she died and left them as a legacy for her children.


    2. Smilingswan*

      I feel so bad for you, since I save all business e-mails. I would hate to have to read them all again. :)

      1. Jamie*

        You get pretty good at scanning – and when there is an issue you kind of know what you’re looking for – but yeah…freaking hours and it’s boring.

        Although I made a joke about scandal, I will never forget having to do this one time and seeing an email from someone’s wife – just a couple of lines about household stuff and then she said how she knows it’s been tough for him at work and how much she loves and appreciates him, how lucky she and the kids are to have someone who works so hard for them. It was really sweet and I felt dirty reading it.

        Then I got to an email shortly after was from a work contact and the entire thread was very sexual (started flirty and then way crossed the line into gross who uses their work email to type that) and he was saying some pretty insulting things about his wife to this woman he was…sexting?

        (It’s not sexting if it’s email, and it’s not phone sex without the phone…is there a word for this?)

        Anyway you could tell from the timestamps that within 5 minutes of getting this loving message from his wife he was emailing this other woman…and I just felt gross. I don’t want to read this, I don’t want to know, I kept remembering how everyone who’d met her said how nice she was and how she just adored him and …sometimes you just need to shower at work.

        But yeah – it’s an ugly job because you’re usually either bored or horrified.

        What is fun is when an employee leaves and you have to read emails back and forth between them and another co-worker about how psychotic you are and nit picky and how they can’t do X because you’re such a bitch…and you get to enjoy the look on the face of the remaining co-worker when she finds out you’re going to read the departed emails. And how they try to casually ferret out if you’re reading all email, just some…trying to gauge how likely it is that you will soon know what they really think of you.

        1. Bea W*

          Then I got to an email shortly after was from a work contact and the entire thread was very sexual (started flirty and then way crossed the line into gross who uses their work email to type that)…

          See my comment slightly above yours. ;)

        2. Fact & Fiction*

          This. Is. Awesome. Not that people do that to you, but that you get to see them sweat. (My husband is fairly high up in his IT department so I get to hear some stories!)

      1. Jamie*

        It’s a clip board covered in Hello Kitty packing tape – I’m in audit mode these days and I couldn’t find her holding a clip board. But I have that tape at home so I might get creative one of these days. :)

        I’ve been meaning to swap it out, though.

        1. Puddin*

          Ahhh, I have poor eye site, but I am glad to know you stuck to the theme, AND made it timely with your life’s activities.

          Yeah you!

  19. M. in Austin!*

    My fiance is in a similar situation. He’s temp and his manager says they are working out the details for an offer (still, won’t believe it until he gets the actual offer). He’s making $13/hour. His coworker said she got bumped to $18/hour once she was moved to perm. So you never know.

    I would definitely take AAM’s advice and look at what the market rate is for a permanent position. Ask your coworkers if you have that type of relationship. My fiance said something like “I’m new to the field and am not sure what to expect salary-wise. What do you think is the market rate for this type of job?”

    Good luck!

  20. Agile Phalanges*

    AT a company I worked at, we would issue travel advances to people who didn’t have a company credit card and didn’t want to tie up their personal finances on business travel (some people had room on their personal CCs and didn’t mind the points/awards/whatever, though). It was pretty straightforward, and was easily reconciled when they returned and turned in their receipts for their actual expenses. Our expense reimbursement software even had a way to handle it.

    Another way to take care of the biggest pieces would be to have someone else in the company who DOES have a company CC (or personal CC they don’t mind using) book the airfare, car rental, and prepay for a hotel for you. Of course, run this by your manager and accounting first to be sure it’s allowed. Also be aware that both the car rental company and the hotel may required either a CC on deposit for damage/incidentals or a LARGE cash deposit (more than they would hold on a CC, usually), so be prepared for that.

    But I would think both your manager and especially accounting should be aware of the need to occasionally issue advances to employees for the purpose of business travel.

    And what’s up with over a MONTH turnaround for reimbursement? My former company was less than a week–reports approved by 3:00 p.m. Wednesday would be reimbursed first thing Friday, less than 48 hours later. So it could be two days, or worse case, just under 9 days if you just missed the deadline.

  21. Betty*

    #2 Locking the former employee out of email seems smart. Just please, companies, make sure someone is monitoring the email address for a while. And change or disconnect the phone! I’m a freelancer and twice I’ve sent invoices to clients. When they were not paid, I emailed and left phone messages to follow up. Finally I contacted accounts payable only to find out that so-and-so had left the company months ago, and my invoice had never been submitted. Argh!

  22. David H.*

    Thanks so much for your response, Alison! I do tend to over-think things, but all of the great info. in your blog has helped me to relax. I really appreciate everyone’s comments. It’s interesting to see how things work in different places.

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