I can’t let go of wanting a job that isn’t contacting me, my new boss didn’t acknowledge my mother’s death, and more

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

1. I can’t let go of wanting a job that isn’t contacting me

There is a position that I have been wanting since before I graduated, but I used “needing my degree” as an excuse for not applying for the job. Two months after graduating, the position was still available so I decided to call the hiring manager. I explained to him that I did not have the experience he was looking for, and the fact that I was a recent grad, and that I knew the position had been open for a while and I figured he was looking for the right person and that I felt I was the candidate they were looking for. I asked if he could take a look at my resume in hopes for an interview, and he agreed.

Three months passed and they finally called me for an interview. During the interview (no excuses), I choked.

After three weeks of hearing nothing, I finally emailed the manager, who is now the director, to apologize for the interview and to let him know that he would be seeing my name again in the future. A month after that, seeing that the position was still available, I sent another email, in hopes of speaking to him or getting a second interview or feedback, but still nothing.

It’s now been close to three months later and the position is still available and I really want it. This is the place I would like to build my career in and stay until I retire. I really haven’t applied to many other places because I have a gut feeling about this position, but it’s starting to seem like it’s not going to happen. I feel like following up once more. In other circumstances, I would just keep looking, but there is something about this job that I can’t let go of. Can you guide please guide me to making the right decision?

Move on. You’ve already been pretty aggressive with them, and they know that you’re interested. They’ve interviewed you. You’ve reiterated your interest since then, twice. If they want to make you an offer, they will — but if you continue to contact them, you risk becoming the annoying candidate who doesn’t know how to take no for an answer.

The biggest mistake you’re making here is by not applying to many other jobs because your heart is set on this one. You should never, ever do that, even when you think you’re perfectly qualified (which isn’t even the case here) — because you really can’t know from the outside if you’re as perfect of a fit as you think, someone else could be better qualified, the position could be canceled, or all sorts of other things. Put this job out of your mind, assume it’s not going to happen, and ramp up your applications to other positions. The longer you’re out of school without working, the harder your search will get — so you need to act with some urgency in applying for other positions.

2. My new boss didn’t acknowledge my mother’s death

I am feeling horrible about my boss. She has not been here a year and I have worked here almost 14 years. My mother recently passed away and she has not even given me a card. In the past, my coworkers and I have actually taken up a collection and given either flowers, donation or food to the bereaved person and their family. I have on many occasions been the one to buy the flower, card and food and take it to the family.

Imagine my shock to find not even receive a card. I received cards from other workers in my agency, but nothing from my boss or my department. What do you think?

It sounds like your new manager hasn’t been there long enough to know what’s been done in the past, so I wouldn’t read it as a deliberate break from what’s been done from others. If she herself had done one thing for others and a different thing for you, I could see feeling a little slighted — although even then, that kind of thing is almost always accidental, not anything intentional, and you’re usually better off not getting too bothered by it for that reason.

How does she treat you otherwise? Has she been kind and treated you well? Is she a decent manager? That’s what I’d focus on. (And I’m sorry for your loss!)

3. I’ve been told a new position is being created for me — for eight months

I had a great performance review in February at my current company, where I’ve worked for a little over two years now. At that review, we discussed how my workload and responsibilities have increased or changed drastically and we needed a new position created for me to move in to. I’m already in a small team, but it’s a big company where everyone has funky titles so HR didn’t have a position to promote me up to and wanted a new job and discription.

Since February, my boss has asked me to do the legwork to write the description to fit a salary grade but keeps sending me back edits each time. It has been eight months of this and I’m not sure how to press the issue without pushing limits. She keeps saying how this needs to happen and they don’t want to lose me. I just keep thinking that each day I’m missing out on thousands in income and recognition that I should have had by now. Our HR partner is nice but not helping either. Help!

Eight months of this? That’s excessive. Go to your boss and say this: “It’s been eight months since we originally talked about this. I’m not sure what else I should be doing to make this job description work. Soon it’s going to be a full year since our original conversation and I’m feeling increasingly urgency about getting this settled. What specifically needs to happen for this to go through?”

But meanwhile, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be looking at roles outside your current company. It’s nice that they say they don’t want to lose you, but if they’re not exactly taking the actions that follow that conviction — so look out for yourself here.

4. I’m an unpaid intern and my organization is hiring a paid intern too

As a 2014 graduate not having a lot of luck finding a full-time job, I recently started an unpaid part-time internship in my field of interest. I’m really excited about the internship and I think it will be a strong addition to my resume, help me make connections, and be a great learning experience overall.

Here’s the catch: I just saw that the organization posted an identical listing for my position on a job site I frequent. The shock wasn’t that it was posted – they seem to be growing a lot and have already added several interns since I started three weeks ago – but I was shocked to see it was advertised as a paid position. Is it just me or is it really weird (borderline unethical) to have two sets of interns doing the exact same thing, but some of them are paid and some are not? Although I have another part-time paying position, I’m not exactly rolling in cash (I still live with my parents…who just started charging me rent). Is it appropriate for me to ask my boss about this/the possibility of me being a paid intern as well? And if so, how exactly should I go about it?

Note: this is a remote internship, so it would likely be over email.

Assuming that your internship meets the legal qualifications for unpaid internships*, I don’t know that I’d consider it unethical, at least not without knowing more details. After all, you were excited about your role earlier, so presumably felt your own arrangement was fair before this happened and had made the calculation that what you’re getting out of it is worth it to you.

And it’s possible that there are differences between your role and the paid one that aren’t clear from the posting (for instance, more hours, less desirable assignments, more difficult work, different department with a different budget, etc.)

That said, there’s no reason you can’t ask your manager about it. I’d say something like this: “I noticed that X Org is hiring for a paid version of my internship. Is that something that you’d consider me for? I wasn’t sure if there were differences between my internship and this new one, or whether you’re seeking different things in the paid position, but I’d love to learn more.”

* If your internship doesn’t meet the legal requirements for unpaid internships, that’s a different issue.

5. How do I write a “change of email” email?

I am in academia and I am a recent graduate school escapee! I am thrilled to be moving up to a postdoc fellowship at my dream school. I spent a lot of time in graduate school attending conferences, and unlike most students, I networked the hell out of those experiences with very influential professors and other great people. I have corresponded with many of them via email and they remember me well when we reconnect. I don’t want to lose all of my hard work now that I’ve changed schools and email addresses. How would you suggest I write an email informing colleagues that I have moved on to work with Professor X and that I wanted to let them know to stay in touch?

Pretty much just like that! Send a short email saying, “I wanted to let you know that that I’ve moved on to X school, where I’ll be working with Professor Y, doing Z. My new contact info is ____, and I’d love to stay in touch.”

Bonus points if you make each of these emails personal and include something else specifically customized to the person you’re writing to, but that’s not strictly necessary.

{ 247 comments… read them below }

  1. EngineerGirl*

    #1 – Desire isn’t enough. You also have to have ability. Since you don’t have the right experience you don’t have the ability. You’re not qualified so you really need to move on.
    Frankly, if someone told me that I’d be seeing their name in the future I’d be creeped out. And I would do everything I could to make sure that person wasn’t hired. And I’d have no contact with them.

    1. Mike B.*

      “Creeped out” is the operative phrase. It’s almost a cliche to compare job hunting to dating, but in this case it fits: how would you react to a suitor who came on as strong as you’re pursuing this company? Who asked you out multiple times until you (perhaps reluctantly) said yes, then kept calling after your date didn’t go well? It makes you look naive at best, desperate and obsessive at worst–and these are people you’re asking to spend time with you every single day.

      There are plenty of other fish in the sea, though; another sense in which the metaphor works. You can find another company that’s more inclined to hire you, and that could end up being the place that’s right for you. Don’t get hung up on just one before you even know what anyplace is really like.

        1. Long time lurker!*

          Me too. Even the tone of the email and the type of wording the OP uses: ‘there’s just something about it I can’t let go of’, etc. It read like a Nice Guy/Girl letter to an advice column about a girl or a guy, but it’s about a job.

          OP, they’ve been pretty clear at this point that they’re not interested. Walk away. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means you need to learn to read social cues better in this context.

        2. AVP*

          It reminded me of when people get kicked off a reality show like Project Runway or Top Chef. “This isn’t it for me – you’ll be seeing my name in lights one day soon!” The problem with this is that it’s not really a sincere thing to say, and it sounds like the end of conversation, not the beginning. (Aside from the inherent creepiness in a personal context.)

          1. BRR*

            I always find it funny on PR because really none of the winners have ever been famous let alone the contestants (BTW this is completely side-tracking and not a dig at the OP). There’s a little activity here or there but none of their own shop or sell their brand to another store.

            1. Oryx*

              Interestingly, I see more from the non-winners than the winners of PR. Chris March has some costume related items at Target this Halloween season for instance.

          2. TheTemp*

            I keep remembering that guy on Top Chef who got voted off and he was like “no. I’m not leaving. This is MY house.” And Tom Colicchio was like -_-

      1. Allison*

        As much as I don’t like comparing hiring and dating, you do make a good point. I’d especially hate it if a guy approached me and said “I know I’m not your type and have nothing you’re looking for in guy, but since you’ve been single for 3 years I really think I’m the guy for you, now give me a chance already!” I’d nope right on outta there! Who is he to tell me how I should feel about him?

        I mean I’ve been on the other side, I spent a good chunk of the summer believing that a close guy friend and I were perfect for each other, and we would soon get together and have an amazing relationship where we’d do all these really cool things . . . that he’s now doing with someone else, because as it turns out, I’m not his type. It sucks, it really, really sucks. But sometimes, despite having all sorts of reasons why you should be with that guy, or that girl – or in the case of OP #1 believing, you should get that job – the other person doesn’t always see it that way and you just gotta move on.

        1. Dan*

          All you know about someone/some job is what they expose to you and the rest of the outside world. On the job side, I’d say that job ads only tangentially resemble the job I actually do. I got recruited for my current job, and when I actually applied for it, I said “WTF? You want *me* to do *this*?” And if I had to write my own job description based , it sure wouldn’t even remotely resemble the one I applied to do.

          As far as dating goes… there’s something to be said for broadening my horizons, but if I give you a shot and you’re “not my type” don’t be surprised if it fizzles fast. And now we have the complications of trying to be “just friends” after we’ve dated.

    2. AnonyMouse*

      And frankly, even if OP 1 *was* perfectly qualified she would still need to move on at this point. I personally think people are being a tad harsh on this OP – we’ve probably all been more hung up on a job than we should have been at some point – but at the end of the day you’re just not going to get every job you want, even ones you think you’d be perfect for. That’s why it’s so important to assume there’s no offer until you get one, so you don’t drive yourself crazy over any one job. Plus if this is a company she’d be interested in applying to again, she probably builds a lot more goodwill by graciously thanking them for their time and bowing out than by taking it badly.

      1. nep*

        Yes. Graciously thank the people for their time and move on. It’s about demonstrating professionalism even before one is in the workplace. There are occasions all throughout the job search process to show professionalism, and it counts.

        1. Colette*

          I’d caution against thanking them for their time. First of all, it would mean contacting them again, which I don’t think she should do. Secondly, if they’re still considering her, it sounds like she’s bowing out.

          1. Artemesia*

            This. She needs never to contact these people again unless two years from now and after doing a job to gain experience they post a job she wants. The approach so far is beyond aggressive. Successfully wangling an interview while not qualified showed that aggressive sometimes works; ‘choking’ i.e. not being able to answer the questions well probably because not qualified should have been the end of it. ‘I really really want’ is not a qualification for a job.

            1. Kelly L.*

              My comment got eaten, but it was a long ramble about how I did this once in a dating-type situation, and I just had to accept that I had to stop contacting the guy. Even sending him an email to say “I’m not like that anymore, I promise!”…would be pretty much annoying him in the same way. He gets to have a life without me in it, even if it makes me sad.

              1. the gold digger*

                I think we have all been there – in the parking lot at the honky tonk where you knew he would be that night, standing next to his car and telling him, “I will be whoever you want me to be.”

                It is those men who make us appreciate the ones who appreciate us.

                (BTW, I have heard that if you look up old boyfriends on LinkedIn and you don’t have the proper settings, they can see that you have looked at their profiles. I have heard.)

          2. nep*

            Simply meant in general, in the initial instance. Just the common professional courtesy of thanking hiring managers or the like for their time. I don’t mean this person should contact this organisation yet again, no.

      2. Taz*

        I agree people are being harsh — people are reading all sorts of things into the words of one email to an advice column. Knowing that the OP didn’t have the experience, the hiring manager agreed to interview the OP — there was something either in the OP’s personality or background that the hiring manager was willing to consider. And it might very well have had something to do with a degree or background that suggested the OP is going places in the future. (As for all the comments about being “creeped out” by the OP saying the hiring manager would see his/her name in the future — are people turned off by every Project Runway contestant?) Also note: As far as we can tell, OP is still under consideration.

        Granted, OP could have handled this differently (and almost certainly will in the future with experience). OP does need to move on and, as Alison frequently says, let it be a nice surprise should the hiring manager decide to offer a position.

        1. Artemesia*

          You AREN’T creeped out by most of the talent free Project Runway contestants prattling on about their ‘design esthetic’?

        2. Marcy*

          I don’t watch Project Runway so I don’t know if I would be creeped out over them but it is a TV show and they are there to entertain. I have been creeped out by candidates who act aggressively this way and their resume has ended up in the “No” pile as a result.

        3. alma*

          Well, on Project Runway, “you’ll see more of me!” is usually a general statement to the world, not one targeted at a specific person/organization. It may be delusional, but not really a boundary overstep.

          That said, I agree with you overall and I do sympathize a lot with OP. I definitely remember a couple of “my dream job is juuuuuust within reach” moments when I was job-hunting fresh out of school.

        4. AVP*

          I posted this above but just saw it discussed here – I’m not totally creeped out by it on tv, but I do think it’s the end of a conversation, not a beginning or or part of a back and forth. And when you add in the personal context, it does sound a little odd. However, either way, OP will learn from this and hopefully move on and start applying for other things.

          I’m still waiting to hear back from the PERFECT JOB I didn’t get when I was 22, but looking back now I’m really glad they never called me. Perspective and time are very helpful here.

        5. MK*

          While it’s not completely impossible, it has now been 8 months since the OP initialy applied and 5 since their interview, so it’s wildly imrpobable that they are still under consideration.

          I don’t think people are being harsh. The OP comes across as having lost all sense of proportion when this company is concerned: they have decided that this company is perfect for them (which they can’t know, since they never worked their before) and that they want to stay their for the rest of their lives (a lifetime is a very long time), and also that they will be perfect for the job (which is almost certainly not the case, since they are barely qualified and haven’t interviewd well). A reality check is needed.

      3. themmases*

        Definitely. I had a job like this that I was qualified for– I managed a project in their same niche research area already, it was at my same job level rather than a promotion even though my work was above my level– on paper I at least merited a call, even without taking the listing too literally. It was very hard to let it go, and since I knew this place could be slow about hiring I held out hope for a long time as I applied for other things.

        But you never know what is going on behind the scenes. Maybe the person doing the first pass doesn’t do the work and can’t connect the dots. Maybe they’re leaving the job posted until they fill it, but in practice it’s been up for a while and they may not look closely at new people unless this round of interviews doesn’t work out. Maybe (and I think this was the most likely of “my” job) this is the kind of place that’s required to create the position to promote someone, then because they created the position they had to post it, etc. even though all along this job belonged to an entry level person moving up.

        It’s near impossible to move on without something else positive coming your way, and it’s hard to see what positive things would be coming if the OP doesn’t apply for other jobs.

    3. EE*

      Also, as soon as you let go of the idea that this job is meant to be, you may find out that the job you do get an offer for fits you much better. Easier said than done, but it always works out the way it is supposed to.

    4. Kelly L.*

      That phrase pinged me as well. Not so much as “creepy,” but more as “just you watch, I’m gonna be famous someday,” which may not be what the LW meant but it’s the way it comes off to me in text.

    5. Amtelope*

      Yes. Nonnie, your persistence in trying to get this job right now despite not having the experience they want (and blowing an interview!) is coming off weirdly, and I would take hearing “you’ll be seeing my name again in the future” from a candidate I’d rejected as somewhere on the spectrum between unpleasantly pushy and threatening. You need to stop contacting this employer and move on with your job search. If there’s any chance of them hiring you in the future, it depends on you leaving them alone right now and getting the experience they want from an entry-level job somewhere else.

  2. Chocolate Teapot*

    3. Eight months can go by quickly, but I think now is the time to start looking elsewhere. Your “thousands in income” may very well come from a position at another company.

    1. Artemesia*

      Absolutely. People who string you along like this have no real concern about doing right by you and only care about losing you when you have another offer. Time to get the job you want elsewhere and then don’t bite if oldjob comes with a counter offer. I’d do what Alison says about having a ‘What do we need to do to make this happen meeting.’ But I’d also seriously search for something else. (don’t threaten it or mention it, just do it.)

    2. Katherine.*

      I agree and have been applying. The challenge to stay or go has been a tough pro/con list to build. By staying, I have been exposed to new internal opportunities to learn and grow in the company and will have that for the next year. By starting over at a new company I’m left to wonder if the opportunity will be there in addition to the salary.

  3. Mister Pickle*

    #3: Yikes! This does not sound like a good situation. Frankly, it sounds like your manager simply isn’t interested in a new job description and has been jerking you around asking for edits and such because it’s easier than actually dealing with the situation properly and honestly.

    1. Artemesia*

      Absolutely. ‘Write me a proposal’ is the classic way for wimpy managers to say ‘no.’ And they waste your time and your enthusiasm doing it.

      1. Katherine.*

        It isn’t good. I know they are delaying and not dealing with it properly. I’d love to use these words exactly for the leaders I work with to see that I’m not the only one that recognizes I’m being jerked around.

        Artemesia, you are correct that this is sucking the enthusiasm out of the promotion and as a result it is damaging my relationship with the leadership team.

  4. harryv*

    1. Give up on that role but if the company is a place you want to work for, look at other entry level or intern positions.

  5. Susan*

    1. Maybe your gut is right and you will end up at this job and retire there. But it looks like you need to find at least one stepping stone before you can get there. Good luck!

    1. C. Also*

      This. Look at it this way: You’ve had an interview, so you know more or less what they’re looking for, and how you don’t (yet) fit that. Look for a job that will prepare you for that job. In the meantime, the job might change, or you might find that you love another company just as much. But if neither of those things happens, you’ll be more qualified in two years (or even six months) than you are now. When that job opens up again, wouldn’t it be better for them to remember you as “the candidate who impressed us with moxie, but then backed off appropriately” than “that wacko who called us every week to ask for a job”?

    2. Felicia*

      That’s good advice. There is a certain type of job I want at a particular company, but I know that job requires at least 5 (sometimes closer to 10) years of similar experience doing certain types of things in order to have a chance. So I sort of have a “dream job” but it’s a long term type thing. So maybe think of it as “I want this, but I know i probably can’t have it now, so here’s what i need to do in order to get what i want in the future.”

  6. Michael.*

    And here’s where you learn a valuable lesson, namely “make sure your email is under your control”. Go and spend $50 and get a domain (e.g. yourname.info) and basic hosting (and put together a one or two page pamphlet-like website while you’re at it). Zuver (an Australian company, I have my website with their parent company) offers a good level of hosting for AUD2 a month ($24 a year), and .info domain names for $11 a year. Another company has a special at the moment, $2 .info domains per year. Cheap as.

    And here’s the kicker. You then have control. Use the email address for all personal communications. Use it for all job applications. Use it for everything, except for communicating with your school officials.

    Then, when you move on (as you will), you won’t have to update everyone (again) about your change in email.

    1. M-C*

      Plus it’s likely that your ex-university is offering lifelong email addresses to alumni, you should check with the computer center. And then, when you meet people and establish a relationship with them, don’t just hand them your current email, friend them on LinkedIn. Also for free.

      1. MK*

        Even is the university will allow the OP to use the old e-mail for the rest of their lives, it would be inappropriate to do so professionaly, since they now work for a different university.

    2. Cautionary tail*

      I was going to give similar advice: use your own email. Although it would be ideal to have your own domain and even to host it yourself so the cloud isn’t scraping it for personal information about you, using at least one of the big free email hosters is a step beyond what you have now. I make sure that all my work email subscriptions go to a separate personal email of mine because if I get laid off, then I won’t lose any of that. Even the work phone number I give out is an auto-forwarding service that goes to my actual work phone, but if I get laid off then I just need to point that auto-forwarded number to my own phone and I won’t lose any contacts.

      As an aside I just lost contact with two college friends who graduated and whose college email address was deleted.

      Good luck.

      1. Mabel*

        Sometimes you can email the alumni office and ask them to ask the alumi you want to contact if it’s OK to give their new email addresses to you. I’ve done this before, but obviously it won’t work if the college doesn’t have their new addresses.

    3. Labratnomore*

      Or just get a specific e-mail account for networking, like a free gmail/outlook/yahoo address. I have one that I use for all employment related activities and a separate one for personal stuff, I find that works well because when I get an e-mail on the employment related one I know I need to address it right away. I hate when people use the e-mail address from their internet service provider (or school), then every time they move or change providers they update their e-mail address. At some point I need to decide if it is worth the time to update their contact information, and for me the decision is often that it isn’t worth the effort. If you have an e-mail address that doesn’t change when you move around that makes it much easier for people to keep your contact information up to date.

  7. My 2 Cents*

    OP #1, your letter is so very awkward that I almost feel sorry for you. You most definitely need to move on, you’re just being creepy at this point and I wouldn’t be surprised if you are on a security watch list at that company.

      1. Sarahnova*

        While I don’t disagree with you, Alison, I think it’s sometimes helpful to hear the unvarnished truth about an issue of overstepping boundaries like this. I think we should be compassionate, but also clear. “Creepy” is not an enjoyable word to hear about yourself, but it can be necessary.

        OP#1: you’ve gone too far in this specific case, and you may well be making people at this company uncomfortable. It’s definitely time to back off, completely, and apply to other jobs. I think you also need to think about why you have invested so much in this job despite the fact that you lack the required experience AND didn’t do well at interview.

        1. Mallory*

          I don’t think AAM could ever be accused of whitewashing. OP did what probably a dozen career advice books and parents might encourage… We all learn lessons in life, some are brave and seek feedback.

        2. Snoopy*

          There is being honest and direct, and there is being unnecessarily harsh. Please bear in mind that the OP is new to the workforce.

          Whilst what you are saying is partially true, there are ways of being constructive instead of potentially damaging.

        3. NoPantsFridays*

          Agree with this. I see a lot of people on this blog using “new to the workforce” to excuse bad behavior, like on the other question about the coworker listening in on conversations and the one about the girlfriend spending thousands of dollars on plane tickets for a surprise trip. It excuses some things and some naïveté, e.g. WRT office norms, but this is so far beyond that. This is obsessive and yes, creepy. I don’t see how someone could have gotten through middle school, let alone high school and college (I’m guessing) without realizing that this is creepy. To continue the dating analogy, I wouldn’t excuse this behavior just because someone is new to dating.

      2. My 2 Cents*

        It’s harsh but it’s true, and I think OP needs to hear it. We had a similar person trying to get a job with us and we were sure that with as pushy as the person was being that they’d show up in person soon so we had to notify building security about it because we weren’t so sure that the person was sane.

        1. ExceptionToTheRule*

          I’m sympathetic to this. I have a former employee who is not re-hirable because he wasn’t very stable when he worked for us the first time (I had nothing to do with hiring him the first time). He continues to apply for every job opening we have and drop names of current/former employees who have “told him he’d be great for the opening” except they haven’t. He’s making those comments up. He did escalate to showing up in the lobby. It’s somewhat frightening because I’m not sure he’s any more stable then he was before, he knows I’m in charge of the hiring for that position, and he knows my name, which means he can find out where I live.

          OP #1- I’m not saying you’re like that person, but hiring managers have a history too and all it takes is one applicant who borders on stalker-ish to cast that light on everyone who’s aggressive.

        2. scmill*

          I agree that the OP, new to the workforce or not, needs to hear how s/he’s coming across. I’ve had an applicant that just would not take no for an answer that went way over into the creepy side actually showing up at my office. Fortunately, I had a security guard who also thought he was creepy and would just lie and tell him I wasn’t in the office when he would show up and that he shouldn’t come back again. He finally stopped coming, but he was WAY over the line. OP#1, you do not want to be that person. Move on.

          1. fposte*

            OP can hear how she’s coming across from people who aren’t being insulting, though, and most people responding have managed it. It’s not necessary to be insulting or harsh to get a point across, and it makes it less likely to be useful.

            1. Green*

              That’s the difference between “You are creepy” vs. “I would feel creeped out by this behavior.”

            2. Zillah*

              This. I’d also argue that there’s a huge difference between showing up at an office multiple times and what the OP has done – which is follow up twice in the space of two months. She needs to let it go, but come on.

        3. Zillah*

          I can’t speak to your situation, but based on the OP’s letter, I don’t see anything that would indicate to me that they weren’t “sane.”

          The OP saw a position, eventually applied, got an interview, followed up after three weeks weeks, and followed up a month later. There are definitely things that they should do differently in the future – just apply rather than contacting the hiring manager, for example, and let it go after one follow up email, but I’m not sure that two emails over the space of about two months after an interview is going to be seen as deeply alarming.

          Honestly, even the first follow-up email doesn’t sound awful to me – a little desperate and overly familiar (sorry, OP!), but nothing remotely approaching stalker worthy. That could fit an email like this: “Thanks for taking the time to talk with me! I’m sorry I performed poorly in the interview, but I’m still very interested in working with your organization, so you’ll definitely be hearing from me in the future.” Ideal? No. I can see someone being turned off by that. But stalkery? Really?

    1. College Career Counselor*

      I tend to agree with Michael–get the personal domain name, even if the University has email for life. Where I have worked (and I know there are different approaches), email for life has actually meant email FORWARDING for life. In other words, something like wakeen.t.pott@alumni.university.edu just bounces to an address that you designate. If that’s the case, you might as well get your own domain (or a free 3rd party email address) that you can manage.

  8. AnonyMouse*

    #1: OP, if you really think you might want to build a long-term career at this company, I would definitely advise you to move on and start applying for other jobs. I don’t know many people who spend their whole career at their first job post-graduation, and even though it is theoretically possible, if you go somewhere else now and get more experience, you’ll likely be a much better candidate for jobs at this company going forward. And you may even discover that other companies could be as good a fit, if not better.

    On that note, I’d advise you to read Alison’s previous great advice about the idea of “dream jobs.” Often they’re not as great as expected, and there’s really no way to tell from outside whether something is truly an ideal fit for you – you could have a terrible manager, insufficient resources to get the work done, an inefficiently run organisation, etc etc. If a job seems exciting, by all means apply, but I’d be wary of building it up in your head into the be-all and end-all of jobs for you.

    1. some1*

      I think the last paragraph is key for the LW in helping her move on from this job, and it’s something you learn from experience. To add on to AnonyMouse’s comment, even when things are great in the beginning so many things can change: your great boss leaves and the new one is terrible, your job evolves and you start doing tasks you don’t enjoy, etc. Or sometimes you just outgrow your position, and there’s nowhere to move in the company.

      1. Ali*

        This is me in my current job right now. It used to be all I wanted to do, now I am worn out and ready to bail, and the outgrowing the job thing is part of the reason. At least unless something comes up that I can’t refuse.

    2. Chloe Silverado*

      This is good advice. For years, I was 100% certain that my happiness in my career was dependent on me getting a job with a certain company. Unfortunately, I made some missteps with this company (I turned down an internship for personal reasons, found a personal connection who scored me an interview right after I accepted another job, etc), so the reality is I’m unlikely to be employed by this company – at least not anytime soon.
      I wasn’t allowing myself to find value in the job I had because I was so fixated on getting an idealized job.

      Once I was able to get “over” not being employed by my dream company, I realized how much I loved working there and genuinely like every single one of my co-workers. I recently got offered a promotion (today is my first day -eek!) and I’m so excited to work for my company at a higher level and get new experience in my industry. This job was never part of my plan, but I am so glad my career worked out this way!

      OP, please move on for your own peace of mind. There’s other opportunities out there, and you may find a great position that could start you off on a path you never expected!

    3. littlemoose*

      +1 on this. It is tempting to build up jobs that we think would be a great fit as the Best Job Ever and to lose some perspective. Keeping in mind that this very well may not be the amazing job from which you will eventually retire is probably a good idea. Also, I found it a little concerning that the same job has been posted for months on end. Either they aren’t filling it for whatever reason (budget, management inertia, lack of candidates they perceive as qualified) or there has been a lot of turnover. Both of those possibilities are potential problems with the job, and so moving on would be the best option.

      1. Oryx*

        With certain industries it’s not uncommon to see jobs posted for months on end. In Academia, for instance, a job will stay posted until it’s been filled and because the hiring process takes so long that could mean 5-6 months, easy.

    4. AndersonDarling*

      Agree. I have a lot of sympathy for the OP. But I also cringe at the thought of all the other opportunities that passed her by while pining for this one job.
      To the OP: Honestly, you have no idea how you would fit into this workplace. Everything is great while you are on the outside dreaming about being inside. But it sounds like the universe is telling you that this is not a good fit and to look somewhere else. If you think that this is the only job you could ever be happy with… then you have some issues that you need to work out. There are many jobs that could turn out to be wonderful, but you are ignoring them. If it is really meant to be, you will have another chance in the future, maybe a few years down the road. But I bet that you will discover that your career will go in a completely different direction than you can ever imagine and that “dream job” would have been wrong.
      Let it go. Move on. Have an adventure with a different job. Good luck!

  9. Daisy*

    “Unlike most students, I networked the hell out of those experiences”. What an irritating smug comment to make for no reason. Of course most grad students network at conferences, that’s why conferences exist.

    1. CoffeeLover*

      In OP’s defense, a lot of people don’t know how to network effectively and take advantage of these opportunities. The “unlike most students” part was a bit unnecessary, but I doubt it’s too far from the truth when you take my first sentence into account.

    2. College Career Counselor*

      I completely disagree, Daisy. I’ve seen students (undergrad AND grad) at conferences and other professional association activities and very often they don’t network, effectively or otherwise. All too often, they stand around with each other or the professor they already know, instead of attempting to connect with other scholars. So while conferences may exist (in large part) for networking, it’s a huge leap to say that because they exist, grad students network at them.

      Further, I disagree with your assessment that the person’s comment was smug and irritating. I took the comment to mean that OP #5 had invested significant time and effort into building professional relationships and was concerned about letting them founder because of a change of status/email.

    3. Monday*

      I think Daisy’s comment is a bit unfair, but I do want to point out -constructively if I can- that OP #5 is sounding like a sore winner, comparing her correct actions to other grad students’ mistakes and implying that her prestigious postdoc came as her reward. From one academic to another: the market is far too flooded to function as a meritocracy. Plenty of great scholars never make it, and some mediocre ones succeed. I think it will do you well, especially while networking, to maintain humility about your performance. Even if you don’t believe in karma whatsoever, it’s also a matter of psychological health. In the (likely) event that some day you don’t get the reward you feel you’ve worked for, you will be able to weather it much better with this attitude.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      I totally disagree. I don’t see anything smug about it. OP is making a statement of fact. Many people aren’t good at networking. When opportunities come up some people take advantage of it and some don’t, whether they’re seasoned professionals in their career or fresh out of school.

      1. Jake*


        I never networked at conferences I attended as a student. Maybe 10% of the students I knew networked at all, and most of them didn’t do it well. I don’t think it was an unfair assessment.

        Once I hit the professional world, the %s flipped and most people network really well.

      2. Joline*

        It’s definitely a statement of fact. And it didn’t even really bother me. But I think their point is less of whether or not it’s true but that that fact didn’t need to be stated. That fact was unnecessary for the point of the letter, which was that they networked (and good for them!) and didn’t want to lose those connections.

        1. Joline*

          Oof. Unclear “their” and “them” here. Commenters (their) feeling it didn’t need to be stated. OP (they) networked.

    5. RemoteIT*

      Having worked with multiple rounds of grad students, most of them have no clue how to network and often the only thing they will do at conferences is go to some posters and/or talks then go out to drink with other grad students.

  10. RobM*

    #1 You’ve applied for this role and its clearly not happening. It’s great that you want to work somewhere and have a passion for a role and a company instead of just wanting a paycheck, but it’s time to move on.

    If it helps, then try framing it like this:
    You can’t keep applying and contacting them in a short space of time because that will not go anywhere, and is likely to harm your chances.

    The role says that it requires experience, which you do not have. If you can go somewhere else and acquire that experience then you will be doing something productive for yourself and your career as well as possibly improving your chances of working at your ‘dream company’ in the future.

    If you do this. it may also be that you end up liking the new employer even more than you think you would like the ‘dream company’. You never know.

    Lastly, try not to let ‘choking’ in the interview bother you too much. Learn from it and move on. Despite being in my 40’s and usually interviewing very well (so I’m told), I ‘choked’ myself in a technical interview earlier this year. I was annoyed and surprised with myself but I’ve learned from it and will do better next time.

    1. CoffeeLover*

      I like this. OP, even if you’re not ready to fully move on from this job, at least change your game plan for landing it. Part of this new game plan should involve getting experience elsewhere so you’re a stronger candidate for this role. Good luck!

  11. anon on bereavement*

    #2 — That can sting. Here’s my 2 cents, though — speaking from experience (surrounding my dad’s death): Let it be that boss’s problem and move on. Really, move on — meaning don’t allow the negativity to take up any of your precious time and energy.

    1. CoffeeLover*

      I agree. You can choose to let this weigh you down and affect your relationship with your new boss, or you can choose to let it go. Let it go. It’s better for you both professionally and personally.

      1. mlle-cassis*

        OP, I am truly sorry for your loss but the way you put it in your e-mail sounds terribly entitled to me. How did your boss react when you told her the news? Did she just ignore it and sent you back to work or did she express some sympathy? Did you mention that you were strongly affected by the situation (and maybe needed some accomodation in your schedule to organise/attend the funeral and related or simply, you know, to deal with the whole emotional process) or did you just mention it as any other news? Maybe, as Alison mentioned, is your boss only unaware of this habit your team developed in this kind of situation – or only a bit emotionally disconnected.

        Last year I had to deal with the decease of 4 (yes, four) persons that were close to me in a close range of time and all what I had was the time off to attend the various ceremonies (in Switzerland, it is customary though not legal to allow 1 day off for that kind of event, splittable in 2 half-days depending the ritual). And yes, I had to go back to work the end of the day after burying my grandmother although I was truly feeling like crap. It would never have occurred to me to expect anything more from my boss or colleagues even if the company is a close team of 6 only. The comment “It’s a bit rough, hey?” made the difference, though.

        Or maybe the habit of trying to avoid mixing personal/emotional and professional areas is a cultural thing? (?)

        1. Mallory*

          They are MOURNING, give OP a break. The manager was insensitive (no card, no acknowledgment) – of course the manager does not know of tradition , but acknowledging death is NORMAL. But many people want/think it is best to ignore the situation and move on.

          1. Clover*

            Acknowledging is normal, but I don’t think that acknowledgement necessarily has to be by way of a card. OP doesn’t actually say her boss didn’t acknowledge the bereavement, just that there was no card/flowers/etc.

            It sounds like OP expected cards/flowers because this has been the norm in her workplace, but it is not the norm in all workplaces and the manager might have come from a workplace where this wasn’t what was done.

          2. Green*

            How people deal with death is highly individualized; some people prefer not to talk about it, especially in the workplace, and may not want cards, flowers, or other reminders. How people deal with life occasions in the workplace is also highly individualized (births, weddings, deaths, illness/injury, birthdays), and in many office cultures it would not be the norm to provide cards on each of those occasions. I think some of the comments directed toward the OP are trying to encourage her to see through the mourning-fog, so that it won’t hurt her career or her relationship with her boss.

            1. danr*

              The OP seemed to be the one that organized everything the other times. It’s not odd that no one else picked up the slack. They were waiting for her to do it.

              1. alma*

                It’s not odd, but it does really, really sting for the person who wants to be treated with the kindness they’ve shown others. I think social inertia is a more likely explanation than malice, but I also think OP’s coworkers can be justly faulted for dropping the ball.

                I will also say that I’ve seen, and experienced, cases where grief sometimes manifests as anger. I think OP has some legitimate cause for anger and hurt, but I also think sometimes our brains fixate on a secondary or smaller source of hurt because it’s more psychologically manageable.

                OP#2, regardless of what is the case, I’m so sorry for your loss.

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  Two excellent points, Alma.

                  Your coworkers and boss dropped the ball, OP. I don’t mean it in a nasty way but I would stop with the flowers and cards for people. I don’t mean that in a way “I’ll get even with you.” I mean more like “It’s too much for you to be shouldering alone.” Let other people take a turn at this if they wish. If not, so be it.

                  One last thought, just because she did not get you a card is not the same as saying she did not care. Conversely, I have had people give me cards that did not give two hoots about what I was going through. Yet, the card said they cared. Maybe. For a moment.
                  People are funny/odd. Let it go, it will not help you to hang on to it.

                  I am sorry for your loss.

              2. Miss L. Toe*

                They were waiting for her to send her own condolences? That is the definition of odd if you ask me.

                1. doreen*

                  They weren’t waiting for her to send her own condolences, exactly. But there may have been some half-conscious memory that “someone always takes care of this” without actually remembering who that someone is. One or more “someones” have always taken care of these things wherever I’ve worked- but I couldn’t tell you who.

                2. Kai*

                  Agreeing with doreen. It’s like when there’s always the one person in the office who organizes birthday celebrations, but no one remembers that person’s birthday.

                3. MK*

                  If the OP is always the one to organise this, she has “trained” her coworkers to do nothing in these occasions except participate in what someone else has put together. They probably didn’t even think to start something.

                  I think it’s interesting that the OP is focusing her resentment on her boss, who is both new to the company (thus not knowing the tradition) and a relative stranger to whom the OP is not close to. Especially since, if the OP is the one usually organising this, it’s doesn’t sound like the previous managers actively did what the OP is expecting from this one. I would think that, in this situation, it would have to be the coworkers who said to the boss “we usually do this when a colleague is bereaved, the OP has been really great wheb it happened to us”. OP, it’s probably your coworkers who dropped the ball/didn’t care enough, not your boss.

            2. AcademicAnon*

              Yep after having multiple relatives die this year (each time my manager expressed sincere sympathy) I find getting sympathy cards now to be creepy as h*ll. Come of the viewing, funeral, send flowers, food, email or call, but don’t send me a card.

            3. Hooptie*

              Thank you for pointing this out.

              I have had it go both ways. I’ve had people who were grateful for the acknowledgement (and in some cases the attention), and I’ve had some people say that they don’t want to be reminded at work. I prefer to error on the side of acknowledging the loss briefly, then asking if there is anything they need or want. Then I let it go unless they come back to me.

              I am a dog person, and when I had to put my dog to sleep I was devastated. I could have taken a couple of days of PTO, but I knew sitting around the house would be depressing so I went to work. I asked one person in my department to let everyone know what had happened so that people knew why I was quieter than usual, but also to let them know that I didn’t want to talk about it at work. I came to work to get my mind focused on anything but the death of my dog. Everyone was absolutely fine with it and respected my request.

              Personally, I would not want a card, or flowers, or anything else. The OP does not say if her manager acknowledged the loss verbally, but even if she did not you have to realize that some people consider a loss a personal matter and prefer not to bring it up at work. Though as a manager I would expect that if someone is having difficulty and it is affecting their work, or they just need a couple more days off, that they would come to me so I can help.

        2. Katie the Fed*

          OP just lost her mother, I think we can excuse a bit of cloudy thinking. Calling her “entitled” in this situation is just plain rude. We spent a good amount of lives at work and with coworkers and it’s reasonable to expect some expression of sympathy, especially if it’s the tradition in that work place.

          But like I said below, some peope are just utter morons when it comes to other people’s grief and tragedies.

    2. Anon Accountant*

      Yes. IT sounds like it was due to the boss being new and not knowing what was the norm for that company. And I’m sorry for your loss.

    3. HarperC*

      Yes, so true. I was in a similar situation when my grandmother died last year. There were flowers and cards when another coworker’s mother in law died, but nothing for me. However, then I realized that I had only told our socially awkward manager, and he just didn’t tell anyone else (because he may have also thought it was confidential). Regardless, I had to just let it go. There is sadly just no other way to deal with it without damaging work relationships.

      1. fposte*

        I also think that once you get outside of direct family–parent, spouse, child–it’s even muddier. I don’t think my workplace would do flowers for an in-law or a grandparent (and I wouldn’t, for the people for whom I’d be the flower source), and a card would depend a lot of the situation and the co-workers.

    4. Jenny*

      It super sucks. But also, anyone who’s ever had anyone die close to them knows that people are VERY uncomfortable with death and have no idea what to say and what to do so they just usually end up not doing anything. It has nothing to do with you.

      That being said, managers – come on already. Buy a number of birthday, congratulations and sympathy cards from the dollar section at Hallmark and keep them in your desk for these kinds of things. That way you don’t have to think about it and you can just do it right when it happens.

      1. Graciosa*

        I agree with the concept, but would recommend plain stationery that will allow you to write whatever is appropriate without worrying about having the right type of card available.

        One odd caveat to be aware of – as a manager in our company, I no longer have access to an employee’s home address (even those that report to me) so I can’t actually mail a card directly any more. I can either present it physically myself, or route it to HR to be addressed. I assume that either there was a problem somewhere else (very big company!) or someone decided we didn’t “need to know” the information and changed the system.

        I just thought I should mention it here for the OP to consider. Possibly the manager wanted to do something and tried unsuccessfully to get the address, causing her to conclude that this was not appropriate.

    5. Sunflower*

      Don’t take it personally. Some people don’t know how to acknoledge death so they chose to completely ignore it. Not saying that’s the right thing to do but it often explains why people fail to hear from people when things like this happen and it’s not about the person grieving at all. I can pretty much assure you it has nothing to do with you as a person and I would focus more on doing whatever you need to do at this time. Just going to work and going through duties can take more energy than you have so I would second anon’s advice

      1. Manager Anonymous*

        I was 5 months in my new position when a direct report’s father died. I expressed my sympathy in person. I arranged bereavement leave for the employee. As a staff we gave a gift of money (to defray travel expenses) and a comfort gift on her return. I did not send/give a sympathy card. When my father-in-law (who was the only father I had these last 20 years) died. I received not one card or comment from my peers or supervisors. Nor did I expect one in the work environment. I am concerned about the assumption of work/place norms in the comments. “Buy a number of birthday, congratulations and sympathy cards from the dollar section at Hallmark and keep them in your desk for these kinds of things. That way you don’t have to think about it and you can just do it right when it happens” I am not in agreement that a commercial greeting card is the “right” response to a devastating loss.

    6. Miss Elaine E*

      Coming to this discussion very late but am posting it for the benefit of those in similar circumstances.

      When my father passed away, I was a bit dismayed to receive no acknowledgment from my employer, other than being granted the time off making arrangements and the funeral itself. I received no flowers, no card, nothing. It didn’t help that my siblings did from their employers.

      When I returned to work, I emailed our HR person who handles such things as birthday greetings etc. I framed it as, “umm, gee, this is awkward, but I felt the need to mention that if the company sent any kind of memorial for my dad, it wasn’t received.” She quickly responded with “Come see me”. When I did, she shut the door and very, very apologetically said she had printed the information about my dad and it promptly got buried on her desk — she even showed me the print-out, the back of which she had written a memo to herself about other matters without realizing what it was.

      The company then made a sizeable donation to my children’s Catholic school. There were other parental deaths shortly thereafter (including, sadly, my father in law), and all of them were promptly, prominently, and appropriately acknowledged.

      So, in a nutshell, if this happens to you, it might be worth bringing it up, framing it as a possible error by the florist or something. It could have been an honest mistake.

  12. Cheesecake*

    OP #1, in regards to the position – you should definitely move on. But i think most important is for you to change “i want to retire here” thinking. I know exactly 0 people who started in one company and worked there until retirement. I myself once worked somewhere where i thought “i want to be here forever and ever”. But my forever was over after 5 years…and i am happy about it.

    It was said above that job hunting is like dating, so is work life. You go through different stages from sparks to love to boredom to sometimes hatred and separation; and there are so many variable and it changes so quick. You just can’t be fixed; you need to be open and flexible!

    1. HarperC*

      I so agree with this! OP1, you are young! What you want now (or think you want) could totally change in just a few years. So, right now, I know you’re really disappointed, but you don’t know what the future – even short term – could hold. I’ve not gotten a “perfect” job before only to find out that the position I ended up with was terrific! Good luck out there!

    2. Eliza Jane*

      I actually know several people who have stayed in one company until retirement, and in the OP’s defense on this front, it seems to be more of a “company” thing than a personality thing, by which I mean some companies do a really good job of being for-life employers. My current company has at least 3 people in my (60ish-person) department who have been here over 30 years, since getting out of school, and a lot more people who have been here 5+ years and started here right out of school, with no intention of leaving.

      It may be that the company the OP is talking about is a lifer-friendly company. I’m not saying he or she necessarily would end up staying there even if the job was offered, or that it’s something to bank your career on, but it’s not an unheard-of situation, even today, and in some fields and industries in particular.

      1. Cheesecake*

        Ok, i do know people who spent 15+ years with the company; it’s just i doubt they will retire anytime soon. I don’t know anyone who started right out of uni and stayed until 60something. And while i am sure this is enormous, working in a couple of different companies (and fields) brings experience one simply can’t get staying with one and only employer. Don’t let me start about M&A, i personally witnessed people working for 20-30+ years in a very stable big company…until it was bought by another stable big company. It was devastating for them and darn hard to deal with. So yes, instead of focusing on the company – focus on yourself to become so good you will actually choose employers and not the other way round.

        1. en pointe*

          Additionally, if the OP were to end up getting laid off or wanting to leave at some stage, job searching is potentially going to be harder after staying 20-30 years with one company, straight out of uni. Might make people doubt how adaptable she’s going to be to a new environment, for one.

    3. Polaris*

      I know several people who worked for their first employer through retirement, but it is becoming less common. OP1, don’t close yourself off to other opportunities. The working world is a big place. There are many amazing and meaningful jobs and employers out there. The right job for you right now could be something you didn’t realize existed or working for an employer of whom you have never heard or both. I recommend that you sit down and think about the things you enjoy doing, the types of tasks at which you excel, the things you would like to learn, companies and industries you admire, etc. Write things down. Read a variety of job postings. What sounds interesting? What doesn’t? It may help you become excited about other possibilities, which will make it easier for you to move on.

      1. Judy*

        Especially now that companies are getting rid of pensions, there doesn’t seem to be any reward to stay at a company for your entire career. The companies I’ve worked for have all frozen pensions, new employees don’t have them, existing employees don’t get any more years of service added. I would really prefer that I be able to roll my pension account values into my 401k at this point, so I have control. One of the companies did that, and I took it, luckily, since the auto bail-out paid the salaried employees $.30 on the $1 for their pension values. My current small company just does a very generous 401k match.

        1. ThatITd00d*

          This just happened to my Dad. 34 years in the same company, which has now switched hands 4 times, their pensions being downgraded each time and now, which the last switch, permanently frozen. He works his ass off at that plant, is on their hazmat team, has been a team player for 34 years– and not only was he passed over for the latest supervisory promotion because he is “too close to retirement,” said pension will only pay a measley $300/month if he retires at 65. My mom’s situation is not much better, and I’m an only child with no help from family and my own battery of medical issues. The future terrifies me so much I generally just try not to think about it.

          There are a lot of people at the top of the food chain these days that deserve nothing more than to be devoured financially, the way they’ve done so many others.

          1. Ineloquent*

            I’m pretty sure your dad getting passed up would count as illegal age discrimination, at least in the US.

    4. AndersonDarling*

      When I was in my 20’s, I thought every job was the perfect job and I would retire there. I spent 2 years at each one, and they were all horrible. Then I walked off the job, was unemployed, and took the first job I was offered. And that random job turned out to be wonderful. I never heard of the organization, and I really had no idea what it would be like. But this is the job I will retire from, and I had no idea it would be the “dream job” when I was hired.

    5. AVP*

      I just think it’s funny to think that any of the companies we all work for now might be around in 60 years. Some of them will, and one would assume that government jobs will, but who really knows?

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        I have worked for nine companies in 28 years, and five of them are no longer in existence.

    6. Lils*

      The one piece of advice I would give to those starting out in careers would be “be flexible”. Unless you’re 60+, you shouldn’t be thinking of any job as the one you’ll retire from. You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment with that kind of rigid thinking. As those above have mentioned, all kinds of things can happen to make you want to move on: you want more of a challenge, changes in your personal life, a new boss, layoffs.

      I would also imagine that you’re looking for something pie-in-the-sky perfect so you can stay there forever. That perfect job does not exist. The best job in the world is still going to be about 30-40% suck.

      1. Felicia*

        I agree! I am in my mid 20s and what I hope for (and currently have) in a job is somewhere i can be relatively happy with for the next few years

  13. Starbux*

    #2 – something similar happened to me in my job. My boss is all about birthday celebrations, so when mine was forgotten, it hurt but I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. When it was forgotten again the following year, I knew something was up. I started paying closer attention to how she acted towards me. She was constantly passive aggressive and rude. She did not treat other staff members in this way.

    It’s possible that your boss doesn’t know what the standard protocol is in your offices for deaths. It’s also possible she is not one to get involved in the personal matters of her staff – some people just like to separate work and personal life.

    I’m very sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to lose a parent.

  14. Apollo Warbucks*

    #1 You can tell very little about the job, company or other candidates from the outside. Trust that the hiring manager knows what it is they are looking for.

    A while ago applied for an internal transfer to another office that needed someone to do what looked like exactly the same job as I currently do, with more than 5 years experience and as an internal candidate that knows the business I was really excited to apply and thought the job was mine. turns out I wasn’t what the hiring manager was looking for. I was shocked and really upset not to even be asked to interview, but it turns out the roles were ever so slightly different and there were some important skills I was missing that were a deal breaker.

    Broaden your search get some experience somewhere else to strengthen your application for next time there is a opening at the firm you want to work.

  15. Alliej0516*

    #2 – So sorry for your loss! When my dad died in 2005, the company that I was working for at the time did not get me a card or flowers or anything of the sort. However, they did allow me the leeway that I needed over the course of the last few months he was with us to jump up and leave anytime my phone rang when he needed me, when they moved him from the hospital to hospice, etc, plus a generous bereavement time. That to me was more valuable than a store-bought expression of sympathy. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important, and certainly not worth harboring resentment for – that hurts you more than it hurts your boss. Do yourself a favor and let it go.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Agreed. When my dad died in 2006, my boss was great about letting me have the time off I needed to help my mom with funeral arrangements and other things, and to just take some time for myself. They did send me some flowers, which was very thoughtful, but my boss saying, “Take whatever time you need, and we’ll take care of things here,” meant much more to me than flowers. I believe I did do some work during that week, because I was up to my elbows in a project that no one else could really step in and take over, but even with that my boss told me to not worry about it if it didn’t happen. I actually found that being able to absorb myself in work for a few hours here and there was helpful for me.

      My brother died suddenly in January, and at the time I was in Sweden doing some software testing. I called my project manager, who told me to get home as quickly as I could, and that the rest of the team would handle the testing. I then called my boss, who also told me to get home immediately to be with my mother. While we were talking, I told her that I felt bad for having to leave so suddenly, because the project was at a critical point. We were very close to the launch date, which had already been pushed once. Everything was being scrutinized by managers all the way up to the executive level. I felt like I was abandoning my colleagues at the worst possible time, even though I knew there was no help for it. My boss told me to quit worrying and get home.

      The travel office at my company was also fantastic. I called them, told them what had happened, and they told me to sit tight while they took care of rebooking my flights. The woman who handled it called me back and said she had me flying to LA, and then back to Denver, because at the time there were awful blizzards all over the midwest and along the East Coast. So she said she thought it was better to have me go to LA and double back, rather than risk getting stuck in DC or Chicago. I really appreciated her thinking about that, because I sure hadn’t.

      All those things meant much more to me than flowers or a card. I was so grateful for having so much support from so many people, especially being so far away from home when it happened. I also got some very nice emails from some of my colleagues, and I appreciated their kindness as well.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        THIS is how to run a company. Take care of the people who take care of the company. I loved your story here.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          Yeah. My company certainly isn’t perfect, and some of the management directives can be pretty infuriating. But with stuff like this, they really are awesomely supportive all the way around. In the situation with my brother, especially, I was so thankful that the travel office was able to deal with re-booking my flights. It was a relief to have someone to call for help when I was so far away from home.

    2. OP #2*

      Thank you for taking the time to write. I did receive the standard three days off work and it was wonderful to spend that time with my family and friends. I really am very appreciative of having that benefit. After reading so many thoughtful responses I have a better perspective.

  16. Oryx*

    For OP #1, I think many of us have been in a position where there is a specific company or organization we want to work for but as mentioned up thread, desire isn’t enough you do need to have the experience and education and in this economy you are, unfortunately, up against people who DO have those things.

    Just because you think you may want to retire from this place doesn’t mean you have to work your entire career there. It’s a nice thought, sure, but not how it’s going to work out apparently. Instead, take this time as an opportunity to get a job elsewhere that will help you build the resume that will allow you to feel more confident in a few years to apply again if and when they have another job opening. But please, whatever you do, DO NOT continue to contact the company. Enthusiasm for a position has its limits before it starts to enter the territory of uncomfortable. Their decision has been made and there is nothing more you can do and continuing to email will only do more harm, to the point that it may even be remembered down the road when you apply for jobs in the future.

  17. AdAgencyChick*

    #3 — I bet that new job title and salary would materialize right quick if you have another job offer on the table. Not saying that you should go job hunting simply as a way of getting more money out of your current company (all kinds of conventional wisdom says the contrary). But it’s obvious that your boss lacks your sense of urgency on getting you paid and titled what you’re worth. This may be deliberate, it may be your boss being a perfectionist, or there may be some bureaucratic wheels that need to be greased. In any case, I’d job-hunt in addition to having the “what can we do about this?” conversation Allison suggests.

    1. Artemesia*

      Although there are a few settings where accepting a counter offer is okay eg. it is pretty standard in Academia to not get a real raise without a competitive offer, in most companies once you have a new offer and dangle that to get a counter offer, your days are likely to be numbered. Odds are fair that they will mentally check you off and perhaps even fire you down the road when they have new people in place. Once you play this game, you become the unreliable person who is ‘disloyal’.

      I have heard too many horror stories of bad outcomes from staying with a company that made a counter offer to ever want to do that. The reason to move is that the current company doesn’t value the OP enough to make this promised promotion happen even with him or her doing the legwork. They keep her doing the higher level work at low pay because they can. If s/he gets a new job offer, it is time to move on not accept a counter offer.

      1. Katherine.*

        I work closely with a few Directors and VPs and know they would quickly find a reason to let me go if I even hinted about a new job or a counter offer. That being said, I am job hunting and if something better comes up I will likely leave before this is all worked out and then cite it in my exit interview.

        I like the phrase ‘bureaucratic wheels that need to be greased” and may use that jokingly with one of my managers who seems paralyzed by the HR system. The sense of urgency is always discussed but there is no real emotion or drive behind it to make things happen. I’m still searching for what to say to communicate this is urgent to get them on board with moving things forward or clearly explaining the stalling.

  18. SJP*

    Just out of interest, can other commenters weigh in on whether it’s social norm for companies to give cards/flowers etc for loss of family members. In the UK and the US please

    I’m UK based and in all the jobs i’ve been in the company has never acknowledged people’s family members passing, other than a sorry for your loss spoken and letting them have the time off they needed for arrangements and funeral.
    I mean colleagues who were close with the person have given notes and cards but not the actual company itself. I know it’s really hard to loose a family member but I wouldn’t be offended if the company I work for didn’t formally acknowledge it (Card, letter, or even a collection?!)… but then again thats just me. From my experience it’s not a social norm here in the UK so wouldn’t feel slighted

    Can others way in please, I’m really curious about this

    1. Carrie in Scotland*

      When my mum died 5 years ago, the place I worked at gave me some time off (unpaid) but I never received a card or anything (I’d been there 18 months or so). My dad received many cards and a lot of people from his work attended the funeral though.

    2. Kate*

      Every company I have worked at or my family has worked at has sent flowers for immediate family deaths. This has been small, medium, and large companies. We are in the US.

      I wouldn’t be offended if they didn’t but I would at how I was being treated overall.

    3. mm*

      I work for a non-profit in the US and my mother is currently in hospice. I’m using FMLA (family leave) to tend to my mom’s needs and have received a lot of support from my boss and higher ups. We are given a certain amount of hours each year to use as an extended illness bank or for FMLA so any time I take off now is paid. When the time comes I will receive four days of paid bereavement leave. I expect at that time I will receive cards from a few people at work but not from the organization itself.

    4. UKAnon*

      I would say that even if it is company norm to do these things, just about everyone (indeed, everyone?) is going to be far more appreciative of time off as needed for visiting/funeral arrangements/funeral/just having a day to help you feel better if needed then cards/flowers (though a nice gesture). Indeed, cards/flowers are probably going to make the situation worse if you’re also being told that you can’t have time off, or being made to feel horrendously guilty for taking time off, or in other ways the company just isn’t showing some basic sensitivity to it all.

    5. Tenley*

      No company/boss I’ve worked for in the United States has ever acknowledged a death in the family other than to grant leave and maybe personally express condolences, but not with a card, flowers, donation, food, or other. I can really only imagine it in a situation of a smaller company where the boss or coworkers knew the person who died.

    6. Katie the Fed*

      We don’t have a budget for anything like that, but I usually do take up a collection or pay out of pocket for a food basket and card or something like that.

      A few years ago, my dad was hospitalized after a stroke and we didn’t know if he’d make it. I was out for a month. When I got back my boss’s boss made some asinine comment like “bout time you came back to work!” and I decided I needed a new job. But I’ve come to learn a lot of people are just complete morons when it comes to other people’s grief and tragedies.

      1. Clover*

        Ugh, yes, people end up saying such inappropriate things! After a close relative died following a prolonged (but not painful or particularly debilitating) illness several people told me “it must be a relief they’re not ill anymore”. No, it wasn’t a relief that someone I loved had died!

        1. Liane*

          And there are still people who wonder why etiquette writers (and advice columnists!) like Miss Manners repeat so often, “Just say, “‘I am sorry for your loss.'” And then usually have to add, that if you want to add a memory about the deceased–if you knew or had met them–that it should be something good or pleasant.
          What Katie & Clover were told were awful things to say.

    7. Eliza Jane*

      I’ve never received an acknowledgment at the company level, but there’s pretty much always been someone who notices, “Hey, we should pass a card around.” It’s not always management, though: it’s more of a social nicety that comes up in any sort of social circle: in this case, the social circle is the coworkers you see daily.

    8. Colette*

      When my dad died, no one at work gave me a card and most people didn’t mention it – but my manager gap went to her manager and arranged for me to be paid for the time I was off (I was a contractor), which was far more helpful.

      Since the OP is often the one to take care of purchasing the card/flowers, it’s likely that no one else thought of doing it, especially the new boss.

    9. B*

      Everywhere I’ve worked (in the UK – north england fwiw) we’ve sent flowers when someone is bereaved.

      I have told a colleague that if I am bereaved I don’t want flowers, a card is fine. Flowers die and make me cry all the more :-/

      1. B*

        Oh, paid for by a collection. I’ve always worked in public sector so can’t really use public cash for that.

    10. Clover*

      I think this depends hugely on the workplace (I’ve worked in both UK and US, as well as other countries) and individual managers. I’ve never come across a company sending cards, but have seen it at team/department level depending on the manager/workplace tradition in both UK and US.

      As a general rule I have found the US more likely to do cards for many things – birthdays, promotions, bereavements, get well, etc. – than other countries. UK seems to lean more towards generosity with paid time off than US.

      1. Tina*

        In my former office, people would take up personal collections to send flowers, but it wasn’t done by the company or the dept budget. And in several cases, a few of us actually went to the wake or funeral.

    11. Sarah*

      In the US, it is quite common to do a joint card or flowers. I’ve worked for medium-size nonprofits, and often the nonprofit would pay for flowers. This all depends on if there is someone thoughtful that needs the effort. I think what has happened here is that the person that normally led the effort had the death in the family.

      1. AdminAnon*

        I think what has happened here is that the person that normally led the effort had the death in the family.

        Agreed. I am in charge of birthdays and other celebrations in my office (boss’s day, etc), so without fail, my birthday goes uncelebrated every year. This year, at least, a couple of co-workers noticed after the fact (a week later, when I got a card/cake for another co-worker). Anyway, my point is that–unfortunately–this may be one of those situations where people just didn’t think of it because they’ve never had to before. OP, I’m so sorry for your loss!

    12. TotesMaGoats*

      Here in the US, in academic (staff-side), at the very least departmental acknowledgment via a card or flowers up to and including attending the funeral (depending on the person). In some cases, a larger university response has happened.

      1. fposte*

        Is that for the passing of an employee’s relative or the death of an actual employee? Maybe it’s the hugeness factor at my school, but I can’t imagine a university response to the death of an employee’s parent here.

        1. TotesMaGoats*

          Actually it was both. We recently lost a team member and 50+ university staff came to the funeral, up to the VP level. Several years ago, our admin coordinator, a long time staff member, lost her mother and again a large turn out including the AVP/VP level. We are a very large non-trad state university but small staff-wise.

          1. fposte*

            Wow. That’s pretty cool. We’ve done announcements about such things within the department, but I don’t think anybody higher in the university would even know, let alone attend a funeral, for a relative.

    13. Judy*

      In the US, 3 F500 companies, one small one. The large ones had strict procedures for company paid flowers – parent, parent-in-law, spouse, child, child-in-law only. Usually there was also someone who organized card and possibly collecting for flowers within the groups when someone died, or the secretary would send an email “Bob’s mother died, I have a card at my desk today to sign.” They also had procedures for relationships and how many bereavement days. I’ve not been at this small company long enough to know what they do, but they barely have procedures for doing their work, much less HR-y functions.

    14. Karowen*

      Southeast US – My co-worker’s father recently died, so I took up a voluntary collection in our small department to get her some flowers and a card (truly voluntary – emailed everyone BCC and said that if they wanted to give money for her, to stop by my desk). The company didn’t recognize it in any way.

    15. danr*

      My old company (US) did this. The cards and flowers or donations (for religions or people that don’t do flowers) came from Personnel (it wasn’t HR) and the card was signed by the president of the company. The basic time off was in the company handbook and, if the funeral was local, fellow workers could use company time to attend. This was especially generous for the folks who were not exempt.

    16. hayling*

      At my last company they (HR) did flowers. Usually not a personalized card because we were kinda big and distributed.

      My current company will pass a card around. We don’t usually do flowers although we may have when someone had a baby.

    17. doreen*

      Not at my jobs- it’s always been coworkers who collect money and send cards and flowers. My husband’s experience has been different – three companies he’s worked for have sent flowers/cards for not only losses, but also births and weddings. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all three, from the single retail store to the 31 store chain, were family-owned.

    18. Mister Pickle*

      My company – a large, established F500 – has for as long as I can remember had a special expense reimbursement category titled “Flowers – Birth/Death/Marriage”

      1. AdminAnon*

        Yep. We are a small non-profit (approximately 20 employees), but we have an expense line called “employee recognition,” which can be used for birthdays, weddings, babies, and bereavement (flowers, donations, etc). We also have a similar expense line for our Board of Directors and Advisory Board. We tend to use that one only for flowers/memorials–we’ve had quite a few Board members lose parents and/or spouses in the last couple of years, so we built in a small amount for those instances.

    19. AVP*

      I work for a very small, private, US-based company. It’s normal for us to send flowers to any of our close co-workers, from the company. (That said, we’re such a small company that this has happened maybe three times over seven years. I didn’t send them to the CEO when either of his parents died because I know he wouldn’t like the flowers and it would be essentially wasting his own money…)

    20. Boo*

      I’m in the UK and got cards from Ex-Job when my dad passed away a couple of years ago. Though I have to say I cherished the one from my coworkers far more than the one from management, in which two of the directors had simply signed their first names like they did for all other birthday/christmas/retirement cards. But as another poster pointed out above, sometimes the brain likes to fixate on something small and manageable to be upset about rather than the Huge Life Changing Thing that just happened, and frankly I despised those directors anyway so whatevs. What I did find uncomfortable was when I came back lots of people I didn’t know would express their condolences when they saw me. I know it was well intentioned but it was very hard to try and focus on my work and then have a random stop me in the corridor and have to talk about my dad and his long term illness all over again. But then to be fair, if nobody had asked, that would probably have upset me too. Grieving the loss of someone close is such a roller coaster of all the emotions, and your own reactions to things can be so unexpected, I hope the OP won’t feel bad for their reactions.

      Being in the UK and in the public sector at the time I was also allowed 5 days compassionate leave. It was such a weird time. There was lots of funeral stuff to do but apart from the day of the actual funeral I felt like I was skiving. After that it was one huge life thing after another so I don’t think I really grieved until Father’s Day this year.

    21. SJP*

      Thanks everyone! That’s been really informative.

      The general consensus i’ve got is that a lot do collections but using personal resources rather than using company funds/budgets. Which is really nice, IMO because we spend so many hours with our coworkers that for them to be nice enough to acknowledge and get you a little something in your time of mourning is lovely.

      And for those companies who do have a bit of a budget to get colleagues stuff for births/marriages/funerals then you’re very lucky!

      OP also, I wanted to mention I am so sorry for your loss!

    22. Queen Anon*

      When our dad died, my sister specifically asked her boss not to send flowers – because the company sent everyone flowers if their parents died, then took the cost out of the employee’s paycheck. Thanks but no thanks!

    23. EngineerGirl*

      When my Dad died my company sent a huge bouquet of flowers to the funeral home AND sent a card signed by everyone AND gave me multiple paid weeks off to settle things. To be fair, this was a reflection of my management chain which was awesome. I can think of a boss previous to that (on another program) who refused to give me my job back after an FMLA leave for same parent. I had to call corporate benefits and the ethics line about that one.
      In short, in the US it is highly dependent on your manager.

    24. Sunflower*

      It totally depends on the company and office. I work for a small company (~30 people all in the same office) and a couple months ago, someone in another departments parent died and I think some people sent individual cards but there was no office wide card or anything.

    25. Schnauz*

      US, midwest here. My company provides 1 week of bereavement leave per death (parents, children, siblings and grandparents). No “official” company acknowledgement. However, usually a coworker or manager of the person will get a card or volunteer to take a collection for anyone who wants to contribute. We rarely use that money for flowers though. More often we get gift cards or just pass the cash along since people often have travel expenses, food, paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels, etc) from when people gather that they could use the extra help.

    26. Jen RO*

      Romania – nothing material as far as I’ve seen, just verbal condolences and flexibility in terms of leaving work unexpectedly etc. Receiving cards, flowers or money would feel extremely odd to me.

    27. annie*

      US, small business. The company sends flowers, and coworkers and usually the owner will attend the wake, sometimes the funeral as well.

    28. AcademicAnon*

      In the us, it depends on company culture and what relationship the employee had to the person who died.

      For my grandfather’s death, my father’s construction company sent a large flower arrangement and either the company or his direct manager also sent food over. The company as a whole is focused on it’s workers, and is a family owned large business spread out all over the US, so I’d expect this is the norm company wide.

      Current workplace some years back, someone lost a baby due to complications. A department wide email was sent, and there was even a sign-up sheet for people to volunteer to make food and take it to the parents. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the university also sent a card and/or flowers.

    29. squid*

      In local government, in Canada.
      The employer itself would not send any cards or contributions, but the employee association I belong to provides gift baskets in certain circumstances including the loss of a close family member. There is also a culture of immediate co-workers taking up collection/signing cards/attending the visitation if it is in this town.
      This wouldn’t be the boss’s responsibility explicitly but he would act as part of the group.

  19. Anon Accountant*

    OP1 can always get some experience then apply for an open position. Or may find a great position s/he loves and wants to stay in.

    Take the skills and experience they want and aim to gain those from another position. Then if still interested when another position open, reapply. You may find a job you love before then though.

  20. some1*

    Regarding #1, just as an FYI, if you see a position advertised, you can go ahead and apply and leave explanations about lack of experience and your fitness for the position to your cover letter. Contacting the hiring manager directly usually doesn’t help much unless you have an in. Really the only thing a hiring manager is going to tell you in this situation is to go ahead and apply if the job is posted and you can’t take that as a yay or nay sign.

  21. Sophia*

    #5 I don’t actually need to send an email – that’s how academia works, moving positions. I’m about to start TT job in Jan and it didn’t occur to me to send an email like that. Sure if you’re emailing someone you can share the good news. But I’m in a top 10 department for my program and never received an email like this

  22. Hummingbird*

    #4 What are the legal requirements for an unpaid internship? I’m curious to know.

    It’s been a few years since I had one. However, some of my fellow interns chose to be paid while the rest of us chose to get school credit (I didn’t realize at the time that my school didn’t care and I could have “double-dipped.”). There were a few things that happened in which I was out of pocket on, and the company told us flat-out we couldn’t get reimbursed.

    1. College Career Counselor*

      From the US Dept. of Labor:

      There are six criteria for the “legal” definition of an (unpaid) internship, under which unpaid internships—in for-profit organizations—will not violate the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, it must be a training program (a squishy term) which meets the following criteria:

      1.The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
      2.The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
      3.The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
      4.The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
      5.The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
      6.The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

      Most employers and career services professionals disagree with the fourth criterion. Personally, I believe internships should be paid (because you’re doing actual WORK) and credit should not be substituted instead of pay. Nor do I believe that higher ed institutions should be allowed to dictate whether an intern (and this is especially true of graduate school internships and practicum situations) an intern is paid. There are a lot of people in education, social work, counseling, etc. who are doing half to full-time internship/practicum work for free (AND paying for course registration at their graduate program), which is ridiculous in my mind.

      1. Liane*

        The more I read about unpaid internships the more I wonder what happened to college programs like Cooperative Education, which I participated in in the late 80s at my university, and many schools across the US offered it.
        These were paid, at competitive entry-level rates, internships at a company/organization in a field related to your degree and were open to juniors and seniors, typically for a 2 year obligation. Co-op students alternated semesters each year–1 would be working the fulltime internship, the next would be a full courseload with no work. Generally, the school’s Co-op Ed Office would have a pair of interns at the same company, so the position wouldn’t be empty during your academic turns. As far as tuition went, at my school, you paid for a 1 credit hour (at your level) satisfactory/unsatisfactory course for each internship semester.
        I worked in our city’s water department laboratory, primarily assisting the microbiologist but also doing some wet, non-automated chemistry and learned a lot about both fields. I got my first “real” job largely on the strength of this internship, and it was quite an education in other ways too. The money was good, too–enough to pay for several semesters of on-campus rent and a car.

        1. Judy*

          I think paid internships are still a very real thing for engineering students, at least around here. It seems like nonprofits and media/entertainment/fashion do lots of unpaid internships.

          1. Miss Betty*

            I worked for an architecture/engineering company about 15 years ago. They had paid interns – in fact, the interns made just $1.00 less per hour than the secretaries.

          2. Evan*

            I worked at some computer programming internship every summer while in college, and I was always paid. As far as I could tell, just about all my classmates were, too.

            My internships weren’t arranged through the school, but I know of at least one other college that has a very active co-op program with alternating semesters. So, it’s still a thing some places, at least in engineering.

        2. EngineerGirl*

          Co-ops were great! The student got experience on how the real world worked and the engineers were freed up from some of the more mundane and tedious tasks. Win/win.

        3. Hillary*

          Paid internships/coops are still normal for business and engineering students. I really like that my company’s interns are paid because (1) it gets us better candidates and (2) it means we can assign them projects where they’re the best resource.

          Our internship program is essentially a feeder for our leadership development programs, so the initial cost of pay, activities and housing allowance is well worth it.

    2. Artemesia*

      I think it is kind of horrifying to get school credit unless the school is running a very structured internship i.e. they have academic seminars associated with it or at least a tutorial arrangement with a professor where you are doing significant academic work related to the internship. Internships are used by so many companies to avoid paying for work that should be paid for and regardless of the legal requirements, I would hazard that few companies with interns meet them. I have observed this at close hand and find it appalling that so many students essentially work for free with little learning happening. And of course it is even more appalling that these tracks into future jobs are only available to those who can afford to work for free.

      1. Cherry Scary*

        I was required to complete an internship to graduate (did not have to pay for class credits though, simply have my adviser approve it.) Since most of my friends were also in media roles, most internships were unpaid. I got lucky in that the PBS station I interned with had a grant that allowed them to pay one intern, but most of us were unpaid. I felt for my intern neighbor who had to do research on the paid/unpaid debate for a show, as she was unpaid!

      2. LV*

        I was required to do an 8-month co-op job placement as part of my master’s degree. I was paid, so it’s not quite the same, but it’s true that I learned very little on the job. The job description listed a bunch of projects that sounded very interesting and closely related to my studies, but when I started working there I found out that the org had hired consultants for all those projects – and had fully intended to hire them all along. Basically, my supervisor wanted a personal assistant and couldn’t justify one to her boss, so she said, “Hey, let’s hire a student employee!”

        I gained a bit of work experience related to my field by getting involved with my coworkers’ projects, but overall, it was a big waste of time.

  23. Katie the Fed*

    #1 – if I had to guess, you’re used to being able to negotiate your way into getting what you want. Unfortunately, in the business world, there’s often no room for negotiation – no means no. You didn’t have the skills they needed, and you bombed the interview. Unfortunately, that door has probably closed (for now). That’s not to say you couldn’t get a job there in 5 years, but this isn’t going to happen for you right now. And you’re missing out on other valuable opportunities. You have to move on.

    #2 – I think perhaps you’re channeling your grief from over your mom to your boss, because your reaction does seem a tad disproportionate to me. Yes, she should have done something but those traditions can be specific to institutions so maybe she just doesn’t know. I would cut her some slack on this and assume she just doesn’t know.

  24. Eliza Jane*

    #2, one thing I’ve noticed is that the person who is the one to buy the flowers and cards is often overlooked when they are the one grieving. You say, “In the past, my coworkers and I have actually taken up a collection and given either flowers, donation or food to the bereaved person and their family. I have on many occasions been the one to buy the flower, card and food and take it to the family.”

    In every social circle, there’s usually one person who cares more about these things than other people, and they’re the one to say, “We should buy a card/bake a casserole/take up a collection.” My mother is always that person, in every group she’s in, and it always hurts her when she doesn’t get the cards/flowers/casseroles. The problem is that people get into patterns, and the pattern the others follow is “When someone brings a card, I’ll sign it/contribute $5”. No one thinks to start the card, because the person who usually starts the cards is the one who needs it, this time.

    Does it stink? Yes. But it’s a part of human nature, and I don’t think there’s a way to avoid it other than to refuse to be the initiator most of the time, and remember to step up when the usual initiator needs the community to close in around them.

    1. LBK*

      This was exactly my thought – the OP doesn’t make it seem like the manager had anything to do with any previous tributes. I’m not clear why it’s expected that the manager should’ve organized this one when the others sound like they’ve been organized by the OP’s peers, especially given that the manager is new so you’d think something very personal and emotional like this would make more sense coming from the coworkers the OP has presumably known for more of her 14 years there.

    2. The IT Manager*

      I agree. It matters to the LW, and LW is a nice caring person so LW makes sure that it is taken care of for others.

      Here’s the thing, flowers and cards do not matter to me. I truly do not “get” the flowers except it’s a social convention, but it seems like a waste of flowers and money to me. Pretty flowers are not going make me feel any better about my loss. A heartfelt note on a card MIGHT mean me something to, but a card purchased and passed around the office is very perfunctory. I’ve been there – 30 seconds out of the work day to scrawl my name.

      It is disappointing that your long time co-workers who know you organize this sort of thing didn’t catch on how much it matters to you and think of themselves for you, but move on. It is not likely to be a deliberate slight, and realize that your emotions are in an usually heightened state.

  25. Ann Furthermore*

    #2: I wouldn’t read too much into this, truly. Your boss has known you for less than a year, plus she may not know how these kinds of things are handled at your company.

    Everyone handles grief differently. Everyone reacts to it differently. Some people need to talk about things, some people don’t. Some people appreciate things like a card, others would prefer to not be “in the spotlight,” for lack of a better expression.

    Your boss doesn’t know you that well. She probably does not know quite how to proceed and is therefore erring on the side of caution. She may feel that giving you a card would be overstepping and too personal.

    Did she express her heartfelt condolences and was she supportive about your taking time off to take care of things (including yourself)? If so, then that is a much better indicator that she is a kind, compassionate person than whether or not she gave you a card.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      And I’m very sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is one of the hardest things to go through.

  26. Allison*

    #1 . . .

    “I explained to him that I did not have the experience he was looking for, and the fact that I was a recent grad, and that I knew the position had been open for a while and I figured he was looking for the right person and that I felt I was the candidate they were looking for.”

    Okay, so . . . you know that this wasn’t an entry-level role, and you didn’t have the experience they were looking for, yet you felt you were the candidate they were looking for because . . . the position was open for a while? I fail to see the logic here. If a job has been open for a while, assuming they actually have been hiring this whole time and it’s not just on hold, they probably are holding out for someone with the skills and experience they wanted, not because they secretly desired a spunky young’in with lots of passion and no experience.

    You’re probably aware that most hiring managers aren’t actually looking for the 12 skills listed in the job description, but they usually are looking for people with some applicable experience. There’s no harm in applying to a job where you’re a couple years shy of the experience, but there is harm in being so pushy that you seem entitled to the job.

    Look, I get it, it was your dream job. I did something similar when I first graduated, applied for a position at the organization I’d admired since high school – followed up a lot, even got an informational interview with someone from the organization. But ultimately, they wanted someone with heart AND experience, and I didn’t have the experience. Maybe someday I’ll be qualified for a position at that company.

  27. OliviaNOPE*

    Honestly if I were OP#2 I would be more mad that my co-workers of FOURTEEN YEARS didn’t acknowledge my mother’s death. The new manager doesn’t necessarily know the tradition but your colleagues do. I have been in your manager’s position and an employee came to me to let me know, “Hey, whenever someone has a death or a baby we always take up a collection and get a card and have a potluck so we definitely want to do that for Percival.” Or even if they didn’t notify the manager they could have still taken the collection up themselves. I am sorry for your loss. I am not sure how close you are to your co-workers but I feel like you are taking your misplaced anger out on the boss, who is new, rather than on your co-workers who you probably considered yourself to be fairly close to after working together for so long. I hope you can move past this slight. Maybe talking to a co-worker about it would make you feel better.

    1. TotesMaGoats*

      You are right on. I’d be more upset at my coworkers who’ve known me (and office norms) longer than my new boss.

    2. fdgery*

      Yeah, I definitely agree. Maybe since the boss saw that no one else in the department was doing anything she assumed that it was standard at this workplace to not give cards or flowers.

  28. TotesMaGoats*

    #1-Echoing everyone’s comments to just let it go and move on. This job isn’t the place for you right now. It may not be the place for you ever. That remains to be seen. In the mean time, however long that is, find a job that will give you the experience you need. And take all of AAM’s advice about how not to be aggressive with hiring managers. If I were the hiring manager, after you bombed the interview, you wouldn’t get another chance anytime soon and further contact would not help your cause.

    #2-I’m so sorry for your loss. Someone else said it above, I would be more upset that my coworkers of 14 years didn’t do anything than my boss of 1 year. Cut your new boss some slack but make sure the next time something like this happens to someone else you work with that you clue your boss in on what the dept has done in the past.

    #4-It’s not going to hurt you to ask. Who knows, they may be up for converting you to paid. But orgs can have paid and unpaid interns depending on the roles and what the interns need. If they are receiving college credit they typically don’t get paid. (Personally, I think if you are getting credit you shouldn’t get paid but that’s just bitter me after 500+ hours of internship in undergrad and 300+ in grad all unpaid.)

    1. Artemesia*

      Getting hours means paying for hours. So someone works for free and pays for the privilege. Credit should go for learning not for putting in time doing scut work at some place that enjoys not paying for work. Internships can be strong academic experiences, but just getting ‘credit for work’ does not make them so.

      1. TotesMaGoats*

        That’s why I believe that if you are doing an internship in college and getting credit for it should be worthwhile activity not filing or getting coffee. I got to do hands on stuff. Actual counseling and intake. If you are just an extra pair of hands then you are wasting your time.

  29. LBK*

    #2 People above have already mostly covered my thoughts on this, but there’s one other thing to consider: people grieve and treat grieving very different. Personally, when my father died when I was in high school, all I wanted was to get back to some sense of normalcy in my life as quickly as possible. I was back at school pretty much immediately after the funeral and I wasn’t even comfortable accepting cards – a whole gift of some sort with flowers or food or whatever would’ve been mortifying. I did not want to be That Kid Whose Dad Just Died so I really appreciated my friends who did nothing beyond saying “I’m sorry for your loss” and then acting like everything was the same as it always was. They were the ones that made it easier to accept the new terms of my life without my world crumbling around me.

    1. Nina*

      Same thing happened to me. When my father died and I went back to school, I didn’t discuss it with anyone because it was so raw. I would have spent the day crying and being in high school, I just didn’t want to give people a reason to stare.

      I agree that there’s a chance that your boss doesn’t really know how to approach it, because like LBK mentioned, some people just don’t bring it up, and others want to be left alone, etc. She may not have known about it. I would let it go.

      I’m very sorry for your loss.

    2. Jen RO*

      I am lucky enough to not have personal experience with a parent dying, but the sudden death of my boyfriend’s mother was a shock and I teared up when I had to tell people at work. They wanted to send me home, but honestly the best thing they could have done (and did) was to just keep me busy. Getting flowers/cards/anything would have made me burst into tears (even for someone who was not a relative) and that is the last thing I want to do in the workplace.

      Not to say that your manner of grieving is wrong, OP, but given my personal preferences buying flowers would never occur to me.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      This is why, where possible ask the person what their preferences are regarding their loss. OR if you are the grieving person, tell people what you would prefer.
      Granted you can’t tell them to buy flowers. But you can say something like “hey, it would be comforting for me for a few of us to get a coffee together one day.” Or whatever fits the setting. You can direct them toward some modest, very do-able thing.

      I think it is important for the grieving person to speak the truth. Don’t tell people you don’t need anything and then later wonder where people wandered off to.

  30. The Other Dawn*

    OP #2: Everyone acknowledges grief in a different way. But it definitely stings when people behave in one way towards others and then handle you differently. Happens at my place all the time.

    When my mom died 6 years ago, my bosses drove out of state to attend the funeral, but that was because I had been with the company since Day One and we were more of an extended family. On the other extreme, only a few of my sister’s coworkers said the standard, “I’m sorry for your loss,” while her boss and a few others said nothing at all. She was very upset and bitter about that, especially about her boss’s behavior. But he had been there only a few months and it’s just the way he was. She let it color her impression of her job and the company as a whole and just wouldn’t let it go.

    I guess the point is, don’t let this consume you. People make acknowledgements in different ways. Lots of people don’t give cards; I hardly got any. Yes, you can feel hurt, and you have a right to, but don’t dwell on it. You’re already feeling crappy. Don’t let the actions of others have an impact on you. Really, I’d be more upset if the people I’d been working with for many years didn’t say anything. Give the boss a pass on this and chalk it up to her being the new kid on the block.

    1. BadPlanning*

      When my parent passed, I was a little disgruntled that my workplace did not send flowers, but I had to tell myself to not dwell on it. There were plenty of flowers from loved ones that really mattered. But grief brings out a lot of weird and intense emotions. I understand why the OP is hurt — especially when so much time was spent on others in the same situation. I agree with other posters — that this is likely the cruelty of benign neglect. The coworkers didn’t step up and the manager didn’t think to inquire about protocol and nothing extra happened.

  31. sally*

    You sound like a jilted teenage girl. “No one will ever love you as much as I do”

    You’re blaming the “new” boss but really its you’re co-workers that dropped the ball. I suspect you know that but its easier to blame someone you haven’t worked with for 14 years. This is just further proof that the people you work with are not your friends…no matter how many Friday after work drinks you have together.

    Your boss is stalling.

    1. The IT Manager*

      RE: #2

      That was exactly my thought. LW said that in the past she and her co-workers collected, purchased, and delivered. I wonder if LW was often/usually the organizer expecting now its her turn to be on the reviewing end and feeling very hurt that her loss wasn’t acknowledged.

      Best to move on and not hold a grudge. The grudge will hurt you and not them. This was most likely not anything deliberate so do your best to forgive and forget. And remember that the new boss did not single you out; she has not been there long enough to know the norms.

    2. Anon Accountant*

      My old boss used to say “stall and delay is the only way”. That was his philosophy on many things.

  32. JustMe*

    #2, I too have experienced this at work when my mother died 8 years ago. Other coworkers had immediate family members pass. One coworker’s brother, another mother passed. The organization took up a collection and bought cards, sent flowers…etc. My mother passed around the same time, and I got nothing but a sorry from my manager. I was hurt, very hurt. It really isn’t about the cards, flowers, etc. It’s a bit more than that. We are human. We are at the job to produce, but we are human. We also shouldn’t say to the OP to get over it and move on. It’s really hard to get over and separate feelings from work when something so traumatic has happened, especially when we don’t know the details of what happened to the loved one. Show some compassion, geez. When you show compassion and get to know your team on a personal level, you build company loyalty.

    Sorry for your loss, OP.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      We spend more of our waking hours with our coworkers than we do with our families, in many instances. It is very easy to feel that this one should do this or that one should do that.

      Life doesn’t go that way. Even in our personal lives family just somehow does not manage to follow up on our expectations or do what they should do. This hurts.

      It’s important to notice the people who do show up and the people who do care. Sometimes I have caught myself saying, “Where is Jane?” and gotten so involved in that dilemma that I missed the fact that Sally was reaching out for me. The people who do show up are the ones that are willing to over come their own hurdles about death and help us with ours.

  33. Sunshine DC*

    #4 – I’m always curious about these “internships” people mentione having when no longer in school. Is this a phenomenon in certain field or regions? In my professional universe, internships are only possible while one is enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program—which can be very frustrating to those who either did not have the time or funds to support unpaid work during their years of study, OR (as I remember happening in my case years ago) several exciting “dream” internships were created the summer AFTER I graduated, so I was ineligible for them. I’ve never heard of unpaid work for NON-students being called anything but “volunteer”…

    1. Artemesia*

      It is entirely a scam whereby companies get free labor from the children of people who can afford to support them in hopes that this will give them an in for later paid employment. Sometimes it works, but post graduation internships are IMHO always inappropriate abuse of labor.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        In nonprofits, where they’re often perfectly legal, unpaid internships are often roles that wouldn’t exist at all if they weren’t unpaid, and they offer people the chance to get experience on their resume that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

        When I think back to the unpaid interns I’ve worked with, none of them would have been hired if the internships were paid. If they were paid slots, I would have hired more experienced people who didn’t require so much training and supervision. I’m still in touch with many of those interns, and most have talked about how useful the experience was.

        I don’t disagree that unpaid internships can be problematic. But I disagree that it’s so black and white.

        1. Zillah*

          As someone who’s had an unpaid internship, I agree.

          I’d also argue that

          the children of people who can afford to support them

          is a major oversimplification of unpaid internships. The majority of people I’ve known who have done unpaid internships, either in school or afterward, have not been supported by their parents while they did so. The people I’ve known have managed it using student loans, other jobs, savings, or through their spouse’s support.

          I do agree that there’s definitely a class issue with unpaid internships, but unpaid internships are not by any means exclusively filled by the children of wealthy professionals. I do think that what you’re talking about becomes more the case when we start talking about internships that require a significant time commitment – e.g., 40 hours/wk for 3 months or something – but there’s a much larger group of people who can swing 5-10 hours a week.

          1. Artemesia*

            I have watched internships evolve over a period of 40 years and have observed a lot of the abuses that make this a knee jerk for me. There are lots of businesses that use interns to substitute for paid employees. There are lots of people who are college grads who could not afford to take a non-paid position even if it offers a track to employment and so children of the well off tend to have those high status unpaid internships.

            It can be win-win — it also can be academically respectable i.e. college credit for learning not for work — but it very often isn’t. Properly managing an intern is a lot of work and non-profits in particular have to make a real investment to get the benefit of the unpaid labor — i.e. win- win. That free labor isn’t free if the internship is run well.

            I’d like to see the government crack down on the heavy abuse of unpaid internships so that they are genuine academic experiences or must be paid.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I ended up not doing any internships after I read what was being offered. There is no way what the employers wanted was going to be relevant later on. I even wondered who approved these internships for posting.

            2. Zillah*

              But again, I think that this is very dependent on the type of internship and the industry offering it. If we’re talking FT unpaid internships, I tend to agree with you about the demographics of people who take those positions. However, if we’re talking about PT unpaid internships, that can be a different story.

              Your insistence on emphasizing children of people who are well-off is really bothering me, though. That isn’t my experience at all, and it’s honestly pretty offensive to people who are really sacrificing to get a little experience in their fields. I think that unpaid internships do tend to favor people who have some external financial stability… but that doesn’t necessarily take the form of wealthy parents.

              I knew a lot of people in grad school who were changing careers – they had savings that they’d accumulated to help support them through school, and most also had spouses who were helping to make ends meet. I also knew people who juggled their hours on a PT or FT job so they could fit in an internship one or two afternoons a week. I agree that unpaid internships are often a problem, but attacking and miscategorizing the people who take them doesn’t help, IMO.

    2. Sheep*

      I work in international development, and I’d say that around 80% of my fellow graduates have been in unpaid internships after graduation. It’s not like we want to keep doing internships, but unfortunately it is the way this field works.

      Also, in response to the comment of Artemesia, I’ve done internships. In fact, I’ve done three, and two of them were unpaid. My parents did not support me, so it’s not always the case that they are done by ‘rich’ people. I’ve had part-time jobs, saved up, etc. I do agree with your conclusion that post-grad internships are (very often, at least) abuse of labour.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, they’re not solely the province of the rich. Many internships are part-time (like a day or two a week, or several afternoons) and people who do them have paying work at the same time.

        1. TotesMaGoats*

          Every semester I supervise 4 or 5 senior interns in the human services field. They are placed at various non-profit human services type organizations (such as Catholic Charities) and they then journal with me. I do site visits and talk with their field supervisors. Learning objectives are a required activity along with creating a portfolio. I try to give advice on career stuff and promptly direct them here. These interns are also taking a class related to the internship. It’s entirely unpaid and close to 500 hours.

          I get to know these students very well. They are, more often than not, working one or more jobs to make it all work. They are not rich people. Some are living at home for various reasons. Some are single parents. Some are newly married with spouses deployed in the military.

          It’s a very broad brush to paint all internships as the realm of the rich or as a bad idea. My interns have, for the past 6 years, either gotten a job in their field or into a graduate program in their field or both. Some of the grad schools were even Ivy leagues. More than that, they’ve come away with hands on experience direct care (counselor, social worker, special needs teacher) or administrative aspects of human services.

          1. Artemesia*

            I have done research in this general field — I know the values of these experiences — I know what a well run academically sound program looks like — I also know first hand the abuses.

    3. Student*

      My brother did an unpaid “internship” and it took a lot of time for him to figure out that it was a huge waste of his time. He dedicated a lot of time and effort to developing a video game (post-graduation, intended for commercial distribution) for some professor he’d met while in grad school. He and a bunch of other young former students were promised the moon and the stars if the thing got off the ground (verbally, of course, not in writing). It was a 40+ hour a week job doing essential video game development work and project management tasks – it certainly did not meet the criteria of the law on unpaid internships.

      It took a lot of persuasion to get him to stop doing that and look for a paying job. He was so sure that “this is how the business works” and that he was making “good connections” and that he’d get “a big payday” once the thing went commercial. He finally gave it up and focused on getting a paying job – now he’s living on his own, has a social life, and a steady paycheck doing video game development for a company that isn’t flagrantly violating labor laws.

      His experience, and especially the manipulation employed by the “internship” professor to keep young folks from looking for a real job, really soured me on the whole concept. If work is worth doing, then it’s worth getting paid for.

  34. Christian Troy*

    #1- I think you would really benefit from contacting your school’s career services and speaking to someone. I know college career services can be a mixed topic on this site, but I do think you need to talk to someone in person when it comes to understanding the hiring process and managing your expectations. I originally thought some of the comments were a bit harsh, but after reflecting upon the letter, it seemed like there was a certain attitude that came across that was off putting. While I’m inclined to think some of that was youth and inexperience, you cannot get this emotional about every single job and I think it will ultimately hurt your job search if it becomes a pattern.

  35. HR Manager*

    #3 – ” ..my boss has asked me to do the legwork to write the description to fit a salary grade..”
    Plenty of managers ask their employees to get a description started, and then it’s refined and edited by the manager or HR, but this sounds weird. Unless your company has a leveling system that is so transparent and structured, this is not how I would instruct someone to tackle this. Usually job matching is the opposite – you write the description and level it from there. Either the manager is incredibly lazy with no follow-up, or could be a terrible delay tactic.

    #4 – paid internships are not supposed to involve ‘real work’ – e.g., interns should do what other workers do. So an intern is not someone providing free labor to do the clerical and admin work that no one wants to do. And I agree with those who think ‘internships’ after graduation are totally bogus. They’re essentially volunteering to be a free temp. When I worked in publishing, you wouldn’t believe how many people wanted to do this, because they think publishing is so glamorous. It’s not.

    1. Katherine.*

      Reply for #3; This is not your typical team or manager so the process is completely made up as they go. I am seeing what everyone is saying about my boss being probably both lazy and using terrible delay tactics. What I need help with is understanding how to encourage my 2 bosses to either make things happen or clearly tell me what the delay is for and give a better time line for expectations. Make sense? Sound unreasonable?

      1. Elsajeni*

        It’s reasonable, but I think the problem is that there’s no way to guarantee you’ll actually get results out of it. If your bosses actually do have some specific roadblock between them and approving your new job description, and they know what it is and are just doing a poor job of communicating that to you, then asking directly “Hey, how can we make this happen? What’s the hold-up, and how can I help get us past it?” might have a real productive effect. But if they’re not really sure yet themselves what they want/need (and based on what you’ve said about this being a process they’re making up as they go along, this seems like the likeliest situation to me), or if they’re deliberately stalling and stringing you along, then you’re likely to keep getting vague answers or empty promises that it’ll definitely happen any day now, and if that’s what you get, then the best thing you can do is step up your job-hunting elsewhere.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        If they don’t want to tell you, they never will. And no matter how well you word your questions, if they have decided not to decide, then that is the answer.

        Alison’s suggestion is your best bet.
        Probably you have read where Alison also says never to threaten to quit, unless you are prepared to walk. So she isn’t going to advise you to say that.

        The sentiment being expressed here is that the bosses have already answered you. Their answer is they have no answer. Not trying to be snarky. I have wasted YEARS waiting for bosses to decide. Please don’t make the mistake I did. Set a time line quietly in your mind. If you do not have an answer by then, start looking around.

  36. Zillah*

    OP#1 – I do agree with everyone else that you need to back off, but something else in your letter is actually sticking out to me more:

    This is the place I would like to build my career in and stay until I retire.

    This kind of thinking is, IMO, kind of setting you up for failure. Your career is not at stake here – this one particular job is. Your first job out of school will probably not be in line with your career aspirations forever, and that’s okay.

    Story time:

    I’m also a recent grad. I applied for an internship that looked perfect for my last semester, and I got it. And, yes, I loved the internship. Halfway through the semester, a position opened up because someone left. They also created a couple new, temporary positions for the summer to work on a project. I was qualified for all of them and I was really hoping that one would be offered to me. They weren’t. They hired a couple other recent grads for the summer positions, and transferred someone from another department for the FT position. And at the time, I was really disappointed and felt down on myself.

    But my feelings have changed. On paper, the organization looked great, and I did get a lot out of my internship. However, once I got a little distance, I realized that the environment could be pretty negative at times – not toward anyone in the office, but still, it was wearing to hear about this relative who was bad with money, or that neighbor who was a bad parent, and I feel like it made me more negative, too. They also didn’t give much feedback about my work, which I really could have used.

    Five months later, I’m really grateful. I got the summer to de-stress and I got offered a job in late August that I absolutely love. The work is fascinating, the people are nice, my supervisors are friendly but not overly familiar, the hours are flexible, and I feel like I’m getting really helpful feedback in regular meetings that we have. I’m so glad I ended up here instead. I’m much happier.

    Keep looking. I get how you feel, but this job is not the holy grail of jobs – it’s just a job. You can find another, and it could be much better suited to you. :)

    1. AnonAnalyst*

      This is a great story. That part stood out to me as well, and I had a similar experience, although I had been in the workforce for a few years. Except, in my experience, I actually got the job, and the job and organization were great for awhile.

      However, companies, like people, rarely stay the same, especially for the length of a career. In my case, the company started undergoing some fundamental change in leadership, which impacted the strategic direction of the organization and, as a result, altered a lot of jobs and individual goals. The culture at the organization also changed to something that was not really a fit for me anymore, and my job changed to something I didn’t really like doing. Additionally, the career trajectory for me in the organization changed, again to something I wasn’t really interested in; even worse, because of the way some of the organization’s structure changed, my opportunities for advancement became much more limited.

      All of this is to say that even if this job and company turned out to be the holy grail of jobs NOW, there’s no guarantee that it would actually stay that way for the OP’s entire career. OP – others have already said it, but your best bet is to apply to as many jobs as you’re qualified for. Feeling like you have more possibilities will take some of the pressure off when you get interviews for the ones that sound really great, and you also might discover something that is a much better fit for you than you originally thought once you learn more about the organization and role through the interview process. In my last job search, I applied to some jobs and thought “this would be such a great job!” only to nearly run away screaming after my first interview when I learned more about the role and/or the company. Similarly, I applied to other jobs that I figured would be a fit skill-wise but didn’t sound all that appealing long-term, but then discovered that I was extremely interested in the role or the organization after an interview. I’m sure you’ll find something that, even if it’s not exactly what you’d like to be doing now, will give you some experience and skills that will help you get to where you want to go. Good luck!

  37. C. Also*

    #5: Have you thought about moving some of your networking over to social media? LinkedIn would be a totally appropriate place for you to connect with some of your email connections; you could even personalize your connection request in the way that AAM recommended, but most people really don’t seem to care what’s on the request. If your profile clearly shows your field and your research interests, they’ll probably make the connection (so to speak). That way it doesn’t matter how your email changes through the years–you’ll still be on their radar. You can also participate in interest groups related to your field and meet even MORE people. :-)

    1. Cath in Canada*

      I was going to say the exact same thing. My friend refers to LinkedIn as “a self-updating address book” – it’s absolutely purpose-made for keeping in touch with this kind of contact when you move jobs.

  38. Angora*

    5. How do I write a “change of email” email?

    You can always do a mail merge if you have a large address book.

  39. Jackie*

    #2 I had this happen to me when my father died. My boss never offered condolences. About 2 years later, when I was leaving the company, this person came up to me and apologized to me for not acknowledging my father’s death. She said she truly didn’t know what to say at the time and was sorry. It obviously had been weighting heavily on her mind to bring it up after so much time had passed. You never know where a person is coming from, best not to judge or take personally.

  40. Student*

    OP #2: I’m sorry for your loss.

    Not everyone reacts to deaths the same way. Your manager may just be treating you the way she’d prefer that people treat her, in the same situation. Alternatively, she may be uncomfortable, or inexperienced in dealing with this issue.

    Spell out what you need from other people. That’s the best way to get your needs met on something like this. It’s hard, especially with death, but most people will rise up to the occasion if you make your needs clear.

  41. Barney Stinson*

    Years ago, I had just started a job when my brother passed away after a year’s illness. My immediate supervisor left a sympathy card for me that said, “I hope you’ll be able to concentrate on your work now.”

    I am not making this up.

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