my boss is trying to fix me up with his friend, offering to pay for job leads, and more

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

1. My boss is trying to fix me up with his friend

My CEO approached me today and asked if I wanted to go on a date with one of his good friends. The friend is recently divorced with three small children and is a good 14 years older than me. It’s not so much the age difference or the children factor that I’m concerned about, but more so mixing pleasure with work. I’m not interested in going on the date. What should I do?

Just politely decline. “Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not much into being fixed up.” Or, “Thanks for thinking of me, but it seems too fraught with the potential for problems if it didn’t work out.” Or even just, “Thanks for thinking of me, but no thank you.”

Also, managers: Don’t try to fix up employees with your friends. There’s no way to do it without (a) signaling that you’re assessing them as potential dates rather than employees (even if not for yourself) — ick, and (b) making people feel pressured to say yes because of the power disparity.

2. Should I say something when I see a contact offering to pay people for job leads?

I came across this in my LinkedIn newsfeed this morning and was wondering what you thought: “Offering $1000.00 reward for anyone who can place me in my next strategic appointment. I problem-solve across brand strategy, consumer marketing, B-B, and address internal transformation, client leadership and change initiatives. Email me directly [redacted].”

It reminds me of the guy who bought his wife a billboard to post her resume on and the one who bought a Google ad targeted at the exec he wanted to work for, but a little more…desperate. What would you do, if you saw one of your connections post this? Should I say something?

Ooooh, yeah, that doesn’t come across well at all.

But I wouldn’t say anything unless I was either particularly close to the person or had a mentor-type relationship with them. And if you do reach out, I think you’d have to couple it with offering some other type of help at the same time — for instance, saying something like, “Hey Jane, I saw your post. I’m a little worried that offering to pay for job leads will reflect poorly on you. I’d be glad to help in some other way though — tell me more about what you’ve tried so far and what you’re looking for.”

3. Should I warn a new employer about my credit problems?

I just recently accepted a new position at a dream nonprofit that I have been dying to work for. I just got my new hire paperwork on Friday, and I start training on Monday. Included in the paperwork is the background check form (which I knew about), except that it includes a credit check, which they never mentioned in all of my correspondence with them.

6 years ago, I was a victim of identity theft that I didn’t discover until well after it happened (it was an emergency credit card that I used exactly once and then stored away). The bank told me I was past the deadline for disputing the charges, and so I was responsible for them. Unfortunately, I have been very underemployed for the majority of the time since; I did start paying it down when I had a job where I could afford to do so, but since went back to being underemployed. I am terrified that they will withdraw my candidacy based on the credit check, when I have already quit my current job and told everyone I would be working for them.

The VP of HR has been extremely nice every time we’ve spoken, and I was wondering if it would be appropriate to disclose the situation to her when I give her the paperwork. Once I have this job, I should be able to get my credit back to where it should be, but I haven’t been able to sleep since I found out about the credit check. Is it okay to tell her all of this? I’m worried sick over it.

First, they may not even be running a credit check on you. Some background paperwork includes credit checks in the list of things they may check, but it doesn’t mean that they will. And unless this is a finance position or one where you’ll have access to significant amounts of money, I’d be really surprised if they’ll do one.

That said, let’s get you some peace of mind. It’s totally reasonable to email your contact there and say, “I noticed that the background check form mentioned a credit check, so I wanted to give you a heads-up that I had an identity theft situation a while ago that I’m still dealing with, and it’s still an issue on my credit report. Will that pose any problems?” You’re very likely to hear that it won’t — but reach out and have the conversation so that you’re not stressing about it.

4. Salary negotiations when you’re currently receiving meals and lodging

Working for a major cruise line, I have to live where I work for several months at a time (on the ship). As a result, meals and lodging are provided. When I go to find a new job (hopefully in the next year or so), how do I address this, or justify a huge pay gap from this job to compensate for not having to pay rent or for some of my food?

“My current job provides meals and lodging on top of salary, as well as other benefits from living on a cruise ship, so it’s comparing apples to oranges. I’m seeking a salary in range of $X, which I think is fair and in line with the market rate for this work.” (Of course, this requires you to do research into what to ask for, but you should do that anyway.)

5. What does it mean when an application period is extended?

I recently applied for a position and a week later received an email stating that the application period had been extended. Does this mean the company is not interested in my candidacy?

Nope, it means they’ve extended the application period. They might have done that because they didn’t think they had enough strong applications, or because the person doing the screening is away and so they might as well build in more time, or because they have other priorities to deal with first, or because they mistakenly made it too short to begin with, or all sorts of other things. There’s no way for you to know from the outside — and it also doesn’t matter, since you should be mentally moving on anyway (as the odds of being interviewed, let alone hired, for any one job you apply to are pretty low).

{ 217 comments… read them below }

  1. Mister Pickle

    #2:

    “I problem-solve across brand strategy, consumer marketing, B-B, and address internal transformation, client leadership and change initiatives.”

    Yeesh. I realize that it’s not the main concern of the question, but I don’t think I’d ever want to hire someone who abuses the English language that way.

    1. Stephanie

      But he’s a self-starter who works well in groups and independently!

      (Yeah, I used to be bad about using fluff corporate speak in interviews. It took a lot of practice to get that out my vocabulary.)

      1. ClaireS

        Clearly not the right person for the job if he lacks synergy.

        I let it slip in front of my boss that whenever I hear the word synergy I always assume someone is getting fired. She laughed and made a note not to use that word with me.

        1. TotesMaGoats

          It’s a word that gets my goat as well. I told my boss and now she uses it all the time.

    2. LW #2

      I did mention to him that more statistics would be helpful in a “Did X which accomplished Y as measured by Z” sort of way instead of fluffy language. His response indicated that since I had no jobs for him and had never held so lofty and important a position as he had, my opinion didn’t matter at all.

      His LinkedIn profile was much the same, with no paragraph breaks. My eyes bled looking at it.

        1. Diet Coke Addict

          That may explain why he feels the need to bribe people to give him job-searching help.

        2. Mister Pickle

          I had a … different … two word phrase come to mind.

          Cherry Scary, I think you must be a very kind person.

          1. Creag an Tuire

            I just assumed “Good luck” is said in the same way a Southerner would say “Well, bless your heart.” :P

      1. Graciosa

        I can see he really took to heart the lessons about how to win friends and influence people.

        Can I give him a job (thus earning the $1000) and then fire him after the first day and keep the money?

      2. LBK

        That sounds like a lost cause to me. If you’re reaching the point where you’re willing to drop $1000 just to get a job, that seems like a huge red flag that you’re doing something wrong in your job hunt, but I’m guessing that point is way over his head.

      3. Ezri

        He held a position so lofty and important that he’s paying people to get him a job instead of relying on his stellar experience? Sure. >_< You did what you could here, OP, but it's probably time to drop this contact.

    3. Enid

      But I’ve been looking for someone who can problem-solve across address internal transformation! (Ugh, I hate it when people don’t understand how lists work.)

    4. Melissa

      What does it even mean? I mean, I understand the individual words but together, I am still not sure what s/he does.

  2. Stephanie

    #3 – Wasn’t there talk of banning credit checks for employment for non-financial positions? Like talk of passing a law? I’d imagine with the recession (especially if a candidate lived in area really hit by the housing or employment crisis), that a lot more candidates have less-than-stellar credit and that you’d disqualify perfectly decent candidates who just happened to buy a house in 2007 Arizona (or California or Nevada).

    OP, perhaps check your credit report? While you may not have an 800 score, it may not be as terrible as you think if you’re working on paying the debt down.

    Sorry you’re going through this. I had a doomsday paranoid steal my CC number to buy a bunch of military surplus gear. It sucked.

    1. Lillie Lane

      This is my worst nightmare. I did not know you could be on the hook for old identity theft charges. OP, you have my sympathy. This SUCKS. Identity thieves SUCK. [Running over to annualcreditreport.com]

      1. Stephanie

        I pretty much can’t write checks anymore (not that I write very many anyway). During college, someone got my drivers license number and used it for a fake ID to pass a bunch of bad checks at Walmart (also, it is near impossible to get a new DL number). I didn’t know this was happening (as the checks weren’t from my account or any account) until I got a bunch of collection notices. I filed police reports, but am now flagged in TeleCheck’s system as a bad check writer. This wasn’t as issue until OldBank messed up sending my new debit card. I tried writing a check and it was declined. Luckily, I don’t need to write too many checks anyway (and half of those times, I need a certified check anyway).

        1. Lillie Lane

          So you had your drivers license *and* credit card numbers stolen? Was this by the same person? Ugh.

          1. Stephanie

            No! I just have crap luck. And the check thing was WAY harder to resolve. Credit card, my bank reversed and just had a few follow-ups. The check thing was a lot harder as I had to convince them I wasn’t the actual writer.

            1. Stephanie

              Also, I’ve managed to have my personal information lost enough by bumbling employees of former workplaces that I’ve had free credit monitoring for the last six years or something (as part of the don’t sue me, bro settlement).

      2. MK

        I am not familiar with american law, but it seems incredible to me that someone would be liable for charges that were the result of a crime. I got the impression that the OP took the bank’s assertion that they couldn’t dispute the charges at face value and didn’t seek legal advice, which might have gotten them a different answer and outcome.

        I pay my bank 3 Euros a month for an alert service: for every single transaction in all my accounts and credit cards I get a text message notification. Money very well spent.

        1. Helka

          I can’t speak to the law, which is separate from the credit card dispute system, but under the rules the card companies set up, there is a four-month window from the date of the fraudulent transaction posting in which the bank can initiate the attempt to get the money back from the business that made the charge. After that point, they have no recourse, so the bank would have to eat the loss if they made the cardholder whole.

          So what really happened in this case is the OP’s bank said “We don’t want to refund you out of our own pocket. Too bad for you.” Which stinks. I’m a little curious how old the charges were and how much (also which bank, but I could understand why the OP wouldn’t want to name them. There are a few I’ve dealt with who can be major hard*sses about this stuff.)

          1. OP2

            Yes. I also realized I mistyped in my letter to Alison–it wasn’t 6 years ago, it was 9 (2005) and well before Obama’s credit laws took effect. Apparently, in my mind, I’m a few years behind.

            I don’t mind disclosing the bank (because naturally, we are no longer friends): it was Bank of America. I didn’t discover the theft for over 6 months, thanks to paperless billing and a lack of Internet access. By then, my card was maxed out and accruing crazy interest at a now-illegal percentage. I could barely afford to feed myself let alone pay it off. I guess my only defense is that I was under 20 and really, really naive. These days I watch my credit like a hawk. To be fair, though, I was pretty upset that they didn’t even call me when my card was incurring charges from the UK and I live in the US. I realize I should have fought it harder at the time, but the people I talked to at the bank really made it seem like I had no recourse, and I didn’t know any better.

            I sought legal advice some years later (when I could afford it, time and money-wise) and her advice was essentially to just pay it. Granted, in the scheme of things, it’s not an outrageous sum, but it was for me at the time.

            I do have an update already, though: I met with HR Monday for training, ready to disclose away, and they never gave us the credit check form. Turns out there was an Accountant in my training group, and the HR person just sent the same files out to everyone. I cannot tell you how relieved I was, and I didn’t even have to have that awkward conversation.

            1. littlemoose

              Hooray! I’m glad it wasn’t an issue after all. Best of luck in your new job, and I hope you can put the whole identity theft mess behind you soon.

            2. Judy

              It’s amazing that a credit card company would let that happen, yet our cards get refused without us calling when we travel to my in-laws house 3 states away. Repeatedly several times a year. (And the refusal has been happening since my in-laws moved there, 15 years ago, so it’s not a new thing.) If I don’t call beforehand, the second use of the cards is denied until I talk to them.

              1. fposte

                I think that’s pretty standard now, though–I just call beforehand every time I travel out of my area.

                1. Judy

                  We also tend to get calls from the CC company in May and September. My husband teaches, and during the school year, we pretty much do our shopping on the weekends. Once he’s not in school, he handles a lot of the shopping on weekdays.

                  “Did you charge $X at Target, $Y at Lowes and $Z at grocery store?” “I know my husband was going those places and the amounts seem about right.”

              2. some1

                Years ago I worked at a big tourist destination and we had customers that had this issue with credit cards. Because they were out of state and charging more than usual the credit card company would just decline the card.

                1. Artemesia

                  The last time we went to Europe we of course notified the banks of our itinerary and then called just before leaving to remind them. OUr first attempt to use the card to recharge our Navigos at the airport in Paris was turned down (luckily I had the Euro cash) — we called really ticked off and it was ‘well it was the first time you used it and the fraud department and the notification department are not the same and so they didn’t have the information.’ I have no idea how to be sure they have the information.

                  We quite BoA long ago because of their hose the customer philosophy and this was our newer, usually fairly responsible bank.

                2. Cherry Scary

                  my sister had something like this happen when she went abroad to Italy/Switzerland. She told them which countries she would be in (plus some she was considering going to after.) Somehow they got all of them except Italy, which is where the majority of the trip took place! Took her a good 3 weeks to solve, and her roommates and teacher were nice enough to spot her some cash to get her past the small stash she had..

                3. class factotum

                  Navigos at the airport in Paris was turned down

                  I swear the vendors in Paris turn people down just to be pissy. I have had the card accepted at one place and then ten minutes later, have another Paris shop say “Desolee’!”

              3. Loose Seal

                Same thing happens to us. And if we are traveling over a bank holiday weekend and forget to call the day before when the bank is still open (no 24-hour line for our bank), we are out of luck after the first use of the card. We didn’t know this the first time we traveled to see my family after our marriage and, while we had a credit card to use so we weren’t stranded with no money, it certainly came as a shock to us.

              4. manybellsdown

                I bought plane tickets with a card once and then had it declined for a rental car when I arrived at the destination. To which I’d purchased tickets.

                It was mostly funny except that for some reason they then couldn’t find me on the account so my spouse had to go into the bank and sort it out.

                1. Manders

                  I had the same thing happen when I purchased train tickets from New Jersey to New York. I guess the fraud detection was programmed to shut down any card that was used in two states in one day, which was a pain when I was travelling through the Northeast and I could potentially pass through three or four states in one trip.

              5. Windchime

                I once got a call that someone was trying to buy t-shirts in London on my credit card. Um, nope…I live near Seattle and am not in London.

                Years later, my son was traveling to Europe for 6 months so I got him a credit card on my account for emergencies. The trip went fine, but on the way home he had an unexpected layover in London(!) and had to charge a hotel room on the credit card. This time, the credit card company didn’t call me. T-shirts are suspicious, but not $300 hotel rooms.

                1. Alter_ego

                  I’m still mad that they cancelled my card without telling me after I used it to buy $150 dollars of books, which they deemed “suspicious”, but then when someone bought car insurance in Russia, I was the one who had to notify them of the fraudulent charge.

              6. De Minimis

                This really seems to vary from bank to bank and maybe even between region. I once had a bank account in one city and moved [temporarily, it turned out] to another city about 150 miles away. Never had a single issue, didn’t have to change my address, tell the bank anything, used my card just as easily as I did where I lived. Flash forward to last year, we move about 70 miles away and have my card declined just trying to buy groceries, and was told I would need to routinely remind them of my location…

                I can see requiring it if you’re going a long way off, in another state, or what have you, but just an hour and a half away?

                1. MaggietheCat

                  That sounds more like an over protective boyfriend- “let me know where you are at all times!!”

              7. reader

                I only ever had a card declined once at a local store. CC company called house, of course I was out. All I could figure out is I shopped too fast (too many stores too close together) but from then on only a supervisor could authorize the freeze.

              8. Ezri

                Heh, I managed to get my credit card shut down when I relocated out-of-state in May. I’d lived in one state through college, so I had no idea that would happen. In retrospect I’m glad my bank does that, but it was not a pleasant discovery to make when trying to buy food after a ten-hour drive with the irritated kitties.

              9. Dan

                I mostly use Chase, Citi and AmEx and go overseas once or twice a year. A couple of years ago, I forgot to call, and had no issues whatsoever with any card.

                The last time I had an issue was about six years ago, trying to use Expedia’s US site to buy some intra-Europe air travel. That got blocked.

                Not too long ago, I found some charges for travel wholly within a foreign country that I did not make and got let through. The bank did reverse them without issues.

                TL;DR I haven’t had to deal with fraud blocks in a while, and I don’t bother calling anymore.

                1. jag

                  I went from New York to Ontario with Chase and Citi last week, and both were turned off. Different country, but open borders and adjacent state/provinces.

              10. Dan

                BTW,

                This “we cancelled your card for your protection” is a bunch of BS. I already have protection — it’s called $0 fraud liability, which is in my card member agreement. Let the charge through and deal with it later. That’s certainly more convenient for me.

                If you’re that interesting in protecting your own arse, issue chip & pin cards to the US card holders like the Europeans do.

              11. Dorothy

                My wallet was stolen and Discover texted me immediately after someone tried to use my card for a $2000 purchase at Target — the other two cards I carried in my wallet? Nope. So some companies are better than others. Discover is awesome at fraud detection, though.

              12. Kimberlee, Esq.

                Huh! I have never had to do that. I once got a fraud alert when I bought some pants online (I was in college, so it was the largest purchase I’d ever made) but that’s it. I travel between DC, Idaho and Oregon a couple times a year, and have never had to either call or had my card declined.

                (I use Chase Freedom, which is the best credit card in the world, and I highly recommend it).

              13. Melissa

                Banks’ refusals are really strange these days, though. I just moved to a different state and didn’t even think about the bank potentially declining my card, and they didn’t – transactions went through free and clear for all sorts of things. I go on trips all the time and usually don’t have problems, and I order probably about 70% of the things I buy online. But a few days ago my debit card was locked because I ordered an item online from a store I’ve actually bought from before, from that particular bank account too. Bzuh? I also sometimes get declined when I go home to Atlanta, which is where I’m from and where I opened the darned bank account. Different state in a location I’ve never been before? Sure, spend away! Hometown location where I opened the account and visit 2-3 times a year? Bzzt, declined.

            3. Cat

              Actually, have you checked your credit report lately? It might have fallen off after 7 years (I know there are exceptions if you “reinitiated” the debt and the like, but there’s a chance).

              I’m glad it worked out though!

              1. OP3

                My understanding was that since I was paying it more recently, it won’t fall off (though I will admit, I still don’t understand fully how that all works, I am going off of what my CPA friends tell me). They threatened me with a judgment, and I would scrape together sporadic payments to stop that from happening, which stopped the 7 year discharge thing from taking effect.

                Hopefully with this new job I can finally make this go away. A decade is too long to live under this crap. Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!

                1. Natalie

                  I hope this never happens to you again, but if it does – debt collectors often use threats of judgments or garnishes to scare people into paying without researching their options, paying debts passed the statute of limitations, debts they don’t owe, and so forth. They are pretty skilled at manipulating people using fear and shame. Avoid making rash decisions because someone on the phone in another state told you they’ll ruin your life if you don’t pay up. They don’t actually have the power to do that without going to court, and judges are generally a lot fairer than debt collectors.

                2. Dan

                  I’m a bit confused about some of the details here.

                  If you’re not making payments to the original creditor, somewhere around 90-120 days later your account gets charged off. That means it’s sold to a third-party debt collector. This is the “thing” that falls off after seven years, but which gets “reaged” if you make payments on it.

                  When you just miss payments on a credit card, those marks fall off after seven years, and don’t really get reaged at all. If you tried calling BofA after they charged it off, I can see what they wash their hands and say “too late”. You’re stuck in the system, and BofA no longer owns that debt.

                  The people who threatened you with a judgement are most certainly debt collectors. In your position, I would have had them sue you and then gone to court and fight it. That’s the nice thing about the legal system in this country — they can’t just get a judgement behind your back, they have to make a good faith effort to find you and let you know you’re getting sued. Even if you can’t afford lawyer, you can go on your own. Bring your paperwork and play it straight with the judge.

                  BTW, I think you got bad advice about paying the debt. Once a debt goes to collections, it’s a bad mark on your credit report. That bad mark doesn’t go away immediately once fully paid — you have to suffer the effects for seven years. Plus, your account is getting reaged, so you’ll have to suffer for seven years *after* you pay it off. If you never paid it all, it would fall off seven years after it entered onto your report. So basically, if you pay, you’re out the money and still have the effects of the collection item on the report, possibly for an extended period of time. If you don’t pay, you keep the cash, and it goes away sooner. Maybe you get sued. In your case, I wouldn’t have worried about the lawsuit.

                  Basically, coming from someone who has BTDT and got the T-shirt, my advice is to never pay collection agents. When sh!t hits the fan, it’s best to work with the original creditor directly. Besides, many low-wage service workers are what’s known as “judgement proof” where they don’t make enough money to pay the lawsuit, even if they lose. So they don’t get sued at all.

            4. Mister Pickle

              It’s nice to read some good news!

              Regarding the entire identity theft thing: I hope that once you have your new job that you’ll take some time to re-investigate your options. I’m not at all convinced that you’ve been given good advice. It varies from state-to-state, but there is a ‘statute of limitations’ on debt (the Usual Disclaimers, IANAL). I think people should pay their debts – but in your case, you didn’t actually accrue any debt!

              This web page here:

              http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-state-statute-limitations-1282.php

              would seem to indicate that BoA, being incorporated in Delaware, has a 3 years Statute of Limitations on credit card debt.

              Note the mention of debt re-aging: ” The clock on the statute of limitations may start anew if a consumer makes a payment — even a small amount — on a debt that has exceeded or is approaching the end of the statute of limitations.”

              It’s entirely up to you how you want to handle it, and I apologize for pushing all this at you unsolicited. If the amount in question is small, then yes, just paying it off may be the most frugal way to make it go away. But if you haven’t paid on it in 3+ years, or if the debt was given to a collection agency? It might be worthwhile to look into this matter again. Again, I’m not a lawyer, this isn’t legal advice, yadda yadda. But I got hit with a bit of Identity Theft a couple of years ago; it left me with strong feelings on the topic.

              1. Melissa

                I don’t think the statute of limitations is based upon where the bank is headquartered (with the exception of a few states, like New York, in which the statute of limitations *might* be based upon the bank’s location depending on the type of loan). Usually the statute of limitations is based upon where the borrower lives, and generally ranges from 4-6 years.

            5. manybellsdown

              Ah yes, BofA. Which is the bank I mentioned in my post further down, who paid transactions they were told were fraudulent, from an account I’d already closed. I am not enamored of their customer service skills.

              1. Natalie

                My favorite-not-favorite was when they kept foreclosing on homes they had NEVER held mortgages on. As in, this happened multiple times in a year or two.

                They are the worst.

            6. WorkingMom

              Glad the whole conversation was averted! SO sorry about the debt /identity theft issue. It’s so terrible and awful that you are forced to pay someone else’s criminal debt. I’m so sorry. I hope karma gives you a big old lottery ticket someday!

            7. krisl

              I think some credit card companies are more casual than others. I’m very careful with my credit cards, but somehow someone got my credit card number (and not the current number) and was able to spend a few thousand dollars on it in Kenya, Africa. Discover card called me once when I was using their credit card in a state that was about 8 hours away from where I live. B of A let thousands go through.

              However, I did catch the credit card spending and disputed it, and things should be OK.

              If B of A doesn’t take care of this properly (although so far, they’ve been really nice about it), I’ll go to a different bank.

        2. Helena

          Does anyone know if there’s a US equivalent to this, and what banks offer it? Because this definitely sounds like a great thing to have.

          1. kacey

            Not sure about this specific system, but there’s Lifelock for $99 a year. They monitor and send reports and also offer $1M guarentee if your ID is stolen. Meaning they will cover that much of your legal fees and other fees.

            I have it, it seems to work OK but I only have it because my Dad bought it for me when his company got a deal or something.

          2. LBK

            I don’t know about one consolidated service that would let you know for all your accounts, but a lot of individual cards and banks offer that. I know Amex definitely does (it’s all over their commercials).

            1. Judy

              Most of our cards do that, and even allow you to specify an amount, so you just get emails when a charge of over $x is processed.

          3. KerryOwl

            I have Capital One 360 (used to be ING Direct), and I’m pretty sure mine sends me email for every transaction as a matter of course. I almost never use the debit card any more so I’m not 100% sure, but definitely every bill that gets paid, every transfer I sent up, every time I use the card at an ATM, every time a check is cashed. It didn’t cost me anything, it’s a feature of the account(s).

          4. Treena Kravm

            I just got the DiscoverIT card solely for the reason that it gives you free access to your FICO score. The free annual one is great, and credit karma something is good too, but it’s just once agency. I can know my FICO score for free anytime. Not the same thing at all as an individual transaction alert system, but I find it very helpful.

            1. De Minimis

              Yeah, they include it with your statement each month.

              If I recall correctly, the free annual report doesn’t give scores, just your credit report.

              1. Natalie

                Yes, the scores are proprietary, but the credit report is just a file of information about you, so you have the right to it.

            2. Melissa

              I have a Capital One MasterCard that gives me free access to my FICO score, too! The Discover IT card has better rates and benefits, I think, but the Capital One card is good for mediocre and/or recovering credit.

              I have Credit Karma and I have mixed feelings about it. The score they give me is always quite a bit lower than my FICO score, but they do list all of your accounts and what standing they are in. That’s how I caught that my student lender incorrectly had me in repayment status and was reporting me as late to all the agencies!

          5. Ezri

            I bank with Fifth Third, and I can pay two bucks or so a month to track all my credit card / debit numbers. If they find any of my numbers being used in a fraud service they call me, cancel the card, and send a new one right away. They also call to verify ‘unusual’ transactions – uncharacteristically large charges or money spent in two+ states in a single day, and will shut the card down / block the charge if they can’t get in touch with me.

          6. Simonthegrey

            I have USAA for my main credit card and banking needs, and a credit union joint account with my husband. Both accounts let me sign up for text alerts when any amount over a designated amount is charged (I think it’s set to $100, since grocery weeks can add up and we alternate paying for those). USAA has twice called due to fraudulent activity and I find them to be an incredible company to do business with. Also, I can’t recommend credit unions highly enough.

        3. manybellsdown

          Not all American banks are equal, either. My current bank has caught fraudulent charges on my account twice before they racked up more than $100 (none of which I was liable for). They’ve called us while we’re on vacation to verify that out-of-state charges are legitimate.

          However my previous financial institution once paid a fraudulent transaction of several hundred dollars out of a CLOSED ACCOUNT. An account which I had specifically closed because I told them my information had been stolen. Fortunately I had documentation, but it did take a while to sort it out. OP#3 may just not have had a very good bank. Unfortunately, that’s something you can’t always know until you actually have a problem with them.

          1. Artemesia

            BoA right. This is the bank that told us they just threw away the paperwork if it didn’t get processed in X amount of time when they failed to close a line of credit that was fully paid off on our mortgage that was fully paid off so we could close on selling our house. We had submitted the paperwork very timely so it would be taken care of for closing; they failed to do so and then told us that we were too late for ‘this month’ and would have to wait another month and re-submit. (closing was in two days by this point) A local employee finally managed to get it done but it wasn’t easy — and we had done everything by the book. The topper was when they actually told us that the originally forms would have been discarded after X time if not completed.

            1. manybellsdown

              YUP. I couldn’t believe it. I’m like, I was in the branch last week and closed the account. I told you the details had been stolen (roommate’s druggie boyfriend stole a checkbook. Probably. I never was able to prove it was him but he stole other things of mine, so yeah.) I told them “these are the stolen check numbers”.

              And yet, a week later I got hit with a $300+ overdraft that they somehow paid out of a closed, totally empty bank account. Moved all my stuff to Wells Fargo and never looked back.

    2. Natalie

      Regarding laws, the most I can find is the EEOC saying credit checks should be avoided in most cases as they adversely impact various demographic groups. I seem to recall some states have banned them for non-financial positions, also.

    3. annie

      I hope that the law changes with regard to credit checks. I am a pretty average American in terms of shopping/use of credit or debit cards, and in the last year I think I’ve had at least three of those notices that my card has been hacked – Target, Home Depot, and most recently as of last week Jewel. Luckily I personally have not suffered any serious consequences of this and to my knowledge my card number has not been used by anyone. So far its just the annoyance of having to check my accounts and get new cards sent to me, but given the frequency of these hacking situations, I have to think that soon it will be more accurate to assume that everyone’s had an attempted identify theft on their credit reports. I have had a few family members and friends who have suffered more drastic consequences of having their wallet or number stolen, and it has been very hard for them to sort it all out. It just seems unfair to the victims.

    4. Melissa

      Yes, I thought that my credit score might hold me back from getting jobs, but when I actually checked my credit it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be (and is actually quite good now) and it hasn’t seemed to hold me back.

      I had my CC number stolen and used to go on a shopping spree at Toys R Us. It was Christmas time, so I understood, but…no.

  3. AUB

    For the identity theft situation, I would provide paperwork from the bank acknowledging the theft and show it to HR as proof in case they did run a credit check. I worked for a non-profit where bad credit was causation for an offer withdrawn. I don’t say that to scare you but it was true for all of the positions within the organization – financially oriented positions or not. Also, there should have been other avenues to dispute the charges without you paying it out. I would have filed an identity theft police report offered as a document by the federal trade commission and also got a lawyer’s opinion. I think there are laws protecting identity theft victims more generously that what you were told by the bank.

    1. NorCal HR Gal

      #3 – Please please please follow Allison’s recommendation for a response to this one… our background check form does indeed make reference to the possibility of a credit check, but it’s part of the generic language through our vendor. I have had several individuals over the last couple of years send me impassioned, emotional, long-drawn explanations of their credit histories (2-4 paragraphs.) NOT information that an HR person wants to know (divorce history, kids when young, family medical issues, etc.) One statement, and one follow-up (is this an issue?) is all you need.

      Note: if you’re applying for a financial or otherwise related position, this might be a different story, but either way, ensure it’s a professional rather than emotional response.

      1. AUB

        I have personally had identity theft and have presented two sheets to show it. I don’t feel that I am emotional about it or go into a long story. I think if HR is going to run this info on you and make judgements about you based on what they find, why can’t you say you were the victim of a criminal act? Honestly, it’s hard to compare identity theft to other life issues. It is a crime committed against you illegally that people judge you on until it falls off your credit report or longer in cases like mine where the criminal has yet to be caught!

      2. AUB

        My employer ran a background check on all employees every three months for finance and criminal records. When I told HR, they said it was good because if they found anything I might have been ‘called in to discipline’. I think HR departments need to beef up on how to deal with identity theft issues as they are becoming ng more prevalent. If your card numbers are stolen it won’t happen again usually. If it is your ssn, it is so much more difficult to deal with and explain to people.

  4. Stephanie

    #2 – I guess he thinks the $1000 is the price of entry to the “hidden job market”?

    I can’t place the why (I know there’s some difference), but how does that differ from companies or recruiters offering referral bonuses?

    1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

      Well, for one, it’s weird to think that there might be people out there recommending a random stranger to their employer or friend because they would get paid. A recruiter has a reputation to maintain (and perhaps some professional ethical standards?) over the long-haul or they would lose a lot more than $1000. I guess an individual is also risking their reputation, but there’s not an immediate financial disincentive not to make bad-faith recommendations – maybe?

      1. Cautionary tail

        Slightly off-topic, but based on the recruiter who contacted me this week, recruiters have no reputation to mantain. He contacted me and then tried to bully me into giving information that I was not comfortable sharing or he would yank “my dream job” that he was dangling in front of me. I politely told him to go back into the cave he crawled out of.

      2. LW #2

        And if he’s so bad that regular recruiters won’t touch him for their reputations’ sake, any contact of sense will wonder why.

    2. Daisy

      It gives the impression that the only reason any of his friends or acquaintances would dream of giving him a lead or an introduction is if they were being paid a grand for it, which makes it seem like there must be something wrong with him.

      1. LBK

        Exactly – if I saw that, I would wonder why his friends aren’t connecting him with good open positions anyway. I’ve done that for a few friends just because…y’know, they’re my friends. No need to pay me. Does he not have friends? Or anyone he’s ever worked with that likes him enough to refer him to a position?

        1. Mints

          You’re right, people have offered me leads just in passing, because we like each other, because friendship. And a few friends have jokingly told me their companies offer referral bonuses, so if I apply there, make sure to write their name in the application.
          It does seem bizarre that it’s implying an acquaintance would only think to refer him with the $1000 bonus dangling

    3. LW #2

      For the record, there’s not even a dollar sign in front of the number. It could be 1000 Barbie shoes, for all we know.

      (Nitpicky, I know, but details matter!)

      1. LW #2

        …In the original post to his wall, that is. I’m assuming he meant money, whatwith the decimal point and all, but it was still sloppy.

        1. Diet Coke Addict

          I love that he included the decimal point. “Some other people might offer $1000, but I’m so accurate and precise, I’m offering $1000.00! As opposed to someone who’ll offer you $1000.38!”

  5. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

    #5 – I extend the deadline sometimes. Usually because, as Alison said, I underestimated the amount of time I needed the position posted, or I missed a deadline to advertise, or I’m going on vacation and won’t get to the applications for another week anyway, or whatever. At the beginning stages, I am generally more concerned with having a good pool to choose from than any one good candidate. If I have very few, and I think it’s a timeline issue, I might not even look at the applications before I extend the deadline. I want to see what I can get from a solid pool of people. More than once, I’ve hired one of the first applicants after extending the deadline and hearing from many more people. This probably means nothing.

    1. AnonyMouse

      Yep, I was thinking that even if they had a few candidates that looked great at the written application stage (possibly including the OP, or not…there’s no way of knowing), you can’t tell what will happen once you interview them, or check their references, or at the negotiation stage etc. So it makes sense to have a larger pool of good candidates regardless of how you feel about any individual applications you’ve read.

    2. BRR

      In the most recent hiring I took part of we just didn’t have a lot of applicants (>30) for a position where were expected around 100. We reposted and waited just to get a bigger pool even though there were some quality ones right away. It happens.

    3. Graciosa

      I think the part most job seekers miss is that most (not all, but most) of a potential employer’s actions in a job search have nothing to do with the candidate. There is a process I typically follow that doesn’t magically change just because one candidate’s resume is emailed into our system. I schedule based on what is going on at work – and reschedule based on changes in what is going on at work, or vacations, or budgeting, or a host of other factors that have nothing to do with any of the candidates. Most communications to external candidates are fairly automated, so there is probably nothing significant about the wording.

      I do understand that looking for work is incredibly stressful – but there are moments when I admit to sighing a little when I see someone ask what it *really* means when they receive an email thanking them for their application and letting them know it has been received.

      With regret, I have to confess that these things are usually less personal than the candidate believes (or hopes).

      1. Ellen

        Thanks to both of you (and Allison) for the perspective….I agree that detaching and not taking everything personally are healthy and normal. The phrase ‘It’s not all about you” is right on, but hard to put into practice.

  6. EngineerGirl

    #1 – This is an ethics issue and could be an EEOC issue. If the manager were asking for a date it would be considered sex based harassment because of the power disparity. I’m not sure if it is any different for a friend since it is the manager that is asking.

    1. Sourire

      I could be wrong but I don’t think the simple act of asking someone out on a date is a violation. Continuing to make unwanted advances or having any type of work related consequences stemming from a rejection (or from any ensuing relationship), sure, but just the act alone, I doubt it. It’s certainly not a great idea thought in most cases.

      1. neverjaunty

        You’re thinking of the standards for ‘hostile work environment’ – if Wakeen, your co-worker, asks you nicely on a date, that’s probably not sexual harassment, but if he keeps pushing for a date or threatens you, it probably is.

        But when the ‘someone’ doing the asking is a boss, there’s a huge, huge problem where you’re having to say yes or no to somebody who controls your job. (If the ‘simple act of asking someone out on a date’ is your boss tell you that you might get that promotion if you agree go to on a date, then no, doing it once is not A-OK and boss gets a free pass unless it happens again.) Here, the guy asking LW to date his friend is not Wakeen. It’s the CEO of her company.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          This doesn’t meet the legal standards for sexual harassment or hostile workplace though. If the boss kept pushing the issue or implied a quid pro quo, then yes — but not simply suggesting a date with his friend. (Even a boss asking out the employee himself wouldn’t on its own meet the legal bar for harassment or hostile workplace; there would have to be more to it.)

    2. GrumpyBoss

      Oh come on. People here are always so quick to jump on the “that’s illegal” train. Not everything is so nefarious. CEO has a friend, and for whatever reason, he things his friend and his employee may enjoy each other’s company. There is no violation of even a question of ethics here.

      Now if the OP follows the advice of Alison, but the request continues (or worse, turns into a demand), then there are some major concerns. Until then, he deserves the benefit of the doubt. The only thing he is guilty of is blurring the lines of work/life boundaries.

      1. Apollo Warbucks

        I agree with the point you make, its not illegal, but it does show a serious laps in judgement

      2. Magda

        “There is no violation of even a question of ethics here.”

        What?! I agree that it might not cross into illegality, but there is absolutely a question of ethics here. When the CEO approaches a junior employee with a request, the sheer nature of the power differential places pressure on the junior employee not to refuse. When it’s strictly work-related, that’s fine and normal. But when it involves the junior employee’s personal/dating/sex life, that is SERIOUSLY inappropriate. It would really skeeve me out to discover that the CEO was sizing me up as a mate (even for a friend), and even if he were the nicest person in the world, I would worry a lot about how a “no” would be received. Would I be known, in his mind, as that uptight lady who rejected his buddy?

        Just the mere act of putting your employee in the position of having to worry about those issues is crappy. Even assuming the best case scenario, that the CEO is well-intentioned and just kind of oblivious to how it looks, it still doesn’t speak well of his judgment.

      3. Mike C.

        The power disparity suggests a serious ethical lapse in judgement. The fact it come from someone so high up practically makes it a demand.

        1. Chriama

          Well OP doesn’t state where she is in the hierarchy, but I get the impression that it’s a fairly small company and/or she works pretty closely with the CEO. Still inappropriate, but I assume bad judgement rather than any malice.

          1. Magda

            Power disparities don’t magically disappear in small companies, though. I’ve worked at small companies where I was on just-walk-int0-the-office terms with the CEO. But he was still the CEO. Even if he didn’t have the weight of a massive multinational company behind him, he still had enough power to make my life suck.

            I also once worked at one particularly dysfunctional small company where the familiarity and we’re-all-just-buds-here attitude actually made supervisors feel more like they could get away with acting inappropriately. Because everything would be dismissed with, oh that’s just how Bob is. You know he doesn’t mean it. And Bob’s been with us for so long, and he’s SO good at teapot spouts. Being on more familiar terms doesn’t necessarily make it any less difficult or awkward for the harassed subordinate.

            The fact that OP is made uncomfortable enough by the CEO’s request to write to an advice blog is an indication that he doesn’t understand the landscape as well as he thinks he does. (And again, that’s assuming a best case scenario of “well-intentioned but oblivious.”)

      4. the gold digger

        My boss set me up with a friend of hers one time. He was a really nice guy – it was her husband’s best friend. I was really flattered that she thought well enough of me to bring me into her life that way. But she and I already had a good relationship – there was no pressure and if I had said no, it would not have been a problem.

        (The relationship did not go anywhere, though.)

        1. Arjay

          It strikes me as more or less of a problem depending on how many layers of management are between the OP and the CEO. If it’s a small business where the OP works with the CEO closely, then I can see the CEO thinking they know the OP well enough to suggest possible compatibility. If it’s a gigantic corporation and the OP is entry level and the CEO just picked her out of the cafeteria line based on physical appearance as a possible date for the friend, that’s obviously more problematic.

      5. neverjaunty

        You cannot possibly be serious.

        What we have here, according to the LW, is a request from not just a supervisor but THE CEO that she go out on a date with one of his good buddies. Even if the CEO is the nicest person with the best of intentions, the fact that LW’s supervisor, who let us remember is the CEO of her employer, has enormous power over her and her job, and even if the CEO is the nicest person imaginable, aall the weight of the CEO’s power is hovering in the background when LW answers. This is not in any way comparable to “Hey, Bob in Accounting said his sister would probably be a good match for me.”

        As a boss yourself, you are no doubt familiar with ‘quid pro quo’ sexual harassment, and why that leads to lawsuits, and therefore why hitting on subordinates (or doing so on behalf of a good friend) is not only unethical and frankly creepy, but opens up the company to a world of hurt.

        1. AGirlCalledFriday

          I’m a bit concerned as to the intention of the ‘date’. The OP doesn’t mention her age, but that the date in question is 14 years older and just getting out of a divorce. It COULD be a situation where the CEO believes that the two would be a good match…but in my mind, the likelier situation seems to be that the OP is young and cute and the CEO is trying to pimp her out so his buddy can have a good time. Not to stereotype here, but in my experience people right out of a divorce are looking for fun, not an immediate relationship. Add to the mix that the woman is younger and the whole thing is just so, so ethically wrong.

          1. Kerry (Like the County In Ireland)

            Yup, that’s my read on it too and why it is 100% squicky and gross. It’s not “Hey, I don’t normally do this but I want you to meet my friend who is single too if you’d be into a new friend–he’s your age and background, also loves arguing baseball, dreams of starting a tea plantation, and just got back from a vacation to see Hemingway’s cats–all those things you are interested in too!”

    1. LW #2

      No idea, but he was an arrogant jackass when I tried to help, so I think he’s screwed no matter where he goes.

  7. Iain Clarke

    #3 Identity Theft

    A classic Mitchell and Webb sketch:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c57WKxeELY

    “…that sounds more like they stole money from you”
    “They said they were you.”
    “and you believed them?”
    ..
    “I’m not quite sure why you think my identity has been stolen, rather than your money?”

    It sounds a bit close to the bone here…

  8. Gina

    #2 reminds me of a story that made the news a few years ago where a mom was standing with a sandwich board offering $500 for a job for her daughter. I really liked how 9 out of 10 comments wanted to know why the daughter wasn’t the one standing out on the street when the real question is why is ANYONE standng out on the street.

    1. Tenley

      Because people are desperate for work. And parents sometimes doubly anxious about it for their child. It’s an awful situation to be in.

  9. NJ anon

    I work in finance and have crappy credit. I have begun a job search and am afraid this will come up. Doesn’t seem fair. The recession hit us hard and we are still recovering from it. My lousy credit should not and has not had any bearing on how well I do my job. We have tight internal controls and have a clean audit every year.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

      I feel for you.

      The reason finance is credit checked is the risk of having people under serious financial strain handling your business money. It’s pretty easy in most businesses to make away with something if you are in finance, and to get away with it for at least a bit until it is discovered. Having folks under financial strain in that position isn’t a good risk.

      I believe the intent is to not look for perfect credit scores but to look for current problems: heavy debt, bills that are behind, judgements, active collection efforts.

      If that describes you first: sincere sympathies. I have had my own issues and we all know that this current recession was devastating to so many.

      Is it possible to switch from finance to other kinds of administration in your job hunt?

      1. Mike C.

        It’s terrible reasoning because the best way out of a bad financial situation is a steady paycheck.

        1. OP3

          Amen. This is exactly the case for me. Getting inconsistent pay from food service just won’t cut it in terms of overcoming debt, because I can never say exactly how much I can afford to pay any given month. But unfortunately, often enough reliable employment is contingent on not having that debt in the first place which makes it doubly hard to break that cycle. You can’t fix your credit until you have a reliable paycheck, but you can’t have a reliable paycheck (sometimes) until you fix your credit.

          You have my empathy/sympathy NJ Anon.

          1. Traveler

            Not to mention when you work in food service, many people don’t consider that a reliable job and will turn you down for things like housing.

            Sometimes I feel like certain aspects of the credit system are set up to keep people in these situations rather than let them recover from things that were honest mistakes, or in this situation not your fault in the first place.

        2. Colette

          Not everyone who is in a bad financial situation are in the situation because they don’t make enough money – some people just don’t see money as a finite resource, or have terrible financial judgement, or are addicted to something expensive (gambling, for example) or see the world as owing them what they want regardless of their ability to pay for it. And some people, regardless of how they got into the situation, will take advantage of their position to steal from their employer, because the employer can afford it (in their view).

          That doesn’t meant that people who aren’t in a bad financial situation will never steal, but a bad financial situation is a risk factor. I wouldn’t put a (hypothetical) friend who is always trying to borrow money from me in charge of managing my bank account.

          1. fposte

            Though I think bad credit isn’t always the same thing as a bad financial situation. A bankruptcy will blow your credit to smithereens for a while, but it can be the thing that allows you to move forward into a better financial situation, too.

          2. class factotum

            addicted to something expensive (gambling, for example)

            The former finance person at Koss in Milwaukee had a very good salary and was married to a man who made good money. But she still embezzled millions of dollars from her employer. Sue Sachdeva bought shoes and clothes with her money – I was very disappointed that she was not my size, because I wanted to go to the FBI auction of her ill-gotten gains.

            Pretty much every other case of embezzlement I have seen in my local paper has been about someone who was gambling. These cases have all also involved very poor internal financial controls. I am not even an accountant or a finance person, but I read the stories and say, “What? They let only one person sign the checks?”

            1. Colette

              From what I understand, many people who embezzle think it’s a temporary thing – they’re not stealing, they’re just borrowing, and they will pay it back. Of course, that hardly ever happens, because their financial life is out of control.

              Having two people sign the checks only helps if there is real oversight – if the second person just signs where they’re told to, there’s no added value.

              1. Pennalynn Lott

                My aunt embezzles from her employer. She has a perfect credit score / history and an excellent salary. She seems to do it because she enjoys “sticking it to the man” (even though her employer is an incredibly wealthy older woman).

                I completed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy back in 2003, and I’ve never stolen so much as a penny from any employer, even back when I was an assistant manager at a clothing store, during my senior year of high school, and the one in charge of making the nightly cash deposits.

                Using credit rating as a guide to someone’s morals is horribly ineffective.

                1. Colette

                  I don’t think it’s about using credit to judge morals. It’s about recognizing that people who are under strain make decisions they wouldn’t otherwise make.

                  That doesn’t mean everyone under financial strain will steal, but some people will use their financial situation to justify theft.

                2. the gold digger

                  She *admits* it?

                  Although my husband’s dad and brother, before the restaurant they bought went under, told us proudly that they were paying at least one guy under the table. The guy was on disability and I can understand why, but even so, I would not be vocal about breaking the law. And I also don’t think it’s anything to be proud of to be avoiding paying workers comp and dodging payroll taxes. (What if they guy had gotten a work-related injury? He could have and should have sued.)

                  Wow. I got a little off topic. Oh – but my husband’s dad has no credit problems. And before the restaurant failed, I don’t think the brother in law had credit problems.

                3. April

                  You speak in the present tense. This is an ongoing criminal situation that you know about and you haven’t reported it to the authorities?? I’m sure it’s difficult to think of turning a relative in, but surely that’s not worse than thinking of yourself as an accomplice (as in fact you now are by silence).

        3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          Mike, I am team that in every situation except the finance position one. I’m talking a very narrow number of jobs within an ordinary company, not the A/P clerk. Actual finance positions where the person say, approves and pays all the credit card bills, or otherwise directs and has access to money.

          I’ll stand by that opinion while refusing to turn in my compassionate liberal card at the same time.

      2. Swarley

        Wakeen’s Teapots Ltd. “The reason finance is credit checked is the risk of having people under serious financial strain handling your business money. It’s pretty easy in most businesses to make away with something if you are in finance, and to get away with it for at least a bit until it is discovered. Having folks under financial strain in that position isn’t a good risk.”

        As an HR person who routinely runs credit checks, the problem with this logic is twofold:

        First, it can create a disparate impact on a particular group of people who happen to fall into a protected class. Second, you’re making an assumption that someone with either no (or irrelevant) criminal history will commit a crime because of their personal financial hardships. This has absolutely no bearing and is one of the main reasons I loathe this part of my job.

        1. Allison

          Not to mention, we’ve heard plenty of news stories about rich people getting in trouble for white collar crimes, like fraud and laundering.

        2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          I’m not making that assumption.

          I’m saying, you don’t hire somebody with access to your money who is under serious, current financial strain. It’s not a moral judgement, and it’s not classist. If your accountant had access to your money, in the role of a personal manager, would you really not care if he was seriously over extended, in default, with people chasing him?

          A business would be nuts to hire a CFO or a controller without running a credit check, nuts. The only question is how far down the finance chain you’d want to continue to credit check and what standards you’d use.

          1. Swarley

            I understand the point you’re making, thanks for clarifying for me. I do agree with this statement: “The only question is how far down the finance chain you’d want to continue to credit check and what standards you’d use.” I think that’s the million dollar question. From my perspective this is an arbitrary line that has no good jumping off point. You have to decide what kinds of debt you’re going to consider, what amounts are problematic, accounts in collections versus ones that are just past due, etc. And most importantly (like you said) at what point all of this becomes relevant to the job.

          2. De Minimis

            No, what is nuts would be a business allowing a person in charge of financial recordkeeping/recording to have access to company funds or the ability to authorize expenditures. Only the very smallest of small businesses can do that, and even then it’s really a bad idea. If your structure is set up to where your accountant has the ability to embezzle your money, you have a really poorly thought out structure.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

              That’s not how fraud works, typically, writing a check to yourself. It’s usually diversion + falsification and usually in small amounts that add up over time.

              Example from real life. The person responsible for collecting all of the credit card reconciliations company wide, charging them to the right budgets on the books and then paying the cc bills. At some point she decided to start helping herself, and made small purchases on Amazon, shipping to her home, using a variety of the credit cards.

              I’m shocked it was discovered after only 9 months because, really, there’s not much check for that. She falsified the approvals, the gl codes, the amounts were small enough that none of the budget owners would notice..yet in 9 months it added up to $20,000.

              Another example from real life (but not mine) is vendor collusion. A company had a large amount of temporary labor (factory situation) and the person who authorized the payments colluded with the vendor to approve non-existent names. That was five years and over $200,000 split between them when caught.

              It is very easy, in any company, to make away with money for some period of time, once you have access to approving funds.

              1. Colette

                I’ve heard of a retail cashier processing non-existant returns and pocketing the money, only discovered at inventory time.

                And that’s without considering employees who steal goods from their employer and sell them on the gray market.

      3. De Minimis

        I don’t agree with the statement that it’s easy to make away with something. Maybe if you have poor or non-existent internal controls, I guess it might be.

      4. krisl

        From what I’ve heard, some embezzlers start out stealing because they’re in a tough spot and need it and then just keep stealing. One embezzler nearly ran the company out of business, and the theft wasn’t discovered until the company did an audit because they were going bankrupt.

        It’s not fair to treat people who have just had a tough time as potential embezzlers, but a person can understand why a company might be cautious.

  10. Purr purr purr

    OP#4, I’ve had this situation since I used to work on a seismic vessel for 6 months of the year. I’m assuming the job would be onshore if food and lodging isn’t included(?) so in most cases the salary negotiation would have to be based around what salary is acceptable onshore, even if that means taking a hit. The food and rent issue isn’t really a land-based employer’s problem. Ever since I stopped working offshore, my salary has been significantly lower. That’s just the way it is unfortunately.

      1. Squirrel!

        I agree! PPP, you should email Alison and offer to do an informal interview for an article on here. I bet it would be an interesting read.

    1. The IT Manager

      Good point. LW#4 seems to assume the new job offer will base her salary on her old job’s salary and not what her work is worth. I know some companies think this way (and I agree with AAM that this thinking is wrong), but previous salary seems particularly irrelevent when a job hunter is changing fields and moving from an off-shore to onshore job.

      Don’t think this way. #1 Figure out what salary you need to live on onshore. #2 Figure out what is the market value of a job and that is the salary you should expect/ask for (assuming that it meets the minimum you need to live on).

        1. Adam

          If you’re required to submit a salary history, is it bad form to give a brief listing of benefits (as in this case meals and lodging provided), or do most employers only want straight numbers?

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I’d encourage people to resist providing it at all (it’s no one’s business), but if you feel you don’t have options or the standing to refuse, then usually it’s just straight salary … but I’d absolutely note it if there were some particularly significant and unusual benefit (like food/lodgings) that significantly changed the compensation.

  11. Lily in NYC

    #1 – I have a stock reply when someone tries to set me up on a date: “Thanks, but I’m married to the sea”. It’s so ridiculous that it works every time. I stole it from Homer Simpson.

    1. Natalie

      I love that episode, especially Homer’s long list of rejection lines (“I don’t want to kill you, but I will” probably wouldn’t fly at work) and the song about unimportant presidents.

  12. soitgoes

    #1 could say, “I don’t talk about my private life much, but I’m actually seeing someone.”

    Set-ups always make me uncomfortable, even among peers and friends, because it means someone else has been talking me up and probably shown my pictures to the other person, while I’m the one being put on the spot without having the same amount of information about the other person.

    1. some1

      I’m on the fence about this response. On the one hand, it’s an easy way for the LW to shut this down without upsetting the CEO. On the other hand, I feel like it reinforces the idea that if the LW was single, it’s totally appropriate for people to decide to set her up, when in this case especially it’s not.

      I should probably mention that I am single and I’m coming from a place where well-meaning people have tried to set me up when I had no interest and also had people act like there’s something wrong with me for turning down a guy simply because I wasn’t in to him. It’s like they think because I’m not spoken for, I owe any man who is interested in the me my time and attention.

      1. Allison

        I agree, making an excuse like “I’m already seeing someone” or “I don’t wanna date right now” are never good ways to reject someone, either directly or indirectly. They imply that the person may have a shot with them somewhere down the road when the timing is right. In a case like this, where I’m turning down someone I don’t know, I’d simply say I’m not interested. If I’m pressed for an explanation, I might bring up the fact that he and I would be in completely different stages of life, which would result in complications I wouldn’t feel comfortable dealing with at my age, but again, I’d only explain if asked.

        And then I might start looking for a new job, not because I’d fear the CEO’s wrath per se, but I wouldn’t want to work under a CEO who does that.

      2. Kai

        True. I like the response in this context for the sake of just ending the discussion, but it is similar to saying “Sorry, I have a boyfriend” to the guy creeping on you at the bar. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re single or not if you want someone to leave you alone.

        1. anonintheUK

          I unintentionally made the office would-be setter-upper cry, thus ensuring that I am far too terrifying to set anyone up with.

          Having told her twice ‘no thanks, not interested’ , she caught me at a bad moment and I said, ‘Jane, I have already said I am not interested twice. Why do you feel you need to be involved in my personal life?’.

    2. Raptor

      Funny that, how as soon as you mention you have a boyfriend/husband, that shuts them up, but you saying ‘no thanks’ just encourages them. As if they respect the words of another man (who’s not even there) more than they respect what you’re saying to them.

      1. some1

        Yes, exactly. I have no issue with a woman making up a boyfriend if she thinks the guy will get defensive or angry. I’ve totally had it happen to me. Once a guy in a long-term relationship asked me out. I totally would have gone out with him if he was single, but I said I didn’t go out with other people’s boyfriends. He told me to get over myself, he was only asking as a friend, and his girlfriend was way hotter than me so obviously he wasn’t interested in me that way.

      2. soitgoes

        I like this response as a commentary on the responses above you. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling a white lie to end a conversation that makes me uncomfortable. In this instance, I don’t think it’s worth it to be honest on principle. If you indicate that you’re single but just not interested, it opens up a debate in which the other one tries to convince you to change your mind. “Just give him a chance!” even though men are never told to just give women a chance.

        1. voluptuousfire

          I like the “I’m married to the sea” comment.

          It’s rather scary what some men will do when they’re turned down. I’ve heard of stories just in the past few days of women who turned down men and were shot and slashed, respectively because they turned men down. The woman who was shot was at a funeral with her fiance and three kids and other family members and some gentleman started badgering her for her name and number so he could call her to get together. She told him repeatedly she had a man and kids and wasn’t interested. He badgered her for hours and the fiance finally got involved and the guy brought out a gun and started shooting. He shot and killed the woman and her fiance and a few other family members were hit but are still alive.

          Another woman was hit on by a gentleman in the lobby of her building. She turned him down, he slashed her across the throat. Granted these are extreme responses, but the vitriol behind it is downright scary. Retribution for turning the guy down…wow.

          It’s rather surprising how inappropriate some men can be when it comes to getting attention from a woman. I had a guy trying to hit on me via LinkedIn on Monday evening. He sent me a request to add him and said I was pretty and that he wanted to get to know me better. He got blocked immediately.

          1. soitgoes

            Exactly. While I don’t think these things are likely to occur at work (especially since there’s familiarity there and the coworker isn’t the one trying to get the date), I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to chastise women for lying about not being single. The man made the first “offense,” ya know?

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              I don’t think anyone should be chastised for it, but I do think that it’s worth women thinking about the fact that using “I have a boyfriend” does reinforce the idea that that’s the only reason they’re not interested. I think a lot of women neglect to think about it from that perspective, and it’s useful to raise people’s consciousness about it.

              1. Stephanie

                Well and unfortunately, it doesn’t always shut it down. I think some have figured out that the supposed boyfriend doesn’t exist. I’ve heard some variation of “Oh, you have a boyfriend, eh? Do you need a new friend?” or “He wouldn’t mind if you have something on the side, right?”

              2. Loose Seal

                That’s awfully close to saying it’s the woman’s fault for not knowing what to say to get someone to quit hassling her for dates/her number. When you’ve had the experience of saying “no,” “no, thank you,” and “not interested” and still get bothered by persistent askers and then have the experience of saying you have a boyfriend and immediately get relief from the harassment, it does plant the idea in your head that you should go straight to the “boyfriend” excuse and save yourself some time and trouble.

                Women can be perfectly aware that it’s not the best thing to say because it doesn’t convey exactly why they aren’t interested but I don’t think I owe a fellow who can’t take no for an answer anything; I just want him to stop talking to me.

                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  I’m not saying you owe anyone anything or that I blame women for doing it; I get why women do it and I’ve done it myself when I just don’t feel like dealing with it. But I still think it’s useful to point it out in discussions like this one, because plenty of women haven’t considered this aspect of it.

                2. soitgoes

                  I agree with you 100%. While I understand what Allison’s saying (and I agree with her too), I’m not willing to force societal change by putting myself on the line. I have absolutely no reasons to stop telling the lie, while I have plenty of reasons to avoid telling the truth. If it’s up to women to examine why we tell that lie, it’s MORE up to men to figure out why they can’t take no for an answer, or why they can’t accept it the first time it’s said. We’re still basically holding women accountable for reacting to other people’s initial actions. It says a lot that we’re debating how to get women to stop telling this lie than how to get men to stop making us feel safer by lying. As a woman who has told that lie, this isn’t something I perceive as being my problem. It’s up to men to change what they’re doing.

                3. AB Normal

                  @soitgoes: “I have absolutely no reasons to stop telling the lie, while I have plenty of reasons to avoid telling the truth. If it’s up to women to examine why we tell that lie, it’s MORE up to men to figure out why they can’t take no for an answer, or why they can’t accept it the first time it’s said.”

                  Here’s what I don’t understand, though: if women keep always using the excuse “I have a boyfriend”, how would they even know whether or not men would accept a simple no for an answer?

                  It seems unfair to me to presume all men will react that way. It’s quite possible that after one bad experience, a woman could start to use the boyfriend excuse, without realizing that in fact other men would have accepted a “no” the first time it was said without the need to lie.

                4. alma

                  “It seems unfair to me to presume all men will react that way.”

                  I once gave a man a very polite “No thank you” and he responded with a very angry, graphic rape threat.

                  To put it bluntly, I no longer care how all or most men will react. Even if it’s a minority of men who will get aggressive and violent when their unsolicited sexual comments are rejected, that minority of men is still a threat to ME. If a lie is the fastest way to shut down that threat, I will lie my face off without an ounce of remorse.

                  If men truly want women to be “honest”, they need to work toward a society where that honesty is not punished by violence and threats of violence.

                5. Raptor

                  @alma, did you really just pull a ‘NotAllMen’ comment?

                  Come on. Women start dealing with this stuff in high school (harassment of women starts when we’re 14-16). All women have been harassed and threatened by a man to some degree or other. All women. We are not saying that all men are like that (or even most men for that matter). We know not all men are like that. That’s not the conversation we’re having.

                  The problem is that we have no way of telling who’s going to respond with threats (and possibly carry them out). The fact that I’ve got a stranger coming up to me and asking me out or making a comment, tells me real quick they already don’t respect my personal boundary to be left alone. So yeah, I’m going to also assume they can’t take a ‘no’.

                  And this burden, to fix a society that is crappy to women, doesn’t fall to women. It’s not our responsibility nor within our power to fix. Men have to stop other men who harass and belittle women, because they aren’t going to listen to women.

      3. AVP

        @Raptor – I think there’s an Amy Schumer skit where she says pretty much the exact thing, except she’s talking about catcallers who only stop if you say you have a boyfriend or husband. “Because of course, the person they respect in this conversation is that other man – not what you want.”

        1. Raptor

          I watched one of her skits. That was great. And I hadn’t heard her before. And these situations are so common and I hear so many variations of it, so I get where it comes from. I get asked out constantly any time I play a video game that require you to talk to other people. It’s almost always the first question I get any time I join a group (that, or they think I’m really a 13 year old boy… cause you know, that’s more likely than a woman /snark). Heaven forbid there be a second woman in the group… then comments can get real interesting.

  13. neverjaunty

    OP #3, if it was that long ago it’s probably off your credit report, but strongly recommend (as has been mentioned already) that you go to annualcreditreport to get your free copies, and review them carefully. I also highly recommend Nolo Press’ book on credit repair, which your library probably has or can get for you.

  14. Addiez

    #3 – Coming from a nonprofit in a fundraising role, I know that we do credit checks when we’re looking at employees who will have access to our fundraising database. I know it’s been resolved now – but for others in similar situations, it’s definitely a possibility.

  15. anon in tejas

    marginally related to #2

    I really don’t like when a friend/contact emails me asking me to keep them in mind for any positions that I may hear of. If we have not worked together, I don’t really know what you do, what you’re looking for, why you are thinking of leaving. Also, if we don’t live in the same city, it’s much more helpful if you let me know whether you are looking to stay in your city or whether you are willing to relocate.

    there are much better ways to reach out to friends and contacts. generally more than a 2 line email is advised!

  16. ruby

    RE #3:

    I would be proactive about this rather than take a wait and see approach. I don’t work for a non-profit, but I have been credit-checked as a condition of employment by several organizations. I have managed a portion of departmental budget, but am not in a financial role. You might also be credit-checked if you purchase things (even small things like office supplies) on behalf of the company or travel (and will have reimbursed expenses), etc. Basically, I would not leave this to chance and would take the peace of mind approach that Allison wrote to bring it up and ask about it.

    Also: It’s a good idea to have on-hand ANY paperwork related to the identity theft as backup if it becomes a threat to employment. That includes police reports, communication with the credit card company, etc. Also, it is within your rights to provide a written statement of your side and the three credit bureaus have to include your statement in your file and submit that along with any credit check. You can say what you wrote in your letter–the charges weren’t yours, but you discovered them too late and are working to pay them down, etc. You can and probably should have a fraud alert placed on that card if you didn’t close it outright. I would recommend you do that kind of stuff now, ahead of officially needing it, so that it doesn’t look like the charges were yours and you’re slow to pay or worse, a write-off. It’s unfair (and a hassle) and I’m so sorry it happened to you, but anything you can do to protect yourself in the future and provide a documentation trail about the identify theft now may be a good investment for you.

  17. D

    I know there’s nothing more to be said about #1. But, I just can’t. I can’t believe a CEO would have the gall to do that. OP is obviously smart enough not to go out on the date. But what a potential mess!! The last thing you’d need is the good friend providing feedback on anything.

  18. TheTemp

    Tangentially related to # 2- what is with these paid job search services? Are they even worth it? It seems so sketchy to me.

    1. Lily in NYC

      No! Absolutely not worth it. A legit recruiter doesn’t charge the person seeking employment; the fee is paid by the employer.

  19. EM

    Ha, this is so relevant to #2. This was posted to my apartment building’s internal listserv a week or two ago:

    Title: Get paid to help me change careers!

    So, after 10 years, I have decided to change careers, and am looking for job referrals, advice, recommendations etc. Any of the above which results in an interview and subsequent offer, will pay you between 5%-10% of first year’s annual salary as a finders fee.

    Work experience:

    15 years sales experience (inc Luxury cars, prestige real estate, commercial real estate, mortgages and financial products, hi-end home audio, musical equipment)

    8 Years progressively responsible Retail & Specialty retail Location and multi-location management in stores doing in excess of $20M GS and responsible for more than 40 direct reports. P&L accountability, AP/AR, Logistics, Merchandising, Marketing, Payroll, supply chain, basically running a variety of business from top to bottom.Proven track record, always in top 10% of performers with last 3 employers. Currently a district manager in training for a $19B publicly traded specialty retailer. I can run any business, lead (or create) any team and show measurable improvement in KPI and ROI within 120 days. Anywhere, in an field (given proper training).

    Areas of special skill and passion: Sales Training, Career Development & Mentoring, Performance Management, Operations and Finance.

    Areas of special interest: Home Audio, Pro-Audio, People-Development, Leadership Development, Motivational Speaking, hi-end apparel, team-building.

    Availability is wide open, willing to travel up to 35 miles from ***, Salary requirements starting in the $70’s.

  20. EM

    Aw, my comment about how someone in my building did the exact same thing as #2 (only more hilarious, IMO) got put in moderation.

  21. Erica

    Honestly, I don’t see what’s so wrong with offering to pay someone to get you job leads. I would like to do this myself. Different people are good at different things, and no matter how much good advice someone may receive, assertive extroverts are usually better at job searching than shy introverts who hate tooting their own horns. Why not outsource this? Why is it ok to pay someone to design your portfolio website or look over your resume, but for some reason it’s a huge taboo to pay them for other aspects of the job seatch?

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