my former boss is engaging in weird LinkedIn behavior, I feel guilty about leaving my job, and more

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

1. I feel guilty about making my boss’s life harder if I leave for a new job

I’ve been passively looking for a new job for about a year now, but really only half-heartedly. I don’t have any huge complaints with the day-to-day of my current job, but the company is a mess and I was always certain that I would be jumping ship immediately if my boss quit.

Cut to last week, when my boss informs me that he’s fairly certain he’ll be gone by the end of the year, or by next summer at the latest. A few days later, I was headhunted by a company, and it seems really likely that I’ll be offered a position, based on how the interviews have gone.

Now that I’m considering leaving BEFORE my much-admired boss leaves, I’m finding that I’m having real trouble with the idea of quitting. I made a list today of the things I do each day, and the thought of putting all these tasks back on my boss (we’re the only two people in our department) is causing me real distress.

This new job pays around 10%-15% more annually, is non-exempt (I currently work 50+ hour weeks, so this is a benefit to me), and is much closer to my house. Plus, it’s a specialist position, so I’d be focusing on around a quarter of the area that I currently deal with as an HR Generalist. I would be crazy to turn down the new job, right? I just don’t know how to accept the fact that I’ll be sticking my boss with 80+ hour workweeks for however long it takes for him to find a new job.

Your boss will deal with it. People leave jobs; this is a normal part of doing business. If the department will fall apart without you, then your boss has mismanaged things pretty badly. But it’s more likely that he’ll have a crunch time and then things will be fine.

You need to leave on a schedule that makes sense for you. (And there’s rarely an easy time to leave a job. In fact, it might be better for you to leave now, rather than waiting until your boss leaves and sticking your company with no one seasoned left in the department.) It’s good that you care — it shows you’re conscientious and care about things running smoothly, but really, this is a normal thing that businesses are set up to be able to handle. Your boss will not be working 80 hours a week; he’ll bring in new help, or push projects back, or bring in temps, or do any of the myriad things people do in this situation. It will be fine.

2. My interview included a random person who didn’t identify herself, even when I asked

Is it appropriate for an interview to include an interviewer who is not affiliated with the business you are interviewing with?

I just applied for a management position with a local humane society. I sent my solicited resume to the president of the board, who had contacted me, and scheduled an interview. Present during the interview were a manager, the president, a volunteer, and “an interested party.” When I asked if she was a board member or worked for the shelter, she said no and that she was just “an interested party.” It was strange. It made me very uncomfortable that she was given access to my resume and was included in my interview without my consent. Weird. Am I overreacting?

There are cases where it would be reasonable to include an outside in an interview process — if she were a consultant, for instance, or coaching the board president on hiring, or who knows what else. But her role should be explained to you — and it would have been perfectly appropriate for you to say, “Can you tell me more about your role with the organization and in the hiring process?”

I don’t think I’d bristle at her having access to your resume. The universe of people who might see your resume when you apply for a job is pretty large (volunteers, admins helping with hiring, board members if it’s a very small organization, someone the hiring manager checks with to see if you’re the same Jane Smith who used to work for her, and lots of other possibilities). But it’s certainly reasonable to want to understand who you’re meeting with and why.

3. My former boss’s boss is carrying out a weirdly slow trickle of LinkedIn endorsements

I left a job nearly six years ago and completely changed fields. Now my boss’s boss from that job, who I don’t keep in touch with, is endorsing me on LinkedIn for skills that she has no way of knowing about. She doesn’t do this all at one time; she endorses about one skill a week. It’s making me feel a little odd – an equivalent on Facebook would be a person I once got to know at summer camp “liking” every single one of the pictures I’ve ever posted. Should I do anything about this? At the very least I feel like it waters down the endorsement’s I’ve received, but I don’t know how much they really matter.

That’s bizarre behavior, but I would just ignore it. No one else will notice or care.

That said, totally aside from this, I’d turn off LinkedIn’s skills endorsements altogether. They don’t carry any weight at all and have zero credibility since anyone can endorse you for anything, whether they know you and have worked with you or not. They’re an inexplicably ridiculous feature of the site.

4. Should I leave my new job for another one?

I started a new job in December with a great company, in the top 10 of the Fortune 500. I really like my job and see great potential for my future. This week I got a call from an outside recruiter with a firm asking if I would be interested in another opportunity. I checked her out and she’s legit. I’ve spoken to her a few times and the position is similar to my current position. She thinks I’m a good candidate and wants to present me for it. I’m really torn. While I’m very happy with my new job, I hate to pass on something that could be even better. She said my current salary and bonus was in line with what this company would offer. What are your thoughts on this?

Why would you leave a job that you just started less than a year ago and that you’re happy at, without a really compelling reason?

You can get away with one short-term stay, but it’ll pretty much lock you into having to stay at the next one for a good long while so you don’t look like a job hopper. Why do that without a lot more incentive than it sounds like you have here?

5. Salary negotiation when moving from non-exempt to exempt

I am in a salaried non-exempt position at a large non-profit, and recently applied for a role in another department which better suits my skillset (with the support and blessing of my current manager and the new role’s supervisor). I know that this new role would be offered at the same salary that I am currently on, but it would be an exempt position.

If I were to get this job, could I negotiate the starting salary up based on the fact that I would be “losing” overtime? I don’t work overtime every pay period, but during particularly busy times for the organization I do clock up a fair amount, about an extra $2,500 over the course of a year. This new role would be just as much work, so I feel like I’d be taking a pay cut of that extra $2-3K…but maybe that’s just the trade-off for the added responsibility and authority of the new role. The company is responsive to salary negotiation (I did it when I started my current job), so I’m not afraid of asking, I just have no idea if this is a normal basis for negotiation or if I’ll be laughed out of the office.

Well, ideally, you’d negotiate the salary totally independent of what you’ve been making; you should negotiate based on the market rate for the new role. But if you get the sense that that their salary offer is going to be based on your current salary, then yes, it’s totally reasonable to say, “While my salary in this role has been $X, I typically earned an additional $Y each year in overtime, bringing the total pay to $Z. I want to be sure I’m not taking a pay cut at the same time that I’m taking on additional responsibility.”

Also, about this: “maybe that’s just the trade-off for the added responsibility and authority of the new role.” Added responsibility and authority is supposed to bring additional compensation, not less. If you’re taking on more responsibility, make sure you’re being paid appropriately for it. That means an increase, not a lateral move, and definitely not a cut.

{ 173 comments… read them below }

  1. Stephanie

    #3 – Yeah, I don’t think anyone really takes endorsements seriously. You’ll be fine.

    #4 – I’d gracefully decline if you’re happy with your current role. I’ll also say that it’s hard to judge the job from the outside. The new job could sound the same on paper and be a nightmare in actuality (bad boss, different culture, etc). Plus, the recruiter has some incentive (her commission) to place you (or someone) in the role, so she might play up the pluses of the role a bit. That being said, recruiters do place people in fantastic roles, I’ve just always picked up a slight hard sell vibe that can’t be ignored when evaluating the role.

    1. PEBCAK

      I bet this is just LI saying “Do you wanna endorse OP for Skill X?” when the boss logs in, and the boss clicks “yes” without thinking.

      1. LQ

        I totally agree on this. Especially with the timing, they go in to check LinkedIn and it pops up asking if you want to endorse someone and suggesting a skill. Much like how facebook will put a 4 year old photo in front of you for you to like randomly.

        Don’t worry about it, it’s just a social media thing.

      2. Karowen

        That’s what I was thinking. If you’re really uncomfortable with inaccurate endorsements but don’t want to turn them off, you can decline a specific endorsement.

      3. Another Poster

        I was thinking this too. I have someone doing this to me right now. A guy I used to be friends with back in the early days of high school. I haven’t seen him in 20 years and he has absolutely no idea about what is going on in my personal or work life. For the past week or so he’s been endorsing me left and right for skills I’m positive he has no idea whether I even really have them, let alone whether I am good at them or not. It’s so weird. I don’t know why people do this. I just turned off endorsements though after reading this post.

        1. Aam Admi

          I too turned off my endorsements after reading Alison’s advise to the OP. Didn’t realize that option was available.

        2. steve G

          I am 99% the people aren’t endorsing you or anyone. I confronted someone who kept endorsing me for stupid stuff like “office management skills,” skills that anyone would claim…..and they swore they weren’t doing it. About a month later, linkedin sent an email out to everyone that I had added a bunch of skills. It was so embarrassing. Again, they were stupid skills that any professional could claim like “public speaking” or “proposal writing.” They were so random. I definitely didn’t add them to my profile and I hadn’t even changed my profile.

      4. Cautionary tail

        Yes Yes Yes.

        I’ve connected to people on LinkedIn who I’ve met at conferences and they endorsed me for skills I know nothing about and certainly they nothing nothing about my having or not having them.

        I read an article about a tech journalist who was endorsed for speaking a language he didn’t know and somehow it gained traction with others also endorsing him for that language.

        Endorsements mean nothing.

      5. Leah

        I think that is exactly what is happening. This is probably how I ended up with an endorsement for psychotherapy from my father-in-law. I’m an attorney have zero psychological training.

        1. manybellsdown

          A co-worker of my husband’s added me and then endorsed me for programming. I don’t program. But everyone else I know does, so I think he just assumed? Obviously we never worked together!

      6. J-nonymous

        Seriously. Skills Endorsements is like Candy Crush Saga for LinkedIn: it’s just a click game.

      7. INTP

        Agree with this – LinkedIn sends a lot of spam. At the most she’s probably clicking on things in the weekly email they send encouraging you to endorse people for things.

        Also agree that no one takes endorsements seriously. Most of mine are from complete strangers (plus my dad, lol).

    2. MJH

      Is this your first time being head-hunted, #4? It can be super flattering and exciting when it happens (at least it was for me). Someone actually wants me and thinks I’m awesome! Oh, I have to think about it!

      And yeah, think about it. But if it’s not better (and could be worse) and you don’t really have a good reason to move on, then it’s perfectly fine to say you’ve decided you’re not looking for a change right now, but to keep in touch. Recruiters always will.

      1. The IT Manager

        Yes. It really sounds like leaving a known good job (great company … I really like my job and see great potential for my future) after a short time for an unknown similar/equivalent job. Why would you do that?

        Given you have had no reason to think about leaving your current job after such a short time, I’d only give consideration to a sudden offer if it was a signifgant step up, increase in pay, or has something else that made it a an amazing offer.

        1. ThursdaysGeek

          There are so few jobs that are all-around great: stable company I can respect, great boss, interesting work, good co-workers, decent pay. If you find one that has all of that, don’t jump ship unless you really know the next one has something you really, really want and can’t get in the current job. Because chances are, the next one won’t have all of that.

    3. LBK

      It sucks that you can’t filter or edit endorsements more, because I’ve gotten some from people who actually CAN vouch for those skills for me. I wish there were a way to tag each endorsement by person and relationship, like “Bob endorsed LBK for ‘customer service’ – worked as LBK’s manager when he was a customer service rep at Teapots-a-Go-Go.”

      1. krisl

        Yeah, me too. I’ve had people endorse me for skills I don’t have and for skills I doubt that they know I have. It irritates me.

  2. Sarah

    To the poster worried about leaving her boss in the lurch. Take the new position if offered! Think of it this way, If you dropped dead tomorrow, your work would be reallocated and the company wouldn’t go out of business. In a year, you might not even be remembered. That’s the business world.

    1. neverjaunty

      Yes, this. OP #1, the fact that you describe your boss as “much-admired” (by you, I assume, since you are in a two-person department?) sounds like you are letting your personal relationship with this boss get in the way of making the right professional choice.

      Your boss will hire a temp, farm out the work or otherwise deal with your absence. And he’s leaving anyway – which strongh suggests he’s not agonizing about sticking YOU wih extra work if he leaves. We all like to think we are indispensible, but the truth is that very few of us will really cripple any business or career if we moveon.

    2. Frances

      Yes. Also your boss could have a new position tomorrow, leaving you with all the work — what happens then?

      In my first real job, I had a great boss and coworkers, and got so invested in the work we were doing that when my great boss left, I didn’t even think about looking for another job because who would keep the department running until we had a new leader? Well, that search dragged on forever, the person they eventually hired was a disaster, and by the time I realized I should get out the economy had collapsed. It took 18 months to find even an internal transfer — all told I probably stalled my career unnecessarily for two or three years, out of loyalty to people who had jumped ship long ago.

    3. the_scientist

      I agree- this is business, not personal. You need to do what’s best for you!

      I get the OP’s struggle, though. I’ve been looking for nearly 6 months on-and-off, but haven’t found anything yet. My boss is losing a close family member to cancer, and our brand-new program manager (seriously, she’s been here 6 weeks) just yesterday announced that she needs to leave due to some personal issues of her own. She’ll stick around for a couple more months, so if I get a new job and announce that I’m also leaving in January…..I don’t know what my boss will do. I know she’ll be happy for me, and wish me well, but given how difficult the last year was…..I hate that I am burdening her. That doesn’t mean I won’t leave, but it does mean I’ll feel guilty about it.

    4. Lisa

      I look at it this way. The boss is going to leave, will he/she stay for this OP? No, he gave a heads-up that is it. The work may end up on OP’s plate with no new director in sight when the boss leaves. The boss has a better chance of hiring someone else then OP does of convincing the company to hire a director. Though I do not like the idea that we are assuming the roles won’t be filled at all. That is not the way you should live your life – because the company thinks that 2 jobs can be thrown at 1 person to save money. Lots of companies think that and its the boss’ job to convince them to hire more quickly. And if he gets stuck with the work as OP assumes, then it will hasten his own exit. Which isn’t a bad thing at all if OP really has no faith that the company will replace those that leave.

    5. Artemesia

      This. I retired not long ago. I was ‘indispensable’ the go to person for all hard projects for decades. The place didn’t miss a beat. None of us is all that important in the workplace; we are all replaceable. And leaving before your boss is better than at the same time as far as the company is concerned. It allows them a transition in your role before there is a transition in his role.

    6. Anonanom

      I just went through this situation last year. Boss had made grumblings about leaving the company and retiring within the year, but no definite date. I was offered a fantastic opportunity. Felt guilty as he had been a serious mentor in my career, but took it anyway. My boss left about a month later. Apparently the only reason he had decided to stay and not retire earlier was I was acting as a bit of a crutch for him to stay at the job but not have to carry the workload. My leaving made him realize he was more than ready to leave. Who knows how long he would have stayed otherwise.

    7. Anonie

      I had a friend who was being treated horribly at work and she kept saying she didn’t want to quit because she did payroll and how would the employees get paid. My response to her was do you really think these people are going to go without being paid? They will figure it out.

      This reminds me of the old Dolly Parton movie Straight Talk. Where she has a radio show and tells the caller, “Get down off the cross because somebody needs the wood!”

      You can’t stay in a job because you are worried about everyone else. You have to make decisions that are right for you and your career.

  3. Mister Pickle

    #3: the random endorsements are a lot of the reason why endorsements are worthless: LinkedIn will occasionally put a thing at the top of the page – usually when editing one’s profile, I think – that shows four of your connections, and for each one it says “does Bob Smith know about ____?” Where ____ is some random skill from Bob’s profile. If you click it, Bob gets an endorsement in that skill. And LinkedIn will pop up another connection for you to endorse. The entire setup is annoying and, frankly, more than a little disturbing. The first time you get hit with this, you immediately grasp that endorsements are BS. Plus there’s a slight addictive quality to the process, I’m not sure how to describe it, but I’ve caught myself going several rounds with the thing until I snapped out of it.

    Initially I tried to have fun with it, and included skills like “chicken plucking”. But I quickly grew bored and simply turned the damn things off. Anyone who looks at LinkedIn endorsements and thinks they are a valid indicator of a person’s ability is simply clueless to the point where you don’t want them as your recruiter.

    1. Jen RO

      I was going to say this too – clicking those little endorsement boxes can be addictive! I find my endorsements pretty funny, most of them come from people who have no idea what I do on a day to day basis… so yeah, they are meaningless.

      1. Beyonce Pad Thai

        Yeah! I work in finance. My college and HS friends frequently endorse me for finance or banking-related skills that I have no experience in whatsoever, and of which I am sure they barely even know what it is (like my graphic designer friend who endorsed me for Basel III yesterday… thanks, but no?)

        I always suspected LinkedIn just gives them a bunch of terms vaguely related to my field to choose from and they just click whatever. I don’t use the site much, so I rarely endorse anyone.

    2. Mike

      Those random endorsements is what I think is going on here. I’ll see them from time to time and will click on a few that I know.

    3. NZ Muse

      Yeah I was gonna say that – the old boss is probably just clicking ‘endorse’ when she randomly sees your name come up in the suggestion box every so often!

    4. AdAgencyChick

      I was going to say — this isn’t bizarre behavior, a lot of my contacts do it and I’m pretty sure they’re just responding to automated prompts.

    5. Elkay

      I only ever have one person who endorses me (just got one today!) which makes it look even sillier, like no-one else thinks I’m capable of doing anything. He often endorses me for skills I don’t even have listed, LinkedIn obviously throws up “similar” skills in the same style as Amazon (“people who make chocolate teapots are also able to joust on dolphins”)

      1. Parfait

        That must be where some of my endorsers got some of their crazy ideas.

        I turned the endorsement feature off a while ago. Even if people endorsed a skill I do possess, it was seldom one I wanted to highlight. Bah, I say.

        But now I want to try dolphin jousting. Ooh or water polo on dolphinback! That could be fun!

      2. Sarahnova

        Hell, if you can make a great chocolate teapot, dolphin jousting would be a walk (swim?) in the park.

    6. Chuchundra

      I now want to log in to LinkedIn and endorse people for interesting, random skills.

      Everyone in my network is now good at underwater bomb disposal!

  4. kas

    1. Do not pass up this opportunity. What if you turned it down and your boss suddenly announces that he’s leaving. Wouldn’t you regret it? It’s business and I think you should put yourself first, especially when it comes to jobs. They’re not always easy to get.

    4. I think you should stay where you are. You have no real issues with your current job so I see no reason for you to leave and begin a new position. What if the work environment/culture/people are horrible?

    1. Chinook

      OP #4 – if it is a lateral job, then what you are risking is a new job environment which isn’t always easy to suss out in the interview process. Maybe I am just getting old, but if you found a place that you like going to work to and they pay you a reasonable wage, why would you risk leaving that for the unknown. Heck, I have even taken a pay cut to take a job at a place that was good to work for and never regretted a moment of it. Frankly, no amounnt of money is worth risking a bad work environment.

  5. Dan

    #1

    Your boss has more ways of coping with your departure than you have of coping with his departure. AAM listed several ways he could deal with it. Your way is to suck it up until you leave.

  6. Dan

    #4

    As AAM is suggesting, lateral moves make little sense. When you move out, you want to move up, at least in pay. You don’t want to move for “comparable” pay.

    Besides, forget what the interviewer is saying for a minute — you’ll still have to pass an interview with the next place. And they’ll want to know why you want to move on from your current job. “Because this place might be better” just isn’t a good enough answer.

    1. AdAgencyChick

      I don’t know about that — I’ve given the answer “well, you called me, and I’m not 100% sure I want to move, but I’m intrigued” (which is essentially “because this place might be better”) a couple of times in interviews. Once it got me as far as an offer. I guess it depends on whether this is an outside headhunter calling (which tells you nothing about the *company’s* interest, because she could just see skills that fit and want to up her chances at a commission) or an internal headhunter, which probably indicates someone at the company has a real interest in meeting OP.

      I wouldn’t interview after less than a year’s tenure at a job I was happy with, though, and DEFINITELY not for a lateral move. If you’re going to burn that bridge, it had better be for a large bump.

      1. AnonAnalyst

        Yeah, I think this is a totally reasonable answer when the interview results from an initial outreach from a recruiter (rather than from the candidate sending in an application). I’ve given this answer too which seemed to go over fine.

        There are also some skills I’d like to develop more but am unlikely to get much experience in in my current job, so I’ve also mentioned that in these types of interviews (“during my last job search, I was hoping to find a position where I could develop my teapot handle carving skills. I really like my current job and have been able to develop a lot of other skills, but due to the nature of our work I don’t have many handle-carving opportunities, so I’m interested in learning more about opportunities where that might be a larger focus of my job.”)

      2. Adam

        I agree. If the employer contacted YOU that means they think you might be able to provide the skills and work ethic to handle the job they need filled. While job interviews should very much be a two way street to decide if the candidate is a good fit for the role in every sense, in this case it’s much more weighted on their side to try and convince you a move would be worth it.

  7. Kathlynn

    #1, leave. Do yourself a favor and leave. Staying in a place you don’t like working at is horrible. Especially since you don’t know how long it will take to get another offer.

  8. Dan

    #5

    So… I gotta clear some stuff up, and I’m not even going to touch what “salaried non-exempt” means when you get overtime.

    I’ve worked in hourly non-exempt roles for all but 9 months of my working life. I guess that puts my working life at 21 years now.

    Every place I’ve ever worked at, the person in the highest non-exempt role (paid by the hour with overtime) always made more than his boss, the lowest man on the salaried food chain. Even if my math is off, and boss made slightly more than his direct underling, that kind of boss never worked a 40-hour week and went home. That boss works a lot of extra hours, both at the office, and at home checking emails and stuff like that.

    Let me give you an example: Say you make $15/hr and work 10 hours of overtime every week, but take two weeks vacation every year. You’ll make $42,450, with base wages of $31,200. If you make $31,200, a reasonable increase in pay for a management promotion is 30%. That puts you at $40,560, which is less than you were making with the overtime.

    Your overtime pay carries leverage if the next position really wants to pry you away from your current position. It has no inherent value on an equal playing field.

    1. MK

      The OP isn’t talking about 10 hours of overtime a week; mostly, overtime is an occasional and unpredictable thing. I think that’s why it’s difficult to use it as an argument for higher pay, unless you can document that it has been a constant and significant addition to your salary.

    2. Elysian

      “Salaried non-exempt” shouldn’t be particularly hard to understand. You get paid a regular consistent salary. If you work overtime hours, the employer has to convert your salary into an hourly rate and then pay you overtime. It CAN be hard because of some weird things employers are allowed to do with salaried non-exempt employees, but the concept isn’t that different from hourly non-exempt.

        1. Elysian

          They’re really niche scenarios that won’t affect most people – there are some counter-intuitive ways that they’re allowed to calculate the hourly rate if certain conditions apply, and under some rare circumstances they can pay .5 time for overtime work instead of 1.5. Those things mostly only apply if you have a strange rotating schedule (like lots of emergency services personnel, for example, who work 24-hour shifts) But if you work a 40-hour/week schedule (or less than 40 hrs per week), which is the majority of cases, its a lot like being hourly non-exempt except if you work fewer hours in a week than you’re scheduled for, you won’t get docked pay.

      1. LBK

        I don’t know what weird things employers are allegedly allowed to do with salaried non-exempt people, but as one myself I can confirm this is how it works – if I work 40 or fewer hours in a week, I make my salary. If I work over 40 hours, I make a converted hourly overtime rate for those extra hours.

    3. AdAgencyChick

      This is sometimes true at my company as well, where a senior project coordinator (who is non-exempt) ends up making more money with overtime than an assistant account executive because the latter is exempt. (Everybody ends up working more than 40 hours a week, but only some people get paid extra for that.) Similarly, experienced editors make more than junior copywriters. But it’s not always true, as the path upward from there means an experienced “doer” always makes less than when s/he is promoted to inexperienced “supervisor.”

      I actually wish this sort of pay decision were more common in my line of work — for example, when a graphic designer is considering whether to be promoted from senior art director to art supervisor, if there were a pay *cut* then but potential to earn more as you move up the management food chain. “First Break All the Rules” makes a really good case for paying masters of doing something more than junior managers, because it forces employees to think hard about whether they want to *manage* or whether they just want more pay to get better and better at what it is they do. When junior managers always make more than master doers, nearly everyone wants to be a manager, and merely being good at doing something doesn’t make you good at managing projects or people. And what we end up with is a top-heavy organization where it’s hard to find enough good people at the “doer” level.

      This is not to say that OP can’t try to negotiate a higher salary for the new responsibilities — but it’s possible that OP’s company has made a choice to pay junior managers similarly to or less than experienced non-managers in order to force OP and others in a similar position to consider just how badly they really want to do the new job.

  9. AB Normal

    #3 – As a fan of LinkedIn (just because my current awesome job and some of my past best jobs came through it), I have to disagree with AAM on this. I totally get what she’s saying about endorsements, but it’s not a universal truth. My profile mostly has endorsements from C-level executives of companies with 400+ employees, high-profile consultants, and previous coworkers. Yes, from time to time I get a weird endorsement from someone I barely know, but overall, I think having it in my profile adds clout to it and influences recruiters who have reached out to me several times to discuss 6-figure jobs or consulting gigs.

    As for “she endorses about one skill a week”, don’t blame your ex-boss, blame LinkedIn. They designed the endorsement feature to feel like a “game”–so easy to click and give a “nod” to someone you like. I noticed they show me the same faces week after week, changing the skill they are asking me to endorse them for. Your profile is probably showing up to your former boss every single week, each time with a different skill. The message they put near your picture is, “Does OP know about [something]?”. In many cases the [something] is a wild guess LinkedIn made (I know because I get endorsed by things like “strategy”, which I have not mentioned anywhere in my profile). But that’s the reason your former boss is not endorsing you for everything at once, remembering to do it every week, and endorsing you for seemingly random things s/he “has no way of knowing about”: he/she is only following LinkedIn’s interaction path.

    So, don’t feel creeped out, OP. And here’s a good reason to keep the endorsement feature on (if it’s even possible to turn it off; I never tried): if an ex-boss keeps endorsing you every week (even for things he/she never saw you doing), use it as a good sign s/he 1) still remembers and likes you, and has no problem extrapolating his/her knowledge to infer you’d be good at other things s/he has no direct knowledge about; and 2) for that reason would likely be a great reference when you need to provide some during a hiring process.

    1. Kelly L.

      My mom likes to endorse me for things that are way above anything I’ve ever done–I’ve had to click the x to make them go away. “No, no, a project manager is a specific thing, it doesn’t mean I managed a project one time!” :D

      1. plain jane

        I greatly regret accepting the invitation to link from a parental unit. And having them endorse me for something just makes it look like they’re millennial helicopter parents. I think I’ve fixed it, but I’m not certain that it doesn’t show up if you click on the wrong place.

        1. Kelly L.

          At least we don’t have the same last name, so I don’t think it’s that obvious unless you know us personally. LOL

      2. Poohbear McGriddles

        This is why I’m glad my mom is not on LinkedIn. Reminds me of the “My Mom is on Facebook” skit on SNL a few years ago.
        I’d probably get endorsed for “Not Calling His Mother Regularly”.

        1. Aam Admi

          My son is connected to me on LinkedIn and we share professional connections. But I do not endorse him or write recommendations on his profile.

    2. CAA

      It’s extremely unlikely that recruiters are looking at your endorsements and taking them seriously, because everybody knows that they are meaningless. Recruiters are on LinkedIn too, and they’re getting endorsed and being asked to endorse people they barely know, so the most logical assumption is that the people who endorse you don’t know you or your skills either. You can easily verify this by asking them what it was on your profile that interested them.

      1. AB Normal

        CAA,
        A recruiter even commented once how impressive my list of endorsers is, which means he both looked and checked who these people were. True, random people can add the most ridiculous endorsements and it will be meaningless. But when you see the CTO of a Fortune 500 company and several other well-known executives endorsing you for the exact same thing (say, “competitive analysis”, I think the situation changes.

        All I’m saying is that if you keep your list of contact in LinkedIn restricted to people you worked with (which is my case; my parents are linked in Facebook but not LinkedIn!), then the endorsements will be at worst neutral — won’t hurt you at all.

  10. Larisa

    Why are Gen Xers/Boomers so against younger generations job hopping if they are unhappy or want better opportunities? In this case, I wouldn’t leave, but I see so much stuff that basically tells people my age to stay in awful jobs JUST so we don’t look like job hoppers. It really is a sign that previous generations believe in ‘living to work’ instead of ‘working to live’. Life is too short to be unhappy and to stay in a situation that makes you unhappy just because you’re worried about what someone else might think of you….

    1. Sunshine

      Even if that someone else might decide you don’t get thr next job because you’re flaky and irresponsible? Right or wrong, that’s the reason for that “rule”. During the hiring process, managers only have a few data points to use in their decision. We are looking for the strongest candidate, with the least risk. No one wants to go through the time and energy of hiring and training, only to have the candidate leave within a few months. So between two equal (or even unequal) candidates, the length of time spent at previous jobs could be a deciding factor.

      By all means, live your life the way you want to. Just understand the potential consequences.

      1. AdAgencyChick

        +1. When I’m hiring a writer, I know it’s not a guarantee that I won’t have to replace her (in fact, if she’s any good I’ll have to replace her when I promote her), but I would like as close to a guarantee as possible that I won’t have to replace her almost as soon as I’m finished with the trouble of training her. Part of figuring that out is interviewing for skills (so I won’t have to replace her because I have to fire her), but I also want to know that this person isn’t constantly looking for the next newer, shinier opportunity. One short stay on a resume tells me that the company wasn’t a good fit for that person; two or more, and I definitely get worried that this person will ditch me in a year or less, too — so when our recruiter presents me with a resume like that, I always make him grill the candidate about the reasons for leaving those jobs in the pre-screen.

    2. neverjaunty

      “Someone else” here being “an employer you really want to work for”. This isn’t a generational issue; this is the basic concept of an employer judging your suitability as an employee based on what kind of employee you’ve been in the past. And if your resume suggests you are the kind of employee who keaves jobs after very short stints, why would your dream-job employer trust that you’ll stick around?

    3. MK

      For ”someone else” read ”perspective employer” and for ”just not look like a job hopper” read ”not look like a quitter/difficult to work with/person with unrealistic expectations. If you quit one job, people won’t think much of it, it could have been a bad fit or a crazy employer or a dead-end job. If you quit two, people will start wondering if he problem isn’t you, not the job. Three and more and it’s a red flag; yes, you might have been especially unlucky, but it’s more likely that you have an issue. People advise against job hopping because, if you do it too much, there won’t be a next job for you to hop to.

      1. Larisa

        It just seems ludicrous to expect people to stick out jobs that are truly awful instead of looking for a good fit. I had two jobs that didn’t work (one where the company went bust and another where they had to downsize) so by logic, I have to stick this one out for a ‘good while’, except it makes me want to put pins in my eyes because it is the worst job ever. It makes no sense when this job makes me not want to get out of bed every day.

        1. plain jane

          We had a resume from an entry-level person who had two short term gigs right out of school, but since the cover letter explained in a non-defensive or whiny way what had happened, we still brought her in for an interview that she nailed (she accepted an offer from another company for a higher salary than we could justify at the time).

          The red flag is in wondering how much you’re looking for the perfect soul mate fit with a job if you keep on jumping (of your own volition, or because you get fired) after less than 18 months or so, particularly with lateral moves. Also, based on some of the letters I’ve seen here, “worst job ever” has a lot of competition :)

        2. MK

          The sense it makes is that, if you leave this job for a another one that might also not work out, you might not get a chance at job No.5. You are limiting your chances to find the good job you are looking for, if you have a resume full if short-term stints.

          By the way, job hopping usually refers to voluntarily changing jobs.

        3. Lily in NYC

          It’s about quanitity. If I screen a resume and see 5 jobs in a row that lasted less than two years, then I’m not going to consider it. There are exceptions of course, and I recent grads more slack. It’s a red flag – how am I supposed to know if the person just can’t get along with people, is a restless flake, or had really bad luck?

          1. Lily in NYC

            Forgot to add that I would never consider things like a company going under or downsizing as job-hopping. That’s out of the candidate’s control.

            1. fposte

              Right, I think that gets missed sometimes when people discuss job-hopping. It’s not about short duration, it’s about having itchy feet.

              And if I’m hiring for a term-limited job, itchy feet don’t bother me either. But if I’m hiring for a job where I want the hire to bring enough value over time to offset the expense of the search, people who walk away quickly aren’t going to be good choices. It’s not about wanting employees to be indentured, it’s about anticipating whether an employee will bring what I’m looking for based on the employee’s history–which is pretty much hiring in a nutshell.

            2. Elsajeni

              That’s true, but it’s also hard to distinguish on a resume, which I think contributes to people’s anxiety in situations like Larisa’s — “If I start looking to leave this job I hate after only X months, will I get the chance to explain what happened at those previous companies, or will I just be automatically dismissed because I have three short-term jobs listed?” Like you said, it’s hard for the person screening a resume to tell the difference between job-hopping and a string of bad luck.

        4. LBK

          Well, if you repeatedly end up in jobs that you hate, I think that also makes people wonder what kind of screening you’re doing during the interviewing process – are you asking about accountability, culture, etc.? Also, being laid off twice isn’t the same as job hopping. That’s going to make sense to most people – you don’t really have a choice to stay when the company says “You don’t work here anymore.”

          1. fposte

            Or the applicant’s expectations–I think for some people every job is great until they have it, and that doesn’t bode well for their satisfaction in working for me.

            1. LBK

              Yes, exactly – it makes me question what that person’s expectation is for a job they’re willing to stay at. Fact of the matter is, almost no one ends up in a dream job, where you’re paid fabulously well, have crazy benefits, love every aspect of the work you have to do, have perfect management and great coworkers, etc. I think nearly every person in the world could come up with at least 1 thing they wish they could change at their job. That’s just part of working with other humans – nothing’s perfect, but you can find somewhere that’s acceptable for a period of time.

          2. AdAgencyChick

            +1.

            I’m not saying I automatically toss the resumes of candidates who have more than one short-term stay. Sometimes there really is a string of bad luck — the client you were hired to work with leaves the agency and you’re put on another account that’s not what you signed up for, you leave, and the next agency turns out to be a sh*t show. But I will make sure the recruiter grills them about it, because I still want to know that this is truly a reflection of the candidate’s unlucky circumstances and not a reflection of either “itchy feet” on the candidate’s part or an inability on her part to evaluate whether a position really is a good fit.

            This is especially true if the candidate has been at her *current* job for, say, six months or less — because if the situation is that bad, I worry that the candidate is thinking “any port in a storm” rather than critically evaluating to see whether the job and the company are a good fit.

        5. Colette

          The issue here is that you’re supposed to screen for a good fit while you’re job hunting, not after you start.

          I realize sometimes you just need any job, but once you take that job, it’s still in your best interests to stick it out for at least a year. There may be rare circumstances where it’s worth taking the professional hit to leave, but that would be things like being asked to do illegal things, having a manager who screams at you every day, etc. – not just having a job that isn’t your ideal.

          1. LBK

            Yes – if you’re in the “I need literally any other job besides this one” mode, you have to accept the caveat that you’re stuck with that job even if it sucks more than the last one. If you believe so strongly that you need to exit your current position that you can’t take the time to truly filter and assess each opportunity, you also have to accept the consequences of rushing your process like that.

    4. GrumpyBoss

      I’m going to ignore the obvious generational baiting and assume you really don’t understand why job hopping is not looked upon with favor by hiring managers.

      1. There is a cost of acquiring new talent. Posting jobs, reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, background checks, etc all cost companies money.
      2. There is a cost with onboarding. Technology costs (computers, software licenses, phone extensions), and productivity costs (your login ID does not miraculously appear, paperwork has to be filed, etc)
      3. Training a new hire costs a company money. Even if your “training” is Jane in the cube next to yours showing you how to fill out a TPS report, there is a productivity cost associated with that.

      Now there is a pretty good chunk of money already spent before you are actively contributing to your role. I know exactly how long I need an employee to stay in a position before I hit a break even point. If a candidate has a history of staying at positions for a term too short for me to get ROI, I’m not taking the risk. It has nothing to do with your pursuit of happiness. It has everything to do with business.

      1. Larisa

        A company wouldn’t hesitate to turf us out for any reason, yet they seem to expect our unwavering loyalty to them, even if it is a horrible job. It seems unbalanced and unfair.

        1. Mallory

          True, but I can tell you the 10 years I spent in purgatory AKA old job has some clout.
          Yes, I tried to leave but I was trapped by $$. But once I escaped I recall how impressed the executives were with my longevity.

          And as someone who used to think the next job will be better , I will share most places are dysfunctional at best. I live outside work.

          1. GrumpyBoss

            And this is what you have to do. Work is a means, not an end. If you are lucky enough to get a job in a field and at an employer where you are well paid, have exciting and challenging work, and treated with respect, congrats. I look up to you in awe.

            For the rest of us, it is only unfair if you make it about you. It is easier to accept once you understand this basic principle: a company does not exist for your personal happiness. As an employee, you are a tool for the company for that company to hit their major purpose, which is usually profit or some charitable target. If they can make you happy along the way, fantastic. But “fair” has nothing to do with it.

        2. Poe

          I agree that it sucks that companies expect and demand loyalty even when they are doing all they can to undermine morale, but in the current climate, it is what it is. You can do things as if we live in a perfect world, but acting as though the world is perfect won’t actually change reality. Life isn’t fair, work isn’t fair, it stinks and is frustrating, but sometimes to get money you have to knuckle under.

        3. MK

          Staying a reasonable amount of time does not equal unwavering loyalty. And you are not staying out of loyalty to a crappy employer. You are staying for yourself, so that you can build credentials and a professional reputation (which will allow you to leave a truly abusive workplace, if you ever find yourself in that position).

        4. LBK

          Based on your comment above, I’m going to assume you’ve got bitterness about being burned twice by employers. I assure you that’s not the standard – there are jobs with stability and where the employer isn’t trying to screw you.

        5. Graciosa

          I don’t expect unwavering loyalty in the sense that employees are bound to servitude with one employer for life while chained to their machines in a sweat shop. I’m sure we can all come up with examples where leaving is clearly the right thing to do (and I’ve been known to cheer the departing worker on the way to the exit) but I do worry as a hiring manager that someone with a string of quick departures from previous jobs has unrealistic expectations.

          I spent a lot of time temping earlier in my working life, and I was often surprised at the complaining and the attitude of some workers. There were always some people who could not get over the fact that we had to spend all day sitting at the desk just waiting for the phone to ring / operating some stupid machine in a hot, noisy environment for hours at a time / standing around feeding paper to copiers / whatever.

          The thing is, we knew we were going to be working as a receptionist / on a production line / in a print shop when we took the assignments. Yes, it’s work and not fun – which is why we were getting paid to do it instead of paying Mr. Sawyer for the privilege – but what exactly did they expect?

          1. GrumpyBoss

            Thank you! Do you know why I’m grumpy? Because of the complaining I have endured, as a boss, as a peer.

            1. KJR

              I’m with you. I feel like I have a sign across my forehead that says, “Complaint Department.” It’s very draining, especially when you are not in a position to do anything about said complaints!

            2. NaCSaCJack

              Grumpy – Can you talk more about that? What frustrates you about downstream? Shouldn’t we as employees, if we do a good job, deliver good results, expect to get raises and promotions? To have a career?

              1. GrumpyBoss

                If it’s a legitimate gripe that I can solve, I’m there to help. But here are some of the greatest hits of my career from downstream:

                So and so had a dinner party and didn’t invite me, but invited everyone else. Don’t you think that’s mean and unfair? You should talk to him.

                I think what the CEO makes is immoral and it impacts my job satisfaction.

                So and so was talking to me from another stall in the bathroom. I don’t like that.

                I realize that the company just laid off everyone in another department but I think it’s unfair I didn’t get a raise this year.

                This task that was part of the job description that I applied to, and accepted, doesn’t interest me.

                I know that the job requires 10-15% travel but I really don’t want to go to Omaha. I thought we’d be traveling somewhere fun.

                TL;DR: complaints where I’m the office mommy to settle disputes or complaints I can’t control make me grumpy.

              2. Graciosa

                I’m with Grumpy on wanting to solve *legitimate* problems. I regard that as a large part of my job. I do get frustrating when I am asked to “solve” other things. Recently, I have had the pleasure of dealing with a very junior employee with some performance problems who thinks that the solution would be for the company to send her to work expat in Paris.

                Seriously, that’s what she thinks should happen next in her career.

                We don’t have any offices in Paris or any need for an employee there at the moment, but if we did, it would be a fairly senior level person sent to meet a critical need that merited this expense (if you don’t know, expat assignments cost a fortune – it’s not just a matter of a plane ticket and work visa to make everyone happy).

                But she thinks her stalled career would get into gear if her employer would just send her to Paris for a while – preferably away from pesky managers who keep asking why her work is not done.

                On the other side, I push for raises for employees who are performing well, and I will try to get any employee willing to listen ready for promotion. Someone who genuinely asks for advice / guidance / help / mentoring (including matching them with another mentor in the company) / feedback will get all they can handle. Someone who demonstrates that they will *use* these to improve their performance will occupy my thoughts in a very good way.

                I spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to give members of my team a chance to grow and demonstrate that they are capable of more – and making sure they are rewarded when they do. I’m terribly proud of everything they achieve – which makes it more frustrating when I’m perceived as not doing enough to get them to Paris.

        6. Colette

          That’s not really true – functional companies don’t turf employees for any reason. They may make business decisions to cut people (either for performance reasons or because they no longer need that role).

        7. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

          Yes, absolutely. In the IS/IT world, if you do not receive education / training, your skills fall off.

          Once I had a conflict – in which I actually had to resign over not being included in a two-day training session (the boss backed down – long story but he had someone else in mind to take the lead role in that area, and knew if I got the training, *I’d* be the expert) … but it came down to

          “professional education is an investment. If you are not willing to invest that time in me, WHY THE HELL SHOULD I INVEST MY CAREER WITH YOU?”

          1. Dan

            OldJob didn’t invest in its people. Times got rough, and they’re leaving in droves. NewJob invests in its people. It’s friggin’ night and day the difference between working for a company who is willing to teach you some new stuff.

            The really positive thing is that they also have to keep your pay up to snuff, ’cause you can then take those new skills and make mad money elsewhere.

            1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

              Absolutely – I talked about a job that I held for 13-14 months (held nose, ran out door) – was shocked – no training at all – and it’s ESSENTIAL.

              Yes, they do have to keep your pay up to market levels.

              Oh they had dumb soft courses like “personal time management” and “can you write well?” but very little technical education. I had two days at local professional groups.

              I did relate – that two of us were driven out of the place and the third one, they had to establish a truce to keep him in the fold. That third person had received NO true technical education in eight years, save for a “freebie” 2-day IBM course.

              To top it off, the manager actually was paranoid about people learning things on their own. I had a trade magazine on my desk and he saw it “I didn’t tell you to read that!”. He freaked out when I discussed how one of the vendor programs worked on the system with another staff member.

              What did I learn there? Technically – nothing. But I also learned — how to avoid situations that you don’t want to get into.

              “If it looks like it, smells like it, feels like it, and tastes like it — DON’T STEP IN IT!”

        8. JB

          A good company doesn’t fire you for no reason. If you have a history of taking jobs at awful companies resulting in you getting fired repeatedly for no reasons unrelated to performance, potential employers are going to question your judgment and whether you maybe just take any job that comes along. You can explain if a company went under, or if you needed to take whatever job you could get for the time being because of the economy, and other reasons why you’ve switched jobs quickly. And of course you have the right to switch jobs as often as you like. But hiring employees is time-consuming, inconvenient, and sometimes expensive. Why would an employer hire someone who appears to leave the minute she’s the tiniest bit unhappy or the minute something that *might* be better comes along? It doesn’t make sense on their end, and that’s not unfair.

          It might be unfair that companies can fire you for any and no reason. It’s not unfair that companies don’t want to hire someone who has a history of leaving jobs quickly when she doesn’t have a reasonable explanation for why she’s done so.

      2. PEBCAK

        Further, how long would you estimate it is before you show mastery of your role? How long before you’ve really learned skills with the depth that makes them transferrable to a new company? Depending on the role, I’d say that’s around two years.

        Which is to say, if I compare a candidate with a year’s experience to one with no experience, the former doesn’t really get any points in their favor. They haven’t been there long enough for me to think they are going to bring something really useful from that job to my company.

        1. Dan

          My old boss used to say that — that it wasn’t worth bringing someone on unless you could get two years out of them.

          When I get resumes, I like to see at least three years. A series of two-year stints leaves me feeling lukewarm.

          Your comment about one year of experience is funny. I see job ads (not in my field) that want one year of experience. I don’t get it. It’s practically entry level… but it’s not suitable for a fresh college grad. And who’s really leaving their first job after a year?

    5. Carrie in Scotland

      My job history is no great shakes. If I discount the times I was at uni, then my full time work history goes back 7 years. In 7 years I have had 6 jobs (one seasonal) and some spell of unemployment. In 2 jobs I stayed less than a year, 1 job for 20 months and my current will be about a year/just over (I plan to move from the area) and yet, I’ve gotten on ok. I wonder if some of it’s a cultural thing (either by industry or by country – I’m in the UK).
      And in these times, I think it’s outdated to expect people to stay in non challenging, poorly paid jobs for a long period of time – particularly if they are single people with the cost of living the way it is. Some of my friends work to earn some extra money – which is fine. I have to work because I need a roof over my head and food and heating.

      1. MK

        I am sure it varies by industry and location. But what people are trying to say is that your chances to find a challenging, well-paid job decrease the more you hop around.

        1. Raine

          +1. It’s really closing a door to higher-paid, professional work. A career is really hard to build by hopping from one job to another.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

            But in some circumstances – some points of time, some professions – the opposite is true, Raine.

            1. fposte

              Really? I don’t think there’s anybody big-name who walked away from every job after a year or less, from entry level to CEO. There are fields where it’s less of a problem, but even there people tend to limit that behavior to certain phases of their career.

              Obviously, if you have launched into the workforce with a unique set of skills that are simultaneously invaluable and rare, you write your ticket and go where you want. But in that case, you’re not really worried about the reputation of the job-hopper.

      2. Colette

        And in these times, I think it’s outdated to expect people to stay in non challenging, poorly paid jobs for a long period of time

        The thing is, jobs don’t exist to provide you with a challenge – they exist because the company needs someone to do the work. Doing the boring work is often how you build skills and references that will get you to the interesting work.

        If the job doesn’t pay enough, you don’t have to take it – but if you can’t get a job at a higher pay rate, that’s what you can earn, so you need to adjust your life accordingly (e.g. roommates, cheaper accommodations, fewer luxuries, a second job).

    6. Raine

      It costs a lot to train you and get you into full speed in your job; where I work, it’s typically close to a year before a person is really in command and fully driving their professional gig. So anyone who has a history showing an inability or unwillingness to commit for at least three years really probably isn’t going to even be offered the job.

    7. Taz

      One additional consideration: It’s easier to job hop when you’re in your 20s and really just starting and out of school. In about a decade all those entry-level professional job offers suddenly dry up (seriously, I’m not kidding), and the whole wanting-to-be-happy thing also starts to include some measure of stability, whether that be in a job or in at least a base level of income or paid days off, etc.

    8. Mouse of Evil

      I think the key here is that #4 does *not* seem unhappy; there’s just a pretty new job possibility being dangled by a recruiter. And we all know that recruiters NEVER exaggerate jobs, or pitch jobs that they don’t actually have, just to get their numbers up, right? ;-)

      I am a GenXer who has had a lot of short-term jobs. Some of those were out of my control; they were temp jobs to begin with, or funded by soft money that dried up when the principal investigator lost interest (a hazard in higher ed). When I was nearing the end of my master’s degree but had a job I hated, I warned prospective employers that I’d be finishing my degree in a year or so, and one interviewer (a classic Boomer, BTW–not that it should matter, but I’m taking your generation bait), told me “I’d rather have a good employee for a year than a bad one for ten.” I worked for him for a year and a half, and when I left, it was on excellent terms.

      That said, I left several jobs too soon, when I really shouldn’t have. I have thought long and hard about this, and I’ve come to realize that the root of my job-hopping is a failure to really step back and analyze why I’m tempted to leave jobs I really like for something new or different. In one case, I left a job I really liked because the building was going to be remodeled and I was going to have to spend three weeks–three weeks!–in close quarters with the rest of my department. At the time, that was ALL I could think of. It was like it was on a continuous loop in my head. Years later, looking back on it, I realized that my real issue was that my boss, whom I generally liked, was annoying me right then, and I had been separating myself from her physically–which I wasn’t going to be able to do during the renovation. But she was (and still is) one of the top experts in the field, especially in one particular specialized skill, and she was a good teacher. If I had stuck around for even another year I would have learned so much from her that I would have become an expert too. I let myself focus entirely on the three weeks of discomfort and lost sight of the big picture. Every time I’ve left a job too soon, that’s been the issue.

      As others have said, if you have one or two short-term jobs, especially early in your career, that’s usually not a problem. It takes a while to hit your stride and figure out where you want to be. But if there’s a pattern like mine of leaving jobs just because something newer and shinier came along, that’s going to raise some red flags, for the reasons that everyone else has articulated much better than I can.

    9. Judy

      It really is a sign that previous generations believe in ‘living to work’ instead of ‘working to live’. Life is too short to be unhappy and to stay in a situation that makes you unhappy just because you’re worried about what someone else might think of you….

      Actually, it’s the opposite. Living to work means that work is the sum of your life and your happiness is based on those 8 or 9 or 10 hours daily. Working to live means that you do what you need to to support yourself and the life that you want.

      Some (mostly) unsolicited advice. I’m a real fan of exercise, especially outdoors. You sleep better, your moods are better, and it gives you time to work through some of the things running through your mind. Why do you want to leave? Is it a culture problem, a problem with the actual work, a problem with a manager, a problem with a co-worker? You should understand that before you make your move, so you know what to screen for the next time.

  11. Long time lurker!

    Re #2: I’d be willing to bet the ‘interested party’ is a major donor who used that leverage to get a seat on the hiring committee. Not necessarily a bad thing, but consider the possibility that this is an organization where donors may have a lot of direct power, and decide accordingly.

      1. Ezri

        The phrase “interested party” threw me off, too. Even if it was all aboveboard, the vague description makes it seem like something odd is going on. I wouldn’t care if they said a board member was sitting in, but refusing to tell me who this person is would irritate me.

    1. Raine

      Funny, the first thing that came to my mind was a watchdog-type person who the hiring committee is more … afraid of, wants to be sure to appease? (I’m thinking of the type of vocal person who might have gotten directors at shelters fired, for example, for alleged poor conditions or treatment of animals).

    2. Stacy

      Thank you. I’ve been warned that positions with “board members” can be changeling. Not thinking it’s for me.

    3. BadPlanning

      Yes — I was thinking something similar. A person not directly in the structure of the human society, but someone the OP will have to deal with on a regular basis. Maybe good, maybe bad.

    4. CTO

      If OP gets an offer, I’d ask for more information at that time. “I really enjoyed meeting with Sue, Mark, and Cheryl. I’m curious about how closely I’ll be working with each of them and how our roles interact. I know that I’ll be reporting to Sue and working on a committee with Mark, but I wasn’t very clear on whether I’ll be working with Cheryl. Can you provide a bit more information about her role?”

      1. CTO

        Oh, and I would suggest that this is a yellow flag if the “interested party” is indeed a donor. Well-run organizations and boards trust staff to handle the daily operations (unless the organizations have no or very few paid staff). Having powerful folks like board members and donors involved in small decisions (and often without the intimate operational knowledge that staff do) makes it that much harder for those decisions to be made promptly and well.

  12. First Timer

    I’m in a similar position as #4 – except they offered me a major increase in pay, reduced workload, and I previously worked for the hiring manager. However, my long-term growth opportunities are better if I stay — but I won’t see the same ROI for about two+ years.

    1. Lily in NYC

      I think your position is more difficult – to me, #4’s issue is a no-brainer – why would anyone leave a job they are happy at for a completely lateral move? But in your case, I can see why you are torn. Which way are you leaning?

  13. s

    For #3, Ha, I always feel bad when people endorse me on Linked in, since I never endorse anyone back, because I agree with AAM in that the endorsement system is just garbage. My Linked in profile specifically says that I work in the X industry doing Y, but I’ve been endorsed multiple times by people for doing Z… which is not remotely what I do at all. There are many more people in the X industry doing Z than Y, but the people who are endorsing me should know the difference and clearly can’t be bothered to read my profile at all! I think I actually did delete those endorsements, since they’re just garbage.

  14. Mallory

    #2 this is a shelter- domestic violence? Even homeless? Perhaps the person was/is a client of shelter and wants to maintain their anonymity. I think it speaks well of org. if they did in fact include a client.

    1. CTO

      I think it’s really great to involve an organization’s clients, as appropriate and feasible, as volunteers, board members, etc. They often have a lot of gifts to share and really valuable perspectives. I’m more conflicted about including them in hiring decisions.

  15. B

    Op#1 here. Fwiw, i know its 100% my personal (strictly mentor) relationship with my boss thats making this decision so hard, and i absolutely know the business will go on without me (and if it didn’t, whatever). But before my position was created, he was working 80 hour weeks, and I honestly doubt the owners would replace me. (They don’t take what we do seriously or recognize the value of HR.) Ugh, the guilt! =P

    1. rando

      This is why you (and your boss) should leave! Your workplace sounds mismanaged and you aren’t valued. You will feel so good once you are in a better place. Trust me. I changed jobs a month ago and I am so happy.

      Plus, there is no guarantee that another job like this will be waiting for you when your boss leaves. The right thing to do is to leave.

      1. B

        I think the other part of it is that I’m worried that I won’t get on as well at the new place. My boss is just so flexible and good-natured and willing to work with me on things, and we get on super well, and what if I don’t have that at the other place and I end up being miserable? Devil you know etc etc etc.

        But everyone’s right – I pretty much have to take the job, haha.

        1. HappyBoss

          But you won’t have that boss for much longer even if you stay, right? He’s leaving. Things are going to change. The good thing about your situation is that you have time to plan for that change.

          Do ask good questions and make sure to the best of your ability that the new position would be a good fit. But don’t let fear of change hold you back. Change is inevitable. But you can resist it, or you can direct it.

    2. Vee

      I could have written your letter two years ago. I adored working with my boss, he was actively looking, and the company was sinking fast. An HR Specialist position opened up nearby. I went through this horribly awkward quasi-breakup conversation with him, where I took about 10 minutes of beating around the bush to finally say that I was going to apply. He gave me a very level look and said, “Why haven’t you applied already? You need to go. Get out while you can.”

      He’s actually still there, and holding it together. If your boss said he may be gone by the end of the year, I’d get out while the gettin’s good.

      1. teclatwig

        If your boss says he may be out by the end of the year, that means he must be actively pursuing other jobs, and quite possibly has begun interviewing. It seems like you are paying attention to the “maybe middle of next year,” when he is giving you very clear signals that *now* is the time to get out.

        On that note, if he’s a good boss, he will want you to get out before him. If he is saying “I may leave in 2 months,” he is most likely trying to signal to you that you need to get interviewing. He might even, like some posters above experienced, stick around longer specifically to wait for you to successfully leave.”

        Finally, if you have a really good relationship with him, it seems like something you could bring to him once the offer is in hand: “Boss, I really don’t want to leave you in the lurch. I have received an offer, but am considering turning it down so that I can help you through the next 6 months.” I am willing to bet cash money he will want you to take the job.

    3. HappyBoss

      If your boss has been a good mentor to you, and has told you that they are intending to leave, that suggests that they want you to be able to make informed decisions about your own future. A good mentor will be happy for you if you get another job that is better than your current one.

      You have nothing to feel guilty for. If I was that boss, I would feel terrible if someone was angsting over taking a great job opportunity because of me. I’d want you to do what’s right for you. (I have in fact been that boss in the past! I just saw a former employee who I trained and encouraged to move on to bigger and better things at an event on Monday. He’s doing really well, and I’m very proud of the part I played in his development. )

      Your boss is looking out for their own needs, and giving you the opportunity to do the same. Don’t waste it.

      1. Mister Pickle

        I know we’re not supposed to pile on and say “me too!” but I can’t help myself here. If I were your boss, OP#1, I’d be extremely happy that you had something good lined up so quickly, and I’d be touched that you were unhappy about leaving me in the lurch, but I’d tell you “don’t sweat it; go to the new job, I’ll be fine – even better than fine, knowing that you’re not stuck back here when I leave”

    4. AvonLady Barksdale

      Your guilt does you credit as a human and a colleague, because even though “it’s business”, it’s still good to care. Just don’t let it force your hand. :) If it helps, think of it this way– you really like your boss, so you’re in a position to be his advocate. References are usually top-down, but I’ve been in several positions where I’ve had the opportunity to say, “Oh, I love X– I worked for her for a few years and I learned so much.” And maybe you’ll give your boss the motivation he needs to get out too.

    5. HR Manager

      You know that your boss will be leaving so even if there are crazy hours, it won’t be forever. If you really want to help your boss out, why not just approach him and let him know you have an offer that you’re going to accept, and ask him what type of notice would be helpful to him? If he would prefer a 3 or *gasp* a 4 week notice, you can at least ask your new employer and see what they can finagle for you.

      I’ve been lucky with bosses in my career, and I’ve given a 3 wk notice in each of my transitions to make sure I can makes things as easy as possible. My last job, I hung in for a month before moving on.

    6. Lizzie

      Try “wearing” the decision for a day or so; that is to say, go about your day with the mindset that “I am going to leave my current job and accept this offer” and see how you feel about it. I do this for a lot of my big decisions (including at what was the end of my last job search), and I find it really helpful!

  16. Brittany

    +1 on the LinkedIn endorsement advice. I cringe when I get those notifications, I’m glad you can turn them off! I constantly have random people who I might have encountered one time in a meeting who endorse me for the most random things. I almost never use it, so I wouldn’t take it seriously. I’m very surprised to hear that there are people who actually do take it seriously.

  17. Kate

    Your boss gave you a great heads up he was leaving and I would assume that is because knows you want to as well if he does. He confided in you for a reason.

  18. Zillah

    Oh, god. Endorsements. I have friends from grad school who have them turned on whose endorsements are from fellow classmates and significant others. Come on, guys. Really?

    That’s why I turned them off.

  19. The Other Dawn

    RE #1 Your boss will be fine. Life will go on. It’s business, its not personal. Don’t hold yourself back because you’re worried your boss will have to cram for awhile. He’ll have to cram for a bit but then things will settle down and go back to normal.

  20. A Jane

    The linkedin endorsements have become a running joke between my friends. For example, I’ll endorse my friend who’s a managing director developer for something ridiculous like html or css.

  21. Jubilance

    #1 – Your loyalty should be to yourself first, go for the position, your boss will be fine. People change jobs all the time, and nowadays it’s almost expected. As others have mentioned, if you were unable to work tomorrow, they’d find a way to manage without you. Don’t pass up a great situation!

  22. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    #4 – very common in my world BUT…. a couple of caveats.

    a) YES – **DO** listen to what they have to say. It can’t hurt. Now, you might be very happy in your current position — you can say that to the potential (new) employer – but you’d like to learn more. Just don’t string them along, but you owe it to yourself to look at the other situation – if only cursorily.

    b) If you feel you’re better off in your current job – STAY THERE.

    c) Hey, this affords you a chance to practice your interviewing skills. And to get your name out there.

    1. LBK

      c) – I like this because if the current good job suddenly goes to hell in 6 months (new boss who sucks, sudden new pile of responsibilities you don’t want, etc.) you have the opportunity to fall back on the good impression you’ll make at this other company.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

        Way back in my young ‘un days, I left a job after nearly 10 years. There was ONE reason and ONE reason only — money. I had a mortgage, family, and a car with 110,000 miles on it. I was working two jobs.

        The next job – better pay but it turned out to be a hell hole. I made the personal pledge – no matter how bad this gets, I’m staying two years. I’m staying two years. I’m staying two years…..

        I lasted 14 months. My first annual review was poor – there was a recommendation that I be placed on probation. Then I find out, my two co-workers received the same “treatment”. So one guy who started the same time I did left – I left – better job, better boss, a LOT more money – and they had to execute a truce with the third guy to keep him from leaving. This was the place that a) no raise, probation one week b) upon resignation, want any more money? Uh no.

        But – now that I’m older and smarter – I did learn from the experience — not just technically, but professionally — I was only 30 at the time and I realized what situations to NOT get into going forward in my career.

        Turned out = that 14 months. My duration was the record for anyone coming in from the outside for that group.

        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

          The moral of the story – interviewing isn’t a bad thing — you eventually get to recognize bad situations and discern them from good ones. I hadn’t learned that at age 30 — but over the years, yeah.

    2. Judy

      It really depends on the culture of OP’s current organization. One of the companies I worked for had a competitor within commuting distance. If the company found out you interviewed there, you were fired. You would think that the people who had moved to the new company would keep their mouths shut, but a few times the word got around that Bob was seen inside of Coffeepots Ltd.

  23. HR Manager

    When I’ve had to offer roles to non-exempt employees that would make them exempt, I do take their OT history into account in the salary negotiations. It’s not always a 1:1 (i.e., earning 6k last year in OT, doesn’t mean I add 6k to your new salary offer) but normally an attempt is made to not have the candidate face a huge income loss, while being equitable in the role.

    An even exchange for OT and salary is not always possible, and I understand this can be a tough pill to swallow. The bump from NEx to Ex is usually a route to a “professional career” and there can be non-cash perks with that switch to exempt. In past companies, I’ve seen not only greater flexibility with time off, more vacation time, more stock options, potentially a bonus or higher bonus, a more generous severance in layoff situations. These are all considerations that should be weighed.

    1. Colleen

      OP for #5 here. Thanks for your comment which is helpful – it’s just good to know this is something that would potentially be taken into consideration. I definitely want the position for career path reasons, so I’ll be weighing everything up!

      1. K Breezy

        Agreed – at my old employer, the salaried employees had lower health insurance premiums, better leave accrual rates, tuition reimbursement options, higher bonuses, and the raises were calculated differently (for the better/higher). I made the switch from hourly to salaried after a year (with maybe a ~$500 raise) and didn’t regret it for a second. Not to mention, in my company they would only consider salaried employees for manager positions, so I was able to eventually move even further up (with a huge pay bump).

  24. Episkey

    Thanks, Alison — I wasn’t aware you could turn off the skills endorsements on LinkedIn, but I just did so due to your answer of #3.

    1. JC

      Yes, thank you!! I never accepted the endorsements people gave me in the past so they never showed up on my profile, but I didn’t realize you could shut the whole thing off. I just looked back to see who had endorsed me, and the list includes my father, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, my friend from high school, and one person I have never met who I can’t remember why I accepted his connection request.

      I am glad that I work in a field that doesn’t recruit from LinkedIn, because I’d be pissed if I had to keep that crap up to get the attention of recruiters.

  25. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    #1 – don’t feel guilty — do what is best for yourself and those around you. I have done so several times in my career.

    Hey – you think your boss feels guilty about having you work 55-60 hours a week? He might get upset — because he may have to hire two people to replace you.

    But firms that run that way are, essentially, running with their jockey shorts down by their ankles = EXPOSED. As AAM says – the company is badly managed. You have an obligation to yourself and your career, your health, and if you have a family – them. (In reverse order).

  26. Julie

    OP #1, leaving my last job one of my boss’s was amazing as a mentor and a boss. I was so scared to even apply for jobs because she was fantastic to work with and I knew leaving would put her in a rough spot. Neither of us could change our work environment though.

    After I got the offer, I talked to her second and told her I’d be leaving. She’s the boss who told me “I’m so proud of you” even though I knew she was scared for herself. She’s not happy that I left but she’s happy for my success. I’m not always happy I’ve left but I don’t know if I could have stayed at a toxic place.

  27. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    #1 – an additional note. You’ll feel guilty. All the way to the first good night’s sleep.

  28. Various Assumed Names

    #4 – What? I’m so confused. Maybe you just didn’t explain the new position well but I can’t comprehend why you’d consider leaving a job you like for a lateral move at the same salary. Maybe you’ve never had a bad job. Maybe you don’t know how nice people can seem during interviews, who then turn out to be total psychopaths. Trust me, if you’re happy and you haven’t hit a ceiling, and you’re being paid competitively, stay where you are.

    1. Various Assumed Names

      Yes, I’m replying to my own comment. It just occurred to me how flattering it feels when you’re being head hunted. Don’t let the ego stroking sway you. Ok sorry I’m done.

  29. Jenn

    #4. A headhunter is a salesperson. They get money for placing people, a lot of them don’t care a whit about you or your circumstances. I’ve been told that in some cases they have to present a number of candidates, such as three, so if they have a really good candidate who stands a good chance of getting the job, they have to scare up another two warm bodies to get their candidate in the door. I don’t know how true that is, but I’ve been asked by headhunters to interview for some jobs I was not well qualified for, and once I accepted and wasted my time on a ridiculous interview where the interviewer was obviously “sold” on me as I was on him by the headhunter just trying to make a buck. That said, I’ve also dealt with some very above board recruiters, so you have to be discerning. Point number two – if you like where you work, that’s very important. Don’t take it for granted, finding the culture that’s right for you is not always easy and difficult to determine before you’ve been there a while.

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