bad management forced me to work over Christmas, my son was fired, and more

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

1. Bad project management forced me to work over Christmas

(Received on December 24, but I figured it could still be useful to print an answer to it now.)

Thanks to a really terrible project manager about seven of us have to work over Christmas to do a system upgrade—five techies, the PM, and one manager. I’ve already started looking for a new job and have some prospects, so my question isn’t about whether to leave such an awful environment—I’m (hopefully) out shortly into the new year.

My question is: inevitably, the project manager and her manager will try to do something “Christmasy” while we’re working in a lame attempt to improve morale and I want *NO* part of it. How can I politely turn down the lunches, snacks, or other trinkets they’ll try to provide to make up for ruining our Christmas? Frankly, at this point, I want to go in, do my work, and have no other contact with these people—not even trivial social chatter let alone dine with them. I’m at the point where I can barely even be civil to the PM.

In response to the food: “Oh, no thanks, I really want to focus on work so I can get home to spend Christmas with my family.”

But there’s no parallel response that works well for the trinkets, and I wouldn’t spend much energy trying to find one. The issue here isn’t that they’re using trinkets to smooth over bad management; the issue is the bad management itself. So don’t get overly focused on rejecting the lame Christmasy stuff, or you risk harming your own reputation in the process. Stay civil and professional, and direct your energy toward getting out of there.

2. My offer letter is asking to verify my degree, but they know I didn’t graduate from college

I graduated high school in 1983 and took a few collage classes ins the early 90’s. I posted my resume on a job search site and literally a few hours later got a invite for an interview. The job was never posted; the company simply pulled my resume for an unlisted opening. On my resume, I put that I attended collage but didn’t list any degrees. When I went on the interview, I stated I didn’t finish collage. They didn’t ask about a degree; I offered the information. But now the offer letter is requiring my college transcript showing my degree.

I have 20+ years experience in the field. I am not sure how to handle this. The job is a perfect fit for both me and the company.

That language in the offer letter is probably just boilerplate language that they routinely include; you just need to point out to them that it doesn’t apply to you. I’d say something like this: “As we talked about in the interview and I noted on my resume, I didn’t complete a degree. I’m assuming I should just ignore the language about degree verification that’s in the offer letter?”

(Also, given that this does appear to be standard boilerplate for them, it’s beyond stupid that an employer would care about a college transcript that in your case could be 20-30 years old.)

3. My CEO annotated my performance evaluation with his own comments

I’m a manager at a company with about 230 employees. We are at the end of performance review season. In my review, I received great marks, helpful feedback, and a promotion. Hooray!

Today, my boss (executive level) told me that his boss (CEO) annotated my review before it went to file (but after my boss and I had discussed it). He sent along the CEO’s comments. The CEO reiterated my boss’s praise and value to the company in 3 or 4 sentences. Hooray!

I’ve never had this happen before, but then again I haven’t been working that long or for very many companies. I didn’t even realize CEOs saw everyone’s review as a matter of course. (Wait…do they? Or is this also unusual?) More specifically, is his annotation more common than I think it is, too? Is it usually additional praise or will it happen with feedback? Is this just a part of being a mid-level manager? Or am I meant to (capital N) Notice his special attention?

It’s actually not bad practice for a manager to look at a smattering of performance evaluations prepared by the managers who she manages, to give her a feel for how they’re handling that part of their role. But this isn’t something you’d normally see at the CEO level (managers reporting directly to the CEO usually have more autonomy) unless it’s a small company, and it’s not typical for the higher-level manager to actually annotate the evaluations (usually if they have input, they’d ask the direct manager to incorporate it into their own remarks).

Regardless of what is and isn’t usual, though, I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to read into this; I’d just take it at face value.

4. How valuable are virtual internships on a resume?

I’m college senior and I’ve been searching since September for a decent editorial internship to apply to for the spring 2015 semester. As it’s now December, it’s obvious that I’ve been struggling to find one. I think a huge part of it is because the city that I’m isn’t that big on magazines or newspapers, or any job that requires an editor.

Recently, I’ve been looking into the possibility of having a virtual internship. At this point, I feel like I have no other option, but I’m not sure how well a virtual internship would look on a resume as opposed to a regular one. For a senior college student who has never had an internship before, how well does a virtual internship look on a resume?

It depends on what you actually do as part of the internship. If you’re doing substantive, meaningful work, with real oversight and results, that’s very resume-worthy, even if you’re doing it from your couch in your pajamas.

That said, there are advantages to doing on-site internships — you tend to learn more about how to operate in an office, which is a big part of the value of internships, and it’s often easier to build relationships and learn more about the rest of the company … but there are plenty of other advantages offered by virtual internships if they’re good, and I wouldn’t discount them.

5. My son was fired without warning and without a reason

My son was fired today. He is a hard worker, and if he did something wrong he would tell me. His boss fired him today for not abiding by company policy. He was never warned and asked them what he did. They told him they didn’t have to tell him. Is this true?

Sure. In the U.S., employers aren’t required by law to warn people before firing them. They don’t even need to give them a reason, although reasonable employers don’t fire people without explanation.

That said, I’d avoid the temptation to get too caught up in this kind of thing when it’s about your kid. You’ll rarely have all the facts, you’re almost certainly only hearing one side of the story, and it’s too easy to be influenced by parental bias.

{ 141 comments… read them below }

  1. The Maple Teacup

    5) Yup. This is entirely possible that your son is a good worker, but tripped over a policy error and was fired without warning. From personal experience, I was once terminated without cause with no advanced notice. It seriously bites.

    1. straws

      It’s also possible that he didn’t do anything, but the boss didn’t want to admit fault. I was once fired without notice and told that I wasn’t allowed to know the reason. As I was leaving, my direct supervisor told me that they had hired too many people without permission from corporate and to not take it personally.

    2. BRR

      I was once fired for poor work quality when I had only received praise about my work. I had also interned there before getting a job full-time so it’s not like they didn’t know the quality of my work.

      To the OP, depending on your relationship, your son might need space for a little bit while he copes with this. Just something to keep in mind. When I was fired my parents just wanted to talk about it far before I was ready.

    3. MK

      It’s also possible that there was some warning that didn’t register with the OP’s son, because he misjudged the seriousness of the feedback or the manager delivered it in an overly polite manner or both.

      1. danr

        Think back to all of the times on AAM when warnings are given to people in an indirect manner. Or, it may have been a verbal “don’t do this again” type of warning, which didn’t register at all. Probably the best advice for your son is to start reading AAM. But don’t push it.

        1. some1

          Or it’s a policy that isn’t enforced, so the LW’s child thought s/he was okay violating whatever it was.

    4. maggie

      I was once fired from a coffee shop for being ‘too slow’, when they rarely trained me and I only worked during the slow shifts between lunch and close (I worked there for a month, 4 hours at a time). I think it actually stemmed from their bottom line as I had not one, but two paychecks bounce. So even if you do get a ‘reason’, it’s not necessarily the true reason.

      1. Garrett

        I really wish employers like this would just have the cojones to say that times are tough and they have to cut back on payroll. It’s unfair to the employee to think they were fired when in reality they were let go through no fault of their own.

        1. SerfinUSA

          Being fired vs. being laid off means no unemployment claim if the employee doesn’t file or doesn’t contest a denial of benefits due to being fired.

    5. Suzanne

      A couple of former co-workers of mine had the same thing happen. One had received a commendation for exemplary service just a few weeks before. Both were called into their supervisor’s office on a Friday afternoon and told to not return on Monday. One of them said she specifically asked the supervisor if they were being fired, laid off, downsized, or what. He couldn’t tell them.

      So it happens sometimes for no apparent reason. The state in which I live is an “at will” work state which means you can be fired for no real reason whatsoever, except race, religion, and a few others. Tell your son to hang in there.

    6. Biff

      I once got a doozie of a termination explanation. It was in the form of a PDF. It said “You may have been fired for one of the following reasons: (what followed was a bulletted list of possible offenses). Then there was a paragraph explaining that I might have done something else that was not on the list. And then I was told that I would recieve a very nice recommendation if I did not make waves…..

      To be perfectly honest, I don’t know that anyone should consider a single firing a bad thing any more. Serial job loss is a read flag. One lost job? Not so much. Not when we all have been or know someone that has gotten one of these reasonless dismissals.

  2. soitgoes

    ” if he did something wrong he would tell me. ”

    Probably not, especially if he senses that you’re so involved as to ask Alison about it. I understand that you just want the best for your kid, but this is the kind of overreach that makes kids increasingly more reluctant to reveal information to their parents. If it was a retail job that was always going to be seasonal, a manager can come up with a million ways to get rid of teen employees after the big shopping rush.

    1. Sourire

      Yep. I still get annoyed when I think about my mother calling a store I had applied to and yelling at the manager for not getting back to me after they had told me they would call. The worst part was, they did eventually call me in for interview and it was only afterward my father told me what she had done. I was mortified. LW may not be like this, but please parents, do not interfere with your child’s job or job search!

    2. themmases

      Yep. I had several service-type jobs in college not work out– a couple of them I was fired from, a couple the working conditions became intolerable and I left. I definitely did not tell my parents what happened. In my case, I really didn’t want to have a debate about whether I should have tried to smile through it for $7.50 an hour (my parents would argue with me about whether I was really too sick to go to work at Target, as an adult, so I can only imagine the conversation about me quitting), or whether I should go back now and try to get that terrible job back.

      And when you are already not happy with how a job worked out, having your parent ask you “Well aren’t you worried? What do you think happened? That was rude of your boss. Maybe your uncle could help you out with a terrible position that has nothing to do with your career” is like being slowly and repeatedly poked in the side all day every day until you find a new job.

    3. manybellsdown

      And we’ve got that update with the letter-writer who said something sexist and until he read the comments didn’t quite get why what he said was way out of line. It’s possible that OP’s son doesn’t even think he’s done anything wrong, especially if he’s a teenager (I have said and done waaaay dumb things as a teenager that I didn’t even realize were awful until years later).

  3. Vicki

    #5 Welcome to the world of “At Will” employment, where people can be fired, “laid off” or otherwise told goodbye for no reason at all.

    1. Katie the Fed

      Except there often is a reason. Hiring/firing is a pain in the butt – not something employers want to do unnecessarily

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yep. It’s very rare for there to truly be no reason. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen (you can find an example of any crazy thing happening at some point), but it’s far, far from the norm.

  4. Ann Furthermore

    #5: It’s difficult, but the best thing you can do for your son is to let him handle this on his own. It’s quite possible that there’s more to the story than he’s telling you.

    My first college job was working in the cafeteria: serving meals, washing dishes, and so on. I hated it. Haaaaated it. So I wasn’t very good about being on time, doing the best job I could, and, I’m ashamed to say, even showing up sometimes. After the winter break I called my boss to ask what my schedule would be for the next semester, and she said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Let me tell you, it was a real eye opener, and I learned my lesson well.

    1. Ann Furthermore

      And when my parents asked me if I was working there again, I said that the open positions had gone to upperclassmen. A few months later I got a part-time job in the library at the business school. I worked my butt off, learned a ton, and was able to pick up another part-time receptionist job in the registrar’s office at the graduate school.

    2. Dan

      You know… I’ve been canned a few times, but never from a job I wish I hadn’t. It’s been said that firing someone is doing them a favor, and in your case, they were helping you move on from a job you clearly hated.

      1. Annie

        That’s a good point, and now that you mention it, I’ve never been sorry to leave a job I was fired from. I was fired after 3 weeks at my last job, and although it was an unpleasant shock at first, I realized that they actually did me a favor – it really wasn’t a good fit and I don’t think I would have been happy there long term. There aws nothing *wrong* with the company, and I didn’t do anything really *wrong*, it just… wasn’t right. And best of all, it gave me the opportunity to start working for another company in a significantly more interesting and better paying job, which I wouldn’t have sought out if I hadn’t had to.

    3. Nervous accountant

      Interesting! I was fired a few years ago from a temp job, but I was gutted about it….I was already in a weird place in my life and this opportunity was like GOLD….spent a couple of weeks in bed depressed over it. Now that it’s been a while, I’m able to look back with a more clear mind….lots of good things happened after that rough spot that maybe wouldn’t have happened so I guess it all worked out.

  5. Morning anonymous

    #3 – What strikes me as weird is that the OP does not know/has not read the comments in his performance evaluation. Where I am we have to sign saying that we read the comments and discussed the evaluation (it is not an endorsement or agreement of those comments).

    Speaking of evaluations and higher up reviews, when I do evaluations for my clerical staff, my boss (the CEO) wants to read them and discuss them with me before I meet with the people. That always struck me as strange and micromanaging. He shows zero interest (actually I would say negative interest) to all clerical staff the rest of the time but I have not found a good way to discuss this or if it’s worth it.

    1. MissM

      Where does it say that he doesn’t know the comments in the evaluation? He said that he and the boss went over the evaluation together and that the CEO added comments afterwards.

      There is nothing weird about your boss reviewing evaluations of your staff. It’s not just about their performance, but your performance as well – ie, how well you write your evaluations, whether you are using fair, objective standards, whether you are saying the same thing about all the employees, whether issues you brought up in prior years have been dealt with, etc.

      1. ThursdaysGeek

        I think the point is that they went over the evaluation together, it was signed, and after that, the CEO added comments. She’s since seen those comments, but they were added after the signatures, which implies knowledge of the evaluation.

      2. maggie

        It sounds like the CEO wants a quick summary to know whether she was correct to not worry about the clerical staff because Morning totally has it under control. At least it does to me.

    2. Suzanne

      A former employer of mine had the rule also that we had to sign the Performance evaluation form, but that didn’t stop one supervisor from just doing them & sending them in one year. I don’t know if he forged signatures or what. No one wanted to ask because this place fired people about every other week, so we all knew if we asked, we’d be next.

  6. Not So NewReader

    #5. I was fired from my first job. I was totally blindsided by it. Looking back on it, I should have realized when the boss moved me to a less desirable work area something was terribly wrong. But even if I had figured that much out, I would have had no idea what to do about it. Compounding problems I had a boss that would say “Don’t do X”. Ten minutes later she would tell me “Always do X”. I had no clue what that meant or how to respond to those conflicting statements.
    Did I ever tell my parents? No. Because I lacked the words to explain and the experience to know that something was really off with this situation. It was years before I was able to describe this.

    In general, if your son had a food service job or a retail job this is pretty normal stuff. You walk in one day and they don’t like the color of your socks so you are done. These arenas have a bad rep for treating employees as disposable commodities.

    Encourage your son to learn from the experience but also to move on. While it is possible he had a crappy employer it is also possible that he was wearing the wrong color socks in violation of company policy rule number 237. Encourage him to be very familiar with what company policy is at his next job.

    The one thing I wished my parents had done was help me to understand what went wrong. I think if they had just said sometimes stuff like this happens and talked to me a little bit, it would have helped some what. I had trust issues for a time after that due to not understanding what went wrong.

    1. Dan

      “In general, if your son had a food service job or a retail job this is pretty normal stuff. You walk in one day and they don’t like the color of your socks so you are done.”

      Yup, I just wanted to say that over thinking a firing from this type of work is just going to give one headaches. Even if the employee could reasonably ascertain that s/he got fired for mismatching socks, another employer may love it. (Ok, a better example might be one person who gets canned for talking too much to customers, thinks they’ve learned from it, and then gets counseled at the next job for not being friendly enough.)

      In food service and retail, the mantra is “Sh!t happens, move on fast.” (Although if one gets fired for being late all the time, that’s a reasonable lesson to carry to the next job.)

    2. JM in England

      The thing is though, if they don’t tell him why he was fired, how can he avoid making the same mistake in future?

      1. soitgoes

        I think we’re all dancing around the possible truth that the son really does know the reason but doesn’t want to tell his mom.

        1. AnotherHRPro

          The son should know why they were let go and which policy they violated. A company doesn’t have to “warn” you and give you another shot. Most do, but it will also depend on the policy/rule that is violated. For some things, a company may have no tolerance – no matter how small or out of character the violation is. For example, stealing (of any kind or dollar amount) or dishonesty.

          I hope your son is able to learn from whatever happened and is able to move on.

        2. Canadamber

          Yeah, quite possibly he was having trouble picking up the job or was mediocre at it. I’m pretty sure I’m not great at my job; it’s not very within my skill set. For some reason I’m still there, though (probably the union), so that’s good, but yeah haha, why would I tell my parents if I was fired for sheer mediocrity? That’s rather embarrassing, you know.

      2. maggie

        Why should they care if he makes the mistake again with another company? (not being hostile, just trying to point that out. Retail and food jobs very rarely worry about going the extra mile in one of their ex staff’s professional development, you know?)

  7. JLVS

    4) Try looking at internships that require copywriting skills or something related to production and proofing in an art/marketing department. Some positions may require you to do a lot of writing – the company may have a job or need someone to draft content packed emails or newsletters for them. I work in marketing at a CPG company and we manage all of the copy that goes on packaging and advertisements and we work closely with the art team on branding and final package execution. I also manage the company blog and put emails together for our registered user database. In the past I’ve had experience with social media and internal/external newsletters. My point is that you can get writing, editing and deadline experience in places that aren’t so obvious to start out.

  8. LadyTL

    #5 – To be honest this does happen sometimes. I worked at a job once where I came in on time every day, followed all policies, did my best and still was forced out because I couldn’t get a doctor to make a note saying I didn’t have anything at all wrong with me (which I completely understand a doctor not doing because that is a massive risk to do). The company refused to narrow their scope at all and I suspect it had something to do with them firing the manager who interviewed me even though the final hiring decision was made by the owners.

    1. MK

      However, you were given a reason (no doctor’s note), even if you suspect it was only an excuse. I think that’s what the OP is asking about; not the firing itself, which happens all the time, but the absence of an explanation.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian

        I was fired from a job that I’d had for about a week, maybe two (it’s been so long ago, I don’t really remember). I was in my early twenties and had gotten a job assisting the office manager (processing invoices, making deposits, etc.) at a small mom & pop company. I didn’t have any experience, but was picking up on everything quickly and doing well. One Sunday evening, the office manager showed up at my house to let me know not to come back to work the following Monday morning. Turns out, the office owner had kept accepting resumes after the position was filled, and one of the other applicants had more experience than I did, so she decided to replace me even though I had already been working for a couple of weeks.

        The office manager felt terrible about having to deliver the news, and she reassured me that I was doing a good job and that the firing wasn’t my fault. She told me that the owner hadn’t wanted her to tell me why I was being let go (apparently, she was just supposed to come to my house and tell me not to come back, and that was all). I felt terrible about it, and cried about it for a couple of days, but it really helped that the office manager was kind to me and gave me the real reason. To not be told the reason would make one paranoid at future jobs about whether this would happen again, so I really feel for OP #5’s son. I don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it with the employer, though. I think mom can only encourage her son that these things sometimes happen and to move on from it.

        FWIW, my grandma knew the business owner who fired me, and she told me that she was a piece of work who was untrustworthy and crooked in all her dealings, so that also helped me to compartmentalize it as more the business owner’s problem than mine and to move on more quickly.

      2. Pennalynn Lott

        I worked at Home Depot for a couple of years about a decade ago. All of a sudden, all across the region, people who had been with the company for a very, very long time were fired. In each case, a bogus reason was given (“So-and-so said you were rude to a customer.”) But the real reason is that they no longer wanted to have any cashiers, customer service reps, or floor sales people who made more than $15/hour.

  9. Rebecca

    #1 Alison’s advice is spot on “Stay civil and professional, and direct your energy toward getting out of there”. This is true of any workplace situation, really, so if your company takes away benefits, and you don’t like it, focus on getting a new job.

    1. zecrefru

      Years ago, I was the victim of extremely poor project management. The PM white boarded how we would get from here to there and included a box labeled PFM (pure “freaking” magic). It too was near the end of the year and after weeks (months?) of working extremely late and working every single weekend, I had to take a weekend in order to run all my Christmas errands. Even though everything I was responsible for was on track, my lame boss called & told me that “Everyone would just feel better if I came in.”.

  10. Buu

    #4 perhaps you can also pick up a bit of Freelancing work on a site like Elance? in addition to bringing in some funds to help you out it’s all experience. I will add though if you’re aware there’s not much work where you are you might have to look further afield. Do you have any relatives who will put you up for a bit whilst you look elsewhere?

    1. #4 OP

      I’ve heard about doing some freelancing as an option to gain some experience, but I’ve never known where to start, since I have no experience at all. I’ve used textbroker a little, but there wasn’t a lot of work I could find there. Is Elance good for someone starting out?

      1. HeyNonnyNonny

        Oh, Textbroker…work there is very feast or famine, especially if you’re at the 5-star level. However, I did like that they seemed the least sketchy of the freelance sites since the company paid you, not the client.

        1. #4 OP

          Oh God, isn’t that the truth. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t use it as much as I use to… I occasionally check in every once in a while to see what they have, it’s mostly stuff that I can’t write because I have no knowledge of the subject :/

      2. Raine

        Oh God, Elance is how I knew the world for freelancers had changed forever. I just checked — one of the first ads to pop up is typical of what I remember, an 800-word article in 2-3 hours for $8. Insane.

          1. Raine

            $8 total. And that’s actually on the higher end of some of the ads I used to see a few years ago. They’d say something bizarre like 50 articles for $5 (total).

      3. Serin

        I’ve been the editor who hired freelancers for publication. Writing’s a great field to get started in, because experience or no, it’s very easy to tell who can and can’t write.

        You could try your local newspaper — the managing editor probably also knows all the other media people in town and could offer advice. (Could. Might choose not to. Managing editors are a grumpy bunch, on the whole.)

        If there are publications you like to read, contact their managing editors to ask if they buy freelance work. Don’t limit yourself to paper publications, either — the best-paying freelance gig in the town I live in is a website that curates news related to sustainability, which was a bit of a shock to me.

        1. Serin

          (I should add that getting freelance writing work, doing freelance writing work, and getting paid on time for freelance writing work all require greater-than-average hustle and a lot of networking, which is why this introvert isn’t doing freelance any more.)

  11. Monday

    #2– I disagree that it’s “beyond stupid” to require proof of degree as a matter of course. (The LW makes it sound like the company wants a transcript specifically to verify that a degree was completed.) Clearly this particular position does not always require a college degree, but in my career I have seen shockingly many people disgraced and fired after working, even for decades, in positions that require degrees that they did not actually have. Lying and forgery on credentials are real issues, and I think it’s smart for an employer to pre-empt an embarrassment like this.

    1. fposte

      It’s not about proving they have what they claim, it’s about whether or not it matters if somebody has a degree at all when they’ve been in their career for thirty years (and with a transcript? Seriously?). Clearly for the OP it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t have a degree.

      1. Monday

        Yes, as I said it obviously doesn’t apply to this LW and job. The transcript was evidently requested for proof of degree, not for grades or anything else. I’m defending it as a standard practice for positions that do require a degree–which seems to be the reason that it showed up in the LW’s letter. Misrepresenting something for thirty years is still misrepresenting. Indeed, some of the people I had in mind in my post above were in senior directorial positions by the time their fraudulent degrees were exposed. Still fired. I don’t think you ever cross any kind of finish line after which it doesn’t matter that you lied about your credentials.

        1. fposte

          It’s not about lying, it’s about the absurdity of the requirement in the first place, which doesn’t just extend to the OP.

        2. Joe

          Everyone tells lies about some things sometimes. It’s just a question of frequency, degree, and impact. There was a well-publicized instance a few months ago about a VP at some big company (Walmart, I think?) who was fired after it was discovered that he had lied about completing college when he was hired. He had been one or two credits short, so he hadn’t graduated, and had misled them about that. He’d worked at the company for many years, and had done great work for them – the reason his lie was discovered was that he was being considered for a senior promotion, and they did a routine background check as part of it.

          I think that they were beyond stupid to fire this guy. He clearly did great work, and not having those last couple of credits obviously had no impact on his ability to do his job. They liked his work enough that they wanted to promote him. So yes, he told a lie, and that matters, but I think they should have found some better way to deal with it. They’re shooting themselves in the foot by getting rid of a good employee, just because they’re unhappy about a 10-year-old lie.

      2. Dan

        The feds require that as well. My line of work is in a mathematical specialty, and most jobs at the higher GS levels require a graduate degree in the given field “or equivalent.” (meaning a different major). If you go the “or equivalent” route, the postings are specific and say that the course of study has included calculus.

        Which is fine in and of itself, except for the fact that calculus is taken at the undergraduate level, not the grad level. I got my MS in 2008, and last took calculus in 1997 through a correspondence program. That program has yet to put their old records online, so I had to pay $28 to overnight a hard copy transcript. Whereas for my graduate degree, I just went online and printed that stuff out.

    2. jag

      “even for decades, in positions that require degrees that they did not actually have.”

      If someone is able to work for decades without the degree, almost by definition the requirement that they have the degree is weak – they got the job done without one.

      The lying is 100% wrong.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Exactly. I’m talking about the requirement itself being stupid. If for some reason a degree is actually a reasonable job requirement, then verify away. But it’s often not a sensible requirement, particularly in a case like the OP’s.

      2. Student

        There are some jobs where these degree requirements are not for the sake of your day-to-day job duties, but for the sake of company prestige or for impressing clients. My work has lots of people who do very similar day-to-day work with vastly different degrees. However, my degree makes me eligible for work with certain clients who will only accept working with someone who has that specific degree. Even though the client’s work doesn’t really need that degree, you could never convince them of that and still get their business. It’s usually only cosmetic, and we all know it – but it’s still important to the business, to the point where they will verify the degree when they are in the process of hiring you. It’s the academic equivalent of hiring only pretty women for your customer-facing positions.

    3. Sms

      #2- Thank you for your comment. I am sure many people have lied on their resume/applications however I am not one of them. I was made very clear that I don’t hold a degree.

      I am just not sure how I should handle the offer letter requesting my transcript. Should I request they correct and resend or should I write s note on the current offer letter sigh and send back.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Well, from my original answer in the post:

        I’d say something like this: “As we talked about in the interview and I noted on my resume, I didn’t complete a degree. I’m assuming I should just ignore the language about degree verification that’s in the offer letter?”

            1. Sms

              Ok here is the replay from the president of the company. “Ignore the language and give us what you can. “

              1. JC

                I would interpret “give us what you can” to mean that they want a transcript that covers the college classes you did take, even if you don’t have a degree. You could always follow up to clarify if it is okay to not give them a transcript at all since you do not have a degree, or if they need a transcript of the classes you completed.

                1. Patrick

                  In my opinion, people are over-thinking this. If they’re already sending the OP an offer letter, than the job is his/hers. Just write in that you don’t have the degree and send it back in. Be clear (but polite) in stating that you already mentioned this in the interview. If they really need more detailed documentation (i.e. partial transcripts), then they can ask for it. I wouldn’t even put the idea of partial transcripts in their head – make them specifically request it.

                  Why? I wouldn’t go through the hassle of getting partial transcripts from 30+ years ago unless it was absolutely necessary. A lot of American Universities are going to be on holiday hours (and possibly even closed) this time of year. It’s not worth the hassle if they don’t really need it.

                2. Sms

                  Well I signed the offer letter and sent it back. The start date was the 5th but now they want me to start right away. Great news all around.
                  As for the transcript the school is on holiday and I am not going to worry about it right now. If it comes up again I will request one. He said send what I can and right now I can’t send anything. I have been working in the same field since 1984 (even while in collage) I’m sure my skills and knowledge will be enough.
                  Thank you everyone.

    4. ThursdaysGeek

      Actually, it’s not clear that this position does not require a degree. Some companies may require it and others not. And some companies may not communicate internally really well. It’s possible the written position requires a degree, but the hiring manager sees a well qualified person and is trying to overlook that bureaucratic requirement. Alison’s advice is correct: OP needs to talk to the hiring manager.

      You can argue that if someone has been successfully doing a job for 30 years without a degree that a degree isn’t needed. But some companies will blindly require that piece of paper. And some companies have been burned by someone without a degree and now require it for a good reason. Some companies need it for legal reasons. And some companies recognize that there are qualified people without the degree. It’s not clear which kind of company this is. It is clear the OP has been up-front and has not tried to deceive in any way.

      1. Hlyssande

        Yeah, one of my coworkers who’d been working in this field for 15+ years was denied a lateral move in the organization due to lack of a college degree. It was basically the same position overall, even. The hiring manager was all for it, but HR nixed it due to the degree requirement.

        Years of experience and demonstrated ability to adapt should be recognized. Argh.

  12. Bekx

    #3, the president of my company does this too. He seems to know most of his 1,200 employees and likes to add on bonuses of things that they particularly did for him. My supervisor got a few hundred bucks once for just staying after late on a project for him. It’s not malicious or micromanagey at all for what he’s doing. You have to know your CEO though. I could see where this would be unsettling depending on their personality.

  13. Allison

    #5, one of two things could be going on here:

    1) Management was actually reasonable and your son did know what he did wrong, but doesn’t want to admit it because he’s afraid of how you’ll react if you find out exactly how he messed up or how poorly he was performing, or

    2) Management was unreasonable/bad at firing. A lot of places will sidestep an issue, or deny that it exists even to the person creating the issue, until it’s too late, at which point they’re told their most recent slipup cost them their job, or they’re let go without ever being told what they’d been doing wrong. Management is often worried how someone will react to being told there’s a problem, or worried they’ll push back on the reason they were fired. Sometimes they’re worried about lawsuits, and sometimes they’re worried about how any performance issue, even one that resulted in termination, may reflect on management.

  14. An IT worker

    It’s hard to have sympathy with #1. He doesn’t give us any details as to why he thinks it was bad project management that resulted in having to do a system upgrade during Christmas. Typically you don’t do system upgrades (or system maintenance) when a lot of people will be using the system. It could be that having a day when NO one else was there would be the best situation in which to perform this upgrade.

    He certainly sounds like someone who I wouldn’t want to have on my team.

    1. LoFlo

      I was wondering how much experience the LW had. It is not uncommon for upgrades to get done at year end and on holidays. Many companies will give a comp day or two off, or a bonus for working on a holiday like this. I worked on a phased system replacement one year that where I worked Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day in remote locations. Just part of IT work.

      I would cut your PM some slack as well, many times there are other areas that influence the upgrade timing like data base administrators and server operations that dictate when they will allow an upgrade that might disrupt the entire organization’s systems.

        1. Illini02

          I don’t know, if my company said I had to either work Christmas or all 3 of the others, I’d easily work Christmas.

          1. OfficePrincess

            Same here. With the way winter weather is, it’s not always possible to see my family at Christmas even if I have the time off, but the odds are a lot better to make it up for the family reunion held every July 4th.

      1. CJ

        I’m the OP re working over Christmas and here’s the details of why it was rotten and bad PM.

        First off, I KNOW that system upgrades always take place over quiet periods and have worked many holidays, weekends, etc. with no complaints. I also know issues and other blockers arise.

        However, just after Thanksgiving we were told that we had to have a four day system upgrade and would have to either work over Christmas or New Year’s weekend, including the holiday itself (starting Christmas eve or New Year’s eve). Our manager asked us to vote on which of the two we wanted, and all five team members chose New Year’s instead of Christmas.

        The DAY BEFORE Christmas Eve we were told that we couldn’t do the upgrade over New Year’s and had to do it Christmas Eve through the Sunday after Christmas. When we asked why, and explained (politely) that a) this meant canceling a lot Christmas plans that had already been made and b) meant it was too late to plan a lot of the things we wanted to do over New Year’s but gave up due to the original plan we were told “it’s a management decision–that’s all we can say”.

        Well, being I.T. people who pretty much have access to everything it wasn’t too long before we found out that the PM’s contract has a provision that she receives a bonus only if the project is fully completed and in-place by midnight, December 31.

        In short, she chose to wreck the plans of five team members (possibly six, the manager kept a poker face through the whole thing) so she could get a bonus vs. sticking to the original plan. Who knows–she probably would still have gotten the bonus even if the project slipped one week.

        Yes, stuff happens and yes, I.T. is unpredictable, BUT I still feel that choosing yourself over your team in this instance was wrong.

        As an aside, I had a phone interview a few minutes ago and was talking about the upgrade and they said “well, we shut down between Christmas and New Year’s so you won’t have that issue if you come work for us”. I have an in-person all-day interview in two weeks!

        1. C Average

          Ugh, that IS awful. I take back my snarky comment below. Is your manager’s name Ebenezer?

          Good luck with the interview!

        2. Nobody

          Yikes. That really sucks — very selfish of the PM to screw the whole team so she could get a bonus. You have every right to be angry about this, but the way you behave reflects on you. Sulking doesn’t change the situation, but it reflects poorly on you. Anyway, good luck in your interview! I don’t blame you for not wanting to work for this manager.

          1. Sharon

            Agreed but I don’t think anybody has really addressed his concern about having to be appreciative of the food/whatever they bring in. Personally, I would eat/accept the gifts with the minimal of civility, i.e. “thank you” and no other comments and otherwise avoid that selfish PM. What the PM did was profoundly anti-social and selfish. He doesn’t deserve any appreciation.

        3. Kala

          That’s crummy.

          But, as far as extras go, eat the free food. If they are catering food to your desk, it’ll just make you work faster. (If it’s an out-to-lunch deal, then totally pass)

          You are giving your manager a vote of no confidence by quitting. Particularly if she loses more team members over this, it’ll look really bad on her. If she is willing to screw over the whole teams wishes for a raise, she doesn’t care whether or not you eat her food, but she probably cares about whether she looks competent to management.

        4. LoFlo

          That is pizz poor planning. I would be corked too. It wasn’t just the PM that you all twist in the wind, it was also who ever agreed to paying the bonus.

        5. SystemsLady

          Recognizing how terrible it is that this happened to all of you and how likely it is that the clause really was the reason why the move happened (and not sure whether you all just read through the contract or actually found some emails): I work in a similar industry and know it’s 100% possible that it could have actually been a last minute schedule change request from a flaky customer. Especially because the customer had to have been involved with coming up with that bonus cutoff date in the first place.

          In other words, she probably still screwed up and whoever was involved in this decision has a heart shrunk by *at least* two sizes, but I don’t know if it’s productive for you to assume the reason why this decision was made. There’s not much you can do about it (especially now) either way.

          In other words – to repeat Alison’s advice with a different angle – don’t spend too much energy being mad at the PM and just focus on changing jobs.

          I’m saying this also to add: don’t take anybody recruiting you for a technical role that in any way involves support saying “well, we are closed on Christmas” to reassure you that it would NEVER happen at THEIR company at face value. Make sure to ask about even the most remote possibility of having to work a holiday and their policies re: how much notice you must receive. Some companies will also guarantee you get that holiday off next year.

        6. CaliSusan

          Well, being I.T. people who pretty much have access to everything it wasn’t too long before we found out that the PM’s contract has a provision that she receives a bonus only if the project is fully completed and in-place by midnight, December 31.

          Wait. Did you snoop into the PM’s personnel file to read her contract?

    2. Julkaco

      I was wondering the same thing. How can it be bad project management to want to do a system upgrade at a time when no one is on the system and when the office is normally closed? It would be highly disruptive to the business to give everyone except required personnel the day (or a few days) off so the upgrade could be performed during a regular work week. Maybe he would prefer to work nights until the upgrade is done?

    3. LQ

      But wouldn’t you know ahead of time that you’d have to work on Christmas Day for any kind of an upgrade. I totally agree about it being a likely very good day to do that kind of work, but based on when the letter was sent in and the letter it seemed pretty last minute.

      1. CJ

        Yes, see my reply above. We voted to do the upgrade over New Year’s instead of Christmas but were told the day before Christmas eve that we had to do it then instead.

    4. SCMill

      I’ve been in IT for more years than I like to think about, and most of the PMs I’ve worked with over the years couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag. It’s one thing to know well ahead of time that we are scheduled to take advantage of holiday downtime to do an upgrade. It’s a competely different matter to have it sprung on a team right before the holiday season because of PM incompetence. My sympathies are with the OP.

      1. Episkey

        I agree. I thought we took OPs at their word here. It sounds like this was a surprise work day — I’m getting the feeling that due to something the PM did/didn’t do, the upgrade couldn’t take place when it was scheduled for initially and then needed to be done on Christmas Day. Christmas was on Thursday this year — if an org needed a day where no one else was working & off the system, the Saturday directly after Christmas seems like a good plan. It’s only 2 days later and then employees could have spent the day with their family and prepared to come in on Saturday — maybe even with Friday given off as a comp if the company wasn’t closed.

    5. Beezus

      If the work is typical for holiday periods and the LW is just being unrealistic about the expectations of her field, then I agree. But don’t we normally take what writers say at face value? I do agree that more info would be helpful. The advice in relation to how to react when someone makes a token effort to “make up” for poor management leading to significant personal inconvenience still has value, though.

      In my workplace, a complete system switch by one of our on-site service providers that was timed just before Thanksgiving went terribly, leading to the people who work in the system (not the techies, the users) being put FAR behind in their work, leading to them needing to work the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Thanksgiving to try to keep things afloat. On top of that, the company was in denial about the learning curve involved in the system change, and the impact on data entry times even after the learning curve, which means they haven’t been staffed to cover everything adequately on straight time, which means the existing team has been working significant overtime for the last month, they’ve brought people in from other customers’ sites to help – those people are living in hotels, and to help get caught up, the core team will be working some of the days my company is closed last week and this week to try to catch up. I know morale on that team is in the toilet right now, and I can picture one of those people writing something similar to OP #1.

      1. Dan

        I think we take it at face value when there isn’t enough info to suggest otherwise, but really when we expect the OP to have a reasonably complete set of facts.

        A lot of times, I don’t think it’s reasonable for subordinates to have enough “facts” to second-guess a management decision. So when someone writes in and says “my manager sucks” on an issue that can have a very reasonable explanation, it’s hard to just nod along.

        I suspect that there is a lot the OP isn’t telling us. It’s rare that a person quits a job over one scheduling incident. I travel overseas for personal reasons quite a bit, and if “bad management” made me cancel a trip at the last minute, I’d be pissed. But would I quit? The first time, no.

        Alas, the OP has decided to move on, and his only request for advice is how to decline the pleasantries when he doesn’t feel like being pleasant. If he’s got unreasonable expectations on what his job entails, he’ll figure that out on his own with more experience.

        1. Beezus

          Right, but since the OP wasn’t asking for advice on how to handle the scheduling problem, only on how to respond to the pleasantries, it follows that there would be less detail on the specifics of the scheduling issue, since that wasn’t the focus of her question.

    6. Lamb

      I read it as the team working on Christmas was a change of plan, that they were scheduled to do it before the holiday but something happened (that #1 blames on the project manager) to push the time line back.
      If in fact the plan was always for the team to work through Christmas, it does seem like #1 missed the memo. Maybe the manager needs to be a little more clear about the Christmas schedule far FAR ahead of time so everyone can plan around it.

    7. Hillary

      I’m surprised to hear you’d do a system upgrade at Christmas. We never schedule releases for December or January to avoid any potential impacts on year end. Our last release was the third Saturday of November, the next one is February 7.

  15. Ali

    Re: #4, I have had two virtual internships that turned into jobs, one part-time this year and then my first internship became my job where I’ve been for four years. I don’t promote them specifically as virtual on my resume (though I explain it when asked), and while there are hurdles to working from home, I’ve generally been successful. You have to just be willing to keep the lines of communication open, whether through e-mail or texting, and know how to conduct yourself professionally. At my full-time job, tone in e-mails is everything because my team is scattered all over the place. We have people in our two US offices, but people are also working from as far away as London.

    Sometimes I do miss being in an office, but other days I think I could get used to working virtually for a good long time.

  16. C Average

    +1.

    Every single year we launch new code (for us, it tends to be new versions of apps and websites rather than systems) over the holidays when no one extraneous to the team is in the office to disrupt the process. (I’m among the consumer support people typically needed to create new content aligning with the new experiences, so I’m usually in the war room while the work is being done.) If someone was needed on the holiday to do this work and pouted and moaned about it, the rest of the team would probably summon the waaaaaaambulance.

  17. FX-ensis

    #1 – I agree with Alison, but then I think you would (using past tense for obvious reasons…) have needed to suck it up and go in…. Even though it’s their bad management at fault, they may have punished you for not turning up..

    and look on the bright side, at the least you would get triple pay haha..

    1. ThursdaysGeek

      If the OP is in IT, they are probably salaried, and get nothing extra. If they’re lucky they MIGHT get a comp day for working Christmas.

      (Triple pay? Best I’ve ever heard of is double time and a half. Which is not available to someone on salary.)

  18. The Bookworm

    #1 – years ago when I worked for a company that had a call center & a NOC (network operations center) those employees had to work on Christmas day. I didn’t directly support any of the employees who had to be there on Christmas, but I felt bad for them. I made arrangements in advance for a supervisor to get me into the building & I took goodies (cookies & Chex mix) to the employees.

    There will always be jobs that require employees to work on holidays – think of what would happen if no one would work in a hospital during Hanukah, Christmas, or other religious holidays.

    1. hello humans

      Why would you feel bad for them? For a lot of people, Christmas is just another random day. I always work Christmas because I don’t celebrate it.

      1. OfficePrincess

        But for a large portion of the staff, it is a day they’d rather spend with their family & friends, not at work. It’s perfectly reasonable to acknowledge that and feel bad.

        Where I work, we had to work Thanksgiving morning and Christmas Eve morning. We had expectations and timelines set by the client that we had to accommodate. But still, management recognized that it sucked and brought in food for everyone. It wasn’t meant as a lame attempt to be “Christmasy”, just an attempt to make it suck a bit less. Many were appreciative, others grumbled about it. Realistically, management didn’t want to be there either and made it clear that the plan was once X was done we’d all go home, so let’s focus and crank it out.

      2. The Bookworm

        Even though I didn’t directly support them, I knew a couple of the employees who worked in the NOC. They hadn’t volunteered to work Christmas.

      3. MK

        However, few of the people who don’t celebrate Christmas in a religious way consider it “just another random day”; it’s a mostly secular holiday that most people expect to be with friends and family. Also, there can be something particularly depressing about working when the rest of the world is partying.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          That’s true of people who celebrate Christmas, but it’s not typically true of Jews and others who don’t. For most of us, it really is just another random day, although we certainly appreciate having it off work. It’s not a secular holiday by any means!

          1. MK

            Perhaps I am generalising my own experience, or most likely my own culture. In my country (not the U.S., obviously), things pretty much grind to a halt from midday of December 24th and on December 25th, and that’s been the case since forever. As a result, even people who don’t celebrate Christmas, many of whom practice other religions, have developed their own secular traditions for that time. For your example, my group of friends from university have met for coffee on Christmas Day for the past 18 years.

          2. HQB

            I would consider it semi-secular, in that a large number of people who aren’t Christian celebrate it as a non-religious holiday. I know Jews, atheists, Hindus, and Wiccans who enjoy the whole Santa-Claus-and-presents thing, and ignore the Jesus-in-the-manger part.

            1. soitgoes

              You can’t make that call for everyone though. The idea that a devout Jew or Muslim should celebrate Christmas (just because they live in the US) is odd.

              1. MK

                But likewise you cannot make the call for devout Jews or Muslims that they wouldn’t mind working on Christmas either. Since so many people have the day off, a Jewish or Muslim family might well organize a reunion or another type of event/party/whatever. It’s not a case of celebrating Christmas; it’s about the fact that most people (those not working jobs that require workers there 24/7 or on holidays) assume they will have the day off and plan accordingly.

              2. HQB

                I certainly don’t think anyone *should* celebrate Christmas, unless they want to. I just understand the attitude that (in Western countries) many (most?) people want to not work on Christmas, even if they aren’t Christian.

      4. Bea W

        when you work in a place that has to be staffed 24/7, you are often required to work those days. It’s not a choice. Often people get rotated so it’s fair. The rule at the hospital where my mother worked was that everyone in her dept worked alternate Thanksgiving/Christmas. There was a similar plan in place at the NOC where friends worked. It didn’t matter if you celebrated the holiday or not. So yes, there were people who would have rather not been working on those days. Not everyone who is working over the holidays does so because they don’t celebrate. It’s reasonable to feel badly for those people.

  19. INTP

    #4: You don’t necessarily have to write that the internship is virtual on your resume. Of course, if the company is in Madagascar or something, you will definitely be asked about it so you will eventually have to disclose. Otherwise, you can just write the duties that you performed on your resume, and on the off chance that they ask about the city, just say that you worked remotely but emphasize the interaction you did have with the coworkers (if you attended skype meetings, checked in with your boss over email daily, etc).

  20. Nobody

    #1: I think you need to look at the poor project management and the Christmas celebration as two separate things. I can totally understand your bitterness about having to work over Christmas because of poor management, but it happened. They needed you on Christmas. Once it was determined that you were needed on Christmas, they could have chosen to do business as usual, or they could have decided to do some kind of Christmas celebration, and whichever way they went with that wouldn’t have changed the fact that you had to work on Christmas.

    So maybe give them the benefit of the doubt and recognize that even though the PM screwed up, she cared enough to try to do something nice for Christmas. No, it doesn’t make up for the time away from your family, but it is a nice gesture to show that they don’t take your sacrifices completely for granted. If you act bitter (by refusing to eat the Christmas lunch or refusing to accept a gift), then you kind of look like a jerk.

  21. Illini02

    #1 struck me as a bit odd as well. I get being mad about having to work on Christmas, but it doesn’t exactly specify whether it was sprung on them out of the blue, or maybe sprung on the PM out of the blue, or the PM really is just incompetent. Its clear that the OP doesn’t like this PM, but is it the PMs fault really? Either way, while the OP does have my sympathies, they still seem to be being disproportionately angry. Sometimes at work things suck. To get mad at your bosses for trying to make them suck less by giving them the silent treatment and pouting about how you don’t want any of their treats just seems a bit childish.

    1. Adam V

      It may not just be “had to work on Christmas”, though – it may be “had to cancel plane tickets” or “had to watch my family go out of town without me”. Depending on how late the “you’ve got to work on Christmas” notice came down, lots of things are possible, and I can understand being really upset about it.

      I do agree that “pouting” wouldn’t be professional; however, if the normally cheery person in your office is less-than-cheery on such an occasion, I’d give them a pass on that as long as it doesn’t spill over into being curt with people.

      1. CJ

        See my longer post about why we had to work Christmas for more explanation of why IMO it was very bad PM. In short, we originally voted to do the upgrade the four days over New Year’s weekend but were told the DAY BEFORE Christmas Eve that we had to do it then.

        1. illini02

          I read it, and I definitely feel your pain more. I still don’t think pouting about it is the best way to go about handling it. I’m guessing most people (aside from the PM) weren’t happy with it, but if you are the one just sulking and being angry while everyone else just deals with it, it reflects worse on eyou.

      2. Bea W

        This happened to someone I know one one Thanksgiving. Last minute (like a week’s notice at best) he had to cancel his plans to travel with his family to spend it with his ailing mom. He stayed home alone over the holiday, and was not happy about it at all. As he put it, “It’s not like mom has a lot of time left on this earth.” At that point you don’t care if it’s your PM or someone higher up that messed up your plans. It sucks no matter what.

        1. Hlyssande

          The whole ‘doesn’t have much time left on Earth’ thing is why I will not compromise going back to my hometown for the holidays every year. My grandma is 103. If the boss told me I couldn’t go home with the spare laptop to work from my parents’ house (if not taking it as vacation), I’d be on a job hunt that same day.

  22. Lady red

    #5. I was fired from my first job in high school working at a skating rink. I had one bad day where I was grumpy, then the next day found out from my friend that I was let go. I never really clicked with the manager and I really think he just didn’t like me.

    I found out years later that my mom went in and quizzed the manager about why he fired me and he couldn’t come up with any reason. She asked if I’d ever been late, customers ever complained about me, money was short, etc and he said no to all.

    I was mortified when she told me that, but now think it’s pretty funny. She must not have believed me and probably thought I was lieing about something major. This is foreshadowing into our troubled relationship as I became an adult – In my case I am now estranged from my mother. Op needs to think hard about her boundaries with her children as they become adults so she doesn’t end up in the same boat.

    1. RFan

      #5 Bringing a bit of my own bias in, but parents involved in calling, applying, or otherwise commenting to a child’s workplace is not appropriate. Even when we hire high school students, parents ask for the applications, fill them out. One wanted to go in the interview with them! I find these employees to be lacking. One mother kept insistently emailing about how her daughter should have the job- to the point of course we decided that dealing with her was not to our benefit.
      Everything they do for themselves creates the person they need to be.

      1. Lady red

        Yep, she was way out of line. I wish that was the last time she was ever out of line in my life! Thankfully that was the first and last job I was outright fired from.

  23. Bea W

    #2 – This does not apply to the OP, since she doesn’t have a college degree, but I wanted to say it’s not that they care about the actual transcript (grades, GPA, etc), but they want to verify the degree, and a copy of the diploma is usually acceptable. Some workplaces verify degrees as part of their background check process (*sigh* because people lie!) and in some fields/industries they keep proof of college degrees on file for regulatory purposes or as part of a QA plan. That includes degrees people got 20+ years ago.

    I’m sure the OP can quickly clear that up by talking to HR or whomever is collecting the info (sometimes it is a third party). I doubt they will want a transcript if she doesn’t have a degree.

  24. Lia

    #5, I too was fired from a job as a teen (waitress in a family-style restaurant) — a month and a half after I started, the restaurant was sold and the new owners promptly fired EVERYONE with no notice. The new owners closed the restaurant for a day without notice — so people were still scheduled to work — and as staff showed up for their shifts, asked for their aprons and name tags and handed over final paychecks.
    My mom was very annoyed, but at least did not try and get my job back — so let it go and let him grow. And karma usually gets them in the end. That restaurant? Lasted less than 6 months.

  25. M

    #5 – I can empathize, and so can my parents. I was let go from a job I had been at for a year (and working very, very hard at, may I add) without warning and without a reason. I later found out from the UI adjudicator that the company had claimed “cultural differences.”

    As I am very close to my parents, even as an adult, they were pretty well aware of what had been going on at work. The best thing they did for me was let me vent a little, and remind me that I had done the best I could, and that I was not a huge loser for getting fired. They were also very encouraging during my search for a new job. It’s just nice to have parents on your side without their interfering in your career.

  26. Bea W

    I work for a huge company. The CEO supposedly signs off on all the reviews. I don’t think he literally reads them and signs off on them though, not in a company with tens of thousands of employees. He probably reads the ones of a few key people he works with, but there’s probably some batch approval process that happens for 99% of employees. What a useless step in the process!

  27. OOF

    #3 I would take this at face value: you and your work are good, you’re a valued employee and the CEO took a moment to add his/her words of praise to reinforce this message. Enjoy it and continue on!

  28. Winnie

    How old is your son? I used to manage teenagers (16+) in a cafe, many of whom were great but many of whom showed up to work stoned, stole, gave food to friends, etc. When I fired one (and I told him the reason), his father insisted on speaking with me as his son told him he was fired for no reason, and ended up accusing me of being anti-Semitic. My point is you may not be getting the full story from your son … would he really tell you if he was fired for showing up high or constantly showing up 1/2 hour late, for instance?

  29. UK Nerd

    #5: In the words of Frozen, let it go.

    I was fired from one of my summer jobs for poor performance. And rightly so; I hated that job, took no pride in it, and accordingly did inferior work. (I had two other jobs at the same time, both of which I liked and did alright in.)

    I didn’t care about being fired, as it meant I didn’t have to keep doing that awful job. But I was absolutely terrified by the prospect of having to tell my mum I’d been fired. There would have been yelling. I made up some excuse instead.

    What I learned from this experience (besides never to try to get a job like that again) is that you won’t get honesty unless you make it safe to be honest.

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