my manager is trying to push me out of my job, sympathy interviews, and more

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

1. I think my manager is trying to push me out of my job

I’m a recruitment coordinator for a bank, and I have recently had a bad performance review and have been on an recovery plan to get me back up to speed. My reasoning as to why I’m not exceeding my role and what is expected of me is that due to the volume of work I have to do, I’m doing at least two people’s workload, but my workplace seems to think it’s not. I’m making avoidable mistakes constantly, and due to the fact that I’m on a recovery plan, my manager is being very unsupportive and not really advising me on the best things I can do to avoid making mistakes. He’s constantly saying that the capability isn’t there and the role has outgrown me.

I’m trying my best to work as hard as I can and completing my objectives sent, but I’m constantly receiving negative feedback. How can I try and make them understand that there is physically a lot of work for one person to handle without sounding like I’m not fit for the role?

Well, you may not be able to. Your manager is saying pretty clearly to you that he doesn’t think you’re equipped to the job as it’s currently configured; saying that the job has outgrown you basically means “the role has evolved into something that you’re not the right person to handle.” That’s a pretty clear message that he doesn’t think you’re the right fit for the role and that he’s planning to move you out of it.

I hear you that you’re convinced that he’s wrong, but ultimately it’s his call. Don’t get so focused on why he’s wrong that you don’t hear what he’s saying: he’s giving you a warning that you need to be looking for other work. That means that you should use this time to actively job search so that you have a better shot of leaving on your own terms, or at least so that you have a head start on a job hunt if he ends up letting you go. I’m sorry — I know that’s tough to hear.

2. Interviewing internally when I can’t put on more professional clothes

I currently work as a production employee in a factory. We obviously are allowed to dress very casually for both comfort during working hours and ease of movement when we are doing our jobs. Recently a job that I am very interested in opened up in our corporate office so I applied. Today my supervisor approached me and told me that “Kathy” would like to meet with me on Monday for an interview in the middle of my shift. I would literally leave my work area and walk to a conference room for the interview. As “Kathy” knows my current position, and that we will be speaking during my shift, how worried should I be that I won’t have the ability or opportunity to change into clothing that would be considered more interview and office appropriate? My current job is clean, so nice jeans and a nice shirt or sweater would be easy to wear, but I could by no means dress as I normally would for an interview.

And just a side note on the awesomeness of the company I work for and the management there: My supervisor told me she gave an unsolicited positive reference to my interviewer and wished me luck. Where I work is very big on hiring and promoting internally and helping current employees with their career goals.

Will you have five or 10 minutes beforehand where you could change clothes? If so, I’m sure that would make a great impression … but if that’s not practical, I wouldn’t worry about it at all. Wearing pants (ideally non-jeans) and a nice shirt or sweater should be perfectly fine, and when you first greet your interviewer, you can casually mention that you would have normally worn a suit but working on the production floor makes that impossible. I’m sure she’ll understand that even if you didn’t say it, but saying it is helpful because it signals that you’re conscientious about professionalism.

Good luck!

3. Is this just a sympathy interview?

I recently saw a job ad on a law firm’s website. As it so happened, I had a connection at the firm who happens to be a partner. After a couple days, a recruiter reached out to me to set up a phone interview. While preparing for the interview, I went back to the site to re-read the description, only to find that the ad had been taken down.

Does this mean that the job has already been filled and this is a sympathy interview because of my connection? Or is there a silver lining in there somewhere?

Don’t read anything into it. Sure, it’s possible that the job has been filled and it’s a courtesy interview — but that’s pretty unlikely; most hiring managers don’t waste their time interviewing people just for the hell of it, particularly when a hire has already been made. It’s more likely that they’re no longer accepting applications because they’ve identified enough strong candidates to interview.

4. My volunteer manager refused to give me a letter verifying my job

I’m a volunteer firefighter. Recently I asked my fire chief to write me a letter stating that I work for the fire department so that I can get discounts on a lot of things. He refused and his reason was “I don’t know you enough.” Is he allowed to do that?

I can’t think of any law that would prevent it, although I wonder if he didn’t understand what you were asking. It sounds like he might have thought you wanted a reference (and it would be reasonable to decline if he feels he doesn’t know you well enough) rather than simply a confirmation of your employment. If there’s any chance that’s the case, it could be worth going back and clarifying with him.

5. Listing lots of smaller temp jobs on a resume

I have been wondering how to shorten my resume. I have worked for multiple temp agencies here recently and they are for the same job title. I am wondering how to list this on my resume. As of right now, I have it formatted like this: Temp agency name, the company, dates, and below the job that was done.

All the short-term projects that I have done through these temp agencies generally last only 3 to 4 months. Am I listing this correctly or is there a better way? I feel sometimes that having them listed separately looks bad, almost like I am job-hopping but I am not.

I’d list all the temp jobs under one overall heading, like this:

Temporary Administrative Work (through Agency A, Agency B, and Agency C)
* Placed at companies including Wayne Enterprises, Madrigal Electromotive, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
… followed by bullets describing your work and achievements at any/all of those companies.

That way, it’s all one listing and it’s not taking up tons of unnecessary space. Plus, it’ll be clear in a single glance that it was all temp work, rather than risking the appearance of job-hopping. (Temp work and other intentionally short-term work, like internships, doesn’t count as job-hopping, but when someone is quickly skimming your resume, they might not realize it was temp work unless you make it very clear.)

{ 141 comments… read them below }

  1. Shell*

    #2: As a former lab technician, I ran into this and I honestly wouldn’t worry about it at all. In labs we’re expected to wear the crappiest/most expendable clothes we own because they’d get ruined by chemicals anyway. I’ve seen interviews conducted mid-day where candidates literally shuck off their lab coats onto a coat rack and head straight into the manager’s office, complete with faded jeans, sneakers, and lab glasses still on their faces. I can’t imagine production floor will be much different expectation-wise. They know what the work requires and they know the interview is mid-shift.

    For the record, I have attended to one of those interviews in actual business wear, and while my interviewer noticed I don’t think it impacted my chances much (I didn’t get the position).

    Prepare for the rest of the interview with Alison’s extra tips, make a token acknowledgement about the attire if you want, and put it out of your mind.

  2. Newsie*

    #2, if you’re concerned about time needed to change, could you wear a suit blazer under your weather-appropriate jacket, and bring nice shoes in a bag? That dresses up an outfit for both genders in a snap, and doesn’t require a lot of time to change. It also might feel and read a little more “interview-y” than your everyday clothes may. I know I prefer to have a bit of a costume for situations like interviews, if that makes sense. (I’m presuming it’s winter where you are.) Good luck!

    1. T*

      I think you could do as Newsie suggested and change to dressier shoes (they don’t have to be heels). I also agree with Alison’s suggestion of nice non-jean pants–something that you could wear comfortably and dress up without actually having to change outfits. And I think everyone’s right: they will understand why you’re not in a suit under the circumstances.

  3. M-C*

    #4 I think AAM is probably right and that the person didn’t actually understand what you’re asking for. So try again :-). But, beside the legality of refusing to acknowledge a job you’re actually doing, it’s such an idiotic thing to do. Doesn’t this guy know the meaning of “volunteer”?? It means no contract, no strings, you walk off whenever you want to. Might be worth gently reminding him of that, or perhaps better any other administrator, board, whoever is really running this place. You’re not going to have much of a fire department in the future with this kind of attitude, and that’s kind of serious situation..

    1. MK*

      Do fire departments rely so heavily on volunteers that “you’re not going to have much of a fire department in the future with this kind of attitude” becomes an issue? In any case, I really don’t think threatening to leave unless they make it possible for the OP to get discounts is a good idea; it will make the OP’s motives for volunteering (which by definition isn’t about rewards) suspect and it will almost certainly set up their backs.

      Also, OP, are you sure you are eligible for these discounts? I ask, because I wouldn’t take it for granted that a volunteer equals someone who works for the fire department; I mean, of course they do work for the fire department, but it’s possible these perks are meant for the regular employees.

      By the way, I have never known anyone be able to claim discounts with a letter from their boss; usually there is an ID card or a pass or anything issued by the organization, which you have to show to get the discount (and which is of course returned when the person leaves).

      1. StPaulGal*

        Lots of smaller towns and cities rely exclusively on a volunteer fire department. Not everywhere has the funding and population density to necessitate or justify hiring people to sit around and wait for the half-dozen fires that happen in a given year. There may well be precisely zero difference between “____ City Firefighter” and “fire department volunteer.”

        1. Meg Murry*

          And the term “volunteer” can be misleading here. In our area, we call them volunteer fire department, but its really more like freelance/contract – the volunteers are given a pager or radio scanner, and if there is a need for them a call goes out – and if they respond to the call they get paid for it (in some cities – others it truly is volunteer).

        2. Csarndt*


          Volunteer firefighters have all the training with none of the getting paid to watch tv all day in case something catches on fire. Often they get a pager and scanner and red bubble light for their personal car and if they show up at a fire, they get ‘paid’ $1 so they’re covered as employees if they’re hurt or killed. Then they go back to their real, bill paying job. Then they spend their weekends selling chicken dinners and raffle tickets to pay for their hand me down fire truck’s 20th repair. Plus, they’ve already donated that $1 they got back to the fire dept. and bought their own turn out gear.

          So, yeah, volunteers should get a letter that gets them a 10% discount on the $200 boots they’re buying to go with the uniform or a free cup of coffee at the local diner.

          1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

            Yes. Rural volunteer fire fighters ARE the fire department. The amount of training is tremendous, and they are often paged in the middle of the night and end up being pajama-clad first responders for their neighbor’s heart attack. Mad respect for volunteer firefighters, who save thousands of lives every year by making sure it doesn’t take an hour to get a response to a 911 call. They should get every perk and discount that the paid firefighters get.

        3. abby*

          This even happens in larger cities. I live in a large suburb in a very large metropolitan area, and one of my co-workers is a volunteer firefighter. He has a scanner and sometimes has to leave work to help fight a fire. I think he is paid $50 a month.

        4. Windchime*

          I’m from a town that has an fire department that is exclusively volunteer. These guys are trained EMTs and firefighters, but it’s totally, 100% unpaid volunteers. Many of the small towns (around 3k people) surrounding my hometown are also volunteer. When a big fire breaks out and extra help is needed, all the small towns band together to fight it. And when there is a fire that the County or the Big City with Paid Firefighters can’t fight alone, they call on our volunteers to help.

          It’s not unusual for these men and women to have to leave their paid jobs suddenly to attend to a fire. If we didn’t have them, we’d have nobody. As you can tell, I’m very proud of the volunteers who provide this important service for my town.

      2. Carrington Barr*

        “Do fire departments rely so heavily on volunteers that “you’re not going to have much of a fire department in the future with this kind of attitude” becomes an issue?”


      3. MK*

        I am replying to my own comment to clarify some things:

        1. I am not doubting the value of the work of volunteer firefighters (though I only learned from the comments above that there are fire departments that rely on them so much). I stil feel that it would be inappropriate for someone to demand a perk as compensation for volunteer work.

        2. That volunteer firefighters deserve these perks and should get them doesn’t mean that it’s happening. Unless the OP knows for a fact that they are eligible to get discounts, they should check. There could be a time requirement and they are only eligible after they have served X amount of time.

        1. Natalie*

          Regarding your first point, the OP’s wording made me think there were some pre-existing discounts available to volunteer firefighters and they just needed proof. When I lived in a small town with a volunteer department, some business owners offered discounts as a thank you, similar to a military discount.

          1. MK*

            Yes, I realize that; I didn’t think the OP was demanding things from the people offering them! But this thread started with M-C’s suggestion that the OP try to get the letter by reminding his boss (or the higher-ups) that, as a volunteer, he could quit anytime. I don’t think it’s appropriate to hint that you ‘ll stop volunteering, if they don’t give you access to perks, not to mention that it’s likely to offend them enough to fire you.

            (though from what the OP says downthread, it sounds like there are bigger problems there)

      4. danr*

        Yes. Most of our towns in NJ are exclusively volunteer. If there is a problem with coverage, some paid departments will cover for volunteer towns by arrangement and are paid for the coverage. The larger cities have paid departments.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I think Alison has this one nailed down. OP, just explain that you did not mean a reference to the quality of your work, you just meant for him to confirm your employment with the department. And that one is pretty clear cut. Yeah, you work there.

    3. Aisling*

      Being a volunteer firefighter means that you are doing it for the good of the community and not for pay, but you still need to have training to do it (often paid for out of your own pocket), and there is still an application process for it. It’s a stressful job that doesn’t get enough thanks, so the perks are a huge bonus. However, if the volunteer fire chief I know ever had a volunteer firefighter remind her “who really runs this place”, she wouldn’t hesitate to let them go immediately. This is not the type of job that has the time to deal with that kind of drama.

  4. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    If I was hiring, I’d want Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to be its own bullet point — I’d want to know exactly what you did there ;)

    1. Liane*

      Separate or together, we might get to hear some entertaining answers to questions like “What are your weaknesses, what are your strengths & how did you use them both to deal with a work problem?”

      Also, just in case I am ever a hiring manager–is it legal for me to not hire someone because they don’t like my favorite books & movies?

    2. Alter_ego*

      I wonder, if you work at the Harry Potter wizardingg world exhibit in universal studios, do you have to say that you just worked at universal studios? Because I would be so tempted to list olivanders, or eyelops, or weasley’s wizard wheezes or whichever specific shop I worked in on my resume.

      1. VintageLydia USA*

        In most theme parks you shift around where you’re working from shift to shift, and sometimes every few hours (especially the rides–it prevents the fatigue from the monotony so you’re more alert to safety issues.)

  5. A Dispatcher*

    #4 Just curious… how long have you been with the department/a member of the fire service?

    1. MK*

      I don’t know if you are thinking along the same lines as I, but could it be that the fire chief objects to the wording of the letter? I mean, if the OP specifically wants a letter that states “OP works for the fire department”, maybe the boss is unwilling to hand such a document to a recent volunteer. OP, would a letter saying “OP has been volunteering with the fire department X times a week for the past Y months” cover what you need? I cannot imagine the fire chief objecting to that.

      1. Aam Admi*

        If someone just recently started volunteering, I wouldn’t give them a letter when there is a possibility they would not stay too long and continue to use the letter to get discounts after they no longer work for me.
        I had a similar experience with a student who registered for a skills development program run by my employer Students paid a $100 fee for the text book and 8 hours of class every week for 3 months. For single moms receiving Social Assistance (this is in Canada), Social Services would pay for the course and/or provide free baby sitting. This individual registered for the course and same day asked for a letter so she could put her kids in the free baby sitting program. As soon as she received the letter, she disappeared – did not even bother to pick up the book or attend a single class. Another student in the class told me that this person did this all the time – she had no intention of attending any course and was only looking for free baby sitting so she could go to the mall or casino!

  6. MK*

    OP1, look at this from a practical point of view. You say that the workload is not manageable for one person and that’s why you make mistakes, but your boss believes one person (I am assunimg with the right organising and time management skills) can successfully manage the workload and the problem is that you are not that person. There is really no way to convince the boss that you are right; talking about it won’t make the boss change his mind and he will likely think your arguments are excuses. The only way it will be proven which of you is right is if they hire another person and this person fails or succeeds. But, even if you are proven correct, it will be too late, since you will have already been let go. Either figure out a way to handle the workload or start looking for a new job.

    1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

      OP#1, I don’t mean thus to be unkind, buy I’ve encountered many situations like this over the years where an employee feels strongly that their job is objectively too big. When I’ve replaced these employees, the next person has had no trouble meeting the bar…often doing even more. You might be happier in a job where both you and your boss feel you are a strong fit, and where your skills and talents are exactly what the employer is looking for. This doesn’t mean you aren’t smart, skilled, or valuable, just that there isn’t a match in this particular role (anymore).

      1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

        I hate how my phone obsessively autocorrects “this” to “thus”. Makes me sound like im trying to be pretentious and doing it poorly :-)

        1. BRR*

          Does it also put air quotes around things? Am I going to be the only person who finds that funny?

          Anyways I think you have a good point. I had a job doing A and B. I was fired for doing A poorly. A wasn’t even a hard task, I just couldn’t get it. I got a job doing only B where the demands of the job were much higher but without doing A, I’m doing great at it. There is such a thing as not being a good fit for a job where it’s just not using what you’re good at. Different people are good at different things)

      2. Felicia*

        This is I believe what happened with my predecessor in my role – I was originally hired for something else, and she was always staying late and complaining about how much work she had to do and how busy she was all the time and how it was impossible to do everythign being asked…she was fired for not getting things done and i was offered her job to take over which I was happy about because it was more in line with what I wanted to do long term. Once I started doing it I realized it didn’t take all that long, and I was able to accomplish more than she ever did in less time, and I didn’t find it too much or overwhelming like se did. It’s been 2 months and I still get compliments from people she worked with for doing things on time when I want to say “um it’s not that hard?”

        My predecessor, I recently learned, found a new role that she both likes much better an excels in

        1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

          Along those lines, when you start interviewing, don’t tell them you are leaving current job because they are asking you to do too much work. The hiring manager has likely been in this situation before too, and may be quick to assume you’d say the same thing in a new role.

        2. Iro*


          I once ended up taking over a co-workers service line. We were all in the same role, same pay, but somehow the person who was had previously been in this service line had convinced everyone that *her* service line was so much more difficult, and that she had too many reports to complete in a normal day. She was constantly staying late and working weekends, yet she did not participate in any of the shared responsbilitlies (there were 5 of us in the same role each with different service lines but some things were to be completed jointly by the 5 of us).

          In the end she got promoted and I got transitioned to her line. Not only did I complete the line within a the normal work week and participate in the shared responsibilties but I also found a ton of mistakes my predecesssor had made as well as various gaps in reporting needs. I ended up getting promoted from that role after just 3 months.

          My long winded point here is; what seems like too much work for one person is likely just too much work for your skill set.

      3. Whippers*

        You may have encountered this situation before, but that doesn’t mean that the same is true of the OP’s situation. It actually may be objectively too much work for one person. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good someone is at a job, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything; people aren’t superheroes.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That’s absolutely true, but I think it’s important for the OP and others in this situation to consider Ashley’s point. Like Ashley, I’ve had the experience of having an employee be absolutely certain that the workload was too high for one person and then having their replacement handle it all just fine and even have room for more. Sometimes a manager who’s confident the workload is fine is wrong, but plenty of times they’re right — and the better/more experienced the manager is, the more likely they are to be right (in my experience). The thing that makes it tricky to answer letters in this situation is that there’s no way we can tell from the outside, because usually the employee is completely confident that they’re assessing the situation correctly, whether or not they are.

          In the OP’s case, it doesn’t really matter — the manager is making it really clear that she believes she can find someone who can handle the workload and that she’s willing to replace the OP in order to do that.

          But in general, it’s important to keep in mind that people’s self-assessments of whether or not their workload is realistic aren’t fully reliable for those of us on the outside of the situation.

          1. catsAreCool*

            I wonder if it would help at all to have ask the boss to monitor the employee closely for a day or for a few hours so the boss can point out issues with inefficiency? This could also be useful if the employee really does have too much work.

        2. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

          That is a fair point, Whippers. In my case, I have been around long enough (10+ years) to see different people in most roles, so I have a pretty good sense of what is possible (and I can also use that information when designing job descriptions, to avoid some problems in the first place). If I know that someone else (or more often, more than one person) has managed that role before with no trouble, and there aren’t any significant factors making it different, then my best guess is that I have a poor fit. It doesn’t mean that person isn’t trying or doing their best – sometimes, no matter what kind of help or support is offered, it just takes them too long to do their work (or some element of their work) and they can’t do what is needed. Also to be fair, I ask a LOT of people, and not everyone wants to be stretching like that all the time. On the other hand, some people thrive. I need the people who thrive. That can usually be handled in the hiring process – although sometimes people’s lives/attitudes/needs change and they no longer want that kind of challenge – fair enough.

      4. neverjaunty*

        Though, to be fair to the OP, it also happens that bad bosses will keep hiring one person to do a job that requires more than one person (or, possibly, can be covered by one person putting in a backbreaking number of hours), complaining after each one quits or burns out that it’s always the employee that’s the problem.

        But either way, MK is right; this is almost certainly not something you can talk your boss out of. Either it really is a bad fit for you, in which case you and your boss are better off with your leaving; or your boss has unrealistic expectations, and he won’t figure that out until he’s cycled through several employees (if ever).

        1. Felicia*

          I’ve had this situation too, where what the boss was asking just wasn’t humanly possible by one person, which meant the person in the position would be frequently brought to tears and would either quit or burn out, and no one last much longer than a year (there were 4 people at a time doing the same thing, and working 12 hour days regularly to do it, but to do what the boss was asking would require 10 people, more if you eliminate over time), the boss’ expectations were never met and they were constantly hiring for that job. As a boss you’d think that have 5 people in a row leave after 6 months or less would make them re think their expectations, but it never did.

      5. Susan*

        We don’t know if MK and Ashley are correct — there are also managers too far removed from a situation to really understand what they are asking.

        But considering that they might be right, I’d like to add that being a non-ideal fit for one job doesn’t mean you’re a bad employee altogether. I remember one time I was an assistant in a department that had just an insane workload. I assisted 6 people. You could tell certain people were “handling” the workload much better than others, because some people relied very heavily on me — i.e. would not be able to function at all if I wasn’t spending half my day doing their work, whereas others, it was a once and a blue moon thing where they would have too much work. One woman who I helped the most ended up leaving the job because the workload just stressed her out way too much every day — but I still to this day hold her in my head as one of the best people I’ve ever seen at dealing with “difficult” people. She got defaulted a lot of the phone calls from unhappy internal or external people and just was so charming on the phone, where I would have completely cracked (I probably would have cried!). When she didn’t know something, she was very good at saying, “I’m not sure, but I can walk with you to ____’s office because I’m sure she knows.” I’m just saying she had incredible professionalism and I think in a role that’s more about that and less about actually moving large amounts of content along, she will be way more exemplary than any of us could have been. The current role just wasn’t the right role for her.

        1. MK*

          I didn’t actually say that the OP’s boss was right about the workload being manageable. Simply that, even if they are wrong, I can see no way to convince them of that without the OP leaving the job. This boss really feels one person can do the work, it will probably taking several employees failing to manage the workload to make them realise they are wrong.

      6. Artemesia*

        I have had this same situation. Had an employee who managed to convince the staff they were overworked because they were expected to do ‘boolean algebra’ and other much too complicated things. The solution for me was to fire the underminer and continue to cross train and upgrade training of the staff who were quite capable of dealing with ‘and’ and ‘or’ in data entry.

        Sometimes bosses expect too much of underlings and don’t figure it out till they run through a few — but other times jobs are just not a good fit for the talents of the persons in them. Either way you are cooked in this position. Being right won’t change that. Use the angry energy to find another position that will work better for you and move on.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      +This. I’m sorry to agree with this as well OP#1. You may well be right about the workload (and no one is implying that it is too much), but someone else may have no problem handling it. It’s hard to say.

      Either way, it sounds like they are prepared to phase you out. Arguing will not make a whit of difference at this point, even if you did manage to improve. I’m sorry and I know it sucks to hear, but I doubt you can salvage this situation. At least you have been given some advance notice to prepare.

    3. My two cents...*

      if there’s other employees with the same title on the team, they’d presumably have the same job duties and a similar workload. so…it might actually be quire apparent to LW #1’s boss that they’re barely at 50% productivity compared to others.

  7. Mamduhy*

    I’ve been with the fire department for 9 months and I’m doing my best and always responding to emergency calls. We don’t get paid for what we do and we don’t get any IDs or anything to prove who we are. My fire chief is a police officer and I think he has problem with me just because I’m Arabic or Muslim, not really sure but he’s cool with every single member in the department accept me. It’s kind of sad because honestly I don’t care about the discount i only care about the people who I’m responding to emergency calls with and being able to trust the and know they got my back. He 100% understood what I was asking for which is a simple letter explaining that I belong to this fire department.
    And I don’t care about him or anything because I’m not doing this for him nor for the discount I’m doing this for the people who needs my help the most.
    It’s sad how people judge me just because few retards who doesn’t know how to use their brain.
    I’m sorry guys and thank you for the answers ❤️

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I’m sorry about that. Volunteer fire depts are their own weird little thing (how we do fire/rescue in this country is quite odd), and while the large majority are run professionally, there can also be a club atmosphere to some.

      One thing I’m used to seeing is people from one community joining volunteer fire in a neighboring community because they prefer the group there. Is there another place that could use your talents and enthusiasm?

    2. Nobody*

      My town is served by a volunteer fire department, so I would like to say thank you for what you are doing! I’m sorry your chief is a jerk. I hope he comes around and writes the letter so you can get the discounts you deserve in appreciation of your brave and selfless work.

    3. ExceptionToTheRule*

      I live in an area with a lot of fire departments that are entirely volunteer and some where the chief and assistant chief are full-time employees and the rest of the staff is volunteer and both situations are as full of petty BS as I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen entire volunteer departments quit because they couldn’t stand the chief or the city council or the mayor.

      It’s a wonderful that you’ve got a strong desire to serve your community, but it sounds like you’ve run into a not great situation. If you get along with the other volunteers and feel like they have your back, it might be worth toughing out. If not, Wakeen’s suggestion is a good one. See if a neighboring community is looking for additional volunteers and switch departments.

      Good luck.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Ugh. I am sorry this is happening to you. It seems that the thing about the discount is part of a larger problem. Do you have friends in the fire company that are interested in your success? Perhaps they could offer some insight on how to handle this.

      Or it could be that you have a prejudice boss and nothing will work.

      It could be that the response to this situation is to go directly into the thick of it and ask him what he would like to see more of from you. If you go this route, think about it carefully before deciding. It’s not the easy road to take and you probably will encounter difficulties. The few times I have challenged a difficult boss have been when I found the work rewarding and I knew at some point I would get up to speed, perhaps even excel at it. Knowing these two things allowed me to push ahead in spite of the boss’ attitude. And yes, it was hard to stand there and tell the boss who did not like me, “I want to do well at this work and I know I can learn it and excel.” That is very hard to do with a frowning, skeptical boss. I did it anyway, and I landed in a good spot.

    5. YaH*

      I’m sorry this is happening to you, and it’s absolutely not okay- but please don’t use “retards” as a pejorative term. It’s incredibly insensitive and offensive, and it is prejudiced against people with developmental or intellectual disabilities- much like how your fire chief may be prejudiced against you for your ethnicity or religion. Thank you.

    6. Graciosa*

      On a practical level, if he doesn’t give you the letter, can you ask for assistance from fellow firefighters to purchase items at a discount (they buy for you with their credentials and you pay)? It has the dual purpose of getting you the discount while also making them aware of how you’re being treated in a non-confrontational way.

    7. BRR*

      I’m sorry your boss sucks and I think it’s great that you’re willing to do such intense volunteering to help other people. Is it possible he’s not happy with your performance somehow? Is there someone your boss trusts a lot who can ask him about it, “You seem to be treating Mamduhy differently, is something going on between you two?”

      Also please don’t use the R word as a derogatory term. You say he might have a prejudice against you because your religion and in the same post you put down an entire group of people.

      1. Pinky*

        Thank you YaH abd BRR. You don’t know who might be a parent of a child who is diabled (:)). And while I understand saying ‘retard’ is slang that was accepted at one point, it does hurt a little when I see/hear it! A parent of a disabled child grieves forever!

    8. workethic101*

      Stick with it, I’m in a similar kind of station that your in. hillbilly, racist and ignorant folks. I still stick with the fire department because it’s instant gratification for the social worker in me. but you won’t see me at the bars or at dinner with the crew, just on the fire-call and then then home.
      it would be nice if you had a sister station, Mutual-aid company that often gets called out. i.e. your 2nd alarm folks. maybe transfer to that fire-house.
      or even join the RIT team or get your FF2 to gain a bit of respect from this jack-wagon of a cheif.
      best of luck to you brother, get home safe every time.

    9. bob*

      Unfortunately you have run into a common issue that occurs in the industry. As Wakeen alluded to sometimes these small departments become just like a high school clique and someone new in the group gets the crappy treatment. Hopefully you know the guys you’re on the engine or ambulance with are good with you and you trust them. I’m an EMT and gave up on a similar department because their communication sucked which also had me concerned about their communication when the tones dropped.

      Worst case if your current department doesn’t appreciate you then move on with your skills and someone else will appreciate them.

    10. mirror*

      I would find another fire dept, or even another volunteering situation. I was in a similar situation for 4 years, and it still keeps me up at night sometimes. No matter how lovely your co-volunteers are, if the boss makes it clear you are not part of “their” group, slowly the rest of the group will believe it too (or, not say anything to defend you or include you). While I was in it, I didnt think it mattered because I LOVED what I was doing, but now that I’ve moved on I realize how much of a toll it took on me mentally.

  8. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

    #1 OP, I’m sorry for your trouble. Alison, as usual, has given you good advice.

    This brings up a question burning in my mind atm, though. This:

    I’m making avoidable mistakes constantly, and due to the fact that I’m on a recovery plan, my manager is being very unsupportive and not really advising me on the best things I can do to avoid making mistakes.

    Has anyone done this successfully as a manager? This is one of our worst things as an org, and the number one cause of termination. Our business is chock full of tiny details. Failing to check that you are shipping to the right address, for example, can send $5000 in merch to the wrong place – miss the customer’s in hands date, cost $$$ in time, make right to the customer, reshipping fees, etc.

    We are good at teaching people routines for best practices but if people fail to follow routines, WTH are we supposed to do? The point of teaching best practice routines is that the person has to do it *every* time and what happens with the folks that fail is that they do it some of the time or even most of the time but not enough of “most of the time” to keep their jobs.

    Any success stories I might learn from?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I did a lot of production supervision. But I have also done retailing work. I am a big believer in the use of memory triggers. “When you see A use that to jar your memory that you must also do B.” I would explain- “We handle a lot of stuff. It is very easy to get side-tracked and leave something incomplete. It’s also very easy to hurry through this, because you have ten other things you are thinking about. What actually kills us, is the redo’s. Do it once and nail it. Then move on to the next thing.” I would also add statements of the obvious, such as, “If you know you are tired/having a bad day, take a moment to double check your work before moving on. No one is insisting you have to do it perfectly the first time, you do have to double check yourself, though.”

      I am also a big believer in insisting the person hammer out a solution to their own mistakes. “Going forward, how will you endeavor to prevent this mistake from happening again?” It’s interesting how many people will actually figure out their own plan to prevent the problem from happening again. Because they created the plan themselves they are more likely to stick to it.

      Not every best practice works well for everyone. Some people need to make slight modifications to how the procedure is handled in order to get it right each time, every time. At first I did not understand the relevance to the individual, after a bit I realized I did not need to understand. If they insert their minor modification (that does not effect anything in the process) and then continuously did the job correctly, who am I to worry about that.

      I was also pretty vocal about the differences between recurring problems and problems that occurred one time. I felt that it was important to correct the recurring problems. I was very clear about targeting recurring problems. (Okay, I was a PITA.) Any thing that happens more than once needs a plan*. If we can catch that unique, one-off problem and prevent that from happening- then good for us.

      Plan*. My insistence on a plan got annoying FAST. But after a bit, people got to see that having a plan worked and there were less problems. HA! They got so they developed a plan before even coming to me! And that is when they started teaching ME. They thought of some pretty clever stuff. It was a very cool thing to watch. This eventually evolved into larger things where they were able to make changes in how they were handling the work and they saved the company money, to the point that the boss noticed.

      It does not work with everyone. it did work most of the time. Some people do not care. And you can’t make people care if they have already decided not to.

      1. Editor*

        Your comments about plans reminds me of Atul Gawande’s book “The Checklist Manifesto.” Basically, he found that one way to reduce medical errors is to insist that medical professionals — even very experienced professionals — use checklists every single time without exception. There are plenty of jobs where a checklist is a practical tool.

        To the recruiter who’s making errors: Take the advice above to have a plan, or review your tasks to see if you could develop one or more checklists to prevent errors or omissions. Find a way to track things so there aren’t mistakes, either by using spreadsheets, calendars, Outlook, checklists or some other method, even if it’s just a looseleaf notebook with manual lists. Maybe when the job was simpler you could carry all that information in your head, but that’s changed — if so, is your manager is saying you need a better system?

        It seems to me that the recruiter’s supervisor can’t articulate what the recruiter is doing wrong, but the recruiter is aware that there are constant mistakes. Find a way to track things so there aren’t mistakes, either by using spreadsheets, calendars, Outlook, or checklists or some other method, even if it’s just a looseleaf notebook with manual lists. Frankly, if the recruiter can’t figure out a solution, why not write again to Alison with a candid description of the kinds of mistakes that are being made, the software he or she has access to, and the information to be tracked, because she could put up the post for readers to answer and there might be some tips that would really improve performance. I kind of got the impression that the recruiter hadn’t tried problem-solving because the workload increase had been the change that introduced errors, but wherever the problem came from, it’s now time to do some intense problem-solving rather than focusing on blame, since it could cost the recruiter his or her job. (Meanwhile, recruiter — do apply for other jobs. Sorry, but that’s just essential for protecting yourself.)

        Also, recruiter, if there is a professional organization of people who handle recruiting, can you join a chapter and talk to other people who do what you do? Maybe you can learn some coping tips that way, too, plus add to your job-search network. Good luck.

        1. ReanaZ*

          YES. I was going to mention checklists and The Checklist Manifesto. If there’s a routine set of tasks that require a high level of compliance, a checklist is your best bet. (For everyone, not just low-performers–make the double-check against the checklist part of your culture.)

      2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        This is so great, thank you. My front line mangers/trainers are terrific, but I don’t think we’ve mined the “okay, what’s *your* plan?” territory fully. It fits our culture to a t. We’re big on process but not for the sake of process and are happy when people come up with their own way to get things done. I don’t think that we’ve challenged newer people to come up with their own plan when they can’t follow ours enough to work correctly.

        May or may not change outcomes, but I very much like that approach and think my people will too.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          It took a bit before it kicked in. I never would let them screw up- so if their plan had a glitch I would try to think along the same plan and solve the glitch with them. I wouldn’t let them sink. And it took time for trust to build and they could see that I wasn’t going to let them sink. “Right, I am asking you to build a plan and I am not going to sabotage your effort here.”

          After a while, they started looking around. They mentioned to me how to change work flows and task orders to save MASSIVE amounts of time and energy. In one instance they took an eight person project and knocked it down to needing just two people. Did I mention I was incredibly impressed with my crew? It was a privilege to work with them and what I learned there I will carry for the rest of my life.

          Oh BTW. Heads up. Their productivity went way up- easily 2- 2.5 times what they were doing before. I had to have a plan for higher levels of completed work and a plan for quicker turn over in supplies/materials/etc. that they used up at a quicker pace. It took about a year for this story to unfold. Funny thing, initially, they said being yelled at was easier than figuring out a plan. Am shaking my head.

    2. fposte*

      That’s a really interesting question, and I don’t think there’s an easy answer–I’d love to hear more thoughts!

      I’m with Editor on the checklist thing–our version of that is the manual, which evolves and updates with every occupant. Tending the manual is an unspoken portion of most of my staff jobs.

      But for me, the challenge is people who can’t see the errors even when they check for them. It’s not because they’re bad employees–one of them with that frailty was one of my best, otherwise, and I had a lot of otherwise in that job–it’s that they just their brain doesn’t ping on the mismatch between what’s there and what’s supposed to be there. I don’t think it’s an actual learning disability, because it’s pretty common and these people are effectively expressive in writing otherwise. I’m never sure what to do–make them read letter by letter, which will take forever? Add in somebody else to check, which will also add labor hours? (We don’t have the kind of workflow model where people could just swap and check each other’s.)

      It’s actually kind of interesting to me, because it would never have occurred to me that capable writers and spellers could be, if not mistake-blind, genuinely mistake-nearsighted.

      1. C Average*

        I think a person almost needs to spend time in a position that gets impacted by the mismatch or the error–to actually FEEL the consequences–for it to become real. If the address is wrong, are you getting the call from the angry customer who didn’t receive his order? If the line of code doesn’t include a closing tag, are you the one who experiences the visceral embarrassment of seeing a public-facing html fail on the company website? These consequences, at least to me, feel so different than a scolding or a writeup.

        I guess my bottom line is that some people don’t really internalize the consequences of an error because the fallout is never really theirs to deal with. To them, errors result in a reprimand or a bad grade, and that’s why errors are bad. They’re like a dog who concludes that pooping in the house is bad because getting hit with a newspaper hurts. The dog will never get that pooping in the house is bad because it smells bad and looks ugly and destroys the carpet, which was expensive.

        If there’s a way to give them responsibility for FIXING the errors and dealing with the fallout, I’ll bet they’ll develop a better eye for catching them.

        1. fposte*

          In my case, they absolutely feel the errors; they’re mortified by the errors. They just can’t reliably see them.

          1. fposte*

            To clarify, I know you mean “feel the impact” and not “feel the emotion,” but both are true here. This seems to be a cognitive thing that it’s tough to find a practice to circumvent, not a behavioral issue about investment in outcome.

        2. Lulubell*

          Exactly. Want to know how I learned not to make errors in PR? Having clients scream at me over the phone. I became the most conscious PR person ever after that, and ever since.

        3. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

          That’s very well put. I had a manager (who I supervise) who really hated for people to feel the impact of their errors – she focused on helping them feel better, and would sometimes hide the full impact from them. The result of this is that while she saved some uncomfortable feelings, she ended up having to let two people go, because they internalized that “don’t let this worry you” mentality when they should have been very worried.

      2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        This! This exactly.

        There are so many details, whether it is a customers order or putting products up on our websites, so many details that a human being is going to make mistakes. We have double check points built into everything and no quotas or pressures for fast production. When you work with someone and ask them, did you double check this thing with obvious error and they say, sorry I missed it – did the really not see Obvious Error or did they blow by the double check out of lazy?

        We have a surprisingly high attrition rate on people who put the products up on our website. (They aren’t necessarily fired, they are usually re-purposed at least once into something with less detail or impact.)

        Step 1 is to fill out all of the information on and write the copy for the product in our admin. Push product live.

        Step 2 is to bring up the copy on the live website and check your work. Fix any mistakes in admin.

        We *swear* that half the people who do this job laze by doing Step 2 after they are a few products in for the day. I had someone who did an entire day’s worth of work with 18 pt font for the copy. (Because there is a copy feature from one product to the next, if you make a mistake like that in product 1 for the day you can repeat it over again over again but point being, you can’t possibly miss that mistake if you’d ever checked one of the items you did.)

        Okay, she can’t be an example of what you are talking about but I do think that there are other situations that might be that.

        1. Mike C.*

          If your processes are so varied and complicated that these issues keep coming up, I have two general suggestions for you:

          Short term: have a second person complete the same checklist for each item – that is, not do the work, but ensure it was done. Have both people sign off at the end. Say you have ten people doing these orders. Make 2 of them “inspectors” who double check the work before it goes out. The amount of time and money you’ll save making sure everything is done correctly before it goes out will more than pay for the fact you only have 8 people directly working instead of 10. First pass quality is a big deal.

          Long term: Standardize and simplify your processes. Are there common places there mistakes happen? Could there be more computer automation? What are your difficult edge cases, and why don’t they fit within your standard processes? Are there any roadblocks to getting work done? Enough space, materials, resources, time, etc?

          The last thing you want to do is have everyone come up with “their own way of doing things” with respect to repeated tasks because it’s a great way to introduce errors of all sorts down the line.

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


            I love what you wrote and I wish I was in a world where that is possible. My world is one where you order 100 customized teapot from us, rush, that you need in California in 3 days. My rep (after going thru multi steps to ensure this is possible to start off) then has to:

            * quote you
            * get you to approve the quote
            * get your payment method or get credit approved for you
            * get your custom imprint and artwork from you and over to art
            * get your art rushed thru
            * email you a proof
            * track your proof approval/nag you for same to meet deadlines, which can be minutes or a couple hours for your rush order
            * get your proof approval to art and get final art back again (or changes, which cycles the process back to getting you a proof and a signoff)
            * check final art to make sure it’s the same thing you approved
            * generate an order to the factory, where the imprint instructions, ship to, *ship method* and everything else has to be right
            * hand the factory PO to the person who checks POs going to factory, and at that point, it’s a complete hand off for the rep

            The only place we can check the rep’s work is at factory order and we’re mostly checking against the rep’s own documentation at that point. While it is true that we have customer sign offs at two spots, customers are terrible at catching mistakes even when they sign off.

            There are so many details that could be wrong: product color, imprint color, ship address, ship method, actual imprint, date needed in hands….writing it out makes me wonder how anything is every right! :) And in the world today, all turned on a dime so it moves fast, fast, fast. (And of course they are handling way more than one customer at a time plus I left off the part that if you ordered four different teapots, they are likely produced at four different factories, which just complicated your order by a factor of four.)

            1. Hillary*

              It’s a big project, but what Mike C described is usually doable. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort. It always feels overwhelming.

              Mike C’s idea about inspectors is great. The reps do all those steps now, but do they have to? What happens if the proof is handled by a different group to get a second set of eyes on it?

              Initial quality and perfect order start with data and culture. Error tracking is key to Pareto and prioritize fixes, and culture is key to buy in. If people are scared they’ll be fired for mistakes, it’ll make the whole fix process harder. Applying lean methodology might help in addition to checklists.

      3. LattesAllDay*

        Another benefit of a checklist to OP#1 is uncovering the parts of the job that are taking up so much of your time and effort.

        In a job I had many years ago, I followed a set of procedures that had been given to me by my predecessor. Over time the job changed and the volume of work increased dramatically. But, I continued to follow the old process. The problem was that the process had been set up to address a particular quality issue that was no longer relevant. I was spending an incredible amount of time doing work that no one else valued AND I had my nose so close to that grindstone that I never realized I could change how I did that work.

        A checklist might have uncovered which tasks/outputs are important and which aren’t. What if you are producing reports that no one reads – eliminate them. Maybe you are tracking other peoples’ inputs and outputs – can you stop doing that. In other words, use the checklist to pare your work to the bare minimum and see if anyone complains.

      4. Editor*

        fposte — Are these errors coming up during working with documents and texts? Because one thing good readers do is to “fill in the blanks” when reading by processing some information as the brain expects it to come up rather than as it does appear. Being a really good reader is almost a handicap in that case, because a slower, less proficient reader “sees” the text as it really is.

        I’m a very fast reader and I tend to skim a lot when I’m not totally engaged in editing, so I miss errors in texts because I don’t “see” the error — it’s as though I read “teh” as “the.”

        There have been some documents I have proofread backwards, starting with the last sentence and working my way back. It’s slow, and I only do it for things like posters and advertisements or other things where there’s not a lot of copy but any error would be excruciatingly obvious to other people.

        Sometimes when I proof I’m also listening to the prose in my inner ear — I don’t know how else to describe it, but I’m trying to hear it as well as read it. I think that helps me focus and proof more accurately. That said, I’ve made more than my share of errors over the years. Sometimes when I’m not feeling sharp and I’m proofing on a screen rather than hard copy, I enlarge the type so I focus better on it. There are also proximity errors — spot an error, fix it, overlook the next error because it is so close to the one that was just spotted — when I fix something, I start re-editing above the fix and pay closer attention to make sure I haven’t skipped something. Sometimes I just need to look away, look out the window, or walk to the water fountain and take a swallow or two not because I was thirsty but just for a break so I could concentrate again. I did find that most of my worst editing errors were made when I had not gotten enough sleep.

        1. Francie*

          In college, I always proofed my essays using the text to speech functionality, with a hard copy in my hand to highlight anything that came up. It’s less embarrassing than actually reading it out loud to yourself, but it slows you down enough that you actually read each word.

      5. Not So NewReader*

        Can you have them check each other’s work instead of checking their own?

        Do they have enough time to read the updates? I say that because one of my part time jobs is 17 hours per week. Each week I receive hundreds of pages of material that I will NEVER read. (You should see my inbox. ha! That is if I can open email today. If I spend two hours on the phone with tech getting my email fixed that is two hours less I have today.) I can barely complete my work in the allotted hours. I only have time for five alarm fires. My boss knows this, works under the same conditions and totally supports me. That is the reason I stay- because we are a team.

        In a past life, I have done a group talk with my crew- telling them that being sharp and being on top of things was part of the job. I talked about the importance of rest/hydration/real meals- if the body is supported it is easier for the mind to work sharper. I have also chatted about redo’s. Not only are redo’s discouraging, they chew up time that could be used for doing something else. “Anything we can do to avoid redo’s is super-important.” I would talk to them as a group and not single out anyone. I think the use of the word “we” helped in odd ways, also.

        I do feel your pain. The job I am at now, I will never thoroughly learn. If I read 50 hours a week for the rest of my life I still would be way behind. Is there a way you can sort it for them so that they are catching on to some things? It could be that they feel it is a huge whirlwind of information and they have no clue where to break into the whirlwind to begin to tame it.

    3. C Average*

      I can’t speak to the management piece of this, but I can speak to the process documentation piece of this, which is related in a sideways kind of way to the management piece. I’m part of a team of copywriters who create, among other things, internal process guidelines for the outsourced call center agents who support my company’s consumers. So when we see people making mistakes in any given process, my department’s leadership typically comes to my team and asks, “How can we improve our documentation so that the agents can follow it and not make mistakes?” And then we get to work figuring that out.

      I’d say the first thing is to write out the process in a linear fashion, addressing any edge cases at the bottom of the page. (This is really key. A lot of process docs suck because they sprout edge cases at every step. The main doc should describe expected, normal behavior. Our agents are trained to notice if a process they’re completing stops looking like the steps and screenshots we’ve provided and, if that happens, to jump to the edge case section.)

      Sometimes, just by getting the process in writing, you realize that the process is, objectively, insanely difficult. (A couple years ago I created a flow chart of my company’s return policy that has since become a bit of a folk legend. It has been part of a good dozen presentations and has actually led to meaningful revisions of the policy, in part because it made visually clear that no one, no matter how intelligent, could make sense of the guidelines we were asking our poor agents to decipher WHILE THEY WERE ON THE PHONE WITH CONSUMERS!) If good documentation leads you to that realization, you’re then faced with the question: Can the process change, or do the people following it need to change? If the process can be streamlined, fantastic. If not, here are some things to consider:

      –Re-examine handle time expectations. Can these be relaxed at least temporarily to see if that reduces errors? We’ve found that for certain call types, we cannot hold our agents to normal AHT expectations. It just wouldn’t be fair or reasonable. We need to give them enough time to complete complex processes without feeling rushed or pressured, and we need to build in after-call time for them to review their work before closing the incident.

      –Make sure there’s a forgiving attitude toward asking questions and getting help, especially for new people. Too often, I see tenured employees give newbies the side-eye for taking too long or asking too many questions. The attitude seems to be, “I’ve been here for twenty years and can complete this process, which I invented myself, in my sleep. What’s wrong with YOU?” That kind of attitude helps no one improve and stop making mistakes.

      –If there’s a part of the process that’s particularly critical to the outcome or particularly vulnerable to error, task someone with QA for that specific part. If experience has shown that a certain number of mistakes will get made, the important thing becomes to make sure they don’t make it into production, not simply to figure out who to blame.

      I firmly believe that if you have a lot of different people making the same type of mistake, it’s not a people problem; it’s a process problem.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        Lord god I love process. I agree with you completely.

        We are pretty good at this. My love for good, streamlined-as-much-as-possible process is shared by all of management. One challenge is that our licensed software can’t be 100% configured to our specs. (We’ve done customizations and they are exhausting, expensive and come with turnaround time measured in years.) A process thing that makes me batty is that the system defaults to the first address entered for a customer and, if you consider that there may be 25 or 30 different addresses for a university as an example, that’s not good process. What I want is blank, forcing the user to have to choose from all of the addresses or enter a new one.

        I need to sell a whole lot more teapots to get things exactly the way I want them. (Plus, find fresh, naive managers who haven’t been through the customization process before and think how hard can it be to get this done.)

        1. ReanaZ*

          You’ve probably thought of this, but one work around I’ve used in the past for something like your address issue is to add a new, blank field that the address should be typed into when told by the customer–before the address selector/default. (Most crappy legacy systems will at least let you add custom string fields.) Then, select an address against what’s in that text field. At the end of the process, run an automatic rule (if possible) or a manual double-check (second person if possible) to make sure the selected address matches the initial textbox.

          Stupid workarounds for stupid systems.

        2. Beezus*

          Can you replace the “first address for each customer” with a blank result (all spaces), or a text result indicating that an address needs to be selected? Then, if an address is not selected, add a double-check at shipping so that if the blank result is displayed, or the “please select an address”, then they need to go back and get the correct address for the customer? If you can’t always make it right, find a way to make it absolutely apparent that it is wrong.

        3. voluptuousfire*

          Wakeen, can I come work for you? Please? Inefficiency bugs the hell out of me and streamlining things as much as possible is my mantra. LOL. Why work hard when you can work smart?

    4. Hillary*

      For me, the question is how do you set the users up for success. We use our systems as much as possible (alerts built into reports, special reports for challenging customers and geographies) so we’re not relying on individuals to make the right choice. We’d probably start with five whys and they maybe do a kaizen to root cause the issue.

      If the shipping guy is regularly shipping to the billing address, can you build an integration between world ship (I work with ups, but this also works for fedex and Pitney Bowes software) to systematically enter the address. Or can you take the billing address off the ship ticket?

      If the POs are being entered incorrectly, should someone else check the work? I worked at one company where sales entered all their own orders and the CSRs periodically asked if that was really what they meant. It worked because both groups knew the customers.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The things that I’ve had success with are:
      – insisting on checklists, as others mention above (I was going to mention the Checklist Manifesto too! For people who feel like checklists are too rudimentary, it’s helpful to tell that story about the surgeons using checklists.)
      – having a very serious, direct “this is a really serious problem and it could result in us needing to let you go, but I think you have the ability to excel if you figure out how to address this one area” conversation — because sometimes people just aren’t taking it seriously enough and don’t believe it’s that big of a deal, and you have to help them understand that it is
      – investing some coaching time being really hands-on with them, really delving into how they’re operating, what systems they’re using, how they’re staying organized, etc. — the kind of intensive, remedial help they shouldn’t need, but being very hands-on in that regard for a week or two to see if it gets them back on track. (Sometimes it does! And then you can back off and return to normal and see what happens. It’s not sustainable for you to continue being that hands-on, so the key is seeing what happens when you stop … but for some people, that will be what they needed.)

      If the above doesn’t work and being detail-oriented is required for success in the job, then it’s time to conclude they’re not right for the job.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        Okay so here is what I’m going to do:

        * Checklists. I know that we have them written in all of our training programs, but I don’t know how actively they are used past initial training. I have seen some of our good reps use their own checklists the first couple of years. I don’t know how checklists are used in remediation and I’m going to ask.

        *Direct conversations. We are better about this than we used to be. I love Not So New Reader’s “what’s your plan” suggestion in her post above and think my managers will like it too. I think that might help my managers be more direct more quickly, putting both together.

        * Intensive remediation. We’re not good at this. I’ve been thinking on this lately (see: New Year’s Resolutions), and I think we need to try harder. After meeting with my managers on sort-of-this-subject, we decided to switch trainers completely in one of the areas. We all agree that the woman who wrote the very good training program wasn’t the right person to implement the training program and the part where she was thrilled to get out of training tells you that point was right.

        Generally, I don’t know how willing my people are to do that kind of hands on intensive remediation after initial training and I’m going to ask. I might need back up trainers for remediation since a human being only has so much patience. After you have spent a lot of time training someone, handing off to someone else might be best. I think we could jiggle some resources around to make that happen.


        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          This is inspiring me to do a post on what to do when you have an employee who’s making a lot of mistakes. I may even do it as a round-up of advice from commenters in this post, if no one objects to that!

          1. Editor*

            I think a dedicated post would be a good idea — feel free to use my stuff. And — there might be even more useful comments as a result.

        2. Mike C.*

          Make sure you’re regularly following up – it’s easy to have an intensive one-time event that blows by and then people go back to their bad, old habits.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Back up trainers. Can you assign them to mentors within their peer group? Can you create a culture where people are available and people feel free to ask each other random questions during the day? I was big on telling them to ask each other, especially when it appeared that some one had a good handle on the area in question.

          Fish vs fishing poles. You can hand them the answers on a platter. Or you can teach them how to find answers. It takes longer to teach them how to find answers. Once they get in the swing, you will never have to go back to hand-holding. [There were times where I would just give them the answer because I could see the exhaustion from brain drain on their faces. But most of the time, I worked on showing them how to find answers.]

      2. the gold digger*

        For people who feel like checklists are too rudimentary, it’s helpful to tell that story about the surgeons using checklists.

        And pilots.

        Neither group is known for being undereducated or stupid.

      3. voluptuousfire*

        – having a very serious, direct “this is a really serious problem and it could result in us needing to let you go, but I think you have the ability to excel if you figure out how to address this one area” conversation — because sometimes people just aren’t taking it seriously enough and don’t believe it’s that big of a deal, and you have to help them understand that it is

        Alison, agreed +1 x a zillion. If a person’s job is in jeopardy, it should be made abundantly clear. Do not hint or insinuate. This way no one can be blindsided if they’re let go. Not everyone is going to realize their job is in jeopardy just because performance issues are presented to them. Some managers may be more proactive about handling performance issues than others.

    6. Biff*

      This isn’t a success story, but it might be valuable.

      One of my friends was recently fired from their job for performance issues. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do the job well — they could. The problem was that the department that fed into my friend’s department was disorganized, poorly managed, and probably had the lion’s share of low-performance employees. My friend was constantly receiving bad input. There was no way for them to fix their performance, because their performance metric was completely dependent on someone else doing their job right, but that job was being done properly less than half the time. When my friend pointed this out, nothing was done.

      Sometimes performance issues don’t actually come from the place we think they do.

  9. Maude*

    #2 I have worked in HR in a factory and corporate setting for many years. When I interview someone from the plant floor in the middle of the day I understand that they do not have time to change clothes and it is not reasonable for them to wear nicer clothes that may get ruined. I like Alison’s advice to mention that this is not ideally how you would want to present yourself, but I’m sure the interviewer is not expecting you to be dressed formally. Good luck on your interview.

    1. HR Recruiter*

      I agree. I have never expected factory employees to dress up for an internal interview unless the interview was held on their day off.

      #3 in my experience it means one of two things 1. they have received a ton of applications and as Allison said they have some good candidates so they are no longer accepting more or 2. their policy is to post jobs for x days and then start interviews, so when x days is up the posting comes down even though the position is not filled yet.

  10. Anonymous Analyst*

    #2 – I wouldn’t even worry about it. If I was the interviewer and knew you normally worked in casual clothes, I would think it was weird if you went and changed during the middle of your shift.

    1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

      I would also find this strange…maybe trying too hard? They know when they scheduled the interview and what you’ll be wearing. Just pick some of your nicer/newer work clothes (like kahkis and a buttondown…assuming you are a man) and go with the flow.

      1. SystemsLady*

        Just adding that a getup like that is common for women in this type of job as well. Most gender-specific clothing (ties, nice blouses, skirts, etc.) is automatically out, really.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I can’t quite decide on this one. I agree with your point, but I can see the value of dressing up a little to show that you fit in to the corporate environment, too, mainly for the subconscious impression it makes on the interviewers.

  11. Not So NewReader*

    OP #1. My heart goes out to you. It could be that you have a boss that has no faith in you, and you just need to leave. I had that happen a while ago. The crew I supervised saw no problem, but my boss had a list of a hundred things. The situation was so bad, at one point I told her I did X, she said “no, you didn’t”. I said “Look in the computer and you will see that X is done.” She said she was not going to look in the computer because she knew for a fact I did not do X.

    This is a weak spot for me. I don’t know how to handle this type of remark.

    Then I realized, that I did not have to handle it. It was a symptom of a bigger problem and I needed to leave. This woman was determined to unravel me and I decided I had enough. (She point blank said she hated female employees. Yeah, the situation was pretty twisted.)

    You maybe correct that it is too much for one person to handle all this work, what is disturbing here is that your boss is not helping you over come these problems. Compounding this, you are pretty rattled, as evidenced by your statement about the mistakes you are making. Some people are just fire and water to each other- you maybe in a situation where your boss and you cannot and never will bring out the best in each other. My saying is that if my boss is doing a happy dance because I “failed”, it’s time for me to move on. This sounds like what you have on your hands. Move on before you need years of counseling for PTSD.

    Please don’t get caught up in the debate about the workload- the bigger issue is that the boss is not supportive and has no intention of ever being supportive.

    Let us know how it goes for you.

    1. Whippers*

      I really like this comment because I think it’s more sympathetic and supportive to the OP than Alison’s advice or the previous comments.
      I know that Alison and the other commenters are just being practical and realistic about the OP’s situation, but I think the OP also deserves a bit of compassion as it’s obviously a very difficult situation for her.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Alison’s mission is to keep us employed, keep us going, first and foremost. Because of her practical and consistently on target advice, we have the luxury of offering a sympathetic point of view. Sympathy does not put food on the table, and Alison is keenly aware of that.

        Alison has pretty much said what needs to be said. Hopefully, OP will see that other people have had a boss rain down on them and we have survived. OP’s problem has progressed to a point where we may not be able to help solve it. BUT. Important part- OP wrote to Alison. This is called “hope” in this story line. Because OP is willing to ask for help, OP will eventually land in a better spot. Now is rough, but it will get better.

    2. matcha123*

      I think this is a great comment.

      I really feel for the OP. I know people who have had bosses dump ever growing piles of work on them and then complain it wasn’t done quickly enough, while giving other co-workers less things to work on so they could meet their goals.

      If someone has a target on your back, there’s almost no way to please them, no matter how well of a job you do. If I were the OP, I’d try to work as diligently as I could while also looking for other jobs. Maybe try to set up a time to talk to your supervisor, but, try not to let it get to you too much.

    3. Me too!*

      I’ve been in this position too, at the time I just thought my manager was a ruthless psycho (and she was an ass) but with a bit of perspective I can see that there were two factors that really brought me unstuck:

      1. Fit – on so many levels.
      a) I secured the role on the back of Maternity leave and I underestimated the demands of working and parenting at the same time, sleep deprivation and strict daycare pick up times really challenged me.
      b) I lacked technical expertise in a critical and highly visible area with a very large and vocal user base.
      c) The master plan was to eliminate an entire team over “fit” issues – you can go ahead and replace “fit” with “Asian” – a racist Exec just hated that team and was hell bent on removing them, I became an obstacle.

      2. My crazy and my managers crazy were a really bad match, her hypercritical micromanaging met my perfectionist lack of confidence and it was just the perfect storm.

      The short story is that there was nothing I could have done to change the situation, it was completely unsalvagable. I’m in a much better place now, but I wish I had left sooner as I’m still traumatised from the experience.

      I guess I just wanted to say – you’re not alone OP and get out as soon as you can. I was interviewing for other roles but was not presenting well because of my crisis state, a career coach really helped me to feel like I was valuable and had something to contribute so I’d absolutely recommend one at this point in your career.

      Sorry you’re having such a tough time OP – my heart goes out to you!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I like how you laid this out so clearly. Gets me to thinking about my own ex-manager. Yeah, the perfect storm is right. OP, come back to this post in a while and reflect on your experiences with your current boss.

      2. voluptuousfire*

        I had the same issue as well: not presenting well in interviews due to low self-confidence. My being let go was the third job I lost within 3 years (two laysoffs and then being let go with several months between jobs) and having to explain yet again why I’m out of work, that takes it’s toll on you.

    4. Today*

      Agree with this comment, the underlying issue is that the manager does not want this employee there and is creating a situation for them to fail so that that she can say she has done her legal duty. It is no fun to be sucked into a vortex like this, but it happens and you cannot fight that.

      I was once in a similar, but way more awful situation and I kept trying to fulfill their vague and undefined requests for “improvement.” I really am an excellent worker, in the right situation, and I am not a quitter. Anyway – when I wouldn’t give up and quit they finally said to me: “we just don’t like your personality and we don’t want you here.” And – that was it. To be honest, I would rather just hear that than go through the false behavior of a ‘remedial’ plan.

  12. JB*

    #3, I’m sure Alison is right, so don’t worry. But I will say that in the city I live in at least, it’s not uncommon for law firms to give courtesy interviews to people who are connected to someone they want to keep a good relationship with. I had a friend who asked a local judge who she had been an intern for to stop setting her up for interviews with friends because nobody would say no to him, but none of those firms were actually hiring. So she kept going on interviews that had no chance of landing her a job at that time.

    But that doesn’t mean the interviews were a total waste of time, and even if that’s what you’re getting, it’s still worth going and doing well. But if they like you, they will want to hire you, either now or later when they have an opening. I know whenever we have an opening, the first thing we do is think of people we already know who seem like a good fit.

    TL;DR: this is probably not just a courtesy interview, but even if it is, it could still lead to a job.

    1. Green*

      It is really common for law firms in particular to do courtesy interviews when either no position is available or the person does not meet the standards for hiring at that particular firm. However, you should know if you meet the standards for the firm (GPA requirement, class rank, journal/moot court, prestige of law school), and that’s the better indicator of whether or not it’s a courtesy interview than whether the posting on the website is down.

      But agree with the above advice that you should go, prepare for the interview and treat it as though it may lead to a position.

  13. nicolefromqueens*


    I’m inclined to think that since the manager is not being helpful at all at this point, he’s not a good manager and is probably underestimating the workload as well.

    Also, what is the point of putting OP on a recovery plan if he’s going to be of absolutely no help? If he doesn’t know the position well enough to help her, how would he know it’s not too much for one person?

    I’m thinking OP may be correct in that she is actually overworked rather than mismatched, but either way, you’ll be better off finding another job.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Well, the point of a PIP isn’t always for the manager to provide extra help — it’s to lay out a clear bar that the person needs to meet so that everyone is clear on how performance is being assessed and whether or not it’s being met. I wouldn’t conclude he’s a bad manager; we don’t really have enough context to know. (And I point that out only because I think it’s most helpful to the OP to keep the full range of options in mind.)

      1. Green*

        It can also be to cover the company’s behind and document a performance-based firing, so there may also be no real way to “recover” from a PIP in some circumstances. The only “help” I would expect from my manager if I was placed on a PIP would be to lay out what objectives I need to accomplish. And if placed on a PIP, I’d take that as a hint that I need to be job hunting fr0m day 1 of the PIP.

    2. MK*

      I think the real problem is that this manager seems to feel that the OP should be able to do the job without help.

  14. voluptuousfire*

    OP #1, I can relate. I was in a similar situation in my last job. I was the first person hired for the team and was handling the workload of 2 or 3 people. Unless you worked 12 hour days plus answered emails at home, you would never fully catch up. (I usually worked 10 hour days and my head was done in by EOD. Answering emails at home was out of the question.) The management team wasn’t great with communication and feedback was rather spotty, so I essentially figured out how to handle things myself and set up some of my own organizational tricks to prioritize. Also it being a start up, they were in hypergrowth mode and no processes were set up to handle things. We didn’t even have metrics for our team set up. I figured out what worked for me and I probably made my fair share of avoidable mistakes, but ultimately it didn’t work out. I had an informal performance review with my supervisor and I was presented with an outside report detailing some performance issues and we never had the opportunity to discuss it, since she had to go to another meeting. Two weeks later I was let go. In hindsight, I can see why I was let go (overall bad fit) but I was very surprised to be let go and was upset at not having the opportunity to discuss the issues with my supervisor. Maybe if we had, we could have salvaged our relationship or we could have established an exit plan so I could resign gracefully.

    OP #1, be glad that you have this opportunity with the writing being on the wall. Take a good look at what you’ve done well in this role and start thinking of a way to present your leaving in a positive light, without lying. Also discuss with your manager the way they want to handle references. If possible, have a backup reference in case they’re not willing to give you one. Hopefully they’ll give you the opportunity to find another job and resign instead of letting you go.

    1. voluptuousfire*

      The only difference between the OP and I was that both my director and supervisor had handled the same workload in addition to their other duties before I was hired and were well aware of how all consuming it was. They empathized but once we hired two other team members, it really helped a lot. Productivity went way up and the workload became manageable. By mid March of last year we had all of the backlog handled. (I started the last week of December, just before Christmas.)

  15. Ruffingit*

    #1 says :How can I try and make them understand that there is physically a lot of work for one person to handle without sounding like I’m not fit for the role?

    It’s interesting to me how many of us fight against the basic truth that you generally cannot convince someone of something when they’ve already made up your mind and been quite vocal about their opinion. In this case, the boss thinks you aren’t a fit for the role. Rather than try to convince him otherwise, do the best you can at work while vigorously searching for another role. That is the better way to go over trying to convince him he’s wrong and the real problem is the work load, not the worker.

    1. MK*

      I agree. Even if you could back up your point with math (project type X cannot objectively take less that 1 hour to accomplish, because that how long the computer program for it runs, so it’s not possible to complete 20 type X projects every day), if the boss has made up their mind, it’s a lost battle.

      1. Me too!*

        MK – you have nailed this! My manager asked me to compile a list of all of the tasks I had on my plate and how much active effort each would require from me, so she could question and dispute every single item.

        Who was right? At the end of the day it just didn’t matter, she was NEVER going to listen to me – it was such a waste of time.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This is such a valuable point. Pick your battles.

      The only time I have ever gained ground in saying something is too much work is if I was already working like I am three people.

      Much of life goes this way, too. When I was in college, I had a prof that was very strange. Long story short, I went to the dean after a number of things happened. The dean listened to me. I was surprised and I asked him why. He said that he was more inclined to listen to students who had a high grade point average. In his mind, their words had more credibility.

      I walked away from that conversation wishing I had not asked that question. But this is how it goes out there. All I can do is try not to be that person who uses superficial ways of assessing situations. I can try to delve a bit deeper and use a more informed approach than OP’s boss or the dean in my story.

      1. MK*

        I am not sure the dean was completely wrong about his approach; it depends on what the complaint was about and how much it affected his actions. If you were complaining about the workload the professor was giving you, it was reasonable to take your grade point average into consideration; after all, if a high-achiever is struggling, there is probably an issue there. If it was about, say, sexual harassment, it would be totally irrelevant and stupid of the dean to allow it to influence him. Also, it’s one thing to consider a star student generally more reliable and another to automatically believe them over someone who is not.

        As for the OP’s boss, I don’t think it’s an issue of them assessing the situation superficially. It could be anything from them being right that the OP is a bad fit to them being completely unreasonable about the workload to them pretending to think so because they want to get rid of the OP.

        1. Wheezy Weasel*

          Sadly, there are many poor performing students who will escalate matters to the Dean that are not the fault of the instructor…some on the bad advice of their parents or peers, or because they have a poor internal locus of control and feel that blaming an external party for their failure will result in a higher grade. I agree with MK’s comments that the nature of the topic might bypass the need for credibility, and that grades may be a poor proxy for credibility overall.

          I’ve had the department head or dean change a grade in the class when I went through with specific situations that indicated “This is what the instructor’s expectations were for the class, this is what I produced, and this is the feedback/grade I received.’ without asking for further consideration, and letting them come to their own conclusion.

    3. Whippers*

      However, is it not possible that the employee could get HR or the manager’s manager involved, to assess if the OP’s workload is actually too much?
      I know in a lot of workplaces that a manager couldn’t just fire someone of their own accord; they would have to have back-up from HR and their own manager. It just seems ridiculous to me that just because your manager decides they don’t like you, or they don’t think you can do the job, they can just get rid of you. Surely there should be some recourse for the employee.

      1. MK*

        The idea that HR should assess the workload doesn’t make sense; it’s not their area of expertise at all. As for a higher-up, here the thing: either the manager cannot fire the OP without approval from higher up, in which case they are already involved, or the manager does have the authority, in which case this task has been delegated to the manager and the higher-ups shouldn’t be involved. It would actually be inappropriate for them to interfere, unless there is an indication that something is way off. Also, being fired because the boss doesn’t like you is ridiculous, but being fired because you can’t do the job is actually the best reason there is. And the person whose opinion counts more on whether that’s true is the manager.

        The manager isn’t someone who just happens to have authority over an employee by some quirk of fate. They were hired for a position that has this power, it should be understood the company has confidence in their ability to make the right calls.

        1. Whippers*

          “The manager isn’t someone who just happens to have authority over an employee by some quirk of fate”
          Well, I think that’s debatable in some instances…

          Anyway, what I’m really saying is that I don’t think that one person should have complete authority to fire another, without having any approval or involvement from a third party. There’s just too much possibility for unfairness and lack of perspective. I’m sure you can accept that no-one is going to get it right all the time so surely there should be a third, disinterested party who would double check that the correct decision is being made. This isn’t that unusual; people generally can’t just make important decisions autonomously in a lot of organisations.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s pretty common for a manager to have firing authority without needing approval. If you have good managers in place, this should work well (and if they’re good, they’re going to consult with someone to double-check their thinking of their own volition when the situation is iffy anyway — but much of the time it’s pretty straightforward).

            1. Whippers*

              Yeah, but I think the key phrase there is “if you have good managers in place”. A lot of the time, there aren’t good managers in place and they could therefore make decisions which don’t necessarily benefit the company.
              I know that you generally think there shouldn’t be barriers to firing someone if they aren’t doing their job properly, and I generally agree but I also think there should be barriers to firing someone if they are doing their job properly.

  16. Cafe Au Lait*

    LW #2, if you have a blazer, I would wear that! Blazers turn “ok” outfits into something that is a step above ordinary.


    OP # 1: Are you a member of a protected class such as : someone with a disability, for which you have received an accommodation? were you, when you were hired, not disabled, but then became disabled, and were accommodated for it? Are you a minority female? A more mature employee? How long have you been on the job, and doing this kind of work? How have previous evaluations been? I know, a LOT of questions! The reason I raise all of these questions, is that, yes sometimes the job just outgrows us and the requirements of the workplace change and WE as workers DO NOT CHANGE, and therefore if we cannot change to meet new demands, then perhaps it is time to move on. But on the other hand, with more diverse workplaces, and with some people still being resistant to such diversity (being bigotave assholes!) you should seriously consider your rights in this situation.

    You should certainly look for other work, but at the same time talk to Human Resources as well as other internal connections to see if you can just move to another department. And don’t forget to document document document every interaction that you have with your supervisor, find and make personal copies of ALL performance reports.

    If you are fired , or still leave the company on good terms, and then find other work then you still may consider going to EEOC.

  18. voyager1*

    On #3… sympathy interviews. The only sympathy interview to me is when the company has to interview X people/person just for appearances even though they have a person in mind for the job. They just have to go through the motions of not playing favorites or show the appearance of transparency, but in the end it just wastes time for everybody involved.

  19. KrabbyPatty*

    #1 – There is a lot that can go into the situation laying to this. Did the OP’s resume and interview give the impression she could do a better job than she really can? That makes managers slightly bitter when candidates oversell and under deliver. How many people have done this job before her? If several people before her have done the job successfully, then the OP has no ground. Is the OP perceived as defensive, blaming, or overly sensitive to feedback? That makes managers hesitant when the employee cannot handle feedback.

    This is not to say I don’t sympathize with the OP–I do. I’ve been in the situation where no matter what I did, it was wrong. However, I’m on the other side with an employee in the same situation, but she cannot accept the fact that she cannot do the job because she really WANTS to be able to do it. But after two months of intensive training that everyone else did in two weeks, it’s still taking her 10 hours to do a job that’s taken several people 4 hours, and not doing it well. I completely understand both sides, but either way, the OP needs to move on.

  20. little mermaid*

    Ha, #2 reminded me of an interview I had some years ago. The job I had required me to visit a customer at a cow farm just before the interview. So the first thing out of my mouth at the interview was to apologize for the smell (and the rubber boots I had in a plastic bag). It was all fine, they thought it was hilarious (and fortunately it was a 2nd interview, so they knew from the first time that I actually do know how to shower).

  21. HR Manager*

    #1 – Coming in late, so I hope the OP can still see this. I hope I didn’t miss that this was already recommended, but if you strongly feel you are correct and that your manager is not aware of all the things that go into your work, I would keep a log of how your time is spent for a week (or two — whatever will go through the cycle of duties 1-3 x so that you have a good basis for discussion, but minimum a week if you have similar daily routines). So a day’s log may look like this:
    9am – 11am – reviewing all resumes that have come in; print resumes for recruiter and make notes
    11am – 12pm – respond to inquiries that have come in via website
    1pm – 1:45pm – post new jobs in ATS system
    1:45 – 3pm – send no thx letters to candidates

    And so on…this is a technique I’ve often employed with managers when they are on 2 different pages with their employees regarding workload. This will allow the manager to review and really get a sense of how your time is spent. The manager may be surprised or not, but it might be a basis for where the manager thinks more time is spent than warranted. Be accurate and be honest, and also be open-minded that your manager may very well believe doing X, Y or Z shouldn’t take you that long.

  22. JR*

    #1: I’ve been in your shoes at a previous job. They just didn’t believe me. It was a tech job and they were non-technical people and they thought that designing, building and maintaining a web site should take no more than an hour a week and be a “sideline” to my main job. Unfortunately, my main job was also technical and also grossly underestimated in terms of time.

    I realized I couldn’t win so I got a new job elsewhere. I got some satisfaction in that a former co-worker told me they had to outsource the web site work and, ultimately, bring in two people to do the work I had been doing so I was right all along.

    If this job is truly beyond the capabilities of one person, I would look for something else and then they will realize it quickly when you’re gone.

  23. RP*

    I went back to the site to re-read the description, only to find that the ad had been taken down.

    So, I’m sure LW#3 doesn’t need to be told to save this information; they know to do so now. However, I wanted to recommend Microsoft OneNote for managing job search information. It has a feature that will let you save an entire web page in OneNote so you just have the text for later.

    What I did during my last job hunt was to create a section for job applications and each job posting I was interested in got it’s own page in that section. I created a template of information I wanted to save for each job (Company name, Job title, Close date, etc.) and used that for each page. I then updated each page when I did things/got more information (the date I applied, the date I got a response, date of the interview, who I spoke to, etc.)

    It was a good way of staying organized, particularly when applying for multiple jobs at the same company/institution.

    If you don’t have OneNote, a spreadsheet can be used for organizing your information and you can copy/paste the job information. A lot of people like EndNote and there’s a free version of that.

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