I promised to stay for a year but want to leave now, using my own personal computer at work, and more

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

1. I accepted a raise and promised to stay for a year, but now I want to leave

Back in January, my boss somehow found out I was looking for another job and sat me down. He wanted to know the salary they’d have to pay me so I would promise to stay for another year and stop looking. I gave them a number, which they countered with a lower number, but I still stayed and promised I would stay for another year. (I never signed anything; I just gave my word.)

It’s now June and I’ve got a potentially great opportunity, but I feel guilty leaving. The job is good, but I definitely don’t get paid enough for all the stress and the commute is hell. I feel stuck because if I leave I know they’ll have a really hard time replacing me.

Ugh. Did you continue to look after making that agreement, or did this fall in your lap? It’s going to be a tough conversation either way, but if you made that agreement in bad faith, it’s obviously worse.

I do think you should weigh heavily whether you want to break your word. But if it’s really right opportunity for you, it may be worth doing. You’d just want to be aware that you’re going to be doing some pretty serious damage to your relationship with your current employer. You made a deal with them that you’re now breaking; they paid you for something that you’re now not giving them (a year’s commitment). That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the right thing for yourself — but you’d want to really, really have your eyes open about how it’s likely to come across.

2. Would working at a for-profit university hurt my future job search?

I have a question about university jobs. I’m currently in the running for a position at a for-profit university, the kind you see in TV commercials. I wouldn’t be an admissions counselor – the position deals with the actual education side (but not teaching). I feel it would be a good foot in the door, as my eventual goal is to get a job doing something similar at a nonprofit school. Would having a for-profit on my resume hurt my chances, or does the experience matter more?

Depending on the type of work you do, there’s a good chance that it would hurt you if you want to move into similar work a nonprofit school. I urge you to read the comments on this post, which include a lot of people in academia talking about how they perceive applicants with for-profit-school experience on their resumes — but more importantly, to talk to others in your field and find out for sure how it would be perceived in your particular line of work, since ultimately it will at least partially depend on that.

3. I’m stuck using my own personal computer at my new job

I just started a job two months ago, and all’s well for the most part. It’s a lovely office and I like the people there and it also pays fairly well. The problem is that I’m W-2 and when I got to work the first day, there wasn’t a computer at my desk. I’m sure it was my first instinct to want to perform well and do a great job so I brought my laptop but a computer has still not been purchased for my workstation. A few weeks ago, my new boss asked how I thought things were working out and I said I thought things were going really well; I asked him the same question and he said he was very happy with my work. So I decided to send him an email two days ago and ask if at some point we could discuss getting a computer for my work station. No response yet.

He runs a small business and I’m only a part-time employee and I know his budget is tight, but I’ve never been in this situation before, nor have I heard of anything like this before. He’s also never had an assistant on the books. His last assistant was a real estate agent and contracted and worked for a percentage of sales. Of course I need the work, but I really need my personal computer to stay at home, for personal use only, plus it’s just inconvenient to be schlepping it to the office and back everyday.

What is the IRS rule/law? As a W-2, doesn’t my employer need to provide the tools for me to perform my work?

The IRS rule on contractors versus employees doesn’t require the employer to provide your work tools. Basically, that rule lets employers structure their relationships with employees however they want (more or less); it’s really about ensuring that they don’t treat people as contractors (by not paying payroll taxes) when they shouldn’t be.

No federal law requires employers to cover employees’ business expenses (although California does), and some employers really do have people use their own devices, weird as that is. But it’s entirely reasonable for you to say to your boss: “After Wednesday, I need to keep my computer at home, so I need to order a computer to use here. Is there a price range you’d like me to stay within, or is there another plan already in motion for handling this?” (If it makes you more comfortable, feel free to say that you can’t keep bringing your computer because another member of your household needs it, or that you’re giving it to someone else and not replacing it, or whatever will give you mental permission to refuse to continue doing this.)

4. Can my resume be a page and a third?

Would a resume be alright to have a page and a third of another page? My current job (and management) keeps expanding the roles given to my team mates and I, so there’s constantly shifting responsibilities and our roles seems to be above the titles we’re listed as. Should I still try to keep my job description with 3-4 lines even thought we’re assigned various responsibilities? Or is there someway to say those responsibilities in less that the 12 lines I typed it?

Well, there are two separate issues here: The one about resume length, and the one about how you’re describing your current job.

On resume length: Having only a small amount of text on the second page doesn’t look great; it usually looks like you should have done a better editing job. Go to a full half page on that second page, or keep it to one page.

On describing your current job: I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea of 3-4 lines. It’s fine to have bullet point describing your accomplishments that take up more room than that. 12 lines is a lot, but it’s not inconceivable if it’s truly a job where your accomplishments warrant using that much space. If you’re just doing to have a comprehensive listing of duties, then no. Your resume should focus on accomplishments over duties anyway, and it doesn’t need to be comprehensive. The litmus test is “is this line strengthening my candidacy?”

5. Where’s the paperwork a hiring manager was supposed to send me?

I interviewed for a job a couple days before I went out of town. As soon as I got into town, they asked for a drug test to be done. It took over a week for them to contact me after the drug test (which was all clear). Yesterday, the manager told me that she’d be emailing me the paperwork later that day so I can get started as soon as possible. Well, she never emailed me. How do ask about it without sounding desperate?

“Hi Jane, I just wanted to check in with you about the paperwork for the X role. I haven’t received it yet and wanted to make sure I haven’t missed an email from you. I’m excited to move forward!”

{ 193 comments… read them below }

  1. so many people in the same device*

    #1: speaking of bad faith, I’d like to know if there was any serious effort made back in January to match the salary figure you were asked to name? Or was it just a game they were playing to make it feel like they were negotiating with you?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t know that that’s really in bad faith on their part if so. She accepted; she could have held firm on her side / refused to commit for another year without it.

      1. so many people in the same device*

        *shrug* I don’t know. If her management found out she was going to leave, then had a pow-wow and told her boss “ask her what salary she needs – then offer her a 5% raise and sweet-talk her about how important she is and how if she left, it would be like losing a member of the family” – is that good faith? Granted, we don’t know the specifics of what happened. But they talked her into staying even after they didn’t match her salary figure – usually that’s due to some combo of guilt, flattery, and FUD.

        (I understand and agree that she would be breaking her promise to stay. And her current employer may decide to badmouth her for it. But if she promised, and unforeseeable events present her with an outrageous opportunity, I don’t see that she has any obligation to do herself damage for the sake of a promise (that she was probably pressured into making). If they’d payed her the salary she asked for, and she signed an agreement to stay – that would be different).

        1. jhhj*

          Why would you assume it’s bad faith? “We hear you want to leave, what can we give you to get you to stay for a year?” And then saying “Well, we can actually only give you this.” Doesn’t mean she shouldn’t leave, but it doesn’t sound like she was coerced, she just made a choice which she now regrets because something better has come up.

            1. MK*

              Really? Which part of “they countered with a lower number, but I still stayed” suggests that they didn’t try to find a middle ground? It’s possible that the lower sum was the best they could do, or, even more probably the most they were willing to do to retain the OP. Apparently the raise was enough to get the OP to stay and surely she would have mentioned it, if it was a token sum.

              1. so many people in the same device*

                Which part of “they countered with a lower number, but I still stayed” suggests that they didn’t try to find a middle ground?

                I guess it’s the part where the OP doesn’t mention anything about trying to find a middle ground?

                1. MK*

                  Why would the OP mention that? It’s pretty self-evident that they give her a raise and that it was enough to keep her there. It’s also a safe bet that it wasn’t a measly sum, because the OP would naturally mention that fact.

        2. MK*

          Also, I don’t think “badmouthing” is a particularly appropriate word to choose. It’s not badmouthing to say someone broke an agreement whan they did in fact break an agreement.

            1. Sunshine*

              But there’s a difference between “bad mouthing” and being honest when asked a question. They may not go out of their way to spread the word, but if someone down the line calls them for a reference, there’s no reason they shouldn’t mention it.

            2. MK*

              Exactly. Unless you think it’s disloyal to truthfully say that someone didn’t abide by an agreement you had.

                1. Book Person*

                  Wellllll there’s a distinction between the denotation and the connotation of any given word. “Badmouth” doesn’t suggest “speaking a negative truth,” more disparaging or belittling someone. Giving a factual reference isn’t badmouthing someone.

        3. Susan N*

          I agree… sounds like they low-balled her and she has found another opportunity where she can make what she’s worth. Also how can a company force someone to commit for a year? It’s ridiculous. Things change and you can’t tie someone down for that long with 100% certainty.

          1. Snowglobe*

            You don’t know that they were low-balling. If she asked for a 50% raise and they gave her 25%, that wouldn’t be low-balling. All we know is they gave her more than she was making previously, but less than she asked for.

          2. MK*

            The OP says that they don’t get paid enough for the stress and that the commute is hell. She doesn’t say that she is paid below market value or less than her coworkers or even that her salary is modest, just that the money is not enough to make the stress worth it for them. She also doesn’t say that she will be making more at the new job; maybe it’s just about a lower-stress position and/or a better commute.

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            They can’t force you to commit. But they can make agreements in good faith and plan to honor their side and expect you to honor yours, and it can certainly harm the relationship when you don’t.

            1. copperbird*

              I’m going to say this isn’t as rough a conversation as she thinks. The manager got her to stay for another 6 months, that’s not bad given she wasn’t given the figure she named and nothing was ever written down (if they were that keen, they’d have added a clause in the contract about paying the money back if she left before the year was out). If she was psychic and could see all the things that might happen in a year she’d be applying for the x-men, not this job.

              Just be straight up, explain this job opening has come up and you intend to go for it, talk about quality of life issues (like the commute), apologise that this doesn’t match the conversation you had in Jan and tell them you now know your assumptions then were wrong. And offer to assist with braindumps/ handover/ etc.

              1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                Oh, yeah, I mean, the conversation itself won’t be as rough as OP imagines. But the fallout certainly will be. OP specified that they “gave their word,” that’s a bit different than just taking a raise and leaving 6 months later. At the very least, if OP goes for it, they should not expect a good reference. And it’s totally true that it might still be the best move, but I think Alison’s right to note how important it is for OP to go in with eyes open.

            2. Robin*

              Ask a Manager… I hear you on not wanting to damage relationships, and honor agreements whenever possible. But what about when employers lay people off, terminate, demote, or otherwise sideline someone, for reasons unrelated to individual performance- profit margin, new leader, restructure, etc.? A year notice with transparent warning is rarely given. Employees must think about the bigger picture… long term earnings, market value, job security etc… while some employers may be trustworthy with these kind of 1-year commitment deals, do you think that is the norm today?

            3. Green*

              Would it make a difference for you if she had signed a contract? What if the consideration (in contract terms) had been reversed (i.e., OP would receive a bonus if she stayed for one year,, OP stays for one year but company wants to back out of the bonus)?

              A company can’t force you to work for them longer, but if the agreement was explicit the company could theoretically collect damages for breach depending on jurisdiction (here, probably the difference between what they were paying her before and what they’re paying her now). It doesn’t have to be in writing to be a contract, if the services can be performed in a year or less. They’re not likely to try to enforce it, but all a contract is is a promise in exchange for something.

              1. Nobody*

                Offering a pay raise is different from offering a lump-sum, one-time bonus, because the pay raise is inherently proportional to the time the OP stays. If they gave her a $10k lump sum bonus for staying a year and she leaves after 6 months, they didn’t get their money’s worth out of the bonus, but if they gave her a $10k/year raise for staying a year and she leaves after 6 months, they’ve only paid her $5k. On the flip side, if she stays longer than the agreed 1 year — say, 18 months — in the bonus situation, they only paid $10k, while in the raise situation, they paid $15k.

                The way I see it, a bonus would simply be a reward in exchange for doing something (in this case, staying until the one-year mark), while a raise is more like a change in working conditions designed to improve job satisfaction. If they had offed the OP a corner office, telecommuting privileges, a flexible schedule, taking her off a committee she hates, etc., to get her to stay a year, but she still left after 6 months, how would you assess those damages?

                1. Green*

                  The damages measure can be lots of different things; essentially any cost to them that they would not have incurred otherwise or to restore them to their original position. It could also be true that there are actual monetary damages, but that just means there are no damages, not that a breach of contract didn’t occur.

                  I agree that the pay raise is different than a lump sum, but the real question is whether she would have gotten the pay raise if she hadn’t agreed to stay for a period of one year. If the answer is no, and there’s a contract, then she’s breaching it. (The law doesn’t really take an ethical stance on breach of contract; the law doesn’t care if you fulfill the contract or do an efficient breach–breach and pay damages–and it would be on them to argue that there was indeed a contract and for any damages.)

                2. Nobody*

                  I was under the impression that the law is pretty clear that an employer can’t retroactively reduce an employee’s pay. Would it even be legal to make a contract that the penalty of breaching is a retroactive reduction in pay (or repayment of part of earned wages)?

      2. Chuchundra*

        Maybe not bad faith, but if coerce a promise from someone, you can’t be too shocked if they don’t keep it.

        This isn’t too dissimilar from the recent question about what to say of your boss asks you if you’re looking for a new job. There may not be any good way to refuse.

        1. Nobody*

          I thought this was similar to the question about the boss asking if you’re looking for a new job, too. I think maybe a corollary to the rule that if someone asks you an unreasonable question, he has no right to the truth, is that if someone asks you for/pressures you into making an unreasonable promise, he has no right to expect you to keep it.

          I do think this was an unreasonable promise to ask, because what was the OP supposed to say? If she refused to promise to stop looking and stay for a year, the company may have decided to hire a replacement and fire the OP as soon as they found someone else. The OP had no guarantee that she would find a new job by the end of the year, so of course she felt pressured into making the promise so she could keep her job. This whole deal is sort of like a preemptive counter-offer, and the bottom line is that the current employer didn’t make it worthwhile for the OP to stay.

          1. NJ anon*

            I agree. If the new job is fab, take it and don’t look back. You have to lookout for number 1 which is you.

          2. Tamzin*

            100% agree. This “promise” is rather one-sided, and it’s really only in the employer’s favor.

            Speaking of favors, it sounds like the OP is doing her employer a big one when she doesn’t need to. If it’s an at-will State (and I assume it is,) she should take care of herself and her needs. She signed nothing. Don’t worry too much. I’m sure her employer knows what they did is unenforceable and also manipulative.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              How is it manipulative? Good managers are perfectly capable of having above-board, honest conversations with employees about what would keep them around for another year; it’s actually not uncommon.

              1. Sunshine*

                Seriously. I don’t get where people are getting the idea that the OP was victimized by the company. They made a counter-offer, she made a decision based on their offer. Now she’s backing out. Perfectly within her rights to do, but there will be consequences. When did making a counter-offer become “coercion”? Isn’t that just a part of business?

                1. John B Public*

                  The problem is that there’s a power imbalance in the negotiation. The company can do without the worker with relatively little inconvenience, but the worker can’t do without the company without significant inconvenience. “Take what I offer you and agree” is often the subtext to what the employee/applicant perceives regardless of whether that is what the company representative intends.

                2. Anna*

                  There’s usually a power balance in a negotiation of this nature. We’ve seen letters on this site regarding negotiations that go awry because the person being hired didn’t have the power to be given what they requested. Weirdly, when a company tells a new hire take it or leave it, nobody has suggested that’s coercive.

        2. Snowglobe*

          Why is this coercion? They asked if she would stay for one year if they gave her a raise of X%. She could have said that wasn’t enough for her to make a commitment.

          1. Chuchundra*

            I think that extracting a promise in this way is inherently coercive.

            When your boss comes to you and says, “I know you’re looking for another job. How much would it take for you to commit to one more year here”, it’s pretty hard to turn around and tell them, “Sorry, no amount of money”. Assuming you don’t have another position lined up, that’s going to make the remaining time there pretty uncomfortable.

            1. Anna*

              How is this any different than “we’ll pay your college tuition but you must commit to five years with the company?” The OP didn’t even say that it was pretty clear they would have fired her if she had turned them down. Based on what she said, it even sounds like her departure was fairly imminent (“I still stayed.”) The thing is, when you’re job hunting especially in an area or field where everyone knows everyone there’s a chance your boss is going to find out. It’s probably wise to have an idea of how you’ll handle it if they do.

          2. jmkenrick*

            I don’t know if I’d call it coercion, per se, but they found out she was looking and sat her down to get a commitment that she’d stay a whole year. Without knowing the whole story, we can’t say for sure, but a maybe OP felt that if she didn’t commit, they would start to phase her out and she felt pressured to say yes.

            Depending on how it was asked and what was brought up, it’s not crazy to imagine that she felt she had to make that promise or risk being unemployed. (On the other hand, they may have been earnest and frank with their needs and abilities and approached her in the best faith – I think Chuchandra’s point is that there’s just really not enough info to tell.)

        3. fposte*

          How is this coercion any more than any other conditional promise is, though? If an employee says “I’ll do this task now on the condition that I get a raise come fall” and the company says yes, that’s also a conditional promise–would that be coercive too?

          And sure, companies bail on these things all the time–and people then feel those companies suck. Which doesn’t mean she shouldn’t go, but it does mean her company wouldn’t be unjustified in thinking poorly of her if she does.

            1. fposte*

              To me a power imbalance makes it a power imbalance, and coercion is a different thing that it’s worth keeping separate. If the power imbalance makes it inherently coercive, then all hiring is coercive, too.

              1. Green*

                And therefore all employment agreements. And therefore all agreements where one party needs the contract more than the other.

            2. MK*

              No, it doesn’t. By that logic, every time someone more powerful than you makes a request, they are coercing you. I agree that the OP was under pressure (and that the boss should have offered the deal without the “I know you are looking to leave” prologue), but they were not coerced.

            3. Another Job Seeker*

              Actually, I believe that the request was coercive because of both the power imbalance and the risk to the OP.

              If the OP had said, “no amount of money can make me stay”, the employer could have started a job search and let the OP go as soon as a new employee was found. When the OP agreed to stay for a year, stop looking for work, and accepted the raise, the manager was essentially buying at least a year to look for a new employee. It would probably be more than a year because the manager also asked the OP to stop looking for a job. Once that year was up and the restriction was lifted, it could conceivably take several more months for the OP to find another position. And the manager could lay her off at any time during that time period.

              The risks here are greater to the OP. What happens to her if the employer finds her replacement before she finds another job? Her worst case scenario would be that she has no current job, no new job, and a hole in her employment history. Worst case for the manager – some deadlines would be missed, co-workers would have to take on the OP’s responsibilities, the employer would need to hire a temporary employee and the employer would have to spend money searching for a replacement. (In this scenario, people remain employed and able to continue supporting themselves). I believe that the employer’s request was unfair and coercive. I also do not believe that all hiring is coercive. When a new person comes on board, she has no reason to believe that her manager is looking for her replacement and might dismiss her at any time. However, based on her supervisor’s reaction, it sounds like the OP has good reason to feel this way.

              However, none of this has anything to do with personal integrity. I do believe that the OP should keep her promise. The fact that her employer is not acting in her best interest should not impact her willingness to keep her word. OP, I do empathize with you, however. I’m not trying to be judgemental…just want to give you my take on it. Can you perhaps ask your current employer to work with you to revise the agreement? Best wishes to you – whatever you decide.

        4. AdAgencyChick*

          Completely agree. I have no sympathy for bosses who don’t understand that when you put someone on the spot and give her only one acceptable answer, that that answer may not be 100% truthful.

          Which is not to say that this boss will realize that and give a good reference if OP leaves sooner (or even if OP waits out the year and leaves then!), so that’s very much something to consider.

        5. RobM*

          It doesn’t sound like coercion to me, more like negotiation. Which is fine.

          My director knows I’m looking around at the moment. He can’t give me the payrise I’m hoping for because we’re educational sector and there just isn’t the money in the budget. But he is offering me a promotion and payrise that I’ve said will keep me there in the short to medium term (which is all he expects and needs).

          He gets the cover he needs in a tricky time (we have had management issues in the past with people being allowed to become ‘indispensable’ – I’m one of them despite arguing against how bad an idea it is to allow it to happen) and I get a payrise and a job title that will make it easier to secure a big leap in salary when I do finally jump off the boat.

          Nothing wrong with any of that. I’m not coerced into staying (nor did I coerce him into giving me a raise/promotion he doesn’t want to give me). Just straight negotiation based on an appreciation of what each of us wanted and needed.

    2. Lisa*

      I call this the ‘don’t leave’ raise. If they thought you were ok and not looking, you wouldn’t qualify. Suddenly you are because THEY are not prepared to lose you. By getting you to agree to stay for a year, they’ve bought time to replace you eventually. They can end up replacing you before the year so why is your commitment a year when there is no real commitment on their end.

  2. so many people in the same device*

    #3: it sure sounds like your employer is conveniently ignoring your request for a computer. As Alison said: you’re going to have to tell your boss you can’t bring your computer in anymore. And then stop bringing it in. If you find yourself sitting at a desk twiddling your thumbs for a day or two, you might want to be proactive and look at computer ads in the newspaper, and be ready to suggest a reasonably priced system when he finally faces reality and looks into getting you a computer.

    (Note that it is generally considered unwise to let employees do work on the employee’s own computer: sensitive company data could be lost or stolen. If an employee is let go, transferring data etc from home to work can be problematic, etc)

    1. sunny-dee*

      Actually, although I have a company computer, I routinely do work in my personal computer since I work from home. It’s common — in fact, I think almost all of my coworkers do, too — since people routinely work at home and the office. There are certain security requirements that we have to follow (password strength, screenlocking, etc) and we have contracts that prevent us from keeping company data after we leave.

      I don’t know about HR or accounting, which would be dealing with sensitive personal data, but there’s never been any kind of hint that using personal devices is an issue for company confidential stuff. It’s expected.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Yes, it’s very common. But that doesn’t mean it is a great idea. Depending on what your job is or what industry you work in, it can create legal and logistical problems.

      2. Joline*

        That’s actually one of the things I appreciated about my old job – there were no desktop computers. Everyone had laptops (in your space you then had a laptop stand, second monitor, external keyboard and mouse, etc.). Then if people did need to work from home – either for overtime or due to snow or what-have-you – they had their actual work computer which could then log in to the server via VPN. I would be more likely to do some minor projects outside of regular hours at home if I had a laptop; I’m not going in to work to do them.

    2. sunny-dee*

      Oh, also, some types of “equipment” are just assumed — like a car or a cell phone or home internet. Your company may reimburse you, or they may simply require you to have those things to do business.

      My very first job as a reporter was at a tiny weekly, and I used my personal laptop. The next one, I had a desktop, but I was almost never in the office and it was shared with a couple of other employees, and I still used my laptop frequently.

      Not ideal for a lot of reasons, but it’s not unheard of.

  3. Nick*

    1/ My view on these types of issues is as follows – If the situation was reversed, would the company offer the same courtesy to you if there was no contractual obligation. The answer is almost universally no. They will act in their own best interest. Companies typically don’t sign contracts promising not to go back on job offers or guaranteeing minimum employment periods, so as far as I am concerned expecting the same from employees is completely unreasonable. Your services as an employee is a business, so treat it that way, and don’t feel bad about acting in your own best interest. Weigh the consequences in terms of damage to the relationship against the benefit of the new opportunity. Feeling bad about breaking promises should never come into it.

    1. Colette*

      Companies do guarantee minimum employment periods in some cases, often as part of buying another business. And if the company had promised (without a formal agreement) a year of employment and changed their mind, there would almost certainly be severance to compensate. I doubt the OP is willing to pay the company the amount of her raise.

    2. MK*

      While I think the OP was put in a very difficult position, I strongly object to a “you shouldn’t feel bad about breaking your word” attitude. When you make a promise, it’s supposed to mean something and you shouldn’t break it lightly; and that has nothing to do with the employer’s behavior. It will probably make all the difference in the OP’s relationship with her company; “I am truly sorry to leave sooner than we agreed, but this is an opportunity I cannot miss” is bound to come across better than “Well, you put me on the spot and you didn’t give me much of a raise and you would probably lay me off in a flash if you needed to”.

      By the way, while of course the company will act in its own best interest and so should the employee, I don’t think most employers would lay off an employee under the same circumstances. If the employee that will be layed off wants to leave anyway, most employers would just tell them they don’t have to stay the whole year and might be layed off sooner, so they can start looking immediately. If they find new work before the lay off happens, it’s best for everyone.

      1. Graciosa*

        I echo your comments about keeping your word, although I don’t think the OP “was put” in a very difficult position. He put himself there by making a commitment that always had the potential to be difficult to keep. Now he wants to keep the benefit of his bargain without having to perform his share of the deal.

        I strongly dislike the OP’s original statement “I never signed anything; I just gave my word.” It seems to imply that commitments are meaningless unless they come with the possibility of enforcement through a lawsuit. I believe that integrity requires more than simply avoiding civil judgments against you – but I suspect the OP knows the right thing to do here, even if he doesn’t want to do it.

        “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

        “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” – Erica Jong

        1. S*

          I totally agree. Giving your word is actually has more gravity than a legal contract in some ways – it means you’re borrowing on the strength of your reputation rather than resting on the law for enforcement of the terms. It’s all about your personal integrity and I think it says a lot about someone if they break a verbal promise, regardless of the circumstances, because it says they don’t care about their commitments as long as they can’t be sued for breaking them. I’d be nervous as your new employer that you wouldn’t up and leave me too the moment a better offer showed up.

        2. MK*

          Well, I think the OP was between a rock and a hard place once the boss knew they were jobsearching. It was basically a choise between coming to an agreement with the company or have them start looking for a replacement and maybe be let go before they had a new job.

          1. RobM*

            If indeed that was the case. There’s nothing in the story to indicate that it was like that, but if there was an element of that then it does soften the blow of breaking one’s word. If it’s not freely given that changes things a bit in my opinion.

        3. Vladimir*

          Well I agree that keeping the word is important. As for myself I cant say how I would behave in simmilar situation. I hope I would keep the word even when loosing greatly, but cant know for sure and hope I never will know.
          On the other hand I woundt blame anyone for breaking their word if keeping it meant giving up the opportunity of the lifetime.
          As for the OP1, I thik she should decide how grood this offer is, if its only good then I would keep the word. If she things is its super great offer, then I say take it – am basing this on what is best for OP not what is most right think to do. Also in this case she cannot know whether she is not fired next month and then she would be without job and without the offer.
          btw. Great quote from Eisenhower, but in his political life, he certainly did not always keep with his quote.

        4. Zillah*

          I took the mention of not signing anything as just a clarification of the full picture – whether this is a legal contract or not is definitely relevant.

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, I think that’s the reason it was included. If it wasn’t, Alison maybe (probably?) would have asked about it or had to give two differing answers depending on what the situation is like.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Actually, it’s there because I did ask about it — after receiving the original question, I wrote back and ask how explicitly she had committed to staying. That part was her response to that question.

          2. Green*

            Just because it’s not in writing doesn’t mean it’s not an enforceable contract. I don’t have a written agreement with the dude who cuts my lawn, but if he rolls up and cuts my lawn every 3 weeks like we talk about then I owe him $30 each time.

            (Contracts that can be performed in a year or less from the date of the agreement don’t typically need to be in writing under the statute of frauds; that’s the majority view unless there’s something in your state that says otherwise.)

  4. Victoria, Please*

    #2, I can only speak for my own opinion, but at least one very respected blogger, “Dean Dad” of “Confessions of a Community College Dean,” now out as Dr. Matt Reed at Holyoke Community College but I think moving elsewhere now (he revealed himself some time ago) started at a for-profit. It didn’t seem to hurt him any. I think the perception of *workers* at a for-profit — at least in the non-sales sector — is very different than the perception of the students at a for-profit. Sorry, students. I know it’s not fair.

    If you are in the educational mission at a for-profit, I know that *I* would care about your experience and performance way more than I would look at the name of the school. For a lot of things, school’s school.

    That is, IF you were trying to get a position at my teaching institution. Trying to get a position at a research school, they really want to see that research school pedigree much more broadly applied.

    1. Liz in a Library*

      To add another anecdote…many, many of my for-profit colleagues went on to work at traditional public and private universities. Many more worked full-time or half-time at one at the same time that they adjuncted at our former for-profit.

      In certain fields, academic jobs that provide a steady living wage are hard to come by, and I think hiring committees understand a for-profit work background as sometimes necessary. For whatever else it’s worth, my class prep at the for-profit required exactly the same skills and knowledge as class prep at the large state school. Actual classroom methods at the for-profit had to be far more varied and were much harder work.

      1. Victoria, Please*

        Yes, this is what I’ve heard as well, professors at for-profits are expected to pull out all the stops and make the classes a great experience. It’s not bad teaching that causes non-completion at for-profits.

      2. AnonEMoose*

        I think one thing the OP should check is whether the for-profit school is regionally accredited. If it is, I think that’s a bit different than one that is not, because for-profit or non-profit, if they hold regional accreditation, they have to meet certain standards.

        I’ve also known colleagues in what you might call administrative-type positions go from a for-profit school to a position at a land grant university. So it seems to be very much one of those “it depends” situations.

    2. A Kate*

      I think it would depend on the kind of work done at the for-profit school. Would teaching experience transfer well to a non-profit environment? Maybe. I don’t have enough experience on that side of things to say. But people are pretty turned off by the admissions practices at for-profit schools, so if the OP wants to work in admissions or another administrative role, he/she should expect some negative reactions in future job searches.

    3. Elsajeni*

      I thought of Dean Dad, too. And I agree with you — there are a few specific areas where practices at for-profits are widely considered unethical or at least questionable (admissions, maybe the financial aid office?), and coming from those might be a problem, but outside of those areas, I don’t think working at a for-profit is likely to hurt you.

      As far as what type of non-profit school you might move to from there, I think for-profit experience would probably set you up best to move to a community college, as Dean Dad did, or a regional public school (the type he refers to as Directional State U) — those are the kinds of places that are in direct competition with for-profits for students, so your experience in, say, increasing student retention with your for-profit population is likely to translate pretty well to the community college population.

    4. Susan the BA*

      I thought about Dean Dad, too! :) I would suggest that the OP look through his previous entries – he may have answered a question similar to this, and if not, this sounds like the kind of question he’d be able to answer so the OP could email him and see if he responds.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it really depends on what type of work the OP does. The comments on that post I linked to in the answer are full of comments from people in academia saying that University of Phoenix experience would be held against a candidate in the fields they work in.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        In my area of academia, someone who was working at a for-profit school as a lecturer would absolutely not be considered for a faculty job at a more reputable school, in part because there will be at least 50 people applying for the job with less dodgy credentials. But really, almost anything outside of a standard academic path (grad school -> postdoc or equivalent -> faculty job) would disqualify you, including taking time off for family commitments or teaching at the high school level.

        For someone working in admin – I could see hesitation if someone worked at the less ethical end of those jobs, like recruiting students, or working on the financial aid end. For someone working in a neutral job, it would be much less of an issue.

        I think there might be more of an issue for someone who took that job right now, when there’s so much publicity about the practices of non-profit schools, than for someone who had a job like that in the past.

        1. Julia*

          Why would anything like that disqualify you? Is that just at your School/in your field?
          I just went to an event this last weekend where professionals specifically told students to get some “real-world” experience before going into teaching.

        2. Anna*

          That must mean they’re passing on a lot of potentially great candidates out of pure snobbery and not much else.

      2. Episkey*

        I tend to agree. My husband was an accountant in corporate for one of the big for-profit college companies, it hasn’t hurt him at all.

        However, I have a friend who taught a class for UoP and she won’t even put it on her resume. She flat-out admitted she just did it for the money.

    6. LAI*

      I think there is a big difference between being a student or instructor at a for-profit university vs. being an administrative staff person. I work in student services at a public research institution, and we’ve definitely considered hiring employees from for-profit institutions before. I would say that the experience is looked upon as less relevant than someone coming from a not-for-profit institution, but more relevant than an application coming from outside academia altogether. I would say that your best option should be to try to apply directly at a not-for-profit but if you’ve been trying and not able to get anything, having experience at a for-profit is better than having no experience at all.

      1. Shelly*

        I can’t speak for other types of work, but in academic librarianship, I have looked at resumes where people had for-profit library experience and we did consider them. However, some pretty rough things were said in the hiring committee meetings. I think it really depends on how much experience you have coming in and what type of work you will be doing. If a for-profit is your first job out of school and you’re only there for a year or so, people do get it. It is a tough market. Personally, I have ethical issues with for-profit education and I know my bias has impacted the choices I have made when recommending candidates for hiring, even if perhaps it shouldn’t have. Of course, everything I am saying applies only to my experience hiring librarians. Milage in other sorts of academic departments may vary.

  5. Dan*


    Ok, here’s the deal. You have no binding commitment, and if this opportunity is the right one for you, take it. Just be prepared to stay awhile, because you don’t want your unexpected departure to be fresh your previous employer’s mind when it comes to reference checks.

    I’m a firm, firm, firm believer that if the company wants a seriously binding commitment in these kinds of circumstances, then they must offer you a contract. Why? Because otherwise, they essentially want their cake and eat it too. They want *you* to commit, but they don’t want to commit to you. Make no mistake, if the business took a turn for the worse, they’d lay you off and may not even say sorry. This really is no different — you’re choosing to walk away for “business reasons” too. If they want you to stay, they offer you a contract. And if business took a turn for the worse and you actually had a contract, they could get rid of it during bankruptcy.

    Besides, six months is six months. It would be one thing if you bailed after a month or three, but you’re getting close to the point where they would have to consider replacing you if they knew you were leaving for sure at the end of that year.

    1. Mike C.*

      Bingo. I dispise it when I hear employers complain about turnover when they have all the power to change the workplace and compensation.

    2. Apollo Warbucks*

      I agree with you, there’s no firm commitment on either side, and six months is a reasonable amount of time for the OP to have stayed and depending on the speed of the hiring process it could be longer anyway.

    3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I mostly agree with you.

      Personal integrity when forming a career or running a business is A Thing, though. If I were the boss in this situation (which, I wouldn’t be because I would **never** counteroffer, ever), but if I were, I would have held myself to the year as a matter of integrity, and I’d expect the other person to act the same level of “my word is my word”.

      There weren’t any changing circumstances here. As far as I can tell, things are exactly the same as when the OP made the promise, only the OP is backing out.

      The best thing the employer can take out of this is to learn the lesson: never ever counter offer because this is what happens next.

      1. Colette*

        And it’s not just the boss who will see this. If any of the OP’s coworkers know she agreed to stay for a year, they’ll see her leave and that will affect their impressions of the OP.

        1. A Teacher*

          Sometimes. I don’t think its universally true that everyone’s opinion will change, some people will understand the broken promise, some won’t, and some won’t care either way

          1. Colette*

            The circumstances definitely matter. If the manager is known to be unreasonable or the OP is leaving to get a job in a field she’s always wanted to work in, the move will have less of an effect than if she shrugs and says “they should have got it in writing if they wanted me to stay”.

      2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        eh, I read the letter again and it wasn’t exactly a counter offer, it was even more poorly formed. While I still think the OP should consider integrity and giving word as a strong factor, I think the employer made a number of fatal mistakes that created this outcome.

        If you’re trying to retain someone you know is looking, just throwing money at something isn’t the answer. You’d want to know all of the reasons the employee was looking. Paying somebody a bit more money to do a job they are fundamentally unhappy with isn’t going to get you retention.

        1. zora*

          yes, Thank You for saying this. This is what I was thinking, but I’m not a manager, so thanks for validating it. And I will add paying them LESS than they asked for! How could they possibly think this was going to work out well for them?

      3. ITPuffNStuff*

        I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, it’s crazy to turn down a great opportunity; you don’t know when or if it will come again. Making long term damage to your career by passing on the right opportunity doesn’t seem like a good trade-off when all you gain is a little credibility with a company you may never work for again. Add in the fact that the company has *zero* agreement to actually keep you for that year (they could lay you off tomorrow, and will do so without hesitation if they feel it is in their financial best interest), and I would take the right opportunity whether it came the next day or a year later.

        With that said, if other opportunities that were merely average came along, I wouldn’t damage my reputation just for an ‘average’ opportunity.

        Loyalty isn’t really a thing in business. Management is loyal to one thing only: the bottom line. There is only one currency with which a business can purchase employee loyalty, and it’s their own loyalty to the employees. Since finding a business loyal to its employees is akin to finding a unicorn, for employers to expect employee loyalty is tone-deaf at best.

        1. fposte*

          I’m with you on the first two paragraphs and am going to push back some on the third. We see question after question here from people who are trying hard to help their employees succeed and to keep them even in difficult situations and times. Sure, not every manager does that, but in general management really is not like an assembly line where anything that deviates from standards gets immediately junked without a thought, and it’s misleading to treat it as if it were.

          1. S*

            Yes, thank you. There certainly are heartless managers out there who see their employees as commodities to be traded off or thrown away as needed, but I’ve worked for a lot more that did care about their people than that didn’t. And even the most heartless ones would’ve given at least some considerations to a great performer.

          2. ITPuffNStuff*

            hi fposte! thanks for responding!

            call me a cynic, i guess. this is one of those areas where i genuinely hope to be wrong. perhaps my own experiences just haven’t been all that great. not bad, just not great. my managers have been nice enough people i guess, but i never had the feeling they would hesitate to lay off anyone if it seemed profitable.

            1. ECH*

              @ITPuffNStuff: I would take a pay cut if it would help keep my department together. Thankfully that has never become a question.

      4. Graciosa*

        I could make the argument that there was a contract – offer, acceptance, consideration, and a time period not exceeding the limits of the typical statute of frauds – but I think it starts shifting the discussion into questions of what is legally enforceable rather than what is the right thing to do.

        I too would not have gotten into this situation for pretty much the reasons you outlined – but I would absolutely have kept my side of the deal as a manager if I had.

        I also agree with never ever making a counter offer – but not because this is always what happens next. There are individuals of integrity in the work place, who keep commitments even when it’s difficult, and whose word has meaning.

        These are the people I go the extra mile for – the ones who get the most challenging assignments (where success will really shine), are trusted to work on my most confidential projects, and receive the lions share of my coaching and development time.

        I believe the Eisenhower quote I used above, and part of my job is grooming future leaders. Integrity is an essential requirement for those positions.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

          Yeah, I didn’t add enough words (odd for me!). I didn’t mean this is “always” what happens next. I meant that one of the predictable outcomes of counter offering an employee ready to move on is that you have an employee still ready to move on who is now paid more money.

        2. Dan*

          Is there really a time period and/or consideration though? The employee is being asked to commit to a year, but no commitment to a time period is being offered by the employer in return.

          Contracts also require a meeting of the minds. As someone pointed out earlier, if the boss suspects you of leaving, and asks how much it would cost to keep you, “nothing” is a pretty bad answer.

          1. Graciosa*

            The consideration is the additional compensation, and the time period stated was a year.

            Meeting of the minds means requires reaching an agreement on the matter (meaning you’re both talking about the same car and not different cars in a purchase/sale transaction).

            It does not mean that you can secretly think, “Well, I’ll pretend to agree at the moment and say so, but I’m not inwardly committing so it doesn’t really count.”

          2. Another Job Seeker*

            That’s a great point. It’s almost as though the manager is giving herself a year to find a new employee. If the manager finds the new employee before the year is up, she can fire the OP – since the manager made no promises about keeping the employee for a specific amount of time. Additionally, since the manager asked the OP to stop looking for a new job, it is likely that the OP will stay longer than a year – since it can take quite a while to locate a job. I don’t think that the fact that the OP received a raise factors into it. I’d rather have the guarantee of my job at my current salary (or at least the level of “guarantee” I had before my manager found out I was looking for another position) than to have a raise that will not mean much if I am let go before I find a new position.

            1. Graciosa*

              Actually, I could make a good argument for the year commitment going both ways, so I don’t think stating that the OP could be fired during the year (absent misconduct) is necessarily accurate.

              However, it is also irrelevant.

              1. Graciosa*

                Sorry, this was submitted before I really finished.

                The reason I think this is irrelevant is that it seems to suggest that the OP should have made a better deal, and therefore doesn’t have to keep the one he did make. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to say, well, I should have asked for X and I didn’t, so the deal I agreed to is unfair. That’s on you.

                1. Another Job Seeker*

                  You’re correct about the firing part, Graciosa. I should have stated that if the OP is an at will employee, she could be fired during the year – since at will employers can fire employees at any time for any reason (other than because the person is part of a protected class). Of course, there are employers who fire people who are members of a protected class (because they are members of a protected class). They just give another reason – since that behavior is illegal.

                  Additionally, I mentioned the year-long issue because it gives the OP’s manager is (at least) a year to find the OP’s replacement. I do not think that it is appropriate for the manager to create an environment where she can let the OP go at anytime – but the OP is required to finish out the year. I think it is relevant to the discussion because it illustrates the fact that the situation is unequal. I actually did not suggest that the OP should have made a better deal and is therefore released from the deal she made. The deal is unfair, and the manager should not have proposed it. It would be quite difficult for most employees to respond to a proposal such as this one by stating that “no amount of money can make me stay and I am going to continue seeking another position”. However, two wrongs do not make a right. I believe that the OP should honor her commitment. It is not about fairness; it is about personal integrity.

    4. NJ anon*

      I agree 100%. They would drop you in a heartbeat if it suited them. As a manager, I would never extract a “promise” from an employee to stick with the company for a certain period of time. Shit happens.

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        Definitely, and as an employee, I don’t know that I’d ever be willing to make that sort of promise. What if my spouse got transferred and I had to move? What if a parent or grandparent got very ill and I needed to care for them? There are so many things that could happen that it’s nearly impossible to be able to guarantee that you’ll stay in one place for a year. I wouldn’t make a habit of going back on my word, but I think it would be acceptable to pursue this opportunity, especially if it was something that fell in your lap. By the time they get through the hiring process, you may be closer to that 1 yr mark than you think.

        1. MK*

          Not being willing to make that promise would render the matter moot, though. I mean, there would be no dilemma for the OP if they had never made that promise. Also, leaving because of an unforeseen circumstance that you had no influence over is different than leaving for another job.

    5. fposte*

      I was thinking about the contract thing, and while it makes sense in theory it has problems in its actual effect. If you single out one employee for a short-term contract in a non-contract environment, that doesn’t suggest retention but finite employment, and I think it would make it more, rather than less, likely than an employee would leave. Your other option might be a non-compete, but those don’t exactly engender goodwill and often aren’t legally viable anyway.

      Our employees are on contract, but we do sometimes ask for commitments beyond the contract length (some of the contracts are only semester-length). What’s kind of interesting is that the one employee who wanted to leave prior to the end of the commitment tried to leave mid-contract, so I think he pretty much didn’t care about any limitations that might exist on his plans.

      1. Dan*

        That employee wants to leave anyway. I certainly get your point, but I think we’re talking about an employee who is thinking about leaving, not someone who is otherwise happy.

        Our employment system is very weird here. Don’t give someone a contract, and there’s an expectation that they stay for some indeterminate amount of time. Give them a contract, and there’s an expectation that they leave at the end of it.

        1. fposte*

          I know; I was thinking about that. It’s a bit backwards.

          (I’m actually always on a contract, but it’s a formality, and even if I’m terminated, they give me another year. So academia may be even backwards-er.)

    6. jasmine*

      Exactly! Expecting some kind of long-term commitment from at at-will employee who the employer can fire tomorrow on a whim seems completely unreasonable. I’ve seen loyal, long-time employees fired with no notice when their company was having a temporary financial slump. Loyalty has to be mutual, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything.

  6. Steve*

    I had a similar situation with my personal computer. Working for a small business, there’s a chance he won’t get you one. To me it would be
    Wise to get a cheap laptop for $250 to use at work. I used an expensive laptop of known and it put alot of wear and tear on it.

    1. SadieCatie*

      Honest question –
      Would it be strange to bring up the fact that you may have confidential information that you may not be aware of on your personal computer (auto fill passwords, credit card info on invoices etc.)?
      I would worry if the computer was stolen or lost.

      1. Snowglobe*

        I was going to suggest bringing this to the boss’s attention. OP should point out that it’s a risk for the business to have business-related information on a computer that is not always in the office. How serious this is depends on the type of information that is on the computer, but if there are customer records or financial information, Boss should be very concerned about making sure that information is secure. Carrying the computer back and forth every day just increases the risks of the computer being lost.

        1. sunny-dee*

          I can’t emphasize enough, though — that is not an unusual situation at all. I have no idea what kind of business this is, but in a lot of industries, using a laptop that you carry around is, um, exactly normal. To take this normal thing and act like it’s so horrible it never should have been asked is going to be… weird. Any kind of consulting, writing / editing, design, programming, marketing, even sales. Really, really common.

          If it’s something more …. traditional? Like accounting or insurance or medical stuff, then having a desktop makes sense from a risk / security perspective. But pretty much anything else, simply having a laptop isn’t a problem.

          The only issue is that the OP doesn’t want to use his personal laptop for work, but being all passive-aggressive and simply refusing to work until you get a desktop or company laptop could backfire.

          1. Colette*

            Work laptops often have encryption and security that personal laptops don’t have which reduce the risks of carryingy them around.

          2. Observer*

            Even in industries where walking around with a laptop is normal, it’s not necessarily the case that the employee is providing the computer. In a case like this, where the employee is coming into the office and sitting at a desk, expecting her to bring in her own computer is absolutely NOT the norm, and totally not reasonable.

          3. Karen*

            Sunny-dee: Not sure how you’ve read into my original letter that I believe this is ‘so horrible’ or how you’ve construed that I’m acting passive-agressively, but you’re wrong. California state law compensates employers for this sort of thing, I think my state obviously has some catching up to do, as do a lot of other states. I think that in some cases it is appropriate to provide a computer and in other cases it’s not necessary or not required. Using a laptop that YOU carry around is, um, normal and I also understand that your employer provides you one, how nice for you! UPDATE: my employer is going to purchase a laptop for my workstation and I’ll continue to use my personal computer until the new one arrives at my desk. I also won’t have a problem using my personal computer in the futher if need be, for his business, i.e. during my off-hours. I work part-time in a traditional office job, which is W-2 and I also write freelance marketing and advertising and work as an event coordinator – 1099 – for which I, of course, use my own computer. It’ll be great when other states catch up with California in this respect.

      2. JenGray*

        Not only could the laptop get lost or stolen but other things could happen as well. At my last place of employment- one of my coworkers died in a car accident when she went home for lunch. There was a major malfunction with her car that caused the accident- so not something she could have avoided and/or predicted. She actually had a laptop in her car that contained work stuff on it so that meant that things had to be recreated after the accident. I think that one just never knows what could happen. I think it would be best if the employer provided a laptop but they don’t have to. I have always had my employer provide a computer but that was due to the confidential nature of the business I was working for. If the employer refuses than buy a cheapo laptop to use- you might (I stress the might because everyone’s situation is different) even be able to write the expense off on your taxes.

    2. James M*

      Wear and tear on a decent laptop is almost exclusively limited to the keyboard and fan (barring accidents or outright abuse). Both are replaceable, with detailed walkthroughs on youtube for most models. It’s a very cost effective way to get another 5 years use out of your favorite laptop.

      1. Marcela*

        That depends. If you use windows, your hard drive will abandon you well before the keyboard or internal things such as the fan, and there is no easy way to change it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody in my family or circle of friends changing a laptop for any reason but “it’s slow”. Now, on the other hand, afted I replaced my hard drive with a hybrid disk, my laptop with Linux did gain many extra years.

        1. sunny-dee*

          Not necessarily true. I’ve used Windows laptops for years, and I replaced fans, keyboards, and screens, but never had a harddrive failure. I know other people have other experiences, but that’s an extreme blanket statement.

    3. NJ anon*

      Nope nope nope. I am not taking $ out of my pocket for the employer. They had to know you would need a computer! At the very least, they should pay you a rental fee. My soon does some contract and freelance work and sometimes gets extra $ for using his own computer for the job.

        1. sunny-dee*

          I have *never* been paid for freelance work for using my own computer. If I’ve ever had to purchase specific software, I’ve billed for that, but charging for a computer would be like charging for my cellphone or electricity.

          1. GH in SoCAl*

            In my business there’s something called “kit rental,” a fee that goesto employees who bring their own equipment — which can range from computers to vehicles to lighting and camera gear. As an office-based employee, I sometimes get a computer issues, and sometimes use my own. Sometimes there’s kit rental for using my own. I used the kit rental from a 2-year gig in 2010-11 to buy a second laptop for work so I wouldn’t have to sclhep my own around. Maybe OP can get $50/month kit fee, and in a year, that’d buy a basic machine.

    4. Karen*

      He responded and said he’d get me a laptop for my desk, problem solved! Hopefully it will arrive at my desk soon. I discovered after writing in that state of California compensates their employees for this sort of thing, I guess my state has some catching up to do.

  7. Juli G.*

    No advice but thank you OP 1 for giving me another example the next time a manager comes and asks me if we can make a counter offer to retain someone. They like to hear anecdotes with the no.

    1. fposte*

      I was thinking this–that this is an example of the problems of trying to keep an employee who’s heading out the door, even if she’s not being drawn there by another job. But you also don’t want to treat every request for more money as an indication somebody’s going to walk, either. I guess one possibility is to make sure that a request for money is just about the money and not about broader dissatisfaction with the position.

  8. Job-Hunt Newbie*

    For OP #2, I’m also entering that field. I glossed over for-profits in my search. Based on the ethics (or lack thereof) some of these institutions have regarding enrollment and quotas, the frequent lawsuits that pop up against these types of schools, and the fact that they charge students an astronomical rate per credit compared to 2 and 4 year colleges, I could never see myself working at one. You also need to consider Corinthian Colleges; they just shuttered their entire US system with hardly any notice to their employees and students.

    Ultimately, you need to do what’s best for you. If you do decide to go the for-profit route, please research the institution thoroughly, research their practices, see if they have a laundry list of litigations against them, and see if it would be a good fit for you. What are your values, where do you see yourself in five years, what types of students do you want to work with, and what kind of institution do you feel is a good fit for you? These are all questions you need to ask yourself, and it helped me tremendously when narrowing down my applications. There are plenty of private and public not-for-profit institutions out there, and plenty of sites dedicated to job postings specifically for higher-ed positions. I guarantee you can find something that fits for you; public, private, or for-profit.

    1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

      I’ll also add that I’m absolutely not knocking all for-profit schools. Unfortunately the ones I am aware of and have researched heavily do not have the best track records. After seeing what happened with Corinthian, it really made me sad/angry/upset for all of those students/employees who suddenly lost their livlihood. There are some amazing people who work at and attend for-profits, and work hard for their students, or to get their certificates/degrees. I just wanted to note what I said above regarding researching the institution’s background, because the reputation of the school you are looking at could reflect on you later on; even through no fault of your own.

    2. fposte*

      And, to be fair, Sweet Briar shuttered without notice to its employees, too. It’s not just for profits.

      1. Elsajeni*

        Well, no, Sweet Briar did announce their closure a couple months in advance — a lot of the Corinthian campuses just shut, effective immediately. It’s still not great for the employees or the students, but “We’ll be closing at the end of this semester” is a hell of a lot better than showing up to work/school as usual one Wednesday and finding a “Closed Forever” sign on the door.

        1. Sigrid*

          And my understanding is that the writing was on the wall for Sweet Briar for quite a while, so it wasn’t a huge shock to employees or students. (I could be mistaken on that, though.) Sweet Briar also went to considerable effort to transfer students, help employees in their job searches, etc. to try to mitigate the damage as much as possible.

          From what I can tell, Sweet Briar’s shuttering was a heartbreak. Corinthian’s shuttering was a cluster&*#!.

          1. fposte*

            See, I would have said the writing was on the wall for Corinthian for a lot longer than for Sweet Briar.

            1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

              It was, and it wasn’t. They were on their way to bankruptcy, and shuttering campuses already up in Canada. So it was inevitable that their U.S campuses would close, given all of the legal and financial trouble they were in. They gave only 24 hour notice of the closure of their remaining U.S campuses, though, which made me really grumpy.

        2. Job-Hunt Newbie*

          Yep. The only upside I can find for this scenario is that students who were enrolled at the time of the closure can potentially qualify for a student loan discharge, if they fit the criteria.

          The unfortunate part is that many of the credits can be difficult to transfer out to other institutions, and that all of that time in the classroom may potentially be lost. If credits can be transferred, many institutions have a limit on how many outside credits can be transferred in to complete a program.

          Corinthian left their students/employees high and dry, with no time to actually plan.

  9. Apollo Warbucks*

    #3 Isn’t part of being a contractor providing your own tools and resources?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, but doing that doesn’t make you a contractor.

      It’s illegal to treat someone as a contractor (not withhold payroll taxes and pay them as a 1099 worker rather than a W2 worker) if they actually meet the conditions for being an employee. But it’s not illegal to treat someone as an employee (W2 and withhold payroll taxes) even if they meet the conditions for being a contractor.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        Doh! Sorry I misread the letter and thought that the OP was being treated as a contractor, but now I get they’re an employee.

    2. Snowglobe*

      In some professions it is very common for an employee to use their own tools. Professional chefs generally have their own knives, for example.

  10. Carrie in Scotland*

    For OP 1 – your new opportunity, would it be possible to negotiate a start date further on e.g. 1 month/6 weeks or something? Have you actually been offered the job? If you could somehow push back the potential start date then 6 weeks from now is mid-July and gives your current company some breathing space.

  11. Ty*

    #4 I know what it’s like to worry about the minutia of a resume when searching for a job. (After securing a job, I’ve often wondered whether any of that really mattered.) If you genuinely think there’s something about your resume that is holding you back, I might gently suggest running your resume past an editor. The question as you wrote it is perfectly acceptable conversational English. But there’s at least one grammatical error in each of your sentences that Spell Check wouldn’t catch yet would really pop out — especially if there were more than one or two on the entire page — to someone quickly glancing over a resume.

    1. D*

      OP here! Thanks for the advice. I really do need to find a good editor, or someone who can be brutally honest. And regarding the e-mail: I did cringe when I reread after sending it off, and found a few typos then. Oops.

  12. ITPuffNStuff*

    I disagree with characterizing a computer (or any tool required to do the job) as “employees’ business expenses”. If that is an employees’ expense, by the same line of reasoning, so is the office chair, the desk, the phone (and the costs of its associated phone line), the office building itself, the utilities required to provide electricity and water in that building, and the company’s computer network. This line of reasoning suggests that businesses should view every single material asset necessary to perform a job as employees’ responsibility (and cost), yet the business owners still retain the benefits and profits of the revenues those assets create.

    The company’s costs are its costs, period. No business relationship worth keeping requires employees to absorb a company’s operating expenses.

    1. sunny-dee*

      Except that it’s super common — e.g., pizza delivery drivers buy their own cars, chefs buy their own knives. It’s really common for graphic designers to use their own computers because they like a certain setup.

      It’s a direct expense if the employer expected to keep the laptop. But since they’re saying “do X work” and expecting the OP to use their own laptop, that’s kind of like expecting them to use their own cell phone for work.

      One question I have — is everyone else using their own laptop / computer, or is it only the OP?

      1. Colette*

        It’s really not common to buy your own computer in a corporate job. In fact, often you can’t use your own machine. Freelancers often have their own computers, but not regular employees.

      2. ITPuffNStuff*

        as an IT guy, i don’t want anyone bringing their virus-ridden messes from home and plugging them into the network i’m responsible for securing. even if there were some magical guarantee that no security issues would present themselves, trying to provide support for whatever random assortment of hardware and software employees bring from home would quickly become an unmanageable mess.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I didn’t mean to imply anything else. I was only talking about how the law does and doesn’t treat this.

      I agree with you that it’s really the employer’s expense, which in this case they’re passing on to the employee.

  13. Theguvnah*

    #1, add me to the chorus of people disagreeing with Alison. You do you and don’t feel guilty about it.

    There is a way to approach this with professionalism and integrity and as long as you do that, you can hold your head high and be confident you aren’t doing anything wrong.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think there’s really a chorus, is there?

      Sometimes this site makes me cranky.

      As I said in the post, she should weigh all the factors and do what’s right for her. But it will have an impact it will have on her relationship with this employer, and she should realize that and weigh that however she chooses to weigh that.

      1. Kadee*

        Yes, going back on her word is certainly her prerogative but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with a cost. Whether or not it’s worth it, only she can determine but she should at least include it when she’s weighing her options.

        I think she should take the new job for everyone’s well-being. It may be difficult for her employer to fill the position but I’d rather have that challenge than an employee who isn’t happy. The OP has decided twice now in a six month period that she wants to leave and she doesn’t describe her current job in glowing terms. My advice to OP is that, when you’re ready to move on the next time, really consider what it would take to make you change your mind. Sometimes more money isn’t sufficient to counteract all the reasons you wanted to go in the first place. While you can certainly take more money if offered, it’s bad faith to do so when you don’t have any intention to live up to the terms. Be hesitant to commit to something unless you are confident it’s what you want or you’ll damage your reputation along the way. Although perhaps it’s not your concern, keep in mind you’ve made it a little bit more difficult for the employees coming after you to negotiate better terms because your current employer will remember the time they tried to appease an unhappy employee only to have it backfire.

        1. misspiggy*

          What do you think of the argument that the OP had no choice but to say she would stay, because once her employer realised she was jobhunting she was likely to be laid off unless she committed to the extra year? Does that change the level of commitment the employer could reasonably expect?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I’d say it depends on information we don’t have here. I can think of lots of situations where I valued an employee, worked to keep them, and if I realized they were thinking about leaving would still be glad to have them for whatever remaining time they gave me, and they knew that. It really depends on the employer, how much they value her, the way they operate, and what the relationship is like.

          2. Something Professional*

            I think that’s reading a lot into the situation. If they cared enough to come up with a raise to keep her, I doubt they would have just shrugged and laid her off if she had refused to commit. I understand that a lot of people have been burned by employers and a lot of employers are shady, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find an employer who is acting in good faith.

    2. ITPuffNStuff*

      i didn’t get out of ms. green’s response that the OP should feel guilty — just that there were some results to be aware of that would likely come with taking the new job.

      i think as long as a company is not willing to enter a legally enforceable contract — meaning they want the freedom to back out of a verbal agreement at any time — they can’t realistically expect the employee not to exercise the same freedom.

  14. Limenotapple*

    I’m a librarian at a liberal arts college. I have been on search committees for librarian positions at a few institutions. Right or wrong, committees have eliminated applications from those who worked at for-profits. I have seen a few people from for-profits interviewed though. You can gain some valuable skills at a for-profit, but I do think it can hurt you down the line for some positions.

  15. sprinkles!*

    #1 – coincidently, my manager is in a current situation. She got “promoted” earlier this year (but no title change or a raise) but she had to promise to stay a year. Now we might go out of business sometime in the next two years. She is struggling what to do because she feels torn.

  16. Merry and Bright*

    It is awkward for OP#1 in any case. At some point she will be looking for another job anyway but it is hard to time a job search to time in with an agreement (formal or not) to stay until a specific time. You don’t know how long a job search will take, and if she starts looking a month before the year is up she might not have something new lined up. On the other hand, she might get something quickly and want to leave early in the end. And what happens if after a year pressure is put on her to stay on longer when really she wants to leave? It is a hard one but on balance she should probably look after herself, if the current offer is a good one.

  17. BRR*

    #3 Have you asked in person? I’m confused why this was not brought up your first day and there wasn’t a computer. Ask in person. It’s easy to avoid an email.

    1. The IT Manager*

      This was the mistake – choosing to bring your own laptop. I hope that if you sat there on day one or two without a workstation being unable to get work done, someone would have made it a priority to find one for you.

      Obviously a small business without an IT department, but does any manager know that you’re using your own personal laptop? Does your boss know? You had the perfect opening when your spoke with you and it sounds like you kept silent. Speak up like Alison said; set a deadline. It really sounds like your boss is completely unaware of the problem. Ignoring an unimportant email for 2 days is certainly not unheard of for busy. And since you’re bringing in your laptop everyday, this is probably a low priority for him.

            1. Karen*

              He responded to my email and he’s getting me a laptop. There are four people total in the office and I’m the only W-2, the rest are contracted. You’re right I should have asked within the first few days, but quite honestly I thought, ‘What if the job doesn’t work out and it’s not a good fit?’ I will continue to use my laptop until the new one arrives.

    2. Margaret*

      This. I realize depending on your personality and other factors not wanting to rock the boat, or maybe just being confused and that delaying a more appropriate response. And my response may be biased because I work in taxes, so dealing with very confidential information and having client data on unsecured devices on absolutely not ok. But if I started a job and sat down at a desk with no computer, my very first question, to whoever was showing me where I sat was, “where is the computer?” Bringing in my own wouldn’t cross my mind as an option, I’d be going straight to my boss, that day, in person, to ask for a computer, and if given any tasks that require a computer I’d explain that I hadn’t been provided on yet. For a desk job, a computer is a pretty standard tool, surely you need one and it should be on the company to provide one that meets its requirements for it.

  18. Once a Small Biz Manager*

    Just some general pushback on all the negativity directed towards employers and businesses: Not every business is only about the bottom line . . . Some of us do care deeply about our employees. I would consider both my word and their word very important. When the 2008 and long-years-after recession hit our business hard, I did everything possible to keep the employees including lowering my salary much much below theirs, moving the offices to cheaper digs, etc, etc. Ok, tiny rant over.

    1. Mel*

      Absolutely, but some employers do treat employees pretty badly, and I think that is where the negativity is coming from.
      Interestingly, I’ve worked both in the private sector and in academia (a private non-profit research university), and my academic employer treats employees more poorly than my private sector former employer

    2. BRR*

      I also get irritated at the assumed way businesses think of employees. I don’t think either side owes the other dying loyalty but not everybody treats each other like crap.

    3. blackcat*

      I think people are less likely to write into an advise column with, “My manager is awesome and the CEO really invests in employees.”

      … that’s because people who have great bosses and employers don’t *need* advise. So the sampling here, particularly with letters, can be skewed. It’s just how you don’t expect people with happy marriages to write into dating advice columns… not because there aren’t people in happy marriages, but because they don’t need advise from strangers on the internet.

      1. Another Job Seeker*

        Great point! Thank you to all of the managers who do care for your employees and treat them well. I have had excellent supervisors, “okay” supervisors, and terrible supervisors. We’ll probably hear a lot about the “okay” and terrible ones on advice columns. Doesn’t mean that the excellent ones do not exist.

  19. Graciosa*

    Regarding #4, if the resume is one and a third pages right now, the odds are that it needs to be a one page resume.

    As a hiring manager, I hardly ever receive a resume that needs to be longer – a resume that inspires me to want more information results in an interview, which is generally what the candidate was hoping for.

    Most of the time, resumes end up being just a little too long, or a little too unfocused. Keeping a resume to one page forces the candidate to identify the most significant and relevant achievements to include. Frankly, it’s a bit of a test of the candidate’s judgment and communication skills.

    I seem to be into quotes today, so I’ll leave you with this one:

    “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    1. BRR*

      “As a hiring manager, I hardly ever receive a resume that needs to be longer”

      Thank you. I have previously have said how most people can shrink a resume and always get push back. Things such as “I need to include everything” and “what does it matter if it’s electronic.” There are certainly cases but I am with you that I hardly ever think, wow I wish this person included more.

    2. D*

      OP here, and thank you for the advice. Writing a resume is a challenge itself, and keeping it to one page is even harder. Hence why it feels like a test, haha. It’s very nerve racking since I sent out one-page resumes before and never received any inquiries back. This is probably due to putting down more duties than accomplishments, yet everything feels like a job duty and there doesn’t seem to be any accomplishments. I would rather avoid fluffing up descriptions but if it’s to get a hiring managers attention there doesn’t seem to be another alternative.

      …apologies for switching subjects. But yes, thank you for you advice and lovely quote. It’s given me drive to work on my resume and hopefully it will look better.

  20. The IT Manager*

    Bring Your Own Device is a growing thing. As an old-school IT person, I’m with Alison and think it is a terrible thing, but some people think it’s a wonderful thing. These people tend to be well-off, can afford fancy cutting edge devices, and prefer to use them rather than what their company can provide. But there’s already tons of people who understandably perfer to carry only one cell phone and choose their personal phone to be on call, stay in touch, check work email on.

    BYOD is the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications instead of company provided one. It introduces support and security issues. Do you wipe a soon-to-be former employee’s personal device when he leaves the company because it could have company secrets? What happens to his personal data?

    With technological improvements it may get easier to support and become less of a security problem with all company data in the “cloud” never downloaded to a personal device. We may get to point where it is preferred, and then people may be expected to provide their own cell phone or tablet to the job. IMO not a good direction to be going in because people without those devices or without most powerful devices will have one more thing they need buy for work.


    1. NJ anon*

      We considered this but didn’t because of the confidential information that could be contained on the device.

    2. A fly on the wall*

      I’m in an interesting segment. As a computer programmer (and former “IT guy,” I’m in general competent to maintain and select my own equipment. In fact, I have a hard time judging those in a role similar to mine who refuse to do things like set up their own IDEs and install software themselves.

      I tend to be a pretty big believer in BYOD for certain things – phone, tablet, even a “light duty” carry around laptop – the key is that – A) due to cloud technologies and remote access – I don’t have to keep much (usually any) employer data on those devices and B) those are all devices I’d have anyway. I still 100% expect my employer to provide (and keep refreshed) at a minimum, an desktop and possibly a laptop. For one thing, the specs I need for what my employer asks that I do and what I do at home are different enough that if my employer asked me to provide my own, I’d be asking for them to front a significant amount. For another, if all of my work is on a laptop, it makes it a lot harder to pull up what I’m working on if I’m out, and while I put a lot on the servers, simply rebuilding the dev environment without my notes might be complicated. With a desktop, I can just say, log in to my machine, and what you need is “x.”

      BYOD has its place, but even small businesses shouldn’t rely on it exclusively except for possibly contractors. It’s not just “bringing your own tools,” and in my opinion the chef/construction worker arguments don’t work. It’s more like a restaurant is unlikely to allow a chef to not document their recipes (I hope) and an electrical construction worker certainly wouldn’t be allowed to keep the only copy of the electrical plans, and that’s what BYOD feels like.

      Also, employers should be cognizant of the point made in many other comments here. BYOD was always present for the upper echelon. In how many companies does anyone think that the C-Suite couldn’t pick their own device, even if it was a personal one? The modern BYOD movement sells itself to companies in one way. It claims that it transfers the responsibility of purchasing and maintaining a computer – which is not insignificant, I’ve read some studies that showed that white collar employee equipment cost up to 5% of the employee’s salary – onto the employee. It sells to the employee through the illusion of choice and freedom, always a wonderful sales pitch. What it actually does is threefold.

      #1 Transfers sales from enterprise device manufacturers (meaning HP, Lenovo and Dell) to consumer device manufacturers (Acer, Asus, Apple and many others – including the consumer divisions of the three above).
      #2 Massively increase device churn, as consumer devices are in general less well made and long lasting, especially at the cheap end, than enterprise ones.
      #3 Transfer the massive amounts of money that had been locked up in hardware refresh cycles to MDM software and cloud vendors that enable BYOD.

      None of those things are good for business owners or employees.

      1. A fly on the wall*

        Gah! Didn’t finish the thought.

        BYOD’s rise just one more thing that is squeezing the middle class. Good computer hardware isn’t cheap. For someone like me to spend a small chunk of my income on devices is something I can do. It actually costs less than my professional society memberships. But for someone at or below the national median income? It could be a big expense.

        Now remember that more and more schools are going this way, too:

  21. Steve Song*

    I worked at a major for-profit university for many years, and after I was laid off I think that the industry’s current terrible reputation killed my chances with a couple of job opportunities. Many of these companies are closing campuses, lawsuits against them everywhere, bad press (just do a Google search), that regardless of your position at the company, there is an “ick” factor. And that association (unfairly) might stick with you.

    1. ilovejoshlyman*

      I don’t think it is that unfair, to be honest. After all, these people chose to work in those environments knowing the reputation and business practices associated with them. Frankly, if I was screening applications (and I’ve done so in an academic environment) and saw someone worked at a for-profit university, I would question their judgement and their ethics. It isn’t like people who are hired at these places can claim ignorance about the sheer lack of ethics most of these universities employ.

      So, no I don’t think that association is unfair. In fact, I think it is entirely justified.

      1. Steve Song*

        …to a point. Depends on the functional area, if you’re a faculty member (vs. corporate zombie), if you have actual experience in this very specific industry, etc.

        1. ilovejoshlyman*

          I’m well aware there are people at these for-profit institutions that are really excellent teachers, and perhaps even excellent researchers with great industry knowledge and such. However, those people still took the job at the for-profit and all of their great knowledge and experience doesn’t change that one bit. Hell, a person could win a Nobel, and I’d still judge them for taking a position at a for-profit. My – and others, from discussions with others in academia – issue is less about their skill as an academic and more about the fact that they took the job in the first place.

          1. Toast*

            I don’t understand the harsh judgment here. It’s well known that more and more adjuncts are being used in higher education – where would these folks go for employment if there are no non-profits hiring?

  22. Graciosa*

    For the letter writer in #5, please calm yourself down.

    The manager said she would email you yesterday – it’s a little early to panic.

    I know this is hard to remember when you’re out of work, but managers are dealing with different things and prioritize in ways that make sense for the business. There are a lot of things that come up during the day that need more immediate attention than this email.

    I think Alison provided a good script for you, but I would wait for a day or two – at least twenty-four hours! – before using it.

    Best wishes.

    1. #5*

      She actually sent it later the day I asked this question. I had not received (at least) one email she had sent, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t something on my part! Thanks for the advice!! :)

  23. Diddly*

    Not really sure why first OP should feel too bad, the company are aware that he was unhappy, he only promised to stay a year, he’s done half of that. Ask A Manager usually would say in a contractual situation where you can offer x amount of notice that he should leave for the better role and that companies are built to deal with this and you shouldn’t feel guilty. I think it’s the same situation, except you apologised due to unforeseen circumstances you are unable to keep your promise, a role has fallen into your lap. They would have had to find someone in 6 months anyway, ‘promising’ to stay in a job is ridiculous and childish. Who knows what can happen within a year. At the point you made your ‘promise’ which sounds v 8th grade to me rather than the job world, you meant to keep in, however life got in the way. You could have promised and got v sick, or any other number of things. Equally you could have promised and then just upped and left instead as I understand it you’ll talk to them, thank them and hand your notice in.

  24. Yep*

    #1 – I’m semi in the same boat, but sticking with my word. I got hired for a part-time position well below my skill levels, and my boss knew it. He said he’d “take a chance on me” but was worried I’d leave at some point, which he’d understand, but still…I in turn promised him I would not leave during their busy season, and I don’t job search during that time. My father sent me a link to a potential good job during this time frame and I told him I couldn’t apply at that time. He disagreed with me on how I was handling it, and said I “need to do what’s right for [me].” So, yeah, people disagree on this one, and like Alison said you have to decide if it’s worth it for you.

    Two things though – 1, if this did just fall into your lap, that gives you a bit of a leg to stand on, and 2, if you give the appropriate two weeks notice (or more, if possible?) you can offer to help your boss find and train your replacement – but I would try to go above and beyond here, maybe even offering to let them contact you with questions after your leave (MAYBE, because that could get annoying).

    “Bob, I know I promised not to leave during the first year and I feel very conflicted about this, but I cannot turn down this opportunity that has come my way. That being said, of course I’m giving the appropriate two weeks notice, and am more than happy to help you find and train my replacement. I’ve already browsed some resumes on such and such site, and I think we could advertise on this one…” Etc.

    And #3: I have also been in this position and 100% understand you feel weird asking for this when there’s a tight budget and you like and respect your boss. But I would recommend standing your ground. At an old job, I used to bring in my laptop frequently because I needed programs I didn’t have on my regular computer; I also spent my own money for the company many times without being reimbursed.

    Bringing my personal computer into work blurred the lines after awhile between what was work and what was personal, and I ended up getting fired (not by my good boss, he had left at this point – another story!) partly because of doing personal computer things on company time. Not that I’m saying you’re doing this, because you’re probably smarter than I was back then, but just be wary. Be very wary.

    On a less serious note, you just don’t want to get into the habit of spending your own money on work stuff without being reimbursed. You’ll feel good about yourself at first – team player, making sacrifices – but after time you may grow resentful of it.

  25. Another Steve G*

    #1 Look out for #1 (no pun intended, but totally intended). Your company wouldn’t give you the salary you asked for; they made you negotiate. They know you don’t like working there and that’s on them. Apologize, try and give a long notice, do your best to leave them in a good place, but take the better opportunity if it will improve your quality of life.

  26. Katie*

    #3: I can understand not wanting to provide your own computer, especially when it was not listed in the terms of the job. However, in my industry it can be a fairly common practice to ask employees to bring their own gear for a weekly kit rental fee, whether they’re working 1099 or as a regular employee. On certain projects I’ve done, I’ve gotten kit rental fees ranging from $25 to $50 a week, tax free. If you’re willing to use your own gear and go this route, it might be worth it to bring it up to your boss as an option outside of being provided with a work computer.

  27. Laaaaate for this but...*

    #3, yes, you’re going to deal with snobbery if you want to cross over. I don’t know if I posted this on the previous thread, but at my last educational job, I knew a woman who got a for-profit degree (which was legitimate as a degree, a UoP degree I think, not a Corinth College nightmare), and our own institution told her, when she applied for a higher position, that they did not consider the UoP degree relevant.

    So, are we talking something like an instructional design position, or more like an institutional effectiveness role? Are we talking an adjunct position or full-time? Anything that may be seen to be building the for-profit as an institution might be viewed more unfavorably than something that would be more specific to building say, effectiveness of a specific course, or something that really helped students. There are all kinds of other issues with being an adjunct but adjuncts do have a reputation for being passionate about good teaching and helping their students, and I don’t think that would necessarily hurt someone who taught at a for-profit.

    And I know an instructional designer and project manager who has worked both for for-profits like Capella and also state universities. She’s extremely talented and respected. That said, her very first job wasn’t at a for-profit.

    If you are early in your career I would think twice because of the bad reputation. Now it doesn’t matter that I worked for a dotcom during the first “dot bomb” era, but I don’t think it helped for several years.

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