should managers always know their employees’ salaries, an insulting job offer, and more

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

1. Should managers always know the salaries of the people they’re managing?

Is there ever a situation in which a manager should NOT know how much his or her direct report is making? Should every manager, even a first time manager, be entitled to know the salary of the person he/she is managing?

Yes. If you’re truly managing people (and not, say, a team lead with only limited supervisory authority), part of your job is to ensure that your people are being appropriately compensated. Another part is to to work to retain high performers, and salary is a big part of that. If you’re being asked to manage people but told you can’t know a fundamental part about their employment relationship with your organization, that’s a problem and indicative of a pretty weird philosophy somewhere above you.

2. Should I be insulted by this job offer?

I was flown into town for an in-person interview following a successful phone interview. During both interviews, we went through a round of hypotheticals in addition to detailing the specifics of my past experience on my resume. I flew home feeling really good about my chances (I also have never interviewed for a position I didn’t get, so I had that bit of confidence going for me, though I know that’s no indicator of future success.)

However, a week later (today), they called me (the executive director along with the rest of the team on the call) to say that they absolutely loved me, they thought I would bring great value to the organization but that they had concerns about my experience and that I didn’t have the same familiarity with the organization as their current team (?). Now, keep in mind, my experience hadn’t changed from the moment I applied to this phone call (in fact, it had recently been enhanced because one of my top accomplishments was signed into law this past week). She said instead of hiring me for the position they’d been interviewing me for for weeks, they’d like to offer me an entry-level position in the same department. The pay would be significantly lower than the original position (which was both already lower than my last position and would result in me making less than I have since I was 19) and would essentially knock me down about three rungs from where I am already professionally. They also said they wouldn’t hire anyone for the original position if I took the entry level one, but maybe in a few years, I could work my way up.

I have seven years of work experience and have operated at a director-level position the last year at a similarly sized organization, and haven’t interviewed or been offered less than that same level in a couple years by anyone until now. I have a ton of questions and I feel absolutely terrible about myself at this point, but I guess the one I’d like you to answer is: should I be insulted?

I don’t know about insulted; it’s such a ridiculous-sounding offer (take an entry-level position when you’re well above entry-level and maybe in a few years, you might be able to work your way up?) that it’s hard to take them seriously enough to be insulted. Also, calling to have this conversation with the entire team on the phone is weird, which is another point on the side of “there’s no point in feeling insulted by people who operate strangely.”

But it certainly doesn’t sound like a job you should take.

3. I’m nervous about carpooling with a coworker who I’ve heard is an unsafe driver

I work in a state government agency, and my coworkers and I occasionally carpool to out-of-town meetings in state-owned vehicles. After traveling to a meeting, one of my coworkers told me privately that another coworker, “Joe,” was a dangerous driver and kept picking at his nails instead of keeping his eyes on the road while he was driving a state-owned vehicle on the interstate.

Now I am nervous to carpool with Joe to meetings. We often have to drive six hours in one day for these meetings (three hours each way), and I know he always volunteers to do some of the driving, so it would be hard to justify why I or someone else in the car needed to drive the entire six hours. Should I say something to him or his supervisor about his driving, even though I haven’t ridden with him to witness it myself? I suppose I could drive my own car to these meetings, but he would still be putting himself and my other coworkers at risk.

Well, first, have you ridden with Joe yourself? And if so, have you observed this same issue? If you’ve ridden with him and didn’t see problems with his driving, I’d trust your own first-hand impressions over someone else’s.

If you haven’t driven with him yourself but you trust the judgment of the coworker who shared it with you, go back to that person and say that you’re troubled by what he shared, but that since you haven’t witnessed it first-hand, you feel a little stuck. Ask if it’s okay for you to discreetly mention your coworker’s observations to Joe’s manager, who can then figure out how to navigate it from there. (And really, this is not likely to result in Joe getting in big trouble or being yanked off the road; it’s more likely to result in his manager getting more information or observing it himself.)

Also, if you ever are driving with Joe or someone else who’s making you feel unsafe, you can say something in the moment! It’s perfectly reasonable to say, “Hey, pay attention to the road and stop doing other things,” followed by “I’m really uncomfortable with your level of attention to the road and would like to take over as driver” if they don’t stop.

4. Applicant tracking systems that don’t allow for context

I will be completing my BA this December. I have already started applying for jobs. Many employers specifically ask if you have a bachelor’s degree. I’m worried that by answering no, my application is being rejected as soon as I complete it. How can I avoid this? Is it too early to apply for positions? There is a position that I really want but at the end of the application, the very last question was “do you have a bachelor’s degree?” I feel like the tracking system will kick out my application and resume. What should I do?

Yeah, one of the problems with automated application systems is that they often don’t allow for the judgment that a good hiring manager would bring to screening. If you’re going to have your degree by the time you’d start — or very close to it — it would be silly to screen you over not having it this very instant.

When you’re using an electronic application system, it’s reasonable to answer questions in the spirit in which they’re intended so they don’t screen you out over something that you’re pretty sure wouldn’t be an obstacle for a human screener. In this case, it’s reasonable to just answer “yes,” as long as your resume makes it clear that the degree is expected in December, but not yet completed. It’s unlikely anyone will think you misrepresented anything, but if you’re asked about it, you can explain your thinking. More on this here.

5. I share a last name with someone I don’t want to be associated with

I’m in my 20s, and currently undergoing a job search after being laid off a few weeks ago from my job of over five years. So far, no one has contacted me as yet, which I can understand. But a couple of days ago, I happened to google {my last name} {my city} in that exact format…and to my shock and horror, the top search results were several news articles about an impaired driver with the same last name and from same city as me, who caused the death of a pedestrian (about 15 years ago; I was under age 10 at the time)…and yet due to shoddy police work and legal loopholes, never faced criminal charges nor jail time, and instead got slapped with only a temporary license suspension, which caused an outrage in the community.

My last name is uncommon enough that I’m sure many in my city would automatically assume I’m related to the impaired driver. For the last 15 years, no one ever brought the incident to my attention (I only learned about it by googling). But I now have fear that maybe this may hamper my job search. Should I be worried? How should I handle something like this?

I wouldn’t worry about this at all. First of all, an employer who googles you is generally going to google your full name, not just your last name. Plus, we’re aware that there lots of people share the same last name and aren’t all related … and even if this was your relative, few employers would hold you responsible for a crime you obviously had nothing to do with.

I’d assume this is a non-issue and not worry about it.

{ 254 comments… read them below }

  1. snuck*

    #2… you could be insulted, or you could just decline it. They sound fruitier than a Christmas cake, and it sounds a bit bully-ish to deny your experience, offer you a cruddy job and do it all in front of an audience of people you are then supposed to be working with. Prime targetting behaviour.

    I’d just decline and say a polite something like ” Thanks for the opportunity to apply, the role you’ve offered isn’t one I am interested in.” and if pushed respond “Well the position you’ve offered isn’t the same level, pay rates or experience and qualifications as the one I applied for, I’m only interested in positions that can at least match my current level of experience and rates of compensation, good luck with your search for someone” and bail.

    1. Artemesia*

      Oh and of course you should feel insulted, but there is no percentage in that so the advice above is spot on.

      1. AcidMeFlux*

        This is bizare. It reminds me of the kind of crap techniques taught by professional pickup artists, like “the neg”; after sweet-talking a woman, they’re supposed to suddenly drop an insult or disparaging comment. What kind of candidate are they expecting to atract?

        1. Creag an Tuire*

          Ones with low self-esteem that you can walk all over? So, exactly like the pickup artists, IOW.

        2. Research Assistant*

          It reminds me of a recent experience I had trying to sell some furniture on Craigslist. An older couple came to look at two dressers I was selling. The wife offered me half the (already extremely low) asking price and told me three or four times how horrible the dressers were and that nobody would ever buy them from me because they were so awful. I declined her offer and two hours later someone else came an bought both of them with no complaints at the price I’d asked. Insulting people is not an effective negotiation technique!

          1. Crabby PM*

            Years ago, after being laid off, I went for an interview for a role I was very excited about, working on an account I had great interest, knowledge and passion in. The interview started late, and the HR rep asked me questions about another role entirely. I waited for the first opening to say, “I’m sorry, I think there was some confusion. I was actually here to interview for [role I was brought in for].” He said, “Well, that role has been filled.” I completed the interview out of respect for the recruiters who sent me there, and went on with my day.

            Later that afternoon, the recruiter called to say that they’d offered me the job, with a title underneath mine, with a salary $40k below what I was asking. When she asked him why, he said, “Well, didn’t you tell me she got laid off a month ago? At this point she should be happy to take any job, I’ve been trying to fill this role for three months, this is the job I’m offering her, she can take it or leave it.”

            I left it.

    2. Chriama*

      Overall it sounds like they don’t know what they want — if market rate for someone with your experience is X, and they want to pay 0.5*x, they should be looking at people with 0.5*your experience. My default reaction to “should I feel __” comments, is to rephrase them as “am I justified/ is it reasonable to feel __”, but I still think that feeling insulted by people who are clueless or incompetent is kind of odd. Be annoyed that they wasted your time, sure. Be hurt that you were rejected for the job you wanted, sure. But be insulted? Unless the question is “do you think they were deliberately trying to insult me,” I don’t understand why you would feel that way (although of course you don’t need to justify your emotions to me or anyone else!).

      1. Chriama*

        Have to add — unless the job responsibilities between this new, lower role and the original one you interviewed for are clearly different, it sounds to me like they just don’t want to pay (or maybe can’t afford) the higher level position and are hoping to get a discount employee. Totally annoying.

        1. MK*

          Exactly this. Which is kind of proven by the fact that they won’t hire anyone for the original position; obviously the OP is meant to take over the job without the title or the salary.

          1. MsM*

            Or they plan to keep looking, and as soon as someone does come along they like better, they’ll make up some excuse for filling the role.

        2. Artemesia*

          I hired for years for a position where we wanted to pay beer salary for a champagne set of experiences; managed to hired about a dozen pretty qualified people over that time. BUT the one big difference is that from the gitgo we made the range for the position clear; we didn’t put it in the ad but we discussed it in the initial contact or phone interview and also to anyone considering applying who asked. Our target demographic since we knew we were not paying enough was early retirees from the corporate world or the military with the advanced degrees and experiences we wanted since money was often not their primary motivation for a career change. We did hire several junior people but also several retiring c-suite types who wanted a few years doing something different.

        3. AMT*

          It’s like those bait-and-switch apartments in Manhattan. “Yeah, we don’t have that cheap two-bedroom anymore, but would you like an overpriced studio above a fish market?’

          1. Bluebirds Fly*

            I also thought classic bait and switch, either by a bully or predator-ish type who wants to trick people into giving them the upper hand.

        4. _ism_*

          I think this is what has happened to me. After a year I’m seeing a lot of signs that my company got a good deal on me and I was naive enough to take them at their word in the interview. I didn’t even know this until last week, but wages have been frozen for a DECADE. I had an “ask for raise” speech all written and everything :(

          1. John B Public*

            Ask anyways. If you don’t, the answer is no regardless. But if you ask, the answer could be yes (and your manager might go to bat for you). And you’ll know where you stand, and of course we all know the unstated “or else” in any raise question is “I’ll start looking for another job.”

            Which also indicat

      2. Revolver Rani*

        I’d even go a step further and ask, what do you get out of feeling insulted? It’s not like you’re going to challenge them to a duel. It’s pretty clear that you don’t want to take the position, and you can and should tell them exactly why – I’m looking for something more in line with my experience, like the position I originally applied for. Spending any more energy on these disingenuous loons doesn’t really get you anything.

        1. RG*

          Meh, I don’t really like the idea of asking what you get out of having an emotion. Asking that for an action, sure, but you don’t want our need to have an emotion lead to a next step or resolution. It’s just something you feel, full stop. I mean, FWIW, I would be more irritated than insulted by this, but I don’t necessarily expect bring irritated to accomplish anything – I’m just irritated because this is a sh*tty thing to do.

          1. Loose Seal*

            Well, the question was “should I be insulted” rather than “what actions should I take.” I do think it’s a valid point that you feel what you feel but if you’re having to ask someone else what you should feel, then Rani’s question is appropriate. (Plus, I just love the idea of challenging them to a duel so thanks for that image, Rani!)

            1. Amy UK*

              I guess it depends how you interpret “should I be insulted?”. It seems you interpreted it as “I don’t have any feelings about this, but should I be feeling insulted?”, whereas I read it more as “I feel insulted, but am I justified to feel that way?”.

              I don’t think OP is asking whether she should work herself up into an offended state and challenge the company, more asking if the emotion she’s feeling (insult) is reasonable.

        2. _ism_*

          OP could just as easily used “righteous indignation” to mean what they meant. It all comes down to wanting to feel validated in their disappointment and bewilderment at this offer. That’s legit.

    3. katamia*

      I agree. There doesn’t seem to be anything personal in how they acted. It just seems like a very dysfunctional workplace.

    4. T*

      As someone that works for a large company that has been struggling the past few years, we try to pull this crap all the time. In our situation, a senior person leaves and we need to replace them. Most of our senior people are underpaid because they came up through the ranks with only small bumps at each level. So, now that we treated them like crap and they left, we need to pay 20% more to replace them. Since we’re strapped, we are only allowed to replace them at their old salary which is not enough to attract an equally experienced person. So, what we do is put off discussing salary as long as possible and hope we “hooked them” enough to take a much lower salary with (completely empty) promises to take care of them later. So far the only ones that have taken the lower paid jobs failed in the roles because they lied to us about their experience too:)

      1. s*

        We do the same thing except we pay half the market rate for devs at a start up in a big city, and have almost no benefits. And they won’t hire new grads (who we could get cheap) because they won’t be rock stars.

        And our interview process has 7 separate parts. Including a test, homework, and a presentation.

        ^^I am not responsible for any of that.

          1. Alston*

            So far someone who was unemployed but so insulted he almost didn’t take it.

            And someone who feels to stressed to come in each day by 1pm, usually he’s here by 1:30 or 2, but you know, deadlines stress him out.

    5. Stranger than fiction*

      Agreed. I wonder is this is their tactic- to bait and switch because they’re cheap cheap cheap, and hope someone will be desperate enough to take it? I’m dying to know how the Op responded on the call.

    6. MissDisplaced*

      It sounds like what they only care about is money. Don’t take it personally, but what a bait and switch. Run, don’t walk away!

  2. Blurgle*

    OP#2, this seems really skeezy and utterly bizarre. No new hire could have the same familiarity with the organization as the current team! And if they wanted someone with more experience why would they not just look for someone with that experience?

    Did they just realize they massively underbudgeted for the position and are trying to get you to do the work without the appropriate title or compensation? Are they lowballing you because they think you’re desperate or naive, or an easy mark? Are they discriminating for some reason? It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    1. Artemesia*

      The only thing I could imagine is that you are not currently employed so they think they can abuse and exploit you. I had a job offer like that once when I was displaced in a merger. I didn’t apply; someone sent a letter offering a job that was frankly beyond insulting. Since I hadn’t applied I just ignored it then got a snotty letter copied to everyone connected with the organization about how rude I was. I thought the offer was rude and had felt that unsolicited it was likely to be some sort of weird mass mailing to anyone they could think of who was vulnerable.

      Some things you just have to walk away from.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        I also can’t help but think the OP may be female. . .something about an <30 (assuming this, based on 7 years experience) female who may look younger gives some people heart burn about putting them into positions of authority. If it’s a flat organization where the options are only director or entry-level, then you’re stuck with entry-level since you can’t be director yet. You know, “Our clients are more comfortable with someone more seasoned.” I hope this isn’t the case, but it could be one explanation for higher enthusiasm before they met the OP.

    2. alter_ego*

      ” No new hire could have the same familiarity with the organization as the current team!”

      that line really stuck out at me as well. Of course she doesn’t have as much familiarity with the team! That’s like taking the purple unicorn principal another step further.

      1. June*

        Perhaps this is nothing personal, i.e. not an insult.

        This might be routinely done to get people who they believe might be desperate because they are currently unemployed, as cheaply as possible.

          1. Hlyssande*

            I agree with this. I would feel insulted in this case. It may not be intended as a personal insult, but if they don’t think the OP is going to see through their bait and switch…ugh.

            It makes me mad on the OP’s behalf.

            1. Mabel*

              This made me think of a situation in which my co-workers and I were helping to populate a help system that was clearly going to replace us, and the people managing us lied to our faces that this wasn’t going to happen, The worst part was that they must have thought we were pretty stupid to believe them. (The new system did replace our team, and I only barely escaped being laid off because another team needed my particular expertise.) So I agree with Hlyssande that it might not be personal, but it could still feel insulting.

          2. W.*

            Yeah it’s still insulting and cruel to prey upon people who you believe are desperate. It’s another one of those times I guess when OP can count their lucky stars that the company showed its true colors before they got into the job (silver-lining) -sounds like a mean/bullying type environment,

            1. Bluebirds Fly*

              You thankfully found out before getting sucked into a place that undervalued their staff members.

          3. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Thank you for making this distinction. It explains how I felt in the recent job I just left. My boss’s wife (also my boss, but I don’t want to claim her) was insulting to everyone, and she kept telling me to not take her insulting comments personally. Okay, I guess the comments are not technically “personal” if she indiscriminately speaks like that to everyone, but it IS still insulting!

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              I mean, if you insult everyone that you meet, does the fact that it’s “not personal” erase the insult? No — it just makes you, universally, an insulting jackass.

              Not to belabor the point, but this is still a sore spot with me that I’m still processing.

      2. AnonAnalyst*

        I know. I can only really see two possibilities:

        1) They think you’re desperate and think they can exploit/take advantage of you.

        2) They’re bad at hiring because they don’t do it very often, and their perception of the difficulty of what they do is overblown. When I’ve seen this happen, it’s been in organizations where everyone has been there for a long time and thus has a lot of institutional knowledge, and thinks it would be impossible for someone else to learn all that they know. It’s like they somehow forget that they all learned about the organization at some point and overestimate the difficulty someone else would have coming in, so it becomes a real sticking point and morphs into a huge concern as they narrow down the candidates and get close to making a decision.

        In either case, they were kind enough to show you that you don’t want to work for them, because they’re either happy to take advantage of you or because you’ll forever have trouble advancing within the organization as they’ll continue to think of you as the person with less knowledge/experience than the rest of the team. Bullet dodged. I am sorry, though, that this turned out the way it did as it sounds like you were genuinely interested in the job you thought you were interviewing for, and it sucks when those things don’t work out.

        1. The Strand*

          Seriously wise thoughts. I’m catching up on older posts and among all the gems here I am glad you made these points about “institutional knowledge”. This is a real thing.

          My spouse has been with the same company almost a decade and has until recently been considered “the person with less knowledge/experience than the rest of the team”. In a place where everyone has been there for a very long time and knows “the way we’ve always done it”, someone with new information and more accurate perception of changes in the market may not be appreciated.

      3. Natalie*

        This reminds me a friend’s family, who hazes people that marry in because “they’re not X Family”. Um, duh? I should hope they aren’t!

      4. J*

        My guess is that it’s just an excuse that they made up as a reason to underpay and put OP at a lower level than they promised before.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      Yeah, that part is weird and made me wonder if it’s their strange way of saying they’d rather an internal candidate get the position?

  3. snuck*

    #3 why not take a shorter drive if you get the opportunity with the driver and see what you think. Six hours stuck in a car with someone is a looooong time and if they are a really bad driver that’s going to be awful, but if they are generally ok and your friend’s tolerance is different to yours then it’s not worth the drama.

    Another thing is – a drive this long is actually quite dangerous – people should swap drivers for something like this every two hours, people become tired and distracted – so suggest that too – that drivers need to be rotated half way for each leg of the journey, and suggest a place for a leg stretch to make that happen.

    If you find the driver is actually bad you could raise your issues with your manager (“I am uncomfortable driving with Bob, last time we drove he was distracted a lot and swerved over the middle lines several times at 100 km an hour and also went into the soft shoulder – he was all over the road and it’s quite frightening at those speeds! Can you suggest a way that we can do this trip without Bob driving?”) and also are there other options? What about a train or hired car with driver or travelling up the night before and staying in a hotel room and doing some more work or visits in that town?

    1. Chriama*

      I also like the planning to swap drivers partway through the trip, and this should be discussed in advance.

      1. Beezus*

        Yes to this! When I’ve made the 3.5 hour trip to the mega-metropolis nearest to me for work, I always suggest stopping at a big, very nice rest stop about halfway out. It’s the perfect place to stretch legs, grab a bagel (everyone tends to skip breakfast when we’re departing at 6 am), hit the bathroom, and switch drivers.

    2. MK*

      I think you overestimate the danger, people drive long distances all the time. But it is a good way to avoid a reckless driver. And sharing the driving is more fair in any case.

      1. SL*

        I drove 6+ hours each day for 4 days straight back in February. Dangerous, probably, but not much more dangerous than just the act of driving. I was also very careful to get enough sleep, no matter how we partied at night!

      2. Engineer Girl*

        I think you’ll find that those in Australia and the western U.S. consider a 6 hour drive quite normal and not any more dangerous than a 2-3 hour drive. But I wouldn’t want to be in a car with a reckless driver.

          1. bridget*

            It’s only at the 12 hour mark that I think that I should probably have a relief driver with me or stop at a hotel for a night’s rest. Anything under that I can do by myself in one leg.

            1. Shortie*

              Yep, 12 hours is my tipping point too. I start to feel tired when I get closer to 13, so 12 seems like a safe place to stop before any tiredness sets in.

        1. katamia*

          Eastern US, too, although my family liked to take things to the extreme and has done 15 hours in a single day.

          OP said it was two 3-hour drives, though, which isn’t even as bad as a 6-hour drive.

        2. snuck*

          I’m about 2hrs out of Perth, Western Australia. Outing myself here ;)

          I used to regularly drive 5hrs to visit my folks in the south west of Western Australia and back again over a weekend. It was a normal run to visit family.

          I also have driven the M1 from Brisbane to Sydney, Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane to Canberra etc more times than I can remember. Those are trips over 1,000km and I only broke them up a couple of times… but by the end of about 10hrs of driving, now usually in dark and with very ‘average’ road conditions it became clear it was time to refresh and stretch… oh yes it did.

          1. snuck*

            Oh, and it was only 10hrs to Esperence from Perth to visit other family, a regular summer drive for great beaches… did it once with a broken wrist. In a manual car that was as old as I was. That was less fun.

          1. ConstructionHR*

            Yeah, 90 minute drive in most of TX is about 120 miles; 90 minute drive in the northeast is about 10 miles. Heck, we’d drive 45 minutes to Victoria just to go to the Chinese buffet.

            1. the gold digger*

              A co-worker in England said he had to spend a weekend over in Dallas for work, so thought he might do something touristy on the Saturday.

              “I really liked the movie ‘Friday Night Lights,'” he said, “so thought I would drive to Midland/Odessa for the day.”

              Then he looked at a map and was stunned.

              1. Mabel*

                I know! A friend and I were going to visit her family in El Paso, and I thought we could go to Austin as long as we were already in Texas. I looked at a map and realized it was probably farther from El Paso to Austin than it was from my hometown to El Paso.

        3. AnotherAlison*

          Truck drivers can legally drive 8 hrs before they take a 30 minute break, can drive 11 hours total, and be on duty for 14. Hope they aren’t a danger after a couple hours of driving!

        4. Chinook*

          “I think you’ll find that those in Australia and the western U.S. consider a 6 hour drive quite normal and not any more dangerous than a 2-3 hour drive.”

          Ditto for Canada. I personally have driven 2 hours for a Big Mac and 3 hours for sushi and the returned home after eating. A friend and I did 3 hours one way in Japan for really good curry and a camera shop (that had closed the week before, we learned when we arrived) and, after eating, went home. 10-12 hours of driving over 3 days while moving across country became normal for me because it meant fewer hotel stays (think 2.5 days vs. the 4 the government budgets for in these moves).

          That being said, even 20 minutes in a car with an unsafe driver is too much for me but, unfortunately, they only start to look unsafe when you are in a city because, on the highway (around here) the only thing they interact with are others cars going slower than they are (and random, suicidal deer and moose whom no one can predict)

        5. beachlover*

          We often drive 6 hrs from So. California to Flagstaff, Arizona to visit Family. Not that bad if you stop about 1/2 way there for lunch and to rest a min. And driving 4 hrs to Vegas is a piece of cake.

          OP mentioned having more than one person, so switching drives should make it much easier.

        6. Gene*

          I’ve been known to drive to Portland, OR from north of Seattle to do a shopping expedition to Powell’s, Voodoo Doughnuts and Edelweiss Deli, then return home the same day (~3.5 hrs each way) on more than one occasion. And I’ve towed the race car I used to own from here to Spokane and back (5 hrs each way) in one day to get some instrument work done twice.

          800 mile days are easy, 1000 mile days are doable, my PR is Seattle to Phoenix in <24 hrs (~1500 miles).

        7. Honeybee*

          I’m from the east coast of the U.S. and I don’t find a 6 hour drive particularly dangerous. I used to drive 4 hours pretty regularly and I could do 2 more hours without crashing into an, although I’d be tired of driving, lol.

      3. snuck*

        I drive long distances regularly – I clock over 1,000km a week every week (I live in a small country town in rural Western Australia and have to drive to the city every week for my son’s therapy appointments)… driving more than a couple of hours can be incredibly fatiguing if you don’t do it often, and people over estimate their ability to stay alert and functional… as demonstrated by the road toll around where I live.

        If they are all used to driving more than a couple of hours on a regular basis and haven’t had to stoke up on caffiene to gee themselves up for it, aren’t hung over from the night before, are functioning normally with sufficient breakfast, sleep and so on… sure. But if they aren’t, then breaking it up like that is a Really Good Idea.

        Australia has a program of ‘free coffee for driver’ at most rural roadhouses… not because coffee is good for you but because getting drivers to stop is good.

    3. Zillah*

      While I get what you’re saying, I think that driving for three hours isn’t more dangerous than driving less time (let alone “quite dangerous”) provided that the person has a fair amount of experience to start with. I can maybe see it for a new driver, but even then – I’m actually a new driver, and I’ve found that I’m much better after an hour or two, not worse, bc I’ve reaccustomed myself with the car. I think that this may be a YMMV, bc I really don’t know anyone for whom driving more than a couple hours is dangerous unless they’re super tired… Which is obviously a different problem.

    4. Bostonian*

      In addition to what other commenters have mentioned about a person’s experience with long drives, I’ll add that all driving is not created equal. Driving on an urban highway in an area you’re not familiar with at rush hour in the rain or after dark is very different and more tiring than a trip you’ve done repeatedly on a mostly-empty highway through a rural area on a sunny afternoon. The stop-and-go city driving in my area can be very stressful because there are so many pedestrians and cyclists, not to mention bizarre and complicated intersections, and it’s not uncommon for me to take wrong turns the first time I go somewhere new even with GPS. Driving near my relatives’ place in the suburban midwest is a breeze in comparison.

      I’ve done enough long drives that I know that three hours is about my limit before I need to switch drivers or take a real break, not just a quick pit stop. But there have definitely been times when I’ve hit my limit much sooner than that because of the particular driving conditions.

      1. Chinook*

        “The stop-and-go city driving in my area can be very stressful because there are so many pedestrians and cyclists, not to mention bizarre and complicated intersections, and it’s not uncommon for me to take wrong turns the first time I go somewhere new even with GPS.”

        Around here, it isn’t the crazy intersections but the new roads they have put in that haven’t made it to the GPS yet. I still get lost driving near where I lived during university because the turnoff I used to take no longer exists and the road I have to take makes my GPS panic because it believes I am going through farmer fields and a 100 year old building (which was obviously removed). Passengers who don’t know about these changes would be worried about my driving because I am constantly muttering to myself “but the road should be right here.”

    5. myswtghst*

      I think this is a good suggestion. I struggle with going to the boss / refusing to ride with “Joe” based on behavior the OP only knows about second-hand and which, as far as we know, only happened once. I’m generally a pretty good driver, but if you caught me on the wrong day (over-tired / under-caffeinated / stressed), I’m not going to pretend someone couldn’t be concerned about my driving. I do think the OP needs to be prepared to speak up if they do ride with “Joe” and he’s distracted, but I think Alison covered that nicely.

      And as someone who frequently travels about 250 miles (3.5-4 hours) by car, I agree that planning to switch things up and making it clear that you’re open to switching sooner is always a good plan. My brother and I often make the trip together, and plan in advance to stop at a specific mile marker to stretch our legs and change drivers, but we also make sure to communicate throughout the drive and try not to get offended if we have to be called out on bad / distracted driving behavior.

  4. Chriama*

    #1 — I’m not sure of the context for the question, but I do think if the manager is junior enough (say a ‘supervisor’ or ‘team lead’) or depending on the structure of the company (e.g. a project manager in a matrix organization), there are times when it wouldn’t be necessary (or appropriate) to know the salaries of the people you manage. If the “first time manager” has hiring/firing authority, then they should know the salary — but I do think it’s possible to have disciplinary authority and not have hiring/firing authority, in which case it’s none of their business.

    1. straws*

      I agree, I think “manager” can be defined in many ways and it really comes down to the job duties. For my first job title that included “manager”, I was in charge of developing policies & supervising the other people in my department. I also had weigh-in for new hires, but that was it. Actual hiring decisions, salary info, even performance reviews were all handled elsewhere. I didn’t know what anyone actually made (outside of the range we were hiring at on the job postings), and it never affected my ability to perform.

      1. Artemesia*

        When I managed a division, I had to make salary decisions for raises. There wasn’t much flexibility and the raises were generally small, but I was in the position to look out for my reports. Usually this meant deciding who got the bulk of the pathetic raise pool, but I was able to give one very valuable and grossly underpaid member of the team 10% raises 3 years in a row to bring him up to a reasonable parity. This was when raises tended towards 2%. He was incredibly valuable and had in fact developed a program that literally saved the organization, but due to longevity and a merger with a better paying company and the fact that he was not probably going to leave etc etc his salary was way out of line low. If I hadn’t known that, I would not have gone to the matts to get him adequately compensated.

      2. Retail Lifer*

        Yeah, and sometimes there will be different levels of management and only the head manager knows what everyone is making. In retail, the store manager/general manager will know everyone’s salary, but the assistant manager might not. But if they don’t make the hiring decisions or do the performance evaluations, it doesn’t matter.

  5. gnarlington*

    #3, The way I like to deal with this is always in the moment. A quick comment with a humorous tone does the trick: “Hey, I value my life! So could you not?”

  6. Chriama*

    OP 5 — definitely reading way too much into this. Even if they thought you were related, unless you’re working for MADD or something I don’t see this counting against you.

    1. katamia*


      Also, why would potential employers be searching for just OP’s last name and city? Why not include her first name?

    2. Lanya*

      #5, I have a similar problem and it hasn’t caused me any issues yet. A lady from a town I briefly lived in, who has the same first and last name as me, stole a bunch of baby formula from the local Wegmans. This was shocking to me when I googled myself, but it only came up when I included the location. Perhaps there is something you can do SEO-wise to strengthen search results for your name that don’t include that article. In general though, people will search for your full name and quickly realize you are not the same person as the offender.

      1. sophiabrooks*

        My poor mother has the same name as the woman who inspired Reagan’s “Welfare Queen”, AND she was a benefits examiner for medicaid/foodstamps/etc. This was before the internet, but she did have her identity stolen to apply for a mortgage (Probably by a third person with the same name)

        1. Paige Turner*

          Your poor mother indeed! Hope she managed to have a sense of humor about it. (The Slate article about the “Welfare Queen” was crazy.)

    3. Jaydee*

      Even then, the hiring manager at MADD would probably be thinking “Oh, so *that’s* why Wakeen wants to work here!”

    4. Firstname Lightner*

      True Story: I have the same (unusual) last name as the founder of MADD. I once interviewed for a job with MADD and talked to a dozen or so employees while I was there for the interview, and not one of them ever said anything like “Lightner– any relation to our founder?” I wonder if they even *noticed*.

      OP 5 is definitely overthinking this.

    5. Beancounter in Texas*

      Also, OP, unless you’re including your hometown on your resume, I doubt anyone is making the connection.

    6. Stranger than fiction*

      Well, some staunch companies do care about their employees’ morale compass and how it would affect the company’s reputation. But, as others have said, they’d google her first and last name. I remember kind of freaking out a bit when I googled my name during my last search, and the first thing that popped up was a high-schooler in another state’s FB page with her flipping the middle finger! After a second, I realized nobody (at least nobody’d I’d want to work for) would be stupid enough to think that was me 1)wrong state, 2) she’d have been still in diapers when my work experience began.

  7. Brooke*

    I had a seriously crazypants manager at a small company who complained about everything including that that HR wouldn’t tell her how much I made. Maybe they sensed her instability and insecurities; also she couldn’t stand that I was well-liked and she… wasn’t. By a long shot.

    I doubt she was making much more than I was – possibly even the same or less. I’d negotiated a good salary years prior, including a raise at 6 months if they were happy with my work (they were), then subsequent small raises and a bump when I got my master’s. I don’t believe there were salary grade ranges at this particular job, unlike my current one which has things more structured.

  8. Kevin*

    #5 hits close to home for me. I’ve been out of college for 14 months and cannot find a professional job related to my degree for the life of me despite some really good phone interviews and in-person interviews (been doing menial part-time work in the interim). A few weeks ago, after a phone interview, a recruiter called me back and said “Are you sure you don’t have a criminal record?” I said yes and asked if there was a problem. Found out that somebody with my same first and last name has a length criminal record including assaults, felonies and armed robberies. I am absolutely horrified and immediately added my middle name/initial to my resume and cover letters to try to differentiate myself from the criminal element.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Is it worth getting a copy of your criminal record? (or rather proof that you do not have one!) When starting a new job, or during the interview process, it is quite common here to be asked for it.

        1. Kevin*

          My state just has a free court case archive. You just put any combination of first name, last name, middle initial or birthday in and you can see all criminal and civil cases that their name is attached with. I’m just hoping that with my middle initial now on my resume and cover letters they’ll find the real “me.”

          1. Natalie*

            My state specifically warns that those archives aren’t to be used for background checks. Major side eye to any employer using those for even a cursory check. :|

          2. MegEB*

            Wait, what? They don’t even need the person’s permission to go snooping through their criminal record??? That’s awful.

            1. OfficePrincess*

              The actual court filings are public record though. It won’t show arrests, just anything that made it to court.

        2. Mpls*

          Uh – it is? Some application forms have a “Do you have a criminal record?” box to check, though some states in the US are working to get rid of this (Ban the Box) if having a criminal record doesn’t directly disqualify you from the employment (per some federal/state regulation). But it doesn’t require YOU to provide the employer with a copy of your criminal record (or lack thereof). The criminal record if any, should come up as part of an official (authorized by the employee) background check that uses more than just the name and birthdate of the potential employee.

        3. RMRIC0*

          I’d imagine that most companies go through a service to get criminal records checked, I’d be a little wary of someone who had a copy right at hand.

        4. Stranger than fiction*

          They ask you to get your own instead of running their own background check? That’s weird to me.

        5. JMegan*

          I don’t think you can prove the negative, though. It’s pretty easy to demonstrate that someone does have a criminal record, but almost impossible to 100% guarantee that they don’t! The “negative” police checks that I’ve seen come back with something like “this person’s name does not appear in our database,” but specifically does not say that the person has no criminal record.

          Hopefully the middle initial does it for you, OP. Good luck!

    1. MsM*

      Yikes, I’m sorry. First and last is different from the OP’s situation, though. I can’t see an employer penalizing someone over just a last name and a 15 year old crime. Even if they thought there was a family connection, we’ve all got relatives we wish we didn’t.

      1. AE*

        Ack, I wish it were that simple. My estranged father was a database programmer and semi-functioning drug addict. We have a very uncommon last name (literally only my parents, siblings, and I have this last name in a 4-hour radius of this city), and at the time, I was trying to make a career in a related field (also within technology). About seven years ago, he got fired from a job with a national company due to customer database security mistakes he made while inebriated. Then he fought them when they tried to throw him out. It was a huge deal, very ugly.

        For about three years after that incident, it was really difficult for me to get a job. I was hung up on and escorted off the premises during interviews when they realized my last name. Interviewers would say they just couldn’t take a chance on an employee with my last name, even when I assured them that we were estranged or claimed to not know who he was or tried to preempt it with “funny story, so there’s a guy who apparently has my same last name…”.

        I actually had to change fields to escape it. Every now and then, I still run into a recruiter or hiring manager who hears/sees my name and then treats me like a slug. I wish sharing a last name didn’t affect decisions, but it definitely can.

        1. simonthegrey*

          Is it possible to change your name? I’m not asking to be rude, just wondering if it would be worth it to consider. If it still has ramifications to this day, would it be worth it?

      2. Anna*

        If merely having the same first and last names as a criminal person, every John Smith or Jane Doe in the world wouldn’t have a job.

    2. Judy*

      If you google your name and news articles come up about the other person, it might be time to do some SEO. I hear that entering timed races (5k’s, 10k’s, etc) can help to push unwanted things off the search page.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I accidentally optimized my search page when I started writing book reviews under my full name. Now people will discover I’m a massive nerd, but they’ll at least get the right me and I’ll be sounding vaguely intelligent.

      2. Kevin*

        Actually, an eBook I wrote and my Twitter page are the top results for my first and last name (Twitter only has employer-friendly opinions and rarely use it anyway, eBook is a harmless murder mystery novella I wrote and self-published for fun but thinking about disabling it just because it might be sending the wrong message). There’s also an insurance agent with the same first and last name in the same state (not the guy with the criminal record) and his page comes up as well. The news stories about the third, evil Kevin Xyz are on the bottom of the first page. The recruiter who told me mentioned his criminal record stuff that wasn’t listed in the articles I could find so I assume they paid for some background check service or just looked up court filings.

        1. Judy*

          Personally, I’d try to get those articles onto the 2nd or 3rd page, if you can. Just because this one guy did additional checks doesn’t mean other hiring managers aren’t just looking at google.

    3. Biff*

      Wow, if it’s really that bad, I’d bring it up at the end of the interview. “I want to let you know, since I just found out myself, that I share a name with an individual that has a serious criminal past. We are not one and the same, but there was confusion at a previous company and I don’t want you to be surprised.”

    4. Wander*

      I actually had the same thing happen to me – the belated discovery that background checks pull up the record of someone with the same first and last name (and birthday, for that matter). We had different middle names, and I’ve always kept mine on my resume, but that wasn’t enough.

      The place that finally pointed it out to me required me to bring in a background check from the police station, and I held on to that over the years. Now, I tell interviewers at the end of the interview, “Just so you know, historically background checks on me have pulled up criminal records for First DifferentMiddle Last. We’re not the same person, and I have a copy of my background check from the police station if you want it.” None of them have asked for it, and it hasn’t been a problem since. I think just acknowledging it is enough for most people.

    5. Green*

      My friend has the exact same name as a man who kidnapped a small boy he kept in his basement to rape for years. It could be worse!

  9. Duncan M.*

    #3. First of all, it is important to understand that some people tend to be really stressed out when someone else is driving and tend to feel unsafe regardless the situation. This is why it is a good idea to see how the same person reacts when you are driving, for example. However, if traveling with Joe as a driver can turn out to be dangerous, this is a matter that needs to be approached directly. It would be advisable to test his driving skills before actually talking to the manager, and if you notice that he does not pay attention to the road to tell him to watch out that precise moment. If he is indeed a bad driver you, and the rest of your coworkers need to tell him that he needs to be more careful, or nobody will let him drive anymore.

    1. katamia*

      Yeah. My mother is convinced that my father is an unsafe driver and will often yell things like “Watch out!” when he’s driving when there’s really nothing he needs to watch out for. She was actually banned from being in the car with me when I was driving when I was first learning as a teenager for that–she’d yell things like “Stop!” and then, when I’d stop, she’d go, “Oh, I was talking to the other car. You shouldn’t have stopped.” I’ll admit he’s a riskier driver than she is (as am I, actually, since *for some reason* he wound up being the parent who taught me to drive), but unless OP3 has other evidence to go on, 100% believing the coworker shouldn’t be the default reaction here. I like the idea of taking a shorter drive with him first if possible to see how he drives so the OP can make other arrangements if the coworker’s assessment of his driving skills is accurate.

      1. MegEB*

        OMG your family sounds just like mine. My mother tried teaching me how to drive exactly once and it didn’t go well. She did the same things your mother did, as well as adding in what my sister and I called “the invisible brake” (i.e. slamming her foot down on the floor of the passenger seat as if there was a set of a brakes). She’s just way too nervous to sit in the passenger seat.

        1. OfficePrincess*

          Same. It’s taken 10 years of driving to (mostly) break the association that being in a moving vehicle is cause for panic.

        2. Zillah*

          My mom did that to my brother. When I started to learn to drive, he warned me not to get in the car with her, bc she left him super anxious about everything. And that was with a driving school for most of his teaching!

        3. RMRIC0*

          My mother did one driving lesson, someone pulled quickly out in front of us (though w/ enough time for me to react and start stopping) and as I started gently applying the break she yelled “stop” and threw her arm in front of me like that was going to keep the car from going forward. That an all the other bad habits of teaching a kid to drive.

        4. MashaKasha*

          Oh I’ve got news for you guys. EVERYONE I know who has ever taught a teenager to drive (myself included) has done the invisible brake. If you have kids, then one day you will too.

          Riding with a teenager who’s still learning is not exactly the same thing as riding with an adult, or, even, riding with that same teenager a year later.

      2. LadyTL*

        Oh man, my mother did that to me when I was first learning to drive. All it taught me was I don’t want to drive with her in the car.

      3. OriginalEmma*

        Is your mother Hyacinth Bucket?

        “Mind the pedestrian, dear.”
        “What pedestrian?”
        “The one on the sidewalk.”

        1. Nanc*

          My brain went there, too! When I’m driving my dear old mother about and she starts doing that I just have to say “Yes, Hyacinth!” and she’ll dial it down. Now if I could just break her of flinging her arm across my front when we stop suddenly . . . (I guess mothers never outgrow that!)

      4. Chinook*

        “My mother is convinced that my father is an unsafe driver and will often yell things like “Watch out!” when he’s driving when there’s really nothing he needs to watch out for.”

        I am glad that I am not the only one this happens to. DH is a nervous passenger (with cause, he has been a passenger in 2 major car accidents where cars were totaled and a cop) and makes comments while I drive. I have replying “are you going to give me a ticket?” or ” would you like to walk?” when he mutters these things or acts like he is joking. It has been years since I even got a speeding ticket, but he can make me very nervous because of how he acts.

      5. JMegan*

        Me too! I am actually going on a trip with my mother this weekend, and she has asked me to do some of the driving. So I’m preparing a speech to the effect of “If there is any screaming, praying, braking, or criticizing when I am driving, I’m pulling over and you can drive!”

        I can deal with pretty much anything except a nervous passenger. :)

        1. Mephyle*

          Heh, the story from the other side is this. When my kids started learning to drive, they were ready to give up on me after the first lessons. Finally we came to this agreement: I told them I would do my utmost to repress the screams of panic and swift intakes of breath. But if I was unsuccessful, they would not end the lesson in a fit of righteous anger, but forgive me and we would move on. We both kept up our end of the deal, and now they are drivers.

    2. Juli G.*

      Good thought. Nail picking doesn’t seem like the type of thing that would pull your attention for a long time so I wonder if Coworker is just a very cautious driver.

        1. Juli G.*

          Yeah, and you can easily keep the hand that you’re picking at on the steering wheel.

          Again, if you only feel comfortable with a 10 and 2 type driver, that’s okay. But when you’re on an open highway and you have one hand resting on the top of the steering wheel and using the other to remove a fleck of dirt, I feel safe personally.

          The advice is to find out if this driver meets your personal standard of safety.

          1. Chinook*

            “Again, if you only feel comfortable with a 10 and 2 type driver, that’s okay.”

            Ironically, with the new steering wheels, this is a dangerous way to drive because, if the air bag goes off, you will punch yourself in the face. The new recommendation is 3 and 9 or 4 and 8, which also allows you to hold on to the wheel while it turns through your palms. In other words, someone who wants to see only 10 and 2 would be nervous around someone who drives like me.

          2. Artemesia*

            Sheesh. This is not ‘flicking off a piece of dirt’ if he is sitting there picking his nails, he is also focussed on his fingers and not the road.

        2. Stranger than fiction*

          I have to admit, I sometimes take both hands off the wheel and drive with my knee for short distances to say, put my earrings on. But I have good judgment and would only do so if I’m driving on a straight road with nobody in front or behind me for a long distance, and my eyes are on the road the whole time.

    3. SherryD*

      Yeah, could be that. I once had a coworker, Jane, arrive back at the office outraged after driving with another coworker, Ann. Jane said Ann had been speeding and she felt unsafe. I’ll never know what really happened, but I know Ann’s always been a good driver when I’m in the car, and that it’s not out of character for Jane to be nervous or alarmist…

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        That’s another good point. People are totally different when it comes to speeds at which they’re comfortable with. To some people, it’s unsafe to ever speed at all, while others are comfortable going up to 10mph above the speed limit, and still others drive as fast as they want regardless of conditions (which is when I’d feel unsafe). It’s all perspective. I hate the way my BF takes corners what I think is too fast (I feel like I’m on a roller coaster and like I’m going to end up in his lap) but he insists it’s just fine and proceeds to take them even faster just to get back at me.

        1. S*

          If this is all truly fun and games for Both of you, then fine, I guess. But if you are telling him it scares you how fast he drives around corners when you’re in the car, and he then goes even faster to make you be quiet, that is manipulative and also really really really uncool behavior on his part. He’s your boyfriend, he should care that you feel safe in the car.

  10. Seal*

    #2 – No reason to feel terrible about yourself, OP; their bait-and-switch stupidity is a reflection on them, not you. And no reason to be insulted by their stupidity, either – they’ve just given you valuable information about how they operate. Absolutely turn them down, with a note to the effect of “at this point in my career, I am not interested in an entry-level position.” And don’t accept a counteroffer from them, either; if they really wanted you that badly they wouldn’t have made such a ridiculous offer in the first place.

  11. James M*

    #2: There’s only one thing I recommend that you feel: confident in declining this “offer”.

    1. Beancounter in Texas*

      Absolutely. I’m assuming the LW is young, in their 20’s or maybe early 30’s, I’m hypothesize that the interviewers saw how youthful this person appeared and then became concerned about their years of experience after the excitement of a great interview died down. Experience isn’t the only way to acquire wisdom. Sorry, OP. They suck and you shouldn’t step down this far.

  12. MsM*

    #2 – “I also have never interviewed for a position I didn’t get”

    And hey, your track record’s not broken if they’re still trying to bring you on, albeit in the shadiest-sounding manner possible. Their utter weirdness is not a reflection on you. Please don’t take it personally. I’d be tempted to ask them if this is standard operating procedure for them, out of sheer morbid curiosity, but you’re probably best off just telling them it sounds like this isn’t going to be the best fit after all and moving on.

  13. BRR*

    #2 I usually just write people off when people ask if they should be insulted but these people suck. I’m not sure if insulted is the right word but it might be as well as pissed off. A) Obviously you don’t have the same familiarity B) To make a (shitty) offer via conference call??? C) the offer itself after you invested a ton of time. Now I know when applying for jobs you have to make an investment of your time but just being rejected is reasonable while getting an offer like this is a whole other category. There’s no way they didn’t know this was an insulting offer (of if they really didn’t know consider this a huge bullet dodged as you wouldn’t be working with people so extremely out of touch with your industry).

    #5 Overthinking it. Nobody rational is going to hold you accountable for what somebody else with the same last name did even if they were related. Also you’re pretty young so I imagine you have your graduating year on your resume, hopefully they would notice that you were ten at the time, but that doesn’t even matter because it wasn’t you.

  14. Anonymous for this*

    I work at a school within a University, and my department director doesn’t know our salaries nor is she able to see any financial information about our department. That is true of all directors- only at the Dean level do they have that information, and everything we buy must be approved. But she is still responsible for bringing in a certain amount of money, which she doesn’t know. It is seriously screwed up. It is also weird because she hires people, but can’t even give them a salary range- they have to say yes first, and then they get a letter with salary, which they can accept or decline.

    With the online application system at my university, I know of 2 hires who were denied by HR after we hired them because they put yes in the Bachelors field and hadn’t graduated. They were also banned from being hired at any position for one year. One we actually waited and hired later. Our system is not actually automated, so it wasn’t screening anyone, so that was really bad for them. In one case the applicant asked the hiring manager what to put, and the hiring manager said to put Bachelors, but the hiring manager was not able to override because it was considered failing the background check.

    1. Sigrid*

      Having Been There and Done That, I can say that university hiring practices are quite commonly completely effed up.

      1. Anonymous for this*

        Yes, in both these cases the person was recruited, interviewed and hired, then the job was posted and they were told to apply through the system as a formality. That’s how I was hired for my first role as well. So it was really a mess when they could not be hired.

    2. Monodon monoceros*

      Hm, I was offered a position at a university once. The person who called me would have been my boss. When I asked what the salary was, she didn’t know, which I thought it was really weird at the time. Was she expecting me to say yes or no without even knowing the salary? But maybe she was in a weird situation like this. She did get back to me with the salary info, but by that time I had been offered my current job, which I wanted more.

      1. fposte*

        That could easily happen at my university, too. Hiring isn’t as bad here as it as as Anonymous for once’s place, but salary range isn’t included in many listings or discussed by the hiring committee. Additionally, raises are usually across-the-board things, so if you’re not in charge of a unit budget you’re not going to be in contact with your reports’ salaries.

      2. Anonymous for this*

        I have a student worker whose mother was applying for housing assistance, and they asked me for a letter confirming her employment, which I gave. Then Social Services called me for her hourly rate. WHich I did not know, and our accountant was out. I tried sending them to the University Student Employment office, but they couldn’t help because this not knowing what they make is peculiar to our college, not the college my student is from. They were very confused, and I ended up having to ask my student what she made, and then writing a new letter to Social Services.

    3. Biff*

      This explains so much about why tuition has gone up dramatically and yet professor pay is still pitiful. The Administrivia at some colleges is so beyond bloated as to be moribund.

  15. Sigrid*

    I got the impression from #1 that the OP was a direct report who feels that her manager shouldn’t know her salary. If that is the case, then I would say:

    a) Everything Alison says is correct, you just need to approach it from the other side. Your manager needs to know your salary so that she can ensure you’re adequately compensated, as that is part of being a manager. You *want* your manager to have all the tools at her disposal when it comes to managing you and your team.

    b) If you are really upset that your manager knows your salary, it may be indicative of a poor relationship between the two of you. If that is the case, then I think it is worth focusing on what is causing the tension between the two of you and trying to resolve it rather than focusing on who knows whose salaries.

  16. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

    #2: I see how this could happen. It is absurd, crazy, and rude, but I can imagine this playing out. I am guessing this is an inexperienced manager who thinks that nobody outside the organization could ever replace somebody inside. She is overwhelmed with the the many thing they do, has no idea how to train someone, and doesn’t understand transferable skills. She can’t imagine what the value would be in having an outsiders experience on their team. They have an over-inflated sense of the skill it takes to do their work, and can’t even begin to imagine someone else being able to do it. The kind of people who believe they aren’t replaceable. None of that is good, and you should not take this offer, but this is about them, not you.

    1. Artemesia*

      That is by far the kindest interpretation of this I can imagine. I cynically believe that this is about underpaying well qualified people because they are desperate for work. i.e. short sighted bargain hunting.

    2. LBK*

      Yep, this is exactly the impression I got – she’s looking at everyone who’s in that role now, seeing that it took them a few years to work up to being promoted there and thinking the OP will have to do the same. She’s discounting the experience the OP has elsewhere and not believing that you can transfer skills even in higher up roles.

    3. Slippy*

      I dunno, almost sounds like a bad negotiating tactic out of the used car salesman’s bible. Sounds like they are trying to throw the experience and knowledge into question so paying the lower rate would be “justifiable”. Wild guess here but if #2 were to take the job she would soon inherit the responsibilities of the higher position.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Right?! Also, the Op says they do in fact have industry experience, which they’re just completely throwing out the door. The first interview was operated like everyone was on the same page. Then suddenly everything changed. F off!

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Oh wait, maybe I read that part about the recent accomplishment wrong, I assumed that was industry-related, but maybe not necessarily. Either way, same sentiment.

  17. anonanonanon*

    #2: Is this a new trend or has this type of bait-and-switch been happening for years? I recently found myself in a similar situation. I applied to a job I was qualified for that asked for 3 -5 years of experience with the industry. I have 6 years experience in the field and I got an email back from the CEO and hiring manager two months later saying while they were impressed by my qualifications, the position had already been filled. Then they offered to interview for me an entry level customer service support position and said once I had more experience with their company I would get promoted.

    My brother had a similar experience with a tech startup on the West Coast, asking him to take a tech support role instead of the higher level engineering role he had applied for and was qualified for. I know a few other friends and acquaintances who have mentioned similar stories.

    So, I share your frustration OP2. It’s disheartening when employers seem like they’re trying to undermine your experience. I hope you have better luck with other interviews!

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      If they have already filled the higher position, I don’t think offering another, lower position is bad on whole. It means they like you and some people might want the opportunity anyway. I agree that if the lower position is way lower, it’s tone deaf and maybe even rude.

      In the OP’s case, IDK what those people were thinking. Interviewing someone with director level experience for a director level and then offering entry level, I think that’s rude.

      1. Mike C.*

        It feels really suspicious though. I’m sure there are cases where it’s perfectly wholesome as you suggest, but every time I hear about it really feels like the company in question is trying to hire a manager/SME at the price of an entry level employee.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          The glaring point in this one is that they decided not to fill the director role at all, but were looking to hire somebody with director experience at entry level salary.

          Offering somebody an opportunity at a lower level, on face, all it is is offering them an opportunity.

          I was hiring recently for Production Art Manager. If I had offered a rejected management candidate an entry level production artist job at $16 an hour, that would have been so rude. If I had offered the rejected candidate a marketing artist position at probably 10% less than the starting production management salary, that would have been an opportunity they might have wanted as a choice.

          1. BRR*

            Not only not filling the role but saying if the LW took the entry-level position they wouldn’t fill it and maybe the LW could get it in a few years.

            But I do agree sometimes offering another or lower position on a whole isn’t bad. I’ve applied to a couple positions that I knew were a slight stretch and if they said they would only consider me for something else it’s not terrible. Or how I’m partially trying to move from handles to spouts and one organization said we’re sorry but we filled the spouts position you applied for but would you like to interview for the handles position (I said no and boy am I kicking myself now)?

        2. MashaKasha*

          That was my thought exactly. I read to the part where they said they would keep the original position open for several years and immediately thought “SCAM”. They opened that position because they needed someone to do that work; so who’s going to do it while OP’s in an entry level job working her way up? Oh wait… OP will!

      2. anonanonanon*

        I don’t know. In my example, it was a much lower position, half the salary, and not even remotely related to what I had applied for. I applied for a mid-level job asking for certain experience, which I had, and they offered me a job as in a customer support call centre. The two jobs were in completely different departments doing completely different things.

        It’d be different if they offered a similar job to the one I had applied for (even if it was a little lower), but it felt like they were looking to fill admin roles rather than mid-level roles.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          Yeah, I agree with you. It’s at least tone deaf if not rude to offer something vastly different in pay and scope from what the person originally applied for.

    2. Retail Lifer*

      I’ve had this happen. I’ve been a manager for about 17 years, and there have been a few times when I applied for a manager position but got a call back for a sales associate position. Even a well-paid sales associate is still only going to be making about half of what the average store manager is making. I don’t know whay they tought that phone call wouldn’t have been a huge waste of time.

      1. MsM*

        It only has to work out for them once – and if someone else is desperate enough, it probably has.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          The other side of that is that when the economy crashed and people were desperate for work, people who used to be at B level, wanted C level jobs because they needed to work. There was a lot of ink spilled on how frustrated those B level people were that they couldn’t get any jobs and how locked out of the job market they felt.

          I’d give the lower level job offerers the benefit of doubt re intention.

          1. Retail Lifer*

            If I had been unemployed at the time, that would have made sense. And when I was unemployed, ANY call was appreciated. But I got calls for jobs that were $15,000* a year less than what I was making while I was gainfully employed.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

              I get it. I’d be irritated, too. Just pointing out that the people making offers weren’t necessarily trying to buy people on the cheap but maybe just tone deaf/not thinking. Offering an employed applicant way less than they are making currently is tone deaf.

    3. Shan*

      Same thing happened to me too. I was interviewed for manager position at a company in another city when I was looking to relocate. The job description matched my experience perfectly. After a successful phone interview, and driving 3 hours to a great but brief in-person interview, they told me they were excited to offer me an entry-level customer service position, with potential to move up later. I felt misled. I would never relocate for the wage and title they gave me; I actually made twice as much and already worked my way up and had a better job while in college. I turned them down pretty quickly.

      A girl I’d worked with who had similar experience as me interviewed with the same company, and they did the same thing to her! She took the job, but quit within 6 months. She told me she learned that they did that to almost everyone and they treated employees pretty poorly.

      1. RMRIC0*

        Yeah, that sort of thing should be a red flag. If their idea of appreciation is turning around and offering an experienced person the opportunity to take three steps back in their career, it’s a good time to run.

    4. Stranger than fiction*

      I think these types of tactics have been going on for a while, perhaps since the recession hit. While I don’t know anyone that was offered a way lower position outright, I know a few people that interviewed for and were offered the posted job, but then after hire were bait and switched and their jobs changed. Given ridiculous amounts of extra responsibility, sometime completely outside their own dept. and in one case a whole full-time additional job on top of theirs!

  18. TotesMaGoats*

    #1-If it makes you feel any better, at the director level at OldJob while I knew salaries of all my employees, I wasn’t allowed to keep a signed copy of their annual evaluation in my office. Keep in my I had the final electronic version on my computer. Just no signed final version in my office. Go figure that one out.

  19. Artemesia*

    My brother who finished his career as the CEO of a major US company and had a dazzling career, once early in his career moved to a new city to take up a new CEO position with our very uncommon last name where another person of that same uncommon last name was currently in the headlines as a particularly grotesque serial killer. It didn’t damage his career although it was a bit unpleasant to be in any way associated with something so awful.

  20. Amber Rose*

    #2: Never mind the job, sounds like the company is one to avoid going forward.

    For the record, I’ve run into a similar problem a few times before. I was so offended the first couple times that I burned some bridges (and salted the ashes) but I realized after a while that I was spending more energy on being upset than they were worth.

    Practical advice is to politely decline and move on, as much as my inner vengeance demon is suggesting you tell them where to stick their offer, and how hard to push.

    1. Quentin*

      LOL thank you. It did take a few hours of cooling off before I could write a polite, albeit curt, response declining their “gracious” offer.

    2. Paige Turner*

      My “inner vengeance demon” must be pretty strong, because I’d feel the same way >:)

  21. Dasha*

    #2 I had something similar happen to me a few years ago. It was a small company and I think the hiring manager was on a power trip and maybe intimidated my own experience. Not sure if that’s the case with you or not. I had applied to something like Senior Teapot Maker and like you had, about 7 or 8 years of specialized experience at the time and they wanted to offer me something like Junior Assistant Teapot Maker (entry level title and pay).

    Any way, I’m sure in both of our cases the people were just whack-a-dos. I think whenever they told me about the Junior Assistant Teapot Maker, I politely declined and let them know due my professional and educational background I’m only looking for Senior Teapot Maker positions, but thank you so much for the opportunity and good luck with their search. Should I have not dropped the professional and educational background line? Maybe but I felt I kept it classy overall and maybe if enough people told them that they would try to find entry level people instead of wasting everyone’s time.

    Is it frustrating? Yes! But you did dodge a huge bullet by working for them. Try not to be insulted but be thankful for every weird interview situation you get into :) Now, you don’t have to work with these strange, strange people and you have a funny story you can tell your friends.

    1. Quentin*

      Ultimately, I responded like so:

      Dear Ms. [Executive Director],

      Thank you for your consideration for both your Director of Communications position initially and the subsequent Junior Communications Associate position following our interview. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and the rest of the team; I came away feeling that I could bring substantial value to the [organization] and would feel extremely welcome as a member of the team.

      Unfortunately, for professional, financial and personal reasons, I must decline consideration for the Junior Communications Associate position. Thank you for including me in your positional search and I wish you the very best in finding the candidate who better matches the profile you are seeking.

      I hope that didn’t belie my frustration TOO much.

      1. MegEB*

        I think that was really professional, honestly. You were significantly less snarky than I would have been. Their offer was truly terrible – I’m sorry you had to go through all that effort just to be offered an entry-level job.

      2. Sigrid*

        Ohhh, that’s really good. I’m impressed. I don’t think I’d be able to write an email so coolly polite while still being clear as to what you found unacceptable about their behavior. “I wish you the very best in finding the candidate who better matches the profile you are seeking” is perfect.

      3. MsM*

        Nope, not at all. In fact, you were far more positive than I think I could’ve managed under the circumstances.

      4. BRR*

        Wow! Quite possibly the perfect note. Super polite and professional but still has an air of what they did was not cool.

      5. Stranger than fiction*

        Wow! Way nicer than I would have been. You’re a class act! No wonder you get every job you interview for.

      6. Green*

        They should hire you for Director of Communications based on the fact that were able to put together a pleasant but firm note under awful circumstances.

  22. Quentin*

    Hey guys, I’m the guy from #2. I appreciate and largely agree with everything being said. I also didn’t mention this but I don’t know if it played a role: they seemed surprised that I was relatively younger (29) than perhaps my resume and voice sounded, though they had checked out my LinkedIn account prior and my resume is pretty easy to follow to lead to that conclusion. I ultimately declined the offer, obviously, and the Executive Director responded by reiterating that they really wanted me and she feels terrible about how all of this has played out. It’s just frustrating, to say the least.

    1. NickelandDime*

      She feels badly she didn’t get a lot of experience and skill for cheap. Chile BOO. Good luck finding a company that knows your worth!

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I agree. They wanted your skills and experience, but didn’t want to pay for it. These people seem to live in another realm if they think this would not be insulting to someone. Personally, I’d be insulted. But that’s me.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      Lol, so I was correct with my comment above, other than you’re a younger guy instead of a woman. (Sorry!)

      I guess I assumed this didn’t happen to guys as much because I’ve had clients think I’m younger/less experienced than male colleagues who are in fact 10 years younger than me. If only I could grow a beard. (It’s really irritating because my hair is super prematurely gray (thanks Dad) but I color it.)

    3. M*

      If she really wanted you she would have come correct with an offer you couldn’t refuse.

      It’s fine for them to be surprised. They could have requested additional work references if they needed to confirm details. Instead they basically discounted all of your experience to meet their own needs. Actions are better than words. Chalk this up for experience and press forward with your search.

    4. Sigrid*

      But…. that still doesn’t justify the change in positions. Who cares how old you are? You have the experience for the senior position, and that’s all that matters — jobs hire (or should hire) on experience rather than age.

      Unless the job is very customer facing and they felt that the clients wouldn’t accept a younger person in the role?

    5. MsM*

      Wow, so they actually might be aware the offer was ridiculous? I wonder what did happen behind the scenes.

    6. Bend & Snap*

      I mean–it didn’t “play out.” They steered the ship. I think your response to the offer was brilliant.

    7. NickelandDime*

      And this unicorn and fairies “promotion” they vaguely promised you might not have ever appeared. Promotions typically come with pay raises, and it sounds like this company might be cheap. You would have been very frustrated, doing high level work with a low level title and paycheck. Nope.

    8. Stranger than fiction*

      At least she acknowledged it! I wonder if the was out-voted on offering the higher level, higher paying role.

      1. Sara M*

        I bet that’s what happened. She might be genuine herself. But the company is still messed up and you dodged a bullet.

    9. Chriama*

      Feeling “terrible about how all this played out” is kind of an odd apology to someone who turned down your job offer. It makes it sound like she feels responsible for inadvertantly harming you, which is weirdly personal for a business interaction. Honestly, I think there are some political things going on in that non-profit (that she’s involved in or instigating) and the whole tone of the interactions so far inclines me to think that you’d be embroiled “drama” if you worked there, so congrats on dodging that bullet!

  23. Lee*

    #2 — OP, I was going to write how rejection, even by a bonehead, can sting. (I had in mind my recent rejection by an unknown moderator who denied my request for access into a private forum — I got back: NO. I was taken aback by the sting, honestly, I haven’t felt something like that since high school. The thing is, I had been so light-hearted in applying and forgot about it, it wasn’t important, and suddenly the rejection itself hit like a heavy thing. But anyway.)

    And then I realized you weren’t even rejected! They offered you a position. But it’s reads like rejection (and I’m guessing part of that kind of sting adrenaline has kicked in for you). The adrenaline of this makes your blood and skin hot and clouds the mind into second-guessing yourself — just breathe. Then take immense pleasure in practicing how you are going to decline this “offer.”

  24. AnonyGoose*

    I’ve actually had a job offer rescinded during the background check phase for “lying” about my degree in these circumstances.

    The posted start date was after my graduation date.
    I’d needed only one more class to graduate, which I’d already passed (it was self paced).
    I explained to the hiring manager in person, who said it was no problem.

    I was crushed, and would recommend never putting anything that isn’t strictly, objectively true at the time of filling out the application.

    1. Zillah*

      There’s a danger, though, in extrapolating experiences with people who are clearly being unreasonable to your interactions with the world as a whole. The (vast?) majority of reasonable employers won’t hold an answer of “yes” on an online application against you under those circumstances, and I suspect even a lot of unreasonable ones won’t take issue with it.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Exactly. Those people were unreasonable and not typical of how this works. We can also find people who have had offers rescinded for daring to politely negotiate; you can’t extrapolate from that to say that you shouldn’t negotiate either.

        1. AnonyGoose*

          I admit that may have made me gunshy. It was 2009, and I spent the next two years looking for full time work.

          Every job I’ve had since has had a very unbalanced background check, though. My last one was held up for two weeks because the company I’d worked for part-time in college wasn’t able to verify my employment. I just assumed that lower level corporate jobs were inflexible in this regard.

  25. Kristine*

    #5 Brings up an interesting point, though – what if you share an entire name with someone else, and don’t wish that person’s Google results to be mistaken for yours?
    It doesn’t even have to be a bad online rep. For example – my name is the same as a yoga instructor in another state, a young girl in California, and someone who recently announced her pregnancy! I would really hate to have assumptions being made about me based on the imprecise buckshot of a Google search, and to feel the need to “explain” them or head them off.

    1. Not me*

      There are two other people with my first and last name. I started getting myself into the Google results with some publicized local events. What also helped was an page: It included a photo of me and links to my own social media accounts, so there wasn’t any doubt about which ones were mine.

    2. Student*

      I think most reasonable people have figured out that just googling someone’s name is not sufficient. You need additional information to track an actual individual – at least one of: email address, employer’s name, city (specific address for very common names), age (date of birth), profession/title are typical accompanying key information.

    3. Natalie*

      Actually I think you have the best situation – there are a ton of people with your name, so any hiring manager that searches for you is going to realize pretty quickly that all of the results are worthless.

    4. Kyrielle*

      Unless your name is very unusual, no one will assume that any of the matches are you without extra evidence, in my experience. My name isn’t super-common, but it’s common enough, and I’ve never had an issue – there are just too many of “me” for anyone to assume. I put my LinkedIn URL on my resume, and that has a photo – so if anyone really wants to track me, they can sort of ID which accounts are mine because I look like me and not someone else. (Not why I put it on there, I put it on there because I have some very lovely recommendations written on it as well as some certifications that aren’t resume-worthy but might matter to an employer even if they’re not relevant to the immediate position, but it’s a nice side effect.)

      I think the worst thing you can find about me online is that I play Candy Crush Saga. :P

      1. Almond Milk Latte*

        That’s what I did too – I have the most common name for people of my origin and birth year, so I have my face on everything I want to be recognized in

    5. BenAdminGeek*

      Kristine- congrats on your pregnancy! Your yoga training will really help you get through it, especially at your young age. California is a great spot to raise a child.


      1. Kristine*

        Bwahahaha! Ben for the win! That comment is golden. Makes me so glad you’re the father.

    6. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I don’t have a crazy common name and there are multiple other people with my first/last in google. I’m not a lawyer and I didn’t just win a local high school soccer championship. All told, there are 7 different people in google with my first/last.

      Most first/last combos have multi results in google. You need to add in a middle name or, if too long and in lieu, a middle inital to have a shot at being the only one (in most cases).

      My First + last + husband’s last name, which I use socially but not legally, that produces only me. Just two names isn’t going to be unique, in many/most cases.

  26. Hillary*

    Follow up question to #1: is it normal for managers to have no say in when/if reports get promoted or are awarded raises? My manager is more like a mentor (although she is formally assigned to me, the relationship is just more mentor-like). I’ve inquired about salary/promotion/raises and was told that managers don’t have a say in that process. It all goes through our group director. Not sure if this normal or not, but I feel like it’s frustrating because if I want a raise, I can talk to my manager about it but she has no authority to get that for me; I’d have to talk the director.

    1. Long Time Reader First Time Poster*

      I don’t know if it’s “normal” but I worked for a small company, and I had ZERO say in the raises of my reports. I was just told “Jane is going to go from X to Y salary.” I even had a report that asked for a bigger raise after his raise was announced, and I tried to go to bat for him — his raise was pathetic, his salary was pathetic, and he worked a million hours and deserved more — and the owner of the company laughed at me and said no effing way.

  27. infj*

    OP#5, a few years ago I lived abroad and when i was leaving the country to visit home, i was stopped in immigrations because someone with the SAME first, middle and last name AND AGE was wanted for selling fake vaccines in that country. horrible, horrible experience. I got stopped every time i left the country even though i clearly had an american passport and wasn’t that woman. it was terrifying the first time and merely frustrating every time after that. The thought of somehow landing in a third world jail.

    When i moved back here, i was worried that if people googled me and the country i was moving back from (seemed like a reasonable thing to do. i lived and worked there for several years), that they would see those results and they would think it was me. I mentioned it occasionally preemptively but it never came up to anyone.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      Ha, I have a coworker who has the same name as someone on the No Fly list and said he gets stopped sometimes! Yikes.

      1. Muriel Heslop*

        My husband has the same name as someone on the No Fly list and he has been stopped a few times. Never while holding a screaming toddler, however.

  28. Lily Rowan*

    #4 — Can you hold off on applying for jobs for a while? I’m assuming most positions are “start ASAP,” and it’s frustrating as a hiring manager to get applicants who aren’t actually available for several months. For what that’s worth.

    1. LBK*

      It’s tricky, though, because usually the hiring process from the day you submit your application to the day you accept your offer will usually take a minimum of a month, if not several months. As a job seeker it’s not worth the risk of being unemployed for too long if you wait until you’re 100% free to start your search only to find it takes you 6 months to get a job anyway – both because you won’t have income but also because as the gap between the end of your last commitment and present day gets bigger, it looks worse on your resume.

    2. Dominique*

      Hello, I am the OP for #4. I actually am available for work. My last couple of classes are on line. I am also working right now as an executive assistant. If I accept a position I will just want to give my 2 weeks notice. My current employer knows that I am seeking a different position. But I still don’t technically have my bachelor’s. Perhaps I should hold off because I don’t want to irritate the hiring managers.

      1. Paige Turner*

        But if you don’t start applying now, you might miss out on a job with a company that doesn’t have a problem with your situation- and if you apply somewhere that DOES have a problem with it, you just move on and you don’t really lose anything. Does your resume say “Expected graduation date 12/2015” or something like that, so it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to mislead anyone? I say go ahead and apply now. Good luck :)

      2. Hillary*

        I would apply anyway. Think of how many grads apply for jobs all throughout their senior year! Any company worth working for will be ok with you still being in school and many entry level positions that want recent grads understand that they may not be available to start right away.

      3. Honeybee*

        Ditto Paige Turner and Hillary. Don’t stop applying for jobs; the industries that hire college grads into their entry-level roles are used to waiting for seniors to finish their BAs, and might even be delighted to have you start in December (or earlier, if they are okay with you starting while you still have classes to finish). Hiring managers who don’t want to wait or want someone who has already finished a BA and can theoretically start next week will simply screen you out early.

    3. Ife*

      Yeah it’s kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for soon-to-be grads. Either you start applying at the beginning of your last semester and hiring managers don’t want you because you can’t start soon enough, or you wait until the end when you have no time for sending out applications because of final projects and exams, and probably still don’t end up getting the jobs because the job search process takes more than a few weeks. When I was in that situation, I figured the worst they could do was say “no,” and sent out applications at the beginning of the semester. I had friends who graduated in May but had job offers as early as October of the previous year.

  29. baseballfan*

    Re: #1, I think in some large companies, it may be simply not the norm for a manager to know his/her direct report’s earnings. I used to work for a Big 4 accounting firm and I have no idea what anyone made. The partner I reported to said that she did not know what anyone made either, nor did she want to. Salaries are determined by HR together with the annual review process. Managers don’t decide what anyone makes.

    I never thought this was strange. I was not in a position to influence the process, other than completing my reviews which should be done independently of any salary discussion, so there was no point in my having this information. For the record, in 9 years of working there, I do not recall one of my reports expressing dissatisfaction over salary. Everyone there was paid pretty well.

  30. moss*

    Quentin, I will go ahead and say I also feel like there might be some racism at play as well. They loved you until they saw you? Then they thought your experience wasn’t good and you’d be more suited for entry-level? That seems fishy to me.

    1. LizNYC*

      But he said in the comments above that they saw his LinkedIn and (presumably) could have googled his name — which would have lead to his website coming up.

      I agree with others in that I think something else happened — funding for the position was suddenly reduced; one hiring member was a staunch no while the rest were a yes, and this was their compromise to solve problems internally; they wanted someone older and they thought (somehow) he presented as too young. Who knows?

      1. moss*

        It’s a possibility, though. Maybe HR thought it was fine and the hiring manager couldn’t handle it or something.

        I just wanted to raise the issue because I know we white people kind of think racism is over or that it would never happen. It isn’t over and it still does happen and denying it can make people of color feel gaslighted.

        1. Quentin*

          See, I didn’t want to presume that. I prefer to give folks the benefit of the doubt and, like the commenter said, I’m pretty easy to find online. But it does seem odd that you’d go through the whole process for one position only to happily offer your “preferred” candidate a lesser one. I’ll still err on the side of perhaps it was age or simply what others have said, which is that they were trying to low-ball to get a good candidate to do the same job but at a lesser price. I don’t know, it still feels pretty awful.

  31. surely*

    #2: Yes that is insulting – they clearly want to hire you but they want to get you as cheaply as they can. I wouldn’t be surprised, if you accepted the position, if they’d have you actually doing the work they said you could *maybe* work up to in a few years, at the much lower salary. And you’re supposed to be too dumb to realize what they are doing? Insulting.

    I’d say “NO”. Literally, just that one word, and hang up.

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