I can’t get a former coworker to respond to me, job offers made by FedEx, and more

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

1. I can’t get a former coworker to respond to me

I left the organization I worked for several months ago. I did not part on good terms with this organization; a false allegation had been made against me, I wasn’t given a chance to tell my side, and I resigned. I didn’t get to talk to anyone before my departure.

There was someone who I wanted to stay in touch with there, and I have tried reaching out to them through email but do not get a response. During the time I worked there (more than three years), I had a very good relationship with this person and I looked up to them very much. I have been stumped as to why they do not respond to my emails and don’t know what to do.

I’d assume that it’s the “not parting on good terms” that’s in play here. They either believe the allegation that was made or don’t like the way you left (for example, if you resigned without giving notice), or they don’t want to get involved, or they think it will be harmful to their own standing or reputation to continue to be in touch with you.

I don’t think there’s much else you can do here. You’ve reached out and they’re not getting back to you, and you pretty much have to leave it there. Depending on the details of your departure, it’s possible that reaching out to them with a reasonably concise, not-angry-sounding email explaining what happened could change their stance, but it’s also possible that it could just reinforce the wall they already have up; it’s hard to say without knowing the details or what this person is like.

Basically, though, when you leave on bad terms, there’s a good chance it will affect your relationships with people there (even if it wasn’t your fault).

2. Our boss never submits us for our employee recognition newsletter

What are your thoughts on employee recognition newsletters? The HR department at my workplace sends these out on a quarterly basis, and I’m starting to question how they are put together. They appear to be a place to note employee achievements (either work- or non-work-related) as well as list new hires and retirements. It seems as though HR relies entirely on information provided by department heads for these newsletters, and I am starting to think this can lead to people and/or accomplishments being left out if the department head isn’t aware of an achievement or forgets to submit it.

My department has particularly low morale, and the department head doesn’t seem interested in putting much effort into his submittals. At one point he asked me to write up an achievement for him to submit. I emailed him a short paragraph, and then he forgot to submit it! This type of attitude from him means the submittals from my department are scant and slanted towards 1-2 people, and we actually are the biggest department.

I wondered what your thoughts in general are about these types of things, and also if you think it would be worthwhile to suggest to HR that they set up an online submittal form that anyone could use?

I’m neutral on them in general; there are good ones and there are bad ones, and it really depends on how they’re done. But in your particular case, what would happen if you and your coworkers just submitted information yourselves?

I do think it could worthwhile to suggest to HR that they set up an online submission form. They might have reasons not to want to do that (maybe they want managers vetting submissions for accuracy or something, who knows), but there’s no reason not to suggest it to them.

3. Job offers made by email or FedEx

I’ve been at my current job for nearly three years. When I was being hired, I simply received an offer letter via FedEx rather than a phone call. I thought it was odd at the time but figured that it must have been a miscommunication between HR and the hiring manager or something.

I am now in the position of hiring someone and have selected someone. I’ve found out that HR will be simply emailing the candidate am offer and copying me. Is this normal? I’ve had several jobs and have always received a phone call so this is very strange to me.

Some companies do indeed do it that way. But you’re right to want to make the offer yourself; the way you extend the offer can be part of your recruitment strategy, because it gives you the chance to tell the candidate how excited you are about potentially bringing them onboard and why and to sell the job a bit. That’s a lot more compelling than a sterile written offer that shows up in a form email from HR (let alone hearing about it for the first time via a FedEx package).

Just because this is your company’s default doesn’t mean you can’t do it differently. I’d try telling HR that you’d prefer to make the candidate the offer yourself, over the phone, and then have them follow-up with the written offer and other paperwork. If you have a really bureaucratic and rigid HR department, they may refuse — but it’s a very reasonable thing to ask.

4. I’m frustrated with how my employer is handling a promotion I applied for

I recently applied for an internal job and was told that I would hear sometime in late December. Late December rolled around and I did hear, but they said that they would be extending the search due to an inadequate candidate pool, but that I would still be considered for the position after they interview more candidates.

I’m feeling pretty frustrated by this, but I’m not sure if I’m justified. I have worked at this organization for five years in an entry-level role, and I need a change – I’m exhausted in my current role and am constantly being given additional responsibilities, including covering for a coworker who was out on leave for the past six months for no additional pay. To do all that I have done for the company (I know that I am not exactly objective, but I know I have contributed in many ways that my coworkers haven’t) and then to be left in limbo – well, it stings, even if it isn’t in their control, and it really turns me off from continuing to give my all to this organization, even if it is in a promoted capacity.

Overall my employer is not the worst – I work a lot of hours but the benefits are good (even though the salary isn’t awesome) and I have some good work friends, though not as many as I did when I first started, due to the high turnover of entry-level positions. I know that it’s still a recent development and that part of me is bitter, but in many ways this also feels like a “last straw” of sorts.

My question, I guess, is where do I go from here – should I assume I’m not being considered and conduct a full job search? How do I determine if I’m leaving because it’s time or if it’s out of spite? Do I just behave as if this never happened when there are colleagues and supervisors who were in my interview?

Start a job search. Not because you have no chance of getting this position, but because you have no guarantee of getting this position (and while “we need a bigger candidate pool” is a perfectly legitimate position, it also tells you that they’re not jumping to hire you).

Meanwhile, though, this is the exact wrong time to let frustration or bitterness stop you from working at a high level. You need to have a strong professional reputation for this job search, and it’s certainly not going to up your chances of that promotion if you start letting things slip. And for what it’s worth, they haven’t really done you wrong here: They shouldn’t use promotions as a reward for hard work in a different position because they have an obligation to find and hire the best person for the role. I’d try to see your frustration just as a sign that you’re done with this role and ready to move on to a new position, rather than as a marker that you’ve been mistreated here.

5. Can my company have a Monday-Sunday work week?

What defines the work week? We work five days on and three off, and our pay period runs Monday through Sunday. So there are weeks that our work week runs into a new pay week. We currently get paid over time for any hours worked over 40 Monday-Sunday. I am a commercial truck driver, and my typical work week is 50-60 hours.

It’s up to individual companies to decide how they want to define the seven-day work week (meaning that they can choose to start it on Sunday or Tuesday or Friday or whatever they want). It does need to be the same seven-day period each time; they can’t keep mixing it up to get out of paying overtime. Since your company is using the same work week consistently (always starting with Monday), it sounds like they’re compliant with the law.

{ 125 comments… read them below }

  1. ginger ale for all*

    LW 2 – I worked for a supervisor like yours. Why not ask if you can take this duty over and send him the write ups and say that if he has any corrections to let you know before 10 am the next day and if you don’t hear back from him by then, they will be submitted as is. Also, you might want to feel out who would like to be recognized and who would not. One of my co-workers doesn’t like extra attention in the weekly newsletter but others do.

    1. ginger ale for all*

      Forgot to add, I suggested this way because if each employee was responsible, one week you might get ten employees writing in about how project x is now complete and some might think it is awkward to write about personal accomplishments and wouldn’t want to be viewed as a bragger.

    2. AnotherHRPro*

      This is a very good recommendation. It seems like the problem isn’t really with the newsletter, but with the manager making it a priority. When the OP recommends this, make this about taking something off of the bosses plate to help him/her.

  2. Blurgle*

    LW5 – if you’re not in the US check with your national or local department of labour. Where I live there are indeed regulations about when and how often employees can be paid.

    1. gooseloose*

      Allison is right – Monday through Sunday is perfectly legal in the US, as long as it is consistent. The US department of labor has an excellent website that actually will walk you through what you should be paid in overtime, and one of the first questions is which day of the week does your work week start.

      1. Random Lurker*

        I guess I’m confused by OP’s concerns. If he is 5 on, 3 off, he is more often than not going to straddle multiple 7 day pay periods, regardless of what days of the week they are defined.

        1. Lindsay (not a temp anymore! yay!)*

          I came to say the same thing. If you’re always offsetting your days on/off by one day, there wouldn’t be any way for them to keep a “regular” schedule without you almost always crossing over a pay period…

        2. Lindsay (not a temp anymore! yay!)*

          I think what they’re getting at is that their work week should follow their schedule so that they get paid for the overtime they feel they’re working by working 50-60 hours in THEIR work week.

          1. could be anyone*

            I think the problem is that with a 8 day shift vs 7 day week some weeks there are 5 days on/2 days off and others there are 4 days on/3 days off. LW gets paid for all days/hours worked but the pay will vary. They could paid for as little as 32 hours one week and as much as 60 the next.

            1. Anon On This One*

              But they will always get paid for the hours worked and in your example it will always be for 92 worked hours, if the pay period is two weeks.

          2. Koko*

            Right – they’re asking if they’re entitled to overtime for working 50-60 hours in 8 days, based on the fact that they’re on an 8-day rota. But overtime is applied to work in 7-day periods, regardless of how shifts are scheduled.

            OP could think of it like this – if you are 2 days on 1 day off that doesn’t mean you only get overtime if you work over 40 hours in 3 days. A workweek for OT purposes is 7 days, it just has to be consistently the same 7 days every week.

  3. Anony*

    #1: The employee might also be prohibited from being in contact with the former employee. That happened with someone who left our office – the employer was concerned about possible legal action so we were instructed not to be in contact with the former employee.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      Yes. There is also the whole “being associated with departed employee is bad for you”, so remaining employees are strongly encouraged to avoid contact.

      1. Random Lurker*

        Story time. I worked for a bad boss for almost 10 years. A real narcissist. When anyone left, regardless of the reason, they became a pariah. They “didn’t have what it took” or were “bad seeds”. People who left the company for a step up in their careers were “not ready” and “bound to fail”. We learned really quick that continued contact with the departed was a career limiting move.

        When I resigned, I foolishly expected different. 10 years, I had lots of work relationships. The majority never spoke with me again. It stung – at first. But I chose to use it as a reminder of the toxicity of the place I left. It helped me to move on emotionally and confirm I was in a better situation.

        1. NJ Anon*

          This was my old job. However, when I left after 11 years, I remained in contact with several co workers. Two have since left as well so non issue but one is still there. How would the company know if you stayed in contact? We communicate through personal phone and email accounts. It’s non of their business.

          1. manybellsdown*

            Mr. Bells had one of those bosses as well – she told us we were not allowed to have anyone who’d left the company over to our house. For dinner, or parties, or boardgame day. Hell no!

    2. fposte*

      On the other hand, this happens with some frequency even in normal workplaces–a friendship that was easy to sustain as co-workers turns out to be situational and doesn’t rise to the level of interest once one employee has left the workplace. Total radio silence makes that a little less likely (usually there’s the email response swearing they’ll get back in touch to do drinks or lunch) but it’s still possible.

      1. BananaPants*

        Yeah, there are coworkers who I’ve known for a long time and considered work friends – but once they left, we don’t talk or socialize much anymore beyond an occasional social media or LinkedIn update. Work friendships are often situational because you see people in person so often but once that shared experience isn’t there, it usually dials back.

        Total radio silence (not even responding with pleasantries) makes it more likely that former coworkers were instructed not to communicate with the OP. That does happen, depending on the circumstances of departure (around here, when someone is terminated for cause or resigns to work for a direct competitor).

    3. Kat*

      That’s what I was thinking. We had a strict policy that if an employee left on bad terms or was fired, current employees were prohibited from speaking with them (particularly during work time) due to potential legal issues.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Which strikes me as potentially shady by the company. “You’re not allowed to talk to awaken, because then his lawyers might learn that he’s not the only one who got harassed by Fergus.”

        1. Kat*

          It’s pretty common, more along the lines of if the employee said, just to be kind “I’m sorry you lost your job Fergus; I know it can be tough here”–that can be brought up in a lawsuit as unfair working practices (not true and likely wouldn’t work, but companies err on the side of caution

        2. BananaPants*

          In the cases where it’s happened here, it was almost always because the former employee had done something illegal or threatened violence – it was, “Please don’t talk to Fergus and if he attempts to contact you, notify the corporate security director and the local police.”

          1. Charityb*

            It’s possible that something like that is happening. Maybe they didn’t accuse LW1 of committing a crime, but if they said that, “Oh, she threatened to sue us,” or “Oh, she passed information to a competitor,” or something, the friend wouldn’t really have any other information. When someone leaves abruptly like that, anything can be said about them since they aren’t there to defend themselves or give their side of the story.

            1. Snazzy Hat*

              Knowing the gossip and cliques at my former workplace, I would be surprised if people hadn’t made up stories about me after I suddenly yet quietly left. I had a few work friends, but I didn’t socialize with any of them outside of work. If _they_ can’t confirm that I’m doing well, they also can’t tell a gossiper that her rumor is false.

    4. Stranger than fiction*

      This is what I’m thinking too. I’ve been laid off a few times in my life, and also on the other side where some of my coworkers were laid off. At a couple of the companies I was laid off from, sometimes a few weeks would go by and then one or two of the coworkers I was close with would sheepishly call or email me back and admit they had told everyone not to talk to the former employees (so stupid). At the company where I wasn’t laid off but some coworkers were, right after the layoff and those people left the building, they made an announcement not to speak to any of the laid off employees for bla bla stupid reasons and even alluded we’d get in trouble (written up) if we did.

  4. Tara R.*

    #5– and that is how I ended up working 7-8 days in a row without overtime pay several times in the summer job I had when I was 16.

      1. Tara R.*

        Nope. Schedule changed weekly and I think the most I ever got was 3 days off once (and it was only a few times I got more than one day at a time, my typical days off would be something like Wednesday/Sunday)

        1. LCL*

          The schedule called 10 and 4s, or 4 10, is common in some shiftwork. The employee works 10 8 hour days in a row, then has 4 days off. Not to be confused with 4 10s, which is 4 10 hour days. I’ve worked 10 and 4s, the nightshifts were worse than the dayshifts. The employees regularly working nights chose the 10 and 4s because they found it better for their needs.

    1. BRR*

      If your scenario is similar to that of number five, it doesn’t matter when the work week starts you could still end up working 7-8 days in a row without overtime as long as the work week stays the same. It’s really only shitty (and illegal) if your employer shifted the work week to avoid paying overtime.

      There’s really not a huge difference between a sun-sat work week and a mon-sun work week.

    2. Sunshine Brite*

      Yep, at Old Job a lot of people would end up working 10-12 day stretches, they’d get a break after usually but it got super hard those last few.

      1. Not an IT Guy*

        I know Illinois law calls for a 24-hour period of rest within a Sun-Sat work week (ODRISA Act), of course this just means the longest you can be worked is 12 consecutive days.

      2. Sharon*

        This happened to me too, when I worked fast food in college. It was officially part time but they had me on regular 38-hour work weeks. They often skated the intent of the law by scheduling me this way on two-week timecards: first day off, work the next 12 days in a row, last day off. Technically that counted as having one day off each week. I ticked me off but I was young and felt powerless to change it. I was going to college at the time, too. :/

    3. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

      I used to work in HR for a local movie theater chain. Our work week was officially Friday-Thursday, because weekends were our busiest days and it allowed us to frontload hours when we needed people there most, and send people home early on Thursdays or not schedule them at all if they’d worked too much. Even with me in HR, I often ended up leaving early or coming in late on Thursdays, because I taught new employee orientation on Monday nights and it would often go longer than expected. This did mean that for big releases where movies started at 8:00 on Thursday night, we’d sometimes get people scheduled for more than 40 hours. But if that happened, it wasn’t a huge deal money-wise, since movie theaters are exempt from paying overtime.

      1. I'm a Little Teapot*

        I wonder why movie theaters are exempt from paying overtime. Being the cynic I am, I bet it has to do with a business lobbying group. (Or maybe they had mostly black employees in the ’30s? A lot of the exemptions apparently stem from racism.)

        1. fposte*

          There are a ton of exemptions, and they’re often weirdly specific–if you’re paid to process maple syrup, for instance, you’re exempt. Most of them are some species of agricultural work, but there are several media/entertainment exemptions, so the theater one isn’t unique. I think racism played a more significant role in the agriculture exemptions (though I’m pretty much hand-waving here); the Southern Democrats were vital to getting FLSA passed (Hugo Black wrote the legislation) and probably wouldn’t have been able to sell their base on having to pay black farm workers a decent wage. My guess is that the media ones are more not wanting to piss off big media with megaphones, but as I said, I’m guessing.

          It’s an interesting question, though. The laws seem so carved in stone to us nearly a century later, and yet of course they all got hashed out at the time according to who would vote for what, same as now.

  5. Meg Murry*

    When I read the post title, I thought there was going to be something about a unique way the company FedEx does job offers, and I wondered what would be so different about it from normal hiring.

    But for OP #3, while I do agree that an offer letter via FedEx only is unusual and cold, I think an email from HR might actually be preferable to a phone call. Especially to someone who is currently employed and therefore may be able to check email at work or after work hours more easily than they can answer the phone. It also may be quicker than playing phone tag too, especially if your office number comes up as “Unavailable” or as one of several different numbers for a business – many people don’t answer calls if they don’t immediately recognize the caller ID. And it especially makes sense if the bulk of communication between HR and the future employee has been via email so far.

    That said, I think it’s valid for you to want to either make the call directly and tell the person they got the job and you are excited to have them, and tell them the formal offer will come via email from HR. Or you ask if you could do it in reverse – instead of HR writing and copying you, could you write something and copy HR, or write something first and then include HR’s standard language below that? Or barring that, if you know when HR is sending the email, you could compose something now so as soon as the message is sent you could immediately respond and say your own personal “We are excited to make this offer and welcome you to our team. If you have any questions, or want to talk about the position you can call me at 123-4567.”

    That said, looking back I’m pretty sure all my offers have been in the “unofficial offer over the phone plus follow up formal letter and/or email from HR”. At one super bureaucratic and old school place they would only snail mail on official letterhead, and even then only once it had 3 different signatures – my department head said that took a week alone and a lot of prodding from her to get done (should have been red flag #1), and she basically had to march to HR herself and demand the letter so she could scan and email it to me rather than wait even more time for snail mail. However, I’m pretty sure that every single time it has either been HR making the call, or the head of the department/group (1-2 levels up from the future boss) – never my future boss directly. And in multiple of those cases I wasn’t able to get to the phone on the first time they tried to call, and of course they didn’t leave a job offer in my voicemail. So then I had to go through the mental “Do I go find a quiet place to return this call now? Oh crud do I have a pen and paper in case they start spewing details? What about my calendar in case this is just a call for another interview instead of an offer? And what if its a ‘we went with someone else’ call? Will I wind up having to go cry in the ladies room, and will all my coworkers notice? Oh crap, I’ve got a conference call in 5 minutes, should I call now and hope it doesn’t take too long? Or do I wait until later and hope I can catch them before the end of the day?”

    And all that is from someone who considers herself to have only very mild phone anxiety and is otherwise pretty good with phone calls.

    But yes, FedEx offer with no warning? Super weird. Email offer when other interview communication has been via email – not so weird or cold, but you adding a personal touch would be helpful.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      Previously, I have received an email from HR saying something like, “We would like to discuss your application for Head Chocolate Teapot Maker, when would be a good time for us to call?”

    2. Not Today Satan*

      I was working a temp job when I got the offer for my current job. When I saw I had a voicemail, I went to the bathroom to listen to it. When I learned it was from Prospective Employer, I called them back from a quiet section of the hallway. (Admittedly, this would be difficult if I weren’t at a temp job, but people find semi-private places for phone interviews while employed all the time.) I was really happy we had that conversation, because the man offering the job was very enthusiastic and complimentary. Job hunting can be so demoralizing, and it can eventually feel like whoever does give you a job is doing you a favor. But the call increased my confidence and got my relationship with the new employer off to the right foot. So I do encourage employers to try to make contact over the phone.

      1. Doriana Gray*

        I had a similar experience with my current employer. My former boss from the training program I was hired into called me after I accepted the offer from HR, and gushed about how excited she was for me to start and asked where I wanted to go for my welcome lunch. It made me very happy, even though I knew I wasn’t her first choice (she couldn’t have looked more unimpressed with me during the interview – the rest of the hiring committee, barring one other guy, loved me though). Now she and I have a great working relationship, and she even helped me get my new job.

        OP #3, make a phone call to the person you’re hiring – seriously. It can make all the difference going forward in how the two of you communicate and work together.

    3. AdAgencyChick*

      I have a feeling HR won’t allow a pre-email — probably they don’t want anyone extending an offer in writing using anything but the official terminology.

      Usually what has happened with me is the in-house recruiter will send me an email saying “CALL ME!!!!” (yes, with more than one exclamation point), then I call her, then she gives me an unofficial verbal offer, then the official one comes either as an emailed PDF or Fedexed hard copies.

      But, like OP, I would feel weird hearing radio silence until the offer showed up, and I as a manager would want to express my excitement about extending the offer in some way, even if all HR will allow me to do is call the candidate and say, “You’ll be getting official documents in the mail, but in the meantime I just wanted to let you know that we’re preparing an offer for you, and I am really excited and hoping to have you on our team.”

    4. hermit crab*

      When I was hired (about 7 years ago), all our offer letters still went out in the physical mail. But I got a warm, personal email from the hiring manager right away when they made the decision, confirming my mailing address and letting me know that I’d get the paperwork soon. I think that’s a reasonable system — you get both the quick notification and the personal touch, without the logistical challenges of a phone call.

    5. LW3*

      That does make sense that it might be hard to answer the phone so an email would be preferable.
      I have an update – yesterday I received an email from HR telling me that the letter was FedExed to the candidate and she would be receiving it this morning. I felt like I needed to do something, so last night I emailed her to say that the FedEx with an offer was on its way and that I was very excited about the prospect of her joining the team. She replied promptly to tell me that she has moved since she applied with us so she wouldn’t be able to receive the package. Yikes! HR is sending another letter and will be emailing her the letter today but if I hadn’t emailed her, who knows how this would have played out…

      1. Doriana Gray*

        Yeah, she never would have gotten back to you guys and you probably would have went on to your second choice all because no one called to let her know she got the job. I’m glad you called and averted that blunder.

      2. Meg Murry*

        Oh wow, good thing you went with your gut and contacted her. I think this is definitely something you either need to take back to HR, or depending on where you fall in the org chart to talk over with your boss to see how to approach HR about this process, because it sounds like one of those “this is how we’ve always done it” systems that all kinds of potential for problems like what you mentioned . For instance, the applicant could have moved, or might be living in a place where FedEx doesn’t deliver in a convenient manner, such as the time we found a package we hadn’t been expecting sitting on our side porch that had been there for almost 2 weeks.

        1. Not Today Satan*

          Yeah, at my parents’ house the FedEx/UPS guys seem to leave packages at a different location every time–at the front door, at the garage door, outside the garage to the left, outside the garage to the right, etc.

        2. I'm a Little Teapot*

          I live in an apartment building where UPS never delivers at all sometimes. The driver just leaves a “sorry we missed you” without bothering to ring the bell. And the local UPS pickup is very inconvenient for anyone without a car. I haven’t heard the same of FedEx, but I wouldn’t be surprised. :-/

      3. AnonymousaurusRex*

        Yeah, yikes! At my current job, my manager emailed me with a note that the offer was coming (also via email) later that week. I definitely appreciated the heads up. It had been over 4 months since I’d interviewed, so a lot can change in that time!

    6. M-C*

      What I think is most weird about this, LW3, is the assumption that the hiring is all about HR. Yes of course they have to do the work of formally vetting the new hire, and issue the actual legal offer letter. But if you get a heads up that an offer is going out, it should be natural for you to pick up the phone and express enthusiasm to the lucky winner, and tell them an official offer is forthcoming and how pleased you are about it. I don’t think I’d even discuss this with your HR, it’s really not their business unless they can’t be relied on to send out an offer as they say. Maybe they tell you they’re sending out an offer precisely so you can do the human thing at the right moment, and they assume that you will so don’t bother to spell it out? Otherwise it’d be so dysfunctional it boggles the mind. I’d be totally weirded out by an offer in writing without even a phone message letting me know it’s coming, and probably wouldn’t accept it unless I was in really dire straights..

      1. LW3*

        For a little more context, prior to a change to my current career, I was in in HR for a number of years. In my previous positions, the offer call came from the HR department, although I know that it’s equally common for the call/contact to come from the hiring manager. When I got the word that the offer preparation was in progress, I asked my boss (who is a member of the C-suite) who would be making the call. And the response was this business about the email/FedEx. Considering that the candidate has moved and will be unable to receive the FedEx, I am really glad that I decided to make contact with her in advance!

    7. Stranger than fiction*

      I’m wondering if it’s a tactic to lessen the chances of negotiation? As in, one you have this tidy package in front of you, some people might feel bad asking the company to redo the paperwork.

  6. NJ Anon*

    #4 Do you work at my old job? This happened quite often and resulted in high turnover. Start looking now. If they thought you were worthy of the promotion, they would have given it to you.

    1. Artemesia*

      Exactly. We want to enlarge the pool means ‘anybody but you — we’ll only go with you if we absolutely can’t find anyone else qualified.’ This is such a discouraging message that it is a wake up call to open a wider search. You don’t have to be in a rush since you have a job, but you should be searching steadily. Don’t tell anyone, just do it.

      1. Rat Racer*

        I agree about job hunting except that thinking your employer is saying “I’d rather hire anybody but the OP” is going to make it hard for you to absorb Alison’s advice, and keep bitterness and resentment at bay. Make up a new story in your head, like “maybe they’re looking for a specific skill,” or “maybe they have a minimum number of external candidates they have to consider,” or drive the question of “why” out of your mind entirely.

        Someone who is hard-working and dedicated like you are is bound to find a good landing spot – good luck with your search!!

        1. Trillian*

          Or role typecasting is in operation. You may be qualified and competent to do the job, but have been typed as “reliable, supportive” rather than “star, leadership material”, in the minds of the higher ups. That’s definitely time to move up and out, because the roles get reinforced by the type of opportunities and projects offered.

          1. LCL*

            This times one million. Sometimes it sucks being reliable.
            I respectfully disagree with the modern thinking on this, that Alison sums up by saying employees shouldn’t use promotions as a reward for hard work, because the employer is obligated to find the best person. Usually the person who has been there for x years and knows how the company functions and does good work is the best candidate. Hiring someone from the outside who doesn’t have the background is a slap at the existing employees.

          2. Snazzy Hat*

            “Ugh, Position X is open for the third time this month.”
            “Really?! I want that job! I couldn’t apply when I started here because you were Employee X back then but now you’re Supervisor X.”
            “I would love to see you as Employee X because I know you’re great at most of what Position X requires, but Supervisor Y won’t let me remove you from Position Y because of how great you are at being Employee Y.”

            The worst part was that I hated working in Position Y and for Supervisor Y.

      2. M-C*

        +1. And also, 5 years is ample time at any job. You’ve ceased being ‘entry level’ at least 4 years ago, this isn’t the 50s any more. You say yourself you’re now a senior person in your department. So if your company is unwilling to recognize that with promotion/raise, you seriously need to get yourself elsewhere, before you get permanently stuck at this level, this is the definition of dead end. Next time, take a look around you, you shouldn’t really be staying past say half your coworkers-in-seniority (hired same year?) without some sort of acknowledgement of your hard work.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Also, expanding the candidate pool could mean they want to pay the new hire less than they would have to pay the OP rather than giving her a raise along with the promotion.

      4. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Not necessarily! It could mean “we’re trying to do a better job of recruiting racially diverse candidates and we’re not willing to hire until we’ve put more effort into that” or “we’re taking crap from above for being too quick to hire internally rather than doing thorough searches” or who knows what.

        1. Artemesia*

          If it is really that I expect that to be happening earlier in the process — you don’t go through the interview process and then call a halt and rethink and re-cast the net if you are not dissatisfied with what you have. Maybe not. But it feels that way. In any case 5 years entry level is too long — the OP needs to figure out a way up either in the organization or out.

      5. Stranger than fiction*

        Or be looking but at the same time, ask your manager like what’s up with that and state you’ve taken on all these responsibilities but don’t feel the committee is recognizing that fact. Maybe they’ll read between the lines.

  7. newreader*

    #4: doing well in your current role and being the best candidate for a different role are very different animals. I’ve been with the same employer for almost 30 years and during that time have worked in multiple different departments and roles. There have been some positions I applied for internally that I wasn’t chosen for. While you may be doing a fabulous job currently, the hiring manager(s) may have some specific skill or trait they are hoping to find in the open position. It’s not personal, it’s about finding the best fit for the role.

    This may not be true in your case, but you may want to consider if you feel entitled to the new role solely because you’ve been there for five years or because you truly have all of the skills and experience the open position requires. You may have many of the skills, but there may be something that the hiring manager considers a key requirement where you’re lacking or weak. He/she may want to expand the candidate pool to determine if there are any candidates with that key requirement before hiring someone that will require more training. I don’t think it’s uncommon for hiring managers to want to feel as if they took appropriate time to ensure the best qualified candidate was hired.

    Also, it sounds as if you’re feeling unappreciated for the extra work you’re doing. If the extra work you’re taking on is of similar responsibility level to your current job, that’s all just part of being part of a team. If you think your own work is suffering because of the time you’re spending on others’ work, that should warrant a conversation with your supervisor about prioritization or other solutions to manage the workload within the confines of the workday or if overtime is a possibility (if you’re willing to work extra).

    If the work you’re taking on is of a higher responsibility and is lasting for months, that could warrant a conversation for a temporary bump in pay or a bonus for assuming that extra responsibility. Some employers either don’t think about compensation in these situations or will only provide additional compensation if the employee asks. You know the climate in your company best, but it might not hurt to ask.

    In any case, if you’re not happy with your current role, then it’s definitely time to job hunt. But be sure to continue to do the best possible job you can. You never know what else might open up internally that you’re qualified for and you’ll want a good reference from this employer.

    1. Doriana Gray*

      Yes to this entire comment. Back in September, I applied for an internal job posting that was in the same job grade as the one I’m currently in, and I thought I’d be perfect for it. It was a communications role, I was a communications major in college, and have done comm type work since I’ve graduated (just not in a corporate capacity). However, I wasn’t even interviewed for it, and ultimately, the position was filled by an external candidate. I was really upset about this because I’d even spoken to the hiring manager prior to applying, and she encouraged me to apply for it even when I asked if my lack of corporate comm experience was going to be an issue. Turns out, it was. They wanted to hire someone who didn’t need much training and just because I’d done the work in a different capacity, and was currently working in one of their client divisions, that didn’t mean I’d be good at that particular job.

      I applied for two more internal positions at my company and finally got the third one. My point, OP? Keep trying. If you’re truly done with your company, then absolutely start a full-blown external job search. But if you like who you work for and are just tired of your current position, and if your company is like mine and always has internal postings available, then apply for something else while continuing to work your butt off in your current situation. I thought I was never going to get out of this soul-sucking division I’m currently in, but I stayed positive, networked like mad, stepped up my performance, and then ultimately found something else. I know this stings right now, OP, but don’t get defeated. Something better will come along, and then you’ll be glad you didn’t get that job.

    2. Erin*

      I 100% agree with all of this, but I think what’s grinding her gears here (or mine, anyway) is the phrasing, “We’re conducting another round of interviews because of an inadequate candidate pool but you’ll still be considered after that.”

      I think that could have been phrased a little differently, like a simple, “We’re still conducting interviews.”

      I feel like they’re passive aggressively telling her she’s not going to get the job, instead of A) coming out and saying that or B) being a little more tactful in how they informed her they’re still interviewing other candidates.

      That one statement in conjunction with the not being appreciated in general I think is the issue here. The fact that she truly may not be a good fit for that particular position is sort of a moot point. She deserves a little bit more respect than, “We’ll hire you if everyone else sucks exponentially.”

      1. Doriana Gray*

        I agree with this too – the language is problematic, and OP’s employer did not handle this well at all. But if OP wants out of that role, and not necessarily out of the company altogether, then OP is going to have to get over the sting of that comment and move forward with grace, otherwise, she won’t be considered for future opportunities that open up with that company.

          1. OP #4*

            Hi! I’m the OP from #4. I’m blown away by all of the thoughtful advice and feedback and am super appreciative!

            Now that you mention it, you’re right – I think that if my employer had been honest and given some real, critical feedback, then it would have stung less than just stringing me along. It feels like they are holding out to see if they can find someone better and are keeping me on the line just in case they still don’t get good applicants (my company does not have a great track record of getting tons of great applicants for positions). As an employee if they had given me some indication either way – “We just don’t feel like your experience is a great fit for this role” or “Your interview was great but we don’t feel like we have heard from enough qualified applicants to make a decision” – then I would feel better. But the phrasing coupled with the vagueness feels like they are saying no while thinking they don’t have to say no.

  8. Not an IT Guy*

    #4 – If it’s anything like my company, they’ll interview all internal applicants regardless if you’re qualified or not. According to my recent interviewer, the company has to do their “due diligence” and the reason I wasn’t being immediately considered is because we’re on a hiring freeze and he wanted to look externally before making a decision. All and all it was a learning experience, I ended up being blindsided by the interview despite my preparation not to mention realizing how badly a former manager ruined my resume.

    1. voyager1*

      I came from a company that did the same thing, interview everybody. It really is just a big time waste if the candidate has no chance… but it helps for appearances and morale I guess LOL.

      1. Jennifer*

        Yeah, been there. My coworkers have been complaining about jobs being handed to someone without giving a “chance,” but let me tell you, having no chance isn’t as bad as getting your hopes up when you shouldn’t be.

  9. F.*

    Regarding #3, as HR Manager, I prefer that the offer be in writing and sent out by me, via email. The company owner recently hired a sales person by extending a verbal offer. The problem is that the owner then didn’t remember exactly what he offered! He also failed to include our required verbiage about the offer being conditionally based on an acceptable background check and drug screen. It reflected poorly on the company when I had to contact the applicant to ask him for the details of the verbal offer so I could put it in writing and then had to add the background check/drug screen clause.

    1. Gandalf the Nude*

      Your company owner definitely messed up, but I’d think as long as HR and the hiring manager work together to form the offer before extending to the candidate, that sort of SNAFU doesn’t need to happen. As long as they have the details of the offer in front of them, I’d think the hiring manager should make the call, for all the reasons Alison gives. No reasonable candidate is going to be upset that there was then some fine print in the actual written offer.

      1. F.*

        Unfortunately, that kind of SNAFU happens all too often around here. At the other end of the spectrum are a couple of managers who want nothing to do with candidates after the (grudgingly performed) interview. (sigh) I do think a call from the hiring manager welcoming the candidate and telling them to expect an email from HR with the offer is a very good idea. However, I seem to work down the rabbit hole…

        1. M-C*

          On the other hand they -are- the owner, and you’re not. So if you feel there is too much conflict, it’s going to be you that gets the other end of HR :-).

    2. Artemesia*

      I was second in command in an operation where the boss constantly made verbal promises the organization would not keep and then I had the happy job of advocating for the disappointed hire or having to mollify them. There were central policies that were hard to get around (although for important people and super stars there were no problems getting around them of course) and for most hires the central admin was not willing to budge. Mr. Grandiose was a great leader in many ways, but we all learned to never believe a promise; newbies learned it in this awkward way of not getting what they thought they had bargained for.

  10. Bibliovore*

    2. This happens where I work and when I read the newsletter, I wondered why my supervisor never submitted these from our department. After some time in position, I realized that our department has a disproportionate amount of these sort of things in relationship to other departments. We are fairly privileged, experts in our fields. We often have national speaking engagements, outside recognition in the forms of awards, grants, and national/ internationals appointments. These are the sort of things recognized in the newletter. I submitted directly a national honor that was a big deal in my field. It was embarrassedly posted as “The Teapot Association has appointed Bibliovore as the U.S. Expert in Spout-making Competencies. She will serve as the 2016 consultant to the profession. Submitted by Bibliovore.” It should have read, submitted by Bibliovore’s director. I believe my director picks her shots for these posting so that it doesn’t become so obvious that we have certain advantages and opportunities that other departments do not.

    1. Bob*

      My manager also never submits anyone on our team to our newsletter and we are the most likely do “above and beyond” type things that involve staying late, working through lunch and working weekends. I honestly think some managers just don’t put much thought into it. After all, it’s a FREE way to recognize someone on your team with very minimal effort. I think it also reflects well on the manager because it shows they are at least trying to recognize their staff, even if they can’t give out raises or promotions. But it’s always the exact same managers submitting people every month. Personally, I don’t care because there is no true benefit ($$, note in your HR file, etc) but I think a little less of my manager for not doing it.

  11. voyager1*

    #4: You might get the job, but probably not. It is time to start a job search. What jumps out at me is the “exhausting” statement. To me when I feel that way, it is time to move on.

  12. Katie the Fed*

    #1 – it’s also possible they just don’t want to stay in touch. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but sometimes one party in a relationship thinks it’s much closer than it is. I think there’s a point you have to just move on.

    1. Career Counselorette*

      I’m glad you said it first. There’s not a ton of backstory to fully grasp all the angles, but it did strike me a little as OP vastly overestimating the level of closeness in that work friendship.

    2. The Butcher of Luverne*

      This is very true. I like a lot of people I work with, but the very nature of the workplace is that my private life is private and I don’t overshare with most coworkers. One or two know some personal details because I trust them — but I don’t necessarily feel like we’d hang out if I left this office.

      So many work friendships are based on situational commonplace people and events. Once you have exhausted office gossip, there isn’t anything left.

    3. BananaPants*

      That’s also a distinct possibility. Work friendships can seem stronger than they are because you spend so much time with other people, but most don’t last in real life beyond common employment. I’ll stay linked on LinkedIn and friends on Facebook if applicable (I’m friended to selected long-time coworkers) but that’s about it.

      I have coworkers I’m not fond of, but I’m pleasant towards them because they’re coworkers. If one of them left, I’d feel no need to try to stay in touch.

      1. Artemesia*

        After 35 years at a place with most of my social needs met with colleagues, very few of them have stayed in touch subsequently. I moved to a new place and a couple of them have connected when visiting my area and we keep in touch, but for most, not even a Christmas or New Year’s card. If we still lived in the same town, I think a few of them would have stuck. The clue I think is ‘is this someone I socialized with a lot outside of work’ or just someone I connected with AT work. Friends are people you do things with on the weekend; colleagues are those you have pleasant relationships with at work.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          I’ll be going out to breakfast tomorrow with a co-worker from my first job. Several of us have continued to meet nearly monthly for the last few decades. I also meet about once a month with co-workers from LastJob and JobBeforeThat. I used to meet with former co-workers from a couple of other jobs, but those have dropped away as people have retired and died.

          We didn’t socialize a lot outside of work when we were co-workers, but they have become friends instead of just pleasant co-workers.

    4. Kat*

      And it’s just really common to lose touch. I had coworkers I was very friendly with, but when I left, we just…didn’t have much in common without work to talk about. I still think they’re wonderful people and am happy to catch up on LinkedIn or whatever, but we certainly grew apart.

    5. Stranger than fiction*

      That crossed my mind, it is true people often drift apart after they no longer have that common bond of work. But it’s been months and nothing from this person but silence after they got along so well? Something else is going on I think and it’d help if we knew what the Op did that got him or her fired. Maybe the company lied to the employees and made Op sound like a really bad person.

  13. TotesMaGoats*

    #3-I got my offer for current job via email. HR had no idea that the hiring manager hadn’t called me to offer it over the phone, as that’s normal procedure. Hiring manager was headed on sabbatical and had mentally checked out months earlier. (As I’ve since learned.) HR was pretty apologetic because it’s not how they do things. They do send a paper letter to sign and send back after the verbal offer is made.

    I think it should be verbal followed by an email until the paper copy arrives. Although I don’t think paper copy would be required. Email a PDF that they can electronically sign.

  14. Gandalf the Nude*

    The FedEx thing, besides all the impersonality issues, just sounds wasteful to me. Why would you spend the money to send out a physical copy when a digital copy will suffice? And what if they don’t accept? Then you’re out that money without even the new employee to show for it. It just sounds silly.

    1. Bleu*

      Well, in fairness, I once received a job offer over email and really thought it was just an informal head’s up, we’re going to make an offer type of thing — I was so excited but DIDN’T EVEN RESPOND, expecting the formal offer to be coming in a call or via mail/FedEx. Because it was an email and who makes job offers over email? They actually emailed me again to ask whether I had made a decision.

      1. Kat*

        Aww this made me laugh. My old company always sent out job offers via email, because so many people panic when they’re put on the spot, and forget to ask about salary/negotiate, benefits, start dates, etc, so they used email to give people to think of everything they wanted to discuss and reply with those questions.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I like how my current job did the offer letter. They sent the offer letter via email attachment, and then followed up with a phone call a few minutes later just to say ‘We sent you an offer letter; we’re excited to work with you; please let us know your response by such-and-such day.’

          It was exciting to get the offer letter, and the follow-up by phone, with the message that the offer was open for consideration for a few days, was a low-pressure, pleasant way to add a personal touch to the letter.

    2. Sunflower*

      My company called to extend the offer, sent me a digital copy and then also overnighted me a physical copy. The offer package had like probably 50 pages of benefits information and my guess is it can be hard to absorb all that information when its in one large document on your screen. It was definitely easier to read through all the information when I had it physically in hand. You had to accept or decline the offer digitally though- however I called to clarify a few things and then let them know over the phone I’d be accepting before I officially accepted digitally.

      1. Allison*

        And honestly, I’d rather someone give me the information already printed out than send it to me in a PDF and tell me to print it myself. Even if my stupid printer has enough ink and paper, lord knows it always finds some excuse not to do its job.

    3. Jubilance*

      With every job offer I’ve received, along with a physical copy of the offer letter was a lab form for me to complete a drug test at a national testing lab. Sure the offer letter can be sent via email, but depending on the lab contract, they need a physical lab slip. This has happened in every job I’ve had, and I’ve only worked for large companies (Fortune 100).

      1. Gandalf the Nude*

        As the HR person who sends those out, though, they’re not cheap! And I don’t think we’re the only business that needs to save money wherever they can. So we don’t FedEx things as a matter of course; only when we’re sure we have to, i.e. sending the lab slip after the offer’s been accepted or if the candidate is insisting on a physical copy of the offer.

    4. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Some companies – and some candidates – want the offer in WRITING on hard copy.

      It is never a good idea to give notice in your current position until you receive a hard-copy letter of an offer of employment for the new one. I think we’ve seen situations in here where verbal offers of employment were withdrawn after someone quit their current job; the letter does provide a degree of protection to the candidate in some ways.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s worth noting, though, that printed offers are no more legally binding than those in email — which is to say, pretty much not at all. The employer can revoke it or change the term (although not retroactively) at any time, assuming there’s no signed contract (which is the case for most U.S. workers).

        1. Charityb*

          True. For me, the comfort isn’t so much legal but emotional. Having an offer letter in hand (whether physical or via email) confirms that the company intends to hire me. They might renege, but that’s not likely — although I guess this might be industry-specific. It’s easier in my experience to misunderstand oral communication before that stage though. A lot of times hiring managers will say positive things to candidates throughout the process and it’s easy – especially if you’re the top 2 or whatever – to read too much into it and assume that they’re on the verge of making an offer when they’re really not. It’s especially true if they have you come in to talk to the previous occupant of the job, or if they start sending you detailed information on the benefits package or start talking about specific salary packages etc.

  15. PJ*

    #1 – It’s possible that, if you’re emailing them at work, that they simply aren’t receiving the email because your name or email has been flagged in the system.

  16. Maybe?*

    #4 – Not sure if this is the case with your company, but my state supported higher educational institution must offer a diverse pool of applicants to the interview committee. Even our interview committee must be diverse. Sometimes it takes a while to get the required representative candidates.

  17. Erin*

    #2 – I’m not 100% sure if this would be too passive aggressive, so take it with a grain of salt, but if it feels appropriate for your work norms and whatnot…what if you emailed a submission to your boss (for a coworker obviously, not for yourself) and CCed HR?

    “Hi Bob, I saw in Saturday’s paper that Jane was publicly recognized for her contributions to the local food pantry, and thought that would be a perfect fit for the newsletter. Would you consider writing up a formal submission for her? I’d be happy to help you out with that.”

    #4 – That leaves a bad taste in my mouth too. They’re basically saying, “We’re still considering you, but only as a truly last resort after we’ve exhausted all other options.” I think all you can do at this point is appreciate how candid they’re being, keep plugging away at your current job, and yes, start applying elsewhere.

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Re #4 – not necessarily. The organization might have perfectly reasonable policies about the candidate pool that they need to fulfill before they move on to reviewing applications. For example, my last organization didn’t review applications until the pool was at least 50% people of color.

      1. Erin*

        A good point – I just wish they could have been a bit more candid about that OR simply left it as “we’re still interviewing.”

        1. OP #4*

          I think either way – whether it is me or the circumstances – I would have appreciated more honesty (or minimally tact). I know I’m not entitled to feedback but it certainly would have helped my perception of the situation and of the leadership.

    2. katamia*

      I don’t think your wording for 2 sounds passive aggressive at all. I really like that idea, actually.

  18. Hannah*

    #2: This happens where I work too. There are a few very vocal/cheerleader type managers who always submit their employees’ achievements for recognition, but many more managers never do it. I have a perception that the managers of the busiest, most productive teams are the ones who don’t make the time for this.

    I’m not sure how I feel about this, so I’d be interested in other people’s thoughts too. I myself wouldn’t really prioritize newsletter write ups or the like over actual work, but then when recognition/awards come out, some people are a little bit resentful or hurt that they weren’t included, so that can’t be good for morale. Should the HR team putting it together take initiative to seek things out so that the newsletter ends up better representing the company as a whole? Or just leave it up to those those managers who make time for it? Quit doing it all together? I’m not sure.

    1. LW2*

      Thanks, Hannah! It sounds like our experiences are similar, and we feel the same way about this! I also don’t care too much about everyone knowing about my achievements etc., but at the same time I feel resentful when the newsletter comes out and I’m not included. I know others in my department feel the same way. I started an email to HR about this, but it’s been difficult to finish since I’m not sure about how I think it should be resolved, either. Maybe I need to say that I don’t know what the answer is, but this is my experience and these are my observations, and can we find a better way?

    2. Charityb*

      I don’t think you have to prioritize these things over actual work, but it seems kind of callous to ask someone to prepare a write-up and then not even bother submitting it. That takes, what, two seconds of work? It’s just copying and pasting something else that someone else has created.

      It’s not that this specific thing is super-important, but I think it’s easy for people to forget that managers should (in some way, not necessarily via newsletter) good performance and success. It’s easy to get into the rut of only acknowledging your employees’ performance when it’s bad, which I agree is bad for morale.

  19. katamia*

    I think I’ve received a couple of phone calls to be offered jobs, but I prefer email, honestly. The phone calls I got were just as impersonal as OP thinks email is (“We’d like to schedule a time for you to come in and fill out paperwork,” etc.). I also really, really hate doing “official business” over the phone, both because I want a paper/digital paper trail and because I’d want some time to think about it–this might be a personal quirk, but I really hate being required to give an immediate answer even if it’s a job I’m planning to accept. I’d rather take a little time to compose myself first. Therefore, I screen all my calls except for ones from close family and always indicate when possible that I’d rather be contacted by email.

    I wouldn’t turn down a job just because the offer came via phone rather than email (I don’t hate the phone THAT much), but I wouldn’t appreciate the phone call, either. I’m not saying OP can’t do a phone call if she wants and HR says it’s okay, I’m just saying that just because it feels more personal and positive to the OP, that doesn’t mean it’ll come off that way to the person who’s being offered the job.

  20. Sunflower*

    #4- From your letter, it sound like you’ve already stayed at your job too long and you are way more tied to this job/organization than you should be for some reason. I’m not here to internet diagnose but a few things stand out to me:
    1- You’re frustrated about a situation yet you seem to know you shouldn’t be
    2. You’re worried you are job searching out of spite when it’s clearly obvious you aren’t happy and it’s time to move on (I don’t know your industry but 5 years in an entry level role seems like a really long time)
    3. High turnover of people in positions similar to you. Sounds to me like they realized this wasn’t a place they wanted to stay for some reason.
    4- Every single thing you said is a totally normal reason for job searching yet you still aren’t sure if you should do it.

    First I think you need to take a good hard look at your company. Did you apply to this job simply to get out of your current one or does it fit with your career path? If the only room for advancement doesn’t fit with your path(or there is no room for advancement), I don’t think any of other benefits of the company even matter. Clearly you have outgrown your job and if there is nowhere for you to go there, you need to start a real job search NOW.

    If you do feel there is room for growth, have you talked to your manager at all about your job situation? My last workplace manager (terrible) would have never had a conversation about my future or challenges I wanted to take on because they really didn’t care- and a place like that is not one you want to stay at. Is your manager aware you want to move up and are no longer content in your current position? If not, start there.

    Regardless I think you should be looking at other jobs. Your workplace sounds bearable but I really think you’d have a chance at being happier elsewhere. And never forget that it never hurts to look. Browsing jobs, applying/interviewing- none of that means you need to take the job and it will help you see what else is out there.

    1. OP #4*

      For someone whose intention was not to internet diagnose me…I think you are spot on. Thanks for your thoughts.

      I think I was probably 50/50 in my intentions for this job – I see it as something I have direct experience in, something I’m good at, and functions I enjoy, but also as a great ticket out of my current position (which as you indicated, I have outgrown) without having to uproot my lifestyle too much (same workplace, so no surprises, and same geographic area, which I like and am comfortable with).

      I have talked to my manager (who I like a lot, also part of my hesitation to leave) and she is aware of the situation and supportive of my desire to move on, recognizing that I have probably gotten everything out of this current position that I can.

      I think you’re absolutely right – my workplace is bearable and that’s why I’m staying, but not because I’m enhancing my skills or really truly happy doing what I’m doing. I think I’m more afraid of change than I would like to let on.

  21. Allison*

    #3, at my job the recruiter always extends a verbal offer before sending an official offer letter, and to me it would seem weird to send someone an offer letter without some kind of “congratulations, we’re hiring you” phone call or e-mail.

  22. Yep*

    #1 – Sadly, you should just let it go.

    My personal, related anecdote: When I left a prior job on bad terms, there were two coworkers I assumed I’d keep in touch with. When I left, I was fired by my boss who hit on me, let people scream at me, etc. – I won’t get into the whole thing, but let’s just say I thought it was pretty clear that I got screwed over and I was in the right. But more importantly, I didn’t want my coworkers to think I had anything against THEM – I wanted them to know there were certainly no hard feelings on my part, and that yes I did want to keep in touch.

    I was fired in June, and I wanted let things simmer down awhile before reaching out. I sent them both Christmas cards (which we’d exchanged before) and received nothing back. Then, I ran into one of the coworker’s brothers, and he basically told me the coworker was taking my boss’s side. “I sent that rat bastard a Christmas card,” I said. I realized the other coworker had fallen to the other side too – she and my boss had known each other much longer than either had known me.

    I was a little crushed. I had been planning on inviting them to my wedding. I wanted to keep in touch because I genuinely liked them and enjoyed working with them – I had no plans to badmouth my former boss to them, or otherwise get them on my “side” – in fact I was hoping to maintain a pleasant relationship with each of them without ever having to talk about that stuff. But, the feeling wasn’t mutual.

    You don’t know the gossip going around at this point. Who said what, who believes what. And you have no control over it. Even if you’re in the right.

    I’d chalk it up to – If they don’t want to keep in touch with me, I don’t want to keep in touch with them. Because really you don’t. Better to close the door on that whole unpleasant work experience and move on to bigger and better pastures, with colleagues who respect you and the work you do.

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      You also have to realize – people in a workplace must fall into line behind the boss.

      If the boss says the sky is green – you have to say “the sky is green”. If the boss says 1+1 = 3, you have to prove that out.

      Why am I reminded of a certain former political candidate who took a trolley tour of my home town (Boston) and gave her opinion of Paul Revere’s ride — and Wikipedia suddenly was “revised” to reflect her views?

      People in that place may like you – but, they also like their paycheck, too. I left a place on somewhat bad terms and the only times I ever heard from anyone there was when someone learned I could get hard-to-get tickets to sporting events in the area.

      1. Jennifer*

        Yeah, seconding this. It might not be that they don’t like or believe you, but that they have to cover their own ass.

        I haven’t had contact with a former coworker of mine since she got shit-canned, but those who do are keeping it very quiet in public.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      If they don’t want to keep in touch with me, I don’t want to keep in touch with them. Because really you don’t.

      A million times this. It’s not worth wasting your time trying to hang out with people who can’t be arsed to talk to you. If I had known this long ago, I could have saved myself years of grief.

  23. Mike B.*

    #3 – FedEx?! Gah. Unless you live in a building with a doorman or have a family member who is at home during the business day, your packages will either be left unguarded at your door or taken to a depot (mine is in an entirely different part of Brooklyn about an hour away by public transportation). Why send something confidential and time-sensitive that way without backing it up with an email or phone call, preferably both?

    #1 – Your wording made me raise an eyebrow. “…a false allegation had been made against [you], [you weren’t] given a chance to tell [your] side, and [you] resigned.” The lack of specifics might have been for the sake of brevity/salience or to conceal details that might identify you, but to me it makes the story sound a little fishy–would your employer’s and coworker’s actions sound so unreasonable in the context of the actual charge and the evidence against you?

    Regardless, I agree with other commenters about the response: your former coworker either thinks you’re guilty, or wouldn’t feel safe being associated with you under the circumstances, or doesn’t care about you now that you no longer have a working relationship. There’s very little you can say that will change a person’s mind about any of those (assuming you don’t have decisive evidence of your innocence, which you would presumably have already used to defend yourself).

    1. YeahRight*

      Wow, Mike B. that’s a bit harsh on #1. When I read the letter I could have been the one who wrote it. I left my previous job after almost 10 years because I was accused of something I didn’t do, didn’t have a chance to defend myself and therefore realised this was my opening to just leave (I’d been unhappy for a while, as were/are many of the staff). I told them at the time they had no proof of the issue & it was coming from a co-worker who was a known troublemaker who had always had it in for me, (and unfortunately for me, related to the boss), but after all my years of dedication, none of it mattered. The fact that some nufty had made a false complaint was obviously enough for them. I was stunned at the time, but I was so much better off getting out of there. But, I ended up with diagnosed PTSD and missed my co-workers terribly. Like #1, the same thing happened to me – only 2 people kept in touch with me. All of my other ‘friends’ ignored me and never bothered to contact me and ask me how I was, or what happened, etc. I assumed they were fed some rubbish that they just chose to believe at the time. Or they were shitty I had left without saying goodbye (which I couldn’t, but did try and contact people afterwards to explain). It took a long time to realise that these people, who I thought cared about me, just didn’t. Hurtful and sad, but I had to move on. You can’t make people feel a certain way or expect them to act in a certain way – you just never know what people will do or how they feel. Most choose to ignore and not get involved, though that just makes them seem very cold in my eyes. But, meh…

  24. KWu*

    LW #2: it seems unlikely to me that having more achievements from your team show up in the HR newsletter will have a meaningful impact on the low morale in your department, because both items seem to stem from the department head not appearing to be particularly invested in fixing the morale issue, rather than the newsletter thing being an independent cause of low morale that can be fixed. If the department head demonstrated interest in and commitment to trying out different ways of improving morale, that could help turn things around…but may also be why morale is low in the first place.

    I think your efforts to help improve morale might be better spent elsewhere, like determining the extent to which the department head is aware of the problems and trying out various solutions. Maybe also through you bringing more information and ideas on what’s going on with the team emotionally, if the underlying issue is a lack of knowledge or creativity. You could also help people feel more appreciated by directly expressing it to them, rather than through the newsletter.

    I tend to think the newsletter only matters for morale purposes if the people in your department themselves place value in the newsletter’s contents, or if having more presence in the newsletter improves the perception of your department by other departments and makes everyone’s job easier and more appreciated.

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