I’m addicted to job searching, interviewing just for practice, and more

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

1. I’m addicted to job searching

I have a weird problem. I can’t stop looking for new jobs.

I spent nearly all of 2014 job searching, applying, interviewing, etc. I was barely making enough money to make ends meet at the time, so finding a new job was crucial. I had success in landing a lot of interviews, but it took time to find a good match. It was a draining, emotional, exhausting, and invigorating year. I did eventually find a new job at a well-known firm, and I received a $20K raise and a senior title. I just celebrated my one-year anniversary at this new job, and overall I’m happy.

But…. I just want to keep looking. Job searching was such a huge part of my life that I don’t know how to turn it off. Now, even though I am financially comfortable and doing exceptionally well in my new role, I just want to keep looking for more money, and new exciting roles in other interest areas. It’s as if once I realized how much I can do, my value, and how many jobs are out there, I just want to keep moving up up up.

I have a pact with myself to stay in this job for two to three years before leaving, and I will stick to it. But do you have any advice on how to “chill out,” enjoy this stage in my career, and stop looking elsewhere for more money and more senior roles?

Chill out, enjoy this stage in your career, and stop looking elsewhere.

Good employers are going to want to know why you’re already looking to leave a job that you’re still fairly new in, especially after being out of work for a while before that. Bad employers won’t be as concerned — and, being bad employers, they’re also much more likely to be companies that you’ll be looking to leave quickly too if you take a job there. Which will give you two short-ish stays in a row, following a period of unemployment, which will make you job-hopper-ish and a decidedly less attractive candidate. If you’re happy where you are, why would you do that to yourself just because you’re having trouble turning off the job-search habit?

Think of it this way instead: Job searching isn’t just about looking at other jobs; it’s also about making yourself an attractive candidate. This current stage of your “search” is about establishing a solid history in your current role, so that you’re well-positioned at whatever point in the future it does make sense to start looking. After only one year, that time is not now.

2. Is my former temp job treating me like a door mat?

I worked at a multimillion dollar industrial company for about five months as a temp receptionist while a coworker was out of the office dealing with major health issues. Now that the coworker is back to work, I am out of a job.

I loved the job, for the most part. I really miss all of my nice coworkers. I used to get to plan fun parties for everyone in the office every week. I would order food for everyone or I would cook special lunches for about 50 people in the office while still managing my receptionist duties. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the office parties. I noticed that the parties really helped people open up to each other and build new friendships, and it helped make people more productive at work because the parties made everyone so happy. Sometimes coworkers would even cancel taking off work for a day because they wanted to participate in the special lunch day.

My former company now calls me occasionally to ask me to fill in for my old coworkers when they are out of the office. There is always an abundance of work to do when I fill in from multiple departments. I like to get the extra money by filing in, but I feel like if I am so great, then why don’t they offer to hire me full-time? I feel like I am being used if I continue to fill in for my former multimillion dollar company only when they need me.

I was told after I was hired as a temp that they wanted someone who was bilingual. The job posting for the temp position did not say anything about being bilingual. I was told that not being bilingual was keeping me from working with the company full-time. The odd thing is, only a handful of the people in their office are bilingual.

Could you please provide me with some advice as to what I should do in my situation? Is stringing someone along like this normal in business practices? Does it look good to other employers that I still help my former company when I am needed or does it just make me look like I tolerate being treated like a door mat?

It doesn’t sound like they’re stringing you along — unless they’ve made promises to hire you that they’re not fulfilling, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. And they’re not using you. They’re offering you paid work when it’s available and if you want it. You temped for them, and they’re occasionally offering you additional temp work. This is all normal and not weird or wrong.

It’s perfectly plausible that they want to hire someone bilingual — maybe especially because not many other people there are (which could make it more important for a future hire). Or it’s possible that that’s code for “your total package of skills isn’t strong enough, and this is one area of weakness, but if you were stronger in other areas, it wouldn’t be as important to be bilingual.” Or maybe they don’t think you’re the right full-time hire for other reasons and are using this as an easy-to-understand reason rather than getting into more awkward ones. Who knows. But they can like you for temp roles without that obligating them to want to hire you for a full-time one.

Offering you additional temp work that you’re free to accept or turn down is not treating you like a door mat.

3. My friend wants to interview for jobs she won’t take “for practice”

Yesterday my friend told me that she will be applying to jobs this week even though her contract will not end until September. She just wants the interview practice and has no plans to tell the interview team that she is only available in September.

As a recruiter myself, I highly advised against this. I told her that she was playing with fire and that if she were to get an offer that was a lot more glamorous than her current salary, and they were not flexible on a September start date, she will resent interviewing for fun. I also let her know that if that’s the case, she may be inclined to tell them about her September start date and they will hold a lot of resentment against her for not telling them sooner. I really fear, most importantly, that she will forever have a bad reputation with them. Is this advice sound? (I think she’s also hoping to buy a lot of extra time and land a position that is willing to wait for her for six months.)

Yeah, if she gets an offer and then mentions at that point that she’s not available until September, most employers are going to rightly annoyed that she didn’t bother to mention that earlier in the process, and it may be a strike against her if she ever applies with them in the future. (The exception to this is if she’s an industry where start dates many months away are normal, but that doesn’t sound like it’s the case.) Also, many employers set aside a specific number of interview slots, often just three or four. She’ll be taking that slot from someone who’s actually interested in accepting that job, and who might have been offered it if she didn’t bump them out for her own interest in “practicing.”

And really, the whole thing is operating in bad faith — obviously if she told employers that she wasn’t available but just wanted to talk to them for practice, they’d decline.

4. How should I tell my remote team that I just got engaged?

My significant other and I got engaged over the weekend. It is very exciting! We are taking our time contacting family and close friends before announcing publicly. We have a plan all worked out…except I am not sure what the etiquette is for telling coworkers. My whole team is remote and works from home, including me, so I can’t just flash my ring around and let the news float. I have only been working here for the last seven months, so I’m not totally sure on the company culture regarding these things.

Is it appropriate to just send out an “exciting news!” email? Should I send a picture of the ring with it? What is the appropriate thing to say?

Congratulations! If you have a small-ish team, yes, it’s totally appropriate to just send out an “exciting news to share!” email. (If it’s a huge team, I might send just to the people you work most closely with.) Ring photo: your call. Assuming you have reasonably warm relationships with your coworkers, people won’t think it’s weird if you include it.

Read an update to this letter here.

5. An Ask a Manager job board?

I was wondering if you would ever consider expanding your site to help your readers connect with each other/other good companies that generally follow Ask A Manager approved processes?

Specifically, I was wondering what you thought of hosting a jobs board for your readers? You get a lot of letters from people who are looking for work and more than once I’ve thought to myself “Hey, we have a position like that open!” It would be awesome for your readers to be able to non-anonymously connect — I know I’d be more interested in a candidate who follows you.

I don’t know if you’d want to open your jobs board to companies too, since of course it would be hard for you to vouch for whether or not they are non-toxic places to work. (Although man would it be AWESOME if you had an AAM certification system for management!)

Weirdly, a friend just suggested this to me recently too. My response to her was that it felt too much like mission creep to me — that it’s pretty far outside the scope of what I’ve set out to do here.  I also wouldn’t be able to screen companies enough to vouch for them. That said, I’m putting this out there in case someone has a brilliant angle on this, preferably an obscenely lucrative one.

{ 394 comments… read them below }

  1. jesicka309*

    OP#4 – I say send a photo if you have one of you and your fiancee (also congrats!!!). When I got engaged, I sent around a pic that was taken the night we got engaged, which I think is a bit nicer than a ring shot (which is very LOOK AT MY POSSESSIONS vs. LOOK HOW HAPPY WE ARE).

    1. Artemesia*

      This. The ring thing just seems shallow (although of course if you were all in the same office everyone would be crowding around to see the ring — it is a media is the message sort of thing here) A snapshot of the two of you would be sweet and charming (and no problem posing it to show off the ring.)

    2. Clever Name*

      Yeah, don’t send a ring shot. I’d much rather see a happy photo of you with your fiancée if I were your colleague.

      1. LeRainDrop*

        Ditto. I really don’t care what someone else’s ring looks like. I suppose if you were telling me in person and other people were already asking to see the ring, I would ooh and ahh over it because that is the customary/polite thing to do, but it would just be a pleasantry on my part as someone who cares about your feelings.

        1. Brooke*

          Exactly. A LOT of ooh-ing and aah-ing is done out of politeness. (Sorry, newly-engaged.)

    3. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      Agreed. A photo of the two of you where the ring is visible – fine, because the focus is on the two of you looking happy. A close-up of your hand feels materialistic, like the focus is on the object and not the relationship.

    4. bridget*

      Yeah, I’m almost never interested in a ring shot. (I’m also not really into rings in general, and actually lost my engagement ring a year ago, never to be found … oops). I always enjoy a snapshot of a beaming couple after the moment, though.

    5. Amtelope*

      Ring photo: NOPE NOPE NOPE. Feels really transparently like “look at this expensive thing I have!” I think a photo of you and your fiance would be fine, but showing off just the ring … nope.

    6. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Eh, while of course I agree with everyone about the ring not being as important as the happiness of the couple, in around half of the “Guess what? We got engaged!” discussions, I eventually hear “So, let’s see the ring!”

      I would recommend the OP have one ready, but wait and see if anyone asks about it.

      1. Karowen*

        Seconded! People are going to want to see it – not out of a materialistic, how-much-does-he-love-her position, but out of a oooo-sparkly-things position.

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          Obviously some people will, but many of us wouldn’t be interested in that kind of thing at all. I never care about seeing The Ring. Automatically sending a picture of it to her coworkers could come across to some of them in a way she wouldn’t intend. Since it’s work, why not be on the safe side and not send it?

          That said, I don’t think it hurts to have a picture of it in case someone asks to see it.

        2. neverjaunty*

          Unfortunately many people really are into the “how much was he willing to shell out” thing.

        3. Green*

          At least then it’s in response to a request to see the ring rather than a “AND HERE’S MY RING!” That’s how those things go in person too, usually. “AH! Show us your ring!” (Engaged person obliges) vs. “GOT ENGAGED AND LOOK AT MY ROCK!”

      2. The Other Dawn*

        I agree. Don’t send a picture of the ring. It usually comes off as materialistic. But I say that as someone who’s seen several women show off their ring in person when no one asked, and it was definitely their intent to show off how much ring they could afford.

        Send a pic of the you and your fiancé together.

        1. anooooooooon*

          This. I had one coworker who would wave her hand in front of people’s faces until they commented on the ring. It was really obnoxious, especially since her husband made a lot of money and we were all struggling to get by (more than once she said she took the job for “fun money” which didn’t endear her to any of us).

          Some people will ask to see the ring out of politenness, some out of genuine interest, but showing it off when no one asks seems materialistic.

      3. themmases*

        I agree, when you get engaged it is the inevitable question.

        It was awkward when I got engaged but didn’t want one!

        1. Nonny*

          Yeah, at my work everyone wants to see the ring right away. In my faith we do not wear wedding/engagement rings. I don’t get into religion or related topics at work, so I’m probably just not going to mention being engaged, lol.

      4. LBK*

        Yeah, I think that’s usually one of the first two questions asked (the other being how the proposal was done). However, I do also agree that while it might seem smart to pre-emptively answer that question by including a photo in the email, it’s one of those questions that does seem a little bit like showing off if you don’t wait until it’s asked (even if the person would’ve asked you anyway). I’d have a photo on hand for people who ask but don’t send it out before that.

        1. Alienor*

          Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one out there who doesn’t have a “proposal story.” My husband and I just sort of … decided to get married. It didn’t bother me at the time (20 years ago) and still doesn’t, but sometimes as I listen to people’s elaborate tales of how they walked up a rose-petal-strewn trail to the top of a mountain where their boyfriend was waiting on bended knee, I wonder if we were weird or something. :)

          1. OwnedByTheCat*

            I’m getting married in June and I don’t think you’re weird at all. My fiance made me a lovely breakfast (and there were roses) but it was incredibly low key and relaxed. People are like “What’s your story??!?!?” “Well, he asked me and I said yes…”

          2. echosparks*

            My husband didn’t propose either! I got a job out-of-state and following me would mean my then boyfriend would lose his health insurance. We decided we would get married so he could be on mine, and that was that. I also don’t have an engagement ring.

          3. Rusty Shackelford*

            I honestly don’t understand the point of the big proposal anyway. To me, you’re engaged when you decide to get married. A big showy proposal just seems superfluous. (Of course, I also think it’s weird when the woman sits around hoping the man decides he wants to marry her and waiting for him to propose, because that’s not the way people should make such a huge decision, IMHO.)

          4. LBK*

            Sometimes the low-key stories are the best stories, IMO. One of my favorite moments on Sex and the City is when Miranda proposes to Steve, because they’re just sitting at a bar having beers and she says “Want to get married?” and that’s it. I think as with all aspects of a relationship (especially marriage), it’s all about what’s right for the two of you. If you’re big romantic gesture people, the roses and such are right for you. If not, they aren’t.

            My step-dad didn’t even really propose to my mom, just told her he had some family heirloom engagement rings and she should pick one out. It wasn’t so much a proposal as “Well, we’re gonna do the marriage thing eventually, so I guess we should go through the steps of that process.”

          5. Anonymous Educator*

            You’re not weird. My spouse and I do not have any kind of even low-key proposal story. One time it made for a very awkward social moment, when a bunch of people were asking about our proposal story, and when I said we didn’t have one, they kept insisting, as if I had an amazingly elaborate story I was just being coy about.

            Please—if someone says there’s no proposal story, just believe her (or him).

            And, in the end, we’ve been married a lot longer than some of our friends who had impressive proposal stories. It’s not a contest (who can be married the longest), but it’s not as if having an impressive proposal story solidifies your marriage.

            1. Paquita*

              Yes to the not a contest. My DH and I dated for nine years. He agreed to go to a series of pre-marital classes but made it very clear it did not mean anything. I was like OK whatever. After the last class we were walking out and I saw something down the hall I wanted to look at. I go merrily on my way oblivious to him down on one knee TRYING TO PROPOSE! When he finally got my attention I was so shocked I burst out laughing. Not very romantic. Been married almost 23 years now.

          6. myswtghst*

            I think we’re in the minority, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing! My fiance and I have been together for ~7.5 years, and in the last year or so, we decided we should probably get married soon so we don’t further scandalize the more religious family members if we have kids, and so I can get him on my health insurance. All my cousins have proposal stories, and all they ever did was convince me it wasn’t for me, so I’m glad he respected that and we made the decision (and picked out my ring) together. :)

          7. SMT*

            I have an engagement story (it involves a second hand Harry Potter book), but technically we become engaged waiting for my fiance’s oil change at Wal-Mart. We had wandered around the store (new Star Wars toys had just come out!) and then he looked me in the eye, told me that he loved me, and asked if I wanted to start looking at rings (since Wal Mart carries rings). It was important to him to do a whole official proposal, which drove me a little crazy since I had to wait a couple of weeks to wear the pretty ring I picked out on Etsy.

          8. Cath in Canada*

            I have no real proposal story. We were hanging out at home one Sunday morning and he said “hey, do you ever think about us getting married?” I was all “ARE YOU ACTUALLY ASKING?!” and he said “yeah! I am!”

            And then he reminded me that we had to meet his family for brunch in about half an hour and had to leave immediately! I was so flustered. I managed to call my parents and my sister from the car though :D

    7. jhhj*

      I love rings and think they’re beautiful and am fascinated by jewelry design.

      But don’t send the ring shot. Send a photo of the two of you, or don’t send a photo at all. You can of course show them the ring when you are (inevitably) asked about it.

    8. Britt*

      I completely disagree. People are going to ask and want to see the ring anyway. Plus, the ring is all part of the excitement of getting engaged, in a sentimental way. I think if the immediate assumption that someone is “shallow” because of that (unless their personality has shown them to be that way already) kind of says more about you than them.

      1. Clewgarnet*

        When my (disliked) manager got engaged and sent out a photo of her ring, it just made her already unhappy reports even more unhappy. “She’s useless at her job, and she gets paid enough she can waste money on a fancy ring, while we’re struggling to eat,” sort of thing.

      2. Chocolate lover*

        Some people would ask, some don’t. On both sides, it’s a know your audience kind of thing. I proposed to my husband. No one cared about the ring I bought him lol. I was very close with my co-workers, and I still think it would have been overdoing it to send around pics of my ring when he got me one.

        I personally don’t care about anyone’s ring, though in the context of playing nice in a social situation, I pretend to.

        1. Brooke*

          “I personally don’t care about anyone’s ring, though in the context of playing nice in a social situation, I pretend to.”

          Exactly. I think that happens a LOT. I know I’ve done it.

          1. Nonny*

            I usually forget to ask to see the ring and I’ve accidentally offended coworkers because of this. LOL

      3. blackcat*

        For a lot of people, the ring *isn’t* a part of getting engaged. Which is why I’d find a request for pictures of the ring off-putting. I don’t find that off-putting in person: “Can I get a better look at your ring?” to me seems very different than “RING PICS?!?!”
        I have a beautiful custom ring that I’m happy to show people who are interested (I think it’s a cool work of art, and I get to wear it all the time), but the idea that my engagement was about a ring (or wedding), rather than an upcoming marriage, bothered me.
        YMMV. Different strokes for different folks. Which is why a picture of the happy couple is a great thing to attach, and the appropriate response is “Congrats!”

        1. Hotstreak*

          Ugh, yes. On top of some people not wanting to see or care about the ring, some people may not even care or want to hear about your wedding. If we’re just coworkers who don’t interact outside of work, it’s not relevant information to me. Double that if we don’t see each other regularly for work. From other peoples comments I can tell I fall a little on the Grinch side of this, but I just don’t feel comfortable being given unsolicited updates on your personal life.

          1. Doriana Gray*

            Yeah…I usually delete the emails I get in my department announcing weddings, baby showers, births, etc. and that’s been true my entire working career. The people I work with and like will have told me already, so the email is redundant, and the ones that I don’t know or don’t care for…yeah, I have no desire to hear about what’s going on in their lives, so I delete and ignore.

          2. Brooke*

            Yep. The gals I’ve worked with that were planning weddings let it encroach BIG TIME into their work hours, and even though I know it’s not always the case, now I groan inwardly when there’s an engagement. It doesn’t help when the reasoning is “I know I was going to have something simple, but I just got carried away!” as if they had no choice in the matter.

            /bitter off

      4. fposte*

        This is one of those things where it’s fine to do when asked, but to people you don’t see very much, sending it unasked makes the announcement into “I got jewelry!” rather than “I got engaged!”

      5. Stranger than fiction*

        But it’s much more tactful to just pose as a couple with her ring showing (like in a partial embrace type pose). If you were announcing a pregnancy, you wouldn’t send a pic of your $5000 crib or stroller or whatever. If the ring is the most important thing people want to know about, then yes that is shallow.

      6. TootsNYC*

        If they ask, send it. Only then. In person, I’ve never had a colleague say, “I got engaged, look at my ring!” but I’ve always seen people ask, and THEN my colleagues say, “Oh, sure,” and hold their hand out.

    9. Spooky*

      I realize I’m outside the norm on this, but I always liked ring shots. To me, sending out a picture of the ring says “here’s what’s new in our relationship,” because presumably those who are close enough to you to warrant receiving the pic have already seen your significant other and have seen that you’re happy in the relationship.

      But for a work situation, I agree with the others – I don’t really think it feels right to send around, especially not to a remote team.

      1. TootsNYC*

        “here’s what’s new in our relationship,”

        If I opened an email from my friend and saw a ring shot, I’d see that as “a graphic communicating a piece of news, i.e., they got engaged.”

        So, I suppose our OP could send an email like this:
        subject line: exciting personal news
        body: ring photo, plus some short newsy comment (“I’ll need time off in the spring!” or “now the crazy part begins” or “five years and counting”)

    10. OP4*

      It actually ended up working itself out! I had to tell my boss yesterday because I needed to ask for some time off to drive across the state to tell my grandmother, and got her opinion on who/when to email. I have a small team, so I emailed them. She told me, unprompted, “Send a picture of the ring!”

      We actually went with an antique ring that’s not a diamond and cost less than $200, so it’s not a flashy-sparkly ring – and because it’s antique, it doesn’t fit on my hand yet and I had to take a picture of it in the box. I shared the story of how we found the ring, and several of my coworkers commented on what a nice story it was.

      I guess in the end if people think I’m shallow, they probably don’t know me well enough, and I can work to overcome that mis-judgement :)

      1. Anna*

        I love that! Antique rings are very special. When I got married 15 years ago, I decided to wear a great aunt’s wedding ring that was small and delicate. I just liked it more than anything else I saw for sale and it suited my style.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Ah, now that’s different. An antique and a romantic story to go along with it is totally different then just a close up of a big ol diamond. Congrats!

      3. Ad Astra*

        In your situation, I think it’s unlikely that your coworkers thought you were shallow for sharing a photo of the ring. The fact that it’s apparently a little different from your standard engagement ring and has an interesting story to go with it makes it worth sharing. It makes me think “Aw, that’s cool! Great news for OP!” If you sent me an unsolicited photo of a 2-carat solitaire in a plain white gold setting, I’d be more likely to roll my eyes. (A huge solitaire from the jewelry store would still be gorgeous and special; it just wouldn’t be an interesting, personal detail about your engagement.)

        1. INFJ*

          well put. congrats, OP, and disregard my grumpy “ring pics are tacky” comment below ;-)

      4. Anna*

        Don’t work too hard, OP. If you’re not shallow it will be obvious. :)

        Congratulations to you and your fiancé! I hope your grandmother is really excited for you.

      5. LeRainDrop*

        Ohhh, that actually totally changes my opinion — I previously posted that I wouldn’t care to see it. My typical experience with someone wanting to show their ring is when it’s a giant, sparkly, pricey thing. Here, this is a really sweet story and sentimental. Congratulations!

    11. Wow....Just Wow*

      I recently got engaged and I work remote as well. I mentioned my news to my manager, who shared it with the team. I’m a pretty private person who hates to be the center of attention. Several of the my coworkers asked to see the ring, so I sent a ring picture. I wouldn’t have sent it unsolicited though.

    12. Victoria, Please*

      Chuckle. When my stepdaughter sent engagement pics, they were of her and her guy, so cute, but she made sure to be hugging him so that her left hand was prominently visible. Two birds knocked out with one big sparkly rock!

      1. Oryx*

        Hm. The fact that you called out the “big sparkly rock” proves the point of why some people find the focus on the ring to be off-putting when the focus really should be about the two people getting married.

        1. Brooke*

          Either that or the focus is on the wedding and not what they’re actually entering into.

          1. Karowen*

            I feel obligated to point out that people can be into the whole engagement and photo shoot and big wedding and still be incredibly in love. The reason I’m so into my engagement ring and my wedding is because it marks the start of this whole new chapter – even though we’re in love and have been living together for awhile and it’s not really going to change that much, it’s still a big deal. People are allowed to think that it’s a big deal.

            1. Brooke*

              Of course you’re allowed to think it’s a big deal…. just know that not everyone outside of your close family and friends are going to be quite as excited :)

    13. TootsNYC*

      I agree–the ring photo would be weird.

      In person, I think etiquette would say that you only show your ring to someone -if they ask-. (I always ask, bcs I think it often makes the person happy.) Think how weird it would be for someone to walk up to you in person and say, “I got engaged, look at my ring!”

      1. Karowen*

        I mean, I did that with a few friends. Because I was incredibly excited and they already knew that I was incredibly excited by the prospect of it.

        Also, it’s fun to see the look of realization dawn on the person’s face as they realize what finger it’s on and that it’s diamond-y and that I’m grinning maniacally :)

    14. Anna*

      I think she should do what makes her comfortable. How you view her sending a photo of the ring is not her problem. Whatever is easiest and the most fun for the OP is really the only “appropriate” way to do this.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        That’s good advice for life in general, but not for a workplace. “easiest and fun” can easily backfire if one doesn’t “know their audience”. I’m speaking generally, not necessarily about this specific instance.

        1. Anna*

          I’m addressing specifically the idea of sending a photo of the ring because it looks “shallow” as opposed to a photo of the couple so you look like you’re happy and not just in it for the loot. If the person is going to send anything and wants to include a photo, instead of telling them what YOU might think of the kind of photo they send, why don’t you just take in the spirit it was intended instead of deciding what’s greedy and what’s sincere.

    15. Lily in NYC*

      Am I the only one who thinks she shouldn’t even send an email about it at all? I would think it was really weird if I got an email like this from a coworker. Unless we were extremely close friends.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Co-workers on my team share personal news all the time – my manager is currently engaged, one of our writers is pregnant, this is the sort of life event people care about. We’re not super close friends, but we’re all friendly.

        1. StudentPilot*

          Ditto. We’re not a big team (20 people? about that) and we get updates like this all the time. (I had requests for photos after a recent trip; my supervisor announced her pregnancy; thank you’s for retirement parties…) We don’t get into the amount of details that we would with friends, but a general level of “big news! Jake and Jim adopted a baby girl this week. There’s a card circulating if you wish to sign and send your regards.”

      2. Lily in NYC*

        Yeah, I guess it depends on the office. We are pretty conservative here and no one ever sends personal emails. We don’t even get photos of new babies! OK, now I’m thinking my office is weird.

        1. anonanonanon*

          My office is like this. I get personal life updates from the people I’m friends with at work, but aside from that, I know very little about my teammates’ personal lives. It’d be very strange in my office for someone to send a vacation/pregnancy/marriage email and even stranger to send photos!

          I actually prefer it, to be honest.

    16. Tau*

      I must say that as someone from a culture that doesn’t do engagement rings, this thread has been fascinating.

  2. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

    Re: #5

    If someone is interested in taking on a volunteer job, they could consider creating a closed AAM group (with your permission for the name connection, of course, Alison!) on LinkedIn, and people could share jobs there. One would assume that only those from AAM would know of the group, and know to search for a particular name and request an invite.

    1. Pokebunny*

      There is already a closed invite-only AAM group on LinkedIn, although it’s pretty inactive since most of us just hang out here instead. But that doesn’t fulfill the “preferably an obscenely lucrative one” clause for Alison though lol.

    2. littlemoose*

      I realize it won’t be lucrative for Alison, but the LinkedIn group was my first thought too. It already exists, and is a natural place to post job openings. If somebody wants to share a job opening, they could mention it in the work open thread and refer people to LinkedIn for specifics (“Hey guys, there’s a marketing opportunity in Phoenix, see the LinkedIn group for the details”). That would let people know about it via the open thread without the thread itself morphing into a job board.

      1. Zahra*

        Yup, that would be my first inclination as well. Let’s hop over to LinkedIn to discuss how we should handle it (one thread, one thread per month, one thread per person/opportunity?) ;)

      2. Terra*

        The steps for joining the LinkedIn group may need to be updated. It doesn’t look like you can send a message to a group you aren’t a member of and I doubt Alison wants all the requests going to her.

    3. Amber T*

      A handful of other blogs I follow have forums attached to it. I always wished that AAM would have the same! As for obscenely lucrative… more viewed pages for more ads? :)

      If there were an AAM forum, I would live there.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Anyone could start one (like Friends of Captain Awkward), but those are tricky to handle – in addition to the normal moderation issues, some communities end up with the moderators running discussions the way THEY would run AAM, or you get cliques.

        Personally I would rather eat glass than moderate a discussion group ever again :(

      2. Bowserkitty*

        Agreed!! It’s hard to keep up with comments sometimes and having a dedicated message board would be great.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I can see why people sometimes suggest this, but ultimately it too is really outside of my mission — which is really just to give workplace advice, and not so much to provide a discussion forum, although that’s turned into a nice side effect. I’d worry that separate forums would lead to me hosting unmoderated discussion boards where I couldn’t really vouch for the quality of the advice (not that I can in the comments either, but it’s easier for me to keep an eye here and jump in if something’s egregious — although frankly I don’t always see things in time here either).

        Interestingly, the owner of Offbeat Empire has said that creating forums was the worst business decision she ever made because it cannibalized her traffic from the places where she wanted it and sort of turned into a monster that required constant resources.

        1. LucyVP*

          I agree. In the current AAM format it is really clear what is official AAM advise/information and what comes from other readers. A forum might make that separation a bit mushy.

    4. AMG*

      I love the thought of a ‘this is one of the good places to work that employs AAM principles and is relatively sane’ ob board. I would pay for access to that if I were job searching…IJS.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Well … it’s pretty common for people to say “I have internalized your advice about X and follow it religiously” who actually … don’t. This is true on the job seekers side (I hear a ton of “I’m doing everything you suggest” but then when I look at their materials they’ve done very little of it) and on the manager side. So I’d be wary even when people say that.

  3. KH*

    OP#2 – it’s a temp job, not a boyfriend. It sounds like you put way too much emotional energy and time into this company (Cooking lunches for the staff? I’d find it super-weird if a temp did that. ) and now you’re feeling like they owe you something. I’d say it’s time to break the emotional tie and move on.

    1. John Cosmo*

      In the past, I had had some long-term temp jobs that I liked, but the temp agencies all wanted a fee from the would-be employer if a job turned into a temp-to-perm situation, or if they offered me (and other temporary employees) a job within 6 months of working for them. (I guess as sort of a finder’s fee. It seems reasonable to me.)

      None of the places where I worked as a temp was willing to pay the fee, although several times I subsequently received job offers from these places exactly 6 months after I had previously worked there. I suppose I might have seriously considered the offers, but by then I had moved on and found permanent work, and to be honest, none of the job offers were all that great compared to what I moved on and up to.

    2. Dan*

      Yeah… the OP is more than a bit over the top here. TBH, I’d hesitate bringing someone on full time who exuded that much energy all of the time. That’s just more “on” than I can handle… and what OP describes far exceeds the “passion” any job I’ve ever worked at required.

      Big companies might have lots of money, but they also have budgets and head count restrictions. Perhaps much more so than smaller companies. My job is one of those “hire the right people” kind of gigs… we’ll let work go undone rather than someone who doesn’t have the skillset we need (because if we hired them without the right skills, they’re not going to get the job done anyway.)

      1. Lindsay J*

        I would be even more concerned about burnout/disillusionment.

        In my experience, these people that come in on full blast like this can’t sustain the energy to continue it indefinitely.

        They also – and I think we’re seeing it in the letter here – tend to have more emotional involvement in the job than is necessary or probably healthy, and, as a result, tend to take normal disappointments you might encounter in a job (not being made permanent, getting passed up for a promotion, having to change offices, etc) really really personally and switch from being gung ho to bitter pretty quickly. They feel that since they love their job their job should love them back when that’s never going to happen.

    3. MK*

      I took it to mean that cooking was part of the job, or at least that handling the catering was part of the job and the OP chose to cook instead of ordering out. Unless what she means is that she occasionally brought homemade cake to the office.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      My initial reaction is that OP put a lot of energy into the parties/get-togethers. While the rank and file enjoyed the parties, the higher ups did not see any value to them. Unfortunately, we don’t get to chose what TPTB place a high value on. I think OP needs to find out what they do actually value and put the bulk of her energy into those things.

      1. Sadsack*

        I agree. She put a lot of emphasis on the catering aspect and did not really even mention what she enjoyed and excelled at in the actual job. Perhaps the employer sees it that way, too. They probably want some one full-time who is focused on the job.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          Yup. It sounds like OP spent a lot of time trying very hard to make people like her on a personal level, probably thinking that if everyone liked her, they’d have no choice but to hire her on.

          But that’s not how these things work. Like Dan said above, large multinationals have head count restrictions just like anyone else, and if the person in charge decided they can get away with bringing someone in only at peak work times or to fill in when someone else takes leave without having to shoulder the cost of bringing in a new hire, then that’s the ball game.

          OP, gain as much experience as you can from this place, beef up your résumé, and keep looking for a permanent gig somewhere else. This company may or may not hire you on down the road, and in the event that it’s the latter, you want to have another option.

      2. MissLibby*

        This was my thought too…way more into the “fun” party planning than the other work.

        I have a staff member that spends more energy on planning fun birthday activities, decorating cubes, etc. than I am comfortable with and have had to ask them to rein it in. If I had the opportunity to observe this in a temp before hiring them full time, it would have definitely have colored my opinion of them and impacted my decision. Yes, people enjoy the birthday celebrations, but that is not part of the job.

    5. fposte*

      I think the lunches were part of the job, but I do think, OP #2, that you’re reading this situation in personal terms–“But they liked my lunches so much! How can they not want to be in a relationship with me!” and are therefore taking the occasional offers of temp assignments as some kind of disrespectful booty call. The thing is, they can like you enough to want you rather than other temps and still not want to hire you, and that is professionally okay; it’s the equivalent of being a popular sub at a school.

      1. LBK*

        The booty call comparison is perfect (and made me laugh out loud). Being a temp isn’t like dating, it’s more like being a friend with benefits. You maintain a relationship where occasionally it’s mutually beneficially for you to be more than just friends, but otherwise there’s no expectations. You both know what time it is, so to speak.

    6. Stranger than fiction*

      Great point. Op should perhaps give one more shot at talking to whatever manager she’s closest to about the reality of a permanent position there and then after that just let it go.

  4. neverjaunty*

    Really agree on the job board. Think of all the problems dedicated job board sites have to deal with – fraud, work from home scams, job postings used for data mining – and I doubt the increased ad revenue would make up for the time and headache.

    1. bridget*

      I think it would be cool to have some sort of regular open thread where people can either post “anybody know of any marketing job opportunities in Ohio?” or “my company needs a new office manager in Phoenix, contact me for details.” Sometimes I see snippets of that in the Friday open thread (not sure if Alison wants it there, though). Perhaps an occasional dedicated thread wouldn’t be too much of a mission creep, just like the open threads are not the main point of the blog but are contained enough that it seems to work fine. I think the biggest hurdle for that would be making some sort of forum-like registration where people would PM each other. And, it would be of limited utility because there are readers all throughout the US and internationally, in hugely diverse fields. It seems like the chances of finding a good match are vanishingly small.

        1. snuck*

          It’d drive some revenue her way with click and add transactions. The open thread is easy to manage… for now… it won’t stop scammers and spammers if they choose to access it (I don’t think all comments are moderated on here). But it could be interesting to use it and guage usefulness and user preferences.

          1. mousie housie*

            I just don’t think it fits with what the purpose of this community is: preparing people to be and manage better employees, in an anonymous context. I’d hate to see the threads overrun with recruiter spam, and realistically the issue with most jobs not being quickly filled is that they’re wildly spurious with the requirements, or paying too little – both flaws which the community is ready to pounce on without notice. People who are applying for a job with x issues may be hesitant to speak out against them, or even question them in a conversational context, for fear their anonymity might be blown.

            I also think posters would become much more recognizable (exact companies, job titles, locations) which could lead to doxxing.

            1. neverjaunty*

              This. The open threads are pretty busy – if they were job threads then they would need LOTS more oversight.

              1. Overeducated and underemployed*

                Agreed. Obviously the main reason I’m here is that I like reading the posts, but this is one of the last blogs I comment on because it’s still possible to be anonymous. People posting or expressing interest in jobs would have to really think about the tradeoff there and it might not be worth it.

              2. Not me*

                This. And I think the regular commenters are great, and I’m not concerned that anybody around here would do this, but I would be worried about spam or sketchy posts from random visitors taking advantage of anonymity.

            2. Case of the Mondays*

              You wouldn’t have to post the potential job under your usual name though. You could create a new name or just say Anon Job Post – Mass, and then put the details. It’s pretty obvious that you still have to vet any add you see yourself. It doesn’t mean the blog is vouching for the potential employer. Also, if you aren’t interested in that kind of post you just skip that one. Allison could also do what Forbes is doing (I think it is Forbes) and require ad block to be disable to view that particular post.

            3. snuck*

              I’m inclined to agree with you. I think a job board would require quite a lot of work – and the added bonus of semi legitimacy by being attached to AAM could well see it a target for scammers quicker.

              The other thing would be knowing that the jobs advertised could well be from people who comment here about their toxic workplaces – yikes! – do I want to apply to a place that has a chance of having annoying people at it???

              Personally I think the whole thing would become a nightmare and not worth the drama. I am always curious about the who/what/where/when of these sorts of ideas – and that curiosity remains… but I think long term it’d be a full time position on it’s own trying to manage it. And there’s other job boards for that!

      1. AnotherFed*

        I don’t know about regularly, but occasionally (or even once as a trial), I would be interested. I think there are a many of us who would have to go anon to post jobs from our connections or workplaces, which would make it hard to screen job posts for crap and scams. If people are willing to comb through that, the least I can do is set up a burner email address for it!

        1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

          Yeah..I’m pretty open about my work here, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable sending out a job posting link under my name…but if I use a temp name, would it have the same weight to it?

          1. Zahra*

            I would totally offer to receive the offers on my email and post them on LinkedIn, but I know myself: I wouldn’t be keeping up with it enough to do a good job of it.

    2. Kelly L.*

      Yeah, I really think Alison would have her hands full just rooting out all the scams.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        With that in mind, how about burying the job offers in the open threads. People could say, “My employer is in X City, we are looking for people to do Y work. If you are interested contact me by means of Z.”

      2. Case of the Mondays*

        I don’t think Alison would need to delete all the scams. It’s pretty obvious when you see “my sister made 6 figures at home from her couch while raising litters of German shepherd puppies. You can live your dream too.” You just roll your eyes and keep scrolling.

      3. Windchime*

        That’s what I worry about. I’ve participated in online communities before and it’s really sad when the spammers take over. I’m still bitter about losing all the places I used to hang out on newsgroups, back in the day when Usenet was big.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      I was thinking more along the lines of a AAM certified career center chain or franchise (aka opposite of those terrible college career centers we hear about). Or maybe it could be live webinars online with different topics, i.e. resume building, interviewing, management training, etc.

    4. Ad Astra*

      One of my favorite wedding blogs, A Practical Wedding, only advertises vendors that have taken their “sanity pledge,” so you know they share the philosophies that the blog espouses (and you can report them if they do something that violates the pledge). It would be cool to have similar assurance about the jobs advertised on AAM, but I can understand how that might be too far outside the scope of the site.

  5. AnonAdmin*

    OP3: Expecting a job to wait until September is ridiculous! If she finds a job that is so good why not just be available? Can’t she break her contract? Going to interviews for experience is a good idea though.

    1. bridget*

      Going to interviews *solely* for interview experience – when you have zero intention of taking the job – is not a good idea. It’s a waste of time for the employer, and if they find out, it’s a bridge burned. Plus the fact Alison mentioned that you’re using up the consideration slot that someone else might have actually needed.

      On the other hand, I think it’s fine for someone who is legitimately on the job market to apply for and interview for jobs they are meh about, and probably would only take if it several more preferable options failed to present themselves, because it’s “good interview practice.” But you need at least a modicum of good faith in there.

      1. AnonAdmin*

        Time wasting goes both ways though. Employers have no problem wasting the time of interviewees when they advertise jobs externally knowing there is already an internal candidate. In those situations the employer has no concern for the fact that people need to take the time off work, prep & put so much into it only for it to go to an internal candidate. I’m in the UK & this seems to be more commonplace-I work at a large University & the faculty I’m in has over the past 3 years advertised 21 jobs externally with only 2 going to external candidates.
        People turn down jobs all the time even when they genuinely need one & I would imagine those interviewing would have a pick of maybe 2 people from those interviewed should their top person decline. I don’t see how they would know it’s just for practice & I’m not suggesting people constantly apply just for this reason.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Plenty of employers don’t do that though — and when they do, we condemn them for it.

          I’m not suggesting what the OP’s friend is proposing is the worst sin in the world, but I do think it’s a kind of crappy thing to do.

          1. AnonAdmin*

            Must be different in America then or just common in UK Uni’s but in all those I’ve worked in it’s been the same. If someone lacked confidence with interviewing it’s not a problem as far as I can see but like I said in the first place- expecting jobs to stay open for months is nuts!

            1. Xanadu*

              It is very common here. In our university there is a requirement that a certain amount of people per job be interviewed and have references checked even if you know who you’re hiring already because they’re working in the job as a temp position.

              1. Granite*

                Yes, but sometimes when they go through the process someone who’s better than the temp applies and ends up getting the job. I’ve seen it happen.

                1. Snork Maiden*

                  And then they write in to Alison! I think she’s answered a few of those “I was a strong internal candidate, and they didn’t hire me” questions.

                2. Kimberlee, Esq*

                  Yeah, which means it’s not a 100% certainty that the outside candidate has no chance. I think if OP’s friend can say the same thing (that, for any given job, there is a possibility, however tiny, that she might break her contract and take it) then it’s much more OK. When she knows that she won’t take the job, then she’s operating in bad faith and I would absolutely blackball her future applications if she did that to a place I worked.

                3. I Get That Reference*

                  I’m sure it does happen but at least within our department I’ve never seen it happen. When you’re hiring an unknown outsider there’s a built in probationary period of 3 months and once that’s over you have to change planetary orbits to get them fired. Because of this, the person who has performed well for a year is pretty much always going to be chosen because it’s unlikely that they’re going to drop the act after a year and they’re likely to hang around. (People are also notorious for getting ‘starter’ jobs at the university and then dumping them to department hop as more attractive internal candidates).

                  In cases like that it’s cruel to make candidates come in and interview on the off chance that you’ll happen to find a person who knows our department specific, hand-coded software in a specialty niche field on the off chance you’ll find someone better.

                  It’s never 100% that the candidates won’t be better (or at least, won’t be perceived as better due to hiring requirements) but it’s like 99%. One size fits all hiring policy is not a university’s friend.

          2. C*

            I’ve worked in several industries, and I’ve seen internal candidate hires being opened to public job postings and interviewing of candidates that haven’t a chance, just so protocol (or whatever) can be maintained.
            So I don’t agree with this holier-than-thou attitude toward an employer’s time. It does go both ways, sorry.
            And not for nothing, but plenty of industries/fields/employers have lengthy hiring processes. The last two organizations I worked, the process regularly took 3-6 months (sometimes longer). So it’s inaccurate to assume that all jobs/companies are rushing to hire someone in the next week or two.

            1. Stranger than fiction*

              Well yeah, but unfortunately the candidate doesn’t know when applying if it’s a company that hires in three weeks or three months.

          3. Lily in NYC*

            I think there are more than a few recruiters/hiring managers who use “we went with someone internal” when they don’t have the nerve to tell someone who made it to the final steps that they chose someone else (external) because they feel like it softens the blow a bit. We have a terrible internal recruiter who says it all the time and my boss had to tell her to stop because someone we didn’t hire knew the person we ended up hiring and was pissed that the recruiter lied to him.

          4. jennyk*

            I guess I’m confused by this response because we often talk about how it might take 6 months to find a job or several weeks to sort out the start date if/when hired, so I can see an aversion to her attitude about it just being practice to her, but I don’t think its realistic that she’ll find a job tomorrow and then have to tell them that she isn’t available for six months, because it might take that long anyway. Also wondering why, if she finds a perfect position, she can’t leave her other position early.

        2. snuck*

          I’ve advertised externally and recruited internally – I can’t talk for everyone – but I can say that while sometimes a few people resent recruitment policies that require this, often it’s not intentional.

          In large organisations (like universities) it is entirely possible that a person has the skills to perform the role and is in another department where the advertiser wouldn’t come into contact with them to know they existed. (Often large publicly funded institutions like universities, government departments, some charities where the positions are funded by grants etc have to advertise to remove the assumption of cronyism and provide public transparency.)

          It could just be that the external advertisement didn’t throw up anyone with enough amazing qualifications to outshine the internal people who have the knowledge and internal connections to hit the ground running. The hope is that a rock star will put their hand up and be wonderful (and it does happen- a friend has just scored a nice safe admin role at UWA from external recruitment while others are being shed in downsizing) but the reality is that they have to be amazeballs to outdo the internal people who are a known quantity and know the roles and ropes in the place already.

          1. hbc*

            I agree with this. I think external people see an internal hire and think “That was the plan all along,” but there are so many reasons why the internal person wasn’t a 100% (or even 90%) lock. Maybe they honestly wanted to see if there was anyone out there whose skills were better and, enough to overcome the already-knows-the-organization advantage. Maybe after seeing what was out there they realized the internal person they dismissed is actually on par. Maybe during the interviews they retooled the role and now someone internal fits. Maybe that person threw their hat into the ring at the last minute. So many explanations.

            1. Doriana Gray*

              Maybe that person threw their hat into the ring at the last minute.

              This is what happened with my current role. The hiring manager had HR post for the position in early November. I had already applied to another role internally so was unable to post for this one simultaneously (I really hate that company rule even though I get why they do it). I also applied to jobs externally and had interest from a large company I’d been trying to break into for years; however, I wasn’t sure I was going to get that job (they wanted someone with advanced Excel skills I don’t have), so when I was rejected for the internal position I’d applied for in my previous division, I emailed the hiring manager for my current job in a different division and expressed interest in the opening. The job had been posted for nearly a month at this point, so I assumed they were well under way in the hiring process and possibly almost done.

              They weren’t. Hiring manager told me they hadn’t gotten a ton of resumes, and of the ones that they did get, the experience wasn’t what they were looking for. I had done two training rotations with them when I started working for this company two years ago and, prior to coming to this company, I’d worked at a law firm that operates in the same industry as the clients they work with, so hiring manager made up his mind over a lunch that I was it. Outsiders to our company, and even some of my coworkers from my previous division, would assume I was a lock for the job from the beginning, but if they had found what they were looking for sooner or even after I expressed interest, I wouldn’t have gotten the job.

              1. TootsNYC*

                Me, too. I had interviewed about 6 people and wasn’t THAT crazy about them, and then someone internal said, “I just realized this opening was here, and since you aren’t leaping to fill it, I want to apply.”

                She was an edge better than the other people in the pool, and I hired her. (Then started another drama, in which the business manager and my boss ratcheted the salary way down because they thought she shouldn’t get that much of a salary boost; we looped HR, and HR went ballistic on them.)

                1. Doriana Gray*

                  OMG, I’m glad you and HR straightened that out because I would be furious if I was that new hire to accept a job at one salary and then be told, “Just kidding! Your real salary is $10k less.” And you definitely don’t do something that shady to somebody who already works for your company, sheesh.

        3. Christian Troy*

          No, it’s common here. I have been interviewing for a long time and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard from people, “Well aren’t sure if we have an open position yet” or “We have to interview external candidates but there are also five internal ones too”, etc etc.

          But I wouldn’t waste my time interviewing at this point in my life unless I wanted the position.

        4. PolarBear*

          I’ve been verbally offered two jobs this month. They’ve both been retracted when an internal candidate has said they want the job. I’m in the UK too.

            1. PolarBear*

              Yep! And I’m still job hunting and feeling very disheartened. 15 interviews, second stage interviews for 5 and still no job.

      2. sam*

        This is obviously VERY interview specific, but when I was job-hunting (legitimately job hunting, not pretend!), I generally had to meet with and essentially interview with the various headhunters that I was working with before even getting onto their rosters of attorneys that they would consider submitting for jobs. This certainly isn’t the same as a job interview, but it was good for flexing some rusty skills. In addition, several of the headhunters I worked with offered to set up mock interviews with me, since I had been off the market for so long. I did this, and at least one of them made a point of being a “difficult” interviewer, specifically to help coach me on dealing with those types of situations (that was a fun day), but it was extremely helpful in terms of identifying problem areas (even including how I would sit too defensively when I got tense).

        The other thing I did was go to a lot of networking events – my school sponsored things like “speed networking”, where you basically did speed dating, but for business contacts. That was REALLY helpful in terms of learning how to talk about yourself in a concise and efficient way. Also, having 10-15 different people with very different backgrounds ask questions of you could lead to some really unanticipated conversations.

        All of this is to say that there are ways to get “practice” without potentially burning bridges or wasting peoples’ time.

      3. ThursdaysGeek*

        Decades ago, I knew I needed a job (so not planning on waiting like the OP’s friend), and saw a posting that I was somewhat unqualified for and disinterested in. But I figured I needed some interviewing practice, and applied anyway. I got an interview, and found out that they’d changed their minds on what they wanted, it fit very closely with my skills and goals, and I took the job when it was offered. So I went just for practice, never planning on taking the job, and when I found out more, I did take it.

        I don’t recommend going just for practice, but if you’re willing to at least consider the job, willing to be convinced, and certainly willing to start when they need the person to start, then it is not (always) completely bad.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          Oh, one advantage I had on that interview is that I wasn’t uptight at all. I knew I wasn’t qualified and it wasn’t a job I was going to get, so I really was just concentrating on interviewing as well as I could and then I would let it go.

    2. Chocolate lover*

      My observation of people who interviews for jobs purely as “practice” with no real interest in the job, don’t take it as seriously or prepare as thoroughly as they would if genuinely interested. So it’s not especially useful then anyway.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        And it’s not like the candidate will get feedback on the interview. She could be making a huge, glaring mistake in every “practice” interview, but without feedback, she will think she is doing awesome. It’s really a waste of time.

        1. Bwmn*

          I really think it depends on what the friend wants.

          Say the friend knows she struggles with phone interviews, so she’s applying to positions where it’s known the first interview is a phone screening. It’s fairly safe to a) practice phone interview skills and b) assess how good based on getting asked for an in-person interview. Same thing if it’s standard in an industry to have multiple rounds of interviews – making it past interview one is an indication that you did well enough.

          I also think that for some people with varying degrees of anxiety, just feeling good about how you left an interview can be a confidence boost. Or for others practicing something (i.e. interviewing) gives you confidence that “I did this last week, therefore I can do this again this week, and even if I don’t answer every question perfectly that’s not the end of the world”.

            1. Bwmn*

              This is how I’m seeing it.

              And for someone with severe interview anxiety – perhaps just applying to a number of temp agencies would be another way to ensure no industry crossover?

              As was mentioned before the risk is that it’s likely to be a LOT of work to find the perfect job that you neither want but will call you in for an interview. And at that point, I think the value is dubious. However, during my last job hunt I was lucky to be in a city that had a solid vocational services NGO that worked with individuals with a wide range of professional skills (so not just entry level or long time out of work job seekers). The experience was very helpful for me in practicing phone interviews, an area I felt weak in. That being said, I also know that kind of service isn’t wildly available in every city or convenient if you’re already working.

              I’m sure there are things in interviews I do that are terrible and I don’t realize it. But I have a fairly good gut sense on “that went terribly” or “that went well”. And often building up confidence is a huge plus in its own right.

      2. Triangle Pose*

        Agreed. I think it’s must more useful to do a mock interview with a trusted friend or acquaintance willing to be the interviewer and throw some softball questions and come up with new versions on toughers questions in preparation for a real interview a job you really care about. That way you take it seriously because you care about the role, no one’s time is wasted, and you both get a chance to practice an important skill.

        1. Anna*

          That’s actually not very useful if you want the full experience. The staff where I work do mock-interviews with students, but we know they don’t take them a seriously because they see us all the time. So we also bring in outside HR people or recruiters the students don’t know and that changes the dynamics entirely.

          I’d say if you’re going to do mock-interviews, try it at an event that’s designed specifically for that or arrange something through a group so you don’t know the people conducting the interview.

        2. Three Thousand*

          I was thinking the same thing. It would seem more useful to talk to a friend who does a lot of hiring and get feedback from them. Even if you want to put yourself in the right mindset by doing a “real” interview, it’s not like you’re going to be told if you’re doing anything wrong.

    3. Bwmn*

      Somehow, I don’t feel quite so harshly about this one.

      I work in fundraising – but within that, I prefer to work in a niche field. So were I to “interview for practice”, I’d send out my resume to fundraising positions that might reflect the type of roll I want to interview for (i.e. a management position) but in organizations where I’d wouldn’t want to work. Maybe the location, maybe the mission of the organization – some aspect where there’d just be no risk of thinking “oops, I really want this job”.

      I think it’s obvious that flaw in that would be in regards to one’s application not standing out, but if the idea is just to have an interview or two to shake the dust off – none of this seems so terrible.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I am on the fence about this. I was told about a job opening that I felt I was way under qualified for- no second masters- not certified to teach. I was just promoted in my present position and had no interest in leaving. My mentor said, oh just go, it will be good practice.

        Not wanting or thinking I was under qualified took a lot of pressure off of me and the experience was one of the best interviews that I ever had.

        I was offered the position and after researching the “corporate culture” accepted. Turned out to be a really good fit and I stayed for 15 years.

    4. addiez*

      Also – there are other ways to practice interviewing. Ask a friend who’s hired a lot. It’s obviously not quite as good as the real thing, but far kinder and more respectful.

    5. Lily in NYC*

      And so many interviewers ask “when can you start” in every interview. Answering that question is just going to make her look so bad.

    6. YawningDodo*

      Maybe it’s different here in the nonprofit world where outside funding is often limited in term, but I would generally not choose to leave a contract job early. It would be unfair for the employer to suddenly break the contract, so why should it be different from my end? I think an exception could be made if it was far enough out from the end of the project that I could be replaced and the project still finished (I actually worked on the second half of a two year project after one of the original hires successfully applied internally for a permanent position), but if there’s four months left on a grant and I left, I’d severely hamper that institution’s ability to get the project done — there’d be no time for them to get a replacement in and get the work finished before the funding disappeared (even nine months would be too close to the end date, frankly, given the glacial pace of my field’s typical hiring process). If I leave an employer in the lurch like that, why should they give me a good reference? And why should the next employer trust that I wouldn’t do the same thing to them?

      So I was very forthright about my availability and my reasons for sticking to it when I started applying for jobs three months before the end of my last term position. And you know what? My current employer waited for me even though my start date was a month later than they’d wanted even after I okayed it with my last employer to leave a couple weeks ahead of schedule since things had been pretty well wrapped up. Nine months is way too far out to expect anyone to wait, so I think the OP’s friend is being selfish for several reasons, but compounding that selfishness by breaking a contract is not the answer.

      1. Danae*

        It really depends on the industry. In my industry, you’re not generally contracted for a project, you’re contracted to fill a role for a specified period of time, and at the end of the contract the company will usually have the option to renew you or not. The contract doesn’t obligate you to work for the employer for any particularly length of time, it’s basically a contract that says “these are the terms we’re offering the job under for X period of time.”

        And yes, employers in my industry let contractors go before the end of their contracts all the time–usually without notice. It’s one of the reasons there’s a huge contract workforce in my particular industry, because contractors are generally pretty easy to get rid of and you don’t have to do anything formal before terminating their contracts.

        1. YawningDodo*

          Fair point. That sounds more similar to my current position (same profession, significantly different arrangement), where the money wasn’t going to go away and they could just give me a letter of agreement for a year and renew it as needed. Also, I suspect I should not be using the word “contract,” as I would not have been considered a contractor; “contract” and “letter of agreement” are sometimes used interchangeably in informal speech, but letter of agreement is the term that would actually be used in hiring situations.

          Technically I have never been under any legal obligation to stay to the end of a project, but given the way temporary positions are set up in my profession I always felt that finishing the project term was the most appropriate course of action.

  6. Cambridge Comma*

    #1, your impulse to keep looking reminded me of how hard it is to stop househunting once you’ve finally moved in.
    Would it help to focus on the things you are doing in your job that are building your future job applications? The achievements you can put in your CV and the reference you will need in the future?
    If job searching is taking up that much of your mental bandwidth, another part of your life is losing out. If it isn’t your work, then perhaps its your leisure time — can you start a new hobby or take a class that will give you somehing else to focus on?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I wondered if there was an underlying cause/driver for the perpetual job hunting. OP could be dissatisfied with other aspects of her life and that dissatisfaction could manifest as constant concern over job hunting. Misplaced energy.
      Conversely, someone was talking to me about an impoverished mindset. This happens after years of not have an adequate income. The concept of making enough money does not register right away, because the person has become so accustomed to limping along on nothing or next to nothing. The mindset can also become instilled in our younger years by family members. I am sure we have many readers here that can expand on this concept. I have only heard of it in passing.

      OP, it’s not enough to “try to stop” doing something. Something must be put in its place. What will you do to fill up your free time that you would have spent job hunting? I suggest that once you find that Thing, your attention may just reset itself.
      If you make several attempts to refocus your life and your days yet meet with no success, you might want to try some counseling.

      1. Kristine*

        >The concept of making enough money does not register right away, because the person has become so accustomed to limping along on nothing or next to nothing.

        I think I might have this. I am currently in a position where I make enough money to get by. Not a lot of money, I don’t have an excess, but it’s still enough to pay my bills. But I am so used to working multiple jobs that I can’t stop. I have two part-time jobs right now on top of my full-time job and I am running myself ragged for basically a couple extra bucks per week. It’s hard to stop because who doesn’t want more money?!?! And it’s what I grew up seeing my mother do, so it’s normal to me.

        1. Natalie*

          Could you replace that 2nd job with a volunteer position? It might feel enough like work to ease the transition. Also, volunteering is good stuff.

      2. Windchime*

        I have this, too. I have a well-paying job now and enough money to get by comfortably, but I still dread bill-paying day even if I have enough money to pay the bills that are due. It stresses me out and I think it’s from years of having to make decisions like, “Milk for the kids or gas? A package of chicken or a box of rice?”.

      3. Christian Troy*

        This is a good comment. I kind of get what the OP is talking about too, it’s like FOMO job search edition or something.

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I do the same thing, only I don’t work more than one job. But I make enough to pay bills and then there is still constant “Omg I have no savings,” but when I have extra money, it’s the “I have to get everything I need RIGHT NOW because I may not have this money later.” I also have a bad habit of buying more food than I will eat because I’ve starved. Slowly getting over that, though.

      5. Ad Astra*

        I hear you about the impoverished mindset. After a couple of really tough years, my husband and I are finally “making it” on our incomes, but I’m constantly finding him wearing socks and underwear with huge, ridiculous holes (to the point that they’re not really functioning as socks/underwear anymore) and he refuses to buy new ones! For so long, that $20 meant the difference between having enough gas to get work and overdrawing our account to put two gallons in the tank before payday.

    2. Bonnie*

      This is good advice. I was also happy to hear that I’m not the only one who feels like that sometimes! After years of being unhappy, it feels like I still need to be on the lookout – even though I don’t. Throwing yourself into new things, like volunteering or blogging or something that will help you feel like you’re doing yourself favors down the road for a new job would probably be a big help. It feels like you’re doing SOMETHING even though it’s not sending out resumes.

    3. Sitting Duck*

      Yes! The house hunting. I’m closing on a house tomorrow, but I still find myself occasionally looking at realty sites to see what else is out there. And the jobs too, I am 1.5 years into a great job after 3+ years of searching, but I still find myself checking to see what is out there at least once a week!

      I like the advice of finding something else to occupy that time – perhaps you are just not used to having ‘free’ time, because that time was always spent job searching, and so that is the default – ‘I have some spare time, I should look for jobs’, so finding something else that is fun/important to you to fill that ‘free’ time could help break the habit.

      I know I just started looking for adult education courses in my new town to have something else to do in the evenings besides browse job/house websites…..

      1. Kristine*

        FWIW, my husband and I bought a place last February that we LOVE, but still go to every open house in our area that we come across. We like seeing how the neighborhood is doing and what people are getting for their money.

        1. Anna*

          I think a lot of people do that. :) It gives you ideas about how to style your house, especially if you do open houses with similar floor plans.

        2. periwinkle*

          Whew, so glad to learn that it’s not just me… I still haunt Redfin and Trulia even though we’re quite happy with the house we bought last year. However, I’m now looking at what we might be able to afford later on as a move-up house (which is like switching your job-search mindset to looking at who hires the skills you intend to develop in the near future for that move-up job)

    4. Bowserkitty*

      That’s a good analogy – it’s the same with car-hunting. I’ve had my new (to me) car for over a year now and I find I STILL look at brand logos on cars to figure out what it is and if I would like it more.

      (My new car wins every time, except the time I saw a Tesla. =_=)

    5. ThatGirl*

      In a similar vein, we adopted a fantastic dog two years ago, we only want one, he’s adorable and wonderful, and yet I still get near-daily adoptable dog roundups from AdoptaPet.com … can’t bring myself to unsubscribe.

      1. Natalie*

        I was just thinking that – I still have the urge to look at dogs even though we’ve got one now, and we definitely can’t handle a second at the moment.

    6. Koko*

      I was just coming here to say that I have the same addiction, but it’s to real estate. I spend probably 1 out of 5 lunch breaks surfing Redfin even though I won’t be in a position to buy a house for years to come. I used to search apartments until I realized I was unlikely to leave my current one until I was ready to buy, then I switched to real estate.

      I totally get the appeal. When you read the job ads/house listing you get to sort of fantasize about this exciting new life and all the things that will be great about it that you don’t have now. Of course, both fantasies crash down when you have to actually start learning a new job or moving and suddenly the reality of all the strain and work hits you.

      But OP#1, here’s what I’d suggest you do: Every time you come across a job posting that sounds like something you want to do, copy and paste it into a Word or Google doc. Then, in a separate sheet/document, make a list of the key skills/experience the job ad asked for that you don’t yet have.

      As you begin collecting postings and distilling them down to their skills, you’ll be creating for yourself a list of skills you want to be developing right now and over the next couple of years to make you a competitive candidate for the kind of jobs you’ll be excited to transition to.

      Every so often you can pull your list and evaluate whether you’re making progress towards those goals, and it will remind you to seek out opportunities so you can stay on track for those awesome dream jobs. And believe me, job-searching is even more fun when you know that you’re extremely qualified and you’re just looking for the most awesome employer you can find, rather than struggling to find jobs you qualify for that pay enough and being nervous about whether you’ll be able to sell yourself.

      1. TootsNYC*

        ooh, I like this!

        Take that impulse and turn it into research–mental action, not physical.

        The acts of pasting the info into your doc, and the mental work of analyzing it, might be enough to scratch that itch.

        I had a bad habit years ago of envisioning all sorts of projects (install a pulley for the light chain in the closet? sew a set of pockets to go on the end of the bookshelf?), and then I would go and BUY all the stuff I needed. And never do it. And the stuff would sit around making me feel double guilty ($ wasted; project not done).

        I finally decided that pipe dreaming was an appropriate hobby.
        I gave myself permission to plan in any level of detail I wanted. I could Internet-research, compile links, get out the graph paper and tape measure–anything. As long as I wasn’t actually buying the stuff.

        So do that w/ the job-hunt urge, maybe. Same activities, but a different mental goal.

        And once you think about whether you might want to move to one of those jobs, you might actually decide on one to aim for, and then you can focus on crafting THIS job, and this time period, into an excellent training group / prep session for getting and doing it.

        1. justsomeone*

          That’s kind of the pinterest model. You can dream dream dream and plan amazing getaways and curate rooms and closets – and not spend a dime.

            1. Doriana Gray*

              Really? I’ve found that Pinterest made mine worse :(

              Oddly enough, regular scrapbooking does the trick.

    7. Stranger than fiction*

      Or help other people you know job search. I sort of did that a while back. A lot of my friends and family were amazed at how quickly I got interviews and new jobs after going through a couple of layoffs, so I ended up helping them with their resumes and giving interview tips or even pointing them to this site. (not that I’m anywhere near as good as Alison but a couple of friends that took my resume advice suddenly started getting interviews)

    8. Ad Astra*

      This is what helped me stop looking when I found a job I was happy with. Some people (myself included) are naturally preoccupied with the next step, so I tried to use that to guide my activities at work. I track my achievements, look for projects that could become good resume fodder, look for classes/webinars/opportunities to learn a relevant skill, stuff like that. It also might be appropriate for OP to start thinking about what, exactly, she wants her next step to be: a management role? more specialization in teapot handles? a transition to teapot consulting? Then she can start fleshing out a plan to reach that goal a year or two from now.

    9. LBK*

      This is an excellent point, which I think Alison also alluded to in her response. The steps of a job hunt don’t end when you take a job, because until you’re ready to retire, every job you have is in service of building your resume so you can go get bigger and better jobs than the ones you qualify for now. Sure, there might be a few jobs out there that would pay a little more or be a little better than the one you accept, but there is a plateau for every resume. Focus on adding things to your resume now so the next time you go climbing, you can take on an even bigger mountain.

    10. OP #1*


      I can imagine househunting would feel the same! I was actually considering looking into joining a group like Big Brothers Big Sisters, or some other volunteer org, to change things up and devote energy elsewhere. Thanks!

  7. house mouse*

    OP #1, as someone who’s presently really struggling with their own resume refining, job searching, etc…..I am happy for your success! Have you considered lending your considerable skills to perhaps a friend who’s just begun the process? Or maybe there’s a career center in your city/alma mater/an organization you care about….this type of skill could be used in some rewarding, life-changing (for those you help) volunteer work.

    1. Not a Real Giraffe*

      This is a great idea. I found myself in OP’s shoes recently (landed a great new job, but can’t quit the habit of seeing what else was out there). What helped me was refocus my job search energy on helping a friend’s job search. My friend told me what kinds of roles she was interested in, and then I combed a bunch of sites I’d become very familiar with to find her openings. When she asked, I provided resume and cover letter feedback. It helped me fuel my job-search-fire, without causing any problems for my own professional life.

    2. MM*

      I was just coming here to say this! I have the same issue as #1. I considered switching careers and becoming a recruiter or career counselor as a result! While I didn’t go that route, I often help out friends in their job searching and resume/cover letter finessing (not unsolicited of course). It takes the edge off a bit haha.

      1. OP #1*

        OMG yes I always help my friends with their resumes. I hate resume writing but can’t stop offering because I think I’m pretty great at it by now!

  8. katamia*

    Oh, man, OP1, I get it. I graduated just before the recession hit, so basically my entire adult life has been job searching. I finally found a secure job in 2015 (that I had to leave for health reasons *sigh*), and for a few months it was like, “…I don’t have to check all the job posting sites every day? What do I do with my time?” Very, very strange. I had so much extra time (or rather, my free time was more free because I didn’t have to job hunt in addition to everything else).

    If there are certifications or classes or a degree that would help you get to where you want to go in your career in the long run, now might be a good time to start doing them because you’re relatively stable. It also might be a good time to take a look at other areas of your life and see if they’re the way you want them to be. Not trying to imply there’s anything wrong with other areas of your life, but I know that when my job hunt has been at its thickest, SO MUCH other stuff fell by the wayside because I was consumed by how to make sure I was making enough money–I didn’t date much, didn’t exercise much, etc.

    1. Bluesboy*

      This. You feel that you want to keep moving on up. So give yourself the best chance of being able to do so successfully in a couple of years, whether that’s with certifications, classes, volunteering…improving your CV so that you still feel that you’re working on your future, but without messing up what you have now.

      Also, it sounds like you have a kind of work-related ’empty nest syndrome’. Something that was huge and important in your life and took an enormous amount of time has suddenly…gone. You find yourself with a whole load of free time suddenly and you’re not sure how to fill it, so you’re reverting to habit. If that’s accurate, why not get back in touch with some old friends, get a new hobby. Go to the gym (if you don’t know what to do with your time at least do something healthy with it). Obviously I’m making a huge stretch here, but I found myself in a vaguely similar situation once so I kind of relate to it. If I’m wrong, ignore this!

      And congratulations on finding the new job and doing so well in it!

      1. TootsNYC*

        “Also, it sounds like you have a kind of work-related ’empty nest syndrome’. Something that was huge and important in your life and took an enormous amount of time has suddenly…gone. You find yourself with a whole load of free time suddenly and you’re not sure how to fill it, so you’re reverting to habit.”

        True dat!

      2. OP #1*

        That’s a great way to put it – “work related empty nest syndrome”. It’s very true. Gym, volunteering, saving money, paying off my debt: I think these are the areas I will continue to focus on and I’m sure the feeling with pass eventually.

    2. Green*

      I think part of it is that looking at other job opportunities is sort of like imagining other paths and ways your life could turn out. It’s sort of like gambling or buying a lottery ticket (you’re buying the pleasure of imagining all of the things that money could buy!), but if you did “win” it’s not really guaranteed that things will work out the way you had imagined in that brief moment. NOT job searching also has the feeling of turning down (or missing out) on all of these potentially satisfying life paths. It may be helpful to redirect those feelings elsewhere (I enter sweepstakes in my spare time to get that same buzz).

      1. toa*

        This really resonates with me! I’m not job searching now, but I check up on listings and think about applying sometimes…I get the thrill of imagining a new job and how impressive I’ll be (lol!)

    3. bkh*

      Took me about a year before I stopped hitting the job boards regularly after I found this position.

  9. Kate*

    I can totally feel you, OP 1. It feels like I am constantly in job-searching mode because of the nature of my industry, so it’s hard to “shut off” when it’s not actually needed.

    If you aren’t willing to go cold turkey, I suggest “job hunting” for positions one to two levels HIGHER than what you would otherwise aim for. Don’t actually apply. It will get you familiar with which companies/organizations are usually hiring for your skill set, what they typically look for in a candidate, what they typically pay, and which organizations are repeatedly hiring for the same roles (red flag!).

    You can then use that info later on when you really do want to move on.

    1. Felicia*

      That’s what I do too! It’s a good way to see what’s out there, and also to have a better idea of where you want to go in your career. I thought of it like “If I do really super well at my current job for five years or so, where can I go next? Where would I want to go?” I never actually apply. I’ve been at my current job for a year and a half, but had to job hunt for a solid 2 years before that, so it’s a way i gradually break the habit though I still do it occasionally.

      I’m currently apartment hunting, and I can see how this can also get addictive.

    2. Librarianna*

      Even though I am very happy at my job, I am on job list servs and scan job boards occasionally so that I can see what is available and what sort of skills they want. Then I try to develop the skills so I will be ready to move into those sort of roles several years in the future.

      1. Anna*

        that’s exactly what I was going to recommend for OP #1, or actually for anyone in college. I think it’s kind of fun to collect postings for desirable jobs, analyze the skills/education they are looking for and what the postings have in common, and then find a way to develop the most requested skills. (Well, I should qualify that statement by saying that it can be fun if you’re using it for future career planning. It’s not fun if you’re unemployed.)

        On a side note, I don’t know what it is about job searching, but it’s addictive. Maybe because it fuels a fantasy, but at the same time has a potential to become a reality?

    3. Master Bean Counter*

      I do a version of this as well. At my level jobs are fewer and further in between. So I like to keep an eye on trends and where people are moving. If you are in a smaller market it helps you to predict where the opportunities will be in 3-5 years, along with what kinds of skills the company likes to see in its employees.
      But I can honestly say that I’ve found a job that feels like a place for me to park until I retire so I’ve not been watching the market as close.

      1. Katie Pi*

        Hey, Master Bean Counter, may I inquire as to your actual position? I assume some sort of Accountant–and if you’re parked until retirement, are you fairly senior? I’m a mid-level accountant and have been doing what everyone here is suggesting to OP1–scanning descriptions for jobs ahead of where I am to get an idea of my options in the future, but it’s sometimes hard to boil down. I don’t have a lot of accounting contacts, so my bounce-ideas-off-others network is rather small.

        1. Master Bean Counter*

          My current position is Senior/Cost Accountant at a mid-sized food processing company that has good growth potential. I just joined this company where I can see me in this position and really making it my own in the next 5-7 years. I also expect the two people senior to me to retire in 5 and 10 years. So there will be growth opportunities ready when I am ready for them. I’m seriously eyeing a possible early retirement in 20 years as well. That and in my market it will be really hard to find another company that pays as well and treats as good.
          You can find me on Linkedin. Search Datepac and I should show up.–Malissa
          Feel free to bounce ideas off of me.

          1. Katie Pi*

            I very much appreciate the response and the opportunity to bounce ideas! I’ll search for you. Have a great day!

      2. Anna*

        Master Bean Counter,
        how do you find out where people are moving? Do you use LinkedIn?

        Also, what kind of trends do you look for? I find this fascinating.

        1. Master Bean Counter*

          Sometimes linkedin. Sometimes it’s published in a local paper. Sometimes I look at the company website, if it’s a position I’m really interested in, and see who they hired after a bit of time. I have a monthly networking lunch where some of the comings and goings of people are discussed.
          The trends I’ve mostly spotted is the bigger non-profits around here seem to switch people every couple of years. Medical employers will never hire anybody outside of the industry. The agricultural companies, well 75% of them seem to only hire people with industry experience and the other 25% hire whomever they can get because they don’t pay any where near market. And I’ve spotted one company that is so disorganized that they can’t hold onto top level people for very long and they always are hiring for many positions at once.

          1. Anna*

            Wow! I’m going to have to try that. I don’t have a business background–I’m more of an analysis hobbyist. Thanks for the answer!

    4. themmases*

      This is really good advice. Just because it’s not appropriate to be actively job searching, doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to keep an eye on the job market. It can still help a lot to know what extra skills a lot of places want, if there are any weird titles out there that are actually relevant to you, how much experience is normal for your next step, etc.

      Speaking as someone who once wanted to leave a job in a hurry, it was so much harder for not having done this. I applied to a lot of irrelevant stuff and when I vetted openings, I really only had the job ad to go by and not the bigger picture of what was happening in that field. No one wants to have to practice on their own real, urgent job search.

      I’m not in the market for full time work right now because I’m in grad school, but I still get Glassdoor and LinkedIn alerts to my email. They help a lot to see what’s out there and what skills I should be getting now. And if a unicorn job does happen to come through, then I’ll apply.

    5. OP #1*

      I LOVE this idea! I think you may have just single handedly solved my problem. Look toward a few years in the future… maybe see what’s out there, decide where I could potentially envision myself.. and work toward that in my day to day.

      I’m excited already!

    6. TheAssistant*

      I do this! I want to see what skills I need to be working on, what’s new in the industry, where I can most effectively volunteer for projects, etc. I keep some of the ones that sound AWESOME just to remind myself of what I need to do to feel confident to apply.

  10. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #3 – it is rather odd, to “practice interviews” – but conversely – some job sites will place ads and interview people, quite often when they have no intention of hiring at the present time. And given some of the weirdos I’ve had to interview with, some managers will interview candidates — even bring in people they have no intention of hiring, just to see what the person is about.

    #5 – AAM – render unto AAM what is AAM’s, render unto headhunters and matchmakers what belongs to them. It might somehow impact the advice you give, and as you say – mission creep.

    One alternative -list professional organizations that may have job boards today — many don’t have them because they rely on their members’ employers to pay their membership dues.

    1. katamia*

      I like the idea of listing job boards. I know there must be a lot out there that I haven’t found because I haven’t known to look for them.

  11. Dan*


    The odd thing is, nowhere did the OP even mention a job that she applied for, or even one that’s available! Par for the course of being a good temp is getting callbacks. OP gets what she’s owed, a paycheck for the hours worked.

    1. Sunshine*

      Exactly. “I feel like the company is just using me when they need me.” Well… yeah. That’s the gig.

      1. Jen S. 2.0*

        Exactly. They’re not your friends. This is a business relationship. You temp for them, and they pay you when you do. They don’t owe you anything else.

        You also have the right to say no if you don’t like how things are going. They likely assume that you are fine with what is happening, because you keep saying yes.

      2. LBK*

        I had the same reaction. “Well, yes, they are just using you when they need you, because that’s what a temp is for.”

    2. AnotherHRPro*

      This is my thought as well. They already have someone in the job the OP is temping for. Unless there is an open position they are hiring for, I’m not really sure why the OP thinks they should hire her.

      OP – it is great that this company is pleased enough with your performance to continue to bring you back. This is not treating you as a door mat. It is recognizing the value you bring. With temps, it is very easy to pass on someone next time you need coverage. They aren’t doing that. If they have an open position posted, be sure to apply. But don’t assume that they will just hire you when there isn’t a job or there isn’t a job for which you are qualified.

  12. Dan*


    You know what, while the OP’s friend sounds like she’s intending to commit a job hunting crime, the reality is that jobs take a while to get. She may very well not be getting too much in the way of interviews for a couple of months, and the longer that drags on, the closer she’s going to get to her contract ending anyway.

    I also suspect that the OP’s friend isn’t going to go on too many “for the practice.” Give it two or three, and she’ll get tired of it.

    One of the things that I learned after being on the job for five years, and getting a “practice” interview before I got laid off (I was serious about the job, it didn’t pan out), was that I was happy for the practice for when I really needed it. It doesn’t hurt to keep your interviewing skills sharp every few years or so.

    The other thing is, by sending out resumes now, the OP is going to learn pretty quickly what the market is like for her skills. The calls could come in fast (good sign) or not (bad sign), and if they didn’t, I wouldn’t feel guilty in the least for starting “early.”

    1. MK*

      Well, I wouldn’t call it a job-hunting crime, more a serious breach of manners. Practically speaking, it might not amount to anything at all, if she doesn’t get any interviews.

    2. AnotherFed*

      I am used to federal hiring, so a 6 month timeline sounds about right! Even assuming a more normal timeline, if the only reason this friend wouldn’t accept jobs she’s applying for is because of start date, I think its far less of a job search sin.

    3. K.*

      Also the contract ends in September and summer is always a slow hiring time. If I knew I’d need a job in September, I’d probably start seeing what’s out there and putting out feelers in early June at the latest.

      1. K.*

        But I would make it clear from the outset that I was doing a contract that ended in September.

        Semi-related question, now that I think about it: I’m doing a contract now, with no end date (so it could end any minute, I guess, but it’s been framed as “months”). I’m still hunting for something permanent, although more selectively than I was when I wasn’t working at all. This is a good gig (full-time, on site, good hourly rate, in my field) but it’s a gig (I pay for my health insurance, there’s no PTO, and no security). Do y’all see anything wrong with continued searching in my situation? I’d give my agency ample notice, of course.

        1. Overeducated and underemployed*

          I see no problem with it. People understand switching jobs for more security, PTO, and benefits .

        2. Allison*

          I’m in a similar boat, I don’t actively search for jobs but I’m generally open to talking to people about new opportunities when they contact me. My contract does have an end date, it just keeps getting extended every few months or so, so as long as the timing would work out on the prospective employers end I hear them out on what they have to offer. I have healthcare and sick time, but not having vacation pay sucks and my manager understands this, so if I ever told her “actually no, don’t renew my contract, I’m leaving for a full time position at X” I’m sure she’d understand.

        3. ThatGirl*

          I worked here for five years on an open-ended contract, before finally being hired for real, and had a lot of interviews in that time – I always said one reason was that I was looking for a more permanent position with benefits, which was true. It just ended up being here instead.

    4. LabTech*

      Yea, I was thinking the same thing. It takes me upwards of a year to find a job due to the low demand for my skillset and small job market. Starting the search 6 months in advance makes sense to me (with the possibility outlined by OP that a job offer may come earlier than anticipated).

      1. Marketeer*

        I agree; I don’t think 6 months out is that bad to start looking. I’ve been looking for about 5 months now and have gone on a number of interviews but nothing has panned out. Of course, if she gets offered a position then she has to figure out what she needs to do, but if she doesn’t start now, she runs the risk of having nothing at the end of her contract.

    5. YawningDodo*

      I mentioned above that I’m in a field with a relatively slow hiring process (not as slow as the federal process, thankfully, though federal jobs kept coming up in my search), but not nine months slow. I think on the last round I started checking job boards and compiling my application materials around six months before the end of my contract, then got serious and started flinging out applications maybe three months before the end. It’s a little hard to judge because three months could either get you in a little too early (as I did, though my current employer was willing to wait for me), or it can leave you in the cold if someone’s hiring process ends up taking four months.

      If this job doesn’t become permanent like I hope it will, I may start sending applications four months out from the end, but I’d do what I did the last time and be very clear about my real availability.

  13. Dan*


    OP, you’re also going to find that after a couple of jumps, you’re going to max out your salary increases just for “jumping” unless you have some unique skillset that employer is looking for. What you need to do is figure out the market rate for your skills and experience, and where your pay lies in relation to that. The further below it that you are, the easier the big jump is going to be. But when you get close to that point, what’s the incentive for an employer to pay you substantially more? You need to show value for that, and that’s really hard to do after only being on the job a couple of years.

  14. Almond Milk Latte*

    I love the spirit of the job board, but it’s likely to be of limited use to anyone not in a large city. Maybe an open thread where we could connect with other people who are professionally interesting to us? Somewhere between Love Connection and Career Day. As a teapot marketer, I would love to email/Skype/chat/whatever with other teapot marketers, or even folks in the teaspoon industry.

    1. mousie housie*

      Isn’t that the point of industry organizations/conventions, though? Not sure that an international anonymous message board would generate the same level of connections as the former.

  15. OP #5*

    OP #5 here. I actually did have a (possibly totally?) crazy idea around this, but it was more on the company side.

    I was actually envisioning a certification program for managers, something similar to things like Certified Scrum Masters. It’s not a professional degree by any means, but it is a signal that you have a thorough grounding in the principal methodology and adhere to some standard practices. The Scrum Alliance runs it as a two-day workshop, after which you have to pass a test. The original course is something like $1500 a head depending on who you go through (there are multiple certified trainers), and you have to re-up your cert every couple years for a small fee. Several of the companies I’ve worked for sponsor a group training own project managers.

    I could see Alison developing a robust curriculum for the workshops, and eventually hiring consultants to lead those workshops. I could foresee some challenges in objectively measuring for soft skills, but I think that’s a workable problem. (For example, this blog would give you a steady stream of sample scenarios you could use for coaching purposes.) AskAManager has pretty good brand recognition, and I bet a lot of companies would be interested in this kind of thing as a training course for their new managers. Individuals would want to have it on their resumes as evidence of the kind of managers they would be.

    In the long run I could see it becoming so respected that it becomes a selling point for companies: come work for us! We train all our managers to follow AskAManager principles! Focus on retaining great employees! Work/life balance! Sane hiring process! Use Your Words! As a devotee of this blog, I would see that as a sign that the company takes management seriously and wants to treat their employees well. I think it would help to promote a standard of good management behavior.

    I’m not a business person, so I don’t know if this is a remotely viable business model, but I think it would be super awesome. I think it would also be a ton of work, and, as you said yourself, not really what you set out to do.

    I was thinking the forums would be a way to get some of the benefit of AskAManager branding — it would be tricky to police, but how cool would it be to have a pool of candidates who also love this blog and have a strong understanding of good workplace etiquette? Or to connect with a great company you never would have heard of otherwise? In this scenario, I think copying the Captain Awkward model could work well — set up the forums as a separate space, get a couple of volunteer moderators to enforce strict rules of behavior, don’t allow anonymous posting. A short survey for anyone wanting to post their resume could screen out people who haven’t read more than one blog post here and/or are sane.

    Any interest?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That is very flattering … but yes, I think an enormous amount of work! What I need are obscenely lucrative ideas that don’t require any work.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I would definitely go to a conference anchored by Alison. I picture her as the keynote speaker, with other presenters selected by Alison to address different topics. For each timeslot of the conference, there could be workshop sessions or speakers on several different tracks that the attendees could select from (e.g. a tech track, a management/leadership track, a soft skills track, etc.). Classes could also be marked entry-, intermediate-, or advanced-level to accommodate attendees at varying levels in their career. Alison could outsource the arrangements to an event group, and take her cut of the profit from whatever proceeds are left afer the event group, event venue, speakers, etc. are paid.

            1. Evab Þ*

              “Dear AAM, my boss is telling me to go to a conference, but it turns out the conference is in the speaker’s private home…”

      1. Miles*

        This is the need that the lottery commission has made billions of dollars by promising to fulfill. (for 12 out of every 300 million people each year, to varying degrees) I think we all wish for something like that.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      It does sound kind of fun. I’ve always been interested in giving corporate training on soft skills, but I have no idea how one breaks into that.

      1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

        The people I have seen that did those soft skills trainings well, often came from corporate America or had connections to get them in. And they do *a lot* of convention speaking.

        I know my professional organization offers a few “train the trainers” classes that help you get focused on building a speaking circuit.

      2. College Career Counselor*

        Have you looked at the Association for Talent Development (formerly ASTD)? That might be a place to explore courses, training resources, or at least to look at their job bank for the types of jobs that are available and what they require.

      3. Dr. Johnny Fever*

        My method was an organic one from within my company.

        I was interested, too, so I started looking for opportunities in my work to train teams on processes and other items. I studied education, so I’d put together mini-lesson plans.

        I began widening the scope (Coincidentally after becoming a CSM) and am going through the track to become a CSC (CSP down, only a few SEUs to go!).

        In my case, I took a serious look at my skills, my comfort with public speaking, my style, etc. I’ve also developed my own materials and sometimes use classroom techniques that I learned for elementary kids. Those techniques translate quite well.

        Another thing to keep in mind is that corporate training is not just in a room, but can be rooted in practice, embedded within the team, or happen on a ad-hoc basis. Each need is different and requires a different approach. Adaptability and Versatility are key items for a trainer to have.

        In my case, I find it more effective to define what you have to offer and what you want to express and then find a time and place to do it. Don’t wait for someone to tell you. If you feel strong and confident enough and you have an amenable environment.

    3. Training Manager*

      I love the idea and enthusiasm of the comment! The energy you have in explaining the AAM course was really good. But unfortunately it is a lot of work and marketing this program (even with the built in credentials like AAM) is a full time job in itself. That is why even established companies still go to trade shows and market in magazines to continue growing their business in an area of stiff competition. That aside Alison would be a great person to run a curriculum around it. To the commenter who wants to know how to break into training soft skills – I recommend starting with an entry level training position – in my opinion (20 years of training) there is no substitute for learning the basics of handling classrooms, people and all the fun technical issues that pop up during training, before jumping into the field of the higher level manager soft skills. But also look at local ATD groups, toastmasters (or similar) or for classes that offer certifications to see if it is something you wish to pursue further.

    4. Development Professional*

      For what it’s worth, I came to Ask a Manager originally because I took the management training at the Management Center that uses Alison’s book. And I know that others got here that way too. So, in terms of two-day workshops in the style of Ask A Manager, that already exists, albeit targeted at the nonprofit community. It doesn’t offer a certification per se, but I have on my resume that I completed it.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      A certification process sounds a bit too involved.

      Can it just be more organic than that—just like a self-selected group?

      No, you can’t vouch for that every job posted is from a company that meets Alison’s standards. Nor can you vouch for every applicant that she will be of the highest quality definitely.

      That said, I think if someone posts a job here or applies from here, the chances go up considerably that that person will be a fairly reasonable employer/employee. I don’t agree with everything every commenter says here, but the level of discussion and the general values usually agreed upon are excellent.

      If you want to see an example of this (on a much smaller scale, because I think the readership is smaller, and it’s more of a niche industry), do a Google search for geekfeminism classified.

  16. Not Today Satan*

    #1, I feel you. I basically spent 3 straight years job hunting thanks to constant unemployment, underemployment, and then a job I loathed. For a while after I started my current job I would still go to job search websites by default. I’ve been at my current job a year and sometimes am tempted to search in earnest partly for the reasons you mention (I’m such a good worker! I do well at all my jobs! Surely I could find a better job that pays more!). But recently I had an internal interview and remembered how utterly terrible interviewing is. I don’t want to search in earnest for another like ten years if I can help it, haha.

    1. OP #1*

      I had one job interview me 4 times, an hour or more each time, and I had to take off work each time.. only to tell me they wanted me to interview for a DIFFERENT position… and I would need to do 4 more interviews and take 4 more days off. Interviewing is not a fun process, and you’re right, I have no interest in doing that again for a long time.

      1. Anna*

        I’m not sure that’s a place you’d want to work anyway. It sounds like they’re a bit thoughtless or really sure of their desirability.

  17. Colette*

    #2 Often, the receptionist position is one where being bilingual is required even if it’s not required in other positions, since that’s the person who deals with people off the street who may speak either language. But I’ve noticed that the portion of the work you talk about liking (and that you believe they think you’re great at) is essentially party planning, which is not a core part of a receptionist job and, unless you were cooking at your desk, almost certainly did interfere with your core job. You may have also been great at the receptionist job, but it’s worth considering whether you were less enthused about the core reception work so that you can look for jobs you’ll enjoy in the future. Would you want the job of they never had another lunch?

    1. some1*

      Exactly what I came here to say. Professional staff like designers and associate counsel should not have to take calls way out of their wheelhouses like sales quotes or how troubleshooting the website.

    2. TootsNYC*

      “But I’ve noticed that the portion of the work you talk about liking (and that you believe they think you’re great at) is essentially party planning, ”

      I actually thought that the question was going to be about, “How can I turn that into employment?”

      I suggest talking to caterers.

  18. Katie the Fed*

    #2 – was party planning even part of your job? This is where being a social coordinator for the office can bite you in the butt – people can like you and the parties you put on, without respecting you as a professional.

    It also doesn’t sound like you’ve made an effort to actually ask them what you’d need to do to get hired. Have you had that conversation? They might have no idea of your interest at this point.

    1. Erin*

      That’s a good idea – express how much you’ve enjoyed working with them, and if a position did open up they think you’d be a good match for, could they let you know.

      Or, you could work on becoming bilingual. :)

  19. Don't put a ring in it*

    Just a quick comment to ask you not to put a ring photo in your announcement. When my husband and I got engaged, almost every one of my female coworkers asked about the ring. They always felt awkward when I responded, “I don’t have one.” Please don’t perpetuate the idea that a ring is a fundamental part of the experience when two people choose to commit to one another for life.

    1. Christy*

      Yeah, the people I sit with immediately looked at my hand when i told them I got engaged and I was like “no ring, you’ll have to wait for my wedding band”. It didn’t phase me personally but I totally empathize.

      1. Don't put a ring in it*

        Yeah, it didn’t much bother me either, but it was incredibly awkward for them. As soon as I said, “I don’t have a ring,” they would fall all over themselves to apologize. Best to avoid the conversation entirely.

        1. Christy*

          Slight digression! Context: I have relatively short hair–a pixie cut. I will sometimes get accidentally misgendered, particularly while wearing outerwear, and every time someone calls me “sir” I just smile/laugh and say “I’m a ma’am”. They’re always awkward about it and I’m always just laughing about how awkward they are. Like, I have short hair and you saw me from the side, and I was wearing a totally un-formfitting coat! Makes sense you thought I was a dude. But everyone is always so awkward that it makes me laugh at/with them. You calling me sir by mistake? Not awkward. You falling over yourself to apologize? Awkward. (Me laughing at you the whole time? Not awkward.)

          (A big reason I’m amused at getting misgendered is because it’s not an emotionally fraught topic for me, in part because I’m cisgender. I want to acknowledge that being misgendered can be very fraught for others.)

    2. hbc*

      I think some people just need to have that awkward moment of hearing “No ring” or “Actually, I’m not pregnant” or “I don’t have a boyfriend, but my wife’s name is Jane” before they stop blurting out assumptions.

      1. anonanonanon*

        Definitely. Though, in my experience, I find that it doesn’t stop a lot of them from making further assumptions, but instead becomes a “one time I….” story.

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      We didn’t do the diamond engagement ring when we got engaged. We got matching gold wedding rings, and I wore mine on the right hand until the wedding ceremony, when my husband removed it switched it over to the left hand. I got a few questions along the “Where’s your diamond?” line, to which the answer was that I didn’t have one. And I had to explain why the gold band was on my right hand and that I would wear it on the left after marriage. I don’t remember any of it being awkward; there were just questions to answer from doing it in what used to be the traditional way before having a huge rock became the traditional way.

      1. Master Bean Counter*

        Honestly I was not all that sad when the diamond fell out of my ring and got lost. Stupid thing was always in the way and had to be reset countless times. Now that I’m down to just my bands, it’s so much easier. If I were to do it all over again I’d never agreed to a diamond solitaire.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I always thought if (WHEN! Dammit!) I got engaged, I’d pick a ring that did not have a diamond sticking up. Because I’m clumsy, and I would knock that puppy out of its setting in two seconds flat.

          I used to have a tiger eye ring that I absolutely loved. One day I was having lunch in a tearoom and went to wash my hands, and the stone came out and went right down the drain. The water was running, so there was no hope of getting it back. I actually cried when I got back to my car. :(

          1. KR*

            This is me. The SO and I don’t want to get engaged yet, but a girl can dream of her ring – and I dream of one where the stone does not stick up.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            You can get the prongs checked on a semi-regular basis. I had a well-know name brand (modest) diamond and it wore like iron, no problems. And yes, the diamond was set high and caught on everything. However you can put a rider on your home owner’s for it. You want to watch because if the stone just falls out some policies may not cover that- make sure you have the coverage you want. My husband used to be an insurance adjuster. He eventually quit because of all the under-handed stuff he saw. But before he quit he reached the point where he would tell people, “If you lose the stone, throw the ring away and file the claim for a lost ring.” Yeah, pretty much insurance fraud, but it was very tame in comparison to what he saw the companies were doing to the customers. And that is how my husband got pushed along to his next arena of work.

          3. Witty Nickname*

            I have, surprisingly, not lost the diamond from my engagement ring. If we had bought a new ring, I would not have gotten a diamond – they aren’t my favorite, there are too many human rights issues with them, there are many many other stones I like better – but my mom gave us my grandma’s engagement ring. I loved that – vintage, the diamond actually fits the style well, so I love it, my grandma was happy for us to have it, and most importantly, it only cost however much my husband paid to have the prongs redone so I didn’t lose the diamond!

            I had my great grandmother’s tiger eye ring (actually a whole set of tiger eye jewelry – ring, necklace, bracelet, and earrings), and I lost the stone from my ring too. It was outside, in the dark, and even though I retraced my steps with the flashlight on my phone, it was gone. :(

          4. Cath in Canada*

            Mine’s like that. It has a small, relatively flat (Canadian!) diamond that’s embedded into the band, rather than jutting out from it. I was still working in a lab when we got engaged, and a more traditional setting would have ripped through latex gloves in no time. I know a lot of people who have to tape over their ring every time they put gloves on, and it’s a hassle.

    4. Kyrielle*

      *grins* My reply was “I’m not wearing it.” Which inevitably led them to ask me why not. “Because he gave me a two-dollar bill folded into a ring. Isn’t that the coolest?”

      Cue my listener looking utterly baffled. My (then future) husband, however, knew me very well. I thought that ring was awesome. I just didn’t think it was for regular wear.

    5. AFT123*

      I don’t wear a ring either (neither does husband, though we both have one), but I don’t think that is reason to dampen someone’s excitement over their own ring. It doesn’t personally impact people that don’t wear rings to have people that do wear them showing them off. I suppose you could argue in a broader sense, but I doubt that is the social-issue-hill anyone wants to die on. I also kept my own last name without hyphens or anything, but certainly don’t condemn people who choose to take their spouse’s last name.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I honestly enjoy seeing other people’s rings, even though it isn’t something that I care about having for myself. I think jewelry is beautiful, but I just can’t stand it having necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, etc. touching me. I don’t wear scarves for the same reason; I like to be comfortable and the jewelry or scarf is an impediment to my comfort. I don’t even wear my ring now; it lives in a little ceramic box on my nightstand.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Me too. I hardly ever wear my ring, and when I do, I take it off as soon as I get home. I’m not a jewelry person. But I like seeing other people’s jewelry!

      2. themmases*

        I agree, I don’t have one but I don’t consider it a big deal that other people have them and are interested in them. It was awkward to tell people who were super excited for me that I don’t have a ring and my partner didn’t propose, but IMO those people are just expressing well wishes and interest based on the traditions that are normal to them. There are worse things in life than awkwardness. A tradition can be not right for you without harming you.

        Marriage and weddings are incredibly personal, and revealing about the values and ideals of the people engaging in them. I’m getting married in May and many of my friends got married in the last 2 years, and I can honestly say there is not one wedding, or one marriage, among them that I would want for myself. Yet all of them were moving, special, and right for the people involved. It takes humility to hold both those ideas at once and not condemn people just for picking something you wouldn’t want.

    6. OP 4*

      I find it interesting that, based on your “Don’t perpetuate gender stereotypes” comment, you presume that I am a woman, and that my partner is a man. :)

      1. Anna*

        Okay, that’s awesome. :) I know I was going back and forth about it. Either way, congrats to you both!

  20. Christy*

    #4: I was in this exact situation–pretty new to an office of all remote employees–and I just never mentioned it. I told my boss when I requested leave for it–I’m taking off 10 days for my wedding. It just hasn’t come up, and I felt too new to send out an email.

    I’ll also do this thing whenever my fiancee comes up where I’m like “my girlfriend–well we’re getting married in April” because fiancee doesn’t indicate gender over the phone. Then you get general congratulations from the person you’re on the call with.

    I also sometimes sit with people who work in similar areas. I ended up telling them about 2/3 of the way to the wedding, mostly because I wanted to complain about wedding planning.

    Overall, the system worked for me. Also, my coworkers (those I haven’t met irl) have never seen a picture of me, and I actually like it that way? I’m younger than all of them by at least 10 years and I like to let them assume I’m older than I am. We’re meeting in April (immediately after the wedding leave, actually) and they’ll see soon enough. Plus we’ll be like drinking together and I can tell them then, in a non-work context. (Now that I think about it, I’ve actually met most of my coworkers irl, either in training or a conference. That’s awesome–I keep assuming otherwise.)

  21. OlympiasEpiriot*

    #4, are you changing your name? What’s the need to broadcast it at all? People who are your friends and involved in your life will know and others can be on a need to know basis, like HR for insurance and beneficiary info.

    Honestly, there’s lots of people who really don’t want to be involved in their co-workers lives. Ime, too many women get showers at work. This is a holdover from the days when getting married or pregnant meant quitting so it was a send off.

    Have you ever noticed how the men at a company *don’t* get a party from the other guys generally?? Some old school firms still give them raises, though.

    And, yes, echoing everyone else here…don’t send a picture of a ring.

    1. F.*

      I was thinking along some of the same lines. Unless you are in a corporate culture where it is common to mix your personal and professional life to a great degree, don’t announce it. While it is very exciting and understandably a big deal to you, your coworkers are not going to be as excited unless they are also your close personal friends.

    2. M from NY*

      +1 There really isn’t a need to announce your engagement to coworkers you’re not going to invite. Especially since you’re all remote. If you must you can mention it when you will be out for honeymoon or on your return if you are planning to change or hyphenate your name. Otherwise save the cutesy announcement for your friends and family you intend to invite.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Mentioning your engagement doesn’t have to be “cutesy”. I’m puzzled at the idea that you wouldn’t tell people about an engagement unless you intend to invite them.

        1. Oryx*

          I suspect it stems from the “never talk about a party in front of people you aren’t going to invite” rule. That said, I think mentioning the simple fact that you are engaged should be exempt from that.

          1. Natalie*

            As far as I understand, that rule doesn’t really apply at work since work colleagues aren’t friends. That said, I still don’t think it’s necessary to announce it, precisely because you’re not friends.

            1. Oryx*

              True, since work showers are also usually exempt from the thing about everyone invited to a shower needs to be invited to the wedding.

          2. Allison*

            That makes sense, in college people often talked openly about plans for parties that not everyone was invited to, and that did strike me as rude, but weddings are a little different. If that were the case, people should also be discouraged from announcing their engagement on Facebook, and people should never publish engagement announcements in the paper. Both are things that happen! Last week, it was announced that a couple in my swing scene were engaged, but I doubt they’re going to invite everyone who was present at that dance. I never expect to be invited to someone’s wedding just because they tell me they’re engaged or tell me about their wedding plans.

            “I’m engaged” doesn’t sound like “I’m throwing a big party and not inviting all of you,” it sounds like “I’m taking a huge step in my life and I’m really excited!”

            1. Oryx*

              I just said announcing your engagement isn’t the same thing as talking about planning a party and should be exempt. Paper or social media announcements are also just announcements.

              But talking about the big party you’re throwing around other people you aren’t inviting is pretty rude, regardless of whether or not it’s a college kegger or a wedding.

            2. Kelly L.*

              Right, because for all you know, they could be getting married at the JOP with just their witnesses in attendance.

              I’d say don’t gush on and on about the wedding to people who aren’t invited, but the marriage is not a party but a life event, and I don’t think it’s rude to share it.

              1. Allison*

                Yes, I agree on the second part. That is, unless people start pushing for details about wedding plans, which seems to be a thing in some workplaces. As it is, I don’t even have a boyfriend right now but I worry that if I get engaged while still working with this current group, it’ll be a constant shower of questions – “did you pick a date yet??” “did you pick a venue yet??” “how are the table settings going??” “what kind of band are you gonna get??” “ooooooooooh what does your dress look like?? I wanna see!!!” and I’ll have to politely tell these people it’s none of their damn business.

                1. Oryx*

                  You bean dip, ie: quickly change the conversation, as in “Oh, have you tried the bean dip yet?”

                  So just make it a simple “We’re still working out the details! Oh, by the way, did you see that email Fergus sent our team about the teapot handle update?”

              2. OP 4*

                Yes, I’m kind of amazed at the presumptions people are making about me, my partner, our sexual orientation, the state of my/our rings, our plans for when/how we will get married, etc! :)

                1. LSP*

                  You mean that you are a male, female, cisgendered, LGBTQ, 2 carat, wedding band only, no ring wearing, 52 year old millennial cat?

            3. themmases*

              Yes, my partner and I announced when it started to feel like we were having to talk around it. There is a difference between not treating your coworkers like your friends, and hiding a big part of your life from people you see every day.

              I get that some traditions around weddings are sexist and unappealing, but to me the implication that you should hide a major life event just to avoid seeming like you want attention/want gifts/will leave to raise 5 kids now/whatever is pretty over the top. A wedding is really nothing like a house party, everyone understands that there are emotional and practical reasons that not everyone can be invited. Hiding a major life event because it implies that someday in the future, there will probably be a celebration related to it to which not all present may be invited, is ridiculous.

          3. neverjaunty*

            Right, because “I am engaged” doesn’t mean “I am having a wedding and you’re not invited” – I mean, it’s okay to admit what day your birthday is and nobody thinks that’s implying that you’re throwing a party to which your co-workers aren’t invited.

    3. Chocolate lover*

      My current and former offices throw baby and wedding showers for any colleague celebrating, whether it’s male or female. And some of the males are involved in the planning when we do. Is can be a fun way of sharing the celebration, though as I mentioned in another comment, I think it’s a know your audience type of thing.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        Do you go around the office asking for contributions to the gifts?

        As our ranks have swelled due to large amounts of work in my industry, we seem to have given these up, thank you very much.

        “Know your audience”, yes, but there is not a monolith in any company. We (for example) hire based on skills, not “culture”. Our culture is “return clients calls or emails ASAP, be thorough in your work, responsive to your team, get the job done and don’t cheat on your expense or time sheets”.

        It is VERY recent that a whole lot of people legally couldn’t marry. I knew people who died alone in hospitals because a partner of 20 years wasn’t allowed to be at their bedside. Even worse were the people who died with their very much estranged blood relatives who were located by administrators…sometimes from many states away…and given the medical decision making for the person they had thrown out of the house when he was 15.

        Then there is the fact that people come to the US from all over the world. Engagement traditions are mostly NOT like the modern US gotta-show-off-the-rock thing in the rest of the world. I’d say about 1/3 of my company is not US born. Even more are culturally very much in their diaspora’s culture tho’ born here.

        There’s many things to be sensitive to and I think just keeping your private life within your circle of friends is the way to go.

        (PS: de Beers mines were the ones who invented this marketing BS about “a diamond is forever” because they had a lot of them at the turn of the 19th-20th century. Kimberlites. Way more than could be put in a Queen’s crown. Note that most jewels and especially diamonds are brought to light in horrible working conditions. I really don’t want to be socially pressured to complement someone for owning that and me bringing it up is, as you may expect, the very definition of Wet Blanket.)

        1. Chocolate lover*

          Our events are all potluck and completely voluntarily. No one is forced or remotely coerced into participating in anything. If the group chooses to host these kind of things and people want to participate because they enjoy it, that’s entirely up to them. My immediate offices have all been fewer than 25 people, and have genuinely enjoyed doing these things. Usually several people are the main coordinators for timing, will send around an email that says if you would like to join us, here is what’s going on (which is usually based on verbal conversations that multiple staff members have already had.) If people want to bring something or contribute to a gift, they do. If they don’t, no one keeps tabs.

          We do share our lives with each other (again, by choice.) I consider several of my coworkers friends, and invited them to my actual wedding because I wanted them to share the moment with me.

          My comment about knowing your audience refers to whether people are open to or enjoy those kinds of things, and more about your immediate group, not a whole company. Nor did I suggest anyone celebrate diamond jewelry specifically, I don’t care about anyone else’s ring and I didn’t suggest you should. For the people in my office, it’s more about sharing the exciting moment in someone’s life.

          1. StudentPilot*

            This sounds very much like my office – they send around a card to sign (for retirements, baby news, leaving for another job, etc. – but not birthdays.) and an envelope that you can (but aren’t obligated) to put money into for a gift. No one know who gave/didn’t give, how much, etc. There’s no pressure.

          2. Vulcan social worker*

            I have attended plenty of work baby showers because not going would have marked me as a poor cultural fit. I get no enjoyment out of watching a colleague open packages of nursing pillows and hand-knit afghans. (I don’t especially enjoy it for friends either and might have spent the last one I attended on the deck with the male partners while the parents-to-be opened gifts inside.) Fortunately $10 on a onesie at Target is not a hardship for me, but I’d rather be at my desk than (not) eating supermarket bakery cake. So in my experience, when your workplace is extremely female-dominated and you are a woman, they are more “optional” than optional. The expectation was not the same of men. Though I have certainly worked with men, I can’t think of one who has married or who has had a new child born while we worked together. They are either single/no kids or already married/fathers.

        2. neverjaunty*

          Every company has a culture that influences hiring, even if it doesn’t do the Silicon Valley thing of putting “culture fit” first.

        3. Allison*

          The guy I’m dating now has already told me he’s not getting his future bride a diamond. He’ll get her something pretty, just not a diamond. If that future bride is me, I’ll have no problem with a diamond-less ring, because the guy matters more than the rock, but I’m sure I’ll need to defend that decision to people who buy into the traditional BS that a good man buys his lady a “proper” ring.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This really depends on workplace culture. Many (most?) offices have warm enough relationships that it’s very normal for people to share big news like this with their teams (engagements, babies, whatever it is).

      1. neverjaunty*

        Also, it doesn’t have to be a warm-huggy environment where your co-workers are BFFs. Major life events are something you can share with people you aren’t personally super close to but spend a lot of your waking hours around, like at work.

  22. hbc*

    OP4, I’d just let it come up naturally. “Can you go to the August training?” “Do you have more specific dates? My wedding is the last week of August, so that’s out.” Or if people are talking about what they did during the weekend, you can say that you visited wedding venues. No announcements, but no hiding.

    And if it doesn’t come up naturally, they probably aren’t close enough to you that they need to know.

    1. OP4*

      I think you missed that I and my whole team are remote, and it’s just not likely to come up naturally like that – we don’t have those little hallway conversations.

      As I mentioned above, I sent an email to the whole team, and I’m glad I did, because now they all know and there’s no need for awkward conversations months down the line when they could have known straight off the bat. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but if one of my colleagues didn’t share that and suddenly mentioned wedding venues, I’d be sad that they didn’t share the news right away.

  23. Roscoe*

    #2 There is nothing door mat about this. In fact, I’d say they are being very kind to you by continuing to contact you when they have work. As Alison said, you could have been a great temp, however for various reasons, they didn’t see you as a good permanent hire. But most likely they do wan’t someone bi-lingual, and while its not 100% necessary, its something that will trump skills you already have. I’d stop worrying.

    #3 This one is kind of hard for me, because I understand why she is doing it. If you are out of practice for interviewing, its nice to get the rust of before you go for jobs you really want. I also don’t think its completely wrong. While it is “bad faith” its no different than jobs who continuing interviewing people even though they are 99% sure they already found the one they want to hire. My department did this to a friend. They more or less knew they were going to give an offer to the first person they interviewed for the position, including someone I recommended. It would have taken someone truly outstanding to beat her out. So in that case you can say they weren’t operating in good faith because everyone didn’t really have an equal shot anymore. Plus, starting to apply now isn’t necessarily the worst thing, since people are often job hunting for 6 months before they get something

    1. TootsNYC*

      I don’t think “kind” is the right word to use in a business context.

      But I did have another thought–it may be that all the social stuff made them think the OP wouldn’t focus on the job enough. So they’re not going to tap her for long-term.
      When they need someone short-term, the OP has familiarity on her side, which makes her valuable for that.

      There’s a downside to being the social secretary at work (even if it’s part of the job, the OP’s enthusiasm might have been a bit too much), or coming across as too focused on the social aspect of office life.

    2. katamia*

      Yeah, in situations where someone really wants a bilingual employee to fill a certain position, there’s really not much you can do to make up for that the way you can learn a new software program or something. It typically takes years to get good enough to use another language in business if you’re not a native or near-native speaker, and even then it might not happen for someone who’s not good at learning languages or doesn’t really enjoy the language learning process enough (and therefore may not spend enough time on it).

  24. hermit crab*

    I didn’t tell people at work when I got engaged, and it actually ended up being really awkward. I should have just said something! There’s a BIG middle ground between “radio silence” and “bridal shower.”

    I think the “just want to share some news” email is the way to go, and it’s totally appropriate for men, women, whoever.

      1. hermit crab*

        My engagement was basically just a conversation where my now-husband and I were like, “yeah, I guess this year would be a good time to get married, let’s go for it.” It didn’t seem like something I needed to tell people about! The awkward part was when I started wearing my grandma’s engagement ring a few months later and my coworkers (most of whom I’ve known for 5+ years and am pretty close with) were confused about why I hadn’t shared my news earlier. So I think it would be different if I didn’t know everyone so well.

        1. themmases*

          I think I may have accidentally done the same thing. We’d been wanting to for a while, decided to start planning, and told others after we told our parents so they wouldn’t hear through the grapevine. There wasn’t much to announce.

          I’m counting on the casual-ness of the event itself to bolster my position that it was no big deal and there was no announcement. :)

        2. Christy*

          Oh man, we’re totally twins on that! I finally said something to the people I sit with so they wouldn’t be surprised by the wedding band that will appear. And we’re doing a getting-to-know-you at the all-employee meeting right after my wedding, so one of my fun facts was I just got married. Covers it all.

        3. Development Professional*

          Yup, this was me too. I started wearing a ring over xmas break (months after we started planning the wedding), and some people are still randomly coming up to me like, oh, what’s shiny on your hand? Are you engaged? Fortunately, I did make a point of telling my boss and one other colleague outright, since they are the ones who will have to cover for me when I’m away.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Ok, use your judgement. But, really, it couldn’t have been so very awkward unless being single or married actually had some bearing on your job description.

      1. Caffeine Free*

        Seems like the coworkers thought hermit was keeping it from than rather than the reality of the situation, which was just not thinking it was a big deal to share at work. It could make things tense if they thought someone they were friends with didn’t trust them with that information or something, particularly if they would be the type of people to share something like that loudly. ? My guess.

  25. AmyNYC*

    #3 – I had a friend do something similar… but for dating. She put A LOT of pressure on herself to find a husband in college (her parents were college-sweethearts, if that’s a thing). She said yes to EVERY date, party invitation, whatever – and she thought of it as “practice dating.”

    1. Elizabeth West*

      This is actually a good idea for that situation (though maybe not saying yes to every actual date). But getting out there, and all.

      Before anybody says anything–already tried it. :P

      1. Anna*

        Agreed. I have a very shy relative who would like to date, but completely shuts down around boys she’s attracted to. She’s been practicing talking to boys she’s not attracted to and making new friends, and it seems to be helping.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          She sounds like me. Only I have not yet reached the stage where I could actually speak to a man I was interested in, so clearly I have more work to do.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Well…. I read some where it is in our friendships that we learn how relationships work. In a way our friendships lay some of the foundation pieces for our marriages later on. I tend to agree.

  26. Rusty Shackelford*

    #4, I don’t know how close you are to these people. If you’re close enough that you all share this kind of information (and have they shared with you? this is important), then yes, go ahead and email them, but please, please, no ring pics. Those who want to see it will ask. Those who don’t care will never say “seriously?” but they will think it.

    If you’re not really that close on a personal level, I’d share your info on a work-related level. “Just wanted to let you all know I’m getting married in October, so I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off. I won’t be changing my last name so don’t worry, you won’t need to learn a new one.” (Or “My last name will be changing to Lannister.” Whichever is appropriate.)

  27. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

    Re ring photo: Don’t do it! I would find that really, really, REALLY tacky. The exciting news is that you and your fiance have decided to make a lifelong commitment to each other, not that you have a new piece of expensive jewelry. Putting the focus on the ring is ostentatious and vaguely sexist.

    1. Caffeine Free*

      Agreed. Among close friends or family? Sure, if you must. Sending it to coworkers? Please don’t.

  28. S.I. Newhouse*

    OP #3: Perhaps suggest to your friend to visit a public library or a local Department of Labor office to see if they offer mock interviewing programs. This may be a longshot depending on your area, but it’s worth asking.

    As someone who has served on hiring committees and has been burned by interviewees who interviewed great and then didn’t actually want the position, I’m kind of leery of recommending going on actual interviews to get practice. Sure, it’s great practice, but it can backfire and end up burning a bridge. I do agree with other commenters that she should begin searching in advance of her contract expiring, but if she legitimately can’t or won’t leave her job for six months, that’s a bit much.

    1. katamia*

      How can you tell whether an inteviewee was on the fence about a position and went to the interview to learn more to see if it was better than it sounded (and then maybe found the job wasn’t right for them or was offered another job they wanted more between the interview and your job offer) or if someone was going on an interview just for practice? Or does that not really matter from where you’re sitting?

  29. Sunflower*

    #1 is soooo me. I spent 5 years job searching on and off and it’s been really hard to turn it off since I accepted my new job. I let a lot of other things fall to the wayside and in a way, job searching was a coping tool I used to deal with the aspects of my life I wanted to avoid. My new job is great and was the perfect next step for my career but it’s really hard to not keep thinking about the next step already. You should be thinking about the next step but in ways other than job searching- there are so many other ways to keep growing without finding a new job. I love the way Allison phrased it- this job is part of your ultimate job search. Since I stopped franctically job searching, I’ve found sooo much free time on my hands. The main thing I’ve done is amp up my networking to prepare me for my next job search. Ways to do this are:
    – NeJob pays membership fees to Teapot Marketing Association. There are tons of free seminars/classes. If your job offers something similar, take advantage of it. Even if the class doesn’t apply specifically to you, you never know what you’ll learn or who you’ll meet.
    – As an event planner, I’m always getting invited to showcases along with other planners. Technically they are sales showcases but they’re essentially networking events since it’s all other planners. If you know of something similar in your industry, join in
    – I’m trying to get set up in some sort of mentoring program through my university or other association. Use your skills to help others!

    I still skim the job postings but honesty, it’s extremely rare that something comes up that is better than my job. I like the idea of searching for jobs a level or two above yours so you can get an idea of places you should look in the future. I think the key is to find ways to make you feel like you’re still advancing your career without getting a new job.

  30. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

    #5 – I would only send a ring picture to people if you’re very close to them and know they would be excited about that sort of thing. Like others said, I’d rather see a picture of you and your new fiancé because it takes the focus off the material part of things.

  31. Rat Racer*

    OP1 I also understand this inclination – it’s hard to ignore the allure of “but what if!”

    Whenever I’m tempted to job search (even though I’m happy where I am) I remind myself that the first year in a new job is HARD. You have to build up your credibility, learn new systems, new people, new company norms – it’s a steep climb. All those perks that come with being an established member of a team like the flexibility to come in a few minutes late because everyone knows what a hard worker you are, or step out for a doctor’s appointment, or go for a run in the middle of the afternoon – poof! gone. Not to mention that you won’t have any PTO and it will be several months before your benefits kick in.

    Courting an imaginary job is a lot of fun – actually starting a new job is a lot harder.

    1. OP #1*

      I agree. In my last job, I had a great reputation and with it came flexible hours, long vacations, flexibility to try different things, whatever. Now this first year I had to rebuild that reputation, and it was hard to become a trusted member of the team. Then there’s accruing vacation, getting to understand the acronyms and business lingo, and forming relationships… you’re right. The benefits of staying in a job for a longer time and really becoming a central part of the team definitely outweigh the excitement of new possibilities, but needing to start from scratch.

  32. LizB*

    For #5, this wouldn’t be insanely lucrative, but could someone just do a recurring comment thread in the Friday open thread with job openings? Similar to the “BEST AND WORST!” thread we usually have. Whoever starts the thread just posts the phrase JOB OPENINGS, so people can easily search for the thread, and then anyone who has an opening to promote responds with a few details (“project management position in West Narnia, mostly overseeing the design of strawberry teapots, salary starting at 50k — I work in the spout testing department and know the hiring manager, and she’s super awesome, plus our benefits are great!”) and a link to wherever the job is posted. Would that become infested with spammers, or would it be safe?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Possibly would become infested with spammers. I think, ultimately, while I definitely get the appeal, it’s just too outside the mission of the site!

  33. Bowserkitty*

    #3 – I’m not sure if this has been mentioned already but when I was in my “job transition” group post-layoff, they encouraged those who had horrible interview jitters to go to open-hire call centers for interview practice. Many of my fellow coworkers had been working at our OldJob for decades so they were understandably nervous about interviewing for the first time, so call centers were suggested as practice.

    Is this different than that?

  34. Overeducated and underemployed*

    OP1, think about the life you could have if you weren’t searching job postings! I’m in month 9 of the intensive search, and I have to keep telling myself “one of my interviews this month could be it,” because I am SO SICK of spending my only free time at night writing cover letters and preparing interview presentations. I spend about 10 hours a week on it, which means I don’t get to relax at all on weeknights. Think of what else you could do with 10 hours a week! Watch movies or play games or do something romantic if you live with a partner. Go have dinner or drinks with friends and dates if you don’t. Join a local running or gaming club. Bake amazing things. Lift weights. Start a podcast. Get more sleep. So many possibilities!

    If you’re not spending all that much time on it, and it’s more of a vicarious “seeing what’s out there while surfing the internet” thing, maybe it’s not an issue. Just let your interest fade.

    1. AFT123*

      Great comment that I totally agree with!! Let the interest fade, because otherwise you could get totally burnt out on the search and end up hating it, and when the time comes to actually get back on the wagon, you’ll dread it.

  35. Ama*

    For #2 — I used to be in charge of staffing a housekeeper position. We had a full-time employee but the demands of the position were such that if she took PTO (or maternity leave, as also happened during my tenure), I had to have a temp or multiple temps lined up to fill in. And good temps — ones that were not only quick to pick up the demands of the position, do quality work, AND were available on a regular basis — were like gold to us. Once we found someone we could rely on we used them as regularly as possible until they found full-time employment elsewhere or otherwise let us know they could no longer work for us.

    It’s a slightly different situation than yours in that we only had the one housekeeper position and the temps who worked for us knew full-time employment wasn’t a possibility from the outset, but the fact that they keep asking you to fill in likely speaks to how much they value your work even if they don’t have a full-time position that would be a good fit.

  36. Ali*

    Ring kind of things would not seems good to me, I think a photo of you and your finance would be fine.

  37. TootsNYC*

    #1–addicted to job hunting

    See if you can find a new hobby–one that involves somewhat similar things (researching on the Internet, anticipating…). Maybe try to plan a European vacation.

    I find that when I invest a bit in a big purchase (eyeglasses, by looking at lots of frames; a suit once, bcs I spent some time looking; a refrigerator, ditto the research), I actually keep the process going even after I’ve finished.
    So I think what you’re doing is actually relatively normal. This was a big part of your brain-wave pattern.
    Don’t think that it means anything about you, or your dedication to this job, or your flightiness, etc.–it’s just a habit. Find some other absorbing thing to take its place, and give it time.

  38. TootsNYC*

    #2 – temp job

    You sound like you’re approaching this whole thing from a far more “social” point of view than is good for you.

    You emphasize the cooking and planning parties, and missing the people.

    And then you feel “used” when they call you only sometimes.

    If these were -friends- or a -sweetheart-, the “being used” accusation would absolutely be true.

    But these aren’t friends; this is a business deal. It might help you in the long term to spend some time thinking about how you emotionally and mentally approach work, and test to see if my suspicion is actually true.

    If it is, then work on strengthening the social networks you do have, so that you’re not relying on work to fulfill those basic human needs.

  39. TootsNYC*

    #3 – interview practice

    And really, the whole thing is operating in bad faith — obviously if she told employers that she wasn’t available but just wanted to talk to them for practice, they’d decline.

    What if she said, “I’m not available until September, but I’d like to get on your radar screen; I’m available to interview now, so you can know more about my skills before any opening might arise”?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think that’s fine, but unless she’s senior/has specialized, in-demand skills, they’re not likely to take her up on it … so it would end up being a lot of cover letter writing practice rather than interview practice.

  40. Development Professional*

    #1 – I went through a similar thing earlier in my career. This might sound like a weird idea, but what I did with that energy was actually start a blog about job openings in my field in my city. When I found new openings, I would write a post that briefly described it and linked to the full listing. Over time, I was able to see trends and patterns happening in the field, like who was expanding their staff, which positions had frequent turnover, etc, and I was able to add that insight to my posts. It was better than a job board because I was pulling public listings in a curated way – I would capture openings that were listed on a company’s website but not otherwise advertised, and there was no spam because I was only posting things that I personally thought were relevant and legitimate. After a while, some hiring managers would send me their openings directly by email because I had gained a following. Of course, this was nearly a decade ago and blogging was a different thing then. I have no idea if it would work now. And related to Alison’s comments regarding #5, it was never terribly lucrative from an ad sales perspective. It was just something I did for fun. Eventually, I moved to a new city and it just didn’t make sense to continue. But it was fun for a while!

  41. kiwibkute*

    I’m not sure what you have in your area, but where I’m at we have workforce centers or job centers through the counties. When I was having a hard time finding a job I went there for a little help and they have often have time set aside for interview practice. They had a class you could take giving you advice on interview techniques and you could also sign up for mock interviews. It gave you a great chance to practice and you would get feedback. You might try looking around for something like that and directing your friend towards those kinds of opportunities.

  42. Allison*

    #1, your job hunting habit reminds me of people who usually date around, have casual flings, open relationships, etc. and are used to constantly meeting people of whatever sex they’re into, chatting them up, exchanging contact information, and making a plan to grab lunch or coffee sometime – but then they get into a relationship, and while they’re still obviously allowed to talk to other people, their habit of connecting with potential new hookups at every bar, party, and club they go to isn’t exactly appropriate anymore. But they often keep doing just that, because that’s just what they’re used to doing in social situations. Not only is it disrespectful to the person they’re dating, but can get in the way of really connecting with that partner, because they’re (consciously or subconsciously) hoping that someone hotter and more interesting will come along, and comparing that partner to the people they’re meeting in social situations.

    Similarly, think of an expensive thing you may have bought recently – a laptop, maybe? A car? A new piece of furniture? if you make a big purchase and then immediately start eyeing newer, nicer versions of that for when you need a new one, it’ll be tough to appreciate what you have right now, because you’ll be thinking “this is okay, but the newer ones are so much cooler, I can’t wait to get something better!”

    At the beginning of this year I told myself I needed a shopping moratorium. The key to not buying more stuff is to simply not browse online stores to see what’s new. If I don’t know what’s out there, I’m not tempted to buy it.

    So what you need is a mental shift, from keeping your eyes open for better opportunities, to focusing on the positives of the job you have now. All the cool benefits, all the pros, what you can get out of working there and how you can excel at that job. For at least the next two years or so.

    That said, maybe you can channel this restless energy into browsing activities and hobbies. Sign up for Groupon, LivingSocial, etc. and check out deals on stuff to do, new restaurants to try out, stuff like that.

  43. Lalitah*

    About Point#5 – Alison, I would think about offering online training in talent management best practices and even teaming up with online provider to provide a guided online talent management database. Just some thoughts..

      1. Tex*

        Alison – How about selling a couple of resume templates? I know there are a lot out there (on etsy, etc.) but I haven’t found any that are sleek and functional.

  44. Squirrel*

    Re: #1; I’m stuck in a somewhat similar position, at least with regards to the potential to look like a job hopper. I absolutely hate my current place; it feels like a huge step backwards career-wise (as its entry-level and I have a decade of work experience), the pay is very low, the work is incredibly boring, oftentimes we are very slow, and when we aren’t, it is stressful rather than being “enjoyable” because there’s finally work to do, and there is no career ladder or any promotion opportunities to speak of.

    My issue is that I have been here only three months, and I was at my my previous position for only four months (this place had a very toxic work environment, management played favorites, yelled and called workers names, did write-ups for things that didn’t happen or weren’t actually serious, pay was also very low, and yet another entry-level place with no promotional track either).

    To explain my choices: about a year and a half ago, I moved to another state, went to school full-time to finish my degree (while sort of looking for a job), so now there is a seven-month gap in my resume, when there had been none for ten years. I’m honestly at a loss as to what to do. I really don’t think I can stay here much longer, but I don’t want to further wreck my resume.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      That’s super tough. I get why employers look at job-hopping as job-hopping instead of possibly serious bad luck with toxic work environments. I think a lot of it comes from a sort of misguided optimism. Hiring managers want to believe it can’t really be that bad out there—there can’t really be that many toxic work environments, so if the applicant is job-hopping, that must mean there’s something wrong with the candidate (can’t do the job or is just awesome but can’t commit). A lot of times that is the case (something wrong with the candidate). Other times, though, it really is just bad luck.

  45. Preux*

    To OP#1 – I have been in that position before (addicted to the job search). My recommendation is to pour that energy into networking (touch base with people already in your network, thank your references who helped you get this job, maybe attend some conferences etc if applicable) and if your job wouldn’t be jeopardized by a second source of income, maybe look into making some money on the side with a personal project/freelancing/whatever – that’s something that will take a lot of that excess energy and (in my experience) gives a similar satisfaction as landing an interview for a good job. These activities will help build you career-wise as well.

    Alternatively, you can take up a hobby.

  46. Opposite of #1*

    Loved all the advice given to letter writer #1. I think I have the OPPOSITE problem. I’ve been in my job for 5 years and though I like a lot of things about it, I feel like it’s time to move on (mainly because of a lack of room to grow and a toxic boss’s boss who I’ll have to work with increasingly if I stay). That said, I find it so draining to job hunt. I’ll be super “on” for a month or two (looking at postings, sending apps, networking, etc.) and then I feel like I burn out and take a month break where I do nothing related to job hunting (unless I’m doing interviews or follow-up related to work done during an “on” month). This has been going on for a year, I’d say. Maybe it’s because I’m not ready to leave (subconsciously?), but I’d love to hear how people keep themselves motivated for a long-term job hunt.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      No major advice but remember, when you go too high you are setting yourself up to go too low. Picture a roller coaster. This happens with many aspects of life. The tricky part is to not allow yourself to ride the highs too hard.
      A good example would be a person who decides to follow an incredibly strict diet. This goes fine for a period of time. Then one day the person sits down and eats an entire gallon of ice cream in one sitting. Better to follow a less strict diet that allows for an ice cream cone every so often.

      The strength used in job hunting six hours a week for a long time, is different from the strength used in job hunting twenty hours a week for several months. It’s two different types of strengths. And the self-talk for each method is different, also.

      If you drop back on how hard you push yourself when the you are in high gear with job hunting you won’t drop so low, when you do finally get sick of it and want a break. Be more gentle to you and see what happens.

  47. newworldofwork*

    NOOOO don’t do a job board. The thing that makes this forum nice is the focused mission. If you set up any kind of job board it will distract from what you are trying to do.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      It doesn’t have to be a job board. It could be like an Open Thread or Weekend Free-for-All—a once-a-week posting that just says “Job postings from readers,” with a huge disclaimer that Alison hasn’t vetted these postings.

      1. Allison*

        Here’s the thing, it’ll start out as job postings from active members from this community – people who, for the most part, “get it.” But soon, word will spread of this amazing place where you can post jobs for free, which is huge for recruiters, and eventually you’ll get almost everyone posting jobs here, including the people who post sketchy jobs on Craigslist and recruiters who dump all their jobs onto the Reddit job boards. All their jobs. Good jobs and bad jobs, legit jobs and scams. That’s my concern.

        And then you’ll get these scummy agency recruiters gumming up all sorts of comment threads with thinly veiled attempts to network and push the companies they work for.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          I think if it starts getting that big, Alison can change the model. She seems to get decent traffic here, but if it got to be a desirable job board for randos, then she really could monetize it.

          In the meantime, it could be fine and work much like the Geek Feminism classifieds. That’s a public-facing blog and gets maybe one listing per month. Ask a Manager has a much wider readership, so I could see it getting more like 50 or 100 listings a week.

  48. Hop hop*

    1. Nothing wrong with monitoring the job openings in your field. I’ve been getting daily emails about jobs in my field since 2012 and I skim through them every day. Doesn’t mean I’m applying all the time. I just like to see what’s out there. I’ve gained a lot of insight about who is hiring in my field and what they are looking for. When I’m ready to apply I already know what to expect and what companies to go to.

    3. Her job ends in 6 months. What is she supposed to do.. wait until August to apply? Just because she applies now doesn’t mean she will get an interview anytime soon. Job searching can take months.

    If she gets an offer for a job she can’t take, all she has to say is that I have decided to cancel my job search at this time. Thank you for the opportunity. How is this burning bridges? Why would she say …Oh no thanks. That was just practice. That’s just stupid to me.

    Avoiding #1 and #3 is how people get stuck in jobs for 10-20 years that they can’t get out of if they wanted to. When they finally start job searching, they are extremely rusty and out of the loop of hiring trends in their field.

    I see nothing wrong with trying to get an interview once every 1-3 years to make sure you still got it.

  49. Anonymous Educator*

    I can relate to #1 a bit. I love my current job, but I had a shorter stint before that (left a toxic workplace), which means within the span of one year, I had to look for a job twice (once to find the toxic job, once to leave it). Once you get into job-searching mode, it’s hard to get out of it. Before that situation, I had had much longer stints and generally not ever been in job-searching mode until I needed to be (or until I found a genuinely much better job opportunity).

    You know how you sometimes see people reaching for their smartphones even with they don’t have anything to check, just as a reflex? That’s sometimes how it is for me. I’m not actually looking for a job, but sometimes I’ll just see what’s out there—not so much as a conscious “Let me see what’s going on in my field right now” as more of “Usually I do this… wait—why am I doing this again?”

  50. Audiophile*

    I completely understand where OP #1 is coming from. As an ’08 college grad, I feel like I’ve perpetually job hunted starting 3 months before graduation.

    It took me 3 months after graduation to land a job, working with special needs kids, which was completely removed from my college major. Then it took me almost 2 years to land a “better” job, a receptionist position, also unrelated to my college major. That first receptionist position lasted a year, then I was transferred by the company I worked for to another receptionist position. The 2nd receptionist position lasted 3 years, when I finally landed a job in my field only to quickly be dismissed and forced back into the receptionist position (thank goodness I worked weekends with the company or I really would have been SOL). I was there for another year and then transferred again this past summer, into a non-receptionist role.

    I finally landed a job that was a good fit on all sides a few months ago. I’ve had a very hard time halting my job search. I’m pretty happy in my current role, I get along with my manager and the other staff seem to like me. I don’t exactly make enough to meet my needs though and throughout all the job hunted, I’ve never able to pick up a part-time job. I may start looking again now for a part-time job, now that things have settled. What’s kept me from pulling the trigger on applications for other full-time positions is I feel like I could grow here and learn a lot. I do believe there’s room to advance, at least one level. And even if I don’t advance, I believe there’s room for raises in my salary in my current role. That’s enough to convince me to stay put for now.

  51. LSP*

    I know OP#4 already shared what ultimately happened, but in my case a coworker (or my supervisor, can’t remember) announced it on a phone call. I’m glad it didn’t have to say it myself. Most of my team is spread out too. I felt too weird sending an email, so over the phone was the way to go for me. Congrats OP4!

  52. the gold digger*

    My boss has four direct reports. Three of us are in one office; the fourth is in Germany. The German set up a conference call and wrote that we all had to be in my boss’s office. Once we were there, she asked that he turn on the video so she could see us.

    Of course, I was getting very cranky at the whole thing, as I do not like being on camera and for a skype call, I do not want to leave my desk.

    She then shared a photo of herself and her husband, whom she had married in a very small ceremony the week before. Then she asked my co-worker, who had brought his backpack into the meeting with him, to get out the cake. She showed us wedding photos while we ate cake. It was really cute and nice.

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