my dad says I shouldn’t have asked for time to think over a job offer

A reader writes:

Recently I had a second interview with a company where I met with the other owner and learned a lot of new information, including salary and schedule. At the end of the interview, I was offered the position and I said I would like a day to think it over and talk about it with my family. They said of course and that they would always expect that. Later, when I was talking with my parents, my dad got mad that I would even think about asking them for a day. He said that nobody should be at an interview if they didn’t already know they want to take the job, and furthermore if anybody he interviewed ever said that to him, he would rescind the offer immediately and show them to the door! I was astounded that he has never encountered this, as I have always found it quite the norm. People like to go home, talk with their spouses about what this means for their future, do the math on whether they can afford to take the job for the salary and benefits offered, and sometimes wait to hear back from another company.

My dad hires people all the time and works for a large government contracting company but has not been on an interview since 1984. From what I have read on your site, what I did does not seem egregious, but it has become pretty obvious that everybody hiring has their own rules and expectations and as a job seeker it seems like a losing battle trying to meet all of them. And what do you do when you’re getting information that is clearly outdated (like my mom telling me that offering to work for free is a good idea) but the people who are hiring you are older and may be following this info?

Ignore your dad. It’s very, very normal to ask for some time to think over an offer (and a day is nothing). If your dad is seriously pulling offers from people who ask for a few days to think it over, he must be losing the majority of his top candidates, or he’s working in an industry with really weird norms. An employer who reacts poorly to someone asking for a few days to think over an offer is an employer whose offer you should turn down — it’s a really bad sign about their understanding of professional conventions and how reasonable they’re likely to be in other ways.

About your dad’s statement that no one should be interviewing if they don’t already know they want to take the job — half the point of interviewing is to figure out if you’d want the job, be good at it, etc. No one can come into an interview already knowing that; an interview is a two-way interaction for both sides to assess the other.

I’m sure your dad is a lovely person, but do not take work advice from him.

It’s true that there are all sorts of hiring managers out there with all sorts of ideas about how things should work. You can’t cater to all of them — it would be inherently contradictory — so the best thing to do is to pick the practices that are most likely to screen out bad managers and screen for good ones.

{ 193 comments… read them below }

  1. Punkin*

    It’s a different world than 1984 – and a lot more than 32 years! Your parents mean well, but are off in this point. You are sharp in looking to AaM for direction.

    OT – Alison, I whitelisted you in my AdBlocker. you deserve to get paid for this! I keep my sound muted at work, so not a big deal. Thank you for this blog/forum.

    1. Hermione*

      I did the same thing once I realized it was about impressions, not clicks, as I would never have clicked anyway. Thanks for being awesome, Alison!

    2. annonymouse*

      To be fair towards the dad he works for a contracting firm – I assume this means screening contractors and dealing with tenders (bids/how much the contractor will charge if they are chosen).

      It’s a different position entirely to be a winning bid (which will secure a long term job and/or a lot of money for your entire company and probably not be working closely with the dad) to being taking a job with a company – fit, skills and suitable pay level come into play.

      Obviously a contractor doesn’t need to negotiate salary, leave entitlements, perks, company fit because those aren’t issues here.

      You might need to point out to your dad

      “Dad, I can see where you are coming from because of your line of work asking for time to think about accepting a work offer is stupid – what is there to think about? You made a bid, you won and you said you can the start work/project Monday.

      However (never say but as it negates what you just said) for non contractor work asking for time to think about an offer is actually fairly normal. I’d be working in an entirely new field/position I don’t have experience in and I need to make sure it’s something I can do as well as make sure I fit in with the team there so there aren’t problems down the track.

      This is stuff I can only find out after I’ve done an interview and I don’t want to just say yes without thinking about it and being sure. If I am certain I don’t have the technical skills needed or that I’m not going to get on well with my coworkers then I won’t last there long and I would have wasted everyone’s time much worse than taking a bit of time to consider the offer.”

      This nicely sums up that yes, he is right for his situation however his isn’t the only kind of job offer situation- his is actually a minority.

  2. Chriama*

    That’s insane. What if you want to negotiate salary or calculate the cost of health insurance? I’m legitimately wondering when he thinks that conversation should happen? Does he mean you should be ready to accept the offer *contingent* on all the details being agreeable? Or just you go to an interview, they say “here’s your pay, when can you start?” and you just accept right there?

    1. Murphy*

      My guess is it’s the latter. There are some hiring managers out there who honestly believe they’re doing you a favour by offering you a job and that it’s a personal insult if you don’t want to work for them. Of course, like Alison said, those are the ones you very much do not want to work for.

      1. Chriama*

        I think that must be a very specific work environment. Some commenters were mentioning factories, or government jobs with published ranges. But maybe dad is just old-school and out of touch.

        1. fposte*

          Yeah, both things can be true simultaneously. I’m thinking also that it was different in a time without email or cell phones, when contacting people was comparatively difficult. I still think people weren’t always expected to accept on the spot, but I suspect it was a lot more common.

          1. Observer*

            Come on, even without cell phones, it was not hard to reach the person at work to accept or decline an offer. Well, maybe you would reach his (usually it was a male) secretary or secretarial pool. But, still, you could get through sufficiently to deal with this.

            1. fposte*

              I’m not saying it was impossible to reach people ever; I’m saying that communication wasn’t considered an ongoing thing in the same way when you were applying by letter and getting offers the same way, and you had no answering machine or voicemail on your phone, and you never knew when you and your prospective employer would be able to catch each other so the lengthening of a decision needed to be worth the time.

              I think you’re looking at this as if it were a back formation–the culture of now if we had no email or cellphones. But that’s not the same thing as the culture of then.

              1. Observer*

                I hear what you are saying, but I think you are doing the same thing. Sure, in certain types of jobs, you accepted on the stop. But, for one thing, getting back to the hiring manager with a yes or not would generally not have been all that hard, for the not so uncommon situations where thinking about it was acceptable and even expected. I recall some of the hoops around being reacheable, as a job seeker pre cell phone ubiquity. It’s not all that long ago, you know.

              2. Brock*

                Er, it wasn’t nearly that hard to to stay in touch in 1984! I always used an employment agency in the 1980s (in the NY tri-state area and NYC), and the norm was that while you’d probably met with an agent and given them a copy of your resume in person, the resume would be faxed to the prospective employer and everybody would be in touch by telephone through the process – e.g. it would be totally expected that after each interview you would phone the agent (who’d probably already had a conversation with the employer) to discuss it, usually on the same day, at latest on the next day. If necessary you’d phone from a public telephone booth on your lunch break (there were a lot more of those then).

                In short, this dad is totally weird even for 1984.

          2. Alison Read*

            Don’t forget no fax machines as well! I remember standing, awestruck, as I read and re-read the display at the library with only photos of a FAX machine… That was 1984.

            At that time IIRC it seemed you were pretty much offered a job on the spot at the interview. Granted, I couldn’t speak to C-Level.

            1. Brock*

              There were definitely fax machine in common usage by the mid-80s for sure. What I remember being awed by in 1984 was a COLOUR photocopier. :) The quality was dreadful. :)

              1. Brock*

                Oh, and plain-paper photocopiers and fax machines. In mid-1980s to the best of my recollection, the photocopiers were mostly plain paper (at least in corporate environments) but all the fax machines were still that horrible slick paper that came in rolls.

        2. Murphy*

          I work in government with published salary ranges and yet I’ve still asked for time to think over a job. I needed to chat with my husband about whether or not we wanted to make the change to our family on things such as expected hours of work or travel (things I didn’t know about until the interview). There are lots of reasons to not take a job.

        3. TootsNYC*

          I suppose there are jobs where so much is known about the job before you even get the interview. But even then, you’re learning–in the interview itself–about the people you will work for.

      2. Rebecca*

        I’ve had a guy who offered me a job berate me for having taken a different one I interviewed for on the same day. I was glad I missed out on the overt bullying. Though the job I took did end up having more subtle and slow building bullying, but I digress…

    2. Crazy Dog Lady*

      I think that if an employer argued with the idea of thinking things over for a day or two, that would be a giant red flag. I was offered a job a couple of years ago and asked to think it over the weekend (it was a Friday afternoon) – and the recruiter scoffed and said, “Well, what’s there to think about? We’ve been going through this process forever.”

      I had interviewed over the course of a week and a half, which is not forever. And I ended up not taking the job, because the interview process wasn’t great and the hiring manager was kind enough to tell me the truth about the firm during the process. You are interviewing a company just as much as they are interviewing you, and you have every right to take a few days to think it over. Heck, a past firm offered new hires two weeks to accept the position!

    3. Jenavira*

      That’s very much my dad’s attitude (although he doesn’t hire and fire himself, having spent literal decades dodging every managerial position they’ve tried to throw at him). His attitude is, they have something you want, and either you take it or walk away, there’s no negotiating at all. It took me a long time (and the advice of blogs like this!) to realize that actually, more often than not, all kinds of things are negotiable.

      1. Bob*

        If someone mentioned the word negotiate during the interview I’d just show them the door and move on

        1. davey1983*

          Seriously? Forgive me, but that screams bad manager, and a good way to weed out good candidates.

          1. Bob*

            Yah someone who will prob use that time to squeeze more money out by probably waiting for another job offer to compete Salarys

  3. Allison*

    Saying a person shouldn’t interview unless they’re sure they want a job, is like saying you shouldn’t accept a date with someone unless you’re sure you want to get serious with them right away. You should have some interest, if you know you don’t want the job you’re wasting their time and yours, but no, you don’t need to already *know* it’s definitely what you want. Committing to a job is a big decision – you’re agreeing to give them at least 40 hours of your time each week, and do what they tell you to do, on a salary that will support your lifestyle and possibly help support someone else as well, for at least a couple of years. It’s something you should always think over!

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      The company isn’t interviewing only people they are sure they’ll hire, so why should candidates be any different?

      1. Allison*

        How do you know that’s the case? I work on a recruitment team, and I hear/read a lot of “well he’s not perfect, but he has X, Y, and Z, so let’s reach out and have a conversation.” Then again, I work on a lot of tough to fill positions where it’s not as simple as picking the 20 bullseye candidates out of a bag of 200 applications, it can take a lot of digging to find people with the skills we want.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Right, but “let’s have a conversation” is very different from “we will definitely hire this person.”

          Even when someone looks fantastic on paper, there’s no way to be sure you’ll want to hire them until you talk pretty extensively (unless you’ve worked closely with them before).

          1. Allison*

            Exactly, I’ve interviewed with companies that were very excited about my LinkedIn profile, but then I’d go in and it was obvious I didn’t gel with the team.

      2. Random Lurker*

        I disagree with this.

        I’m a passive job searcher. I’ll take an interview and kick the tires, even if I have little interest in the new job.


        I’m also a hiring manager. I do not have time to kick the tires on a candidate to see if I’m interested. If I call you, it’s because your resume indicated you match what I want to hire. I simply do not have time to take the approach of let’s see if this gets serious.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Sure, but you’re not ready to hire the person before talking to them, presumably. You think there’s a high likelihood they might be the right match before you interview them, but I assume you’re not deciding to hire them pre-interview (which would be the employer side equivalent of what the OP’s dad is saying).

          1. Allison*

            There’ve been plenty of cases where the recruiter loved a candidate, and the hiring manager loved a candidate, and it all seemed like a sure thing until the interview debrief where almost everyone voted against hiring them.

            1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

              I have been on this panel before…the “shoo-in” candidate that we are expecting to rubber stamp and then whoops…they are so not the right fit!

          2. Random Lurker*

            Correct. Dad is way off base here (sorry OP).

            I was originally disagreeing with the statement “The company isn’t interviewing only people they are sure they’ll hire, so why should candidates be any different?”, but now realize I was reading it in a pedantic way and retract my disagreement.

      3. AdAgencyChick*

        Sorry, in case it wasn’t clear, I was 100% agreeing with you!

        The company is interviewing candidates whom they might want to hire — they won’t know until the interview process is done.

        And the candidate is very likely looking at more than one company, comparing them to see which one will be the best fit.

        So my flip tone was for OP’s dad, not you!

    2. F.*

      Back in 1976 when I first started dating, my mother DID say that I should never date someone I wouldn’t marry. Like how the heck would I know on the first date?

      1. Kyrielle*

        Yeah…as with the job, the real litmus test is to not interview with/date someone you *already know* you wouldn’t be interested in. (And, honestly, I’m not sure it fully applies to dating…but it is good advice for interviews. I’m not sure every date ever has to be about finding a spouse, whereas I have a hard time imagining any other reason for an interview but to look for a job.)

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Right? If she’s around the same age as my mom, back in her day a mate was chosen largely by his looks and what kind of job he had (i.e. he could provide for you). That’s it. The rest was up to you to “make him happy”. Ugh.

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        The point isn’t that you have to decide if someone is marriage material before you agree to date them, it’s that you don’t date someone you would never consider marrying. Like, if you know you’d never consider marrying someone who smokes, or is of a different religion, etc., you shouldn’t even date them. Of course, this assumes the sole purpose of dating is to pick a spouse.

        1. TL -*

          I definitely know people who won’t date unless they are planning on marrying the person. (Thankfully, none of them have married the person, and most ended up breaking up, but it’s definitely a thing.)

        2. Anna*

          Then chances are you aren’t considering dating them either, so it becomes moot. Very few people are thinking “I will date the smoker, but I would never marry them.”

          1. Koko*

            The big one for me is that I don’t want children. Getting involved with someone who does would just lead to a painful breakup, or him having to give up something he wanted and possibly resenting me/feeling unfulfilled for the rest of our relationship as a result.

            I have ultimately rejected a lot of guys that I was very compatible with and in all other respects could have seen us having a happy relationship, because they were certain they wanted children and I am certain I don’t.

      4. Ad Astra*

        Well, I guess if there’s something about him that you know would exclude him from marriage, it doesn’t make sense to be on a date with someone (unless, of course, you’re not interested in marriage any time soon). But what would that even be? All I can think of would be religion or race, which were both probably a bigger deal in 1976 than they would be now. It’s not like you can tell by looking at someone that you won’t agree on how to spend your money or raise your kids.

        1. Allison*

          I could think of some things that could make someone bad boyfriend and/or husband material, like if he smokes a lot, or doesn’t want to get married and have kids, or if he’s always getting mad at people on Facebook, if he wants to travel around all the time and never settle into one place, if he’s seriously planning to move to Europe and be an ex-pat, if he holds very conservative views on social issues, if he has trouble holding down a job, if he uses hard drugs, has a lengthy or recent criminal record, etc.

          NOW, I can’t always know these things right off the bat, but if I have already learned those kind of things about a person, I’m unlikely to want to spend a whole evening with that person. It wouldn’t be fair to them and could put me in a very awkward position. Generally, I don’t want to date someone I’ve only spoken to online, I’m much more comfortable with the idea if I’ve had a conversation with them in person and I’ve gotten a good vibe from them.

        2. Megs*

          Maybe you can’t tell much by looking at them, but you can tell a lot by looking at their OKCupid profile. ;)

      5. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Boy, I never would have had 75% of the fun I had as a young adult if I’d never dated anyone I wouldn’t consider marrying. The point was, I wasn’t considering getting married. Once marriage became something other than a remote possibility in the far distant future, that all changed, of course.

        1. TrainerGirl*


          I learned a lot about myself the summer I decided to have fun and date Mr. Right Now. None of the guys I went out with were boyfriend/marriage material, but I had a great time and I learned a lot about what I wanted in a relationship. I believe that experiment is how I found my current boyfriend/potential future husband. When you open yourself up to meeting/dating people just to enjoy yourself rather than mate-seeking, you might find that you learn what’s most important to you in a relationship. Or perhaps that was just the case for me.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Me, too. Some of the guys I dated had traits that were really attractive to me for the short term, but were not so appealing once the initial infatuation wore off. I also enjoyed trying on different aspects of myself that were brought out in the different relationships. All that was fun while I was at the life stage to enjoy it, and it also was an education about what I thought I would like (both in the guy and in myself) versus what actually works with who I really am.

      6. TootsNYC*

        And maybe she meant “date” = date repeatedly and steadily, instead of “date” = go out a couple of times and spend a little time together.

        Like, “datING,” not “going on A date”

      7. Elizabeth West*

        I assume she meant someone with tattoos, or a guy who wore a leather jacket, and rode a motorcycle, and combed his hair in a ducktail, and omg I’m talking about Fonzie.

        But I would totally date Fonzie because he’s cool.

      8. Observer*

        Well, it’s reasonably good advice if modified to “you KNOW you wouldn’t marry.” I suspect that’s what your mother meant. But, if not, then you are right. It’s not terribly useful advice.

    3. Bowserkitty*

      is like saying you shouldn’t accept a date with someone unless you’re sure you want to get serious with them right away.

      I used to have a friend who thought that way! She absolutely did not see the point in dating unless she knew it was end game, but how can you know?

      This was years ago and I haven’t been able to chat with her since last decade so I’m sure she’s changed her mind, but it really is a different way of thinking.

      1. Chriama*

        Was it that she wouldn’t date unless she was planning to get serious or she wouldn’t date someone who she couldn’t see herself marrying? I’m kind of a traditionalist for my age but I find myself in the middle of those 2 positions. The end goal is definitely marriage for me, but the point of dating is to see how compatible you are for marriage and just get to know each other as people. So I wouldn’t be interested in someone who wants to ‘see how it goes’ with marriage as an eventual possibility, but I obviously wouldn’t be planning the wedding on the first date.

        1. Bowserkitty*

          Yes, it was that she wouldn’t even date if she couldn’t see herself marrying right off the bat! She said it was tedious…LOL

            1. Bowserkitty*

              Given that now I too find it tedious (but perhaps not pointless), I have to say I don’t disagree with her either.

      2. Murphy*

        Especially since (at least for me) some of my hypothetical deal breakers were things I decided weren’t once I met my now husband. For example, I said I would never date someone who travels for work. Well… cut to meeting my husband and he travels for work. Suddenly my priorities and hard and fast rules changed because he and our relationship was worth it.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I think some of us, when we’re younger, have more rigid ideas about what we want our future spouses to be like. So those deal breakers can change with time as we get to know a wider range of people. Also, if you really care for someone, then stuff that seemed important but really isn’t (is he rich, does he have glorious Poldark hair, etc.–okay wait, I do want that hair LOL) can fall by the wayside.

          Same with jobs. I thought when I was a kid that I would get a grown-up job doing what I wanted and nothing else would suffice. Never mind that I wanted to be an actor and besides the fact that I’m not very good at it (LOL), it’s a notoriously unstable profession. Now, I’m all about does this job have health insurance? Regular hours? Does it pay enough for me to actually live on and feed a small animal as well? Do my potential coworkers seem nice, and do they like it here, or are they joyless automatons who look like they’re on the verge of tears all the time? Is the building falling apart? You can’t find all that out without an interview.

          1. Snazzy Hat*

            Poldark! My parents were totally engrossed in the television program; my mother gave me her book series with the recommendation of “you will love these books”, and my father has the DVD collection.

            Moving along, (sorry, I wasn’t expecting Poldark to make an appearance,) for all of the “hey, it’s a job that pays money” jobs I’ve had or applied to, I am genuinely proud of myself for currently focusing my efforts on the type of work and environment that are most compatible with me and my personality. At the same time, I recognize that the fields I *don’t* want to be in are better for other personalities. I no longer think, “oh that job must be crappy, too bad this person does it for a living”; rather, “wow I would not be able to have that job because it requires an attitude I just don’t have or want to have.” I’ve gone to fast food joints and suspected the cashier must have attended hospitality school because they were so upbeat and polite and welcoming despite working in such a volatile place (jerky customers, ultra-fast pace, education stigma, uncooperative coworkers, etc.).

            Being unemployed stinks, but my budget looks amazing and I know how to keep it that way when I become employed. Benefit packages can be great, but I’ll be damned if I have to go another year paying all of my medical expenses out of pocket because of a high deductible. Having a desk would be great, but being able to go to a private desk (or having one) would be even better. These are things I can ask about in an interview or in a follow-up/offer.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Ha, it’s a great show. I really want to read the books!

              You make an excellent point about the attitude. I don’t know how you would get a sense of the office dynamics and emotional tone without an interview. I’ve been in places where fifteen minutes spent filling out an application was enough to tell me I never wanted to work there, and other times, I didn’t see red flags or that it wasn’t suited to me until I actually went in and talked to someone in depth.

    4. MashaKasha*

      Saying a person shouldn’t interview unless they’re sure they want a job, is like saying you shouldn’t accept a date with someone unless you’re sure you want to get serious with them right away.

      Or that we shouldn’t test-drive a used car unless we’re absolutely positively buying it! What can possibly go wrong with this approach?

    5. TootsNYC*

      Saying a person shouldn’t interview unless they’re sure they want a job, is like saying you shouldn’t accept a date with someone unless you’re sure you want to get serious with them right away.

      Well, there are people who think that as well. You’ve accepted a date? You’re required to kiss the guy. Sleep with the guy….

  4. Muriel Heslop*

    One of my interns came to me a few weeks ago with a list of questions – basically wanting to know if all of her parents’ ideas about work were valid. In addition, education has some quirks all its own. Every field is different and OP, you are smart to get more information. Good luck on your job search.

    1. fposte*

      I think “young people figuring out the workforce” is always an AAM theme, but it’s really come to the fore in the last few days.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Tell me if it’s getting to be too much; there have just been lots of great letters around this theme lately.

        And actually, there will be more tomorrow — I’m doing that “reality check” post a commenter suggested last week, where people wondering whether their workplaces are pretty normal or outrageously messed up can ask “is this normal?”

        1. Muriel Heslop*

          I hire and a supervise a lot of people in their 20s who are in the beginnings of their careers plus I work with teenagers. The evolving workplace and workplace professionalism are some of my favorite posts. Keep them coming!

          (I subtracted one exclamation point after this morning’s post.)

          1. KR*

            Another person here who supervises a lot of young people and appreciates the posts. At 22, I’m 6 years older than my youngest employee and I still have a lot to learn.

        2. Violet Fox*

          I love them! I honestly wish I had them when I was first looking at entering the work force since it would have made my life a lot less stressful.

          1. TrainerGirl*


            I really could’ve used AskAManager when I was at my first job. That place was so toxic and awful, but I didn’t realize it because I didn’t have much to compare it to. I developed temporary OCD while I was there (getting up 20+ times during the night to check the alarm) but thank goodness I wasn’t there long. It wasn’t until I got my next job that I realized that it wasn’t normal. You rarely get to see justice happen, but a few years later, that company got sued for some of their more egregious offenses, and several former employees won.

        3. Pokebunny*

          As a young person trying to figure out the workforce, there can never be too many letters!

        4. CreationEdge*

          I keep recommending the site to my college peers (and even career services when I see them), including linking it on my major’s website I run. So, having material geared toward that demographic is a positive thing, for me.

          Lots of students I’ve met still don’t have realistic expectations of working, or getting hired, or what’s appropriate behavior.

        5. JulieBulie*

          It seems like the appropriate time of year for that, with a new crop of graduates and all.

    2. Master Bean Counter*

      On the reverse side of this there is also a lot of older people that are just shocked with how things work now. Things that have shocked my parents:
      1. That I wouldn’t tell them every detail of my job search.
      2. That I actually take time to go over offers.
      3. That I work more or less than 40 hours a week and get paid the same every week.
      4. That I don’t get every job offer for every interview.
      5. That I don’t need their money, I don’t want their money, and that I make enough to more than adequately support myself. (Also that if they give me money I’m just going to find a way to spend it on them…)
      6. That I haven’t walked an application or resume into a business since I graduated college.
      7. That I actually have the nerve to turn down a job offer.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        LOL. My parents are retired and they were both in the public sector their entire careers, so they have NO IDEA what it’s like to job hunt for me (or why I do it “so often” — I just moved 6 months ago, but I was at my previous gig for three years!).

        So now I just don’t tell them anything until I HAVE a new job. (I’ve given up on “I don’t need your money” — I realize that giving her money to her children and my niece is one of the few things that makes my mom happy, so I take it and gush loudly and appreciatively over what I’m going to do with the money.)

      2. Artemesia*

        Years ago a close relative who had a very high corporate position got fired in a shuffle. He was offered a CEO position at another well known national company that was having a lot of problems but did of course offer lots of money and a great challenge. He turned it down and took a 3 mos break while he continued to think about his future. His inlaws melted down. He MUST take the job; jobs don’t grow on trees; what is he thinking to risk his future blah blah blah. He went on to several more CEO positions including one Fortune 500 before he retired. Sometimes the job seeker knows the field. I know my own son is in a very high demand field and his job searches wouldn’t have worked for me at all as I was in a field where there were 100 qualified people for any plum opening. He can just decide to get a job and has offers immediately by magic. Never worked that way for me.

        1. Snazzy Hat*

          He can just decide to get a job and has offers immediately by magic.

          My father was practically given a job offer before even applying. He had a very specific job at the laboratory in Neighboring County, and his cousin had a similar but broader-scope job at the laboratory in Resident County. My father dropped something off at Resident County’s lab and got an improptu tour; his cousin introduced him to the lab director, who then informed him that they wanted to create a department focusing on his specific field.

      3. fposte*

        I don’t think that’s inherently generational, though; some of it’s just parental, and some of it’s a question of those specific parents’ background.

  5. ashleyh*

    I’m a recruiter for a construction services company and hire (among other things) a lot of mechanics. I frequently run into my hiring managers getting mad if the mechanic candidates want to think the job over. I come from a white collar work background so to me it’s very normal giving people a few days to a week to think over a job offer, but, after talking to my dad (a retired foreman for a home builder) apparently for blue collar workers it’s normal to accept on the spot- you want the job or you don’t, end of story.

    FWIW, I still give candidates a day or two to think things over just because candidate experience is very important to me.

    1. Booker*

      Yep, my parents would have the same answer as LW’s dad. My dad was a construction worker and my mom works in a factory. There are no negotiations in those kinds of jobs. You either take it or you don’t.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I can see McDonald’s thinking much the same way. I don’t know if they do.

        But it’s probably also easier to research those jobs from outside.

    2. KR*

      I think a lot of blue collar jobs still don’t consider interviews to be a two way street. This is from my narrow experience.

      1. ashleyh*

        Definitely a fair assessment. It’s a conversation I frequently have to remind my hiring managers about- you need the candidate to want to job, too (especially since our industry is lacking so many qualified mechanics)

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I think this is key right here. OP, is your dad talking blue collar or white collar?

        There are still a lot of jobs out there, where it would be weird to go home and think about it. From what I have seen the crappier the job, the more likely, just my opinion, though. With many jobs that are basically unskilled labor, if you do not accept the job on the spot the next person will accept the job.

    3. Recruit-o-rama*

      Yes, I run into this all the time. I also recruit a lot of mechanics and welders. I also spend a lot of time working with my supervisors trying to train that mindset out of them. The truth is, the hiring process in this type of industry IS different and in some ways is has to be, but in some ways it needs to move a lot closer to how white collar workers are interviewed.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Agreed–because many factory jobs work in shifts, and that might be problematic for someone whose spouse also has a job, or they may have some other situation that needs adjustment. Mostly, people just take the offered job and then work around it, but it would be nice to have time to discuss it.

    4. Rebecca*

      I think you may be being very charitable–the attitude I’ve seen is “you’re desperate for the job or you’re wasting my time.”

      1. Recruit-o-rama*

        That IS the attitude in a lot of places, which is why their rentention rates are so horrible.

    5. Snazzy Hat*

      apparently for blue collar workers it’s normal to accept on the spot- you want the job or you don’t, end of story. FWIW, I still give candidates a day or two to think things over just because candidate experience is very important to me.

      Thank you for doing this. S.O. received a temp offer last year, “can you start in two hours?” His answer boiled down to “I share a car, today is not my car day, and even if I knew what buses to take to get there I wouldn’t arrive in time. do you have my address on file correctly? it is not easy to go from my house to that part of town.”

  6. Three Thousand*

    It’s also possible that your dad is just really invested in you getting a job and is overestimating the risk here. I could see my mom being overcome with horror at the thought that I wouldn’t immediately accept the first job offered to me, especially when I was first starting out.

    As has been pointed out here before, a lot of parents have a hard time thinking of their children as successful, high-quality professionals. It might be that your dad really would pull a job offer from someone who didn’t accept it immediately, or he might be panicking that you’re too comfortable with the idea that you could have options.

    1. phyllisB*

      Three Thousand, I couldn’t help but laugh at you saying your mom would be overcome with horror about not accepting a job. When I was in college, I got tired of classes, tests, ect. and decided I wanted to go to work full-time. One of the places I applied was the telephone company. Well, after a week or two I got over my hump with school and was ready to continue. Of course, that’s when the phone co. called and offered me a job as an operator. I politely thanked them and declined the offer. My mother overheard me and had a hissy fit. She made me call the lady back and tell her I changed my mind. (I can’t believe they accepted that.) I did so, and worked for them for over twenty years. Now every month when that pension check comes, I thank my mother in my heart. :-)

  7. BRR*

    Strongly disagree with the going into the interview part (and not giving people time to think it over in general). There are so many times when salary isn’t even known when you go into interview and I’m assuming nobody wants a job until they know the offer. There have been many times when I’ve gone into an interview and the questions I have for them are deal breakers. Not to mention the times where I have left an interview thinking “they couldn’t pay me enough to work there.”

    Also the LW really hit the nail on the head with “…everybody hiring has their own rules and expectations and as a job seeker it seems like a losing battle trying to meet all of them.”

    1. sam*

      This – from the letter, it sounds like the OP only found out some critical information, like salary and benefits, at this meeting. It would be downright unreasonable for someone to expect her to not take 24 hours to digest/evaluate (perhaps even with a spouse).

      During my unemployed period, I went for one job interview with a law firm where the idea was that it was a “temp-to-perm” situation, but I was still in my “severance period” at my old firm. But the way my old firm worked it, was that they basically gave me six months notice, so I was basically still employed, but with no work responsibilities. If I found another job, I didn’t get any more salary/benefits, but if I didn’t find another job, I basically appeared “employed” for six additional months, and still had “real” benefits instead of COBRA, among other things. I found out during the interview that the new place wanted (a) me to take a job with no guarantee of long-term employment (and yeah, nothing is permanent these days, but…) and (b) wouldn’t give me health insurance until I became permanent, expecting me to pay for COBRA from my old place in the meantime.

      If this job ‘didn’t’ work out, it would have actually put me in a worse situation (cutting off my severance “early” and triggering COBRA months earlier than they would otherwise have been triggered (which would cause them to end much earlier too)). But it took talking to some folks after that interview to make sure I wasn’t being completely crazy to think that a profitable law firm (even a small one) should pay for health insurance.

  8. PNWAnon*

    From my experience with government contracting, the norms are weird. I received offers via email, with deadlines to respond by, so the on the spot thing was never an issue, but salaries are generally at specific published rates, so there is no room to negotiate and benefits are pretty standard (ie pick option a, b, or c after you begin working here). Start date negotiations generally don’t start until your background check has passed a certain point, which isn’t begun until after you accept the offer.

    1. hbc*

      That’s my thinking about the dad’s point of view. Everything was pretty much standard at his company and those like it, so someone who knew the job title could be expected to know what the offer would be within, say, 2%.

      Of course, that doesn’t make him more reliable for business advice. Does he not know there could be other norms elsewhere? Never take advice from someone who thinks his personal life experience covers the totality of human experience.

      1. JMegan*

        Never take advice from someone who thinks his personal life experience covers the totality of human experience.

        That’s good advice for anybody, not just job seekers!

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      Yes, this is true, but even if the salary is set in stone, there are other things you would need some time to think about.

    3. Anna*

      I work for a government contractor and it’s still negotiable to certain extent, but the rest of it is true. They make the offer, you can ask to think about it (this happens all the time), and if you accept you then decide on a start date based on when they think the background check will come back. So after I accepted my offer, it took two weeks for the background check, drug screening, etc. I started the Wednesday after everything came back. Just because it’s transparent doesn’t mean it’s set in stone.

  9. F.*

    When I graduated from college in 1982, the country was still recovering from the high unemployment of the Carter era. If you did not jump immediately at the offer with no negotiation, there were dozens of other candidates who would accept, no questions asked. However, this is not the early 80s, and this is not the norm any longer. By all means, take a day or two to think things through. While there is such a thing as taking too long to decide, as an HR manager recruiting for construction inspectors, engineers and support staff, I want candidates to take a reasonable amount of time to think things through. I have had more than one who accepted on the spot and regretted it only to quit within a week.

    1. Observer*

      Actually, I was getting out of HS in the early 80’s and I do recall that negotiating was not something “normal” people could do. But asking to think it over, talk to the spouse? That was not uncommon.

  10. Katy*

    OP, I wonder if you would feel comfortable sharing your letter and Alison’s response with your father? I am curious to know what his thoughts would be, but of course I don’t have to live with him! :)

    1. OP*

      My dad is not, shall we say, an open-minded man. This post will never get shared with him because he will never admit that he may be wrong, it’s mostly just for my own peace of mind.

      1. Hlyssande*

        I know that feel. My father is the same way. He also worked his entire career at one company (got in just after returning from Vietnam) and was a source of horrible, terrible job advice. The one time I made a foray to get out of where I’m working and mentioned it to him, he actually got angry at me for wanting to do something different.

  11. March*

    OT: It occurs to me that my username might make finding my comments later a bit interesting. This should be an interesting month, heh.

    On topic: the only time I’ve immediately accepted a job without taking time to think it over is retail. As others have mentioned, why wouldn’t you take time to evaluate whether or not the details (the pay, insurance, etc) are a fit for you or not? Accepting immediately might make negotiations more difficult any ways, as I know Alison has stated in the past. If a company knows you already plan to accept their offer, you lose some wiggle room.

    I know my mother was once taking a day or two to decide if she wanted to accept an offer or not, which apparently was too long for the company owner – she was given the offer Friday and early Monday morning he emailed her to ask if she had decided, because if she was declining he wanted to ask the next person! Couldn’t get over it.

    1. Doriana Gray*

      I’ve accepted three different jobs either on the spot, or at least same day, and the first two times I did that ended in disaster. However, I had no choice but to accept the first two jobs immediately – I was unemployed and needed to work. The third time was for the job I’m currently in. It was an internal promotion into a different division, a division I’d done a training rotation in previously and where some of my friends work, so after networking with the hiring manager and his boss, then my official interview where I got to ask all the managers/supervisors any questions I had, there was no reason for me to take a day to consider. I knew I was going to accept because I knew what the workplace was like, the raise was quite generous, and I’d already warned the hiring manager that I would need some time to get up to speed with the pace of their workload, and he understood.

      Those are the only reasons I’d ever accept a job “on the spot”: if homelessness is pending or if I already know the employer well.

      1. Anna*

        Eh, I did it for my current job and I have always felt good about that. I had been unemployed for a year total by then (with a four month break working on a contract job) and I knew I wanted the job. I also knew I didn’t have much option for salary negotiation and it was a job I had applied for months before, but then the hiring process was stopped. Anyway, it was a good decision.

    2. Carpe Librarium*

      Re your username, you could change it to March[double space] so it reads the same on the screen but will be unique enough to locate with the Find function.

  12. Q*

    This is perfect timing for me. I’m expecting an offer any day now and I know I will need some time to consider after I get the $ amount. I know it will be lower than I want but with all the other pros I may be be OK with the $ of its not too low.

  13. Megs*

    This is a very narrow exception, but I know when I was in law school applying for judicial clerkships circa 2011-2012 we were definitely told never to ask a judge for time to consider their offer. Very narrow exception, though, that doesn’t apply in other legal contexts as far as I’ve experienced.

    1. Jane*

      Same here. I have only done this when accepting a clerkship, and I read the same advice. Also, a clerkship is usually no more than a 1-2 year commitment, and typically a good career move, so its not really a big deal to accept on the spot for most people and you will already know the salary because its a government job and the info should be publicly available.

      1. Megs*

        The only reason I dislike this is that it puts all the power to decide personality fit on the side of the judge, and being a good fit with your judge is often (in my experience clerking and knowing a lot of clerks) the number one factor in how well that year or two is going to go. But, as you said, it’s generally only a year or two with no salary negotiation involved and (theoretically) known career benefits.

        I’ve never interviewed for a permanent or longer term clerkship before, but I wonder if the process isn’t different there.

      2. bridget*

        And, the hiring season was so tight (during the days of the federal plan, which covers what Megs referred to, the span was often just a few days per year) and the judges have so much hiring power, that it isn’t really practical. The stories exploding offers where law students would leave an interview, get on a plane home, and listen to two voicemails (one giving an offer, the other revoking it because the candidate didn’t accept fast enough) are real.

    2. Kelly F*

      Yeah, and to show how arbitrary it is, in the same field, it’s normal to take your time when it’s a SA at a firm since everyone is waiting to hear from a bunch of places.

    3. sam*

      I think that’s because clerkships are so exclusive and sought after that in the very unlikely event that you get offered one, it’s a completely bizarre move to then turn it down.

    4. Libervermis*

      I hear this from friends in law school – if you accept an interview for a clerkship with a judge, you will accept the job on the spot if offered. This is apparently so much the norm that their Career Services lives in fear of a student and asking for time to consider. Apparently judges in that area carry heavy grudges and will never even interview another student from that school if someone breaks the “rule”, and possibly would badmouth student and school to all their judge friends in the state.

      I desperately hope that at least the latter part of that is untrue, but the whole thing is bonkers, and such a ridiculous power trip.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        Grudge-holding and power-tripping in the legal profession? I’m shocked! ;-)

        To throw my $.02 for the OP, I think I have asked for time to consider on every single job I have been offered (possibly even the first job, but that was so long ago, I don’t recall the specific timing). In any case, it’s completely normal for most professional fields, and nobody blinked an eye. In most cases, I needed to confirm things with my spouse, review the benefits offer, strategize negotiating salary. If an employer would retract an offer that wasn’t immediately accepted by the candidate, then that’s possibly a sign of the organization’s insecurity.

      2. bridget*

        One of my co-clerks turned down an offer with another federal judge! I was SHOCKED when I was told. But, this person went to a law school that (probably correctly) believed that nothing one student did could possibly tank its sterling reputation. My career services office might have tried to kick me out, sans diploma.

  14. Kathlynn*

    I asked for time after interviewing with a hotel for a cleaning position. And they had no problem with it. So, I’d say it’s pretty normal. (I didn’t accept it, I had a full time job, and they expected me to quit it but couldn’t guarantee even 8 hours a week since it was on call)

    1. Chriama*

      I wonder what kind of people end up taking jobs like that. Even if you don’t need the money that badly (you might be a stay at home parent with childcare needs or a student with a class schedule), but even if not, presumably you want to be able to schedule other things without needing everything to be dependent on a last-minute work schedule. I suspect they have a lot of turnover but if the company has existed for a while then obviously they’re doing something right. I wonder what it is.

      1. Meliora*

        My experience with this type of schedule is that with seniority you get more consistent hours. So the period where you don’t know when you are working till the previous weekend is like a trial. If they don’t like you you get less hours until you quit and if you are the best they will reward you with consistency. Although I’ve been at places where that ‘reward’ is contingent on some ugly politics.

  15. KS*

    OP, does your dad talk to my mom? She hasn’t had a job interview since the mid-80s and loves to give me advice. My favorite was the month after I graduated college and she told me I obviously wasn’t searching too hard since there was not a box of resume paper in the house!

    1. Noah*

      Fairly certain the last time I used resume paper was for the capstone project of my bachelor’s degree, in 2006. We had to turn in several bound copies of our project for committee review. I spent the couple extra dollars at Kinkos and had them print it on the nice paper.

      I can’t remember the last time I actually looked at a paper resume as a hiring manager. All of ours are in the applicant tracking system and I generally review them on my laptop and use my tablet during the actual interview. I try not to print anything unless I absolutely have to.

      1. TootsNYC*

        LOL! I ask people to email them to me, and I print them out.

        I’m very paper driven.

        1. Talvi*

          My parents passed their nice (linen?) resume paper down to me for craft purposes around the time that submitting resumes online became the norm. Scrapbooking!

      1. Ama*

        I’ve seen some! But the only reason I have was we ordered a few boxes at a previous job as a stop-gap when our official letterhead was backordered.

    2. FD*

      I still have a box from when I was in high school (since entry level food service/customer service jobs in our area usually required you to come in and apply in person.

      I actually do use it veeeeery slowly–I like to bring copies of my resume to interviews, and I feel that using resume paper is a nice touch. I doubt any of my interviewers have ever noticed though!

      1. Anon Accountant*

        My family too. If you are at the computer apply for job jobs you are “just playing on the computer and don’t really want a job or you’d be out there pounding the pavement daily”, etc.

  16. Cafe Au Lait*

    I’m much better at the financial big bigger than my spouse. When he accepted his current job, he did it without crunching the numbers first. He ended up having to go back to the office manager and asking to resubmit his salary requirements. Twice. (He must’ve been their first choice by miles because they worked very hard to meet his requirements.)

    So yes, taking time to talk things over with a spouse or partner or parent is incredibly important.

  17. LiveAndLetDie*

    In my experience parents are not often a great place to get advice on job hunting, especially if they’re established in a career and haven’t had to deal with the job hunting experience in quite a while. My MIL tried to tell me that I need to walk into businesses with paper copies of my resume and then spend a lot of time making phone calls following up on my dropped-off paper resumes. This I’m sure worked out just fine before the advent of online job hunting, but everything I have experienced in looking for jobs now tells me that her advice is not current nor is it helpful.

    OP, your father’s commentary to you is off-base and unhelpful, and I don’t think you should take it to heart. It is not in realistic that people would only go into interviews if they were 100% sure they wanted to take that job, especially considering that even if you do well, there’s no guarantee you will actually GET that job, because companies don’t reserve interviews only for people who they are 100% sure they want to hire.

    1. Lady Kelvin*

      Both of my parents own their own businesses and they don’t even bother trying to offer us kids job searching advice because they have never had to do it. It does make me laugh a little when I imagine what they might tell me.

    2. Cecily*

      At my workplace, food service, we have people constantly calling to check on the status of their application during the middle LUNCH RUSH. Like, calling every day, even after we’ve told them to NOT CALL DURING LUNCH. My manager NEVER hires them.

  18. Anonymous Educator*

    Every single time I’ve gotten a job offer (yes, without exception, now that I think about it), I’ve taken the offer, but I’ve also taken a day or two to think about it. In fact, I don’t think I ever even had to ask for time to think it over. All my employers have considered that the norm and suggested it. (“Take a day or two to think it over and talk it over with your spouse. We’d be really excited to have you on board, though.”)

    1. Not Karen*

      Yeah; last time I was ready to accept the offer over the phone and they insisted that I take a day or two to look over the whole offer package.

      1. Sunflower*

        That’s a really smart idea. Waiting a day or two to have a candidate make a decision is a lot cheaper than hiring someone and finding out 4 months in that they can’t pay their rent so they either need a raise or they’re job seardching and you’re getting ready to hire again

        1. midhart90*

          Also, it’s been my experience that (apart from a handful of part-time throwaway jobs I worked in college) the offer usually doesn’t come the same day as the interview anyway. I’ve always gotten a written offer letter with the terms, salary, etc. spelled out along with a date that I need to make a decision by, typically about a week out.

          The interview process isn’t just about the company choosing a candidate–the candidate must choose the company too. If I were given an on-the-spot now-or-never offer, I’d seriously question whether this is a company I want to be working for.

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            Yeah, I’ve never been offered a job at the interview, because they should need the flip side (I take time to think it over before accepting their offer, but they should be taking time to consider the interview itself, and other candidates, before making an offer).

            Typically, I’ll be asked for a phone screen (roughly 30-45 minutes). If they like me, they’ll bring me in for an in-person interview. Depending on whether it’s a long-distance search or a local search, it could be an all-day interview with many people or a couple-hour interview with only a handful of people. Depending on how much they have to narrow down the pool, I may be called back for a second in-person interview. Then, if they still like me, they’ll ask to contact my references, at which point I know it’s very likely (not inevitable but likely) I’ll get an offer in the next few days. I’ll usually then get an email asking when they can schedule a call with me (they don’t want to make the offer to a voicemail message—they want to offer it live).

            Once I get that call, they’ll usually say they are excited to offer the job starting blah-blah-blah date at blah-blah-blah salary and details will be sent in a follow-up email. I usually express delight and enthusiasm while not committing to anything, and then they ask me to take a couple of days (or the weekend, if it’s a Thursday/Friday) to think about it.

          2. Ama*

            Yes, I’ve also always had a few days to think it over between the final interview and when they called to make the offer. For my current job, we’d even had a pretty detailed discussion about benefits during the last interview so I’d had a few days to mull that info over as well. I think if I’d been given an offer in the actual interview itself, I would want to ask for some additional time.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I just did this! I offered a recurring part-time gig to someone, and then *I* said, “Why don’t you think about it and call me back?”

      1. babblemouth*

        Yes! Back when I hired interns, so many of them would accept on the spot, and I would suggest they take at least a few hours to think things over. I was trying to impress upon them that no matter how nice an offer sounds, they should always think things over before agreeing. (Same with their internship contracts: so often I would bring it to them, and see them skipping straight to the last page to sign, and I’d have to stop them. “Oh, but I trust you” they usually said. “Well, you shouldn’t. *I* know I’m ethical, but *you* have absolutely no proof of that.”)

    3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      When I was offered my current job, I had to negotiate a nearly 20% increase from the original offer before I could be comfortable taking the role. I was super explicit with the hiring manager throughout the process. “I intend to accept this job if we come to agreement on the salary, but my bottom line is non-negotiable.” My boss went to bat with HR and we got it done.

  19. Acad*

    Job-searching climates and customs definitely change, and probably more frequently than we realize (except for people actually in HR). When I was job-searching most recently, I gave my dad a list of the places that I had prepared application packets for. My father laughed and shared a story with me from when he was in my position to highlight how times had changed.

    He bucked the tradition in his field and applied to 3 (3!!) places simultaneously rather than working serially (the expectation being that he probably wouldn’t need to much). Typically, this wasn’t done, you applied to the place where you wanted to work, and they knew that you wanted to work there. Then, at a conference, he had the misfortune of being seated at a table with representatives from all 3 of the hiring teams. He did land a position, but his… promiscuity hurt him a little during the negotiation process, because they didn’t feel special.

    Anyone following this model now would have a very protracted job search!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Heh, that’s the same advice I keep hearing about queries. Some agencies don’t like simultaneous submissions, but everybody knows it’s a waste of time to query consecutively. You’re supposed to have several out at a time. And when I was job hunting, even before I went on unemployment and had a quota, I felt anxious if I didn’t apply to at least a few places every week.

  20. Sunflower*

    I’m wondering if the generational confusion has to do with the change in employee benefits. It seems like some people pay nothing for healthcare and others pay a ton these days- was there such a discrepancy years ago ? Was loan/education reimbursement even a around back then? Now with so many start-ups starting up, a new wave of benefits like beer in fridge, fooseball tables and nap time are reeling young people in. The ability to telecommute is a new and extremely desirable benefit for a lot of people. With 2 parents working in the household, flex time or new parent benefits are a deciding factor for a lot of people.

    It seems like maybe in the past, you didn’t need to think about benefits as much as you do now. It also seemed like people were more likely to work where they knew others worked or to have highly researched the companies they applied at so things like benefits and workplace culture were known before you got into the interview.

    1. Temperance*

      I had a boss who worked at Marshall’s (which is a clothing store around here) and she had TUITION REIMBURSEMENT as a benefit. While folding shirts and stocking shelves. She’s only 15 years older than me!

      1. KR*

        Starbucks and Delhaize companies offer tuition reimbursement programs too. It’s becoming more and more common in order to retain talent.

      2. Snazzy Hat*

        TJX (parent company of Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, & I think a few more) has some fabulous business practices. Tuition reimbursement being one of them does not surprise me at all. {applauds}

  21. heismanpat*

    your dad is being totally unreasonable. Even if I was 100% sure I wanted to work at a place, i would always need a few days to review the benefits package, especially when it comes to insurance. my wife is on very expensive medication with no generic available, and I’ve been offered jobs at places whose insurance plans would not cover it. Usually. I have to speak with the plan admin at their insurance provider because the usual HR person won’t know. I’ve never had any resistance for doing this due dilligence…no reasonable company should have a problem with that. If your dad showed me the door, I would probably laugh on the way out and know that I dodged a bullet.

  22. TootsNYC*

    I have a friend who was interviewing at Bloomberg’s news organization. Someone warned him, “If you meet Michael Bloomberg, and he offers you the job, or says, ‘What would you say if I offered you this job right now?’ you need to say ‘Great! When do I start!’ or something like that. If you tell him you want to think it over, he’ll blackball you.”

    So my friend met Mr. B., got the question, and answered appropriately. Then went back to the hiring manager who said, “OK, if *I* offer you this job, you can have a couple of days to think it over.”

  23. Mena*

    Someone accepting on the spot is going to come off as desperate and willing to take anything (which would worry me that the person will move on as soon as something better comes along).

    1. TootsNYC*

      Actually, I’d be a bit worried about someone offering on the spot.

      I guess I’ve offered at the end of a 2nd interview (which is the story above), but I don’t want to work w/ someone who doesn’t think longer about who they hire.

  24. TootsNYC*

    OP I think it’s kind of funny that your dad “got mad” (your words–but of course what they really means, only you know) at you even AFTER the company said, “Of course, we expect that.”

    It sounds like he wants you to jump through HIS hoops and please HIM, not your new employer. He doesn’t actually care what the reality is (reality = they expect you to take a couple of days to think).

    That would be an indicator that I wouldn’t share much with him anymore. Which is too bad.

    1. OP*

      Thanks everybody for commenting, it’s so frustrating knowing that you are going about things the right way and getting nothing but anger and negativity from your family. Your comments really helped soothe the doubts. As a bonus, another excerpt from that conversation with my dad, all said 2 minutes apart;

      1. Your degree is awful, nobody likes it and that why you can’t get a goodecent job.
      2. You should only be looking at jobs that utilize your degree.
      3. Have you applied at Costco?

      1. TootsNYC*

        Yeah, it may be time to find other people with whom to discuss work-related stuff.

        Dad is too invested somehow–he’s got “noise” in his brain that isn’t letting him actually reason effectively.

        Maybe there’s a Young Professionals group at a church near you……

  25. Anonly*

    Just reading “My dad says I should…” in the headline was enough to make me instinctively think, “don’t listen to him, he’s wrong.”

  26. OP*

    Accidentaly typed this as a reply to something below too :)
    Thanks everybody for commenting, it’s so frustrating knowing that you are going about things the right way and getting nothing but anger and negativity from your family. Your comments really helped soothe the doubts. As a bonus, another excerpt from that conversation with my dad, all said 2 minutes apart;

    1. Your degree is awful, nobody likes it and that why you can’t get a goodecent job.
    2. You should only be looking at jobs that utilize your degree.
    3. Have you applied at Costco?

    1. bridget*

      Yeah, those kinds of statements kind of sound like his advice might be more about him and his opinions/expectations about your career, than it is about objective reality (because they’re clearly logically inconsistent with each other, and the fact that you *are* getting offers for at least one decent job). I’ve found that people who are a little bit more neutral and dispassionate about my situation give better advice than the people who are heavily invested in being able to say “I told you so” eventually.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Or, even if not invested in being able to say “I told you so,” but just heavily invested at all.

        I’m the mother of a college senior. I know that I have all sorts of emotional reactions to her success as an adult. I’m her mother–it kind of goes with the territory. I know how much emotional “noise” I have to fight through. It’s so much harder than I thought it would be! I’m not always successful at butting out, and I have a hard time not being “parental.” (Not that I was ever that sort of “parental,” but even being my own version is not appropriate now, and it’s HARD to fight against that!.)

        I admire my own parents SO much more now (always have, but wow–now that I’ve got more perspective…).

        So I don’t want to vilify Dad. I truly think he’s just speaking from his own anxieties, and he has NO control (i.e., it’s not his life!), so his anxiety ratchets up because of that and just completely fries his brain.

        Take the pressure off him. Never give him any details. It’s lonely for you, OP, but you’ll need to find someone else to talk these things through with.

    2. Aunt Vixen*

      This skates a little out of AAM’s wheelhouse and into Captain Awkward’s, but OP, I was once talking to a friend about how frustrating I was finding my conversations with my parents about $whatever – my job search, to take one example – and asked her how she managed not to be driven bananas by her own parents about *her* job search, and she said “Oh, I don’t talk to them about it.” I don’t know your life and your situation, of course, but my guess is you’re grown and don’t have to give him openings to comment on your business if you don’t want to.

      Hang in there.

      1. OP*

        I really wish I could but as I moved back in with them and do not pay rent I do feel they are entitled to an occasional update. Believe me, it is VERY occasional.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          This is what happened to me when I moved back in with my mom after college. I lived with her rent and utilities free, and so she felt like she had the right to endlessly badger me about my job search. It was exhausting (she was always giving me terrible, outdated advice and would get mad when I wouldn’t listen, which led to endless arguments), and I was so happy when I was finally able to move out on my own (it only took a year and seven months).

          Hang in there, OP.

          1. TootsNYC*

            This is a good reminder for me–my daughter graduates in May/June, and could easily come back to us until she lands a job. Hopefully that’ll be fast (computer science degree from a near-Ivy League school), but one never knows.

            And she’s ultra-sensitive to being reminded (or “reminded”) about ANYthing. I’m going to have to see an oral surgeon for stitches on my tongue!

  27. Temperance*

    So the only correction I have here is that I honestly think you should have asked to think it over, but not talk it over with your family. To me, that sounds babyish.

    1. Al Lo*

      Really? My family is my spouse, and he definitely gets a say. If I had kids who were going to be uprooted and old enough to discuss the situation, they might get an opinion (not to be confused with getting a say). If I said that I needed to ask my mom if I could take the job, that would sound juvenile, but “discussing with family” doesn’t say that, to me.

  28. bridget*

    Depends on how it was said. Someone who otherwise sounded mature? I’d take it as “I need to talk it over with my partner-level family” [totally logical]. But, if it’s someone really young/it’s obvious that means ask Mom and Dad, I’d … leave it off. Not that asking Mom and Dad is wrong, but OP wants to leave the impression she’s a mature independent adult, if she’s working against her age. I think it’s totally cool if someone wants to run all employment offers by their psychic, too, but I think that’s better left unsaid in an interview.

    1. OP*

      It’s actually because I live with them and this is just an in-between low paying job until I get something career oriented again. I do a lot of work for them and it may have been more beneficial for them to have me as free labor as opposed to rent money. And I’m not that young so it could have meant spouse. But yeah running it by mommy and daddy would have sounded babyish.

  29. Ms. Elizabeth*

    That’s just… I’m at a loss of words. The past few job offers, I’ve gotten an employment lawyer to review all the documentation. That cannot have happened if I was expected to accept on the spot! I’ve taken at least 2-3 days. The lawyer has been extremely helpful in pointing out benefits, missing documentation referred to in the offer (e.g., where’s Schedule A), termination and exit clauses (e.g., how many weeks do you give if you quit or they give you if they fire you), pension plans, anything that contravenes against current laws, etc. If they offer you less, a few days to will allow you to talk to people, perhaps your references or industry people to see if this pay is normal, and to negotiate a higher rate.

  30. Not So NewReader*

    I am chuckling. It was the spring of 1980. My husband applied for a job in a new-to-him arena. He diligently went through all the hoops, dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s. The owner offered him the job and said, “You can take the weekend to think about it.” My husband said, “What’s there to think about? I don’t have a job, I need one. I can start Monday.” The owner was delighted (he knew he found a gem of an employee).

    Another variation on the same story. But it goes to show that even in the 80s there were employers that wanted their new hires to think about the job before coming on board. Maybe it was rare, but it did happen.
    We tend to view the world from our own lenses to varying degrees and your dad is using his own lenses.

  31. Audiophile*

    I had someone react this way when I received a job offer. “I can’t believe you said you want to think about it. What’s there to think about?!?” Um, a lot of things – do I really want the job, do I really think we’re a good fit, etc. You should think about it, it’s completely normal to ponder a job offer. The only instances where I accepted a job offer right away were, when it was retail and I only needed part time hours.

  32. Beth*

    I just want to say that I totally feel for OP. My parents are retired, but prior, both had worked at their jobs for 20+ years. Both often gave terrible job search and acceptance advice. Even my mother, who was an HR recruiter! I learned to tell them info on a “need to know” basis. Which I have learned is after I accept an offer! My current job that I accepted 6 years ago, my father encouraged me not to negotiate salary. Terrible advice!
    Another thing to consider, I have realized my parents don’t always know when to keep their mouths shut, so just in case, I wouldn’t tell them about my next job search, lest my current job unexpectedly find out through some random connection.

  33. Dr. Ruthless*

    I got an offer from a state government, and the HR person seemed sort of genuinely surprised that I asked for more time and didn’t decide on the spot. (I had been “tentatively” offered the job by the hiring manager, but that offer didn’t come with, say, salary details).

    So when HR called and offered me the job, I asked for more time. She granted me less than 24 hours.

  34. Student*

    Your father is using strong-arm techniques to hire people below the market rate and discourage the very normal act of negotiation. Maybe he hires people in an industry where negotiation does not normally happen for some reason – minimum-wage jobs, jobs where the salary is set by some external factor like a union, or so on. He clearly does not hire people into a field with lots of competition, or with highly-paid professionals. His expectations probably work fine on people who have no alternatives and are desperate for work.

  35. hayling*

    “It’s true that there are all sorts of hiring managers out there with all sorts of ideas about how things should work. You can’t cater to all of them — it would be inherently contradictory — so the best thing to do is to pick the practices that are most likely to screen out bad managers and screen for good ones.”


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