my job changed to something I never signed up for, should junior staff have to train others, and more

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

1. My job changed to something I never signed up for

About eight months ago I was hired as a marketing coordinator for a fairly small office. About four months into my position, our office manager was fired and has not been replaced. Since then, everyone has picked up the slack to some degree. I was given one of her tasks – handling accounts receivable – which is something I NEVER wanted anything to do with, and was never presented to me as something I might be responsible for. If I had known this would be something that now takes up about half of my time, I would not have taken the position. In addition, there are regularly inaccuracies (not on my account, our managing partner apparently has a long history of not keeping accurate accounting information on her end) and this causes me a great deal of anxiety, as I do not want the ax to fall on me as it conceivably could, if there is a big enough goof-up.

That sucks. You’re absolutely right to be frustrated and unhappy about this.

You could try talking to your manager and saying something like: “Could we talk about the long-term plan for handling accounts receivable? I was happy to help out while we were in a pinch, but I’m spending about half my time on it, and I’d really like to focus on the marketing work I was hired for. Is there a plan to replace Jane, or is this something you see me doing long-term?” If she says that this is the long-term plan, you could say, “Would you be open to talking about handling it differently? I hadn’t envisioned the job evolving like this when I took it, and it’s not something I’d like to make a permanent part of my role.”

It’s possible that if she hears that you feel strongly about it, that could nudge her to come up with a different plan. But it’s also possible that this is just the way it’s going to be, and that you’ll have to decide if you still want the job under these terms. It’s unfair, but in small organizations, sometimes things like this do happen (which is a reason to be wary of small organizations — on the other hand, the flip side of that is that sometimes it works to your advantage, if you get to take on new stuff that you like and wouldn’t otherwise have had a chance at).

If you do decide to leave over it, you can explain to future interviewers that after a colleague left, your job ended up being 50% accounts receivable, which wasn’t what you’d come on board to do.

2. Should junior staff have to train others?

To what extent should junior/entry-level-ish workers be expected to train other staff members? I ask because I’ve done a fair amount of this – on technical tasks, not just procedural “here’s how to fill out this spreadsheet” kind of stuff. My friends say that this is unusual considering my level of job. What do you think?

It’s pretty normal. If you know how to do something that’s reasonably within your job purview, and someone else needs to be trained in doing that thing, it makes sense to have you train them.

It sounds like your friends are thinking that training is some highly senior task, but it’s reasonable and normal for the lowest-level person who can train someone effectively to do so, so that more senior people (whose time costs your employer more) spend their time on the work that only they can do.

3. Employer expected me to travel seven hours for an interview with three days notice

Is it unreasonable for an employer to expect me to travel over seven hours for an interview?

I recently applied for a teaching position in my home town, which is about a seven-hour drive from where I currently live. I got an email saying that I was scheduled to interview at 2:30 on Friday (less than three days notice). I wrote the interviewer back and asked about Skype or phone options, since this is the first interview in a longer interview process and I am currently a full-time employee at a high school. The interviewer responded by saying that they didn’t hire people over Skype and asking me when I could come up. When I moved to central California from where I grew up, all of the jobs offered a long distance interview option and assumed I wouldn’t be able to drive down.

It’s not unreasonable for them to expect you to travel to them for the interview at some point, although ideally they’d be open to doing a phone call or Skype interview for the first step since it’s a multi-step process. However, this is a teaching position, which means that it’s likely that their interview process is highly regimented and that they have internal rules that prohibit them from deviating from that (because they wrongly think they need to treat all candidates exactly the same).

It’s also pretty silly to just send candidates an announcement of when they will interview, without asking them if the day and time works. (Again, see heavily regimented interview processes with little thought about how candidates experience it.)

In general, though, if you’re applying to places long-distance, and if employers have plenty of strong local candidates, you’ll often need to deal with the inconvenience of making yourself as accessible to them as a local candidate would be. Otherwise, unless you’re head and shoulders above their local candidates, there’s not really incentive for them to change what they’re doing. (In fact, this is why some employers refuse to consider non-local candidates at all.)

4. How do I manage an overwhelming number of passwords at work?

I am wondering if you have any advice for password management at work. I am an executive assistant and I have a large number of passwords to keep track of:
– accounts for various services that I use for the office (ordering supplies, ordering food, website management, project coordination software etc)
– accounts that I use on my supervisors’ behalf (airline accounts, customer accounts like opentable, etc)
– personal accounts at work (email, HR portal)

It gets to be a bit much and I need to balance functionality with security. Do you have any recommendations?

Are you allowed to install third-party tools? If so: LastPass. It’s changed my life.

It’s a secure password manager where you only need to remember your one master password, and it fills in and remembers unique passwords for all your sites. I now have highly secure passwords for every site I use (like “g6vjXg4Ep7Wm” type passwords, as opposed to “apple17” or whatever) and I don’t have to remember any of them. I love it.

5. Should I list my blog on my resume?

Is it a good idea to list my blog on my CV/Linkedin? (Note: I understand that in North America, there are both CVs and resumes, but we just have the one document). My blog is tangentially related to my field … for example, let’s say that I work in higher education and my blog is about 19th century literature. I’ve been posting consistently for a few years and it’s generally good quality content (among other things, I present original research, and things that aren’t well-represented in English-language writing). As a data point, does mentioning this kind of thing show passion and commitment, or does it just seem a bit trivial?

You should absolutely include it. It demonstrates extreme interest in a subject, which is always a good thing, and it demonstrates your writing and thinking and communication abilities.

It doesn’t seem trivial. I get excited by candidates who are excited about their fields.

{ 142 comments… read them below }

  1. Ex Resume Reviewer

    4) I use LastPass personally and it’s super handy. It’s a cloud-based system with optional browser plugins, so unless your IT squeals at the thought of this info being in the cloud, it may be an option. It’s also handy if you’re on the go or switch machines often, since you can use the web login from anywhere. I believe there have been hacks in the past, but I don’t think they actually got unencrypted passwords for people. (Someone else correct me if I’m misremembering — too tired to Google it tonight.)

    Another possibility is KeePass, which is a database program on your computer that stores this information. My office uses KeePass. Personally I prefer LastPass’s browser plugins since it will autofill the info when you get to the page so you can just press “login,” while KeePass requires you to switch to the application, find the account and tell it to auto-type the password in. A pain point for me is when you’ve got the cursor in the wrong spot and you accidentally IM your coworker your super-secure password, but it is better than trying to remember over 100 passwords. KeePass is stored locally, so if you’re mobile or paranoid about harddrive failure it may not be ideal, but it may be something your IT department is more likely to get behind as well.

    And if your IT department throws a fit at either idea… tell them about the large-font list o’ weak passwords you have taped on your cube wall in full view of anyone walking by… and maybe the email draft you’ve got with passwords typed into it that’s being saved eternally… or how you’ve had to reset them all so many times they’re all “Password123” now… Good luck!

    1. Snowglobe

      I’ve been thinking about Fastpass, but I have a concern, maybe you can answer. My office does not allow browser plug-ins, so I could only use this on my personal computer. Not a problem for most things, because I don’t log into personal websites from work. The one exception is some travel sites, because I book travel through the same sites for both business and personal. So my question is, can you choose which sites use Fastpass for the password, and use regular passwords for some? Otherwise, I’m afraid that I’d get locked out of some sites from my office computer.

      1. Kyrielle

        I haven’t used LastPass, but I use 1Password and have used other things, and generally, password generators don’t take over – they just do what you tell them. You can absolutely use a regular password.

        With 1Password (and probably others!), I can also put my passwords in my DropBox to synchronize to multiple places – including an app (disclaimer: it does cost money, but one time, not subscription) on my iPhone. So at work, I open the entry for the web site, tap the hidden password, and select Reveal. Then I just have to type in the mishmash of letters/numbers/symbols to my work browser.

      2. Connie-Lynne

        I’ve used both 1P and LastPass, you can not only choose which sites you save passwords for, you can always override and enter info manually.

      3. Natalie

        Last pass would would work perfectly fine. You don’t need the browser plug in, for one – you can log in online or on your phone and just see the password so you can type it. And it only knows what you tell it – you don’t have to enter all of your passwords or let last pass set your passwords for you.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger

      I use LastPass for work and for my personal financial accounts, and consider it secure enough for those uses. Of course, it requires configuring it properly. First, for all of the aforementioned sites I require that the master password be re-entered. Second, I have two-factor authentication turned on, so that even if someone had my LastPass master password, they would still need to enter a code generated by my phone in order to access my LastPass account. My phone requires a fingerprint to unlock it, so it is unlikely that someone else could access my code generator.

      LastPass did have a security breach about a year ago, but they communicated with their users about it quickly and informatively; I felt that I understood very well what happened, and what they did to limit the exposure and reduce the risk of future breaches.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        Oh, and I avoided online password services for a while, but I finally felt that not only was LastPass secure enough for me, but I also decided to try it because they were pretty early in putting out an app, so that I can use it on my phone. I had a lot of trouble retyping or copying and pasting randomly generated passwords for entry on my phone; it’s a pain just to get it in a browser, and for phone apps, retyping was often the only option, but LastPass will fill in a password in an app for you, and you can ask it to re-authenticate with your fingerprint on phones that have that capability.

    3. Betty (the other Betty)

      Another password manager is 1Password. It makes my life so much easier and more secure, since I use complicated, unique passwords.

      Not sure about other password mamagers, but 1Password has a feature that allows you to share some passwords with others while keeping some ‘for your eyes only’. Really really helpful: my husband and I work together, so we put client logins in a shared vault so we can both access them. Also our own important financial account passwords are in a shared vault, which has been so helpful as we need to pull lots of statements for our mortgage lender (no waiting for the other person to get home to share the password).

    4. mander

      Personally I prefer KeePass because of its local nature and cross-platform compatibility. I keep the database synced on various devices via Dropbox. There are apps for my Linux and Windows computers, iPad, and Android phone. It’s not integrated into the browser, but there are easy shortcuts.

      I particularly find it useful for passwords I only need occasionally.

  2. Jaydee

    A low-tech option that is safer than the list posted on your cubicle wall is to create a password protected document or spreadsheet and then keep a list of accounts and passwords that way. Then you only have one password that you absolutely have to remember – the one for the list.

    1. Snowglobe

      That would get you into some serious trouble at some companies. Anyone walking through the office could see your passwords.

      1. Stranger than fiction

        I use something low tech too, but were required to lock our computers if we’re stepping away for more than a few minutes, like lunch. Also, everyone’s screensaver is set for five minutes and we can’t change it. That being said, I use the desktop post its that come with Windows. But it’s not obvious what the passwords are for. I know by the color. We’re not allowed to download apps so this works for me, but I may not have as many as the Op, maybe about seven, and of course to unlock my computer I know that one by heart. The Op could also try the old school method of having like three passwords he or she uses over and over again or group them by category- one for the personal HR stuff, one for certain reports, one for travel, or something like that.

      2. Rana

        No, Jaydee’s talking about a document on the computer that you can only open with a password. You don’t print it out, you read it on your screen, and if you step away from your desk, you close it and log out of your computer.

    2. Graciosa

      This is what I do, with the addition of noting the security questions and answers.

      I find these frustrating.

      Every site has different requirements for the questions, and answering incorrectly causes problems. I once had an issue because I entered the city, state of my birth instead of just the city when asked where I was born.

      My brain is not equipped to remember this level of detail.

      My password spreadsheet is a good three pages.

      And no, it isn’t posted or left out anywhere.

      1. Kira

        So true. We have government grant websites that make us change our passwords every 60 days, and databases that require passwords that are really long, and websites where we actually have multiple accounts with different passwords. I have 80+ different accounts, many of which I don’t even remember I have. “Wait, do we have an XYZ Foundation account?” Let me check… yep, looks like a former employee set up an account 5 years ago and we haven’t used it since.

    3. Jack the treacle eater

      Password protection for documents / spreadsheets is incredibly weak, in Windows at least. This isn’t a secure option and wouldn’t deter any serious attempt to steal your passwords.

    4. Karine1976

      First time commenter :) I keep an Excel spreadsheet. I recall laughing at a former boss who had one until my own list of accounts grew and had no choice but to keep a list myself. Some passwords haven’t changed in 10 years, the formats are not consistent (not all are case sensitive, some have numbers, some have symbols) so it can be hard to remember some of those after a long vacation. In one case, it’s not the password that is the problem, I just can never remember the username. I keep my spreadsheet within my personal virtual space on the server so it doesn’t matter to me if they switch out my PC. I also have a consistent pattern when I change some of my passwords so that makes it easy to remember.

    5. Kira

      I have an even more low-tech solution. Just a spreadsheet with the url, username, and password. It’s not protected or anything (in part because my office has a culture of “tell us all your passwords, keep no secrets). It’s just on the server in my team’s shared drive. So if anyone needs to log into the site while I’m sick, they can look it up.

  3. SimplyAlissa

    You could always buy one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Personal-Internet-Address-Password-Book/dp/1441303251

    I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

    I’m partial to 1Password myself, mostly because -all- my clients (software consultants/companies) use it, so it’s handy(/necessary) to be using the same software. But also I like the UI a bit more.

    But either way, a password manager is the way to go both (for both professional and personal needs), and any decent company should allow it, if not encourage and/or provide it.

    1. Merry and Bright

      I saw this book on Anazon myself a while ago and can hardly believe it’s for teal

      1. Yetanotherjennifer

        I’ll admit it; I use a regular address book to store my passwords. I primarily work from home so I only need to worry about the outside world. I can store it in plain view and access it any time, it’s hack proof, my family knows it contains passwords so if something happens that info is easy to find, and I can record other details related to the account. Also, as the go to IT person for many older family members it’s a better model than the random scraps of paper they used to use. They’re all of the paper address book generation so adding passwords isn’t much of a stretch and feels more comfortable than an app.

      2. Shannon

        It comes in handy when people die or are incapacitated. When my mother passed away, it made tracking down random subscriptions she had and canceling them 100% easier. I use something similar for managing household bills, so my husband can manage those accounts when I’m away and if something comes up. I have to admit, I’m confused by all the incredulousness surrounding the idea.

        1. the gold digger

          I have asked my husband to write down all his passwords. He pays our bills online and if he drops dead, I need to be able to pay the electric bill.

          Also, and more importantly, I want access to his frequent flyer miles so even once he’s dead, I can get some nice business class tickets to Europe. He has over 600,000 miles.

          1. many bells down

            This is why we made a joint email account to use for household things. All the password recovery info will go to that account, which we can both access. Although occasionally I do find an account I’ve set up with my personal email that should be on the joint one.

              1. Ultraviolet

                I feel like you might be picturing many bells down’s system wrong–if her household email gets hacked, she’s not any worse off than a single person whose email gets hacked. Or are you advocating that everyone sign up for things like utilities and Netflix with unique email accounts to minimize the impact should one of them be hacked?

          2. Editor

            When my husband died, I found out that I couldn’t access his frequent flier miles. I thought I was on the account, but because the card was only in his name and I was a secondary card holder, the miles became inaccessible when he died. Check out the fine print.

            Do write down passwords. I had information on a bunch of passwords I needed for specific bill payments and other stuff, but not his email passwords and not his desktop password. Among other things, I lost access to more than 30 hours of music that he’d recorded and cleaned up from our record collection. He had friends he only contacted through email, and I couldn’t notify them of his death because he had multiple email accounts I couldn’t get into.

            I now check to make sure my password list is updated every year after my taxes are done. I keep the list in a notebook, but if you don’t want someone to see the list, put it in a sealed envelope or two and store it where (or with) a trustworthy friend or family member. My password notebook includes the answers to security questions in addition to the user name, security picture or symbol if there is one, and the password.

            TL;DR — write down all passwords or print out your password spreadsheet in an annual audit process and put the paperwork in a sealed envelope where survivors can find it.

        2. AnonAnalyst

          This was what actually prompted me to get LastPass in the first place. When my partner’s mother died, we found several different lists of passwords, but none of them were current so we had a really hard time figuring out where his mother even had accounts and then trying to access them. Since I didn’t even keep lists of passwords, it dawned on me that this process would be even more difficult for anyone left to deal with my affairs should something unexpectedly happen to me.

          In that vein, I really like the addition of emergency access on LastPass, because now I have it set up that a few different people that are close to me can get access to all of my passwords if needed after a set amount of time has passed. (Sort of a morbid thought, but actually comforting after all the difficulties we had taking care of my partner’s mother’s accounts a few years ago.)

    2. Sad Kitty

      I think it’s not absolutely insane to keep a physical copy of your passwords to important accounts in a safe place (not this for work) but like in your fireproof safe at home. What if something happens to you and your s/o or family member needs access to certain things on your behalf? Or (aside from cloud based version) what if something happens to your devices and you can’t remember anything – the retrieval process could be cumbersome.

      So I don’t think its too far off ridiculous to keep a secured written version somewhere, however, lol, I would never consider keeping it in a bright red book that declared ALL MY SENSITIVE PASSWORD INFO IS INSIDE!!! in bold font on the cover LOL.

      1. Brit

        LOL, yah I have one. *headdesk* Once you take the packaging (that big label) off it’s just a discreet book with nothing at all on the outside and at a glance inside at the tabs it looks like a regular address book.

      2. Joline

        We even had a printout of passwords at my old job for all the banking information. But it was kept within a hidden, nondescript folder in the same drawer all the cheque books, etc. The drawer was in a fireproof filing cabinet that was locked any time there wasn’t accounting staff (who were allowed to access that information) directly in the office that it was located in.

  4. Elizabeth the Ginger

    Sigh. Not all schools do hiring like this, but some definitely do. During one job hunt I got a call from a local school district: “We’d like you to come in for an interview at 11 tomorrow.” The only problem was that when they called I was on day 1 of a three-day outdoor education trip with second graders. I couldn’t just leave. (Even on a regular school day, it would have been pretty inconvenient because I’d need a sub.) I told this to the woman on the phone and she said, “Oh, well, tomorrow’s our day for interviewing. I’ll call you if we wind up scheduling another day.” Never called, never replied to any follow-up emails I sent.

    1. Caroline

      Wow, I’m sorry that happened to you!

      It’s got to be counter-productive for the school to interview like that though. If you’re going to hold interviews on a school day, during term time and give candidates that little notice, then surely they must lose a large portion of their candidate pool when people simply can’t make the interviews?

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger

        It’s a highly desirable school district and I had very little experience. Maybe if I had been more of a catch they would have been more flexible… I don’t know.

        Digression: I am SO glad to have gotten past the Catch-22 stage of my teaching career. When you’re a teacher, everyone hiring wants you to have at least several years of experience – which is hard to get because no one will hire you without it.

        1. Rob Lowe can't read

          Oh my gosh, I couldn’t agree more! I job hunted right out of grad school and then again the following summer. (My first job was Title I funded, and I got the ax when funding got reduced district-wide, although I’d been strongly considering trying to get a job in a district that paid better regardless.) The difference between my first and second job hunts, even with only a year of domestic teaching experience, was incredible. I had four times as many interviews the second time around, and ended up getting five offers. (And I only had a general elementary license at that point! We’re a dime a dozen!)

          1. Tennysonlover

            I have found that one or two years experience is okay, but beyond that you’re too expensive. I have been checking Board of Education minutes and lots of people are hired with no experience, even in very desirable districts.

      2. Tennysonlover

        In my area, they don’t care. They have hundreds of candidates to choose from. They’re looking for ways to eliminate people.

    2. Rob Lowe can't read

      I had got offered an interview slot via an application portal last year, with two days’ notice and only the option to accept or decline the interview – no separate field to say “I’d love to come in, but that time won’t work for me.” (I had another interview that afternoon and wouldn’t have been able to make it in time.) So I replied no, and emailed the principal explaining the situation, figuring that was the best way to go. Never heard back. That was the only time I dealt with that level of inflexibility, but I’ve heard that there are a few districts in my area that are notorious for saying, “We’re only interviewing on this one day, so good luck in your search.”

  5. Elder Dog

    #4 Your IT department should help you with this. You may have to explain you are human, not some kind of machine and they are asking for too much.
    That said, yup, LastPass. You’ll probably have to get permission from IT to install it.

    1. Mreasy

      An IT friend taught me this trick, which he uses: make every password one of 2/3 combinations of letters & numbers, which you memorize, PLUS a character that is unique to the site/portal itself and consistent (e.g. they are all the first letter of the URL or the company name). So your universal password is ABC1234, and for Bank of America, your password would be ABC1234B. You decide on the caps/lowercase protocol & keep it consistent. That way it’s a unique password for each site/portal, but it’s easy to remember. This is probably not high enough security for a lot of occasions, but I have a lot of sensitive documents/portals and our IT like the system I use for them.

  6. Nico m

    Have your passwords be made up of unique random rubbish, which you write down, plus a universal password, which you memorise.

  7. Papyrus

    #2 – Not sure if it’s a similar situation, but I came into a new job and received about one week of training on a fairly complicated task before my trainer left for a different job. My trainer was the main person who handled this task, and she had a backup person, but the backup was busy with a lot of other things, so I was left to learn through trial and error. Mostly error. About four months later, I was expected to train someone else on this task, and I felt like it was the blind leading the blind, which was incredibly frustrating for me (and probably to the person I was training).

    I have to say, I still have feelings of resentment over this, because it seems like I was set up to fail, and not only that, but I was setting up another person to fail as well.

    1. JM in England

      I have a similar story from some years ago. Was hired as a temp in a Quality Control lab, which had two staff plus a manager for a small pharma company. The reason for my hire was that one of the analysts was on long term sick leave and the other was about to depart for his annual month-long holiday in his home country. I started a week before the latter analyst was due to leave and had to learn the entire ropes of the lab in this time. Was then left to run things single-handed for a couple of weeks afterwards! Thankfully, my then-manager realised that I couldn’t keep this up forever and he hired another temp from the same agency I was with at that time. Then I had to train this new temp in the ways of the QC lab.

      The main takeaway I have from this job is that I use it in interviews as an example of demonstrating flexibility and adaptability!

    2. OP #2

      OP #2 here. I really appreciated Alison’s reality check on this. Part of the reason that it’s been bothering me is that I received very little training myself in this role, and like you, I feel a bit resentful about it. It’s hard not to let the past colour the present sometimes – I’m working on it.

  8. newreader

    #4: If you have Outlook, you could use the Notes feature. I keep one note for each password and update the note when I change each password. That way I only need to remember the password to access Outlook. Since my work Outlook is managed by IT, it’s protected to the extent that they want it to be.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian

      I use OneNote for this. I have one section of one of my notebooks labeled “Passwords”, and I create a separate page for each password. I have to manually alphabetize the pages, but that’s not too hard; every time I create a new page, I just drag it into place. I can access my passwords from anywhere, because I also have the OneNote app on my phone, and OneNote is synced wherever I log in from.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.

      A semi-hilarious incident happened when IT had to go into the email of someone who was on vacation. (For whatever reason. It’s an uncommon occurrence, idk what made that have to happen in the first place.)

      Well, she had a folder in Outlook labeled “Passwords”. IT/Sys Admin blew the sh*t far and wide, ultimately including me, our defacto CTO and one of the company principals. OMG THE ZOMBIES WILL COME AND GET US IF YOU DO THIS. THE COMMUNISTS WILL TAKE OVER AND STEAL YOUR CHILDREN! LOCK THE DOORS! RELEASE THE POISON GAS! WHO WILL SAVE US NOW!

      For pete’s sake, relax. Just to screw with him, I dropped the knowledge that just about a hundred of us share user names and passwords on hundreds of vendor websites. He’s a heart attack risk and I shouldn’t have done it but, come on, we are selling teapots, not trading stocks and bonds.

      We have hundreds of vendors. Password access is necessary to: check status of orders, check inventory, pull images for marketing and bunches of other reasons. And, our work flow is such that we share a lot of the work. If Fred, who normally checks morning inventory is a few hours late, Wilma or Betty or Barney jump in and fill in until Fred arrives.

      Complicating the ability for everyone to have their own password and login to hundreds of vendors, is that vendors have an approval process (essentially so they know that they aren’t giving a competitor a log in). It can take days, and follow ups, for one new user and log in to be approved!

      Utterly impractical, relax. (And don’t look in my folder named “Stuff I Have to Save” because that’s where I store all of my work passwords.)

          1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.

            If I didn’t know I’d ultimately confuse myself, I’d use this folder name.

        1. nerdgal

          Maybe name the folder “Menstrual Products Usage History” or “Colonoscopy Prep Records” :)

      1. Rebecca

        *snickers* I love this! I think I’ll try the One Note solution. I doubt IT would let us use LastPass. I too have a plethora of passwords, can’t repeat them, too many to remember, so they’re all written down on a piece of paper at my desk.

        1. Connie-Lynne

          It’s a crummy IT department that encourages folks to save plaintext password notes instead of using a proper password manager.

      2. MissDisplaced

        LOL! I have a little Notepad file called “Web Stuff” or some such for all of those. And I have LOTS.
        And here we all thought modern life would be simpler.

    3. Older not yet Wiser

      My work passwords are stored on little sticky notes stuffed into an Altoids tin in my top drawer. High tech I am!

    4. Blue_eyes

      I have an outlook contact with most of my passwords in it. For passwords that need more security I just remember them, or write them down in a coded way.

    5. Ask a Manager Post author

      Okay, I’m going to explain how LastPass works for people who are unfamiliar, because I have to believe that you all would use it if you understood how much easier it would make your life! Even if your IT department doesn’t let you install browser extensions, you can access your vault just by logging into their website.

      But assuming you can install the browser extension, here’s how it works:

      You create one highly secure master password. That is all you need.

      You go to a website that asks for your user name and password. You enter it. LastPass pops up and asks if you want it to remember it in the future. If you say yes, you will never need to remember it again; LastPass will fill it in next time you go there. You can choose whether you want the user name and password to auto-populate when you visit that site, or if you want it to wait for you to click a button telling it to, or whether you want to have to enter your master LastPass password before it will fill the info in (for sites where you want extra security). You can also tell it, “hey, generate a new, more secure password for this site” and it will do that and remember it for you. It remembers everything.

      You can access it from your phone or any web browser as well, but browser extension makes it super easy.

      It has seriously changed my life and I cannot recommend it highly enough. (I am sure there are other services that are just as good, as well.)

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Without a password manager, most people compromise their security in some other way, usually one that’s a lot more vulnerable (see the examples above, for instance). LastPass did get hacked last year, and nothing was compromised because of the measures they have in place. Plus, if you use two-factor authentication, even a successful hack wouldn’t get you.

          Ultimately, nothing is 100% secure, but a lot of people who are knowledgeable in this area seem to trust LastPass.

          1. married to an infosec consultant

            I have a lot of secondhand exposure to people working in the computer security space (c.f. username) and, FWIW, most of them use Lastpass or a similar password manager. The best security you can have is having different passwords on every site (so having your password stolen for one does not compromise others) and password managers make that easy to manage.

    6. Vizzini

      I once had access to a system that I needed to use maybe once or twice per year, but the system expired its passwords every 90 days. So, odds were that the last time I had logged into the system was to change my password. The requirements on the password were pretty high (mixed case, numbers, special characters, etc.) and we were under strict instructions not to use password managers/databases/Post-its. Needless to say, I had a hard time remembering that password. So, I just gave up. Every time I needed to change my password, I generated a random string, pasted it into the password entry box, and never saved it. When I needed to change it again, I called the helpdesk to unlock the account.

  9. Alison Read

    #1 I am wondering if the OP felt AR could be manageable if the error issue was addressed – is that something she can reasonably do? For example ask about implementing safeguards or adopting a different process for the sake of accuracy… Or since it’s a partner is that just the way it’s going to be and would be ill advised to address it?

    1. JessaB

      Yeh even if the OP gives away the AR job, the problem with the partner needs to be addressed. People not taking care of the records is a huge issue.

    2. OP

      according to our accountant, occasionally there will be a big enough F-up that our founding partner steps in and demands that she keeps her hands off all checks that come in (she has a tendency to deposit them and not record it, and some of our biggest clients get sent notices of past-due payment.)

      it lasted about 3 weeks, and then she fell into not her old habits (which I am told happens all the time.) There are still plenty of errors, but nothing changes.

  10. Sigrid

    I *love* LastPass. I would highly recommend it.

    If you aren’t allowed to install anything on your work computer, even a browser extension – which would be silly of IT in this case – you can install LastPass on your phone and use it as a reference. (You can access all the passwords you have saved in the “vault”.) IT would have a fit if they found out, but hey, they’re the ones not letting you install a password manager…

  11. Spamwarrior

    Last Pass is amazing.

    “so that more senior people (whose time costs your employer more) spend their time on the work that only they can do”

    So here’s the messed up part, at my company. Raises are parsed out so infrequently and so tiny that most people are making the same after about 5 years, simply because the bottom of the pay scale is being forced up due to area competition. I can get hired in and after 5 years of raises, be making the same as a woman who’s been there for 15 years.

  12. Rye-Ann

    For #4, I am assuming you are asking this because they aren’t allowing you to have the same/similar passwords for everything. Is it possible to have passwords that are tangentially related to a theme in some way? Like, the actual passwords are different, but they are all, for example, fruits? That may make it easier to remember.

    1. Rye-Ann

      If you do take this suggestion, it should be something that wouldn’t be obviously something you would pick (like, say you are known for liking baseball, don’t make your passwords famous baseball players).

    2. Kyrielle

      Another trick if you must memorize passwords is to pick a phrase, use the first letters, and write down a _clue_ – one that only makes sense to you. If you need a more-secure password, change a letter to a number and/or add some punctuation.

      I like to use songs. Assuming I used Fight Song (which I never would; it’s too widely known, _and_ I’m using it for an example on the Internet!), my password for one site might be “Lasb0t0,sbw1m” – those are zeros and a one, not o’s and an i; my clue might be “little floater”. (Like a small boat on the ocean, sending big waves into motion.) At another web site I might use “&attIds,wb1mb” (First letter I is capital, second is a number one) and my clue might be “silent demolition”. (And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain.)

      Password keepers are easier and cleaner, but this technique has given me passwords over the years that meet complexity requirements, meet the *spirit* of the complexity requirements, but that I can remember. I use mostly songs; I know people who use quotes or poetry also.

      1. Kelly L.

        Yep, I do a lot of song lyrics.

        Baseball players too. They work well because there’s a handy number to tack on!

        And I always use my elementary school in the security question if it’s an option. This is because almost no one can spell it. :D So even if someone was trying to hack me and did know where I went to elementary school, they’d probably misspell it. It may be a false sense of security, but it feels like another layer of safety, lol!

        1. Kelly L.

          Oh, and another thing is that you can lie in your security question; you can say you went to Hogwarts for all the system cares. But in my case, that would probably be even easier to guess! My nerditude is too well known.

          1. F.

            Always lie to any security question that contains information that can easily be found on the internet. Family trees are all over genealogy websites, so it can be rather easy to find out someone’s mother’s maiden name. Yearbooks from grade school on up are online, too, making the “What was the name of your first grade teacher” question pretty useless.

            1. Kelly L.

              I also like to take numbers that I had to memorize for some reason, but that aren’t on the internet, and recycle them as PINs and passwords for totally unrelated things. My bank PIN is the copier code from two jobs ago–to get into my bank, you’d need to have worked in my department and have it occur to you that I might still remember that and use it as a PIN. But I have it engraved in my brain because I used to use it so much. I also sometimes use my junior high locker combination for things.

      2. Cassie

        I use song lyrics too – usually taking the first letter of a lyric and switching an “o” to a zero, “L” to a 7, etc. And I use Evernote to keep clues about these passwords.

  13. FD

    My dad is in computer security and he taught me this technique. He has to remember a lot of passwords and none can be written down or put on a third party service

    First of all, use acronyms for all your passwords. A phrase is easier to remember than a string of gibberish.

    For example, let’s say that you have a chocolate teapot design server. Maybe your password will be based on the phrase “I want to design fabulous chocolate teapots!” This can become Iw2dfct! As a rule, I try to have the word “to” or “for” in my phrases, which I always write as numbers, and I usually try to finish the phrase with some punctuation. This helps pass difficulty level requirements.

    This is a good base method for password generation, but what about cases where you have to change regularly? If you use phrases that are too close to each other, then you will have trouble remembering.

    Usually, I choose some phrase that has to do with something I’m working on at the time. For example, it might be “I want to get 15 new designs done by July!” Iw2g15nddbJ! can become my password for the next 90 days. Now, here’s the trick. I can then write something like “15 designs” on a sticky posted in plain sight. It looks like a simple reminder sticky note–but it will help trigger my memory when logging into the server, while not providing enough information for anyone else to guess my password.

    1. MissDisplaced

      Interesting, but I don’t think I’d remember anything with that method.
      Maybe I need to adopt more cats so I can make more cat passwords!

      1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.

        True story. We have to change our work passwords every sixty days and, it turns out, you can’t recycle passwords for (something like) 200 days, which means you can recycle after the 4th change. It’s relatively new system, and I recently hit the recycle issue. Went flying upstairs to IT.

        Me to IT guy: This is a catastrophe! I only have three dogs!!!
        IT guys: get another dog.

        1. Kyrielle

          That’s awesome.

          And so much less likely to have IT growl than the guy I know who met that requirement (along with four-types-of-characters also required) by making his passwords things like January,2015 and so on….

          1. TootsNYC

            I know people who use “fall2016” and stuff as the LAST HALF of their password (the front half is something weird and less hackable). And they only change the season and year when it’s required.

            1. De Minimis

              It seems like a lot of systems don’t allow new passwords that have too many characters from the old password, which makes a lot of the methods of password creation problematic. I eventually had to just sacrifice security and write stuff down, or else e-mail it to myself.

              1. Tau

                Okay, that strikes me as… dodgy. As far as my admittedly nebulous understanding of secure password management is concerned, the system should never be storing your actual password, just a hash of it….. but even a minor change will result in a completely different hash, so if they’re properly storing passwords they shouldn’t be able to tell how many characters you’ve changed. :|

                1. Kyrielle

                  Yeah, they’d have to store it encrypted in some way they could decrypt to be able to do any check except “not exactly the same as” – that one can, of course, be determined by hashing it and finding out if the hashes are identical. (Technically possible for two different passwords to have the same hash, but in any decent system the odds are substantially worse than the odds of winning the Powerball.)

            2. Kyrielle

              Yeah, as part of it that works fine. This was his whole password…and he told some of us. lol

      1. FD

        Very true, and I actually thought about it–the problem is that that method generally leads to passwords that are longer than allowed.

        1. Tau

          Although honestly, I’m not sure *why* people put those length restrictions on passwords apart from habit. A longer password is a more secure password, and it’s not as if storage space is at a premium here.

          1. SusanIvanova

            Storage space isn’t the problem; ancient systems that haven’t been updated are. It’s the Y2K problem – if the original system saved passwords in an 8-char field, that’s what you’re stuck with. There was a system at work that was ignoring everything after the 8th character because it was that old and nobody had noticed for years.

    2. Momiitz

      This method works for me. I have to change my password at work every six months. I have a base password and just change the number at the end every six months.

      1. Raine

        Oddly, my company’s system wouldn’t allow that because the passwords were too similar — but it works when the number is in the middle. For example, Rainy5Day Rainy6Day etc.

    3. Sarahnova

      I encode lines from Shakespeare poems and speeches in this way. Then, when I need a new password, I move onto the next line. So I only ever have to remember where I am in the sonnet.

      Who said a BA in English wouldn’t be useful in the real world?!

      1. FD

        /nod/ That works too! I have about–I dunno, maybe twenty unique passwords right now for different sites and programs, so that wouldn’t for me, but the idea is sound.

      2. Annby

        I do something similar. Most of my passwords are based on lines from my favorite poem (it has *a lot* of lines). I include the punctuation and represent any actual numbers (as well as “to” and “for”) with numbers, so the passwords end up pretty strong.

    4. TootsNYC

      You don’t need to change the WHOLE password, just one piece of it.

      I do something with initials and numbers as well as well. I have about 3 basic passwords, and since they all have to have a number, I simply change that number every time it’s time to update. 16 designs, 17 designs, etc.

      One bonus–if I forget which number I’m on, I’m usually only 1 off, so it’s quick to get to the right password.

      And, when I have to change my network password, I keep a list of all the other places I have passwords, and I go change it there at the same time–so it’s always the same everywhere. If there’s a format difference (like, needs more letters; must have a symbol; I just extend it somehow (my PeopleSoft password has a fancy character at the end–the same one every time).

      I tend to have one for casual personal sites (forums, etc.), one for home, one w/ variations for truly secure stuff like bank, email (each gets its own weird variation, but it’s still pegged off the same source phrase). In OP’s chase, I’d have one for boss at work.

      Lately I had problems w/ the keychain not updating when I changed my network password (some Mac OS synchronization issue). It kept wanting to use the “5” when everyone was “6.” very annoying–I got someone at IT to help me.

      1. MissDisplaced

        That’s how my work passwords are too, if you try to do, say dragonlover123, dragonlover223, etc. it will say they are too similar. I was using rotating cat names for a long time, but now those are becoming too short or too similar for the frequency of the changes.

  14. MissDisplaced

    #1 That sucks! I’m sort of going through the same thing and I know how frustrating it can be. My manager left and was never replaced. Many of his duties, including invoicing and accounting processes have fallen to me by default, and I was never trained on how to do them, nor do I have knowledge in that area. Moreover, those accounting type duties take up a large chunk of time, while my own duties haven’t lessened one bit. Somehow I’m still expected to get all of it done… and it’s not working.

    #2 Your friends are wrong! “Junior” level employees often have to train higher levels of staff on many types of things. This is especially true of company policies and procedures if the higher level person is new, but it’s often the case with specialty software and many other things. Get used to it! Actually, I see this as a way for a motivated person to become a highly valued and sought-after member of the team, especially if they become the resident expert in a particular software or policy/procedure as in: “See Jane, she’s the expert at creating and filing TPS reports.”

    1. Graciosa

      In my last two jobs, my subordinates had to train me on how the actual work was done.

      In both cases, once I understood the current process, I improved it (everyone can now stop filling out useless forms 32, 46, and 51, eliminate all quadruple checks, and use form 23a instead of having to choose between forms 23a-k). It is a bit of a mental shift to start managing work you can’t do, although interesting to find you can still add value in other areas.

      It’s also initially strange to have people come to you for help and have to explain the basics before you can even understand the question – although, again, interesting to find you can actually help once you get through the briefing process.

    2. TootsNYC

      I agree about how this is an advantage.

      When you train someone, you are really eroed in on the processes. You will see all the oddnesses, all the “friction points,” all the things can can be improved.

      And if you’re smart, you start writing up training documents, and you start figuring out how to remove those friction points. And you make everybody around see how smart you are, how focused on improvement, how willing to challenge the status quo when it’s useful. You will look like a team payer (because you will BE a team layer).

      You’ll be uniquely situated to do what Graciosa did–without being the manager yes (you may have to suggest instead of implement) But you’ll be thinking like a manager–the way Graciosa was!

      It’s a big visibility booster, and it’s great experience.

      It’s not like school, which is sometimes our most powerful experience with training. In school, the teacher has the highest level, and she teaches. But employees aren’t students, and training employees isn’t always the hands-on task of managers. A manager is responsible for making sure training happens, but they may easily delegate it.

    3. OP #2

      Thanks for the comment. :)
      In my case it’s not procedural or software things, but specialist knowledge I spent a lot of time & money acquiring – hence the slight feeling of resentment. It’s hard not to feel like I’m giving my hard-earned expertise away to people who earn a lot more than me. I know, bad way to look at it! I’m trying to step away from that mindset.
      That said, I actually really enjoy training people! I’m even training my boss on one of my tasks. It really does make a team stronger to do this kind of cross-training and I like that.

  15. LizB

    If you can’t use LastPass or another password-saving application, I like the xkcd “correct horse battery staple” method of password creation — pick a phrase that will conjure up a very specific, weird mental image for you (like a horse saying “that’s a battery staple” and someone else saying “correct!”), but would be next to impossible for anyone else to guess. Replace some letters with numbers and symbols, make some other letters uppercase, and voilá! You have a secure password.

    I also like to make a part of my passwords something that relates to the website/application so I can remember which one goes to which. For example, my dad used to use passwords where there was a number in the middle that was the number of letters in the site’s name multiplied by 3*. You could also include something about the color of the main site background, the shape of the icon, the type of site/application (e.g. social media could always have the word Circus, airlines could always have the word Peanuts). Just things that make it easier for you to remember but don’t make it any easier for a computer or other person to guess.

  16. Nobody you know

    Ugh, passwords. At one point a few years back, I had literally more than 30 different work-related passwords I needed to use on a regular basis, all of them with different complexity parameters and different required-update cadences.

    LastPass didn’t exist at that time and I didn’t trust any other such services that did exist, so I got in the habit of using passwords related to an obscure childhood obsession of mine. When I was a kid, there was a relatively minor natural disaster that was very much in the news, and I had memorized all kinds of facts about it: dates, severity, death toll, etc. I use those numbers, combined with acronyms related to the topic, in various configurations.

    For my personal (non-work-related) passwords, I use a different general theme. All of them are related to a guy who dumped me in a particularly brutal way many years ago. I’m long, long past pining for him, but it’s still funny to enter things like “Jiawh1999!” (for “John is a weiner head,” obviously) in the password field.

  17. Ms. Didymus

    LastPass literally changed my world. I used to have every password the exact same and … not that complex. Frankly, I am really surprised I never got hacked. I must not be that interesting to those folks :)

    Now I have unique, super complex passwords and all I have to remember is my one master password. Also, when they had a security incident last year they proactively notified people, made sure we all knew our data was safe, and told us what to do. They handled it perfectly and it made me feel even safer.

    My employer recently installed it on everyone’s computers and encouraged us to use their generated passwords for all of our programs to randomize them.

    The key is you CANNOT forget your master password because they cannot recover it for you (it would invalidate the security of their project and put all of your data at risk since it stores all of your passwords in “your vault”).

    1. Natalie

      The low-tech solution to remembering the master password is writing it down and keeping it somewhere secure. Mines in my wallet but there’s no indication of what the password is possibly for.

  18. Momiitz

    #4. I really like dashlane for my password storage. I tried a few others but liked the style better. And it holds more than just passwords.

  19. C Average

    The first question and answer were very interesting to me.

    I hate to make generational generalizations, but I think people of my generation (Gen X) have become so inured to having our jobs mutate into something completely different than what we signed up for that we’ve learned to just . . . deal. Between the advances in technology and the economic expansions and contractions that have occurred over the past few decades, we’ve come to expect our jobs to consist of “whatever I tell you to do today, and tomorrow might be different.” For those of us with liberal arts degrees, I think we’ve also internalized the message that we’re lucky to have a job, ANY job.

    My last role not only had a pace of change that my colleagues and I struggled to keep up with, but it mutated into something for which I had no ability or affinity. (You signed up to be a technical copywriter, but guess what? You get to be a graphic designer and an SEO specialist, too! And can you teach yourself html this weekend? Thx. P.S. We’re all switching to Macs. Yay!) Since I left that job, I’ve thought a lot about how to deal with such a situation if I ever find myself in it again.

    I know all jobs feature some growth and evolution, and that no job consists solely of what’s listed in the job description. Is there a good formula for determining when job creep has exceeded reasonable bounds?

    1. Graciosa

      I think I would treat this as a function of both the percentage of time devoted to other tasks and how much you dislike those particular tasks.

      I haven’t seen people complain about getting to work on things they love outside their job descriptions.

    2. MillersSpring

      I agree, except that I think it’s just a function of time instead of a true generational difference. Millennials just don’t yet have long careers where they would have experienced this. And it sucks. Especially when the added responsibilities involve an area for which you have no interest or aptitude. OTOH, you never know where the experience or knowledge might come in handy or be considered valuable to a future employer.

    3. Kira

      I don’t see a generational difference in your example. Jobs change, and sometimes they change in a direction that’s no longer a good fit for the person currently in the role. My current job kept evolving, and for a couple of years that was great. I got to learn, and try things, and develop skills that will help make me competitive for other jobs. But recently it changed to predominantly focus on something that a) makes me miserable and b) won’t make me a stronger candidate for the kinds of work I want to do. For me, that’s a reasonable formula to say that the job creep has reached my limit.

    4. Student

      I think a lot of people, across generations, have realized that the long-lasting trend of tolerating any behavior from employers (because you’re terrified you can’t get another job, rightly or wrongly) have made it very hard to turn the trend around and start holding employers accountable, expecting some level of reasonable behavior towards employees.

  20. lunch meat

    I use KeePass and love it, but if you can’t at work here are some of the things I did before getting it:

    I had three or four passwords that I recycled through for different sites, like Cat’smiddlenameDog’sbirthday or BoyIcrushedoninmiddleschoolHighschoolstudentidnumber. I made a list for my bills and banking passwords using just the first letter and first number, enough to jog my memory so I’d know which one it was and wouldn’t have to try them all.

    The other thing is, there are some passwords I have to change every couple of months, and can’t recycle any phrase from the previous 7 (so password1, password2, password3 isn’t an option). What I do is use a word from the title of the book I’m currently reading each time. I read a lot, so I’m guaranteed for it to have changed by the time I need it to. You could use the Netflix show you’re binge watching, the stocks you’re following, the celebrity you’re crushing on, the recipe you’re trying, whatever.

  21. Judy

    #2: One of the best bosses I’ve had arranged the onboarding process such that every person on the team trained the new people on something. There was a spreadsheet with all of the items, using X system, understanding Y process, etc. He was using this to not only train the new people, but also to integrate them into the team. In the two weeks of their employment, they had to spend at least an hour with everyone on the team.

  22. Brett

    #3 While the OP had an interview process before that was different, this is unfortunately very standard for teaching jobs; one basic phone screen at most and then multiple in-person interviews. When we were trying to move back to the midwest from Oregon, districts actually required my wife to fly in (without reimbursement) for first interviews. I don’t know where the resistance to phone interviews and video interviews come from (local government, even unionized local government, uses them all the time), but it certainly seems to exist in K-12 teaching. To add to the perplexing behavior, it seems to be only with teachers; districts are fine with using phone and video interview for staff and administrator positions.

  23. CS Rep by Day, Writer by Night

    #1 , this happened at my last job, and it was one of the contributing factors to my exit. Our purchasing person quit and her duties were farmed out to the rest of my small department. One of the things I had to do was take care of the vending and coffee services, and it was a huge pain in the rear. So many people complaining that they didn’t like the options and wanted different ones (our HR person flipped on me when I told her our vendor didn’t offer pretzel bites), machines getting jammed, deliveries not showing up on time, etc. It all just seemed so unimportant to me in the overall scheme of things, and I hated having to act like I gave a damn about any of it. It just added to my overall dissatisfaction with the job and encouraged me to put extra effort into my job search.

  24. Chris

    My problem with password managers is that they tend to be tied to the computer. That’s fine for many of them, but things like my bank, loan service, insurance, etc, I may well need when I’m not on my machine. So I tend to use letters numbers and symbols, but in a pattern that visually appeals to me. It’s easier to remember a shape than a series of letters

    1. Betty (the other Betty)

      1Password has a phone app as well, which syncs to the database via dropbox. I can access everything anywhere as long as I have my phone with me. It also allows for ‘secure notes’ for saving important info that isn’t a password. For example, what’s the combination to our bike lock? Handy!

      (Other password managers probably also have these features, but I don’t use them so I don’t know.)

      1. Kyrielle

        Yep. I can store info on our cars (license plate, VIN), driver’s licenses, social security cards, etc., in there.

    2. A Non E. Mouse

      I am super late to this party and I’m not sure if anyone is still even reading, but:

      I’m in IT, and all my *personal* passwords I have stored in a spreadsheet that lives in my *personal* email account(s), as well as a flash drive in the safe at home (updated about every quarter with the latest copy, old copies also retained).

      Work passwords *with security concerns* I memorize. Full stop. There’s a LOT of them, far more than any of our end users, but they absolutely cannot be written down, so they aren’t. They are all unique, and in no way easy to guess.

      Work passwords *without security concerns*, for instance a log in for us to open a ticket with one of our own vendors where no business-critical information will pass, live in my Outlook drafts so that any member of my team could find them if needed. (We are the admins, we can See All Things.)

      So even from an IT professional, there is more than one level in use. Those that absolutely cannot be compromised are never, ever written down and are extremely complex. Those that are either inherently low-risk, are medium risk but protected behind one of the never-written-down passwords, OR those that are literally under physical lock and key are retained in some way accessible only by those with the key (physical or not).

      Please, please keep in mind that whatever you do on a work computer, the company can access at will. In my company we don’t 99.9% of the time, but if your manager wants to know what you’ve been doing, we will be asked to look, and look we will. If you don’t want us to know your passwords, don’t store them on a work computer in any format. We have the ability and authority to install key loggers, watch every bit of your internet traffic, read all the emails that pass through our servers, etc. WE DON’T, but can.

  25. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

    #1 Something similar happened to me. Except no one left, I was just asked if I wanted to train on a new skill set. I said sure thinking that I could learn and grow more and be more valuable, move up, etc. I found out in training that no, this was my new job now. It wasn’t going to be a side project I worked on in addition to what I did, it was full time 8 hours a day my job. And I hate it. I told my manager and there was nothing she would do about it. I’ve been trying to leave ever since.

  26. Jeff

    +1 on Lastpass. Definitely worth it. There are also options like Onepass and Dashlane, but Lastpass is my favorite.

  27. Erin

    #5 – I included my blog on my resume, along with his many hits I get a month. Pretty sure it contributed to my getting g the new job I started last week. :)

  28. BananaKarenina

    #3 – I teach in CA, and have experienced the hassle of last-minute, long-distance interviews. What grade/subject do you teach?Schools and districts have their own time frames for their recruitment and interview processes, and the needs and mandates differ greatly. The three-day time frame for a 7-hour trip is really not the most convenient, but that school may need to complete all of their hiring before the year ends.

    Given the current hiring climate, I’d say keep the interview, and arrange for a sub for two days. Planning for a sub sucks, but at least that’s one less interview to worry about before summer. I’ll probably be hitting the road myself to interview throughout the state soon enough, and I am not looking forward to the drives. Keep us posted!

  29. Lauren

    OP #4: I have about 120 passwords (not including work ones) and I created an Excel datasheet that is, itself, locked under its own complex (but memorable to me) password. Some I use often enough I don’t need to look them up but most I cannot remember. Like Allison, I use nonsensical ones that couldn’t really be guessed at so attempting to even remember is a no-go. Personally. I wouldn’t use a program to remember, which is why a password-protected Excel spreadsheet works so well. And I have my names, links, passwords, logins and secret questions all in one place.

  30. Nao Nao

    I got hired because of my industry-related blog! I was in between jobs and had started an industry-related blog and ramped up production on it while looking for work. I included a link to it on my LinkedIn page and my resume and my then-soon-to-be-boss read it, loved it, and commented on it in the interview. I also syndicated content to industry-related article collections (something surprisingly easy to do, btw) and noted that on my resume/LinkedIn.
    I used my own personal photos (of neutral subjects like landscapes) and my own, natural yet professional writing voice and my passion, experience, and interest in the industry showed through.
    I recommend it!

  31. Ms. R

    #3 Thank you all for the great advice! I have been surprised at what seems to be a very recent change in hiring processes for teachers in California. Three years ago when I looked for a job almost every district offered a phone or Skype option for the first round. So far, I have 3 different schools (besides the one 7 hours away) who expected me to complete an 8 hour interview/team building day with upwards of 10 other potential teachers vying for the same position. I know that they want to make a well informed hiring decision for their school but I don’t feel great about requesting sub after sub to interview for jobs that I am not that likely to get. I am more than willing to show commitment to a new job but it doesn’t feel right to me to kick my current students to the curb to impress a new employer. Perhaps that’s not very business-minded though…

    As a side note, I ended up declining the interview on Friday via email. The administrator wrote me back the same day saying that she would try to figure out a long distance option for me (after saying that she didn’t do Skype or phone interviews).

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