asking new employer to send me to an awards banquet, should I let a mediocre employee work remotely, and more

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

1. My professor wants me to ask my new employer to send me to an awards banquet

With the help of a professor who mentored me in college, I just got my dream job! When I told her I got the job, she strongly suggested I ask my future boss about attending an annual awards banquet for people in our field. My problem here is twofold: first off, I’m not sure I’m comfortable making this request. My professor (who is very involved with the nonprofit I’ll be working for) has told me the organization usually buys a table and brings their senior staff only. For one thing, I’m not coming into a senior position by any stretch of the imagination, and for another, my actual start date isn’t until the day after this event takes place. I was volunteering with this organization before being hired, so I don’t have to worry about first impressions, but I still don’t want my first actions as an employee to be asking for special treatment and money to be spent on me. Is this just my social anxiety talking or do I have good reason to feel weird? If I were to ask, how could I do so without seeming entitled? And if I don’t ask, how can I explain my decision to my mentor without insulting her judgement?

Regardless, one way or another she’s determined to get me there: she’s even offered to buy me a ticket as a “congratulations on the job” gift if my new employer isn’t willing or able, though it will probably be at a different table. That social anxiety I mentioned is far from thrilled by this prospect. I’ve never been to anything like this before and I have no idea what to expect. It’s a $60 per plate fundraiser and I’m a recent college grad. Do you have any tips for how to handle it, in general and if I’m seated with either my superiors or strangers?

Your instincts are right: Don’t ask your new employer to buy you a ticket. If they only bring senior people, it’s going to come across as tone-deaf. Even if that weren’t the case, it’s just an odd thing to ask to attend before you’re even working there (it could be different if it were a workshop or helpful conference in your field, although I probably wouldn’t even ask about those if you’re entry-level).

I’d just tell her that you appreciate the encouragement, but you’re going to wait until you start working there and can scope out the culture before asking to attend things like this. If she tells you not to worry, just thank her for the advice and stick to your plan.

It would be fine to let her buy you a ticket if you want to go, but it would also be fine to thank her and decline. If you’re willing to go and talk to people, though, it could end up being interesting and useful to you professionally — but I don’t think it’s the end of the world if you choose not to, and if you know that realistically you’re unlikely to make conversation with strangers, I’d sit it out without any guilt.

2. Should I let a mediocre employee work remotely?

I manage an employee who wants to move soon and has asked if he can become a remote worker. We’re a company that is primarily in-office, but we do have some employees in his position who are remote.

He has previously not been the best performer, but in the last six months or so has really improved. I am inclined to let him stay on, as I think replacing his knowledge of our teapots would take a while and he is an acceptable, if not standout performer. My boss wants to let him go, as my boss I think hasn’t seen the improvements made recently.

I’ve tried to make the case for his improvements to my boss, but I don’t seem to have made an impact. Do I continue to push my point of view? Or, do I accept my boss’ point of view, and who should tell the employee? If I tell him, do I tell him that this wasn’t my choice?

I’m with your boss. Why go out of your way to keep an someone who’s at best “acceptable,” when you have such a natural opening to part ways on good terms? Let him leave and fill that spot with someone who’s better. Plus, if you’re going to let someone work remotely, you really need to be able to trust them to consistently work at a high level. It’s also more work to manage someone remotely, especially if they’re not a high performer, and it doesn’t make sense to take that on unless the person is really worth it.

You should be the one to tell the employee your decision because you’re his manager, and you should own it, not say that you disagreed, since you’d be undermining your own boss by doing that.

3. Leaving a job after three months

I recently started a new job at a new company, which I really like a lot. I even have a supportive manager. However, I recently have been invited to enroll in an amazing post-graduate opportunity which sounds amazing. I had no idea that a program as good as this could have existed, and it will definitely help in my career long-term. I’d have to be a full-time student and it would last just over one year. And at this point in my life, I don’t think I’ll ever have another opportunity to have the luxury of taking a year out of the workforce to pursue something like this.

The “problem” is that I work for a major financial services firm that I’d like to rejoin at some point. If I leave after about 3 months on the job, even crossing all my t ‘s and dotting all my i’s, will I still be guilty of the proverbial “bridge burning?” If I’ve been getting good feedback so far, but leave after this short period of time, does that mean that I’ll be blacklisted from ever rejoining the company in the future?

Yeah, leaving after three months is pretty likely to burn the bridge. It’s not an absolute certainty, but at this point they’ve invested more in you than they’ve gotten back (as far as training, etc.) and they’re unlikely to welcome you back with open arms in the future. Basically, you committed to them to stay in the job for a reasonable amount of time (you’re understood to be agreeing to that when you take a job) and not leave after a few months because something else sounds better, so they’d be understandably annoyed and wary that you’d do that again.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the post-grad thing. You should do what’s best for you — but assume that this will indeed close this firm to you in the future.

4. Should I disclose bad faith business practices to a client?

I currently work with an account team for a multi-million dollar client who has a verbal agreement with my employer(field is risk assessment) that none of their work will be sent offshore. This verbal agreement was put into place when a venture capital company bought out my previous employer and started closing U.S. offices and sending work to India. Three years later, management is quietly training workers in India to take over work for this client. They are supposedly “working” on coming up with a way to divulge this to the client. Based on my poor experience with management in this company, I am certain they are planning to lay off the U.S. teams and then tell the client about the offshoring once it’s too late and the only people trained to do the work are in India. Needless to say, I’m looking for other employment, not only because I feel this company is unethical but also because even if they keep me on I know these short-term money saving decisions will result in the client firing our company, as they’ve come close to doing so in the past for much less.

On my way out the door, is it completely unethical to shoot my contact with the client an email letting her know what is going on? I don’t plan on staying in this industry and would be required to sign a non-compete so this isn’t a case where this could affect my future employment in this field. I’m also not interested in “getting revenge” on my company for offshoring–I honestly just feel that what they are doing is severely unethical even if the agreement was verbal and not in writing, and furthermore, I know management’s confidence in the workers in India to do the work correctly is misplaced; all they care about is saving money in Q 3-4. They’re not capable of doing the work and supervisors saying as much are being ignored by management and assigned to do training anyway. Am I way off-base even considering “tattling” to the client? I’ve worked closely with this client for many years and I feel much more loyalty towards them than I do towards my own company, which is why I’m reaching out to you. My judgment may be clouded here; perhaps I am contemplating something unthinkable.

I don’t think it’s unethical. I mean, obviously your company wouldn’t want you to do it, but that’s not the standard for ethics. I suppose someone could argue that you have a duty of loyalty to your company, but I’d argue that you do not have a duty to turn a blind eye on bad faith practices.

However, I wouldn’t put it in an email — no need to create a paper trail that could hurt you with your current employer. Call her instead.

5. Have I lost my follow-up chances?

I had a question regarding following up and I am getting mixed advice from everyone, so I decided to ask you to be the tie-breaker. I had an interview on Monday and they hit me with “You should be hearing from us by the end of the week to set up a second interview.” I shamefully forgot to ask for a business card or contact email, so all I have is one of the interviewer’s numbers. So here are the reactions:

Me: I want to follow up, but if I call I will seem stalkerish. If I mail a card, their mail room is so busy they may not get it until next week.

Friend: Welp! I’ve been told that before and they never called. Wait until Monday to call so you don’t look desperate.

Boyfriend: If they don’t call you by Wednesday, then move on. No need to follow up.

Mom: Call them Wednesday. (Then she proceeds to send me multiple articles about the need to follow up.)

I don’t know what to do because I know how annoyed I am when I get a bothersome call while at work. The interviewer was not from HR; she is the direct supervisor of the department so I am sure she is very busy! I was thinking of leaving a voice mail before she made it to work so as to not interrupt her. But she arrives at 7 a.m. so calling at 6:30 a.m. seems a little weird too.

So what do you think? Are phone calls okay? Have I lost my “follow up” chances?

Don’t call to follow up at this point, and definitely don’t do it at 6:30 a.m. If you look around their website and find any email address for someone at the company, you may be able to figure out your interviewers’ email addresses by following the same general format (for example,, or or whatever).

If that doesn’t work, then once it’s been a week past the point they said they’d contact you, at that point I suppose you can call to say that you were hoping for an update on their timeline, and apologize for calling but you realized you didn’t have email contacts for any of them. (I’m saying “I suppose” because it pains me to direct you to call instead of emailing, but in a case where you truly don’t email and it’s past the time they said they’d be in touch, it’s not a terrible crime.) I might call around 6 p.m. when she’ll probably be gone for the day (given her early arrival time) and just leave a voicemail.

Alternately, you could scratch all of the above and just call their main number and say, “I interviewed with Valentina Mulberry recently for the X position and wanted to email her about next steps but realized I don’t have her email address. Could you give it to me so I don’t need to bother her with a phone call?”

{ 175 comments… read them below }

  1. Sami*

    OP#3: leaving for a grad school program isn’t the worst way to leave a job after a short time. If you explain it well, the bridge might only be singed a little instead of burned.
    Good luck!

    1. JessaB*

      Is it possible to do the graduate programme a little longer and do it while you’re working? Even though you’re new if your job has an education benefit you may be able to work something out if you either don’t do it full time, or agree to do it next year.

      1. Jack the Treacle Eater*

        I thought exactly this. If the graduate programme is genuinely valuable to your career, it might be valuable to the company to let you undertake it. Is there a basis for (a) being honest with your managers and saying ‘I have this situation’, and (b) discussing with them whether they would be prepared to let you do the grad programme part time, day release or whatever (if it’s possible to take the grad programme that way).

        It also occurred to me that if you were honest and explained the reasons for leaving, even if you can’t set up a compromise, the bridge might only be a little singed. That might be wishful thinking on my part though.

        I can’t help feeling though that “an amazing post-graduate opportunity which sounds amazing” sounds a bit rose tinted glasses to me. I would be doing every bit of research I could and making absolutely sure the programme is what you think it is and will genuinely help your career before taking the plunge. If there is a basis for discussion with the employer, and it’s genuinely a good programme, it’s also likely they might have heard of it and be able to advise.

        All of this also assumes a good, mentoring type relationship with the employer as well…

        1. MK*

          “If the graduate programme is genuinely valuable to your career, it might be valuable to the company to let you undertake it”

          The problem with this is that the company’s interest in accommodating the OP depends on their evaluation of her as an employee; if she is a great performer, it might be worth it, if she is only adequate, probably not. And they can have little way of knowing which she is, because she has only worked there for a couple of months.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            Hence the “might be valuable to the company” part. There’s no reason to assume that the company won’t do it, and if she’s thinking of leaving anyway it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask.

            1. MK*

              Eh, I actually think there is more reason to think the company won’t do it than there is to think they might. True, it probably won’t hurt to ask, but the OP needs to be careful how she broaches this.

          2. mazzy*

            +100. Written as someone who shares an office with 2 MBA holders (I have a BA) and we all do basically the same job, one earns the same as me and one not much more.

        2. themmases*

          Yeah, this OP needs to evaluate both the program and their assumptions quite carefully. Maybe this is just how they worded it, but “amazing” post-grad programs don’t invite people to enroll– they involve a competitive application process that takes a long time to prepare for, and people in relevant fields are well aware of their existence. Most of them also take longer than one year. The OP’s letter makes it sound like they received some marketing materials about a certificate program. What do people who hire in their field think about the value of this credential?

          It may also be a faulty assumption that the OP needs to do this program full-time and needs to do it now. Most people enrolled in reputable graduate programs work. They are either employed by their school doing work relevant to their degree, or they work a relevant outside job or internship. This is especially true in good professional programs because most of their students will be experienced professionals who are not just going to quit their jobs. And it is never too late to go to a good graduate program… If the program is professionally worthwhile, then more work experience will help you get in and do well. A good program will have plenty of people going back because they actually need the credential to advance.

    2. Ms. Minn*

      Could you put the grad program off a year? That way you’d have 1+ year at the company and it wouldn’t be a burned bridge.

      1. Zephyr*

        Yes, deferring admission is a great option under these circumstances and is very common to do.

  2. JessaB*

    I agree with Alison that putting the information in an email is a bad idea, however, I think the only ethical thing to do whether or not you leave the company is to notify the client that your bosses are about to breach a serious agreement. Just because it’s verbal doesn’t mean it’s not binding, also there may be many reasons why this company does not want it’s work overseas, and them having to suddenly find a new workforce in the states is unreasonable. The mere fact that people are being trained to do work may mean they have information overseas that your clients don’t want there. This may jeopardise their downstream work.

    On the other hand it was seriously stupid of your client to not make “no overseas” an absolute written part of the contract. That kind of specification should never be just verbal.

    1. sunny-dee*

      Yeah, depending on the company, they may actually be prohibited from having overseas or foreign workers dealing with that information. We have a dedicated support room just for support cases for defense contractors and government agencies. You cannot take any mobile media (phones, laptops, flashdrives) in and — kicker — you have to be an American citizen and have a background check to be able to work those cases. It would be a massive security breach and possibly illegal if we tried to offshore support for those cases.

    2. Bunny*

      If this is a venture company with deep New England ties, you can always call a reporter. We love this stuff, will investigate, and a decent reporter will leave you out of it.

    3. Anna*

      Right. There’s something ironic about making a verbal contract with a risk management company.

  3. Ann Furthermore*

    #4: I feel for you. I’m job searching too, for much the same reason. My company is in the process of sending hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs offshore. This is going to be an unmitigated disaster and I predict that within 3-5 years all the jobs will be brought back in house. But of course by then, everyone will have moved on. On top of that my company has very quietly, and conveniently, changed their severance policy to pay out half of what they did before, so everyone who gets laid off will get screwed from this angle too. It’s disgusting, sleazy, unethical, and infuriating. The company getting the outsourced jobs just happens to be closely affiliated with another consulting firm that had a large engagement with my employer a couple years ago. And today we had to sit through an ethics presentation. My eyes almost rolled out of my head.

    1. snuck*

      Ugh. Ann what a frustrating thing!

      To OP#4 I would say job hunt, find something else, but also… have you considered letting the company you are worried about know on the quiet you are job hunting? They might have an opening that suits your skills and knowledge. Don’t tell them about the offshoring at this stage, I’d be more vague “The company is looking to diversify the way it does some of the work and I’m actually looking to step into a more customer focussed role” or “I actually really want to step from supplier to customer roles – and like the way your company does X and Y and think that I could bring great background knowledge with me”.

      And tell them via phone call, when you have something else shored up, not email. One thing you could keep in mind is that if you need a reference in future (not sure if this works where you live, but in Australia it could) then the client company could be a good one – depending on your role. I’ve used clients when I was contract managing – they speak strongly about your ability to work at the coal face, and moreso than my management who could only answer if there were contractual issues that couldn’t be resolved without senior management (there weren’t – hence why the client was a better reference for people skills and ability to work professionally – because I handled some doozy problems, but never had to escalate beyond FYI notes).

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        Depending on the OP’s company’s relationship with their client, she may not be able to apply for work with them.

        Anti-poaching clauses are pretty common in B2B relationships.

        1. Raine*

          Nondisclosure agreements signed by employees are not unusual either, and while OP didn’t mention one, I wouldn’t assume there isn’t one (sometimes the very existence of a NDA isn’t to be disclosed). What I’m saying is there is the ethics issue, and there’s the possibility of the shady employer suing the OP.

        2. snuck*

          Nods. It would be something the OP would need to think through.

          I know I’ve seen it done, and reasonably well/without rancour… especially when there was things like outsourcing happening and mass layoffs. And I’ve seen it work well for both sides to have a technically competent person in the client company – now whether the OP can pull this off, which would mean understanding the business politics, keeping their nose very out of the fire etc… not sure.

          And on that note… You might well find any kind of NDA/non compete clause flies out the window if they make you redundant and are outsourcing – it’s hard to enforce that when they say your skills are no longer required. Worth chatting to someone who understands local laws on that one.

          1. Liza*

            snuck, I disagree with half of your last paragraph. I agree that a noncompete clause might not be enforced anymore if they’re going to be laying her off, but I can’t see how that would have an effect on a nondisclosure agreement. The company’s secrets are still going to be the company’s secrets.

      2. animaniactoo*

        I’m not sure the OP has that kind of timeline to play with. Shoring up a new job with the other company is likely to take a minimum of a month and more likely to be at least 2 months. The amount of progress that their current company can make in that time means they’d probably be all the way into or about to pull the trigger on the final move to the offshoring, and you have to imagine the new employer is going to be feeling pretty burned by that gap.

    2. Mike C.*

      Yeah, I thought folks had learned that offshoring like that doesn’t actually work.

      1. Lora*

        People have different learning styles.

        For some people, it is sufficient to read about a thing to absorb the information. Some are visual learners, and have to be able to visualize or see a thing in order to retain information.

        Others learn best by experience.

        And if you skew strongly to one learning style, then it’s important to be self-aware and develop coping methods. This awareness is usually developed in college.

        Or, you know, not.

          1. Sarah in Boston*

            Really? My personal anecdata of one indicates that I do have a strong preference for learning in a particular style. And my slightly larger anecdata of one year of teaching 6th grade definitely seemed to indicate different styles among the students. Could you point me towards the debunking?

            1. Rat in the Sugar*

              There’s lots of different articles, but here’s a link for one from the Association for Psychological Science (fully admitting I’m not familiar with them as a source).


              Also, as I heard someone explain once, there are lots of things that just can’t be learned certain ways–everybody has to learn in all ways. Even if you’re a verbal learner, you can’t learn to drive a car just from someone talking you through it.

            2. Kassy*

              I agree with you. The article listed states that the trials weren’t run in such a way as to “prove” the hypothesis. That doesn’t equal “debunked.”

              1. PlainJane*

                Thank you. This article came up in another online discussion some months ago with a bunch of academics, and I made the same point. Saying we don’t have solid evidence to support something just means we don’t know/can’t prove it. It doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I’d love to see more research in this area, because my anecdata of more than one (I used to be a teacher, and I’ve done a fair bit of training) suggests that people definitely have preferred learning styles and take in information better one way than another.

        1. Bowserkitty*

          OldJob outsourced their IT department shortly after I was made full-time. It was a multi-million dollar contract and in the 2-3 years since they’ve done it they’ve lost just as many millions if not more than the original contract costs. It’s gotten so bad that they’re considering breaking the 5-year contract and eating whatever extra costs are associated with that.

          Clearly, this was a learning experience for them but they’re too deep into it to really go back.

      2. SusanIvanova*

        This last February my company laid off my entire team – 20 people, 130+ accumulated years of experience – to replace us all with a brand new offshore team. Even other divisions in the same company knew that wouldn’t work, but office politics trump common sense.

        They’ve already discovered that they’ve lost some knowledge they can’t quickly recreate and asked one of us to come in as a contractor to help. We aren’t biting.

    3. Bowserkitty*

      Mom, is that you?

      Joking, but my mother’s company is doing the exact same thing and she’s really unhappy. For some reason they’ve decided to keep her department here but she gets to watch a lot of the other departments, and friends, get outsourced.

  4. FTW*

    OP3, you might enquire about a leave of absence. Although it is not typically for people in your situation, the company might bite if it increases your value to them and/or their clients. I’d ask around casually to see if anyone else had heard of it happening and then approach HR.

    1. Zillah*

      There’s a real chance of the OP coming across as tone-deaf and naive if they approach HR asking about a leave of absence, though – much more so than apologetically resigning because of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, IMO. The OP is new, not senior level, and would be gone for over a year. That’s a really hard sell.

      1. Sarahnova*

        Depends on the policy and the country, I think – I was granted a one-year career break to pursue a full-time masters and it’s not that uncommon in the UK, nor was I very senior at the time – but that was after a span of years with the company, not months. I agree that being granted one after three months is pretty unlikely – you haven’t actually DELIVERED anything yet.

    2. Raine*

      The OP is so new he/she might not even be out of the 90 day probationary period when making the request (if the time on the job when leaving it would be about 3 months).

      1. fposte*

        She doesn’t say anything about a probationary period, though; while some companies have them, the law doesn’t require them, and they’re not an across-the-board thing.

  5. Joseph*

    2 – Don’t even think about saying it was your boss’ decision. First off, it won’t accomplish anything. Is your employee going to suddenly change his mind on moving knowing that you fought for him?

    Most importantly, it’s insubordinate and a clear violation of the chain-of-command. As a manager, you have the right and responsibility to advocate for your staff with senior management and try to influence decisions in a way that is best for your team. But once a decision is made by senior management, you are *required* to support that decision, even if you don’t agree with it.

    1. INFJ*

      I had a similar reaction. In addition, if OP expresses disagreement with the decision, the employee is going to be even more upset about losing his job.

    2. The Rat-Catcher*

      What do you mean by “support” the decision? Does that mean agree with it? What if upper management has done something truly moronic? Is there no value to letting your staff know that you understand the decision is horrible? Or are they just supposed to pretend to honestly be that stupid?

      1. The Rat-Catcher*

        Not super relevant in OP’s case since the decision does at least make sense, but it’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction I have to the “support senior management no matter WHAT” mentality.

      2. fposte*

        I don’t think those are the only two options. You can consider the possibility that your boss knows more than you do and is making the decision based on knowledge you don’t have, for instance. And in general, the default is to supporting the organization over your individual inclinations.

        I think there are some times when you can say it was a decision you didn’t agree with, but it has to matter; in this case, all it would be doing would be making the OP feel better–it doesn’t help the terminated employee any.

  6. LisaD*

    OP #1: I’ve been to many fundraisers at this price point and above. While I in no way wish to invalidate your anxiety and I acknowledge your feelings as real and meaningful, I would like to reassure you that most of the rest of the room is much more worried about being judged than about judging you. If you end up going, here’s a foolproof way to fit in and have nobody ever guess you’ve never been to a fancy-pants fundraising dinner before:

    * Dress to blend in, not to stand out – a dress that hits below the knee in navy, black, grey or camel; nude heel; simple gold or silver jewelry (for gentlemen, a plain dark suit) – add a white or light grey shoulder shrug if it’s cool in the evening (or maybe even if it isn’t)
    * Get a manicure, and a pedicure if the shoes are open toed (gentlemen: trim your nails and consider a manicure)
    * Silverware goes from the outside of the napkin in – use the outermost fork first
    * Introduce yourself to your tablemates and ask them about themselves; a person enthusiastically talking about herself has no time for or interest in grilling you about your right to be there
    * Don’t talk about anything you wouldn’t discuss at work
    * Remember everyone’s name at your table even if you have to sneak Evernote under the table to make notes
    * Read the program as if it’s mesmerizing whenever you don’t know what else to do
    * Thank your waiter/waitress

    That’s all you really need to do.

    1. Mookie*

      You’ve misunderstood what the OP’s concerns are. She didn’t ask for advice about forks and she is probably used to thanking waitstaff.

      1. Mookie*

        My social anxiety has never prompted me to dress outré and, honestly, I am annoyed by the classism of this comment. I am probably being unreasonable.

        1. Daisy*

          I think you’re being both unreasonable and rude. OP: ‘I’ve never been to anything like this before and I’ve no idea what to expect’. LisaD told her nicely what to expect. How is that misunderstanding the question?

          1. Little Teapot*

            I agree. I thought LisaD’s answers were very helpful and informative as someone who too has never been to one of those events.

              1. Anna*

                I am a vert with intro tendencies (neither introverted nor extroverted) cynic who regularly attends things where I feel out of place and I have every right to be there. If I were in my early 20s I would have feigned a reason not to go to avoid feeling awkward.

                Great recommendations, LisaD!

            1. orchidsandtea*

              You and me both. And it’s not that people go “I don’t know how to dress, I guess I should be outré” it’s that we go, “I don’t know what kind of fancy is best for this, maybe my bright red prom dress is formal enough?” Especially when we’re young. A women’s fashion advice community on Reddit (basically a comments section minus a blog) that gets questions about formal banquets on a weekly basis from people of a variety of classes.

          2. Mockingjay*

            I had a professor in college who ‘invited’ all of her seniors to a practice business/cocktail party each spring. It wasn’t part of the curriculum, but she recognized that these sorts of social skills would be needed as we launched ourselves into our careers. She critiqued our dress, our eating manners, and our conversation. That one evening was an entire course in itself.

            She was my favorite professor.

            1. Artemesia*

              I have a young relatives who was raised by wolves and is a distinguished scholar today. A professor in her doctoral program took her under his wing and taught her how to behave at professional events. It made a huge difference to her since she literally did not know the social niceties.

            2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

              When I worked at a university foundation we were often pulled in to help with networking practice sessions – the class sessions rotated so I had breakfast, lunch, and cocktails with the students throughout the semester.

              One of the students remarked that “all this stuff is hard when it’s not people you know.”

        2. Marvel*

          I’ve having difficulty understanding how this comment is classist. It’s providing factual information on socially acceptable ways to behave at a fancy event, which is helpful. It would be classist to assume the OP already knows.

          1. Chinook*

            “I’ve having difficulty understanding how this comment is classist.”

            I agree – knowing how to act at such a social function, at least in North America, has nothing to do with class and everything to do experiences. I am far from “high class” (I tend to lean towards redneck at times) but was taught early on how to set a formal table and was not at all phased when I had to come up with a formal dress to attend military functions that included live string quartets with my husband. But I also went to a school where, when they drove 2.5 hours to the city to see a live play, insisted we dress in our “Sunday Best.” One of my classmates didn’t have running water at the time but his mother would have been horrified if he and his sisters didn’t dress appropriately for the situation.

            I often interacted with those whose parents had more money but different expectations and, as a result, were very uncomfortable at banquets we attended and very much appreciated whispered comments of “bread plate to the left, glasses on the right) so they could figure out which place settings were there’s. And it still drives me batty that DH insists on setting flatware as if we were at a cheap restaurant (all on a napkin to one side of the plate) instead of laying them out in the order of use on 3 sides.

        3. MK*

          I also don’t see how this is classist. Many of these things (like how to dress and how to talk about) are not specific to class; in fact, upper-class people sometimes are the ones who need the “don’t dress to stand out” advice the most. And anyone who has watched the “Titanic” knows about the silverware rule. Other things are good as reminders; I am used to thanking the staff too, but sometimes in a private meal I might forget if I am absorbed by my company or the conversation, while in a professional setting I always keep in mind not to.

          The only thing I find over-the-top is the manicure. Make sure that your nails look clean and nicely-groomed, yes, but there is no need for a professional manicure.

          1. Chloe Silverado*

            Although it’s not a requirement, I’ve noticed that most women in my field (which is not fashion or cosmetics based in the slightest) tend to have manicures that look professionally done. I personally feel more at ease at professional events when my nails are done. I naturally feel self conscious in these type of situations, so having nicely polished nails just gives me one less thing to feel self conscious about, especially when I’m shaking hands. It’s not essential, but I think that’s where LisaD’s advice was coming from.

            1. MK*

              I think it’s mostly psychological though. If your nails and hands are in reasonable condition and you can paint your nails without making a mess of it, I don’t think many people can notice the difference to a professional job; at least not unless they specifically examine them and certainly not in a handshake, when you don’t actually see the other person’s hand.

              1. Anon For This*

                I have an interview tomorrow and my nails are currently resting from a shellac manicure. They’re neat and clean, but I feel a bit exposed. Also my right hand has cat scratches on it because my cat is an asshole. While I know logically it will make no difference, I wish I had gone ahead and had that manicure done last weekend.

            2. Snork Maiden*

              I feel the same way about having my hair professionally done. I don’t have to worry about it looking wonky in the back or deciding to do its own thing halfway through dinner. I know it’s an extra expense, but it’s worth the peace of mind.

        4. mazzy*

          Rich kids also get this sort of advice while growing up, so I’m not seeing the classism.

        5. Ms. Didymus*

          There is no classism in this advise. The OP is very junior and many people of all “classes” go their entire lives without attending formal awards banquets.

      2. Bobcat*

        Yes. I have social anxiety as well. I know how to eat and interact with waiters. I don’t know how to not experience crippling fear when attempting to talk to strangers. It’s not something where I can just tell myself to calm down. It’s an automatic reaction to being around a group of strangers I’m meant to interact with.

        Also– I have plenty of time to judge other people while still being freakishly judgmental about myself in my own head. I doubt I have a superpower. I think many people are able to do this.

    2. Megs*

      I’ve been to a few of these as well (my husband is active in politics) and I have social anxiety so I was absolutely terrified the first time I tagged along. I think LisaD’s advice is great (although I skip the nail polish part and use the spouse excuse to get out of remembering names). As for the anxiety side, here’s how these things usually shake out for me:

      – They tell you to show up way early to register, then you stand around awkwardly schmoozing until the program starts. I always try to avoid showing up early to avoid this part, since it’s the worst. There’s most likely going to be a cash bar, so I usually nab a glass of wine to keep my hands busy.
      – Ideally, your mentor will be willing to let you hang on her coattails during this part. Expect lots of hand shaking and prep a short “here’s who I am and why I’m here” comment. Then I absolutely endorse Lisa’s advice to ask about them and what they do.
      – If you get overwhelmed, you’ll probably be able to go find your table and sit down early. The first course will probably be set and will not look appetizing (food at these things is, as a general rule, not good and sometimes shockingly bad given the price point). Again going to Lisa’s advice, the program is a great place to stick your face if you’re feeling awkward. I find it easier to chat with new people if I’m already a bit settled and they’re the ones drifting in to sit down, so I like being at the table early.
      – Hopefully the program will start up before too much table chatting is required – it will probably be long and at least parts will be super boring. But now you’re home free, because you’re past the small talk and it’s totally fine to make an exit as soon as the program ends (insert comment about beating the traffic here).

  7. Meg Murry*

    For OP#3 – are you an entry level hire? Its not 100%, but it might be worth asking if they would consider bringing you back as an entry level next year after the program, if its the kind of company that brings in a “class” of entry level hires.

    Alternately, since its a large company, is there any chance you can defer this post grad program for a year – after working for a year you might be able to ask your company if you could take an unpaid sabbatical, or at least exit with lots of notice and hopefully not burn any bridges.

    But overall, I think you need to weigh the one year of this program against the possibility that this would be the end of your chances at this company for a very long time, if not your whole career. Is the opportunity still that amazing when put that way? Which do you think you’ll regret more – missing this one year program or missing the chance to start off your career at your current company?

    1. Little Teapot*

      I agree – OP#3, would it not be possible to apply next year? Or is this amazing grad program only being delivered this year and then never again?

      1. the_scientist*

        This is a very good point. A lot of good graduate programs will offer deferments for various reasons. I don’t think they are necessarily thrilled about it, depending on funding arrangements, but it certainly can be done especially for a really good candidate. There are also opportunities to do postgraduate work part-time (my colleague has an especially unique arrangement where she is doing a PhD full-time and working here part-time; she’s been here three years, has excellent performance reviews, and the PhD is valuable to her work here, so that’s how she was able to swing this).

        All to say, that there are ways to make this work without having to quit your job after only three months, and I’d be wary of a program that is a “one-time deal” unless it’s something insanely specialized like the Canadian federal field epidemiology course, for example. However, I totally understand not wanting to divide your attention between work and school, and the advantage that full-time school provides in getting the degree faster. Leaving after three months for grad school is not the *worst* way to leave a job, as long as you’re appropriately apologetic and contrite about it.

        1. College Career Counselor*

          In my opinion, the post-graduate program should have an OUTSTANDING placement rate for its students (as in, verging on guaranteed) if the LW is willing to leave her current company after three months. In general (there are exceptions), a degree and a year (or more) of work experience trumps two degrees and a scant three months of experience. If the LW was looking to leave the financial services world (sounds like she’s not, as she wants to re-join) OR the post-graduate program is practicum/experiential-based AND would be useful to her work at the current firm, I could see leaving after three months and/or asking for a leave of absence.

          1. the_scientist*

            This is a good point as well- I’m leery of grad programs that rely on hard sells, especially in the US (which I’m assuming is where this writer is located). If they’re presenting this as a one-time offer and they aren’t willing to work with the OP…well, that’s a bit shady to me.

            However, the preference for employees with graduate degrees and work experience varies heavily by field. You cannot get into my field without a masters degree, realistically, so employers don’t bat an eye at someone going directly from undergrad to a masters degree and then looking for work (plus many public health degree programs offer practicum placements). It sounds like this isn’t the case for the OP, and they are looking at an MBA or similar… which case, your point is really important: how much work experience does the OP have and what is the placement rate for this program? The real placement rate, not the advertised one where any job, even a service industry job, somehow counts as an “in-field placement.”

  8. Little Teapot*

    OP#5, depending on the field they might not be able to give out Valentina’s email. I work in social services and our admin girls have a standard line: “Sorry, due to confidentiality we are not able to give out our worker’s email addresses, mobile numbers or last names. If an individual worker gives it to you that’s their discretion however I am unable to.”

    1. Sydney*

      It’s easy to figure out the email address tho if you have both first and last name. Just type in variations of what was answered in the question above. Send one email and if it bounces back try again. It’s not like the person knows that you have been sending emails that bounce back.

      1. Bwmn*

        I was just coming here to say that. The best part about trying and failing with an email address, is that it’s not like it’ll end up somewhere as an oopsies – it’ll just bounce back and you’ll likely know fairly quickly.

        If you want to try a few versions you can always Google search “” so see if anything comes up. If that doesn’t work, “” and so on. It can be a bit tedious and may not necessarily be successful – but it’s not at though you’ll expose yourself to the company as trying all of it.

        1. BRR*

          I would google first to try and find it. At my last job someone else had
          “Firstinitial last name” so I was “first name first initial of last name.” I’d Google different various and also the persons name and company.

        2. finman*

          If the company is public, the investor relations person’s email address is typically on their website somewhere and you can grab the way that email address is composed to start from.

      2. Not a Real Giraffe*

        This works if the interviewer has a relatively unique name. If OP interviewed with Joe Smith, there’s potentially more than one Joe Smith at any given company. So there could conceivably be both a jsmith[@] and a joe.smith[@]

        1. So Very Anonymous*

          Or something like jsmith114[@] because this J. Smith is the 114th J. Smith hired there. (Says the person with the very common last name and an email address with a random number).

    2. orchidsandtea*

      Three useful websites: to figure out whether it’s or to figure out whether it’s more likely to be or to see if bounces

      None of these is perfectly reliable and none are helpful if it’s a mishmashy, but they work often enough to be worth a try. And if you get it slightly wrong, it’ll probably bounce, or Francine Buttonweezer may graciously forward your email to Felix, if it’s clear that it’s a polite thank-you Felix would want to see.

  9. GH in SoCAl*

    #2, while not undermining your boss’ decision, you can probably soften the blow by giving the employee some positive reinforcement. You can tell him that while the remote position won’t be possible, you’ve noticed and been pleased by his progress in the job, that you’ll give him a good recommendation (assuming that’s true).

  10. Apollo Warbucks*

    #2 Maybe I’m to cynical but I wonder if the improvement in performance is moatavated by wanting to work remotley

    There’s a co worker of mine who had some performance issues that nearly got let go before their peobation period was up, they improved marginally and scraped through only for their performance to drop again shortly after.

    It’s good they’ve improved, but you seen your employee at their worst, believe them when they show the minimum level of performance you can expect from them. Six months better performance isn’t long enough to outweigh the previous poorer performance.

    1. Random Lurker*

      I was thinking this as well, and I KNOW that I’m cynical ;)

      I had an employee who was up and down like this. He’d pick up his performance proceeding something he wanted – asking for a long vacation, wanting to move to a new seat in the office, when I was about to choose someone to represent the team at a prestigious conference, etc. After the event passed, performance regressed, regardless if he got what he wanted or not. My HR department was trigger shy on issues like this. OP sounds like they may have a golden opportunity for this person to leave on their own. Don’t take that for granted. A consistent employee is so much more valuable.

    2. On the Phone*

      The employee is obviously doing this to be able to work remotely. Personally, I don’t think you can assume that his performance would necessarily regress, but since it would be a hassle to manage him remotely and/or replace him if it does, OP is not obligated to give him a chance.

    3. Bob*

      I sit across the aisle from a department where the manager recently decided to let all of her employees start working one day a week remotely as a perk (morale is a big issue here lately). Not surprisingly, she is pulling her hair out on days when her mediocre-to-low performers are off-site. Morale is low because we’re busy as hell so a drop in performance is the last thing can tolerate.

      She told me it was a huge mistake but she is afraid it would look like punishment (and add to the original morale issue) to take it away. I suggested she inform the entire team there are certain standards that need to be met to keep working from home. If they are not met, those individuals will lose the privilege but everyone else will keep it.

      I think many employees are mediocre due mainly to poor work habits, lack of motivation, etc. and those are not people who will typically do a good job of managing their day at home. In the case of a moving employee, they will likely just use you to finance their move and future job search. The one exception would be moving to a cheaper area. I’ve had friends making $120K that relocated to an area where salaries average $40K. Obviously, there is a huge benefit to keeping the old job.

    4. catsAreCool*

      “I wonder if the improvement in performance is motivated by wanting to work remotely” – I think so too.

  11. Nerfmobile*

    For OP3: how positive are you that this amazing program is positively rated from the employer side of the fence? Sometimes it can be useful to just ask your colleagues or even your manager something like ‘hey, I just learned about this one year program in Chocolate Teapot Finance. Have you ever known someone who did this program or something like it? How is this seen in the industry’? The answers can often be illuminating.

  12. Jack the Treacle Eater*

    Have to say my cynicism’s coming out a bit with #4. There doesn’t seem to be any obvious reason or upside for the OP to raise this (unless there’s a possible job with the client), and potentially a lot of downside if it gets out that she tattled – bridges burned, no references, etc. That’s quite high risk when you’re not directly affected. I hate to say this, but I think I’d leave well alone.

    1. Judy*

      I personally would only mention in person or over the phone (not in email) when talking to the client after accepting another job, something like “I enjoyed working with you, but the signs were leading to my position being outsourced, so when this new opportunity came up, I took it.”

      It’s possible that the client knows about this, and if you assume they do, then it’s not a biggie to say that.

    2. Mike C.*

      The upside is acting in a professional and ethical manner. I really cannot believe that people here wouldn’t think of that first.

      1. AVP*

        Co-sign. I would tell (and I would not call it “tattling”) but over the phone as Allison suggests.

      2. RVA Cat*

        True, but there’s a reason we use a lot of Game of Thrones references here….

      3. themmases*

        I wonder from this letter whether the OP can help the client. It sounds like the client will find out about this and fire the company whether OP tells or not. The OP might be able to give their client extra time to find a new contractor or to put their foot down with this one, or they might not change the outcome at all. It’s hard to tell from the letter.

        I think the right thing to do is to try to stop this, and if the clearest way to do that is to tell, then the OP should do it. But I wouldn’t really fault someone for not taking that risk if their actions couldn’t meaningfully change the outcome. I think the OP should be really clear what result they expect before doing this.

      4. Anna*

        Seriously. What is it with references being the end all and be all? It feels like the kind of stuff you’d hear in Victorian England about servants. “Her employer won’t give her a character. She’s probably a thief and murderer.”

      5. Temperance*

        Eh I wouldn’t stick my neck out like that. The personal consequences could be career-ending.

    3. finman*

      Another idea if you do find a new job: before you turn in your 2 weeks notice, ask if they are willing to provide a portion of the separation payout that you would get when they do finalize the outsourcing. They don’t need to know you already have a job.

  13. Hannah*

    #4: I would mind my business if it was me. I know OP said they wanted to leave their industry anyway, but it just seems like possible career suicide. Not to mention, it’s not like hiring Indian people is some kind of crime that the OP would be whistleblowing on. It just doesn’t seem like such a scandal to me, OPs company made a decision to outsource, and they’re working on a way to tell the client. I know OP is convinced it will fail but still… they are hiring people from India not like…child laborers or something. If they fail that’s on them, but I don’t understand the desire to stir up drama in the meantime.

    1. MK*

      From what I understand, the company plans to train the people abroad to do the work, then lay off the people in the U.S., and then basically say to the client “we know we said we wouldn’t outsource this, but as of now, we have no workers in the U.S. who can do your work, so there is no other choise”. They probably hope that the client will accept the fait accompli, or that they will have to accept it for a time, untill they can make other arrangements, which will give the company time to prove to them that outsourcing works. This is extremely dishonest behavior towards the client, even if it isn’t criminal.

      1. rando*

        I agree that it is dishonest, but the client company can just fire LW’s employer. I see this as a shady business practice, but to the level where someone must tell the client right now. Potentially breaching a contract is not a major moral issue to me.

        LW needs to weigh the risk. LW may be sued for tortious interference – intentionally interfering with the relationship between the two companies. The employer could also give a truthful, negative reference (“we were working on a new strategy for a client that LW disagreed with, and LW told the client without permission before we were done planning to stop us” would give me serious pause about hiring LW in any industry.)

        1. Apollo Warbucks*

          but saying that

          “we were working on a new strategy for a client that LW disagreed with, and LW told the client without permission before we were done planning to stop us”

          would be a serious misrepresentation of the truth of the matter, which could more accurately be described by saying “we were misleading a client and attempting to provide our services to them in a manner they had expressly told us they did not want, we proceeded with these plans in secret and the OP told the client”

          1. Christopher Tracy*

            And the company has already shown they have no problem with seriously misrepresenting the truth, so if the OP doesn’t need to risk a possible lawsuit or negative reference going forward, why do it? I’m in agreement with rando – this situation, while crappy for the client, doesn’t rise to the level of needing to alert someone right now, right away. The client will most likely see this maneuver for what it is and will fire OP’s company.

            1. Mike C.*

              Actually it does, and your (and rando’s) overstated fears of legal action are little more than weak excuses.

              1. Christopher Tracy*

                It really doesn’t – the client’s going to find out and take their business elsewhere when they do. OP’s company isn’t embezzling or doing other nefarious things with the client’s money – they’re just being assholes by going back on a verbal agreement, which happens in business with shady people. The company’s assholery will be discovered all on its own whether or not OP says anything. Excuse or not, rando and I are advocating OP make sure she thinks through all sides of this thing before taking action seeing as though she’s the one who’ll have to deal with whatever fallout comes from it, not random people on the Internet who won’t be the ones paying her bills if her company decides to be even bigger tools and torpedos her chance at getting a new job by providing a lousy reference.

                1. Mike C.*

                  When the client finds out it will be too late to change anything – informing them now will put a stop to it. And it’s likely fraud, so it is serious.

                2. Mike C.*

                  Also, what if the OP says nothing, the client sues and the OP is named in the lawsuit because they stood by and allowed the harm to continue?

    2. Mike C.*

      I find not saying something to be incredibly unethical and I’m rather disappointed that so many are willing to just look the other way.

      Wouldn’t you want to be told, and wouldn’t you feel betrayed if you weren’t? There are times in people’s lives when you need to raise your hand and say something and this is clearly one of them.

      1. BRR*

        I agree with everything and also the client is paying the lw’s company to work on a plan that they don’t want.

      2. Hannah*

        Well no, I have a different perspective I guess, I generally don’t see vilification of outsourcing as anything other than thinly veiled racism. So I have trouble seeing the OP as a white night in this situation. It certainly seems like OPs company is taking a big risk and might lose their client over this plan, but surely they considered that. They are allowed to make a bad decision if that’s what they want to do, I don’t see it as unethical.

        1. Artemesia*

          I am guessing you haven’t had to deal a lot with outsourced customer service then. We recently spent about 10 hours to fix a problem that any American agent at the company as it once was, would have fixed in 20 minutes. The outsourcing of many functions has been a major reason for the horrifyingly bad customer service now common in US industry. If it isn’t on the script, they can’t deal. And often they can’t even understand the issue.

          And even in manufacturing there are enormous quality issues. Look what outsourcing did for Boeing. They fired their competent experienced airplane technicians and outsourced manufacture of a complex new advanced airplane — and it nearly destroyed the company. It certainly destroyed their reputation for quality.

          1. Christy*

            I’ve definitely had issues with outsourced customer service, but I know of a few different companies who’ve outsourced software development and it seems to have worked really well for them. Labor costs are insanely low for the company, and the workers earn a high wage for their countries. My father manages both Indian and American workers, and his only difficulty is the odd meeting times (though his Indian coworkers have it worse). My friend lives in a third-world country and develops for a US publisher and she is really rich for her country and her employer is paying her like 1/3 of what they would pay her in the US. And she likes the work, mostly.

            But I’ll admit, software is the only area where I have direct knowledge of how outsourcing can work well.

          2. fposte*

            Honestly, I find that to be often true with domestic service as well. It’s the CSR structure, refusual to empower, and insulation from responsibility that makes for that result, not the country that they’re sitting in.

            1. Observer*

              That’s true up to a point. But that kind of issue is fairly inherent in this type of outsourcing deal. Also, there is a certain amount of connect between the country the outsourcing is happening to and the results – educational and work culture matter. Some of issue we see are definitely related to different culture and expectations.

              1. fposte*

                Overall, maybe, but I don’t think that’s true from a CSR standpoint, which is what Artemesia was talking about.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            *nods* That’s true whenever you fire trained workers and replace them with unskilled ones. Doesn’t matter where the unskilled workers come from.

        2. the gold digger*

          vilification of outsourcing as anything other than thinly veiled racism.

          Non-racist reasons I hate outsourcing:

          1. Good jobs are lost from my community, which means my neighbors do not have jobs
          2. Good jobs are lost from my community, which means the tax base shrinks
          3. Sometimes, highly-skilled labor is replaced with unskilled labor and the product quality suffers (this is a management problem with CEOs who want to hurry the process, but it is still a problem)
          4. Sometimes, offshore companies do not conform to the same rules we have here. I do not buy product made in China because I do not want items made by slave labor or political prisoners

          I am waiting for the day that the workers in India, China, and Vietnam unionize and strike. I will be on the sidelines cheering. I do not want them to be mistreated AND I want their labor to be expensive enough that jobs return to the US.

          1. Chinook*

            “4. Sometimes, offshore companies do not conform to the same rules we have here. I do not buy product made in China because I do not want items made by slave labor or political prisoners”

            This so many times. When I end up choosing to buy from overseas (usually due to lack of local availability), I end up doing my research and deal with companies that are willing to prove they have ethical working conditions via 3rd part audits (*waves at Eshakti, the dress people*). But even then you have to put blind faith in the process that they aren’t using subcontractors or paying off the auditors. When this work is done in places like Europe and N. America, this type of corruption is less likely to happen.

            Ironically, I have worked for an outsourced company for an American tech company. Their R&D facilities are up in Ottawa, Canada, because, when they bought my boss’ company, he refused to move to California. I have since learned that not all outsourcing is bad or to inferior employees even if they don’t all speak English fluently (most of my coworkers there spoke Russian, Mandarin or Cantonese). What mattered was not their location but their training and ability to deal with things not covered in the training manual.

        3. Mike C.*

          My whole point is that the business is acting unethically, not that outsourcing is bad. I’ve said it like two or three times already, why is this so difficult to understand?

          And seriously, you think you’re going to shame me with your “thinly veiled racism” comment? Outsourcing is used as a bludgeon to lower benefits and break unions here and export pollution and terrible working conditions to other nations all so that a few might profit a little more. Show me how any of those reasons are “anything other than thinly veiled racism”.

          Oh and I love the conflation of “going against a previous agreement” and “taking a big risk”. It’s unethical as all hell to do such a thing just to cut some corners. Do you folks seriously not know anything about ethics? All I’m hearing are nothing but excuses to once against sit on the sidelines and do nothing.

          Why are you folks so afraid to do the right thing?

          1. MK*

            Why do you think you get to unilateraly decide what the right thing is? People have a right to form their own opinion about that.

            1. Mike C.*

              Causing harm to someone else for personal gain while trying to hide the fact before it’s too late is a trivial ethics problem. Why is this so difficult for you to understand?

                1. Mike C.*

                  Ok, so other folks are advocating saying nothing while harm comes to someone else and I’m the mean one for pointing it out? My use of “trivial” is not an insult, it’s to mark that this isn’t a complex or new issue. Various forms of fraud have been covered by ethicists and philosophers for thousands of years.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  It’s the “Why is this so difficult for you to understand?” that I’m objecting to. It’s overly harsh for the level of discourse I’d like here.

              1. Glorious Unicorn*

                Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean that they are stupid or ignorant. You’re speaking pretty harshly here.

        4. Elizabeth West*

          You’ve obviously never lost a job to outsourcing.

          It’s not racist–it still sucks whether the company is moving operations to India or Arkansas. They’re still planning to move and hire new workers at drastically reduced wages, and lay off all their existing workers. And if all the companies do this, where are the laid-off people going to work?

          The reason companies move ops overseas is because they get tax breaks from the politicians they bought, and because they can pay pennies in wages there. That’s it. It’s all about lining their executives and shareholders’ pockets.

          1. Temperance*

            Outsourcing destroyed my hometown. We used to have good manufacturing and other labor jobs, and they all got sent overseas. It disgusts me … and it’s part of the reason so many of my former neighbors and classmates are voting for Donald Trump.

        5. Observer*

          Apparently you don’t have a lot of experience with off shore outsourcing. Sometimes it makes good sense and works reasonably well. Other times it is a genuinely significant problem. This has nothing to do with racism, and trying to paint all objections to outsourcing as nothing but racism is, at best, not-credible.

          Given that the OP has reason to believe that the customer has legitimate concerns on the one hand, and that the company made a commitment, this is a real ethical lapse. In fact, reneging on a commitment is a lapse all on its own, even if it were over something truly foolish.

          If we should have learned anything by now, it’s that unethical behavior in supposed support of social justice causes that may not even be relevant does NOT lead to an increase in ethics, tolerance or any other good.

        6. MK*

          I don’t think anyone said outsourcing is unethical. If the OP’s company didn’t have an agreement with their client that there would be no outsourcing, the OP would have been seriously out of line taking any action. If they were upfront about their client that there were changing things, that would be fine too. But their trying to manipulate their client by hiding the outsourcing IS unethical. And I don’t think it actually matters all that much if it will be successful or not.

          Look at it this way: I want to eat beef in a restaurant, but I want the meat to be produced in the EU, not, say, Argentina. Maybe I am prejudiced to prefer meat produced in my continent, maybe argentinian beef is fine, maybe it’s even better, but I have a right to decide what goes into my stomach. So, I ask the hostess if their meat is EU and she tells me they use EU beef too and they will make my dish with that. Now, say she knows that they do have EU beef, but are going to be out of by the time my food will be cooked, but hopes that, after I have sat down, ordered, had drinks and appetizers and salad, I won’t get up in a huff to find a new restaurant, when they can bring the food to the table and apologetically tell be that, sadly, it had to be made with argentinian beef. This behavior is dishonest and manipulative; and it leaves me with the very unattractive options of eating the sort of beef I don’t want or leaving the place hungry (and judging by the attitude of this place with am argument as to whether I should pay for the things I consumed).

          It’s not the outsourcing; it’s the manipulation.

          1. finman*

            As an aside, Argentinian beef is the best I’ve ever eaten followed closely by Brazilian

        7. Temperance*

          Okay, so I grew up poor in a very disadvantaged blue collar area. My community was destroyed by outsourcing. IMO, outsourcing is highly unethical.

  14. KR*

    LW 3, can you defer the opportunity? The school might understand tha you’re not in a position to stop working and may be able to give you a year or two.

  15. PeachTea*

    #4: I’m confused when you say you’ll be “required” to sign a non-compete. If you haven’t already signed a non-compete, they most definitely CANNOT *make* you sign one when you leave. And if you do sign it, you have to get something for it or its a pretty unenforceable contract anyways. It has to somehow be mutually beneficial.

    So please, PLEASE, don’t let them bully you into thinking it’s something you must do. It is 100% not something you have to do.

    1. Gaara*

      Adding on to this, if you sign a noncompete, make sure you get something good in exchange. Don’t sign for no consideration just because you think it will be ineffective. Even if it’s not enforceable, it can scare off employers, and litigation is expensive.

      1. Maps*

        And even if you do sign a non-compete and get compensation in return, different states have different rules (assuming you are US-based) on how long non-competes can remain effective and the bounds of the geographic area, so it’s not a complete bar from the industry forever (unless, maybe, the compensation was REALLY good).

        Although, if you are leaving the industry because you want to, that’s a whole different story.

    2. Kelly White*

      I noticed this, too- OP seemed to gloss over it, but I have only ever had to sign a non-compete at the time I took a job- I don’t think you can be “required” to sign one on my way out the door.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Agreed — and really, what happens if the OP doesn’t sign? You sign a non-compete when you’re hired, with the understanding that if you don’t sign, you don’t start the job. It’s a condition of employment. But when the OP is getting ready to leave, there’s no way to frame it as anything but malicious.

    3. MK*

      I am guessing it will be part of her severance agreement if they lay her off because of the outsourcing.

      1. PeachTea*

        This is another interesting point. How could one think to enforce a non-compete when you don’t even offer the job in the United States any longer? Is my geographical distance from the area where the jobs are because that’s in India, and I’m seriously doubting crossing an ocean would be considered a reasonable distance.

        1. Mephyle*

          Well, they could try to forbid OP from taking a job with any of the company’s clients that OP has worked with. In fact that point was raised above; someone said OP could see whether s/he could get a job at the client company that they wanted to warn, and someone else said the non-compete might prevent that.

          And what could they hold over OP’s head? The severance terms, as mentioned by MK.

        2. Temperance*

          I’m wondering if she meant NDA instead of non-compete. NDAs with non-disparagement clauses are pretty standard.

  16. Not a Real Giraffe*

    #5: How was the interview scheduled in the first place? My assumption is that it was done over email. If so, can you reach out to the HR person or whoever coordinated the interview to ask for the person’s email address?

  17. Macedon*

    #1. Every posh fundraising function I’ve attended has been a tired affair sprawling over a brigade of offensively beige courses. My best tips are to arm yourself with patience and to very carefully pace your drinking, because you will be there for a longer time than you might think, and busying yourself with your phone is more frowned upon than at usual events. I’ve found opinions on bringing business cards along to vary: some think fundraisers are essentially networking occasions, some consider them to sit on the social side of the spectrum. Would bring a few cards in your purse, but not pop them out unless you see other people doing so.

    Beyond that: observe the invitation’s dress code. If one isn’t specified, don’t be afraid to contact the event runner and inquire. You are not committing any kind of faux pas, and it’s their bad for forgetting to list it. Likewise, let them know in advance if you have any dietary or health restrictions — you are not imposing on them, and they will be very happy to help you.

    #3. OP, when you say you’ve been invited to enroll, do you mean you’ve been accepted into the programme, or that the runners contacted you to urge you to apply? If the former, would the programme have an immediate start?

    If you’re still due to apply, even assuming you’re a sure-in, that’d put off the programme start for at least another nine months, putting you at the one-year work mark. If you’ve already been accepted and the programme is not an immediate start, you might still get a six-month work period in. When you’re pondering a short stay at a workplace, every additional month of service counts.

    Having said that, you know, you’re in a good place: you like the job, the company, the manager. You’re putting a lot of stock in fragile fortune-telling — unless this programme is a one-time deal, they will probably run it again in the future, and you will probably find a window of opportunity in your life when you are able to apply again.

    1. Artemesia*

      At a social event don’t give a card unless someone says to you ‘Do you have a card.’ Or perhaps if they say ‘let me get your Email’ and you can offer it on the card.

      1. fposte*

        I’m not sure that an awards banquet for industry leaders is a social event, though. I still wouldn’t lead with the card until checking out the lay of the land, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it followed professional norms rather than social ones.

      2. Macedon*

        Yes, but are awards or fundraisers social events or professional ones? They seem to frequently straddle the divide, and I’ve attended functions that fell on either side of it. Hence why I’d default to having cards on, but keeping an eye out to see if an exchange of them seems to be the event’s norm.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          My industry’s awards banquet is a professional event with long speeches, awards, and cheap wine. Companies buy tables to “have a presence” or vendors purchase them to secure business. I avoid carrying a purse so that when vendors are going around to company tables, I can use the “I didn’t carry a purse” excuse.

          We fill our 10 seats with staff, unlike the non-profit dinners where we are sponsors and the table is a mix of staff, spouses, and guests.

  18. Roscoe*

    #2 I’m actually on your side OP. Unfortunately those 2 steps above don’t always see the improvements that you see, at least not as quickly as you see them. It does give you an opening to get rid of this person, but you never now who you’ll get in return. Would you be able to convince your boss to maybe let this person do it on a probationary period? Maybe he can do it for 3 months, and you can see whats going on. Worst case scenario, if you realize its not going well early on, you could start the search for his replacement during that probationary period.

  19. Collie*

    #3, if you can’t defer and can’t get a leave of absence from your job, is it possible to do both? I just finished my full-time grad program while working full time (and two part-times on top of that). It won’t work for all programs of course — mine was online, so I had more flexibility there — but I’m curious if there’s a scheduling conflict that you know will be a problem or if it’s more a concern that you’ll be overwhelmed. If the latter, maybe it’s worth a shot trying to do both for a while and see if you can work out a good time management plan. I could be totally wrong, but wanted to suggest given the information I have. Good luck and congratulations on the opportunity!

    1. Judy*

      In my experience, and with the people I’ve observed, I’m not sure it would be possible for many programs.

      There would have been no way for me to work and take 3 graduate level courses, frankly I learned I could only handle one course a semester while working full time. My husband started part time while working full time and finished his masters full time, and was drowning with 3 graduate classes. These degrees (and full time jobs) were STEM, so that may be the difference.

      1. Collie*

        Sure. I’ll be the first to admit my program was easy and probably an exception, not the rule. Like I said, I could be totally wrong, but thought it was worth the suggestion.

    2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      I have seen a trend recently in MBA and other finance programs where they explicit state you can’t/shouldn’t work at all during your schooling. Especially for some of the accelerated 12-15mo programs.

  20. Re: #3*

    Can you defer enrollment into the program? I’m not sure if that’s possible, but it never hurts to ask.

  21. SomeHRDude*

    OP5: Have you tried a service like Email Hunter? You may be able to track down the email address fairly easily. I use it frequently in recruiting efforts and have had a great deal of success.

    1. Liza*

      SomeHRDude, I just tried that site for my own company and about half the addresses it gave me were wrong. YMMV.

      1. SomeHRDude*

        Liza, no doubt it isn’t perfect. But if you toy with it, it will narrow it down for you 9 times out of 10 for larger companies. Smaller companies are always a toss up.

  22. Not Karen*

    #3: Like someone mentioned above, any way you can defer the program until next year? Some degree programs let you do that for sure.

    #5: If you don’t have the interviewer’s e-mail, then I’m curious how you sent them the obligatory post-interview thank you note…

  23. VG*

    OP #3 I hope you’re making a lot enquiries to make sure that this course will lead to tangible career benefits in your industry and that you’ve exhausted any options to defer your enrolment. It’d be a shame to regret leaving a good job where you were happy if things don’t pan out down the track. All the best and congratulations on the offer.

  24. Important Moi*

    Could someone explain NDA’s in the United States to me, please?
    1. Can a company present you with one during your exit from that company?
    2. If you had no knowledge of having to sign one prior to that moment, can you refuse to sign?
    3. If you refuse to sign, what can a company do to you?
    4. Do you as the former employee have any recourse if the company does anything to you?

    1. fposte*

      1. Yes.
      2. Yes.
      3. Not give you severance if they were going to otherwise (the most common arrangement for a final signature is in exchange for severance), or say mean things about you in the industry.
      4. No, unless you’re otherwise contractually entitled to severance or the mean things rise to the level of defamation.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        One addition is that in order for it to be valid, you need to receive “consideration” of some sort. A severance payment would qualify. If there’s no severance attached, though, it’s probably not going to be a valid contract, if they’re asking you to sign as you’re leaving.

  25. animaniactoo*

    #4 – From painful experience, you also don’t want to leave *any* details in a voicemail. I was young. You probably already know this.

  26. Elizabeth West*

    On #1, if I were OP, I would politely decline the professor’s offer and just concentrate on doing well at my new job. It’s a generous thing to do, but the company may look a bit askance at a new employee attending a senior-level event before she even starts. And other employees might wonder who she’s sucking up to that she gets this ticket when they don’t–not that this should matter if someone gave it to her, but it could start things off on the wrong foot with coworkers.

    1. LD*

      Well, in this situation, if OP #1 is not going to be sponsored by her future employer and she’s not yet an employee then her future “coworkers” won’t have any reason to consider why she’s there. They might ask, and the OP could say, “My professor invited me.” It’s really not a big deal. Unless this is a very prized event where tickets or sponsorships are limited and in high demand, people attend events like this all the time because of their relationships with the event sponsor and others who are buying tables. They can be interesting, entertaining, boring, and all of the above. If OP chooses to go, don’t worry about what others will think. Just respond that you are pleased to be offered the opportunity and appreciate your professor doing that for you; and that you look forward to working with “new future coworkers” when you start. Alison once advised in a much more difficult work situation something like this, pretend you are doing research on another life form and observe those around you with interest and curiosity. Maybe you’ll have a good time or at least not a miserable time!

  27. E*

    On #1, $60 actually  doesn’t sound all that fancy for a non profit fundraiser. Think about the cost of a nice wedding: $60/pp doesn’t get you very far in a nice venue. There are a lot of nonprofit dinners I’ve seen where the cost to attend is much higher (e.g., $3000-5000 for a table of 10, sometimes with a young professional price in the $125 range, or sometimes less but without a seated dinner – just drinks and apps) and some of the advice from commenters seems to assume it will be more like a fancy gala, rather than what I’d guess is likely to be a less formal affair.

    I still agree with Allison’s advice not to ask the employer to pay for this before OP even starts working, but as someone on this circuit, I think the $60 price point is being glossed over.

    1. Julia*

      I was just coming to say this :)

      The two main organizations I volunteer with have “big-ticket” annual events that are $70/80 and $90/100 respectively. The NP I work for has an annual gala that is a $500 ticket. I live near a church that does a fundraising dinner every year for $250 a head, and another that has an annual New Year’s party for young professionals for about $75. Granted I’m in a major city.

      $60 strikes me as being decidedly on the low end for a fundraiser, so I would try not to let that sum of money scare you too much. I’ve been involved in planning fundraising events at the $70/80 price point and while they are nice events and do generate funds, they’re also deliberately priced low in view of the people we expect to come and because we see them as social occasions as well as fundraisers. So yes, while you would not spend $60 on a dinner for yourself, spending $60 on a ticket for someone to go to this event could easily seem like not a big deal even to a professor who’s not a millionaire. And it may be that she’s planning to buy a table and give you one of the seats.

      I agree with Alison that it does seem like jumping the gun, and that you shouldn’t go if you truly will not be able to converse with people. But on the other hand you have someone who seems to feel strongly that this could be good for you. Sometimes that works out (and of course sometimes it doesn’t). If you can get into a mindset that you’re excited to join this field and be a member of this professional community, this could indeed be an interesting and valuable occasion, or at least an opportunity to get a feel for what is and isn’t helpful in your career.

      I would only add that if you do decide that you shouldn’t go on your professor’s ticket you can assure her that you’ll be looking forward to going next year when you’ll be more established. That might be a nice way of telling her that you value her advice and judgment.

  28. Student*

    #4 They can’t make you sign a non-compete on your way out the door if they don’t already have one. Don’t do it if you have nothing to gain from it personally. The only reasonable exception would be if it’s a condition for a nice severance package – then think about which you want and choose for yourself; they can’t force you to do anything.

  29. R2D2*

    #2: Reserving remote work as a prize for stellar performers is a mistake. Often the thing boosting the stellar performers is the same one dragging the mediocre ones down — the workplace environment and culture. The extrovert who finds “over the cubicle wall” chit chat an energizing reminder that they are part of a team working towards a common vision may find that they no longer have an easy power source sitting alone at a desk at home, while the introvert who finds the ebb and flow of office gossip exhausting can often come into their own in an environment “free of distractions”.

    1. fposte*

      Maybe, but letting somebody work remote in the hope they get better is kind of like hiring somebody in hope that they’ll be better. If you don’t think they’re that good, the thing really to do is replace them.

    2. Charity*

      That’s true, but I think it’s valid to expect someone to prove themselves before you expend additional effort like that. I’ve managed offsite teams before and it’s definitely an additional layer of complexity. I agree that it shouldn’t be treated as a ‘prize’; the manager should try to do what is best for the job in these cases, but if someone is a low performer or needs extra supervision and hand-holding then going to the trouble of managing them remotely.

      I’m not sure that a manager can take it for granted that an employee will do better with a different environment without talking to that employee first.Yeah, sometimes people struggle because they are distracted by being around other employees, but sometimes they struggle because they aren’t well-suited for the job they have.

Comments are closed.