a friend is aggressively trying to get a sales lead from me, I was offered a new job but they won’t tell me the salary, and more

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

1. My boyfriend’s friend is aggressively trying to get a sales lead from me

A guy from my boyfriend’s gaming group is going way overboard trying to contact me because he wants me to introduce him to people at my company. Two days ago, I got Facebook friend request from Guy. I don’t know Guy. Boyfriend is a mutual friend, so I ask Boyfriend and he says “oh, that’s Guy from Gaming group. I don’t think you’ve met him. Weird.” So I decline the friend request.

Yesterday,I see that Guy was looking at my profile on LinkedIn. Later during the day yesterday, I get a voicemail on my private, internal, company phone from Guy. All it says is “Hi OP! this is Guy, Boyfriend’s friend that you ran into at Restaurant a year ago (so I have met him?). I got a new job at a new company and was wondering if you’d put me in contact with people at YourCompany. Thanks, bye.”

At this point, I’m uncomfortable, annoyed, and concerned how he got my work number (he’d literally have to call random support lines at my company until someone put him through without screening it with me – which is our normal protocol). So I didn’t deal with it yesterday – I mean, so far it’s been maybe 24 hours for this whole thing to play out.

This morning, I see that Guy looked at my Linkedin profile again, looked at my personal website (which I have a link to on Linkedin), and emailed my personal inbox (which is on my website). AGAIN, the email basically says “Sorry to bother you, and sorry if it was inappropriate for me to call you before emailing. Can you put me in contact with the Tea Buyer at YourCompany? I won’t tell them you gave me their number.”

Based on his signature line, I can see he is in Sales at a Tea Company… so I’m assuming he’s trying to sell us things (but he still didn’t tell me that). How would you respond? We’re in our mid-20s, so I can’t help but think he may just be a bit clueless and could benefit from some candid feedback. But honestly, this was bad from step one of “Facebook request to network” to the final step of “I’ll keep it a secret if you give me their information.” I don’t know where to start if I were to give feedback. Right now, the plan is just to say “I don’t mix personal and professional life, so I can’t help you out. Sorry.” and leave it at that.

I think that’s fine. Or you could say, “Our tea buyers prefer not to get unsolicited sales pitches” (if that’s true) or just “I don’t think I’m able to help — sorry.”

If you want to, you could preface that with something like, “Whoa, that’s a lot of messages in a 24-hour period. I don’t know if you realize that that’s going to read as overly aggressive to a lot of people!” But be aware that many people are distinctly Not Grateful for feedback that tells them they did something wrong, and he might be a snot about it.

2. I was offered a new position but they won’t tell me what the pay is

I work in the medical field in a private clinic. Our field is growing and I’ve been asked to move into a trainer role and officially train new hires, while continuing my current duties as well. I have option of turning down this position. I would be paid for the training and receive a bonus after six months, but the regional director said to my boss and I that she couldn’t disclose what my additional pay would be or the bonus. If a trainee makes a mistake and I don’t catch it, I haven’t been told either how that would affect the additional pay or bonus. The regional director is asking if I would consider the position. I said that I couldn’t make a decision because of the lack of information.

I’ve been training two new hires in an unofficial capacity for the past six weeks and am still waiting to be paid. My employer agreed to pay me extra for this. I’ve asked about the pay and was told HR is still verifying that I really did train two new hires, and my manager and I have filled out stacks of additional paperwork for documentations. My fear is if I accept officially without any salary and bonus documentation, my company could easily not pay me anything extra.

Yeah, they can’t offer you a new role and expect to keep the pay a secret from you. That’s ridiculous. Say this to them: “I’m very interested in taking this on, but of course I need to know specifics about the pay. When will you be able to share that with me?” If you’re again told that they can’t disclose it (?!!?), ask them why. That doesn’t make any sense, and I would be very wary of accepting this until that’s worked out and in writing — otherwise you could find yourself receiving no additional pay at all.

Read an update to this letter here.

3. Timing my resignation when we have upcoming layoffs

I have been working at a large company for almost two years, and have recently decided that I’d like to relocate to be closer to family. I’m planning to wait until the fall, since my 401K won’t be vested till August.

However, our department is facing a round of layoffs that are happening in early July. I don’t think my specific position is in danger of being eliminated, since it’s fairly specific and on a smaller team within the larger department. Should I tell my manager that I plan on leaving before the layoffs happen? The timing seems a bit complicated. A friend said she thought I should tell someone, since they could keep my job over someone else more committed to the company long term, but it does seem like they’d be eliminating based on position, rather than the specific people in roles now. I have good relationships with my managers and coworkers here, and would like to handle this in the best way possible.

This is tricky. If you definitely don’t want to leave until your 401K vests in August, you risk being pushed out earlier if you speak up now. On the other hand, your friend is right that it could end up saving someone else’s job. You’re right that companies usually eliminated positions based on roles — but sometimes it does come down to specific people, and depending on specifics that I don’t have, if they’re in dire straits, they might be jump at the chance to save costs in your position and not have to cut someone else. (Sometimes too, in a situation like this, a company will move an existing employee into the role you’re vacating and cut their old position, thus keeping the person around.)

This all depends on information I don’t have and which you probably can’t predict. You’re going to have to make the calculation based on (a) how much you need to stay through August, (b) the likelihood that they’d push you out a month earlier than you want to leave, (c) how much you trust your manager to handle this the way you hope she will, and (d) whether you think you could negotiate to keep your August vesting even if they do want to push you out earlier.

4. How do I tell my boss I can’t travel for two weeks because I’m attending a film festival outside of work hours?

I have a great job that I’ve been in for about a year, and for the most part I’ve been really happy here. I’m given a lot of flexibility in my day-to-day working life, I have a great relationship with my boss and coworkers, and I’ve made a pretty big impact in my role so far.

Because a lot of our customers are located overseas, some of our staff have to travel frequently. In the last month, I’ve had to travel twice on very short notice. I should stress that this is not supposed to be part of my role, but on both occasions I was able to help out the company by being able to travel when no one else was available. I find work travel very stressful, but since I don’t generally have a lot of commitments at home I’m usually able to be quite accommodating.

Due to some inside info that I have, I strongly suspect some more travel is on the horizon and I’m going to be asked — again, at the last minute — to travel internationally in the next few weeks. The trouble is that this timeline conflicts with an event on my personal calendar that means a lot to me, but probably doesn’t seem that significant to my boss.

Outside of work, I am super into movies, and the highlight of my year is approaching: our city’s annual film festival, which runs for two weeks. I’ve been attending this thing for more than 10 years, and generally I will try to see as many films as I can, which means I’m usually seeing back-to-back movies every night after work and on the weekend. I absolutely love it and look forward to it all year.

Aside from the fact that I’ve already spent more than $500 on my season ticket to this festival, I would be devastated if I had to miss out on it. But I feel like if I get asked to travel at the last minute again, it’s going to sound like a pretty frivolous reason to say no. How do I explain to my boss that I won’t be able to travel because I want to watch movies? Should I be vague and just say that I have a personal reason for not being able to travel? What would you recommend?

You could absolutely just be vague and say, “I have a bunch of personal commitments outside of work during these two weeks that I’m not able to break.” I don’t think you need to get into details; it should be sufficiently to simply say this.

But you could also try to ward this off now before it even comes up, by saying to your boss, “Hey, I know you’ve asked me to cover some travel in the past, so I wanted to give you a heads-up that I definitely can’t travel (date) to (date) because I have a bunch of evening commitments during that period.”

5. Will switching to a job with a lower-sounding title look like a demotion?

I am looking to transition into the nonprofit world, and I wondered about changes in title that would appear to be a downgrade. For example, in my current entry-level job, I am a teapot coordinator, but there are a couple jobs I am interested in locally with titles like “teapot assistant,” with similar work to what I’m doing now. These jobs then report to a teapot coordinator.

Would taking one of these jobs appear to be a demotion on my resume in the future, and is this something I would address in the interview process? I truly don’t mind going for an “assistant” title if the work is worthwhile, but years down the road, I wouldn’t want the next interviewer to assume it was a demotion. The actual jobs themselves look promising and I am interested in the work–just wanted a hiring manager’s thoughts on the title transition.

I wouldn’t worry about that too much. “Coordinator” and “assistant” are often used pretty interchangeably at junior levels in nonprofits, and it should be clear from the bullet points describing your accomplishments at each job that the work wasn’t a step back.

{ 178 comments… read them below }

  1. Clever Name*

    #1 I got major creepy vibes just reading your question. I would just ignore his attempts to contact you at work and block him on all social media. You don’t owe this guy anything whatsoever. If he really wanted to simply network for a possible sale, it would be way more normal for him to ask your boyfriend to introduce you and explain why.

    1. Mephisto*

      I don’t think it’s necessarily creepy, I think it’s normal (but annoying), overly-pushy sales stuff. And I don’t read anything in the letter that makes me think this isn’t networking for a sale. Do you think he’s trying to ask her on a date just because he’s a man and she’s a woman?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, I read it as your typical way-too-aggressive sales tactics. I mean, it’s certainly possible that it could be creepy in a different way, but ridiculously aggressive sales people are very common and this reads like that to me (and I think that’s how it reads to the OP). Either way, though, clearly shutting it down is the way to go.

      2. AdAgencyChick*

        Agree, it’s pretty annoyingly normal. I keep getting emails from people I’ve never met worded, “Would you like to meet on X or Y day?” as though I’ve already agreed to meet at all. When I don’t answer them, I get increasingly scolding emails trying to get me to talk to them. I get these messages from both men and women, which is hilarious since I don’t choose vendors for ANYTHING at my company!

        I just send these people to my spam folder, but since OP is getting phone calls, I would go with a terse “I’m not able to help with that. Please don’t call again.”

        1. LQ*

          I’ve started to get these too. Except I’m so far from the actual people who buy these things that I don’t even know who they are! And we are a government agency so all the how we purchase is on our website. It feels slightly hostile to me to just send them a link to the procurement site, but I’ve just been ignoring the emails, maybe I’ll try the link next time.
          It’s just a sales thing.

        2. Allison*

          My job title is Sourcer, and what I actually do is source candidates for an internal recruitment team, but agencies seem to think I “source” services for the team, so they’re always hitting me up about all these amazing search services they have and their huge databases full of engineers they can send us, and I wanna be like “nope, that’s my job, stop offering to replace me!” but instead I politely inform them we’re not looking to partner with any new agencies at this time. If they push, I ignore them.

          1. blackcat*

            I read “sourcer” as “sorcerer” and thought, man, she must have one cool job. :)

            1. Allison*

              Well I am expected to basically perform miracles. “Here’s a really tricky job we’re having a hard time with, please send me 10 perfect profiles a week or I’ll assume you’re lazy and stupid! oh and if any of them are inadequate, I’ll act rude and passive-aggressive towards you for a whole day!”

            2. Sarianna*

              Yes! Allison, you should totally refer to your work as ‘sourcery’! (Do you have an apprentice? ;) )

        3. Koko*

          Oh yeah, and I love when they continue the charade for several emails acting as though you’ve been having a two-way conversation and they haven’t just been firing one missive after another at you with no response.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Yeah, that was my take–that he’s using a personal connection (however tenuous) to the company to get his foot in the door on the sales thing.

        Annoying and asinine, but not necessarily creepy.

        1. Mickey Q*

          I told a salesman today to please stop emailing me. You’re not under any obligation to do anything for them.

    2. Rat Racer*

      The good news for the OP is that there is little to no social risk for blocking this guy, ignoring his requests, or addressing him directly and shutting this down. He doesn’t sound like a close friend of her significant other, so the OP doesn’t have to worry over-much about damaging a relationship.

      I was once approached by one of my daughter’s friend’s parents with a similar “Can you get me an IN?” question, and hoo boy that was painful. I sang the “oh I’m super busy” song over and over until he finally gave up, but it’s awkward whenever I run into him.

      1. disconnect*

        Even if OP’s SO and PushyGuy were true BFFs, it’s still not the OP’s problem. PushyGuy is violating the social contract, and the assholishness is therefore on him. The same applies to your daughter’s friend’s parent; he’s the one who leveraged your relationship in an attempt to further his own wants, and therefore any remaining awkwardness is not your fault. I would say “you are hereby resolved of guilt”, except you never really had any guilt in the first place.

        1. Rat Racer*

          You’re right of course – the OP doesn’t owe this guy anything, just like I’m not indebted Nursery School Dad. My only point is that (speaking only for myself here) I use different tactics if I’m being imposition-ed by a total stranger, vs. someone I have to see over and over again.

          1. CM*

            I think “Sorry, I’m not comfortable doing that” works for both strangers and Nursery School Dad. “Busy” tends to encourage pushy people to keep pushing, because in the future you might not be so busy.

            1. Artemesia*

              This. Nothing wrong with Nursery School Dad asking once — but the best response is ‘I’d love to but I really can’t help you with that.’ Busy just says ‘keep trying till I am not busy.’

    3. INTP*

      It seems like pretty calculated learned sales techniques to me more than creep behavior. (They have a lot in common because they’re both trying to get you to agree to something you don’t want, of course.)

      However, do not under any circumstances give him the contact info. He will tell the person and you will look incredibly unprofessional. Its common sense never to share your coworkers’ contact info with sales people just like you’d never knowingly sign them up for a spam list or something.

      1. OhNo*

        You said exactly what I was thinking – he will definitely tell the person you send him to, promises to be discreet be damned. The fact that he’s pushing this hard with a virtual stranger is a pretty good hint that he’s not someone with a great sense of boundaries.

    4. Mike C.*

      Yeah, I don’t care how “normal” it is either, it would creep me out just the same. The idea of someone trying to pursue my attention for what will end up being nothing but a sales lead would make me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

    5. OP#1*

      I definitely freaked out a bit when I got his voicemail, and there are uncomfortable elements to his tactics, but my gut reaction is that he’s just a pushy sales guy (that came across extra weird because he never told me he was in sales!).

      1. Chickaletta*

        Yes, he does seem pushy, but don’t read too much into it either. Just respond with a short, direct statement that you won’t be able to put him in touch with someone in your company. Then ignore his friend requests on Facebook. As for him looking at your LinkedIn profile, well, that’s kinda what LinkedIn is for – so that other people can find you and network. If you’re uncomfortable with people doing that in general, then change the privacy settings and remove some of the details on your profile. Or consider deleting your account altogether if that’s an option you could live with. But being on any form of social media means that people will find you there and that includes people who aren’t your first choice to connect with. It is very likely that you’ll get these types of friend requests again, so think ahead about how you’d like to deal with it the next time it happens, there’s several reasonable options.

  2. MarinaZ*

    I think the guy might be over-eager but finding work phone numbers isn’t that hard and LinkedIn is hardly a state secret. I don’t get all the drama–if he asks the OP’s BF for an introduction, that seems to be mixing personal and professional relationships more than just contacting her directly. Ask vs Guess, etc..
    Why not just refer him to the appropriate person? If his company sells something the OP’s business can use, what’s the bfd?

    1. Uyulala*

      If the work phone number for the purchaser was something that was so easy to find, then he would have just done that instead of bothering the OP at all.

    2. Engineer Girl*

      The deal is that he’s pushing himself on her and asking favors when he doesn’t even have any type of relationship with her. And he’s offering nothing in return. That’s quite the entitled attitude. The fact that he’s so tone deaf about business protocols would mean he’s probably not the person her company would want to deal with.

    3. Sarahnova*

      The deal is that most people with buying responsibility haaaaaaate getting cold sales calls, and will likely be rightly cross at the OP for giving out their details.

      The other deal is that so many messages in 24hrs, including sustained effort to get to an unlisted number, crosses some boundaries and raises a red flag. Many of us, especially women, rightly have instincts highly attuned to when people are willing to ignore social norms and to pester us excessively, because it can be a major warning sign that they’re willing to ignore other things, like our explicitly stated desire that they leave us alone.

      It is never OK to armchair-quarterback a situation all, “What’s the big deal, he’s probably just enthusiastic, give him a chance”. The instincts of the person in the situation are the #1 data point, and OP is not happy. Maybe he’s “just” annoying and pushy, but maybe he’s worse that that, and either way, OP has a legitimate need and desire to tell him to back the hell off.

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        Yes to everything you said, Sarahnova. This dude has serious boundary issues and needs to be shut down.

      2. Sarianna*

        I hate to say it, but when I first read the OP’s phrasing “Guy from Gaming group” I half expected inappropriate boundary-pushing from the get-go. Not to say that all D&D/MMO/whatever players aren’t respectful/good with consent–I know plenty who are!–but there is certainly a stereotype of social awkwardness and boundary-pushing.

        Situational appropriateness. Go ahead and badger the barkeep who’s covering for the necromancer who’s secretly a follower of Lolth so you can save the villagers from being sacrificed to raise the undead spider army. Leave RL nonacquaintances alone and stop interfering.

          1. Sarianna*

            Well, at least he listened to the advice of ‘do what you know how to do,’ I suppose.

        1. Rmric0*

          It seems like there’s always that one guy (well, 99% of the time a guy) in any group of nerd friends that no one actually likes but he’s kept around out of a misguided sense of dork solidarity. I’d imagine if LW hadn’t met him since she started dating, that’s teh exact guy we’re talking about.

          1. OP#1*

            Haha, that pretty much fits SO’s description of this guy. SO described him as “nice but a little awkward,” which leads me to think it’s a misunderstanding and not “creepy.”

          2. Koko*

            There’s a similar thing that happens in artist/burner/festival kind of counter-culture. Those people pride themselves on being inclusive and accepting of a wide variety of unusual behaviors and lifestyles, and so people who get excluded or ignored or told not to return in other scenes because they make people uncomfortable or they take too many drugs and become irresponsible/reckless, whatever, often land in that “party culture” and nobody will kick them out because inclusiveness. It’s like the lowest-common-denominator scene, everyone sort of agrees they don’t really like the guy or girl and they personally avoid them but someone always invites him or her to every event because they just copy the guest list from a previous event or invite all their facebook friends or think the guy will be hurt to be left out and that the rest of the scene will judge them unfavorably for excluding someone.

        2. OriginalEmma*

          OP is not an NPC that Guy can keep questioning until he gets the info he needs to continue on his quest. He needs to stop rolling for Intimidation and make an Insight or Perception check, toute de freakin’ suite.

          1. Marcela*

            You are right, but OP should behave like most basic NPCs, giving him the exact same “No” answer every time :D

            1. OriginalEmma*

              Nah, OP needs to give confusing, rote answers like “So you like crossbows? I’m a sword man, m’self!” Or “The well is awful dry for this time of year. “

          2. Anonyby*

            Sense Motive would likely be a better skill to roll, but as others said he probably has no ranks in it with a low Wis.

      3. The Strand*

        Gosh, what a beautiful summary in just a few paragraphs. Thank you for this. Agree that this behavior can be a warning sign about other bad behaviors.

    4. Katie the Fed*

      What drama?

      She doesn’t know him at all, and doesn’t want to give him the contact (who will almost certainly try to mention their friendship to get in with the buyer). He’s being inappropriate and she’s under no obligation to assist him.

    5. INTP*

      Yeah, these sound like techniques taught by a company that expects its sales people to be pushy. They learn ways to make people feel obligated to interact and to sound like they’re returning a real call to get forwarded to your work phone without being screened. While it’s annoying and I think it would be fine to ignore him entirely like you would any other annoying sales person, it doesn’t scream “creep” to me.

      1. INTP*

        Oh, but I definitely wouldn’t refer him to the buyer. There’s an implicit agreement among coworkers to help screen annoying sales people from each other! It would come across as helping with the guy’s sales pitch because it is so common sense not to give sales people contact info.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yep, the one time I had *huge* trouble getting rid of a persistent person, I finally said, “I can’t do that; I’m sorry. If you’d like to give me your contact info, however, I can give it to my boss.”

          And the next time I had to talk to my boss about something anyway, I walked the contact info to my boss’s office and told him I’d promised a pushy salesguy to pass on his contact info so the guy would go away, and where would he like it? I dumped it straight in his wastebasket, as I rather expected.

        2. Koko*

          Yes…the only time I will ever refer a salesperson to a coworker is after first checking with the coworker to see if they have any interest. If they don’t I usually don’t even reply. Sending pushy salespeople to interrupt a coworkers day is Just Not Done.

    6. themmases*

      The OP explained pretty clearly in their letter why finding their work number would have been hard, and that this person would have had to work at circumventing their company’s normal processes to even get through to it. I think it’s pretty out of line to nitpick the OP, while at the same time indicating that you didn’t read or understand their letter.

      The drama here seems to be all on the sales guy’s end. The attempted contact the OP described all happened in about 24 hours– that’s an extreme and inappropriate level even if this guy had some legitimate reason to be contacting them. I used to work in medicine and I’ve never had a legitimate colleague attempt the level of contact described here, even when the situation was urgent. I would never contact a friend over and over like this unless they were responding or I was worried about them. And this guy is neither a friend not a colleague of the OP.

    7. OP#1*

      I think that’s a fair question, MarinaZ. I don’t feel comfortable passing on his information to the “Tea Buying” team because I don’t actually know them. So I don’t know if they would be okay with it or annoyed or what.

      My company has about a thousand employees and I am several levels removed from the “Tea buyers”… for example, imagine I’m over in the area of “the training team for proper etiquette on teacup spoons.”

      And, quite frankly, after three or four attempts, I was very frustrated that he never even told me his job, his company, or why he wanted the information. I made an assumption based on his work signature in the email.

      1. Winterfell will Rise Again*

        He left one voicemail and sent you one email. How is that 3 or 4 attempts? The FB request isn’t exactly personal contact.

        You’re concerned this guy looked at your profile on social media and then looked at your website and actually emailed you? What is the purpose of linked in and websites if not that?

        I can see from the comments that most people might have handled the outreach differently but I don’t see how this sales person was so far out of line. I really just don’t see the weird factor.

        1. OP#1*

          You’re right in that the Facebook request could be a separate coincidence (or he sent a request there and then thought of trying to network afterwards), but with it so close together with the phone call and email, I assumed it was connected. Between that assumption and the short timespan, it made me uncomfortable.

          I did just send him a polite “Sorry, I can’t help you email” in the end.

    8. CMT*

      What do you mean drama? He’s the sole person being inappropriate here. OP is most certainly not causing any “drama”.

  3. Engineer Girl*

    #4 – You spent $500 to attend a major event. That’s not a frivolous amount of money! People pay more than that for Super Bowl tickets and that lasts a shorter time.
    Let your boss know NOW that you have made a significant financial commitment for an event in town and you won’t be available after work that week. If you’re not available after work then you won’t be available for travel either.
    It’s important to let them know before you are asked. If they ask first you’ll have to defend your position not to go. If you tell first then they have to defend forcing you to cancel on your financial commitment.

    1. Movie-loving Letter Writer*

      Thank you for the advice! It’s definitely not a small amount of money, but I think my company would actually offer to cover the cost if I told them that was the reason I didn’t want to go. So I’m reluctant to play the financial hand, because the experience is worth much more to me than the money.

      It’s definitely wise to start telling people in advance that I can’t travel during those two weeks, though. (I actually did already mention it to my boss a few weeks ago, but he has a lot on his mind and I’m pretty sure he’s already forgotten).

      1. Sara M*

        Don’t name the exact reason. You have “evening commitments”. Full stop.

        And if you feel guilty, don’t. You took your turn doing sudden travel. It’s someone else’s turn.

        Enjoy your movies!

        1. Movie-loving Letter Writer*

          I definitely like the term “evening commitments” – I will be using that! I agree that it’s probably best to keep it vague and let their imagination fill in the gaps. (Maybe I’m having relatives staying at my house; maybe I’m seeing a fertility specialist; maybe my partner is having elective surgery. It helps to imagine all the more legitimate-sounding reasons I could have!).

          I don’t think I could win any arguments if I told them the real reason.

          1. Apollo Warbucks*

            Wanting to enjoy an event you’ve attended for the last 10 years is legitimate!

            I take a week or two off work every summer for a festival ive been going to since I was a kid and I’d be upset if someone said its wasn’t worth while or I should put a higher priority on work commitments.

            Don’t over think this, you have plans that mean you can’t travel that is all you need to say. you don’t need to justify them to anyone.

            1. neverjaunty*

              THIS. You don’t need a signed permission note from the Chief Fun-Dispenser in HR. It’s perfectly acceptable to say “I won’t be available during this period of time for travel.”

          2. Joseph*

            There’s a definitely a scale of “acceptable reasons”, so the instant you get into why exactly you’re busy, then they start judging it and evaluating whether this is really that important. As general principle, I think it’s best to keep it vague unless (a) you know it won’t affect their decision and/or (b) your reason is so bulletproof that no reasonable person would argue with it (e.g., surgery).

            Though Engineer Girl is right that you should tell them ASAP you’re unavailable in the evenings between X and Y.

            1. Movie-loving Letter Writer*

              Yes, this is exactly what I’ve been worried about! Years ago at my previous job, I naively declined a 9pm conference call and told my boss it was because I had a weekly poker night that I didn’t want to miss. He was a pretty reasonable guy, but he clearly thought my excuse was ridiculous. In the end I gave up a year’s worth of poker nights with my friends in favour of weekly 9pm conference calls, that only ended when I left that job.

              1. sunny-dee*

                If I have something and someone is pressing me for a reason, I usually say I have a class or a seminar. Yes, we should be able to just say no, but sometimes people really do push and push, and it’s hard to argue with “class” or “lecture” or something. It’s vague (and not false), but it has the sheen of professional / personal development, and people feel guilty if they argue with that.

                1. Stranger than fiction*

                  This is exactly the excuse I was thinking of if they push. Say you paid and registered for a class. Second thought was something medical, like some physical therapy for an old soccer injury (but they shouldn’t really ask what it’s for of course, but if they do).

                2. Movie-loving Letter Writer*

                  This is great! Totally going to use this one in the future.

                  It’s annoying that there is an implied judgment about what sorts of activities, conducted in your own personal time, are the most “worthy” of prioritising over work. But given that this judgment exists, it makes sense to be pragmatic about it.

              2. Rusty Shackelford*

                I was witness to this conversation once:

                So, when can we meet next? I’m open at 3:00 on Friday, what about you guys?

                I’ve got a haircut at 3:00 on Friday.

                Oh, well, I’m suuuuuure you can rearrange that… (with a big “you were just saying that to be funny, weren’t you?” grin)

                Actually, no. I’m not available at that time.

                It was awesome.

          3. INTP*

            I think it also works in your favor that you have traveled on short notice multiple times before. Clearly you aren’t a person who will just say “no” because you don’t feel like traveling. I bet that has earned you some trust so that they won’t question it too intensely when you are unavailable one time, especially letting them know the range ahead of time. (Unless they’re just crappy people that use pressure to make employees comply with travel, in which case you’ll need to set uncomfortable boundaries anyways.)

            1. Movie-loving Letter Writer*

              Great point! I definitely earned myself some pretty big brownie points on one of those trips in particular. (I was the only person who could travel to man a conference booth, and if I hadn’t been able to make it the company probably would have thrown away thousands of dollars. Those booths aren’t cheap!)

              1. jhhj*

                Also it means that they understood when your coworkers couldn’t travel to that conference — I think you’re probably at a reasonable company who will say, ok, MLLW can’t go this time but went last time, we’ll find someone else.

                That said I absolutely would not tell them why you can’t go because “seeing a bunch of movies” just doesn’t sound good, no matter how reasonable it is (very reasonable to not want to go during this period).

        2. themmases*

          I would definitely not give the reason. Not because the festival is frivolous but because giving excuses when you say “no” invites an argument and people trying to “help” you make it work. I think your instincts are right not to bring up the money necessarily, because being paid back for your ticket wouldn’t make the travel OK with you. I would only bring it up if they push.

          If you think about it, the fact that you cover other people’s travel (and you at least have an inkling it could happen weeks or months ahead of time) indicates that there is flexibility here even for the people whose job it is to go. I would go in with that expectation and realize that unless you work somewhere pretty dysfunctional, other people probably also are saying no to travel– especially last-minute, out of job scope travel– whether it gets back to you or not.

          1. sunny-dee*

            I had a product manager who did that! QE would say, “no, we don’t have the resources to do that because we’re committed to XYZ.” And then at the next meeting, he would say, “QE has agreed to do this because I have determined that XYZ are lower priority than what I want.”

          2. INTP*

            I think that’s great advice when it comes to saying “no” to things in any context in life. Whether you’re explaining to an acquaintance why you don’t want her MLM product or to a persistent person why you don’t want to go on a date with them or to your employer why you can’t be available outside your normal schedule, giving specific reasons is an invitation to argue with you and tell you how you CAN make it work. “No because I can’t” or “No because I don’t want to” work better and are usually the truthful answer anyways. (Plus if giving certain reasons works, it’s usually because the person has picked up on the fact that you’re tactfully saying you don’t want to, and is choosing to accept that.)

            1. HOBBITS! the musical*

              I’ve only read down this far so someone else may have said this: at other favourite blog Captain Awkward it’s constantly reiterated that “no is a complete sentence” i.e. no reasons = nothing to argue with or push against.

              In this case, “I’m unavailable for travel x to x dates” full stop end of sentence.

              But like the OP has said, her company is probably reasonable about staff saying ‘no can do’ to travel.

          3. Rusty Shackelford*

            Yep. It’s called “JADE” – justify, argue, defend, explain. Don’t do it. It just gives the other person something to argue against or “fix.” “I can’t go because of X.” “Oh, that’s no problem, here’s what you do to solve that.” Just say “I’m sorry, I’m not available during that time because of other commitments.”

        3. Ife*

          “Don’t name the exact reason. You have “evening commitments”. Full stop.”

          Maybe my coworkers are overly nosy, but I’m having a hard time imagining that being the last word. How do you respond to follow up questions like, “Ok cool, what are you doing that evening?” I’m not sure how I would respond to that without revealing the commitment, lying, or making the situation very awkward by dropping a conversation-ender like “it’s personal.”

          1. NJ Anon*

            I would just make something up. Like someone said, “I have a class that’s paid for and any absences count against my grade.” “Myou parents are in town for a vist; I’m pet sitting for a neighbor,” etc., etc.
            It’s none of their business.

          2. Phoebe*

            If they ask, I would say something equally vague like , “oh, it’s just a family thing” or “it’s just something personal.” By offering no additional information you are signalling that it’s private and any reasonable person would accept that and move on.

        4. The Strand*

          Yeah, how do they know you don’t have a relative who is getting married (with parties and events lasting two weeks), or a family reunion, or major work being done on your home?

          None of their business.

          Go and enjoy the films!

      2. AP*

        Can you also put it on your calendar? Not the event necessarily, just that you’re out of office from 5-9 or whatever it may be. That way it’s clear that those particular two weeks are reserved. Not sure if it will work in your office culture, but it might be a good way to remind people that those weeks are special.

        1. Movie-loving Letter Writer*

          I don’t know if that would work, since calendars are not widely adhered to. Great idea, though!

          1. Movie-loving Letter Writee*

            That should read: “calendars are not widely adhered to at my office”.

      3. Fellow traveler*

        I have a similar situation — last minute travel for work. I once had to say no because my fiance had purchased tickets to a concert that he REALLY wanted to attend and that I was scheduled to attend with him. I told them I couldn’t travel those days because of a “family commitment.”

        People who have kids often say “family commitment” and it gets a free pass. My family just doesn’t look like their family, but it’s still my family. Maybe your family is just you. In which case, you’ve made that commitment to you and need to stick with it.

      4. Friday Brain All Week Long*

        Email your boss again so you have a paper trail, maybe also loop someone else in. Just a simple head’s up that you’re not available for travel from X date to Y date due to family commitment, but you’re free and clear the week of Z if needed.

    2. Stranger than fiction*

      And it gives them time to ask someone else in case they’re being presumptuous the Op will do it again, since they have before.

      1. Movie-loving Letter Writer*

        This is one of the reasons I’ve been so worried. My employer is generally quite considerate of people’s lives outside work, but there have been a couple of occasions where it’s just been assumed that a specific person will travel, and the trip has been booked without even checking with that person.

        1. AnonInSC*

          That’s not cool. And it’s their problem. I’d be pissed about that even if I could do the trip!

          1. Movie-loving Letter Writee*

            Very true – if they do that again it’s really not my problem to try to fix. I just need to keep telling myself that. :)

  4. Frankies Girl*

    #1 – I’d tell the guy “I can’t help you because I don’t know you. Please leave me alone.” Then block this guy on all social media possible. But I’d also make sure to mention to the person in your company that the guy is trying to contact (if you know them at all) that there is a weird guy that contacted you multiple times trying to get your buyer’s info so they could try to sell Fancy Teapot Company stuff to them, and you wanted to give them a heads-up that you do not know this person and have told them to leave you alone and to please disregard him if he tries to use you (OP) and your non-existent relationship as some sort of introduction. I say let your workplace know just in case the guy eventually does track the person they’re stalking you for, because this guy sounds like the type to lie about how well he knows you in order to push a sale, and you might be tarred with the same brush as it were if you don’t let them know. This guy is rude, and clueless and I’d bet money he would try to say you gave him their info and how you’re good friends and that you thought they really should hear him out because of blahblahblah… and it could make that person in your company really annoyed with you for giving out their info and presuming on their time with this loser – without you even knowing or condoning this behavior! CYA basically. ;)

    1. Security SemiPro*


      Gross aggressive sales people love to say they got information from someone at the company/someone with pull. Warn your buyer that Gross is trying to find them. (If it turns out that Buyer is looking for a new Tea Vendor, and their usual research or network isn’t yielding results, they may want to have an introduction to Gross, but its doubtful. More likely they’ll want to put Gross’ company in their file of “vendors with dubious sales methods, please ignore”)

      1. DoDah*

        I buy things for my employer. This over-aggressive approach has become increasingly the norm. I’ve seen vendors call our sales team and claim we had some sort of exchange (them sending me daily emails and me not answering) and then disappeared. Of course, this strikes a chord with our sales who think I “have” to answer them. I get messages on LinkedIN–weekend calls on my cell phone…etc.

        1. Temperance*

          I had some financial planner weasel try to add me on Linked In and then call me almost daily at the busiest time of day for something like … a month straight? I finally lost patience and reamed him out.

          He still tried again. HATE salespeople.

      2. OP#1*

        Oh, this is a good point. I will definitely consider giving them a heads up depends on how Guy handles my “no,” since I wouldn’t want him to name-drop me (and I don’t trust him to leave me out of it as of right now).

  5. Sara*

    #3 – Given the timing of the restructure (early July) and considering it’s mid-June, I wouldn’t say anything at this point. I think it could jeopardise your goals and plans, and might not have much impact. From my limited experience in supporting a CE with a restructure, a few weeks out, a lot of disestablished roles/persons had already been determined, and it was final union negotiations, recruiting processes, and communications that were being sorted out. Of course, this might not be the case, but it’s possible that the job decisions may already be sorted, and you giving a heads up on leaving might not be something they can factor in during these last few weeks, but it could negatively impact you if they force you out early.

    1. snuck*

      That’s what I was coming to say. Usually these things are worked out quite a way in advance, weeks at least, and are very intentionally strategic… sometimes it is a % of wages to be reduced so people are handpicked based on their employment costs, sometimes it’s a headcount (and an average amount is assumed), sometimes it’s a function/task that is removed.

      I would just sit tight. You can’t save someone else’s job by speaking up, or you might, but it’s a very slim chance and without knowing what the scenario above is, you can’t really control the outcome. If you have a lot of leave left and it’s fits your purposes you could take leave, and have an agreed exit date – but again, it depends on the strategy behind the exits (in Australia it’s end of financial year at the end of June, it might be that there’s a need to reduce head count and leave exposure by June 30 for example, and this wouldn’t fit for them).

      No one is going to blame you for sitting tight and doing the right thing by yourself, especially as it affects your retirement and I assume you have quite a financial stake at play. A lot can happen in a few months, things might change for you and you might want to explore something else. And it’s not like it’s your job to hand to someone else… it’s the business’s job and they will determine who stays and goes.

      1. Chaordic One*

        Yes, just sit tight and resign when it is convenient for you.

        There’s a part of me that thinks you might say something snotty when you leave, like how since the layoffs the workload has grown and the atmosphere and culture has taken a turn for the worse, but that would be unprofessional.

        When you do leave, be mildly apologetic, and wish your supervisors and the remaining coworkers well.

    2. Stranger than fiction*

      Great point. These things are, in my experience, decided weeks or even months prior usually. They could always call back to work one of the laid off people if they want someone to fill the Op’s role.

    3. Elle the new Fed*

      I put in 6 weeks notice at one job in early August and at the end of August they laid me off instead of someone else to save their job. Even though this had all been decided weeks in advance, since they knew I was leaving anyway it was easier to pay out my leave period.

  6. Jeanne*

    Why does anyone think it’s ok to run a company like #2? People work to earn money. They don’t work for the hope you might pay them. You easily lose good employees when you play games like this. OP, I’d be inclined to give them a deadline for the info or you decline.

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      Because it works more often than not. They give a promotion, but no money to go with it and people take it. To OP#2, absolutely get an offer in writing or you’ll never see a dime of the money you’re promised.

      1. Artemesia*

        Had this happen to me once. Words are cheap. A title is cheap. Lots of places will give you words and more work without more pay.

    2. Rmric0*

      IDK, it seems like there’s always an excess of employers that think employees should believe in their work as some kind of holy mission rather than just a place to punch a clock (regardless of what the work might be).

      1. Anna*

        I do good work for a great company that I would absolutely leave if they stopped paying me.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      Yeah, I could understand a single response of “were figuring it out” but multiple? No way, don’t do it. Say yiure not training the next hire until you have something in black and white.

  7. Jack the Treacle Eater*

    #2, as well as the changes in pay and conditions you also need to consider what support they are going to give you for taking this role on – formal training structures, whether you need a ‘training the trainer’ course, support for any areas you’ll have to train but aren’t familiar with at the moment, admin support and so on. If this is a real role all of this, and the pay and bonus, should be in place and clear for day one.

  8. Jack the Treacle Eater*

    #3, I hate to say this but if you need to stay on until August I think you have to be selfish about this. Any possibility that someone else will be saved by your going is purely theoretical and – if your assessment that your role is not at risk is correct – is fairly unlikely. Tell them you’re thinking of leaving anyway and I’m willing to bet that your job will immediately be at risk.

    The only situation in which I can think it would be better to tell them is if you can absolutely 100% trust your manager and the company to work with you, accept your layoff instead of another (purely theoretical) one AND delay it until August, but it seems to me that requires a very high level of trust.

    1. Zillah*

      This, especially since even if your manager is worthy of that level of trust, there may be others in the chain of command that aren’t who would jump at the chance to include the OP in layoffs if the manager mentions it.

  9. Katie the Fed*

    Ugh, desperate salespeople. I can’t stand them.

    I had a former colleague as a FB friend – hadn’t talked to him for 5+ years, never interacted on FB, etc. The day after I got married he messaged me:
    “Hi Katie! Congratulations on getting married! Now that you’re married, you’ll probably need a financial advisor. I’ve recently become one and I’d like to offer you my services!”

    I ignored him. He tried a couple more times. Dude, no. 1) Don’t congratulate me JUST to sell me something. 2) if I needed a financial advisor I probably needed one when I was single too and 3) You’re brand new to that field – why would I trust you when I know you from a completely different line of work?

    In your case, you should probably just say something to stop him from continuing to contact you. What an aggressive butthead.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      It’s so annoying! Before we moved, a friend of my mom’s gave me her son’s email address– he and his wife live nearby. I wrote, introduced myself, asked if he had any recommendations for neighborhoods or cool places to eat… and he wrote back trying to convince me to buy a house (he’s a realtor). Not everything is an opportunity for a sales pitch! I replied and said, “Thanks but no thanks” and that was it– of course, because I wouldn’t bite, he didn’t even suggest a meeting or drinks or anything that indicated he would be interested in getting together. A shame, too, because I like his mom a lot.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Yeah, the polite way to prospect in that situation is to simply say “if you decide to buy a house, let me know”.

    2. March*

      A guy I had several bad dates with (his response to me saying I was terrified of heights was to tell me about how his cousin nearly fell off the frog during a boat-to-rig transfer) graduated from the same engineering program as me and was practising as a financial adviser a year later. He added me on Facebook to immediately send me a similar message – a greeting followed immediately by an offer to serve as my financial adviser. I ignored it, and when I returned home from my graduation vacation he sent me another, with more false platitudes, an apology for his earlier unprofessionalism, and another offer to be my financial adviser. With even more grammar and terrible spelling than the first message.

      I don’t know about you Katie, but I’m not looking for financial advice through Facebook and definitely not from someone who doesn’t have much idea about offering services. Urgh.

      1. OP#1*

        I find it incredibly weird that people are trying to do any of this over Facebook! That is definitely not the place for it. That’s why (recapping it in my head), I don’t think there was any chance I’d have responded well to Guy. If I had accepted his request, I assume he would have started messaging me there (instead of calling or via email).

        If he had messaged me on LinkedIn when he checked out my profile, I might have responded a little better (the answer was “no, I can’t help” no matter what, but I wouldn’t have thought it was weird).

  10. New Reader*

    #4 – there is absolutely no need to feel guilty about having outside commitments that you made previously. Keep in mind that the employer-employee relationship has some reciprocity. An employer has the ability to deny vacation requests from employees should the timing not be optimal for the employer (it’s a busy time, other employees were already approved for time off then, etc.). And employees have the right to not agree to every request by an employer that is above and beyond their job description.

    You note that overseas travel is not supposed to be part of your job and that you find that travel stressful. Yet you have now agreed on two separate occasions, and with short notice, to help our your employer by traveling when they needed someone to fill in. So you are going above and beyond your normal job description for something that isn’t your top choice to do. I think continuing to agree to fill in when needed AND when your personal schedule allows is a great thing to do. But saying no occasionally because you have a prior personal commitment (regardless of what that happens to be) is perfectly acceptable.

    1. Movie-loving Letter Writer*

      Thank you! Reading comments like this is definitely helping me feel much more confident about firmly stating my boundaries. (I have been stressing out about this for weeks, and second-guessing my judgment about whether or not I have a strong enough case to refuse to travel.)

      1. MillersSpring*

        Stop stressing out. It’s 100% fine to say, “Hey, FYI: I won’t be able to travel during June 15-30 due to some personal commitments I have in the evenings.”

      2. BadPlanning*

        What I’ve observed at my job is that saying no to some things is actually a good thing — or work will just blithely pile things on as long as you take them. Also I think most reasonable managers appreciate a “heads up” instead of being surprised.

        We recently had a technical leader consider canceling an overseas vacation because we were in the ditch on a (surprise/special) project. While we appreciated the sentiment, we wanted him to go on his trip. First, because we liked the guy and wanted him to go on his great vacation. And second, we didn’t want to set the precedence of canceling a big trip being the right thing to do.

        1. SL #2*

          A major industry conference fell in the middle of my coworker’s vacation; he offered to cut the trip short and come back for it, we told him “absolutely not, you are going to stay on vacation and continue to drink 3 fruity cocktails for each of us, and we will bring back lots of conference swag and leave it all over your desk.”

      3. Meg Murry*

        Rather than starting with flat out refusing, can you just go be direct with your boss and say “Hey, when I was hired I was told I wouldn’t need to do overseas travel, but I’ve now been asked to go on two different trips. I’m hearing through the grapevine that there may be another trip planned for the end of June, and I’d really prefer not to be assigned that one. I have personal commitments that week that I can’t reschedule, so it would be best if you plan for someone else to make this trip.”

  11. Former Retail Manager*

    #1…Alison’s advice is great. However, some others have mentioned blocking him on social media and being very adamant that he never contact you again and I don’t see the need for all that. It sounds like he is just a typical aggressive sales person and, based on his age, potentially new to either the field of sales or his current employer and is doing everything he can to be successful. I personally don’t care for sales people but I understand why they’re that way. You have to be somewhat pushy to be successful in sales. All that said, I’d tell him you can’t assist now or in the future and good luck. If he were to continue to contact you, that would be a different story, but as it stands he just sounds young and potentially inexperienced.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

      I agree with most everything you wrote, except, pushy salespeople are pushy because they aren’t very good at their jobs.

      I’ve been in sales in one form or another for 30 years, and I’ve never had to be pushy. And I’m good. ;)

      1. Ari*

        This. I worked at an inbound call center for years and was regularly top salesperson without any need to be pushy.

      2. themmases*

        I agree. As an individual (and I just got married so talking with vendors is fresh in my mind), I have loved plenty of sales people and it was when they were helpful and honest above all. Awesome sales people don’t necessarily push you, they help you solve your problem using that company’s product or service.

        Incidentally I used to recruit for research studies so I would essentially go up to strangers (busy, worried strangers waiting for an MRI, even) and ask them to do something for me. You cannot pressure or sell people in research… You must tell them all the risks and benefits even if they want to participate and say they don’t care. I have told plenty of people I think maybe they shouldn’t join my study because it seems like the decision is stressing them out and they should keep in mind it’s totally optional. Anyway people *really* respond to this approach. I am pretty introverted and self-conscious and would feel burned out after a day of this, so it definitely wasn’t my natural charisma! People who were suspicious of research or anxious about their MRI still said yes. Honesty is the best policy.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        My brother is too. He’s amazing at establishing relationships and assessing customer needs. Plus, he’s very likeable and funny, and he knows how to use those strengths without having to resort to tactics like this.

      4. Koko*

        Yes! The best salespeople are not pushy. They are helpful. They connect you with something you have a real need for and make sure you have a smooth experience obtaining and possibly using it.

        Helpful salespeople have exponential success because they get return customers and word-of-mouth referrals.

        Pushy salespeople struggle because they are always aggressively trying to wear down the next mark’s resistance.

    2. OP#1*

      Thanks for the thought, Former Retail Manager. I don’t have plans to block him at this time (Alison was spot on in her earlier comment on a different comment thread – he comes across inexperienced rather than creepy right now).

  12. Overeducated*

    Regarding 5 – I have a similar concern about the position I just accepted. It is a role designed for someone with a phd, but the title is “coordinator” and similar level roles in other organizations tend to have titles like “manager.” (There isn’t a manager above at this org, it’s a new non research role reporting to someone a high level research position.) I think the experience will be great and the pay is good but I worry that the title will make it sound like I am in a more entry level role and hurt me in the next job search. Thoughts?

    1. MillersSpring*

      Either at the offer or second interview stage, you could ask the hiring manager: “Is there any flexibility on the job title? My research shows that PhDs with this responsibility are in a manager role rather than coordinator.”

      1. overeducated*

        It’s definitely too late for that now :) But no, that was not an option. This is not the kind of organizational structure where you can do that quickly or easily.

    2. NJ Anon*

      I think this is something that can be explained in a cover letter. I am currently a director at a small nonprofit. I am interviewing at a larger agency and the job title is senior accountant. Job duties are very similar. Not sure if I would take it if offered but the job title wouldn’t worry me.

  13. Jen*

    #3.- this is such a know your manager/office thing, and also your manager’s weight in the overall layoff decisions.

    My coworker was planning to leave our company to start his own business. He told or president (his boss) and said “this is something I’m looking to do in the next 6-12 months; I know we’ll have layoffs planned and I’m happy to take a severance package now (we offered severance with layoffs) and save someone’s job.”

    He was prepared in a worst-case scenario to walk out the door with no job and no severance, since his actual timeline for leaving was “soon.” President really appreciated the info by told him it wouldn’t be necessary. Coworker ended up resigning 3-4 months later. We had layoffs anyway.

  14. Brett*

    #3 Remember that laid off employees can be recalled. If informing your company about your resignation in June would save someone else’s job in July, then resign in August will still get someone their job back in August.

    The difference is who works those weeks in between, and you need that person to be you and not someone else.
    If your company would not recall anyone in August when you resign, then informing them now is unlikely to save anyone either.

    1. edj3*


      And companies generally will not change policy on vesting in 401K plans. You’re so close, stick out and get vested. Future you will thank you.

      1. Judy*

        I think some of it comes to a financial calculation. How much money is going to be vested? The most generous match I’ve seen is 1/2 of the first 6%, so 3% of annual salary. Two years worth would be 6% of annual salary. How much will the severance be? The least generous I’ve seen is 2 weeks per year of service, so it may be only two weeks of severance, which comes at a little more than 3% of annual salary. Many companies have the severance policy written down in their HR policies.

        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          … and generally speaking, if there’s an immediate “milestone” for an employee, such as a 401K vesting or pension eligibility, most companies will honor that milestone – layoff or not.

          What I always will tell the people in OP’s situation – “Take care of number one” – yourself. Will your departure save someone’s job? Probably not. If you resign after a layoff, they may have built your slot into a head count reduction anyway..

          Y’see – when there’s a layoff – a lot of people are left behind. And there’s a phenomenon called “post layoff aftershock” — if a company is well-managed – after a layoff, they often lose a number of employees who are NOT laid off.

          So even if you don’t get a pink slip, your firm is prepared to lose some folks after the event. Advice – stay in control of your own situation, stay for that vesting – then – do what you think you might do.

    2. RVA Cat*

      I was just coming here to say this. Also, if the company is decent about this, someone laid off in July should still be on severance in August (or the lump-sum equivalent).

      1. Artemesia*

        I know three people who have been stiffed by three different start ups where they ‘worked for equity’ and got stiffed by being fired a day or two before their equity would vest. So essentially they worked for nothing or for peanuts for a year or more and then got laid off so that their pay in equity would be stolen from them. It is apparently fairly common in work for equity situations.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I wouldn’t count on the person being recalled — it really depends. In some cases, when they cut that position, it’s going to be gone for good.

      1. Judy*

        I’ve only seen recalls when it’s a situation of dropping a production shift, the employees that were laid off would have first priority on any openings. Of course, I’ve also seen only 10-25% of people in that situation actually still be willing if the timing is more than a month or so. Once you have a job elsewhere, it’s not common to quit to go back to the company that laid you off.

        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          Yes, Judy – if and only if the employee agreement has “right to recall” built in. In a production environment you usually have that.

          In one place where I was let go – long story – they called and asked me “would you be willing to waive your right to recall?” to which I replied “I will need two things – one, a letter of recommendation from you, and two, how much is it worth to you?”

          They never re-hired someone to fill that – they did offer me a recall a few months later on, but I was already working somewhere else , and they balked at a no-layoff agreement. Understandably , because the place was gasping for life.

  15. S*

    For OP #1, I would reply as Alison suggests, some simple “sorry, I can’t help.” But then also get your boyfriend to give this creep a hard time about being an aggressive jerk. I think he’d be able to lay down how inappropriate this guy’s tactics were in a way that will probably get through to the guy more (since they’re already friends), which I think is important not just for his own sake, but also your own sanity!

    1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

      I wouldn’t do that. She doesn’t need her boyfriend to fight a battle for her here. There isn’t even a battle.

      This is a somewhat common and annoying thing that happens in business. She can deal with this easily with a “no” and then the next time it happens with someone else, do it again.

      1. Red*

        Turning the pushy sales guy down is one thing, and no, LW doesn’t need to get their boyfriend involved in that. However, “Your friend is being creepy and invasive and tracking me down at work” is totally a thing worth mentioning to the boyfriend.

        1. Allison*

          Absolutely, I’d mention to my boyfriend if one of his friends was doing this to me. It doesn’t have to involve asking him to fight a battle for me, but he should probably know what’s going on.

        2. Anna*

          Except she doesn’t think he’s being creepy, just really pushy and doesn’t have the experience to know it. So no, the OP shouldn’t bring her boyfriend in to it.

      2. MK*

        I disagree that getting the boyfriend involved would be him fighting her battle for her; it’s his friend, it should be his problem (though it should be phrased as “it’s not appropriate to use our friendship to gain a bussiness advantage via my family members”, not “don’t contact my girlfriend”). But I also think the OP should try to just tell him no first, then escalate to blocking him/getting her partner involved.

        1. blackcat*

          Yeah, there’s no harm in the boyfriend telling his friend, “WTF dude, you don’t know my GF well enough to be asking her for favors of any sort, let alone business ones.” the next time they see each other. Since they have a relationship and see each other, I don’t view this as overstepping. It’s about setting appropriate boundaries in a friend group (eg, “Don’t use me for business gain.”).

          I’d only suggest this if the boyfriend is actually peeved (does he/others in the group *want* that boundary?), too, though, and I would recommend her sending him a “No.” email first.

      3. newby*

        It isn’t her boyfriend fighting her battles for her. She has the work part handled. He should know that his friend is being inappropriate and making her uncomfortable.

    2. Red*

      Yeah, if my SO’s friends are pestering me about something, I get to ignore them and he gets to do the heavy lifting of explaining to them why they’re being knobs.

      1. OP#1*

        I went back and forth on this, and I could go either way. Ultimately I filled in my SO and told him I would handle it.

        If it gets weird from here, I’ll reconsider having SO get involved.

  16. Workfromhome*

    #1. You are well within your rights to be very direct about telling him not to contact you again. If it were me though having been a sales person when I was young I wonder if you can’t accomplish that and throw the guy a tiny bit of help by sending him a message that says”Please do not contact me we don’t accept sales calls in this manner and I am not permitted to be in this process in any way due to company policy”. The reason I say this is because I’ve seen it far too many times and his behavior fits the pattern. He’s new an Boss says :Who do you know at X get me a sales contact. So he contacts you via FB and no response. Boss says so did you contact your friend? He says yes no response but Boss continues to ask every day and when one method doesn’t work he demands another be tried. Un till he can produce an email or message that clearly shuts this avenue down he can show to Boss he’s sim0pkly not being persistent enough. I get its annoying and poor behavior but I think there is a good chance he would be forced into this due to intimidation by his new Boss.

    #3-Dont say a word. When layoffs are coming you need to look out for #1. Your company could very well be planning to lay you off and they would never tell you until its too late. There is huge risk and little reward in you telling them anything. Wait it out let your 401k vest don’t take any chances there is little good that can come oif it.

    #4I have dealt with this many times as my old job went from occasional travel scheduled months in advance to 1 week or more month on sometimes one days notice. The increased travel was supposed to last no longer than 6 months but continued for 3 years and sh0wed no sign of changing (one of the reasons I left).

    I would usually block off time in My shared outlook calendar after 5 PM as personal appointments (no other reason given). At first I got asked why are you doing that regular work hours are 8 to 5? I started by saying it was so people in different time zones would not book calls. But then when my Boss wanted to book a trip he would go and look at my calendar and see 2 or 3 nights blocked off and would assume I could not travel that week.

    1. Yet another Allison*

      Regarding your response to #1, that may very well be the case about Guy’s boss, but it’s not the LW’s responsibility to manage Guy’s relationship with his boss. At all. And pressure from his boss doesn’t excuse Guy’s boundary-pushing, rude behavior.

      That being said, your script would totally work with or without consideration of Guy’s work relationship/pressures, since it’s straightforward and firm but polite.

  17. Joseph*

    #2 – Are they giving you any sort of information at all (seems like no). If they are giving you zero concrete information about the pay, that seems really, really strange. Even if they can’t nail down a set number, surely they have at least *some* expectation of the order-of-magnitude involved for their budgeting process – are we talking $1,000 per year? $5,000? $20,000? If nothing else, they almost certainly have some kind of maximum in mind – presumably they aren’t planning on quadrupling your salary or something.

    Quite frankly, if they keep refusing to give you specifics, I’d bet that their goal is to pay you nothing extra, so they’re hoping that either: (a) you give up asking, (b) you forget about it or (c) they can drag it out long enough to argue that it’s now a normal part of your job and not deserving of a bonus since you’ve already been doing it so long.

    1. Hlyssande*

      This is what I was thinking. Doing this additional thing on top of your regular duties, with nebulous promises for increased pay? They’re trying to get away without paying you anything more.

    2. SophieChotek*

      Also you wrote: If a trainee makes a mistake and I don’t catch it, I haven’t been told either how that would affect the additional pay or bonus.
      That concerned me/made me want more details. When people are training, some amount of mistakes/not quite getting the hang of X procedure or Y process is surely part of the process? Do you have reason to think that your employers would dock your pack/count it against your bonus, if your trainee’s make mistakes (presumably their reasoning is, then, “were not trained well?”)
      I agree, it sounds like the employer wants to load additional responsibilities without additional pay.

      1. Chinook*

        “Also you wrote: If a trainee makes a mistake and I don’t catch it, I haven’t been told either how that would affect the additional pay or bonus. ”

        I am another one worried about this detail. As a trained educator, I can tell you that the trainer can only be held responsible so far when it comes to trainees’ mistakes. You could do the same training 100 times and have it succeed 99 of those times, so does that mean you should be punished for the one person who failed?

        Are they taking in other factors such as the trainee’s willingness to learn? (Ex: I once did a Microsoft Office required training during one of the upgrades where one woman (who actively sabotaged me in the past) spent half of it with her back to me because she didn’t want to be there. Even my boss was impressed that I was able to get her actively involved in the end. I was only able to do this because of experience working as a substitute junior high band teacher because those techniques are next to impossible to be taught).

        Do they expect you to know how to change your training to reflect different learning styles or are you expected to use the same training for everyone? Do you get to create your training materials or are you expected to work with what is provided (having had to work with horrible source materials, I was forever grateful at one job where I could essentially throw it out the window and develop what I needed. Much more work for me but so much more successful that the cr@p they provided).

        And, lastly, do the people reviewing the trainee understand the difference between a “mistake” (where the person understands what they did is wrong and can self correct) vs. “error” (which is caused because the person was never given the correct information to begin with and would never be able to self correct unless explicitly taught). One of these has everything to do with training while the other is the result of employees being human.

        1. Solidus Pilcrow*

          Since the OP mentioned that this is in the medical field, I’m guessing there is an additional layer of liability that she is concerned about. Forgetting to include the cover page on your TPS report is a minor error. Ordering 100 widgets instead of 10 is costly, but most likely recoverable for the business. Giving someone the wrong dose of medication can be lethal and will open the clinic to malpractice suits. Malpractice suits can target an individual (one careless worker or human error) and/or the entire organization (systemic lack of training and oversight). I can see where the clinic could remove the bonus if there are lawsuits related to training that the OP is responsible for.

    3. I'm Not Phyllis*

      It’s very strange to get no specifics. I mean, they’re adding what is presumably a significant amount to your workload. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to dig your heels in and ask for some specifics (and in writing if you can). Otherwise, can you just turn it down?

    4. OP#2*

      It turns out management was checking to see how interested I am in the position. Since I’ve been training in “unofficial” capacity and expressed interest, I was surprised. I did let management know that I need to know all information about the position. I’m now wanting to see what management comes back with on salary, bonus and training requirements.

      Thanks Alison for posting my question!

  18. Allison*

    #1, a lot of sales people are taught to milk their contacts for sales leads, and unfortunately they’re either not trained on how to do it properly, or worse, they’re encouraged to be really pushy and annoying about it. This guy had no business insisting on access to someone you work with, especially since he barely knows you at all, his tactics aren’t uncommon but are definitely crossing some boundaries, and you have every right to say “I can’t help you with that” or “she’s not looking to buy any X right now.”

    You could, if you want, act as the “middle man” here and tell your colleague that Guy wants to talk to them about whatever it is they’re selling. Then, when colleague says they’re not interested in having that conversation, you can honestly say that to Guy and then request he not bring it up with you again.

  19. sam*

    On #1, the guy is definitely too pushy and inappropriate, but I did want to note that the fact that LinkedIn lets you know who has looked at your profile wasn’t an overt attempt by him to reach out to the OP – it basically does this to anyone who has even clicked on your page. Of course, if he went there multiple times, that can be creeper behavior in and of itself…

    I’ve actually stopped using LinkedIn to a significant degree because of the way it tracks/notifies others of your use/browsing (and yes, I know there’s a way to make yourself invisible). I just find the whole site to be very invasive and problematic. I’ve still got a profile up there, because I was actively job searching a few years ago and it’s certainly valuable to keep in touch with professional contacts, but I don’t actively use it like I do other social networking sites.

    1. Kyrielle*

      I’ve never really considered LinkedIn as “social media”. I know they want me to perceive it that way and some people do, but I view it as “that resume and networking site”.

  20. Anon Moose*

    #1 I honestly just feel sorry for some of these sales people. Yes, some are glassbowls who do this kind of thing by choice and thrive on it, but others are pushed into it as their first job or made-to-fail company expectations. (Not that this feeling of compassion really changes any of the good advice Alison gave for how to deal with it on OP’s end).

    1. Allison*

      Yes, totally! There are companies who prey on young people desperate for jobs, hiring anyone who will take a job, giving them high quotas and little to no training, and the people who “make it” stay on while those who don’t take to the line of work are quickly tossed back into the sea.

      My company does hire a lot of recent grads, but thankfully we screen for people who really want to be in sales and have real potential to succeed.

      1. Laura*

        I was one of those young people a year ago. While I wasn’t recruited or preyed upon, the company was deliberately vague about the actual day-t0-day work environment. I found it extremely stressful and am still dealing with something like PTSD from that workplace– for example, I’m always afraid of being fired/disciplined, I don’t take negative feedback well, and a lack of training stresses me out WAY more than it should.

        It sucked. Your company sounds great.

  21. OP#1*

    OP#1 here. Thanks for your advice Alison and further feedback, everyone! I went with Alison’s advice and emailed him back. Assuming he will be respectful and leave me alone from here, but of course, I will tell you if that’s not the case.

    “Hey Guy:
    Whoa, that’s a lot of messages in a 24-hour period. I don’t know if you realize that that’s going to read as overly aggressive to a lot of people! Sorry I couldn’t respond more quickly, but my schedule is pretty hectic right now and it is going to take a couple days to get a response to non-emergency situations.
    Unfortunately, I am not involved with Company’s Tea teams and I am not comfortable giving out their information.
    Thanks for understanding,

    1. Joseph*

      That’s a good way of handling it.

      I’d also recommend telling your Boyfriend about all of Guy’s pushy follow-up (if you haven’t already) so Boyfriend doesn’t get some distorted story about “man, your (significant other) is being such a pain…” and/or get pushed by Guy to talk to you.

      1. TempestuousTeapot*

        This is actually a good idea, keeping SO in the loop. It’s not expecting SO to ‘handle’ PSG; it’s only fair to keep SO aware in case PSG decides SO is the next avenue of push back, try again, or friend-plaining.

        Given that PSG is overly enthusiastic, I would expect SO to be the next ‘in’ sought out. Best to have one’s own ducks in a row on these sorts of things.

    2. Laura*

      Perfect response! And definitely tell your boyfriend about all aspects of this exchange, so he can defend you if the guy gives him crap when they hang out.

  22. Bevin del Rey*

    #5: The only place/industry where you’d need to worry about this is philanthropy. Coordinator is actually a very high position in philanthropic fields (I know, it’s strange), often just one notch below Director/Program Officer, that sort of thing.

    1. Brett*

      Same thing in geographic information science (particularly public sector). A coordinator is a very high level position equivalent to a department head, typically heading up a unit of 50-100 people with 10-20 years experience and reporting directly to an executive officer or executive elected official.

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