how do I get my friends and family to butt out of my job search?

A reader writes:

After leaving a less-than-great work situation to take a year off to deal with some family drama, I’m beginning to think about re-entering the work force. Because my spouse makes a very good income, there’s zero pressure. I can pursue long shots, indulge in a fun but low-paying job if I choose, or even retrain for a different industry. As I read about the travails of other job-seekers, I’m acutely aware that life is not fair in my favor in this regard.

I am a writer by aptitude and experience. I’ve held several writing-related positions. I have a lot of writer friends, and my mother is a writer. People in my orbit assume that writing is what I want to do professionally, and they’re often in a place to know about career opportunities for writers.

I’m grateful that my friends think of me when they see certain writing-related job postings, but to tell the truth, these jobs don’t really feel like they’d fit me. I think the people who send them to me also overestimate my qualifications, and recommend jobs for which I don’t believe I’d be competitive. (I’ve even applied for a few and haven’t gotten interviews, which suggests to me that my instincts are correct.)

At this point, I want the people in my life to butt out of my job search. Or, at the very least, I’d like them to just send me the job and leave it at that, rather than following up with me: “Did you apply? The deadline is today!” Some of them even try to grease the skids for me without asking first: “I told Arya I was reaching out to you about this. Here’s her contact info, if you’d like to chat with her about it.” This would all be fantastic, if I was a clueless new grad who needed some networking help, but I’m not. I’m a fortysomething who understands my industry and has a realistic view of my own marketability, and I have the ability to take my sweet time and look for the right job, and that’s what I plan to do.

I like these people. I want them in my life. I don’t want to alienate them. I love that they’re the kind of generous people who want to help a friend. I wouldn’t even mind if they continued to send me the occasional job link. But I need a script for kindly but firmly asking them to let me handle all this myself.

It’s weird, isn’t it, how people do this? It undoubtedly comes from a place of wanting to be helpful, but there’s something about knowing a friend or family is job searching that seems to melt (some) people’s boundaries. “Did you apply? The deadline is today!” is a pretty big overstep, and I have to think that people aren’t pausing to think about whether that’s something you’d welcome.

In any case, what to say depends on whether you want them to butt out entirely or whether you do want them to continue sending you occasional listings.

If you want them to butt out entirely, it’s actually a little easier. You can just say, “Thanks so much for thinking of me when you see job openings, but I’m being pretty picky about what I apply to. So no need to send these, but I appreciate the thought!” Or, if the relationship allows for more bluntness: “I’ve got this. Thank you for wanting to help, but I actually prefer to do this on my own.” You could add, “But it’s really nice of you to be thinking about this.”

If you’re fine with people sending listings but just don’t want them to nag you with follow-ups and you’re willing to be pretty blunt (because I can’t think of a way to say this that isn’t fairly blunt), you could say, “I’m sure you don’t intend this, but it can create weird pressure when you follow up to make sure I’ve applied. I’m actually being pretty picky about what I apply to, but if it feels like the right opening, I’ll be on it! But it’s really thoughtful of you to send me listings.”

And related, in case you need it:
how can I make people stop talking to me about my job search?

{ 142 comments… read them below }

  1. BTownGirl*

    If it makes you feel any better, my Dad has printed out listings and handed them to me in a stack when he comes to visit…because he doesn’t know how to email a link! The best part is a good portion of them have nothing to do with my experience, i.e. I’ve worked in real estate development/construction for most of my career and he’ll schlep ones that say “must have five years experience in a medical office setting.” Bless him ;)

    1. Kate H*

      My grandpa is the same way. During my last job hunt, he told me to look up a posting at a school. He couldn’t remember what it was (he’d heard about it through my aunt), just that it was psychology related. I never managed to find the listing but I’d be willing to bet that it was for a counselor. I was a recent graduate with my bachelors in psych and nowhere NEAR the work experience or education required for that kind of position.

  2. Self employed*

    Since it sounds like you aren’t looking for writing jobs, you could say, “Thanks, but I’m taking my career in a different direction. I appreciate you thinking of me!” If you don’t tell them which direction, they can’t send you new listings.

  3. Marietta*

    One thing that might help minimize the follow-ups: when someone sends you a lead, you can send back a “Thanks, I’m being pretty picky about what I apply to, but I’ll look into this.” Then at least they know you’ve gotten the initial email and are on it.

    1. Greengirl*

      This is great. I sometimes get job leads that are just really not right and this is a great answer. I can’t seem to get one particular friend to understand that yes, taking a job with a paycut and a lower title and less responsibility at the larger organization he works at in our field still isn’t a good choice.

    2. Ellie H.*

      I agree – I kinda think this is one of those things that is handled best on a case by case basis, even though that is time-consuming and annoying. I think following up with this message is a great idea. Obviously someone nagging you about if you applied before the deadline is a bit over the line, but then when that or someone else following up on it DOES happen, I wonder if it’s the best option to say “Thanks, I looked into it, and it turned out it didn’t exactly fit what I am looking for right now, but thanks so much for thinking of me” etc. rather than deliver a general message.

    3. Snargulfuss*

      Since “picky’ has a negative connotation, you could say, “I’m being selective about what I apply to so I can make sure it’s a good fit.”

    4. OP*

      This is good. I could definitely work with this. It’s vague enough that it doesn’t create an obligation, but conveys the right amount of enthusiasm.

  4. Murphy*

    Ugh…I went through this for years, and it was horrible. Even when I had a full time job with benefits (admittedly not where I wanted to be in life) and was not actually job searching, people would STILL either send me job postings or send them to my husband (even worse), which I found super insulting.

    Like Alison said, I would just let them know that you appreciate it, but you don’t need the help. Something along the lines that you’re being very particular to what you’re applying to, that it’s easiest for you to determine what you’re qualified for, or forget all that and go for a simple “Thanks, I got this!”

    1. TootsNYC*

      send them to my husband (even worse), which I found super insulting.

      Is it possible that they were sending them to him, not because they thought he was a doorway to you, but that he could serve as a filter for them?
      In other words, they’re thinking, “he’ll tell me if it’s not a good fit, and then I won’t bother her”?

      I can envision both mindsets. One of them is less insulting.

  5. Pwyll*

    Heh, I once received a phone call from a woman calling on behalf of her daughter to tell me how much her daughter was interested in the job and how she’d be a fantastic fit.

    The daughter was well into her forties, and this was for a senior-level hire. The woman never applied, but mom was kind enough to give me her contact information. And she was HORRIFIED. I called mostly to let her know this was happening, the poor thing. I got the sense that the daughter was telling mom “Thanks I’ll apply” to every job mom recommended, and mom finally decided to take matters into her own hands . . . or something.

    1. I'm a Little Teapot*

      OMG. Was she actually *trying* to tank her daughter’s chances?

      Good for you for letting the daughter know. I’ll bet Mom is going to get a lot less information in the future….

    2. Florida*

      OMG. That’a horrible. That was nice of you to call and tell the daughter. Who knows how many job opportunities Mom ruined for Daughter?!

    3. Emelle*

      That would be the last I told my mom of my job search, or really, anything else slightly uncomfortable happening in my life. Holy. Crap.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Except…the daughter never applied. So this was to jobs *Mom* thought she should apply for, and told her about? Can you imagine having to look at everything your Mom sent and realize that it’s probably another opportunity tanked if it *did* look right for you?

        Oh, ugh. :(

        1. Pwyll*

          Yeah, I think Mom was sending her clippings of openings and never hearing back, so she decided to “help.” I didn’t pry too much, it was basically a 30 second phone call. My favorite was, after I told her who I was and what had happened, she gasped and said “Oh my god, what?! I’m forty-six years old for chris– thank you so much for telling me!”

          1. RVA Cat*

            Wow. What makes this not just shocking, but kind of sad, is that mom is probably in her 70s if not older and this blatant boundary-crossing may be a sign of dementia.

    4. BTownGirl*

      That was really kind of you to let her know! Everything about what the mother did screams, “Boundary issues!” Oy vey.

  6. Leatherwings*

    It will probably help to cut them out of the loop on job hunting entirely. If you’re one of those people (like me) who stresses about it and sometimes vents to people about the frustration of the process, it can make them feel more compelled to do stuff like this in the name of taking the pressure off.

    If they ask, you can say something vague like “It’s going, trying not to think about it too much.”

    1. Friday Brain All Week Long*

      Seconding this. If you want them to butt out, then you have to go veeeeery low information on them. They can’t be a sounding board for you during the job search time. But do celebrate with them once you bag your next opportunity!

    2. SJ*

      Uuuuuugh, I’m definitely a venter with my parents re: job hunting. I’ve been searching for a year with no luck and had an interview yesterday for a position that sounded awesome, and then in the interview she told me the (incredibly low, like, almost barely more than I make now when you factor in the cost of transportation) salary. I managed to keep a straight face and get through the interview, but I responded to my mother’s “let me know how it goes” text by calling her and having a mini-freakout over how jobs that pay well don’t want me and I’m going to be poor forever.

      However, she was an English teacher before retiring and hasn’t interviewed for a job since the mid-70s, so she fully admits she knows nothing about the process these days and wouldn’t try to intervene with anyone on my behalf.

  7. Anon For This*

    I don’t think asking if the OP applied is an overstep. I have sometimes followed up a link with a question about them applying later. Basically because if I think it’s an interesting lead, but it’s not the right fit, I don’t want to send leads like that anymore. I dunno. My friends and I have pretty good communication and they can tell me if something does or doesn’t work for them, so it would be weird to me to be told that following up is a big overstep.

    To me the overstep is reaching out to a contact without getting their okay first. That would be Not Cool.

    1. Anon For This*

      To be fair, though, my friends are actively requesting me to send leads because a lot of job info crosses my desk.

    2. Stephanie*

      I’m mixed on this. I get where you’re coming from, but when I was more aggressively job-searching, I would get leads that would be off-base and it was hard to say “That’s not really what I do” and explain what I was actually looking for without falling into industry jargon. I also didn’t want to fall into the trap of “You’re being too picky!” when it was something that was a legitimate veto like the job being way too senior or way too junior.

    3. Artemesia*

      Mom asking if you have applies — total overreach. No one wants to be nagged by their parents when they are out of work. This applies to 20 year olds as much as 45 year olds.

    4. Leatherwings*

      I’d find it annoying. Especially with the “deadline is today!” reminder. It’s almost subtly implying OP can’t handle doing it on their own. I don’t mind when my boss sends me reminders like this because it’s their job to make sure I do stuff I have to do (even though I’m always on top of deadlines). Having family/friends remind me of things I don’t need a reminder about, much less something that I don’t want to do in the first place is annoying. Like, I can handle my own life and job search thanks.

      Agreed on reaching out to someone. That’s spreading one’s name and qualifications too far without permission. Not good.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        I wonder if the ones worrying about deadlines is because they’d get referral money if Op got hired.

        1. Stephanie*

          That’d make sense, although it’s a lot of steps between application and referral money.

    5. Florida*

      Some of it depends on the tone in which they ask. If the tone is more of a curious, “Hey did you apply for that?”, that is one thing.
      If the tone is along the lines of “Have you applied for that job yet? How many times to do I have to remind you?”, then it is annoying.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, I think that’s right. Also, if the goal is to figure out if you’re sending them the right stuff or not, I think you can just ask that! (“Are the postings I’m sending you in line with what you’re looking for, or should I tweak what’s in my head?”)

        1. Anna*

          Well, because most conversations don’t happen in a proscriptive way. Very few people go into a casual conversation thinking of everything they have to say exactly how it should be said. If I think of it while I’m sitting there talking to a friend, I’m probably going to ask if they applied and if they say no follow that up with the question about the leads I’m sending being the thing they’re looking for. Then we can discuss the crappy or good prospects in a specific area and continue to drink coffee.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Sure, and I don’t think anyone is brutally condemning people when that happens. But given that it can get annoying for the recipient, it’s reasonable for the recipient to either speak up and let them know, or for others to be more cognizant of it once they realize it can be irritating.

    6. TootsNYC*

      I think it’s an overstep to even ask.

      Especially if that asking is in any way linked to “I have more info!” or “I can do more for you.”

      Say to them, when you send them the link, “I could get more info on this job if you want it,” and leave it at that. If they want it, they need to go to the work of asking you. Otherwise it’s pushy, and it’s pushing them into a job they aren’t qualified for (if they don’t have the initiative to actually expend energy on getting it).

      If you want to know if you’re on target with the leads you’re finding for them, ASK THAT. Don’t ask, “did you apply?” Ask the question you want an answer to–don’t ask for stray “evidence” that you intend to extrapolate meaning from.

      1. TootsNYC*

        It’s really the same thing as: Don’t ask “what are you doing Saturday night?” when you want to invite them to dinner on Saturday, so that then you can know whether to invite them to dinner. Just invite them to dinner.

        Ask the question you REALLY want an answer too: Would you come to dinner on Saturday?

        1. Anna*

          Uh. My friends and I ask that all the time. I see nothing wrong with starting a conversation that way. I don’t think it’s a very good example.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s more of an etiquette rule for relationships that don’t normally function like that, often with people who aren’t as close. It’s because it can put people on the spot in an awkward way (maybe they’re doing nothing, but they’re still going to want to turn down the invitation).

            1. Anna*

              Okay, so we’re talking about degree of relationship. I get that. And that includes family members or friends who are maybe a little tone deaf or not that close.

              1. Simonthegrey*

                It can also depend on degrees of expectation. We have some friends that we get together with 2-3 Fridays a month. I don’t always text the wife to ask if this is a get together week or not (we are almost always open Fridays, but they are the ones with other obligations). Usually I just text, ‘What are you guys up to this Friday?’ That lets them know that if they are open, we are open, but it leaves the ball in their court for if we actually get together.

            2. Kelly L.*

              Right, or sometimes it’s a chore rather than an invitation!

              “What are you doing Saturday night?”
              “Nothing, why?”
              “Oh, you can come help me clean out my Sasquatch kennel!”

              You start replying with “…why do you ask?” or “IDK, gotta check my calendar, why?” in self-defense.

              1. Artemesia*

                After being roped in to baby sitting on a Saturday night and helping someone move, I learned never to respond without ‘I have to check my calendar ‘ or with my husband. Any ‘What are you doing Saturday night? that is not followed immediately by ‘I have two extra tickets to Hamilton’ or the equivalent is just rude.

    7. Kimberlee, Esq*

      I agree and came here to say just this. I’ve asked if people applied because, often, I know someone who works at the company and will reach out on their behalf, but I don’t want to do that until after they applied (having been burned by friends who, when I send them a job posting, say something like “OMG this looks perfect, I’m going to apply to this tonight” and then I make both myself and the applicant look bad if I say something like “My friend applied for this position and I think they’d potentially be a match for *reasons*” and the hiring person comes back with ‘Oh, there’s no applicant with that name.”

      I don’t do it for every position, but I wouldn’t think twice about dropping a “did you apply to this?” to someone I’d sent a job posting to. I wouldn’t follow up, and I would stop if they asked me to, but I don’t think there’s anything inherently untoward about doing it.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’d argue, though, that you should get your friend’s okay before doing that. They may have reasons they don’t want you to (like they haven’t decided for sure whether to apply and are just being either prematurely enthusiastic or overly ambitious about how much time they have for job applications this month). Or — not in the case of you, Kim, but in the case of other people — they may not even want the endorsement; for example, I’d definitely want to be sure my application wasn’t attached to a recommendation from someone I knew to be a bad employee there.

        1. TootsNYC*

          Or maybe they don’t like the feeling of getting an “in” at a job on anything other than their credentials. Or they don’t really trust that you’d say the right things about their skills, the part they want to emphasize.

          Like, maybe you’re a social friend, but you don’t really know what my specific skills are. So I don’t trust that you’ll frame me the way I want.
          Or I interacted w/ you around the Excel records and the budget, so that’s what you’ll dwell on, but I’m trying to get away from that sort of work.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Then say, “Let me know if you want me to reach out,” because that’s the question you want an answer to.

        Even if they’ve applied, they may not want you to reach out on their behalf. So ask that.

        Also–if they’re not motivated and organized enough to specifically request that once it’s been offered, then they’re not the right person for the job.

        1. JessaB*

          Yes. This is where things would put up my nope, nope, never ever ever nope wall. Don’t talk to anybody on my behalf without asking me first. Ever. Unless I’m unconscious/not competent and you’re talking to medical help. There are just SO many ways this could go wrong.

    8. Mustache Cat*

      I think a more helpful way to ask this question is: “Did you find the last job I sent useful? I want to be sure that I’m sending you links that are good for you.”

      In your case, since you’re continuing to receive requests for additional job openings, I’d say you already have your answer and you don’t need to continue to follow up.

  8. Greengirl*

    My husband sends me job listings that I’m in no way qualified for. He works at a university and when a job posting opened up that he thought I would be good for spoke to them about it without talking to me first. I was not pleased. We had a BIG DISCUSSION about boundaries and letting me be the one who drives my job search after that.

    1. Leatherwings*

      Just realizing I’m probably that person. I would NEVER do this to anyone who isn’t my brother or significant other, and I wouldn’t do anything but send them the job posting but still :/. Good point about letting people drive their own job search.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Sending the job posting sounds reasonable to me, though – Greengirl’s husband *talked to the folks with the job opening* without checking with her first. That’s a whole different level of overstepping boundaries.

    2. Case of the Mondays*

      Any chance he was checking nepotism policies? A job I might be interested in popped up at my husband’s work. He said to the hiring person, I’ll forward this to my wife but would she even be allowed to work here? I don’t want to waste her time or yours. I thought that was pretty smart of him.

      1. Greengirl*

        Nope. He already knew about the nepotism policy (they actually like employing spouses, it’s a university so I guess that makes faculty more likely to stay). He wanted to jump on it so I wouldn’t miss out. I’d talked a little about having an interest of working for his employer so it’s not like it was out of left field. His heart was in the right place but it was still just not appropriate without checking with me first. One thing I’ve discovered over the last year is that people will see a job in my field and think it’s perfect for me when it’s not right level wise or it’s in a specific skill set that I don’t have. Not all fundraising jobs are a like!

    3. TootsNYC*

      You know, it doesn’t make someone like your brother look good, when he goes on his own to tout someone who then doesn’t apply, or who isn’t really qualified. That’s something to think about, if you’ve gotten the urge to talk someone up as a job candidate when you haven’t sounded them out to see if they’re interested.

      Your reputation is on the line as well, so don’t bring it up speculatively, ir without confidence in your knowledge of their skills.

    4. Maria*

      Mine talked me into an “interview” that turned out to be a MLM scheme. I was spitting fire by the time I got home. He butted out after that.

  9. I'm a Little Teapot*

    Everyone *dramatically* overestimates my qualifications when I’m job searching. It’s as if people are trying to flatter me, not help me find a job, and it actually makes me feel worse about myself because I don’t live up to their expectations. I know it’s nice of them to try to help, but it actually hurts.

    1. Kelly L.*

      Oh yeah. My mom thinks I’m qualified to perform paragliding rocket surgery. No amount of “that’s not something I know how to do, Mom” ever quite sinks in.

      1. I'm not a lawyer, but ...*

        I am a paragliding rocket surgeon, and I think you’d make an excellent coworker ;).

        1. OP*

          Being a paragliding rocket surgeon is SO much cooler than being a lawyer. You’ve made good career choices.

    2. The Rat-Catcher*

      I don’t know if it applies here since you said that the overestimation is dramatic, but I sometimes send job postings to people if they kinda/sorta seem like a good fit for it. My dad is the prime example of this. He’s been in the workforce since before I was born and spent some time overseas with the military, so I don’t necessarily know about everything he ever did. Or if it’s one of those situations where they’re asking for 3-5 years’ experience and he has two, or something. I just figure I’ll let him decide for himself if he’s qualified enough to apply. I never thought about it making him feel badly though, and I’m glad you brought that up.

    3. Christopher Tracy*

      Someone in another division at the company I currently work for suggested me for an opening in his division for a director level position – I am just hitting mid-career if the jobs I get interviews for are any indication. I didn’t feel bad, I was actually quite touched because part of the job description mentioned tasks I once said I’d love to do at this company after getting more (like, several years worth of) experience, and we had this conversation over two years ago, so the fact that he remembered and thought I could do the job even though it’s way above my current pay grade was nice.

      But then again most of the people at my current company tend to think I’m the second coming when it comes to my work product and I have to recalibrate their expectations a lot.

    4. Rana*

      Yes. I think it’s really hard for people to gauge job qualification levels once you’ve moved past the “first job after college” stage. On good days I found the overestimates to be frustrating indications of my friends’ and family’s cluelessness about my field; on bad days, I wondered why I sucked so badly. Neither is good.

      I really value my friends who send things that are jobs I could actually do, even if I’m not interested in that particular position. Coincidentally, perhaps, they are also the people who are very good about saying “Hey, here’s something I ran across and thought of you” and then letting it drop.

    5. SevenSixOne*

      People don’t overestimate my qualifications because they don’t UNDERSTAND them.

      Like, I have a degree in Teapot Studies, a chocolatier’s license, and 5+ years of experience in chocolate teapot sales and service… but people send me job postings for brewmaster at a beer company. Sometimes they’ll even insist my skills are transferable to this totally unrelated thing, even if they know nothing about either industry!

    6. Mander*

      I get this sometimes, too. I mean, I have a PhD but I don’t have the publications, the teaching experience, the professional network, the research funding, etc etc needed to become a lecturer (assistant professor or instructor in the US). Yet sometimes my family will send me job postings for senior level professorship jobs or post-docs in things that are within my field at a broad level but nothing like what I specialized in (they send me a job that deals with researching how to make a better kettle, but I actually studied teapot decoration).

      Or sometimes it will be senior professional or policy jobs when I’m at file clerk level. I’d love to have all the right skills for those jobs but I screwed up and didn’t take the opportunity to learn them while I was in school, and it just makes me feel bad that I am not qualified. It’s great that my parents think I can do anything but it just reinforces how far I have to go professionally.

  10. L*

    I say, “Thanks so much for thinking of me! I’ll check into this.” That way, I’m non-committal about my next steps, but I still acknowledge the other person’s goodwill.

    In one really egregious case, I told a family member that I needed them to just butt out because they didn’t understand my skills/experience well enough to make reasonable recommendations. It went over like a lead balloon. I’ll never do it that bluntly again.

    The plus side of the non-committal approach is that friends/family keep sending links, and very occasionally they do point me toward something awesome.

  11. Stephanie*

    If you’re comfortable enough, I would take the blunt approach. Otherwise, a noncommittal “Thanks! I’ll look into this!” works.

    I was working in a different field that wasn’t a good fit. When I was job searching, people would send me leads for that field. I understood why–I said I did teapot glazing, so it would seem logical that I was looking for teapot glazing jobs. It was always a little awkward if pressed because I’d be like “Well, it wasn’t really that great of a fit, so I’m not looking for jobs in that field anymore.” My dad’s coworker sent me a posting at their company and I said “Thanks! I’ll look into this!” and didn’t apply because it was in that field and way too senior. My dad and his coworker are both in HR, so she checked to see if I applied. She was annoyed that I didn’t and was like “I could have gotten you an interview!” I had to explain that I wasn’t looking for teapot glazing jobs, but that if she saw anything that was more in line with a different field, I’d be interested.

  12. just want a career*

    This is not meant as an argument with the OP or anyone else in the comments about how difficult it is to have this kind of “help” when it is unasked for. But personally, I really wish that I had this problem. I have been looking for full-time work for ages, and despite having gone out of my way to use my network help two or three friends (after checking with them of course) get their resumes looked at (for positions they successfully obtained) nobody has really done this for me. Sadface. I know nobody owes me their help but I would not object to someone “greasing the skids” in my case.

    1. Jaguar*

      Yeah. Despite what I posted below about it happening occasionally, I’ve never actually had a job as a result of my network (discounting the case where I was at a gym with a friend in the summer after high school graduation and his boss just outright asked, “Hey, do you want a job?”) – just a few referrals over the years that never panned out. Better support from my network would be awesome.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think that’s where the OP’s particular circumstances come into play though. It’s definitely true that what can be helpful and appreciated in some contexts can be unhelpful and frustrating in others.

    3. Megs*

      I am so 100% with you on this, but I’m definitely in different boat from the OP and can see why her circumstances are different. I’m in a weird position of having much of my network either too junior to have much sway, or too senior to be in touch with the kind of opportunities I’m looking for. Here’s hoping for us both!

    4. BananaKarenina*

      You read my mind; I was just about to ask whether readers had examples of “under-extension” – friends in your field know that you are looking for a job, and you tell them directly how they can help in very reasonable ways (when they ask, of course) – then, nothing. There are few things more frustrating than handling the job search alone.

      I’ve also been on the unhelpful-parents-who-don’t-listen end. The most outrageous suggestion: Cocktail hostess in Vegas. (Egads … standards, folks? Standards?)

    5. OP*

      Oh, man. I do sympathize, having done the whole job-search thing under less auspicious circumstances (young, broke, friendless, brand-new to town, and frankly desperate). In those days, I was THRILLED to make any kind of connection with anyone that might lead to a job.

      Times and seasons. I hope the help you’ve given your friends comes back around to you.

      1. just want a career*

        Thanks – I appreciate that!

        Do you have any suggestions for getting one’s network to behave like yours, with all of the job postings? With all of the “The only way to get a job is through your network!” type advice out there these days (and I *really* appreciate that AAM does not truck with that) my lack of success with that part of job-hunting is pretty discouraging. I’m at the point where I may have to end up back in customer service, despite my massive amounts of debt and brand new master’s degree. :(

  13. Jaguar*

    On the issue of boundaries, it’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t bother everyone, nor is it seen as overstepping boundaries by everyone. I’ve had people do it to me when I’ve been looking for work and have had other people solicit me (and others) for it when they were looking. I understand how it can be felt as infantilizing, but that’s really a matter of perspective. When someone has referred me for a job, then followed up with me on it, I clearly see that as them wondering if they managed to help, not nagging.

    1. CeeCee*

      I agree with you. As someone who has primary been on the receiving end of leads though, I think there is a difference between “Did you apply? The deadline is tomorrow you know!” and “Did you ever end up applying to that job I sent? If so, let me know. I can either send you more like it/put in a good word with Steve about you/I won’t send you jobs like that one again if you weren’t into it.”

      One has a bit more respect for your decision making and discernment (the latter) whereas the other is a bit more “But I’m helping! Why aren’t you accepting my help?”

      1. Jaguar*

        I see it more as them being excited to help you and wanting to make sure nothing goes wrong. It’s not helpful at the point that they’re nagging and they probably shouldn’t do it, but they’re also human beings and you can’t turn their push alerts off without uninstalling the program altogether. It comes from a good place and it seems easier to me to deal with feelings of being nagged / not respected / self-pity that can result than trying to get only the help you want in exactly the way you want it from others.

        I’m kind of going back and forth on making a post on this thread about isolationism. I don’t want to derail discussion or start accusations or anything that is too off-topic or too broad. But a lot of the questions and concerns that come in to AAM are in the variety of “how do I get people to stop interacting with me in ways I don’t like?” with follow-up comments being of how awful other people are for interacting with people. Maybe the answer is to be more accepting of people interacting with you? I’m not really arguing that case, and I don’t know what my own feelings on the matter are, but isolationism is a serious, growing thing that makes people miserable and the Internet has made it even easier for people to isolate themselves from others (with an accompanying narrative of people don’t deserve to deal with things they don’t want to and should act to have it stop). So when I see so much complaining about how people interact with one another, I’m always wondering if the answer is to let it keep happening and try not to let it bother you. It’s easy to set up a small barrier for everything you don’t like, but eventually you’re surrounded by barriers that nobody can get past.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think that’s a really interesting discussion to have!

          I’d argue that what you’re saying is true in some cases, but not all of them. In many cases, part of having a close relationship with someone is being able to say stuff like this. And even outside of close relationships, many people (probably most) would want to know if they were doing something easily fixable that was annoying you. The issue, though, is that people really struggle to figure out how to say some of these things in a way that won’t alienate people, and I think that’s really valuable to hash through.

        2. CeeCee*

          “I’m always wondering if the answer is to let it keep happening and try not to let it bother you.”

          This is typically how I deal with these situations. While I do think some unsolicited advice and question is a bit annoying and not something I always have the energy for, like you, I actually do have a acute awareness about growing isolationism being a thing (be it good or bad) in our culture.

          Generally, I always try to consider the source. Is this coming from someone who cares about me, tries to help me regularly, and is looking out for my well-being? If so, I appreciate the help and will not let it get to me. It’s when it’s the type of person who isn’t really looking to help me, but rather to just feel self-gratified (in a “But I’m helping/giving you advice. Why aren’t you doing what I said?” kind of way) that I’m more likely to put up a boundary. — Although who knows.

          We all should be good to one another because we don’t know what’s going on with others. Maybe that person is going through something and feeling isolated so they are reaching out and need to feel good about themselves for helping.

          Ultimately though, we can’t really stop other people’s actions the “how do I get people to stop interacting with me in ways I don’t like” will probably never stop. But we can control how we react to it. Sometimes that is putting up barriers. Generally, I’d like to hope that we just accept things graciously and not let it hang us up in our lives.

          1. Jaguar*

            “[W]e don’t know what’s going on with others” is really important, but I think it’s something that only works one way. If someone’s acting strange to you, then you should understand that people are strange, weird, are dealing with things you’re unaware of, sometimes just have bad days, etc. But I think “we don’t know what’s going on with others” as an excuse to not interact with people is corrosive to sociability. You’re going to get in trouble now and then when you act open with people, but if you avoid it because reasons, everyone suffers. In my opinion.

          2. OP*

            I get what you’re saying, I really do! And I think this is something I do in other situations for sure, but my motives here are pure. I like these people and I want them in my life, but I find I’m having trouble managing their expectations. I realized, as I’m reading all these responses, that I feel the way I used to feel when I was single and people would offer to fix me up with someone they knew. They’d often follow up, and I could tell they thought there was the real potential for me to meet and fall madly in love with their nephew or neighbor or colleague or whatever. And I’d think, “Sure, it’s POSSIBLE, but the odds are vanishingly small. Introduce us once, if you must, but please don’t ask me how our first date went or if I LIKE HIM like him.”

            I have one friend–a good friend of many years–who is convinced that I’m destined to work for a small press in our area. There is another who tried to arrange a meeting for me with a hiring manager when she found out I was vacationing in the town where the hiring manager (a friend of hers) lives. There was another–this was REALLY weird–who asked me for help with her cover letter and resume for a job application and then kept encouraging ME to apply for the same job! (She was applying for many things and thought it was a long shot for her but a stronger possibility for me.)

            I tend to be an effusive, enthusiastic person, and I think I tend to make friend with other effusive, enthusiastic people. It’s what I love about them. I just need them to, you know, bring it down a few notches on this one.

            (I think, and I’m just realizing this as I write it, that I’m also affected by my history. I’ve never before had the luxury to wait for a GOOD job. I’ve always had to take the pay-the-rent job, or the “I know someone who’s hiring” job, or the crappy retail job, or the foot-in-the-door job. I’ve never been financially secure before, and I have definitely had to rely on my network to find a job, any job. It is a new experience to look at jobs and think, “Would I want to work there? Does that sound interesting to me?” rather than, “Would they hire me? Great. When do I start?” When you’re a Gen X-er with an English degree, desperation and settling are pretty common.)

        3. TootsNYC*

          they’re also human beings and you can’t turn their push alerts off without uninstalling the program altogether.

          I disagree with this.

          I think you do run the RISK of uninstalling the program altogether, but I don’t think that’s a given.

          I think that you can shape the alerts to be something that’s easier to deal with, and better for your relationship in the long run.
          Bcs, who wants a “mom nagging the teenager” for a friend or relative?

          1. Jaguar*

            Yeah, but my point is that none of my friends and family are perfect and I suspect few if any of other people’s are, either (and, I’ve had friends who are, more or less, perfect and they were BORING!) Most of them have things I wish they’d stop doing. Sometimes I can’t come to terms with those things and we have a fight. That used to happen more in the past, and I’ve made an effort of trying to be more accepting of people’s behaviour and how it affects me, and I’ve found I’m a much happier person for having done it.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It shouldn’t need to become a fight though! In a reasonably functional relationship with two reasonably mature people, you should be able to say “hey, I’d rather you not do X” and have the other person say “oh, I didn’t know — okay, cool.” Obviously that doesn’t always happen, but that should be the goal, and when you can’t do that, it’s often a flag that some element isn’t as it should be (you, them, the relationship).

              1. Jaguar*

                Well, I’m dressing up language. I’m extending “fight” to encompass “would you please knock that off?”

                1. I'm a Little Teapot*

                  But if people do things that bother you and you never ask them to stop, you’re going to end up resenting them, and that might harm your relationship too. And politely asking someone not to do a specific thing isn’t a “fight.”

                2. Anna*

                  I don’t think it automatically follows that you will resent them. Especially if you’re self-aware enough to know you could have asked them to stop and didn’t. My friend is almost always late when we get together. If I end up resenting her over that even though I never said it bothered me, I’m pretty much the jerk in that situation.

                3. Jaguar*

                  I feel like we’re quibbling over semantics.

                  I agree that people should be more forthright and open about what they want or how they feel. But I’m talking about working internally against letting things bother you. If you can’t get past it (and there are tons of things I can’t get past, even though I probably should), definitely speak up, and do it as soon as possible.

                4. Jaguar*

                  Anna, in that situation, I’d probably say something.

                  The point isn’t to get them to stop the bad behaviour, it’s to make them aware of the effect it’s having on you.

                  I have a friend who will just drop out of a 1-on-1 engagement if his phone goes off and spend the time to text back. I complain or make sarcastic remarks as much as pushing the envelope allows. He still does it, but at least now I know he’s making that choice understanding that it’s irritating me, which I’m much more capable of dealing with.

                5. TootsNYC*

                  I would think that “fight” would equal a pretty testy “please knock that off” instead of a “I’d appreciate it if you’d stop doing that.”

              2. TootsNYC*

                ” I complain or make sarcastic remarks as much as pushing the envelope allows.”

                But–do you every straightforwardly say, “this is really bothering me. It hurts my feelings when you do that”?

                Or are complaint and sarcastic remarks the only settings on your dial?

                Our point is that semantics DO matter–you keep choosing semantics that are so much more negative than anything I’d ever envision. And it makes me think that this is how you DO react.

                1. Jaguar*

                  No. That language is far too formal for the relationship we have. I speak like that to other people, though. There’s no ambiguity about my message or whether it’s gotten across.

                  Nevertheless, my point, really, is that the culture here is so strongly about looking outwards to fix personal problems, and while that’s unquestionably helpful and necessary a lot of the time, I think often when it comes to personal annoyances, maybe not enough is said for looking inwards. For instance (and this will be extreme cases just to illustrate the point), I have two younger brothers. The first one is unapologetic about who he is and will address any issue he has with people. The second is the most easygoing person I met for whom problems never seem to bother. There’s a narrative in our family, thanks to our dad, about admiring a “take no crap” attitude, to which the first brother would seem obviously the most admirable. I don’t see it that way at all, though. I’m amazed and envious of the other brother who never lets small stuff affect him. That seems like a healthier attitude and a position of much better strength. I think that trying to change the world around you to be just right is a problem because of how unrealistic it is and how it will forever put you at odds with other people. If you can look inwards and stop letting things bother you, any success you have can only increase your happiness and well being.

                  Now, I should point out that there’s a huge, massive overlap here with mental health and I don’t want to deny those people’s real problems. But if you can determine that mental health isn’t the culprit and the issue isn’t a huge thing (racism, sexism, harassment, and so forth), I think looking inwards is probably better than looking outwards.

            2. Sparrow*

              I get what you’re saying, but I feel like there’s a lot of middle ground here. Perhaps one should work on being more patient with and accepting of other people, but I also think it’s reasonable to expect those other people to be thoughtful about how they approach you. In typing that out, I’m realizing that it probably has to do with the kind of impact the behavior has. If it just annoys me, I’ll try to get over it; if it’s hurtful or feeds my mental health issues, I either disengage or say something.

              I also know that I would want to know if something I was saying/doing was making a friend or loved one feel belittled, anxious, etc. I wouldn’t want them to bite their tongue in the name of not making waves; in fact, finding out that they were doing that would bother me much, much more than them politely asking me not to do X.

        4. L*

          I have noticed the same trend lately beyond just the comments on this site, and I think your question is a really good one.

        5. Sue Wilson*

          I think what you’re seeing less “isolationism” and more an overcorrection in the dismantling of toxic social narratives (that have really implicated mental health). And frankly? The lines you draw have always been there, they’ve just been invisible to anyone else. Making them visible isn’t going to make it impossible for anyone to reach you, unless that’s what you want. Imo, most people are quite capable of understanding how to determine what “price” of of having a relationship is worth it to them when they’re stating boundaries.

          1. TootsNYC*

            I agree.

            I come from a family that really respects boundaries. And we’re really pretty close. So establishing boundaries doesn’t need to destroy closeness or connection. In fact, it actually makes it stronger, I think.

            I can think of about 3 times that my mother has given me some sort of order or ultimatum as a grownup. Only one of those was really a wrong thing for her to do–or, said in the wrong words.
            As you suggest, I didn’t see that as a major problem, but just sort of got annoyed inside and blew her off. (and was alert, a bit, for further pressure, which didn’t come)

            The other times, her pushiness set off alarm bells–not about her, but about the seriousness of the situation. If she were normally boundary-crossing, her efforts wouldn’t have been as successful.

            1. Glouby*

              It took me a long time to move from “boundary setting = FIGHT! I HATE FIGHTING!” to “boundary setting = having a conversation about what is working well in our relationship and what steps can make it better for both of us! awkward at times but ultimately yay!” I give this site as well as Captain Awkward’s site a lot of credit for helping me understand this distinction, and thank my lucky stars that my failure to understand it didn’t put me into dangerous situations, mental health and physical safety-wise.

              1. Glouby*

                I also wonder whether boundaries may be an imperfect metaphor for what goes on in a relationship that is working well. Like it’s not WHAM! putting up a wall, but working in dialogue with the person to say what feels positive or not positive on both sides.

                Like Tootsnyc, I see boundaries protecting a relationship, rather than walling off the participants from each other.

  14. Alessa G*

    What does one do when it is senior colleagues and former mentors who keep doing this – AND – they will pre-emptively tell their contact at said organization all about me and that I’ll be contacting them. Where I feel trapped is these senior colleagues constantly refer me for things I’m not qualified for (as in, I’m not an economist/statistician/whatever whatsoever, which the job absolutely requires – but these senior colleagues keep saying they, who know me, are “confident I’ll excel in “anything.”) When i am clear that I am absolutely far from, not even clost to the same ballpark as, the specific qualification a job ad requests, I will not apply for it. But then I learn that my reputation is becaoming DAMAGED because those hiring managers are made (by my senior colleagues) to *expect* to hear from me, as though I’ve formally promised to do so. I recently heard through my field that colelagues at numerous orgs thought me “flaky” now, because I supposedly had senior people go to bat for me, then never applied. When the truth is they do so without asking me or even informing me before the fact. I gently ask these senior colleagues repeatedly to stop this, only to find the end result seems to be that they stop wanting to help me at all. AND my name is trashed in places they reached out to without my consent. If AAM or anyone has advice as to how to mitigate the splashback from the actions of bothers i can’t control, I’d be so very appreciative!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      How did you say it when you asked them to stop doing it (if you remember)? I’m wondering if it inadvertently came across differently than you intended it, if they stopped helping at all after that.

      1. Alessa G*

        I would say something like “thank you so much for thinking of me and believeing I’d be up for this poisition, but upon reviewing the specs, it seems like they want someone with XYZ as the primary profile. I have none of that experience (or very little of it, or its something outside the scope of my interest in terms of roles – which I’d previously taken the time to clarify for them.” The replies I’d get would be like, “Nonsense. You’re brilliant and you could do the job well. Stop turning down opportunities or people won’t continue to give them to you!” To be clear, it’s definitely not about underestimating my abilities. I am a teapot designer or design specialist. These senior colleagues are not supervisory, because i typically have worked as a consultant or someone hads commissioned me for something. No one monitors my work, they judge me on the excellence of my teapots – and my expertise in myrid aspects of teapot design. But now i’m in a space where I want to work more within one teapot organization/entity – hence the challenge. So there may be a job opening for a “senior teapot economist – with an MBA or MEcon or something” – and I only even had one advanced math course as an undergrad 15 years ago. Plus I have no interest in the business/economics side of the teapot field. The senior colleague will think to themselves “Alessa is one of the top ‘teapot people’ and so Organization/Entity X should have someone with her profile in this position.” But my profile is not in that area of skill, education or experience. They, meanwhile, became senior moreso beginning as entrepreneuers and also academia that focuses on teapots, so they didn’t themselves rise through a typical hierarchy (to know of the norms, I gather.) Now, it may be that these senior colleagues think, based on their expertise, that I actually do have some qualities i’m not considering but that do indeed make a good “senior teapot economist.” But I feel like it is way off base to apply for such a job—and would appear very out of touch to apply (IF I was interested in the job even.) Perhaps, I do give the impression of being capable of… “anything.” Alas, I find that impression may actually hinder me in getting appropriate and useful direction.

    2. mskyle*

      Argh, I remember this happening at a job many years ago! I had just finished my masters (library science) and it was expected that I would move on from my non-professional-level library job. My library director was constantly sending me job ads for manager positions that required years of professional experience. Jobs that *he* could have reasonably applied for. My immediate manager got on my case for being insufficiently grateful because I stopped thanking the director after the first few wildly off-base suggestions. It was incredibly frustrating.

  15. Chris*

    I get multiple people who email me job openings. 99% of the time, I’m not actually qualified, or I look qualified to a layman, but with industry knowledge I understand that I’m really not, etc. Generally, I just let the people know I appreciate being forwarded stuff, and I’ll look at anything they send. This seems to work, and I rarely get people pestering about a particular job.

  16. TootsNYC*

    I think whenever possible you should be very direct and very specific. Friendly in tone, etc., but don’t drop hints.

    Say, “I appreciate the vote of support, it means a lot that you are rooting for me. But I would like to ask you to simply pass on the opening and leave it at that–don’t reach out to the hiring manager unless I ask you to (and I will ask you, if I’m interested), and don’t follow up to ask if I’ve applied. I may not apply for everything you send me, and it’s a lot of pressure. To be honest, I feel nagged and pushed around, and that’s not a dynamic I want in our relationship.”

  17. Blue Dog*

    I have no problem with anyone conducting their own job search in their own way on their own time schedule — as long as they don’t download on me every time I seen them about not being able to find a job, being broke, or wanting to borrow money.

  18. Adam*

    I’m fortunate in that most people in my life don’t pester me over my job search (except my therapist, but I pay him to do that). They wait for updates and otherwise leave well enough alone.

    But there was that one relative (hint: mom) who pushed a little more than I liked from time to time. Thankfully she doesn’t anymore, but wayback when the biggest head -> desker was when she sent me an add for a job that:
    – Was only part-time
    – Made next to nothing
    – Involved working in children’s daycare (which I’ve never even remotely expressed interest in)
    – Would have required me to move 700 miles to a city which would be (you guessed it) closer to her

    And in case you’re wondering, not a jest. Total serious attempt.
    It became funny in retrospect.

  19. Em Too*

    Could you use the follow-up ‘did you apply?’ to as your chance? I’m thinking an offhand ‘no, thanks but this sort of thing isn’t really what I was looking for’ to discourage any more, or ‘actually I’m only interested in these sorts of things’ if you just want them to be more helpful.

  20. Stranger than fiction*

    Forgive me if this sounds funny, as I am not a Facebook user, but could she post something for all her friends and family to see like “hey I’m no longer into writing…I’m going in a completely different direction…”.

    1. Adam*

      Yeah, she could do that. I’ve seen people make big public announcements on FB about their careers before.

      It does beg the question of what that new direction is though. If she does have one in mind, being deliberately coy about it might put some people off and if she does tell them then she’ll be right back where she started.

  21. alex*

    I think I’m a bit less sympathetic to the LW than others above– this problem has a bit of humble brag to me and seems easy to remedy.

    “Thanks; I’ll look into it!”
    and then, on the unwanted follow up,
    “Yep, I looked into it, but it wasn’t a good match, but thanks again!”
    seem like easy, socially gracious scripts to just send out on repeat.

    If I were the altruistic, recommending party, I would not take offense to these replies at all, but I would bristle at the “picky” statement, as it would imply that my suggestion was beneath you. I’d be embarrassed, which doesn’t seem fair.

    Just my opinion; good luck in the job search, LW!

    1. Kelly L.*

      It struck me as possibly ineffective in a different way: The Gumption Crew will respond with “You can’t afford to be picky these days! In this economy! Go volunteer to sweep their floors! For free!”

      1. L*

        This comment is amazing. Members of the Gumption Crew also always have some anecdote about a friend’s cousin’s spouse who worked at a Burger King with a PhD, which allows them to blame any job seeker who can’t land a “for now” job for just not trying hard enough.

    2. TootsNYC*

      Yeah, people don’t react well to the term “picky.” Think about how little sympathy there is for picky eaters.

      I’d just say, “I’m going to be very selective.”

  22. Anna*

    I’m a very private person and I don’t like people getting all up in my business without my permission. In this case, I’d probably tell the people who were “helping” that I was easing up on the job search, and that I wanted a break from job listings. You can frame it as “I might take a job if something really speaks to me, but I’m lucky that I don’t have to work, so I’m not going to focus on actively applying to a lot of jobs. Thanks for your offer to help, though!” This seems to be close enough to the truth to not be a lie, and it just takes the job conversation out of the picture entirely.

  23. YaGottaAsk*

    Interesting…this is the first time I’ve disagreed with the advice given! If some one assumes you want to continue in writerly positions, tell them your considering a new area in which to advance your career, or just a new role within the industry. If you must talk to friends/family about your job search, make it clear that you’re venting and don’t need a solution. If people forward positions to you, thank them and let them know NOT to expend their influence putting in a good word for you when you never intend to apply. The OP doesn’t indicate that people are overstepping clear boundaries, just that she hasn’t made any.

    The vast majority of people need jobs to survive, and will do their best to help you find a position because they care about you. I’d recommend reframing this as less dealing with ‘weird pressure’ they’re exerting and more ‘they want me to be happy, let me give them some details so they can offer relevant contacts if they want to.’ Please, please be gracious to these folks…I know I would love to have the security and ability to explore the possibilities.

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      Interesting…this is the first time I’ve disagreed with the advice given! If some one assumes you want to continue in writerly positions, tell them your considering a new area in which to advance your career, or just a new role within the industry. If you must talk to friends/family about your job search, make it clear that you’re venting and don’t need a solution. If people forward positions to you, thank them and let them know NOT to expend their influence putting in a good word for you when you never intend to apply. The OP doesn’t indicate that people are overstepping clear boundaries, just that she hasn’t made any.

      Quoting for truth and because it bears repeating. “Thank you, but I’m no longer interested in writing-related positions” or “I’m taking my career in another direction” are all that needs to be said. Most reasonable people will understand and stop sending these leads.

      1. Vendrus*

        I got the impression that while OP was less interested in the writing jobs, they weren’t completely off the table – which is why they don’t want to announce that they’re no longer interested. To me it sounds like the ideal situation is ‘send me listings if you think they’re interesting/good, but don’t expect me to always apply’.

  24. Quiet*

    Now I wonder how many people I’ve inadvertently annoyed by sending them a job description at my organization because a) I knew they were looking there; and b) I thought it *may* be a match for their background, given what I know about their interests and background. The key word is *may* — I’m not presumptuous enough to think I know the ins and outs of even my closest friends’ careers. And if I follow up with a friend, it’s because I want to know if I was remotely on point, because if I’m not, I’ll stop!

    OP, I can understand being upset when a friend contacts someone on your behalf, without saying something first. That crosses a boundary. And so does hounding you about a deadline. But the rest? I think people are trying to do a nice thing. Haven’t we all been schooled in the importance of networking?

    1. Megs*

      I don’t think it’s a matter of blowing off networking, but (1) the OP finding that her network isn’t helping due to her specific circumstances, and (2) the really important line between appropriate job search help and inappropriate. I think we can all agree that passing on a job description you think would be a good match is generally okay, and that contacting someone at an organization without asking in advance is generally a problem. The big giant flexible space in the middle is all about circumstances.

      1. TootsNYC*

        exactly! She even says she’s OK w/ them forwarding the info, even if it’s not that helpful.

  25. Hot Ice Hilda*

    My sister-in-law works at a school (admin, not as a teacher) and for some reason decided that I needed to work there as well, despite the fact that I already have a job. Now, I am an immigrant to her country and while I am not exactly happy in my current workplace, I had just sent in paperwork to extend my visa and couldn’t very well look for a new job until I’d gotten back my IDs and various documents saying I’m legal to live and work here. Also, there’s the little fact that I don’t want to work at a school! So after politely asking her to stop sending them while I was waiting for my visa to be approved, she told me to stop making excuses and apply already. And that the Home Office would just let them have copies of my stuff if they asked. And then she scolded me for mailing my documents without letting her grade them! My husband and I didn’t speak to her for a good three months after that. Still kept getting increasingly harassing Facebook messages from her about applying at her school.

    What got her to stop? I got pregnant and she realized that I wouldn’t get as much maternity pay/leave if I switch jobs now. Let me repeat that: it took getting pregnant to get her to stop demanding I work with her. For now at least!

  26. MissDisplaced*

    I don’t know, but I guess I wish I had this problem. After all this is often how you find good jobs BEFORE they are posted. This is not a horrible problem to have! But I guess some people can get to pushy with it. Still, I’d just say thanks for the info and move on.

  27. Mando Diao*

    Are OP’s friends aware that she has the luxury of being able to wait until the right job comes along? I understand that it can be hard to tell your friends that your husband makes enough money to allow you to stay out of work. However, without this information, her friends are seeing her as someone who says she’s looking for a job but isn’t getting interviews or landing an offer. It’s a somewhat worrying situation to observe without the full context. If I were the OP I’d probably say something like, “My husband and I are financially comfortable at the moment so I’m not in any rush to accept a position unless I 100% love it. I’ll let you know when I find a job that’s right for me.”

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

    I’ve had this problem. I had a friend that would send every IT job posting at her company to me for my husband. Yes, he works in IT but networking and programming are completely different jobs and are not interchangeable. She just didn’t get that not all IT jobs are the same.

    I tried to do a career change awhile ago and had friends send me jobs for which I was not qualified. I appreciate the efforts, but I had zero experience in that field, a bachelors degree alone is not getting me a director level position. But that’s where they all were so I guess they thought I should be too.

    1. Rana*

      Yeah, I’ve had that happen. I get the logic – you’re our friend, you’re our age, you have a similar level of education… surely you should be qualified for jobs like ours! But if you’re a career changer, you’re perforce starting over several rungs down, which confuses people, imo.

  29. A Girl is No One*

    I’d just tell them what you are looking for.

    The other thing to consider here is…you say your last job was less than great, right? What about it was less than great? Is there any perspective that friends and family can offer that would help you avoid another less than great? Maybe, there’s a reason behind a few of the suggestions. My dad would say, you are Captain of your own ship, but mind the seas.

  30. Jennifer*

    I really don’t think other people can understand for you what you’re looking for in a job, period.

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