I received a sketchy interview invitation, unfriending the boss, and more

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

1. Is something sketchy about this interview invitation?

I recently received an invitation to interview with an direct marking company (based outside of the U.S.) who just opened their first U.S. location. They are hiring for all sorts of positions, but I only applied for one that suited my interests and career goals the most.

There’s a portion in their interview invitation email went something like this: “I’m sure you’ve applied for a lot of roles and want some information on what you actually applied for.”

I don’t have a good feeling about this; it seems like they did not even acknowledge what I applied for and could possibly try to sell me on a position that I am not interested in. Furthermore, they go on to note that they have included links to more information about their company, but the links are to articles about “Signs You Were Born to be an Entrepreneur” or “Ten Habits of Highly Successful People,” both articles that they have published themselves on their own website. At most, those articles give me an idea of their company culture.

Should I even bother with an interview? Or should I at least email them back and ask for them to clarify what position I’ll be interviewing for? If I decide to interview, I don’t want to go into it blind.

Are you sure that it’s a legit job and not a multi-level marketing scheme? The articles they linked you to are screaming MLM to me.

Plus, telling you “you probably want some information on what you actually applied for” and then pointedly not giving you that information screams MLM too.

In any case, though, it’s absolutely reasonable to email them back and ask for clarification about the position. Their response (or non-response) to that should tell you all you need to know. Reputable companies don’t ask to interview people and then refuse to tell them what it’s for.

2. Can I unfriend my boss on Facebook?

I am a few years out of school, working in one of my first real jobs. I currently work in a large organization with lots of young people. There’s a friendly environment and people socialize outside of work. I am happy to get a drink with my direct colleagues once in a while, so that’s not an issue for me.

The thing is that right from the start, people have been Facebook-adding each other. I was nervous starting this job, didn’t want to seem unfriendly, and accepted most of them, including one from my manager. In fact, our entire team are Facebook friends. I feel uncomfortable now and post less (sometimes changing privacy settings to leave them off). I don’t mind about my colleagues, but my manager and I have clashed in the past, and they have proven they bring unrelated complaints and events into work feedback (like extrapolating a casual comment at lunch into a concern about an aspect of my work).

I would really like to just unfriend them, but feel like making a distinction between them and my coworkers might seem antagonizing. Any advice?

Is your manager a heavy Facebook user who’s likely to notice or care about an unfriending? If so, you risk it seeming like an adversarial act (which is ridiculous; it shouldn’t seem that way but in reality it could). If that’s the case, the easier route would be to just set your privacy settings so that they don’t see anything you post.

But you’d certainly be entitled to unfriend her entirely if you prefer. Most people aren’t rude enough to demand to know why you unfriended them, but if that happens, you can just say, “I realized I was letting the boundaries between work and personal life blur too much so I’ve tried to pull back.”

3. My coworker won’t stop drumming on his desk

A few months ago, someone moved into the cubicle next to me. He listens to music without his headphones (uncommon in our office) and drums on his desk what feels like all day but is probably more like 50% of the time. Not just little nervous taps but full-on beats, drum rolls, etc.

The music I think I could get used to if I really had to, but the drumming is driving me up the wall. I have a really hard time focusing with background noise generally, and my own music (in my headphones) doesn’t cover up the intermittent drumming.

I want to approach him about it and ask politely if he’d stop or cut back on drumming, but I’m not sure if (a) I missed my window since he’s been there for months while I try to work up the courage and (b) how exactly to phrase my request in the most polite and effective way.

My actual ideal scenario is that he use his headphones and stop drumming, but I’m not sure if that’s too much to ask, and I could settle for just the drumming going away. Can I ask him to stop? If so… how?

You haven’t missed the window, and I think you can ask him for both. Say this: “Hey Bob, I’ve been trying to block it out, but your music and drumming your fingers is making it pretty hard for me to focus. Would you mind using headphones like most people do here when they want to listen to music and not drumming on your desk so much?”

This is an entirely reasonable request and if he’s a normal person he’ll take it in stride. He might be annoyed about having to use headphones, but if you point out that that’s the norm in your office, he’s not going to have much ground to stand on in refusing.

4. Should I take my resume out of chronological order?

I’m finishing up a graduate program and currently searching for jobs. As part of our program, we had some professional development courses that provided examples and guidelines for cover letters and resumes, and on top of that, before I went back to school, I had some limited experience reviewing applications to select interns for my old company. I know what I like to see in a resume and what bothered me, and I have always had a resume that has separate education and job experience sections, in chronological order. I’ve had quite a few internships, and to keep my experience on one page, I’ve omitted the jobs that aren’t relevant to the positions I apply to and given the more pertinent/impressive opportunities more bullet point details.

A friend’s company is actively looking for referrals and so he has agreed to pass on my resume to the hiring managers. During undergrad, I had one really great sounding internship at a high profile organization that ostensibly would foster the kind of knowledge this company wants, followed by a job at a well known NGO, followed by a few small business/not so relevant internships during the past two years at school. His advice was to put the two more prestigious job descriptions at the top, regardless of timeline. Is this good advice? The high profile organization was seven years ago, and despite how great it sounds on paper, I don’t feel like I really gained a lot of hands-on professional experience during my summer there. Is my personal distaste for functional resumes clouding my judgement and burying an attention-grabbing position that should be placed more prominently?

He’s not suggesting you do a functional resume, which I’d agree you should stay far away from. (More on that here.)

He’s just suggesting you move your most relevant experience to the top so that it’s not buried. That makes sense in some situations. Of course, you wouldn’t want to have your work experience section jumping all around in no chronological order. Instead, what you’d do is to put a Relevant Experience section at the top, put the most impressive/relevant jobs in it, and then have an Other Experience section for everything else.

That said … does it makes sense in your particular situation? It’s hard to say for sure without seeing your resume, but if he’s suggesting it only because the organization is impressive but you don’t feel like your work there was particularly substantive — and especially if it was just one summer seven years ago — I think that would be giving it weird emphasis that isn’t warranted.

{ 93 comments… read them below }

  1. Anxa*


    Be prepared for the drumming not to stop, even if you say something. I am very easily distracted, so things like this drive me up a wall. I date someone who is a tapper. I’ve asked him to stop, but I really don’t think he can. It’s frustrating, because I want to respect that he may have a tic, or is doing some sort of stim (there’s no diagnosis for any sort of neurodivergence), but sometimes I reflexively grunt when he gets going again.

    One thing that has helped is that I’ve asked him to stop reading magazine type books when we’re watching tv or when it’s otherwise something he’s doing more idly and not very important. Maybe he can’t stop drumming, but maybe he’d drum less if he wasn’t listening to music? Or maybe there’s some other way to reduce the instances.

    1. (different) Rebecca*

      This +1000. Some people just do it, and will definitely say they can’t control it (I’m not saying they can, just that they’ll definitely not stop). OP3, may I suggest seeing if you can get your cube moved? Or his? Because there’s no way this ends with you happy otherwise.

    2. NJ Anon*

      #3 This is my son. He has played the drums his entire life and I beleive it’s a subconscious thing. He drove his teachers and classmates nuts in school. He did stop if/when they asked but at some point start up again. I really think he can’t help himself. Fortunately he teaches drum line and writes music for a living but even in his room he’s constantly drumming on his practice pad.
      Not sure what would happen if he ever got a desk job- he probably never will!

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      My husband unconsciously drums his fingers on the sofa arm while we watch TV, and I do not like it. If it’s not too vigorous a drumming, I ignore it, but it’s still a mild nuisance. If he drums heavily, I stop what I’m doing and give him the look until he stops. Sometimes if he’s mulling over something unpleasant, he’ll raise up his wrist and let his fingers “flump!” down heavily several times, similar to heaving a big, hefty sigh, but with finger-drumming. That one is the worst.

    4. Knitchic79*

      My husband is a foot tapper. Sometimes it’s light and I can ignore it and other times I also have to use a look or ask him to please quit. He honestly can’t control it (other than stopping when asked). It’s a nervous energy thing. This could be true for your coworker as well.
      Maybe if he did his tapping on something padded it would cut down on the noise. If he’s a reasonable person he shouldn’t balk at a suggestion he do his tapping on a mouse pad or something of similar material. If he does then he’s just being jerkish and you can move forward with that information however you have to.

    5. LizB*

      Yep. I’m a tapper/drummer — the worst example is when I’m reading internet stuff, I tap with my fingernails on the bed of my laptop next to the track pad. It’s a nervous energy/possible tic thing for me, and lots of other members of my family are tappers as well. I can try to stop for a few minutes, but I’ll absentmindedly start again as soon as I bring my attention back to whatever I’m reading. When I notice I’m doing it at home, I’ll usually go into another room so my boyfriend (who uses a desktop and can’t move) isn’t bothered; if I’m doing it at work, I’ll sometimes literally sit on my hands, or find a piece of paper to mess with (I take little strips of paper and roll them up, then roll them back and forth between my fingers), so they’re occupied. If her coworker can’t or won’t change his behavior to stop, maybe the OP could use headphones to listen to music or white noise?

      1. Bookworm*

        I also do stuff like this. I will stop if it’s brought to my attention, AND I will make a conscious effort to changed my behavior (I’ve worked on some of this for my boyfriend). But it also requires a certain degree of patience by the other person, since so frequently it’s something I’m doing without even realizing.

    6. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I used to have all kinds of nervous energy habits (pacing, finger-tapping, etc.) when I was a kid, but I guess they got trained out of me by annoyed adults. Now I do my fidgeting by constantly
      wiggling my toes inside my shoes, and nobody knows it but me.

      1. Kit*

        I also wiggle (to keep from jack hammering my foot on the floor, which my mom drilled out of me), it’s an ADHD thing in my case. Most people would never guess I’m hyperactive but I can’t hold completed still for long.

    7. Anonymous Educator*

      I know we’re not supposed to do armchair diagnoses here, so I won’t say it’s definitely this, but it’s very possible this co-worker has ADHD. He may actually need to drum… or do something. Does he have to drum on the table? No. But I used to work at a school with a lot of ADHD kids, and they would specifically carry around little toys (“fidgets”) that allowed them to make some movement and manipulate something with their hands regularly without that making a lot of noise. Maybe that’s what her co-worker needs. If he has ADHD (and, again, he very well may not), simply telling him to stop drumming may not stop the drumming, even if he wants to.

      1. Misc*

        Heh, all of this. I’ve been bouncing my leg so hard reading the comments that it’s loud enough to be drumming, and was going ‘…yeah, but *I* have ADHD, so I shouldn’t say anything’ :D (and I’d keep noticing I was doing it because I was reading stuff about annoying stim noises, and stop and promptly start tapping my fingers instead, and when I stopped THAT I bounced. And then I go back to bouncing my foot. I can concentrate on not doing ONE thing, but that just means something else sneaks out, and the movement helps me concentrate).

        I found it all rather amusing. And then there was an ADHD comment for me to jump on!

    8. Mimmy*

      I too am easily distracted and any kind of tapping drives. me. insane. I’m horrible at getting up the courage to ask anyone other than my family to stop. OP3’s coworker would have me at BEC mode VERY quickly!

      The weird part? I am sometimes a drummer myself and it drives my husband nuts. I tend to drum on my legs with my hands. When I start doing it, hubby will say “quit it Ringo!”

    9. Anxa*

      If anything, I’m the one with the more ADHD behavior, though it could be general depression anxiety, discalculia, Dsps, or a deficiency. I didn’t start w the issues til middle school.

      He has a few traits more associated w aspergers than ADHD.

    10. Van Wilder*

      I share an office with a drummer and I’ve thought about writing in so many times but I don’t think there’s anything to do. He’s gotten worse over the last year. He knows it annoys us but he doesn’t realize he’s doing it half the time. And most of the time we kind of treat it as a joke about how annoying he is but some days I have to be like “Please. You must stop.” It’s not just nervous tapping either. Every time he switches tasks and is thinking about what he’s about to start, he starts a whole riff. He’s got a whole little song worked out, and once it’s started, it won’t stop until we get to the end. If he gets cut off somehow, I still hear the rest of the song in my head anyway.
      Sorry, no point or advice here. Just at my wit’s end.

  2. Chaordic One*

    #1 This is NOT promising.

    It could be that they don’t have enough staff to send you a more personal form email relating to the position you applied for, and they are using a broad generic email for everyone, no matter the position. Alison could be right and maybe it is for a MLM.

    With the red flags you’ve seen, if you do go on an interview (depending on what transpires) be prepared to cut the interview short and say that it’s not a good match for you (or that the cultural fit isn’t right) and to turn them down if you do get an offer.

    1. JP*

      The thought of an MLM never even crossed my mind! The whole thing seems even more sketch now.

      I did email the company back asking for clarification on what position they wanted to interview me for. Did not receive a response, so I guess that answers everything.

    2. Joseph*

      Yeah. I would still email them back and ask for more information since that’s only like 5 minutes of effort, but I certainly wouldn’t put forth any more effort than that unless they actually give you some information.

      Even unreasonable companies and bad bosses would at least tell you what you’re interviewing for – The fact they won’t is super, super-shady.

    3. HardwoodFloors*

      Yes, I instantly thought MLM. They are vague because they want you to buy stuff and create your own job. Run from them.

      1. Artemesia*

        If you really had effective habits of successful people, and gumption and had an entrepreneurial spirit then you would leap at the chance to build you own business by storing crap from our company that no one wants in your garage.

    4. Blurgle*

      If it is the company I fear it might be – do NOT give them your drivers’ licence as “ID” when you arrive at the interview; in fact, if they ask for it turn around and leave.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Good advice. They use it as collateral to entrap you for the duration of a sales pitch, right?

          1. Bowserkitty*

            Who would willingly hand over a cell phone!? It’s not like they’re students taking an exam…

  3. FWB (Friends With Boss)*


    In your situation, I would keep the manager as a friend but create lists so you can, essentially, pick and choose your audience when you are posting. You can also post to a group/list but exclude certain friends.

    You may, however, run into a situation where someone references a post you’ve made on Facebook and your manager then realizes they are not privy to what you are doing on social media or being excluded from certain items.

    1. Anon for this*

      This. First, there’s at least one browser extension (Facebook Purity) that will tell you if someone unfriends you.

      Second, make sure that it’s a _list_, not a _group_. A list is something you control; a group is something you add people to, and they’ll be told about it.

      I would create a list named ‘work’, personally (so nice and neutral) and add the boss and anyone else who is only there because of work…and then screen them out from seeing any new posts.

      1. Usually_Lurking*

        That is exactly what I do. I tried for a long time to not accept friend requests from coworkers or management, finally gave in and now have them all in a list that I can block if necessary. My political views are radically different from most people I work with and I would rather not blur the lines between us.

    2. Lady Blerd*

      [quote]You may, however, run into a situation where someone references a post you’ve made on Facebook and your manager then realizes they are not privy to what you are doing on social media or being excluded from certain items.[/quote]

      This happened to me but not because I had a list, I muted someone and I guess that stopped her from seeing my stuff because she had no idea that I cut my hair months ago…

      But that list idea is great. I’m a heavy FB user and have several higher ups in my friends. I will create a group so they don’t see everything I put up.

      1. Artemesia*

        Another option is to simply unfriend or quarantine everyone at work and you can casually mention you decided to separate your personal and professional life and only do facebook with family. There are soooo many reasons not to have that level of intimacy with workmates especially if you share a lot of your personal social life.

        1. Lady Blerd*

          I’ll do it but will make no announcements. Those are usually so obnoxious LOL

  4. YRH*

    #2, the best way to functionally unfriend someone one Facebook without actually unfriend them is to put them on a list where they can’t see your posts. You can also block them from appearing in your timeline. That way, it looks like you’re still friends, but you don’t actually interact.

    1. Knitchic79*

      Absolutely this! I had to do this to a friend who kept trying to “convert” me to his political ways of thinking.

    2. many bells down*

      I find the “restricted” setting is the easiest, as long as you make a post “public” from time to time. With “restricted”, they’re still your friend but they have the same access to your profile a total stranger would; which can be nearly nothing or quite a lot, depending on how tight your privacy settings are.

    3. Rana*

      Yup. This is what I do. Categorize as “Acquaintance,” unfollow, set all posts to “Friends but not Acquaintances” with a very occasional wider post when I feel like it.

    4. Em Bargo*

      I straight up deleted and blocked my boss on Facebook and the couple other social media sites we were connected on. It was the right decision for me. I didn’t give a rip about how it made him feel. His behavior at work was having a detrimental impact on my mental health and I knew I had to distance myself from him as much as possible, and whenever I could.

  5. Aussie Teacher*

    I actually bit the bullet and unfriended my boss the other week, after Alison’s article about a coworker promoted to manager wondering if he should unfriend his now-reports. I had actually posted a picture of me & my kids in our PJs on FB and he had commented on it (I hadn’t considered him in my original audience!). I was going to send him the article and casually mention I was going to unfriend him, but when he mentioned the PJ picture in passing it was easy to say “Yes, I’ve been meaning to let you know that I’m going to defriend you while you’re my boss, as you weren’t exactly the intended audience for that photo – more than happy to re-add you once one or both of us move on from here!” Thankfully he just laughed and agreed it was fine.

    1. Joanna*

      I wouldn’t say always, sometimes legitimate companies do use that kind of language when they’re looking for people to help expand the company into new markets. Definitely a sign to be careful though as MLMs do like to use glamorous sounding language around entrepreneurship as it’s better than describing what their roles often actually are (commission only sales gigs for terrible products with very poor pay and conditions).

  6. Marie*

    #2: Doesn’t help you right now, but this exact situation is why I developed a personal policy of blocking everybody I work with the first week of a new job. No awkward turning down of requests, or later unfriending. If people ask if I’m on Facebook, I’ve always been honest and said I don’t friend anybody I currently work with and pre-emptively block to avoid awkwardness or having multiple individual conversations about why I won’t accept one friend request or another. People usually laugh and immediately get it.

    This has been a lifesaver multiple times as I get to know coworkers better and realize just how much I would have absolutely HATED to see one or another of them on my feed. By the time I leave a workplace, those coworkers have usually realized the same thing, so there’s awkwardness or conversations about why I continue to not friend them after moving on.

    1. OP #2*

      Yes, I think that is now the taķeaway for me. Definitely adopting this policy in the future!

      I was actually about to redact my question; I have since unfriended my manager. They were already in a no-see list, but due to some recent changes I was willing to take the chance of it coming off badly. (Long story short, am out on medical leave right now owing to the toxic work environment; manager has been supremely unhelpful and I just didn’t want them anywhere near my personal life anymore.)

      Thank you (and the other commenters) for your helpful comment though! Like I said, will definitely change my FB policy for future managers / coworkers.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Oh wow, that sounds very different from the “friendly environment” you describe in your letter. I am FB friends with many coworkers, but I have been at my company for nearly two decades and socialize with some of them outside of work events. I have a “Work friends” list for those, and a “Work-only” list for those whom I don’t know or like as well, but don’t dislike. I actually have a decent but not too familiar personal relationship with my boss, but I don’t even know if she’s on any social media. If she sent me a friend request I’d probably add her to the Work Only list, just to be safe.

        But you know about those options, and you’re certainly under no obligation to friend or stay friends with anyone at all. Personally, I have FB pretty well segregated, and my life is pretty boring anyway. I’m also not worried about a current or potential employer finding out that I have strong opinions about certain topics, but I know that that is largely because I am fortunate regarding my current employer, my industry, and my job security.

        1. OP #2*

          Oh, that was indeed confusing phrasing. To clarify: there is a friendly environment among coworkers; we also work well together. The toxicity is org-specific and relates to double-bind messages, randomness and pettiness in feedback (we do specialised work and management does not oversee our work directly, meaning little objectivity is possible when it comes to feedback); very high workloads and a general cutthroat approach to most issues.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      Yes, I’d actually recommend unfriending both the boss and all the co-workers. Be friendly with them at work, but don’t be friends. And hold off on being “friends” with them on Facebook until after you leave the job.

  7. Former Invoice Girl*

    #1 – This might be a stupid question, but… is there anything objectively wrong with Ten Habits of Highly Successful People? Or is it just that it tends to be used by MLM people a lot (like in this case)? I have not read it yet or have an opinion, so I am asking for real.

    1. NW Cat Lady*

      I think you’re thinking of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. (I can’t answer your question, because I haven’t read it.)

    2. Joseph*

      First off, as NW Cat Lady says, I think you’re actually thinking of the famous book by Stephen Covey, not this random internet article. With regards to the book, no, there’s nothing wrong with it at all. In fact, I’ve read the book myself and I’d recommend checking it out, as the advice is fairly reasonable and practical.

      Honestly, the problem here is not the quality of the material itself, it’s the fact that they didn’t provide any actual information on the job. It doesn’t matter if the articles are total bull or completely legitimate – the red flag comes from the fact you’re not providing the typical information (e.g., job description, company background, etc) that people would normally include in a “please come interview” email.

      1. Artemesia*

        Used in this context (the job ad response) it is a way of negging the applicant so they will be softened up for the recruitment. I mean, aren’t you a success oriented person? Or are you the kind of loser that would reject this great opportunity?

      2. Former Invoice Girl*

        Oooh, I was under the impression – somehow – that the article was an excerpt from the book — seems like two different things, then. Thanks for the clarification!

      3. Former Invoice Girl*

        Yes, you are right about the lack of typical info on this job as a red flag — it makes it seem like there might be no actual job to apply for.

  8. ReadItWithSpanishAccent*

    Ahhh… Functional resumés, one of the many stupid trends one can find in job hunting. They are terrible, tend to be messy and very misleading. It was fashionable a few years ago in my country and the career advisers of the unemployment services demanded them like this. I remember one candidate’s resumé, it looked like if he hadn’t worked since 2002 (it was 2008) while in fact he had been employed all those years… But you could find it only if you carefully studied the resumé, something that recruiters don’t do in the first stages. If I want to pinpoint some previous experience that can be more relevant, I use the cover letter (“Even though I spent the last 2 years as C++ tester, I have worked before as Java developer for 5 years”)
    I also think cover letters are dumb an pointless, by the way (“blablabla I’m so nice blablabla opportunity to grow in a *nice adjective* *nice adjective again* company such as yours blablabla”). Nobody does it in Spain.

    1. Morgan*

      That’s not what a cover letter should look like. The use of them is indeed culturally limited, but in the US a good cover letter can make a great difference. What you describe is not a good cover letter.

      1. fposte*

        Totally agreeing. Some of this may be industry/job dependent as well as regionally dependent, but there’s a huge element of communication in the jobs I hire for, and cover letters are a big deal in conveying that.

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        I think cover letters can be useless, depending on the industry or position, but for all the positions I’ve been involved in hiring for, cover letters tell me these things:
        1. Can this person write?
        2. Can this person proofread (or know to find someone else to proofread)?
        3. Why is this person interested in this position or school?
        4. How does this person view her experience in previous jobs helping her to perform this job well?

        #4 is different from the résumé, because the résumé just says what her experience is, not how she views it helping her to perform this particular job well.

        It also works in the reverse in weeding people out. If they just copy and paste back the job description, I know not to even look at them, even though the résumé may look otherwise promising.

        1. Michele H.*

          I worked for a non-profit organization for a while, and when it was going to be closed, we were all given free services with a professional resume and cover letter consulting service. Turned out, EVERYTHING I had ever learned about how and why to write a cover letter was wrong. The best tip I got was to explain to the person reading your cover letter why YOU are the best person to work at THAT position. Forget the I’m a team player, I’m oh-so-nice fluff blah blah and get to the meat and potatoes as quickly as possible.

          For example, if the job description calls for a BA and 2 years experience, tell them early on, I earned a BA in basket weaving and an MA in basket decoration from the number 2 ranked basket university in the U.S., and I worked as a professional weaver at Sticks and Twigs for 3 years. Sum up your letter by saying something like, as you can tell from my enclosed resume, I have both the education and experience you’re looking for, and I would love the opportunity to meet with you in person to show you how I could be a good match for Baskets R Us.

          I used that method, I taught my husband that method, and every single cover letter we sent using that method has brought an interview. It tells the potential employer right then and there, I’m not wasting your time; I have the exact qualities you’re looking for, and it gets you thrown into the interview pile instead of the circular file.

        2. Lauren*

          I always wonder about if my cover letter ever makes it to anyone. Big universities don’t seem to pass them along. I was hiring an intern, and I had no idea they sent cover letters, but a few mentioned it on the call. I def feel that I might have picked someone to interview with a good cover letter, but a bad resume.

  9. Katie the Fed*

    #1 – “Direct marketing” is mostly certainly an MLM. It’s the new euphemism for “annoying the crap out of your friends and family by peddling them crap they don’t need.”

    # 2 – you can, but she’ll probably notice, especially if you’re friends with other coworkers she is. I had an employee friend request me, which I accepted. Then three months later when I had to give her formal counseling she unfriended me an hour later. Very noticeable and very petty. I didn’t care that much, but it underscored my impression of her lack of maturity, which was a big part of why I had to counsel her.

    #3 – say something. I sit across a cubicle from someone who loudly eats and drinks all day. It annoys the crap out of me. I don’t usually say anything, but he had a habit of loudly slurp-drinking applesauce everyday, and that was just a bridge too far. I asked him one day if he could please use a spoon, and said I’d be happy to get him some spoons, but the slurping was just grossing me out more than I could bear. He was a little snarky about it in the moment, but later got a spoon and starting eating it properly.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Me too…I use FB Purity, which notifies me, but if it wasn’t for that I’d be hard pressed to tell if someone unfriended me until I tried to look at their Wall. Although I think that’s how some people use Facebook, they go to everyone’s Wall and read their recent postings. I don’t have time for that, I’ve got over 500 friends! I had to turn on Notifications for when my closest friends post something, otherwise I’d miss some of their posts.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I noticed that my cousin had unfriended me, but only because she showed up in my “people you may know” suggestions. We didn’t grow up together, aren’t close, and have different political views, so my guess would be that she got tired of some of the things that I “Like”, since I don’t really post much.

      2. Misc*

        One way it can work is if they have some public/’friends of friends can see’ posts, so their stuff still pops up in your feed as ‘your other friend just liked/whatever this post’ instead of as a normal ‘your friend posted this’ post (and sometimes you can’t comment/interact with it).

      3. Katie the Fed*

        IIRC, I looked at her page later, because she handled the counseling (which wasn’t that bad) SO poorly. She had immediately gone off to commiserate with two friends for an hour, and spent the rest of the afternoon giving me dirty looks. So I was curious later if she’d said anything about it on her page, and she’d unfriended me.

        She also two weeks later made a point of telling me she’d been giving me the silent treatment for the previous two weeks. Yep. Real mature.

        1. fposte*

          And also poor craftsmanship. You don’t *admit* you’re giving somebody the silent treatment–the whole point is that you’re being passive-aggressive and pretending things are fine. Whatta novice.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            I sort of notice but I didn’t care. I think it bothered her that I didn’t care. I mean, we still communicated on work stuff which was fine, but she wouldn’t say a word other than work stuff. Fine with me!

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Ha. Your lack of sufficient caring is probably what drove her to poor craftsmanship of her silent treatment; she had to be sure that you knew you were receiving it.

      4. Lady Blerd*

        You don’t really notice unless you pay attention and even then it will depend on your level of interaction on FB. I have close friends IRL who barely show up on my newsfeed because we don’t interact much so if they unfriended me, I wouldn’t notice. On the other hand I have people that I call FB friends because I have never met them yet we are pretty tight in there so they show up a lot in my feed and I do notice when they walk away from FB for a certain amount of time. Beyond that, you don’t really know unless you use a third party app that informs you or if you go around checking their profile and you only see the minimum amount or you can’t find them anymore because of their privacy setting..

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I also noticed once that our new receptionist was complaining her had of about work on Facebook. She even posted that she hates working with such a “gossipy bunch of people.” We weren’t Facebook friends, but I ended up seeing her posts because she was previously a nursery worker for a woman in my son’s cub scout pack, and she and I were both friends with that woman on Facebook.

  10. Audiophile*

    #1 I’ve unfortunately received phony interview invitations too. The ad I replied to looked legit, but when I got the interview invitation, they wanted me to send them a resume formatted differently, before they would interview me and then I googled the recruiter and the company. The company had no office in NY and the recruiter existed but wasn’t based in NY either.

    And there was one time I almost fell scam to an MLM, this one was for a “scheduling” job. I applied and they called me to schedule an interview. I initially said yes and then called back immediately and canceled.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      What tired you of that it was a scam/MLM in the second case? Did you just get a bad feeling upon further reflection?

      1. Audiophile*

        This one was in the penny saver. I forget exactly how I applied. I think I went home and told my mom about it and she said it was sketchy and to not bother interviewing.

  11. Cookie*

    You should probably unfriend all of your coworkers, just to show that it’s nothing personal and you’re working on work-life boundaries.

    The thought of restricted lists, etc. makes me nervous because every so often Facebook privacy settings change and you never know when you might become visible to your boss. In general, the only place I would social network with a supervisor is on LinkedIn.

  12. JohnJ*

    #2: My social media policy is simple. LinkedIn for professional relationships; Facebook (and others) for personal relationships. Work friends, no matter how close the relationship may become, do not get added on FB. Former co-workers with whom I remain friends can be added but will be removed if we become coworkers in the future.

    I would much rather police my ‘friends’ list than police every post I might choose to make or share.

  13. Lady Blerd*

    OP 4, my nerdy suggestion is to invest in a great pair of sound blocking earphones to drown out the ambient noise, whether in ear or over the ear although the latter will make it clear to others that you are focusing on your work. You don’t have to pay a ton of money for them but if you have no knowledge of what’s a good pair or what’s a good price, there are plenty of geeks doing reviews on YouTube.

  14. Pennalynn Lott*

    #1 – Before going back to school recently, I was in B2B tech sales for 25 years. After a layoff, I applied to dozens of jobs that all advertised themselves as B2B tech sales. One responded to me via text, with links to MLM-type crap. I texted back, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’m looking for a real job, not MLM.”

    I ended up having to go to my cell phone carrier’s website to block the guy’s number because he *swamped* my phone with vitriol and negging. I sent one final text to him before hitting the “block” button, which pretty much said, “Thank you for making my point about MLM. Henceforth I am blocking your number.”

  15. Rana*

    I have to admit I always find the resume advice frustrating – it seems that if you don’t fit into the typical patterns, you’re just screwed, no matter what you do.

    I mean, mine looks like something like:
    More Education
    Too Much Education

    Retail position 1 summer
    Clerical position 1 summer
    Academic position 1 years
    Academic position 2 years
    Academic position 4 years
    Academic position 1 year
    Academic position 1 year
    Academic position 2 years
    Clerical temp 1/2 year
    Clerical position 1/2 year
    Academic clerical position 1 year
    Academic position 2 years

    There are many reasons the last line is
    Self-employed – 13 years
    and one of the biggest is that I’m just not a desirable candidate with a resume like that, unless I want to go back to underpaid, no-benefits, contingency teaching.

    I just can’t see any way out of that hole, to be honest. At least with a functional resume I could show that I acquired some skills along the way, but if no one trusts them, then what’s the use?

    1. Jack the Treacle Eater*

      I think you’re looking at your CV too much in terms of positions held, at least the way you tell it here. The CV does not have to be functional to showcase your skills.

      Don’t go back more than 10 years, unless there’s good reason to. Certainly don’t feel you have to put every position down. Your CV is trying to sell you, not trying to be a diary of your entire life.

      Put it in reverse chronological order, most recent first – it sounds as though it’s oldest first from what you say here.

      If the education is not recent or not relevant to the post – and it sounds as though it might have been around 30 years ago – put it at the bottom, not first, perhaps in an ‘education and training / CPD’ section.

      For each position, summarise (bullet point) NOT the responsibilities and job description, but your achievements in that role. If that doesn’t make the role clear you can summarise it in one or two lines below the dates and title, so:

      Month & Year to Month & Year – recent Academic position
      Responsible for X, Y and Z in Big University teapot department
      Did A successfully increasing teapot design student enrolment by 50%
      Introduced a system for B that cut Boring Admin Job to a quarter of the time previously taken
      Developed and launched initiative to streamline Massive Admin Task, saving $Lots and Lots

      Month & Year to Month & Year – slightly older Academic position… etc.

      You draw attention to your most recent work and not only demonstrate your skills but also what your skills accomplished – and by extension, that you can do the same for Potential New Employer. That way you get the benefits of a functional CV without the drawback of appearing to hide your chronology.

    2. L*

      My guess is that you have a PhD. I have this problem too (and a humanities PhD – ugh), and I don’t know how to solve it. I do still teach and research in part-time or freelance capacities because people believe I can do those things, and I have bills to pay. I have reworked my resume 1000x and sought advice from hiring managers in advising and co-curriculuar programming, but it is so hard to get interviews when you don’t fit the profile of a typical applicant.

      Jack’s kindly-meant comments are probably not helpful to Rana. The standard advice of including months with the dates and exact job titles in a reverse chronological resume sucks for an adjunct prof who has done the same low-status, short-term teaching with several different official titles. The accomplishments are going to get…repetitive…because of the nature of adjuncting (You have so little leeway to innovate — you might not even be allowed to design your own syllabus!), but listing all your teaching as one entry is tricky if you’ve pieced together teaching for multiple schools and/or have long gaps when your dept(s) didn’t have courses for you to pick up. Also, the part-time work doesn’t always neatly translate into X years of experience with students in a cover letter.

      I have worked with a lot of college students as an instructor and in academic affairs/co-curricular programs, but my most recent experience is teaching and freelance editorial work because that’s what I can get. The longer my search for non-teaching jobs drags on, the more my advising and study abroad experience gets buried in the middle of my resume. It’s hard to show potential employers that I’m serious about a non-faculty career path when my attempts to get there have led to a long string of rejections.

      1. Rana*

        Yup. History Ph.D. here. It sounds like you’re in the same boat as me. If I wanted more adjunct work, Jack’s comments – which I appreciate – thank you for taking the time to think about the issue, Jack – would be very helpful.

        The problem is that, for me, academic work is a dead end, so using that resume, even reworked, as a tool for facilitating a career change is just impossible. At this point the positions I’ve held are pretty much irrelevant because the accomplishments are pretty limited and most of them require translation for their relevance to non-adjunct work to become clear. But I’ve picked up a ton of skills along the way, from public speaking to web design to writing to editing, that I know would be valuable. The trick, as I’m sure you’ve seen, L, is getting that across to skeptical hiring managers (who, to be clear, I’m not blaming – they want a solid, known quantity, not someone to take a chance on).

        So, freelancing. Which I am very good at and enjoy, but I wish it weren’t a forced choice.

        1. L*

          So…yes to everything you just said. My PhD was in history as well. If you don’t mind my asking, how long did it take you to build up the freelancing to a sustainable endeavor, and how did you pick up new clients? (So far, I’ve worked with people who know me fairly well, but I really need to branch out and pick up a lot more projects to make a decent living this way.)

          1. Rana*

            Well, caveat – it’s not really sustainable as an independent career yet – it’s more on the order of part-time work I can do while co-parenting a small child.

            But… what worked for me was trying to get as many sources of potential clients aware of my existence as an indexer and editor. My clients tend to be one-offs, or to have projects that are many years apart, so focusing solely on them isn’t enough. I have cold-contacted editors at various publishers, who have put me into a pool of indexers they can recommend to clients, and that has accounted for probably 80% of my clients. The rest are word-of-mouth recommendations from previous clients, plus a handful who see my profiles with ASI and the EFA. I find targeted one-to-one networking works far, far better than attempting to market myself more broadly. My client base is specialized, so my time is best spent concentrating on reaching them where they are, rather than waiting for them to find me.

            Are you doing academic editing, or working more broadly? Any particular skill sets or topic areas? I ask because I occasionally get queries from people whose projects aren’t good matches for my areas of expertise, and I like having colleagues I can direct them to.

            (Feel free to continue this conversation off-site in an email, btw.)

  16. Kalli*

    #2 Unfriending and blocking is the safest way to keep your posts to yourself. While you can add people to lists and keep your posts under control, you can’t control people seeing posts you have liked in their feed, your activity in apps or on other pages. Unfriending them is the only effective way you can do that, and blocking them means they won’t see you on Facebook at all unless they are logged out and you have things open to the public. If you share an app (e.g. you both play Candy Crush), updating your friends list may functionally remove them from your sphere, but it might take contacting the app developer if that doesn’t filter through right away.
    If you block them, you can get away with ‘I left Facebook’, and that should shut down all the friend requests. The only negative consequence is being known as ‘that person who doesn’t have Facebook’, which is sometimes used as an excuse to other or bully people.

    #3 Another compromise is asking for a soft surface that absorbs sound as a drumming area. Even a jelly wrist rest can dull the sound enough that it won’t carry so far,

  17. Lauren*

    The way I get around friend-ing a boss, is that I outright say – I use Facebook to b-tch about work. Rather than have you offended, I’m not friend-ing you. Its usually on the first day of working anywhere, and I make some joke about some trivial office supply issue or the pathetic-ness of not being allowed to use Chrome or Firefox, but being forced to use IE and Windows 8 – and how I contemplated quitting on the spot due my Mac-loving outrage. Saying it all stoic produces laughter, and kills the convo. No one ever asks again, tho new employees do, and I just cut it down by saying – I get a little crazy after 1.3 pomegranate martinis and no one needs to see the aftermath via Facebook. Again joke / laughter / end of convo.

    So use this to your advantage. Unfriend / block – if they notice – say – oh I plan on getting seriously wasted this weekend, busting out some Mike’s Hard Lemonade and nondescript wine coolers (circa 1994) – things gonna get crazy – you don’t need to see the aftermath on Facebook. It’s best for everyone – I kinda like my job.

  18. Rusty Shackelford*

    In my personal experience, having known many people who played drums in high school, it starts there and it never stops. It never, ever stops. They don’t know they’re doing it (again, in my experience) and that makes it harder for them to stop. You have my sympathy.

  19. Bowserkitty*

    #2 – this sounds like my workplace. I had to put one woman on restricted access – and after she then became my boss, I unfriended her entirely. If you do this, and she brings it up, I really like Alison’s wording. I would have said “I have a personal policy not to be friends with management” (or the like) but then, she was your boss from the beginning. It’s tricky!

  20. Fred M.*

    Re #2, I find it odd that a manager is Facebook friends with any of her coworkers.

    I’ve been a manager for 5 years, and I view Facebook for sharing details with friends who are outside of work while Web sites like LinkedIn are for professional contacts. As a manager, I feel strongly that no good can come from having your coworkers or direct reports listed as a Facebook friend. We have 140 people in our organization, and Facebook has caused more problems that any other Web site. For example:

    * An employee who was facing discipline used Facebook to try to discredit his supervisor because the supervisor had everyone but this employee listed as a Facebook friend and the employee claimed that was proof of the supervisor “hating” the employee.

    * One employee called in “fake sick” and used a day of sick leave and another employee took a vacation day so the two of them could go to a city park and enjoy a play date with their kids. The manager of the employee who properly took a vacation day saw the feed and reported the “fake sick” employee to her manager.

    * An employee was late to work and claimed “car trouble” when the employee’s Facebook feed showed that he was out at a club until 1 a.m.. His manager was a Facebook friend.

    I like the idea of unfriending the boss. And if the boss brings it up, then what Alison and Bowserkitty said is the way to go!

  21. Marisol*

    For #3, if you still have problems with this after asking him to stop, you can try earplugs and a white noise machine. Marpac Dohm makes a great, subtle but effective white noise machine and those foam earplugs from the drugstore are the best I have found. There is a decibel rating on the package so you can make sure you’re getting the ones with the most noise-blocking power. I always keep a pair of earplugs with me in my purse in case I find myself in an annoying environment–I am very sensitive to sound. And as a bonus, if he sees your coping strategies it might increase his motivation him to quit drumming.

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