boss told me not to check messages on vacation but tried to reach me anyway, company claims they don’t have a pay range, and more

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

1. Manager told me not to check messages on vacation, then tried to reach me anyway

I am wondering if I am wrong to be annoyed by something my boss did. Background: I work in a tough field, one that is very psychologically draining, due to witnessing terrible things on a regular basis. My workplace pays lip service to taking time off to recharge and says not to check messages while on vacation. Recently, I took one week off for my first wedding anniversary. I have checked my work phone messages and emails on every single other vacation for the past three years, but was “scolded” upon my return each time, so this time, I chose to not check my messages and email.

Silly me. This time, my manager called both my personal and work phone to ask about a work situation I had explained before I went on vacation to her and both the people who were to cover the situation for me. My phones were off, as it was my first anniversary. I now I have to go into work and deal with this. I feel very annoyed, for obeying instructions to let others handle things while I am gone (manager has expressed to me in the past that I need to “trust the team” and her to handle things while I take time off for me) and then feeling like I was some how wrong to trust the team. Alison, I am close to looking for another job over this — my vacations already felt more stressful than they should and I am going to go back into work angry and annoyed instead of rested and relaxed. Am I wrong to feel annoyed and put in a double bind? I just wanted to eat year old wedding cake, drink with my husband and not think about work. And now I think I’m going to be in trouble for this.

I think you’re assuming something that isn’t here — yes, they tried to reach you, but there’s nothing that indicates that they’re angry that they couldn’t. Given the details you’ve given, I’d assume that they’re totally fine with you having your phone off, but still wanted to try just in case they could reach you and because the question was important and time-sensitive. The fact that they tried doesn’t mean that you’re in trouble for not being reachable. I would assume that you’re not, unless you explicitly hear otherwise.

When you return to work, I would say this to your manager: “You’ve made it so clear in the past that I shouldn’t check messages when I’m on vacation that that’s what I did this time. But I know you ended up trying to reach me — did things work out okay?”

2. Can I talk about leadership experience from a local kink society?

I’m currently a member of the board of directors for our local kink society. (We own and operate an alternative lifestyles play space, but have a strict no sex policy and are not a sex club in any way.) I run and organize events, have supervisory responsibilities, and various other awesome talents and accomplishments that would look great on a resume — and I don’t have them through any other jobs / experience.

I’ve never put this position on a resume, and try to just say that in my private life I have these experiences. At a recent job interview, though, I was asked directly what experience I have working with a board of directors and if I’ve ever been part of one. I awkwardly said I did and just that it was a private society and tried to talk more about accomplishments (that were PG) rather then the specifics. I think it hurt my interview, though, in that they thought I was being vague and distant about it.

Any suggestions about how I can use this experience legitimately on resumes / in interviews? Or should I just ignore it all together as part of my private life?

Hmmm, it’s possible that you could call it a “local hobbyist group” or something like that, but you risk someone asking out of genuine interest, “What type of hobby?” Given that, maybe “community social club” could work — but there’s still some risk of someone asking more about it and you being left seeming weirdly vague, like what happened in that interview.

It makes me think that, if you really want to solve it, your group should do some volunteer work in the community so that you can refer to it as a local service organization.

Otherwise, yeah, I think you’re stuck leaving it out of discussions with employers.

3. Company claims they don’t have a pay range for a job they’re recruiting me for

I’m currently employed. I was contacted by a company who had received my resume from a previous supervisor of mine. Additionally, I’d interviewed with them for a different role a few weeks ago, but the pay they were offering was too low.

They asked that I officially apply for the new job and take a pre-qualification Wonderlic quiz. I asked what the pay range of the job was. They responded with “We don’t have a set pay range for this position. We’re willing to pay what’s needed to get the best candidate for the job.” Since the last job I talked to them about paid $17/hour, I assumed this wouldn’t be much better and didn’t proceed.

They emailed me again and asked if I would be applying. I told them I wouldn’t without some idea of the salary range they were looking for. They responded with, “I think you don’t understand. The position is somewhat nebulous as we’re looking for the best fit. Salary will be dependent on the person.”

They have my resume and they’ve met me before so they know the basics of my skill level/personality. I would therefore assume they would be able to at least give me the bottom of the range. Or am I just being crazy? I don’t want to go through the process with them again just to find they’re only willing to offer another awful rate.

Nope, you’re not. They approached you and asked you to spend your time on an application quiz; you didn’t approach them. It’s entirely reasonable for you to say that you’d like some idea of what the job would pay before doing that, especially since pay was an issue the last time you talked to them. They’re being ridiculous in saying that they don’t have any idea what they’d pay you — even if their range would vary depending on the candidate, they should be able to look at your background and give you at least a rough sense of what the range would be for you. It’s possible that they’re not doing that because they truly have no idea what the market range is for this type of role and they’re waiting to see what candidates ask for, but if that’s the case then they should say, “We’re still trying to figure out the market range for this type of role. Do you have a sense of what you’d be looking for?”

If you’d otherwise be interested in the position, you could say to them, “For a role like this, I’d be looking for a salary around $X-Y. Before we each invest time, is that in line with what you’re envisioning?”

4. Responding to a canceled course as a teaching assistant

I am a grad student at a large research university. For the past few years, I’ve been the teaching assistant for a popular course that impacts the local community. I was aware of the decreased enrollment for this upcoming semester and was working to mitigate it. But there were still a sizable number of students enrolled for this fall. However, this morning the professor who is over the course (and my boss) emailed me to ask a course-related question. In the email, he asked me to let another person know (a guest speaker who we have come in once a semester) that this will be the last year for the course. It came as a complete shock. I believe in the good things that this course does for the community and think that I have made a positive impact.

What would be the best way to respond to this email? I would like to know why the course is being cancelled and how I could mitigate abrupt changes like this in a professional career, but I also know I need to answer the original reason for the email as well.

It sounds like it’s probably the decreased enrollment, but you can certainly ask! I’d say something like, “Oh no, I’m disappointed to hear that! Are you able to let me know the reasons for the cancellation?”

As for how to avoid it in the future, getting a better understanding of the reasons here will help. Assuming it’s the enrollment numbers, you can think about ways to build enrollment for future courses that you want to ensure stick around, but to some extent this is just part of teaching courses that are subject to fluctuating demand.

5. Is it too late for me to ask for freelancing invoices from last year to be paid?

I work as a freelancer primarily for one company — I’m hired and paid on a project by project basis. They’ve always been terrible about paying me on time, leading me to receive checks for projects finished weeks or months ago, sometimes combined for multiple projects, sometimes not. This led me to get pretty disorganized about it myself, not taking the time to match up checks against invoices to make sure everything was in order. My fault, admittedly.

I recently had a small snafu with a payment, leading me to start checking my bank statements against invoices sent, and it turns out that, all told, they shorted me close to a thousand dollars last year. Is it too late to bring it to their attention, given that it’s my fault for being so disorganized I didn’t notice at the time? If not, how exactly do I bring it up? (I’m also confused about the tax implications, honestly, since this dates back to last year.)

It’s definitely not too late. They owed you that money then, and they still owe it now. I’d say this: “I’m doing an audit of my records and realized that the following payments from last year are still outstanding: (then list them). Would you be able to have these paid by the end of the month?”

And set up a better payment tracking system! It doesn’t have to be complicated; even just a simple spreadsheet that notes the date you invoiced and the date it was paid would work. (Hell, I just keep all outstanding invoices in an electronic folder until they’re paid and then move them to a different one afterwards, which lets me see at a glance what’s still outstanding. I am low-tech but it works.) And consider writing late fees into your contract.

{ 201 comments… read them below }

  1. Gaia

    I had an interviewee talk about her work with a local kink group…in a lot of detail. I remember just sitting there thinking “OOOOHHH MYYY GOOOOOOOOOD STOPPPPPP”

    She didn’t get hired (for a lot of reasons unrelated to this weird discussion) and in the end that is probably best because I’m not sure I could have ever thought of her as anything other than the potential coworker that told me WAY too much about her sexual interests.

    1. Jeanne

      Oh wow. I think to use a kink group as experience you have to keep it pretty neutral. “I helped negotiate disputes between members” and not get very specific about what the dispute was or whatever. I agree that most of us don’t want the explicit details in interviews.

      1. Patrick

        I just can’t see any benefit to including it unless you’re applying with a company that serves the kink community. I personally already weight “extracurriculars” very lightly when hiring unless it’s something really unique/exceptional, and there’s plenty of talk on here about the danger of trying to equate organizations, school etc with work experience.

        1. OP #2

          I mostly just want to use it because I do a lot of work for them in a board position that’s relevant experience for the field I want to be in, and I don’t have the same experience in previous jobs. I’ve done a lot of community outreach projects, fundraising, PR, marketing and long term planning as part of the board, but have no way of explaining that experience in interviews now. It’s what I signed up for being part of an alt lifestyle, but still sucks not being able to use it.

          1. L N

            There’s a lot of social clubs that are kind of vague in their titles and missions, so I think this is totally dependent on how well you can sell it with a straight face. “It’s a small organization sort of like a Rotary club” probably wouldn’t go amiss, but maybe don’t listen to me, because now I’m imagining a hilarious sitcom scenario where you use something like “gardening” as a metaphor and end up having to run with it in crazy and unexpected ways. “OP, we’re up against a rival branch in the squash growing contest and we need you to save our crop! You said you’re a very DISCIPLINED gardener, right?”

            I’m sorry. I only got four hours of sleep.

            1. OP #2

              This reminds me of how I tried to explain to a past employer why I had so much knowledge of pallet wrap and how to use it, even though I’ve never worked in a job that would involve it……luckily that boss and I had too close of a relationship and she already knew about some things.

              1. NotASalesperson

                This is amazing…and I’m probably going to have the same experience with rope in some job or another. They’re just going to ask me how I know so much about it and I’m going to mumble something about outdoor survival being a hobby.

                On another note, I totally feel you. I also lead a group and typically function as an HR-type administrator (group event planning, dispute resolution, handling complaints, etc), but since it’s alternative lifestyle, I can’t actually share any of the experience. It sucks because it’s relevant to the field I’m interested in moving into and could totally boost my career if it were in a socially acceptable field.

                1. OP #2

                  That moment when they ask why you’re so aware of pressure points and human anatomy, though you’ve had no medical training…

                2. Reasons...

                  Star Trek – the Vulcan nerve grip thing was fascinating so you read up on real-life versions of it. Or you get accupunture. Or you get a lot of massages, for PT. :)

                3. NotASalesperson

                  @OP2 that one I at least have the excuse of having a fair bit of martial arts experience in the past. Different types of chain is an awkward one too. Knowledge of hard points in building structures when you haven’t worked in construction is another one…

                4. Saturn9

                  Co-worker: “Why do you know so many knots?”
                  Me: *shrugs* “I just like rope.”

                  Other people trying to make it awkward: that’s on them. It’s only awkward if you let it be awkward.

              2. Bwmn

                One thing I would recommend though is possibly there’s either another ‘less adult’ organization that you can help plan one event/campaign/etc – either through connections you already have or possibly a more sex positive organization. Then I could see a situation where you write Local Women’s Health Clinic “planned xyz community outreach event” and then possibly under that write “other community organizing experience” and list the other skills you’ve gained in the kink group. That way you can focus on one short term volunteer effort, and still talk about everything else and not be pressed to go in as much detail on what that organization is.

            2. Al Lo

              “What do you want him to do?”

              “Plant ficuses. In my front yard. Grossest metaphor ever.”

              “I’ve seen your house. You’d have more success if he planted ficuses in your backyard.”

              “No, I don’t think so. Anyway, what if he thinks I’m asking too much of him, and I ask him to plant ficuses, and he doesn’t want to, and he gets weird about it, and it ruins our friendship?”

              “Then plant the damn ficuses yourself.”

              “I wish that were possible.”

          2. Bend & Snap

            I think the real issue here is that kink and other sexual preferences aren’t something people talk about in polite company/with strangers. So it’s not that the work you do isn’t applicable or valuable, it’s that the mission of the organization is going to make most interviewers uncomfortable.

            If you can dumb it down enough that people can’t tell what it is and won’t ask the mission or name, that will be okay, but I think it’s still risky.

          3. Bwmn

            I think that if the skills you’ve been using are that essential to your qualifications for a role – I think it would be really hard to include it quietly. If the point was to demonstrate that you’re engaged in some kind of volunteerism – then I think you could skirt exactly what the organization does. But if you really think that highlighting those skills and experiences is important to your qualifications for the job – I think you tread really close to having to lie.

            I can see a situation where you’d be able to talk about fundraising for a small community group and stress that you focus on increasing membership as well as fundraising campaigns from members and possibly small businesses (I could see a case where maybe you get support from local sex stores/clubs/etc?). But at some point, they’re just going to ask what you’re fundraising for.

          4. AMT

            I could actually imagine it working if you’re applying to radical/progressive or LGBT-focused organizations. Then again, I live in a fairly liberal major city, so YMMV.

            1. anotherMSW

              Right, or instead of being vague discuss it in terms of sexual health, educational group if appropriate

            2. AnonInSC

              I agree – I think it may be more field and community (the broader community) specific. Public health, social work and other fields tend to have more liberal/relaxed views on these types of topics than perhaps finance or other traditionally conservative profession.

              1. OP #2

                These are all really good suggestions and similar to the direct I’ve been trying. I also work with women and sexual abuse and am able to use that as a bit of an umbrella for other work.

      2. Temperance

        On the flip side, though, I would assume that the person was doing something strange if they were so cagey about details. I think it’s best to leave kink-related activities out of job interviews unless they’re related to the job, somehow.

        1. Elizabeth West

          I was thinking the same thing. Though if I were the interviewer and OP made good points about how the experience and skills translated, I don’t think I’d care too much what the organization actually did. But that’s just me.

          1. Temperance

            I work in a very, very conservative field (law), which is why I am so stodgy on things. Her experience does sound honestly very legitimate and compelling, which is why I suggested below operating a “separate” charitable arm or something similar.

    2. Brogrammer

      LW2, you could always say that it’s a fan club for science fiction and fantasy – given the huge overlap between the kink scene and the fantasy/sci-fi scene, it hardly even feels like a lie.

      1. Hershele Ostropoler

        Similarly, “it’s an organization for building relationships among people with an interest in ren-faire” is going to be true in practice.

  2. Artemesia

    #1. If you go in to the office in a swivet, they WILL think you messed up somehow. If you go in cool as Alison suggests, you are fine. I would think handling that way would give you 85% or so odds of this being no big deal tomorrow.

    #2 No. Just no.

    Teaching assistant. It is a mistake to get too emotionally invested in the curriculum and such of what is by its nature a very temporary gig for you. If you have been teaching this for several years, surely it is about time to graduate and get your own job. It is a mistake to get caught up in the politics of an academic department or in issues like curriculum when you are a grad student presumably making progress on your own research. Sure, express disappointment and how valuable the class is to the community, but then let it go and face outward.

    1. MK

      #4, I agree that the OP sounds way too emotionally invested in this course. To the point, frankly, that they are losing perspective: being told that the course won’t rrun next year is not an abrupt change, you have more than a year’s notice to accommodate the change. And if the enrolment numbers are so low that they feel they need to drum up interest, the news shouldn’t have been such a shock.

    2. AcademiaNut

      I think it can be useful to pay attention to things like curriculum issues and departmental politics – after all, if you stay in academia, in a few years you’re going to be playing the game yourself, and it helps if you have a clear picture of how things work.

      But yes, don’t get too emotionally involved. As a grad student, you don’t have access to the decision making process (and the information that goes with it), and you don’t have the power or influence to actually do anything about it. Ask your professor if they’re willing to explain the reasons behind dropping the course, and leave it at that.

      And yes, a year of warning after a period of declining enrolment is actually quite a lot of warning by curriculum standards, compared to the course being cancelled a month before the start date due to insufficient enrolment. And this way, they’ve got enough warning to plan something to take its place, if they want to.

      1. Sparrow

        Seconding this. If OP is planning to stay in academia, I think it’s absolutely valuable to ask for more information – not to try to change the outcome, but to understand what kinds of factors impact these decisions.

      2. JessaB

        Also it’s possible that the OP does not know this but that the course is partly funded by some kind of community grant that they are no longer getting because of the lower enrollment.

    3. Ccccccc...

      Yes to all that’s been said above and below – plus, faculty won’t reasonably teach the same course for years on end. All in all, such a change is standard fare in academia.

    4. themmases

      I agree. OP 4’s letter almost sounds like they think the cancellation of this course will hurt them or reflect on them, but that is really not the case. This decision was probably not even 100% up to or about their boss, let alone the TA. It just has nothing to do with them.

      Your research is your most important work as a grad student. There is nothing particularly negative about this experience ending from a CV point of view… Many people would do their couple of semesters’ time as a TA and get out so they can focus on their own work again. Grad student jobs aren’t expected to last forever. They last until that phase of the study ends or the grant is cut or the semester ends or you graduate. Just move on and be glad you have a whole year to find something else!

  3. Landshark

    OP5, as a fellow freelancer (though I do mine through Upwork because I have to be more flexible, so I know there are differences), I say absolutely explain what happened and invoice them for the missing money. They owe it to you, and you did the work. Get paid for it. If you have a specific contract laid out with them, this would also conceivably be a time to renegotiate terms to make them be more accountable for their payments. And I second what Alison said, definitely set up a spreadsheet just to be safe.

    1. Engineer Girl

      You already invoiced them so they should have already laid that money aside. They shouldn’t have spent it on anything else because it was already designated.
      As far as taxes go, file a revised return.

      1. Apollo Warbucks

        Would a revised return be needed, or could the income just be included on this years filing?

        1. mehowe

          I am also a freelancer so have some experience with freelance taxes, although I am in no way an expert, and I think that the income belongs in the year it was paid, not necessarily the year the work was performed, so there would be no tax implications and no need to revise a return. I would be very interested to know if I am wrong because it would matter to me too!

          1. Artemesia

            Income is taxed in the year it is received. And this person has already invoiced for this work so a late follow up while unwise is not unreasonable.

        2. MsChanandlerBong

          I think it depends on whether s/he uses a cash or accrual accounting system. If cash, then s/he wouldn’t have recorded the money as revenue last year because the client didn’t pay the invoice(s).

          1. Hush42

            He shouldn’t have to revise his tax returns either way. If he does cash accounting then he wouldn’t include it in his income until he gets paid so it would just be included on this years taxes. If he does accrual accounting than the income from the outstanding invoices should already have been included in last years tax return as it would already have been accrued. On the other hand that assumes that those invoices were actually included in last years accrued numbers. Since it sounds like they got pretty disorganized they may have been missed in which case he might have to file a revised tax return.

      1. Chinook

        Speaking as someone who just processed a 10 month old invoice from one of our contractors, I can tell you that it shouldn’t be a problem getting it paid. My company is notoriously slow at paying to begin with and invoices have been known to go missing at various points in the process. I have seen invoices forgotten on someone’s desk, accidentally attached to another, unrelated invoice (stupid paperclips) a ignored by a new A/P person because they were too complicated (she was subsequently fired but it still took weeks to clean up that mess).

        In our case, if you resubmit the invoice and say that you don’t have record of payment, we will search our records to verify it is unpaid or that the cheque is uncashed and then pay it, but make sure you send the same invoice and not a new one.

        In Canada, contractors invoiced amount count as income for the year invoiced, not the year collected. I don’t know about the US.

    2. Jack the Treacle Eater

      …and try to diversify – ‘primarily for one company’ leaves you too open to suddenly having no work if something like this happens, or they decide they don’t need you any more, or whatever.

  4. Ccccccc...

    #4 – I’m afraid there’s really not much for you to do in this situation. As Artemesia suggests, curricula are subject to change for all sorts of reasons: sabbaticals, enrollments, number of available course slots… Oftentimes, if they’re not intro survey courses, specific upper-level courses are only offered once every two years.

    The decision could be coming from the Dean, from the Chair, or from the professor him/herself – note that it’s important for faculty to diversify their teaching in line with new fields of inquiry and their own research trajectory, so no prof will teach the same course for years on end.

    To put it gently, you’re not really in a position to ask for an explanation. As Alison said, you can inquire politely once, but a more productive course might be to see whether you can teach a similar course yourself, if possible (and if you still have TA-ing duties to fulfill; otherwise, it’s diss-writing time!). If not now, then in the future.

    Similarly, there’s nothing to do about “mitigating abrupt changes” like these in the future. Courses can be and are cancelled all the time with less notice for any number of reasons; all told, it’s really not something to lose sleep over. Far worse fates can descend upon grad students. Remember that you still get to list the course on your CV and speak about it knowledgeably at interviews.

  5. Chocolate Teapot

    1. From how I read this, the boss left a message. If it started “Sorry to disturb you during your time off, but…” and the tone was apologetic, then it seems likely there was a piece of information which needed confirming/clarifying urgently.

    3. The cynic in me thinks the company wants ultra-skilled, post graduate employees at minimum wage prices. Besides, even if the pay is “nebulous” they must have some idea of what they would be willing to pay?

    1. Stephanie

      I’m cynical right there with you. I don’t really buy that they don’t have a salary range AT ALL. I imagine it might be a broad title (like everyone gets hired as a research associate, regardless of experience and is paid according to experience), but even then…they still have to have a lower and upper limit.

      I wonder if the recruiter wants people to lowball themselves by naming a number first.

    2. ChrysantheMumsTheWord

      I agree with your cynicism because I’ve seen it happen first hand. In a previous life I was part of a hiring team where this was definitely the case and the more I would voice concern over it the more they would push harder back at me.

      In fact one of the owners of the company would automatically disqualify in his mind any candidate that even asked about money during the hiring process. As someone that grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth he didn’t realize that in the real world people need to know this information in order to make decisions – especially when you are unnecessarily requiring three rounds of interview before hiring anyone (even entry-level positions). To expect people to take extraordinary amounts of their time away from their paying jobs three times to then offer them minimum wage is just insanity to me.

      We had a constant stream of candidates turning down offers, trying to negotiate for higher, getting push back from the owners and having to hire and deal with sub-par staff as a result.

    3. Whats In A Name?

      I commented below that I worked for a similar place – not matter what the pushback, we weren’t allowed to give a range.
      Funny thing is, if we slated $65-80K for a position and someone nailed the interview we’d happily pay $100K if that is what it took – and we did it at least once that I can think of during my tenure there. And our lowest pay for sales was $45-55K base and we never paid under that, even if we took a chance on someone with no proven professional sale experience

      1. AnonyMeow

        “Funny thing is, if we slated $65-80K for a position and someone nailed the interview we’d happily pay $100K if that is what it took .”

        I’ve seen this, too, except that the range was never clearly slated, other than in the Big Boss’ head. The Big Boss wasn’t willing to let the hiring managers decide what the value of a hire is and instead wanted to call that shot himself. The Big Boss would tell hiring managers “the least amount to get the best person,” when asked about pay ranges.

        We were once hiring for a position that the hiring manager guessed would be somewhere around $70-80K. A candidate aced the interview with the Big Boss, who offered the candidate $120K, completely out of the blue. The hiring manager was blown away. Partly because the hiring manager was making something like $80K himself, but partly because he had been screening out good candidates who he thought would want over $100K. The candidate didn’t take the position, and the hiring manager left shortly after.

        So, it’s possible that the people who are conducting the hiring process genuinely doesn’t know the range if the person making the final decision isn’t willing to delineate that. It’s likely a sign of not-so-great culture, so I’d be wary. Especially since the company initiated the process, not the OP, I think the OP should push for a range before going through the hoops.

  6. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    #1 – reminds me of a time – before cell phones, before voice messaging – I worked the third shift in a production/operational environment (computer operator). We worked Tuesday midnight -Saturday morning, (12-8) overnight. I took vacation the week before Labor Day so I did not have to be back until Tuesday night/Wed morning.

    I got yelled at. “Where were you Friday night?” I told the senior manager “Nashville, Tennessee.” “How about Saturday?” “Front Royal, Virginia, I think, may have been in Pennsylvania.”

    “Why didn’t you answer your phone?” I explained – I was on vacation. And AWAY. L:ike, 1500 miles away. I guess they had a problem because the other two co-workers were paid overtime for the week, to cover for me, it took them three hours to catch up every morning — and then – the two of them called in sick Friday night.

    #2 – NO – NEVER EVER address or allude to something like that in an interview (kink, swinging, stoning, etc.) — even if your interviewer is into that, bringing that up in an interview shows very poor judgement. And the interviewer would pick up on that.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      #2 — she knows she can’t say that in an interview; she’s asking there’s a way to talk about her work there without letting on what the nature of the club is.

    2. NotASalesperson

      99% of the people who are involved in kink communities (and especially community organizers) understand that it’s not a topic to discuss at work, period, even if what we do is not sexually oriented. We’re about community education, but we are often acutely aware that discussing the topic would be damaging for work relationships at best and a career ender at worst.

      Whether or not we can bring up the topic of kink in an interview is not what the issue is here.

      A lot of us DO find that we are getting practical experience through leadership in the kink community. It can often feel wildly unfair when Jane Doe over at the Teddy Bear Society can use her experience as an event organizer when we in the kink community perform the same or more advanced tasks and are unable to discuss those experiences, so I fully understand why OP2 was hoping to find a workaround in order to be able to talk about experience relevant to the position.

      1. Temperance

        Thinking outside the box – do many kink orgs do community service? It might make sense to establish a separate “arm” for charitable/neighborhood activities so you can talk about your leadership without the stigma.

        1. NotASalesperson

          It’s a good thought, but it depends on the format of the organization. There’s a very broad range of types – everything from the equivalent of meetup groups to for-profit clubs and businesses. The version I run is more like a meetup group with a very specific format, but because of the culture, we’ve had to develop specific policies around sexual harassment and other things. Because it’s largely targeted toward new people, we also have a number of people with whom we need to have conversations around difficult and sensitive topics like consent and personal space.

          If we did delve into charitable or neighborhood activities (which unfortunately won’t work for the format of the event I lead), it would largely be for communities that have a lot of political issues swirling around them (trans groups, LGB groups, domestic violence, sexual health, etc). In a way, that could also be good – I would be hard pressed to work for an employer that would judge me for supporting any of those causes.

        2. NotASalesperson

          I replied to this, but I think it got caught in moderation – hopefully it’ll pop up soon!

  7. Random Lurker

    #1 – This one is near and dear to your heart. I really get why you are upset. I had a boss who did that. Based on your frustration, I’m guessing your vacation time just ended. That’s causing a mix of emotions that may be blurring the situation more than it needs to be. I’d follow Alison’s advice. In my case, I just had to accept that my boss would bother me with non-urgent stuff on vacation, even after lecturing me about unplugging, taking time off, etc. I started taking remote vacations where he couldn’t reach me via cell (cabin in remote woods, renting a sailboat in the Caribbean, etc). He still tried, but I had zero guilt when he couldn’t get in touch with me since I had informed him I’d be off the grid. It was one week a year, so something I learned to chalk up as one of his quirks. I wouldn’t suggest letting something minor like this make you look for a new job, assuming everything else at work is satisfying.

    1. Jeanne

      For me, it matters that the boss tried her work AND personal phones. Trying the work phone once might mean “I might as well try calling her once.” Calling both phones shows he really intended to have OP reachable. It is hypocritical. But really the only thing to do is wait and see what happens at work. Is the boss upset or not? Are you really allowed to be off the grid?

      1. vaultdweller

        OP #1 reads like she’s possibly a social worker / in social services to me? Or in criminal justice? I could be 100% wrong, but if I’m not… She has my sympathy. I’m a social worker, and I’ve also heard the “don’t check your phone! it’ll be fine” thrown at me too. Yet, there’s often a mega crap-ton of unwritten rules about how you actually /do/ have to answer your phone, or answer e-mails and texts, because of the nature of the work. And if you’re dealing with intensely vulnerable clients… It’s a mess. It’s awful, truly. There is a possibility that OP could get frozen out or in trouble over this, because I’ve seen it happen many a time.

        Whatever happens, I hope OP gets it addressed to her satisfaction and feels better. Another job, though, might not be a bad idea. Sometimes, a change of scenery can help with feelings of burnout.

      2. Sketchee

        Expectations go both ways. They can want me to be reachable. I’m not. If I’m the position of OP#1, I’m on vacation. Boss can be upset that they didn’t prepare. Just because my boss is upset doesn’t mean I have to be. If that’s not a fit then it’s not the right position for me.

    2. Not So NewReader

      OP #1 sounds all too familiar. I suspect OP wrote in because she knows she will get ambushed on this one. OP, if you are non-exempt, you can also use the, “Working off the clock? I am not sure we’d want any legal confusion here.”
      This is who they are, OP, they are showing you, “this is how it goes around here, say one thing mean another”. Let them know that you prefer direct speaking, if you need to be available by phone over vacation, then that needs to be said BEFORE you go on vacation, not AFTER.
      I hate explaining obvious things to people. Sometimes it makes me feel kind of klutzy, however, we have to do what we have to do. Try to sound like you are aiming for an intelligent conversation while you explain this basic communication skill. “I asked several times if I needed to leave my work phone on and I was told NO several times. This is why I asked, to prevent situations such as this one. Going forward, I would appreciate a clear and direct answer. I work hard and I try to be a good, reliable employee. But I can only work with what people tell me they need me to do. If they tell me NO, I have to assume that means NO.”

      Very tall five year olds. Very tall. grrr.

  8. Patrick

    In regards to #3, I saw this yesterday and thought it was very thought provoking:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/business/dealbook/wage-gap-massachusetts-law-salary-history.html?_r=0

    (Apologies if the link is weird as I’m on mobile.)

    While I am 100% behind the intent of the law I do wonder about the logistics – I am curious if employers will be required to provide a salary range upfront as that seems essential to making something like this work.

    While I think this is a good thing overall, I am also concerned that this ultimately makes compensation info a little more secretive, which only benefits employers.

    There’s also the problem of gender disparities around negotiation and if there’s even any way to solve that (outside of time, as attitudes hopefully change.) I have seen people here and elsewhere call for an end to negotiation (I know there are other countries where offers are take it or leave it) but I think that’s a hard sell to the (privately employed) public (I personally don’t agree with it but I’m also a white male so I’m obviously the one reaping the benefits of privilege there and am interested to hear other perspectives.)

    1. CMT

      I’m hoping Alison will share her thoughts on the MA law soon! It sounds like a good idea to me, but I’m no expert, so I’m very curious!

  9. N.J.

    I had a coworker, the accounting director, call me while I was on vacation at Disney World. I ignored the call the first few times, but she just kept calling, non-stop, so my phone was rimging constantly for a ten minute period or so. I finally answered, both annoyed and worried. You would think that calling non-stop like that would indicate a serious emergency. Nope. She was calling me because she couldn’t get ahold of another coworker for some random question or task. She called me to ask me to call that coworker for her, since that coworker didn’t answer her calls!

    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      Ugh. Unless I had an immediate family member who was either 36+ weeks pregnant or dying, I’d have turned my phone off or to DND for the day, and checked my messages later. (And deleted hers without playing them.) But then, my co-workers, including my boss, NEVER call anyone at home unless it’s a 5-alarm emergency and everything else has been tried.

      1. MissGirl

        Your post reminds me of a MASH episode. Klingor used the excuse that a family member was pregnant and/or dying to get sent home from the war. “Here’s an oldie but a goody: half the family dying; other half pregnant.” I’ll have to try that to get out of work.

    2. Katie F

      Wow. I think after the second call I’d have just turned my volume off. If it’s important, they’ll leave a voicemail that explains the situation.

    3. JT

      Years ago when I worked for a doctor he took his family on a much needed vacation to Disney World one week. A meeting with a number of important folks was scheduled during that week. The boss’s assistant could not believe I wouldn’t call my boss and harass him to call into the meeting while at the park.

      1. Mona Lisa

        Back when I was a kid, there were always at least one half hour set aside each day for my dad to call in from the payphone at Disney to check his messages and talk to clients. He’s a bit of a workaholic.

        1. WhichSister

          My dad was an FBI agent. When I was a kid (pre pagers) he had to let the office know where we would be on his days off. We were at 6 Flags when he was called over the intercom because one of the guys he was chasing had been caught and he had to go back to work.

      2. Artemesia

        My brother was a high ranking executive who told me that at one company he got a call at 10 am Christmas morning. The boss said ‘so what are you doing?’ to open the conversation. His response ‘sitting around the Christmas tree opening presents with the kids.’ Who does this kind of thing for anything short of the plant is on fire?

        1. Jules the First

          Uh…people who don’t celebrate Christmas?

          My Jewish boss used to call on Christmas eve (which, for my family, is the important one); my Muslim boss called on Christmas day (four times). It doesn’t occur to some people!

  10. Mike C.

    Why can’t #3 be more blunt with this recruiter? If someone is coming to you, wasting your time, demanding that you spend time on a test and an application, why shouldn’t the OP stop everything right then and there and demand a number?

    “You’ve seen my resume, how much are you going to offer me?”

    “Why should I waste my time taking online exams when you won’t tell me a number?”

    “Are you trying to tell me that the company you represent doesn’t even have a budget for this position yet?”

    “Why do you keep insisting on wasting my time like this?”

    I mean look, we all know what’s going on here. This company is trying to get good talent on the cheap. So why let the recruiter off the hook and pretend otherwise? Why should folks put up with this bad behavior?

    1. MK

      I think your phrasing is way too aggressive, but I agree the OP should be pretty blunt when she answers, as in “I understood perfectly, but I am not willing to invest time in the interview process when the salary might be too low for me to even consider it. Especially since negotiations between this company and me broke off once before because of the salary.

      1. Mike C.

        Why is it way too aggressive? They’re obviously wasting the time of the OP with an ill intent, so why the need to kid gloves?

        1. K.

          I don’t think it’s necessary to be that combative. When I was reading the question, I thought “She should give them a hard number.” “I’m not interested in leaving my current job for any less than $X, so I need to know if that salary is feasible before moving forward” gets the point across just as well, in my opinion.

          1. Mike C.

            No, folks keep saying “this is aggressive/combative/etc” and I’m specifically asking “why is it that being direct is such a bad idea?” Why can’t we directly confront someone who is clearly playing a game and trying to take advantage of the OP?

            I just don’t get this. If I feel like someone is trying to take advantage of me I directly confront them about it and get out of the deal. Why is this approach bad? Why pretend that there’s nothing sketchy going on here?

            1. The Cosmic Avenger

              I think the issue is one of industry culture. In some areas of consulting/contracting, part of your role is managing client expectations, and finding ways to diplomatically broach issues with clients (e.g., no, you can’t get a website like Amazon for $1,500; here’s what we can do for that, and here’s what you should expect to pay every quarter if you want to be able to maintain and update it). So at least from my portion of the industry, being a mediator/negotiator/diplomat is important. If we’re talking about sales, then “getting to ‘yes'” is obviously important, and so they might value that kind of pushing for a firm commitment.

            2. Artemesia

              Because people who come across rude and combative in the pre-interview stage are not people a company wants to recruit. Maybe this is fine because this company sucks — but unless the OP wants to take themselves out of the job op then being less aggressive is in her interests.

              1. Mike C.

                I’m not speaking about every single job-seeking situation here, I’m only speaking about situations like the OP where they are coming to the candidate and are clearly trying to take advantage of them.

                1. Ask a Manager Post author

                  It’s because the specific wording you’re suggesting — not the concept, but the wording — sounds cranky and hostile. You can make the same point without being adversarial.

                2. Sarah

                  In that case, being aggressive in the particular way your suggested quotes come across would be “making a point to make the OP feel better” comeback behavior, not “genuinely interested in the position” jobseeking behavior.

                  It might be satisfying to tell a recruiter who’s yanking your chain “Why do you keep insisting on wasting my time like this?”, but it’s also pretty close to self-disqualification from the position. OP should only consider doing that if they (a) are certain they don’t want the job anyway, no matter how much it ends up paying, AND (b) don’t mind giving a bad impression to every person working at that company which will probably color future interactions they might have.

                  Including potentially sabotaging the relationship with any employees who move on from Chain-Yankers Inc. to Decent Company LLC, dba Hiring for a Position OP Actually Wants 5 Years Down the Road.

                3. Mike C.

                  It’s because the specific wording you’re suggesting — not the concept, but the wording — sounds cranky and hostile. You can make the same point without being adversarial.

                  The hostility and adversarial tone already started when important information was being withheld in a weird and creepy way. In the OP’s shoes I would feel insulted and disrespected – I’m no dummy, why does this recruiter believe they can play these sorts of games?

                  In that case, being aggressive in the particular way your suggested quotes come across would be “making a point to make the OP feel better” comeback behavior, not “genuinely interested in the position” jobseeking behavior.

                  For me it’s not about self-satisfaction, it’s about letting them know that I don’t tolerate deceptive and unethical behavior. We’re all raised to know that lying is a bad thing to do, but to my parents it was the absolute worst thing you could do. I even got punished for “lying by omission”. So maybe that’s going to color how I react to someone I see is trying to deceive me. Maybe it’s the fact I grew up blue-collar and this is a white-collar world, who knows.

                  Yet folks keep talking about relationships and bridges and reputations and when someone tries to deceive me, that’s it, they’re generally done. The bridge is already burned. Absolutely if I’m already employed and happy I’m not going to want to work for folks that employ these sorts of tactics. And yes, I don’t want them calling me again if they’re going to continue the same stunts. But calling someone out for being deceptive gives me a bad reputation? “Hey fellow coworkers, you wouldn’t believe this guy I talked to this morning! He wasn’t taking the bait and he even had the guts to call me out on my carp, can you believe this jerk?!” How does that work?

                4. Ask a Manager Post author

                  If you’ve already decided you aren’t going to pursue the job, then sure. But if you want to leave the door open, this wording will close it.

          1. Mike C.

            They’re already withholding information when the OP was polite, so what good did those kid gloves do?

    2. the_scientist

      Right? I know the knee-jerk reaction is “don’t burn bridges!” “you never know” etc but honestly, is this a relationship you really want to foster or maintain in any way? Probably not! Plus, OP doesn’t have to be rude or aggressive- you can be polite while still being assertive and making yourself clear.

      The OP is already employed, and doesn’t appear to be actively searching for a new position, so they have ALL the power in this scenario. I’m cynical enough to believe that this hiring manager knows exactly what they are doing (trying to get skilled labour for unskilled prices) but on the very small chance there is no ulterior motive here, the OP would be doing them a great service by explaining (politely) why their approach is so off-putting.

    3. Kimberlee, Esq

      I think it’s a mistake to assume there’s ill intent there. It’s certainly possible that they don’t have a range for OP yet; or at least, not one that would be useful. My job is like this sometimes. We want to hire exceptionally talented people, but a given role could be hired at different levels and with different skill sets. If we’d pay $45K for a junior person with promise and $115K for a senior person who can also bring x, y and z that we weren’t expecting, is that a useful range? Especially if you’re not sure if this person *could* get to that high or that low before interviewing or evaluating them in any way.

      Ultimately, Alison’s advice is totally correct. If OP is interested in the job, they should pursue it (and not assume the same issue that befell them with a different position will just happen again). And the suggestion to name your own range is also great; they might not be able to tell you, but it could be that once they know your requirements, they see that you’re out of their price range no matter what. But if the job is potentially really attractive to OP, I think it’s worth pursuing (and worth doing so with the presumption of good faith until proven otherwise). If it’s not that attractive a job, then sure, abandon away. But don’t shoot yourself in the foot on something you’re really interested in!

      1. Mike C.

        But given that the recruiter has seen the resume, there should be a good idea as to which range the OP would fall into.

        The fact that this recruiter won’t divulge any information is more than enough to say that they are (representing) someone who is acting in bad faith. There’s no reason to put up with that sort of anti-social behavior.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq

          A resume doesn’t always tell you that much. It’s a marketing document, so it tells you what the writer believes about themselves. It’s pretty demoralizing for a candidate if you take a quick look at their resume, tell them they could get $85K for the role, and then after 2 rounds of interviews find that they aren’t as experienced in x, y, or z as their resume led you to believe (not because they’re lying, necessarily, but because the same job title at 3 places might have very different actual responsibilities and we all bring in assumptions about what we read on a resume that might prove to be untrue later). Then, when you think they could do well at the role but are only worth $55K to you, the candidate thinks you’ve been jerking them around for weeks.

          I can understand not wanting to spend time in a process that can’t give you an upfront range on salary. That’s super reasonable and I wouldn’t tell anyone they were wrong if they declined to move forward. But if it’s a role you’re potentially really interested in, and the only flag is that they say they just can’t give you a range before they’ve talked to you at all? It just seems silly to assume 100% that they must be acting in bad faith and give up the process before starting it.

          1. Mike C.

            I don’t assume 100%, but I’ve seen it much too often to discount it as a rarity. If the situation were different, say the OP were out of work or really hated their job, practicality would force me to be more forgiving.

        2. Hillary

          I once had a call with an internal recruiter about a job that was posted where I was a near-perfect fit for what the hiring manager wanted. It was a senior role where they wanted lots of experience in several disparate areas that don’t often go together. The recruiter knew perfectly well that the range wasn’t suitable for the posting, and our conversation ended as soon as we got to salary, but she didn’t have a choice in making the calls anyway.

          I never did hear if they hired someone, but I probably will eventually. My industry isn’t big and my city isn’t big, and it pays to stay in good graces with the community. I had lunch today with someone I started working with 15 years ago but didn’t talk to for almost 10 years. Next week I’m having lunch with an old boss that I haven’t talked to since 2008, but my name came up with a mutual contact and we reconnected. I always want to be remembered as good to work with and honest, because I’ll be working with them again eventually.

    4. WhiskeyTango

      I went through this recently as well. I drew the line at the 4 hour in-person interview though (I’d had 3 1-hour phone interviews at this point). I told the recruiter if she couldn’t confirm the salary range for the position, then I wasn’t going to take a half day off work to interview with them. She then proceeded to lecture me on “how it works” – explaining that employers offer candidates a salary based on a percentage of their current salary. (I’m a bit fuzzy on that… although I suppose 110% is a percent). I told her that in my experience, employers offered what they thought the job was worth. I then declined to come in for the interview.

      Interestingly, they hired a former manager of mine. He had very little experience in the subject matter this job required. However, my former employer was notorious for paying well below market. So I suspect his salary requirements were more in line with what they were willing to pay.

  11. Photoshop Til I Drop

    #2 I have to admit that the novel aficionado in me likes the idea of telling a interviewer that I help run a secret society…but the practical implications in this case vastly outweigh any dramatic benefit. Being vague about this will probably give the impression that you’re making it up to sound good.

  12. anony

    It’s quite common to go back to your customer and say, here’s a stack of unpaid bills that are outstanding; can you pay them please? After all, if the customer doesn’t pay, and you did the work, it is owed to you. Sometimes it isn’t you who is disorganized as it is the one who should be paying.

    It happened with a unhappy frequency two jobs ago after there was a short wave of a whole bunch of people leaving…and not dealing with their files before they left. The result was I had several suppliers looking for payment going back 12 to 18 months for files I had nothing to do with but because there was no one else to handle the issue, I took care of getting copies of the invoice (as we couldn’t find the original invoices), figuring out which projects they were for (and if the invoice was too old, it had to go to a general account instead, creating a minor accounting headache) and then creating POs for the purchases and chasing signature approvals.

    You are owed the money; go get it!

    1. UnCivilServant

      I second that sentiment. It’s a pet peeve of mine whenever I hear of someone managing to get out of paying what they owe through the power of procrastination. (I am very prompt about settling accounts and it strikes me as rewarding misbehaviour when the creditor simply gives up out of frustration)

      1. Elizabeth West

        We used to have people procrastinate at Exjob, but sometimes they were legit trying to get someone else to pay them first before they could pay us. That wasn’t technically our problem. I still felt kind of bad dunning them for it.

        1. Liane

          My husband used to work at a place with DoD contracts that was bad/bad/bad about paying vendors. He said that while almost all the vendors made the bills in due in 30 or 45 days, his company insisted on doing accounts payable only every 90 days. And yes it caused headaches outside of accounting as well.

      2. LQ

        YES! Stop rewarding them!

        (I get so peeved when people get rewarded for bad behavior. You want ants!? This is how you get ants!)

    2. Always Anon

      I work with a lot of contractors, and while we always try and pay our invoices within two weeks of receiving them, we do occasionally have one that slips through the cracks. If someone follows up with me, even months later, I put a rush on the payment, because I feel horrible that we missed that invoice.

      1. DoDah

        The company I work for tends to “forget” to pay the smaller contractors. Which is terrible. When I am the buyer, I coach them to include late payment penalties in the contract.

  13. Trout 'Waver

    In regards to #3, I disagree slightly with Alison on naming a range. They’ve already shown themselves to be unreasonable and oddly aggressive. If you name a range of $X-$Y, they’re just going to see $X and offer $X-$5,000. If I did have to go first in naming a number, I’d go with $Y+$10,000, because I’d price in their unreasonableness. And of course, include that the salary is dependent on you being satisfied with job responsibilities and total compensation.

    That being said, I can’t think of any reason why they’d refuse to give any idea on salary other than they intend to lowball. Doubly so since they’ve already done it to you once. If you don’t need the job, they’ve already shown you what type of employer they’d be.

    1. Joseph

      It always bugs me when employers say something like “we don’t know what the salary is” and won’t say anything more. You know what you paid the last guy and/or current employees. You have a budget that you review on a monthly/quarterly/annual basis, which includes salaries. There’s no way I’m going to believe that you don’t have at least some kind of idea of the number in mind.
      They say the salary depends on the person, but think about this: If a completely unqualified person applied, but was willing to work for minimum wage, would they hire them? No. If an industry legend applied, could they afford to pay the huge salary he’d command? Also no. So while they probably do have a bit of flexibility in the salary, they certainly have at least SOME kind of a number they’re expecting to pay.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        I know! They have to have some idea. I’d be tempted to ask “So, if you decide that I’m absolutely, incredibly perfect for this role, $350K is possible?” Most of the time they’d have to say that that was beyond what they’d be willing to pay no matter what. There obviously IS a range they’d be willing to pay, they just don’t want to specify it.

        1. Mel

          More likely they really have no idea and are going to base it on how much the person wants or made and then decide if they can afford it and if it makes sense with the other salaries in the org. Even though that’s not doesn’t make a whole lotta sense they absolutely should say that

          1. The Cosmic Avenger

            But if they have things they want to base it on then they really do have something of an idea. They just think they have no idea, but as I said, I bet if you queried more, they would realize that they have preconceptions about it that they just weren’t willing or even able to express. To me, that’s at best laziness on their part, or at worst, deliberate obfuscation.

            1. Mel

              You’d be surprised at the number of managers who don’t look at those things until they are ready to hire someone and ask how much she wants.

    2. Katie F

      Yeah, whoever she’s talking to has been told to avoid giving her a salary range no matter what, which tells me they want to lowball her. Whatever salary range SHE gives, they’re probably going to price slightly under it at best. Even if they really are creating a new position and aren’t sure yet, it’s not difficult to get online and research salary ranges for various positions to get an idea of what you should offer a new employee… that they are simply ignoring your repeated requests, OP #3, makes me think they’re very interested in underpaying you.

      1. Mel

        Oh but it is very difficult to research salaries. for example it’s not realistic to compare the salaries of a small non profit IT manager to an IT manager in a large oil company even though they have the same title/general duties/requirements and are in the same area. On top of that, accurate salary info from most companies is really hard to get.

        1. Katie F

          If you’re working in HR or as a recruiter, it’s your job to be aware of at least a general understanding of salaries for the industry you’re hiring for. You can get a great range of available salaries for different industries, look at the locations those salary ranges are coming from, compare that to your local cost-of-living, and come up with at least a general idea to take back to potential employees.

          It’s not the job of the person you’re hiring to tell you what an appropriate salary is for a position. That should be built into the job description before hiring ever begins.

  14. The Cosmic Avenger

    So, can any freelancers tell me, is it unusual or “just not done” to write in penalties for late payment? Because as a consumer, that’s what I’m used to with utility, credit card, and other types of bills. I’d like to recommend to OP #5 that she write that into the new contract, e.g., after 60 days past due, late payments will have a 5% late fee assessed, with another 5% added every additional 30 days after that.

    1. Joseph

      I’m not a freelancer, but I’ve hired some and it seems to vary based on the person and company.
      In many cases, there’s not really a formal contract. There are (hopefully) some emails or a written scope of work of “I’m paying you $X for performing Task Y”, but it just agrees on the cost and scope, not payment terms, invoice methodology, etc. So in this case, while they certainly do owe you the money, they don’t owe late fees.
      If there is a formal contract however, it usually does include a mention of late fees. Couple notable points here:
      1.) Late payment penalties are usually based on the date of invoice, not the date work was performed – so for this particular instance, OP can’t claim a year of late fees since they weren’t invoiced on time.
      2.) Formal contracts usually specify invoicing periods. If the invoice for the work is not prepared prior to the end of the invoicing period (typically 60-90 days from the time work was performed), the client has a right not to pay the freelancer. For OP’s current situation, this might be relevant since it’s been over a year and her client’s 2015/project budget might be gone for good.

    2. Pwyll

      When I worked at a small consulting firm, all of our contracts included a late payment fee based on any payment not received by 30 days from the invoice date. But in practice, I can’t think of a single client who ever paid the late fee, even the ones who paid us years later.

      In some sense, it’s really meant as motivation for timely payment. And sure, you’d have a legal contract right to the late fee. But it can be difficult to balance getting paid AT ALL with insisting on late fees being included. It was often cheaper and better relationship-wise for us to just accept the late payment without penalty. Collections can be so expensive.

      Naturally, this can be more difficult for solo freelancers who may not be able to weather such a hit to their finances.

    3. Reba

      Yes! I think it maybe too late for OP 5 to collect back late fees, but she can try setting a new deadline and adding fees after that.

      It is normal and smart for freelancers to have late penalties, especially if you do excellent work (in that people are more likely to accept the terms you set). Make sure you let the client know up front what your terms are (e.g. net 30, installments, and/or when late fees begin) and put them on every invoice. You can also negotiate things like a kill fee, a “hold” (kind of retainer), and what kinds of expenses they will cover. Of course, there will always be companies that simply say “this is how we do things, no exceptions,” too.

      We’ve had good experience with Harvest as a time and billing tracking tool. The best feature is that it will automatically send invoice reminder emails to clients, reducing the pain that is bugging people for money!

    4. Nanani

      I’m a freelancer and I do this.
      It would have to be going forward, not retroactive, but I would bet the client will shape up as soon as there are consequences.

    5. K.

      I do some freelancing and I do this, and so does the best freelancer I hired. (My former employer balked at it when they first saw it; I was like “Is it going to be a problem for us to pay her on time?” It wasn’t; we never paid the late fee.)

    6. Crazy Canuck Bookkeeper

      I have nearly 20 years bookeeping experience, and 99% of the time, no one ever pays those late fees. They tend to piss people off, and collecting them tends to be a pyrrhic victory.

      What usually works better are early-payment discounts. People love getting a deal, even if that “deal” isn’t a deal at all. Increase your rates by X%, then offer an early payment discount equal to X% off if paid within 30 days. The math is the same, but the psychology is not, and I’ve found that makes a large difference.

    7. Chinook

      I would have the penalty written in your contract and on each invoice to help you back you up when you go after the penalty (as well as invoice at shorter intervals, if possible). But, if it is like my employer (which I publicly traded and the definition of not fly by night), that doesn’t mean they will pay it. I am currently monitoring one vendor’s invoice for late payment fees that is being refused by A/P because they won’t pay it and it needs to go to our president for approval the only upside is that, just maybe, having to bug him for a $20 charge may trigger some efficiencies.

    8. Mephyle

      It is usual and it is done (at least in the freelance milieu where I work) to include penalties for late payment (or discounts for on-time payment – the arithmetic is the same, it just sounds better to the client). But the trick is collecting them, from a client who isn’t inclined to pay on time in the first place.

  15. CM

    For OP#2, I wonder if you could come up with some true description of your board activity that wouldn’t sound weird and evasive. Like, maybe if you said something like, “It’s a small community group that does outreach and provides resources to people who are facing challenges because of their sexuality” or something. Alison is probably right that this might not work if your interviewer really wants to know about what the organization does, but I’d be tempted to try it out at an interview that you don’t care that much about. Because in the interview you described, you were on the spot, but if you prepared a way to talk about your experience maybe it would work better.

    1. OP #2

      Oooo I really like that idea! I can also attach to the pride festivals we have (we always have a booth at them so it’s not a huge stretch) and they’re very accepted in my area.

      1. Alston

        They might ask the name though, so it might also depend on the name of the group. A while back there was a letter from the receptionist of a brothel who was trying to figure out how to explain her job without saying it was a brothel. Might be some useful ideas in there as well.

  16. misspiggy

    Even if OP1’s boss and team aren’t being unreasonable, her level of frustration at them trying to contact her might suggest she’s starting to get burned out. It might be a good cue to take some more leave in the near future and scale back on the intensity of work if that’s possible – or start looking for a less demanding job.

  17. Newby

    #4 It sounds like she is upset in part because the topic is something that she feels is important. If that is the case, she could put together some student run seminars (she is a grad student) so that the topic is still being addressed. Experience in organizing seminars is also something that can look good on her resume if she wants to continue in academia.

    1. Artemesia

      Being upset at course changes suggests a far too heavy investment in a temporary gig. While she is busy lobbying or designing a voluntary seminar or whatever, she is not focussing on getting done and getting a job which should be the two top priorities for a grad student who has already been involved in this for ‘years.’ It is hard to imagine much value added for her for more work in this area. She should be putting this passion into her own job not someone else’s.

  18. Whats In A Name?

    #3 – do you live in Pennsylvania? This sound eerily like the script I had to use as a recruiter for a company with 3 locations in the state. No matter how hard I pushed – even if they said, well I make “50K now, will you be competitive?” I had to go back to, “we don’t have a range, we are willing to pay for the best fit” Even though the reality was we did have a target range, we were just willing to go over it if someone was worth it.

    1. Katie F

      See, it’s really tying a recruiter’s hands behind their back to make them work with a script that involves refusing to give any numbers whatsoever, though. As a potential employee of that company, I’m going to assume whatever recruiter is so unwilling to give even the barest range is just scamming me.

      1. Whats In A Name?

        Agree! I was only there a few years & I think we lost some great candidates. I could never get them to change the policy. Especially since we were willing to go above our range, but never offered below (see reply to another commenter above). I would think that saying to someone $60-80K base + commission is our standard range for this position, but that is negotiable based on experience won’t discount someone genuinely interested.

        1. Katie F

          Yeah, that is WAY more doable from the potential employee’s perspective. They can either com eback at you with “Great, I am looking to make around 70k plus commission in this position,” giving you something to tak eback to the potential employer, or they can turn it down and say, “At my current position I’m at 100k, unless you can negotiate up to that level I’m sorry, I’ll have to decline.”

          It’s a good place to start negotiating. The “We can’t tell you” just makes it sound like the recruiting agency is scam. That had to suck for all the recruiters.

  19. Always Anon

    #3 — Of course they have a range in mind. Every employer does, even for newly created positions. I think Alison’s wording is great. Although I don’t know if I’d provide a range myself, I think I’d just tell them that as salary had been a factor the last time you interviewed with them, that you want to make sure that you aren’t wasting their time if the salary range is outside of what you would accept. Slightly off-topic, but I heard that MA has just passed a law making it illegal to request a salary history. I’m hoping more states go in this direction, with the hope that the norm in 20 years will be providing a range for positions when advertised.

    #1 — I get why you would be irritated. I would be as well. When someone calls me when I’m off work, then I assume that they need a response. But, even if they don’t it mentally takes me out of my vacation and takes me back to work, which is what I’m trying to avoid. If you are getting burned out, then perhaps finding another job would be a good thing.

    1. Alston

      I am so excited about the Mass law! It also says men and women have to be paid for jobs that are substantially similar, not just EXACTLY the same title. Wooooo!

        1. fposte

          One big thing is that it’s not legal to require a candidate’s salary history, since so much disparity is based on differing early salaries; you therefore can’t pay a woman $60k and a man $70k for the same job just because the woman was previously making $55k and the man $65k.

  20. animaniactoo

    OP1, I’d like to gently suggest that part of the reason you are feeling so pissed right now is that you think it’s possible something went badly wrong with the case that you left in their hands, and they were calling you because they really needed to get in touch with you asap for additional information, a judgment call, something. And instead of feeling guilty – because you worked *so hard* not to feel guilty about turning off and detaching and getting the break you so desperately needed, you are directing your upset into being pissed at your boss for having called you. Because now in your head you have the feeling that the *job* won’t let you detach. But you can’t handle that and still face going back in to do your job. But you can – in your conscious view – be pissed at your boss for not just handling it rather than calling you despite telling you it was okay to not answer the phone. Even if you realistically know that serving the client best meant that he had to try.

    If any of that rings a chord, I’d like to suggest that you reach out and find somebody professional to talk to about your job and the stress load. Ideally, you’d want to find somebody that you could both work through initial stuff with for awhile, and then see intermittently when you’ve had a really bad situation or are just feeling the stress building back up to this level again.

  21. Not Karen

    #3 Anybody who says something as demeaning as “I think you don’t understand.” is not someone I want to work for.

    1. LQ

      I feel like this could go 2 ways that would be all about tone.
      One would be, please read between the lines, I’m not allowed to say we’ll pay you what you ask for but please hear this because we are very interested in you. (I say this because I’m not at all good at subtlety and social cues so I’ve had people get far into something like “I think you don’t understand” before I went OOOOOOoooo! I see! My favorite was when my boss said something and he must have said it four ways before he finally said, “What I would do if I were you is….” And then laid it out exactly. It was like don’t apply for this job, apply for this other job I will have open for you in a couple weeks but I’m not allowed to say that.) A please read between the lines was my first thought here actually. We pay based on skills might be they actually pay based on skills so if you come with skills that in the market are usually 75K skills they pay that, but if you come in and are brand new and don’t have any history they pay less.

      The other would be the demeaning insulting thing. But I can see a version of this that isn’t because I’ve had people do it to me.

    2. CM

      That would raise my hackles too, but people don’t always use the perfect phrasing. I wouldn’t assume it was intended to be demeaning.

  22. Pretend Scientist

    For #1, I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but I disagree with Alison’s response! If it wasn’t urgent enough to warrant a panicked voicemail requesting information that only the OP (and I do mean only) could have, then it didn’t warrant a call in the first place, let alone to both phones. I’m guessing that the manager and two staffers who were briefed on the ongoing situation ended up being able to handle it–but decided that they could probably get the information/handle the issue faster by contacting the OP first. If I was the OP, I would definitely be annoyed–but agree with the advice that she should approach the situation (if there is one) as if there isn’t an issue with her not picking up either phone. But calling her personal phone? Unless there was really a raging fire to put out, it seems inappropriate to me, especially as it was likely out of…maybe not laziness, but convenience?

    1. Kimberlee, Esq

      Well, I mean, if it’s something they are pretty sure they can figure out for themselves but it will take them all day, versus something that OP might know off the top of their head with a quick phone call, I think it makes perfect sense to try calling, with the assumption that if OP truly doesn’t want to be bothered with work stuff, they won’t answer and you can move on to plan B. I feel like it’s similar to seeing email in our inbox at night when your boss has told you that you don’t need to check your email in the evening. Yeah, in an ideal world, he wouldn’t send it, but if he’s working on something right then and it would be handy if you *happened* to answer that night, it’s not unreasonable to send the email and then be totally fine if you don’t respond till the next day. I don’t think either scenario makes the boss a jerk (though certainly, they could have ACTED jerky in either scenario, by tone or language, and that changes things).

  23. Corporate Drone

    OP 3–Two things. Either the recruiter is lying to you, or the recruiter has not been informed of the compensation for the role, which makes it impossible for him to do his job. Headcount reqs do not get opened without budgets being approved. Ever. They know exactly what their budgeted range is for the position; they are just playing games with you. Move on.

  24. East of Nowhere south of Lost

    OP #1, due to an overly clingy boss at OldJob #1, i always manage to be in vacation spots where my cell phone just won’t work darn it.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      When I’m on vacation with my family, pretty much the only people that ever call my cell phone are right there with me anyway. I can go weeks without getting an incoming call. And I usually leave email notifications off, because if I’m not at work or at home, I’m usually in no position to answer a question (driving, watching a movie/show, etc.).

    2. ThursdaysGeek

      At CurrentJob, I often see vacation out of office messages that either say they’ll be checking their work email occasionally or that they won’t be able to access email and phones. In other words, we can tell whether it’s worth giving the vacationers a call, and it’s acceptable either way.

      My recent vacation was in eastern Oregon and I went days at a time with no cell coverage at all. It was great.

  25. anotherMSW

    I hope OP #1 updates us. Based on their description I’m wondering if they work in the mental health or medical fields? In that case 1. good for you for actually take time off! 2. If they give you all that talk about taking vacation, not checking in, trusting the team to cover for you, they should not get upset when you listen to them!
    Sounds like this poster might have reason to expect that boss will be annoyed with them over this- even though boss has no right to expect you to check messages or do other work when you are on vacation.
    I would definitely start looking for another job- if this has been going on for 3 years thats too long and unlikely to change. Good luck

    1. animaniactoo

      My guess is more something attached to legal regulation. Department of Children’s Services, etc.

      1. Pwyll

        Yeah, a good friend of mine was a juvenile crisis counselor, and this description sounded exactly like how her job functioned.

  26. Nanani

    #5: As a fellow freelancer, I would suggest applying interest/late payment fees going forward. Watch your client MIRACULOUSLY shape up afterward.
    Do this across the board, not just for this one client (assuming you have other clients).

    As for tax implications, talk to an expert where you live. If you and the government disagree on taxes owed, you’re the one in trouble.

  27. Mark in Cali

    #2 – If I found out my community group leader was pressing the organization into doing volunteer work just so he or she could feel like their experience on their resume was more legitimate, I would seriously question their leadership.

    1. Mark in Cali

      My comment was in response to Allison’s advice, “It makes me think that, if you really want to solve it, your group should do some volunteer work in the community so that you can refer to it as a local service organization.”

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      I’m not sure where you’re getting either the idea that this should involve some kind of pressure or that this is about making the OP’s resume “more legitimate.” A) the group I’m involved in is pretty open to doing volunteer stuff because volunteering is cool! No pressure needed. B) This isn’t about “more legitimate,” this is about a way for it to be able to be discussed without getting into the dungeons & whips bit, which is a benefit for anyone who does or will someday hold a leadership role.

      1. Mark in Cali

        I’m not implying that volunteering is a bad thing, but I think it’s misguided if the need to do that comes out of the OP’s need for her to feel comfortable putting this on a resume (not to say she’s doing this now, but this is what Allison is suggesting).

        Anyway, I think I read above that that the OP’s org does work at pride that can be seen as community outreach or volunteerism.

        All I’m saying is I don’t feel comfortable with the advice from Allison that the OP should get the group to commit to volunteer work so they can refer to themselves as a service org so the OP could feel better about putting this on their resume. I believe the group’s desire to volunteer should come from a more organic place.

        1. OP #2

          I don’t think anyone gets involved in volunteering for this type of stuff for their resume. and I wouldn’t go out to try and make it legit, but at least in my case, a lot of the tasks involved are directly relatable to the field I want to be in, so it would be cool to find a way to make what I already do sound more respectable.

          1. Jeanne

            I understand what you’re saying but I have no idea how to do it. Have you tried online message boards within your community? Maybe someone already managed it and knows how. You should be specific with your responsibilities (planning, leading meetings, solving disputes, etc.) but I don’t know what group you say it is. Community service, hobby, don’t know.

    3. Temperance

      I’m a member of a few different community and social groups, and all but two are involved in charitable work. (Those two are beer-related, and we have so few events/are new that it doesn’t make sense yet.) I’d be honestly shocked if community orgs weren’t involved in philanthropy in some form or another.

      1. Mark in Cali

        Fine, if charity work is already part of your mission, but if you are going advocate to start including that as part of your mission so you can feel more comfortable putting the rob on your resume, I think that’s misguided.

        1. Temperance

          Disagreed on both points. Most clubs around me (Philadelphia) do some sort of philanthropy. I think it’s a good thing, even when it’s not part of our mission.

          I don’t include this stuff on my resume, typically, because I have more relevant experience. I don’t see it as a problem, though, to want to get resume experience because at the end of the day, more people are getting assistance that they need.

  28. Nanani

    Addendum for #5, seriously consider dropping the client if this continues.
    Perhaps with a warning next time they hire you, about your recently updated payment policies, plus wording about no longer being able to do business with them if payment terms are not honoured.

  29. animaniactoo

    OP1, I also have a quick food for thought perspective question: Did you tell them that you intended not to answer the phone or check messages this time? Because if you didn’t, despite boss saying “don’t do it” and then chiding you for doing it, from their perspective, this may have been “Well, I know she always does it, so this shouldn’t be a big deal and I’m pretty sure she *is* available to answer this question.” i.e. You trained them to expect you to answer the phone even when on vacation and are now pissed that they called when you unbeknownst to them weren’t going to answer the phone.

    Not a fault thing per se, just something to reestablish now, and that if you normally do things one way and plan on doing them differently this time, a head’s up to that effect can be really useful in making sure that everyone’s on the same page about it.

    1. East of Nowhere south of Lost

      This, i’m always very clear in my out of office reply if i can or cannot be contacted and who to contact instead of me.

  30. 2 Cents

    #5 I am an occasional freelancer and frequently didn’t keep track (I know, I know!). I set up a simple Google Sheet that lists the client, project, when it completed it, when I sent the invoice, Date I received the check, check # and if I deposited it or not. It kept me on track in a year that I brought in about $10K. It took a bit of discipline (something that as a procrastinator doesn’t come easily!). In that same Google Sheet, I kept track of my expenses for my accountant to deduct (supplies, new equipment, etc.)

    1. 2 Cents

      Oh, and paying for an accountant to figure out my freelance taxes, plus my household with the hubs, is the best $$ I ever spent. He’s expensive ($500 for greater NY metro area), but he’s saved us a ton, plus, I don’t feel as much stress doing them myself. (And I think it’s preserved some marital harmony :P)

  31. PollyAnna?

    Maybe I’m being optimistic, but when I read OP#3, my thought was that they loved her in their first interview and are trying to create a role specifically for her and they WANT her to name a number so that they can go to HR/Super Big Boss, etc. and say, “here’s Mary who would be the perfect person to be that Senior Teapot Analyst we’ve been saying we needed. She interviewed for the Teapot assistant but that job was way below her skills and salary. She needs salary $xy.” I’ve seen things like that happen many, many times in my career, especially for more specialized/technical/senior roles. So, OP, give them a good, dreamy number and see what happens.

    1. Chriama

      In that case they should have asked her what her salary requirements were, not thrown out some line about being “flexible” for the right person. Also, “I don’t think you understand” is not something I want to hear in response to a valid concern I raised, because it deflects it while providing no new information. It might just be me but the tone of that message alone is enough to make me not want to go through with the process.

    2. LQ

      This was my thought too. I had something like that happen to me. I ended up still being outside of their price range (it wasn’t that high, but they were pretty low, a very tiny nonprofit) but they worked really hard to find space for me in the budget. I don’t generally think of myself as optimistic, but this was the thought that crossed my mind first.

  32. Glouby

    #4 – Alison’s advice to think forward about your experiences/interests seems spot on. I know that in academia being invested in teaching is systematically discouraged/disincentivized, yet we still need to be able talk and write about it thoughtfully to compete for academic jobs (!?!). What an unusual course this sounds like, and what great experience to be able to learn and reflect upon!

  33. Mental Health Day

    #3 NO PAY RANGE

    OP, you are wise to insist on at least a pay range before wasting any more time.
    I am frequently contacted by recruiters through LinkedIn. (Not because I’m a genius or something, but rather simply because my particular role is very, very common across companies. And I’m reasonably good/accomplished at what I do.) Almost invariably, they tell me how interested they are, and then want me to perform 3-4 hours of data entry work to get my info into their Taleo system. Nope. Sorry.

    I always ask the recruiter 3 questions:
    1) What’s the pay range?
    2) What’s a brief summary of the benefits package?
    3) Will I be required to sign a non-compete agreement?

    If they balk at any or all of these 3 ridiculously simple questions, then I don’t bother to follow up any further with them. Maybe I am being a little aggressive, but I am already employed and they reached out to me, not the other way around. My larger point to the OP, is that not only should you insist on a salary range, before investing time into their process, you should insist on answers to any question that might be a show-stopper for you. The three I mentioned above are my show-stoppers. Best of luck to you.

    1. Anonymous Educator

      Yeah, I had a situation like this, too. It wasn’t a recruiter but an actual hiring manager. I wanted a very broad range (+ or – US$10,000), and I even said I was willing to take a pay cut—just wanted to know by how much, and the hiring manager kept insisting on not sharing any sort of range at all. I kept asking, and maybe the HM thought I was obsessed with the salary, but I honestly just wanted to know… something. Are we talking $35,000? $50,000? $65,000? What is a rough range?

      1. Mental Health Day

        Yeah, exactly. Can we just see if we are even in the ballpark together? I think a lot of recruiters utilize used car salesmen tricks (sunk cost fallacy, guilt, etc.) to browbeat people into accepting positions.

        1. Anonymous Educator

          It’s especially infuriating when you’re interviewing with schools, most of which have definite budgets for positions, even if the school is well-funded. They don’t just say “We’ll pay whatever—sky’s the limit!” The budget may be flexible. They may be able to go from, say, $40,000 up to $60,000 for an especially qualified candidate, but they aren’t going to pay $120,000 for a position they’ve budgeted $45,000 for. It’s ridiculous. Just give a ballpark!

  34. Chriama

    #3 – I think the best course of action depends on a number of factors. Who’s playing these games with you? Is it HR or a hiring manager? Also, do you think this is indicative of how they operate in general or just the hiring process? Since they came to you first, I think you’re well within your rights to say “I’m happily employed and wouldn’t be willing to leave for less than x”, where x is a step up from your current salary and assumes similar benefits. However, if this is the hiring manager playing these games and it seems like this is SOP for them then I think you can just say “I’m happily employed right now and I don’t think it makes sense to invest more time in this process unless I know we’re in the same salary range.” That lets them know that whatever game they think they’re playing, you have options and you’re not interested in being pushed around.

  35. Chickaletta

    #5: Regarding the tax implications, it depends if your business is on an accrual or cash basis. Most likely it’s cash, which means you only realize income and pay taxes when you actually get the money, not when you send an invoice.

  36. OP3

    Thanks guys for your responses!

    Despite the job being described as “somewhat nebulous,” it was actually a position with some clear responsibilities and could easily be compared to similar jobs in our industry. So they should have at least been able to give me a very general range, even if they didn’t have my resume and hadn’t met me before (both of which they had).

    There have been a few suggestions to respond aggressively. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with this, since I don’t have anything to lose, but since this employer is one that my previous supervisor works with at her new company, I didn’t want to be antagonistic and cause problems for her. My previous supervisor was also puzzled at their response and thought it was odd.

    I didn’t go any further with the email exchange. As soon as I read “I think you don’t understand,” I was done. Major red flag for me. I have weird/poor managers at my current job and I don’t want to move employers just to be in the same situation.

    This is only personal experience and not data, but the field I work in sometimes engages in a lot of Byzantine hiring practices where it seems like they feel much more entitled to the time of their applicants than they should. I went through an interview process last year which included an HR phone screen, a phone interview with the hiring manager, a written work assignment, a panel interview on site with 3 different people, and then 3 other phone interviews. This was not for a supervisory position and would be described as mid-level at best. It can be very frustrating!

  37. Pokebunny

    It’s sad that there are still stigma associated with harmless hobbies that people like LW1 feel the need to hide from others.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I don’t think it’s stigma about kink, specifically. It’s that discussion of sex, no matter how vanilla the sex is, doesn’t belong in most job interviews.

  38. sara

    OP #4: Having recently gotten out of grad school myself, I totally know what it feels like to fall down the rabbit hole of getting overly invested in various things. But, I think the best approach here is to take a big step back and get some perspective. You write that you think you’ve made a positive impact. I’m sure you have! I guarantee they are not cancelling the course because of anything the TA did or didn’t do. If it were solely a problem with your performance, the most likely course of action would have been to simply hire a different grad student to replace you, not to cancel the entire course. And similarly, a grad student can’t be held responsible for single-handedly increasing enrollment in a class. Really that is someone else’s job to both assess and implement. I would suggest that the place to go with this is to write about how awesome the course was and what you learned from teaching it in your teaching statement, and then see if there might be a way to launch a similar course down the road when you’re the professor and have a little more control over these things. (And, of course, the best way to get there is to finish your dissertation!)

    Another place where it seems like you need perspective is when you talk about “mitigat[ing] abrupt changes like this in a professional career.” This…is not an abrupt change! It would be abrupt if you were being told now, in August, that your September class was being cancelled and your department didn’t know how they were going to get you funding (I’ve known people with similar awful stories to that, and it seriously sucks). But you have a whole semester or year to look for an alternate TA or RA gig on campus. In fact, diversifying your experience will probably only help you on future job applications rather than just having the same thing on your CV year after year. Again, think strategically here. Grad school isn’t really about having a fun time in grad school (if it were, no one would do it)…it’s about getting the training and experience you need to get the job you want AFTER grad school. So take this as an opportunity to look hard at your long-term goals and make sure your actions are really aligned with that.

  39. Vicki

    I found a sample Wonderlic “quiz” online. I got as far as question 4 and said “No.”

    Any job that requires that before you even get an interview needs to pay a lot. Tell them you want at least a 15% raise over what you’re currently getting.

  40. Rachel B

    #5 — I haven’t read all the comments but a simple table would do the trick: Columns for Invoice #, Invoice Date, Amount Billed, Check # of payment and Date of payment. Any row that didn’t have the last two columns filled in would indicate an unpaid invoice. You could set this up in five minutes in Excel and send it to them.

  41. Cassie

    #4: our undergrad program went through some changes and some courses were dropped (replaced by new courses). The field is changing and the faculty decided that this is the direction that the field is going towards. It happens. Usually for undergrad courses, TAs can TA for a couple of different courses so even if this particular course is canceled, there are other options. Also, grad students usually rotate out every few years.

    It’s more difficult for lecturers (non-tenured/non-tenure-track faculty) because there’s less movement amongst them. If you cancel a course and add a different course, the course might be in a different area and that lecturer might not be qualified to teach. If the OP was a lecturer, the emotions would be more understandable.

    In our undergrad program, I think TAs have absolutely no effect on enrollment. Well, I guess that’s not true – students might choose to avoid poor TAs. But if it’s a required course for the degree, they’re going to take it. There’s probably nothing the TA can do.

Comments are closed.