company bombarded me with emails, then retracted a job offer because I wanted time to think it over

A reader writes:

I was lucky enough recently to have two job offers on the table, one for an executive assistant at Company 1 and one for an administrative assistant at Company 2. I received both offers on a Friday afternoon, both verbal, both telling me that they would send through the written letter shortly. I assumed that shortly would mean Monday, given the nature of the jobs and the companies (Company 1 being a real estate office, and Company 2 being a law firm).

However, I got sent my offer letter for Company 1 on Saturday morning. It was very brief, no mention of benefits or a notice period, but the email that came with it asked that I come in early on Monday morning to confirm everything and sign all the paperwork. I asked about the benefits and notice period, still enthusiastic about the position, but unwilling to sign anything until I had all the details. I received an email back saying that no benefits were offered and that a notice period would simply involve a “conversation.” It also reiterated that I needed to come in Monday morning to sign everything.

I asked if something could be negotiated re: benefits. I was told no, that there were no negotiations, and that I needed to come in Monday to sign everything. By this point, it is Sunday evening, and I have received 10+ emails from Company 1 (versus the two I’d sent them), all but demanding that I be there on Monday morning or else. So I sent one back, explaining my other offer and asking for time, not a lot of time, just a couple of days.

I got back a one-line email that just read: “Lizzie (not how my name is spelled). Offer retracted. My next assistant will recognize this opportunity and jump at it.”

Was I wrong to be up-front about my other offer? Or was the company wrong to be pushing hard like that over the weekend, which is a time that I would not be contracted to work?

They were totally, utterly out of line.

They’re also jerks who you should be really, really glad you’re not going to work for.

You don’t demand on a Saturday that someone come in on Monday morning. You can ask if that’s possible for them, and if it’s not, you offer up other options. You don’t demand it, because (a) that’s rude and (b) you recognize that they it might be an inconvenient time for them. If you do this, you’re signaling that you’re inconsiderate and rigid, and that you’re the kind of employer who’s just going to bark demands at employees, even when the situation would allow you to be more flexible.

You also don’t bombard a job candidate with 10 emails in a two-day period (let alone over a weekend) to their two. If you do this, at least without some sort of really extenuating circumstance, you’re signaling that you’re either really demanding or really neurotic or both.

And you don’t retract offers because someone asked for a couple of days, and you don’t do that in a rude, peremptory email, and you definitely don’t say ridiculously laughable things like “my next assistant will recognize this opportunity and jump at it.”

There’s only a small number of people in the world who don’t recognize that saying things like “my next assistant will recognize this opportunity and jump at it” makes you look like a cartoon villain. When an employer doesn’t realize that, it is a very, very bad sign about what it will be like to work with them.

So, yeah, this is all on them.

It’s fine to ask for a few days to think over an offer. You don’t need to mention that you have another offer that you’re considering in order to make that request. (It’s not a terrible sin to mention that, but you really don’t need to.)

For what it’s worth, I don’t quite agree with you that the issue here was that this all happened over the weekend, a time you wouldn’t normally be working. This would be messed up even if it happened during the week, and it’s not super weird to discuss a job offer outside of what would be the job’s normal work hours.  The issue is all the rest of it. (I’m also not sure what the whole thing about the notice period was; if you’re in the U.S., you don’t typically need to negotiate that as part of an offer because you’d generally be employed at-will. But if you’re not in the U.S., this could make more sense.)

It would be worth asking yourself whether there were signs earlier in the process that they were unreasonable jerks, because that will help fine-tune your radar for this kind of thing in the future. But it’s on them, not you.

{ 287 comments… read them below }

  1. the_scientist*

    MY NEXT ASSISTANT WILL JUMP AT THE OPPORTUNITY…….to work for a complete lunatic, with no benefits (and presumably no vacation time).

    Sure, OK. Whatever you say, dude.

    1. Liane*

      “There’s only a small number of people in the world who don’t recognize that saying things like “my next assistant will recognize this opportunity and jump at it” makes you look like a cartoon villain.”
      “MY NEXT ASSISTANT WILL JUMP AT THE OPPORTUNITY…….to work for a complete lunatic…”

      This! I think I will suggest that phrase to the gamemaster of my RPG group’s superhero campaign. Just in case he needs a line for one of his villains.

      Seriously, OP, the lunatic helped you dodge a whole bunch of bullets.
      Hope the job at Company 2 comes through and is run by saner people.

      1. Chris*

        I just about snorted coffee through my nose when I read that, and I’m going to have to resist saying dramatic things in a supervillain voice for the rest of the day now. (but not that hard because people here have a sense of humor).

    2. Stranger than fiction*

      My next employer will give me reasonable time to consider the offer and it will include benefits. Good day.

  2. Amber T*

    OP – you dodged a bullet. This is someone (and a company) that has no idea what boundaries are. You’d be bombarded with emails all weekend, all hours of the night, and probably expected to respond to everything immediately. Telling you that you missed an opportunity because you had the audacity to want a bit of time to think a very important decision over is laughable. Best of luck to you with the other offer or your continued job search!

    1. she was a fast machine*

      All that…on top of no benefits! OP seriously dodged multiple bullets here. I can’t imagine having to work at a job like that…WITH NO BENEFITS! Holy smokes!

        1. shep*

          This song is now also stuck in my head.

          Isn’t Axl Rose fronting in Brian Johnson’s stead? I am a little skeptical about this arrangement.

          But YES, I agree wholeheartedly that a bullet was dodged by this offer being pulled, and in such an outrageously rude manner. They made OP’s job much easier.

    2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      I always appreciate when people show their crazy when there is still time to make an alternate decision.

      1. FiveWheels*


        Though I’m very bad at recognising crazy, and by the time i do an attachment has formed and escape is so much harder.

      2. General Ginger*

        + 10 million

        OP — I’m sorry you had to deal with this, but isn’t it nice to see the ‘yikes’ up front?

      1. FiveWheels*

        UK to USA question here. When people in the UK talk about benefits it suggests to me things like a company car or subsidised parking or gym membership. I gather in the USA it also includes health insurance – but is PTO considered an extra benefit in the USA?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          In the U.S., benefits means all forms of compensation that aren’t your salary. So, the big ones are health insurance, vacation and sick leave, and retirement contributions. But it also includes things that people sometimes think of more as “perks,” like gym membership, free parking, on-site day care, etc.

        2. Catalin*

          And health insurance is probably the biggest factor for most: uninsured patients face costs that are FAR beyond reasonable (like $1000 for a nurse to administer a tetanus shot in hospital).

        3. Turtle Candle*

          Yeah, in the USA, “benefits” include health insurance, vacation, sick leave, and (many forms of) retirement plans. It can also include perks (mine includes discount gym membership as well, for example, and a small life insurance policy), but the big ones are health insurance/vacation/sick time/retirement.

        4. Anxa*

          This isn’t directly answering your question, but this site skews really heavily toward professional class jobs. When you’re starting out or having a lower income, landing a job “with benefits” is like climbing up a huge rung in the professional classes.

          I know personally that landing a full-time job with benefits would probably feel like a bigger indicator of success than fulfilling work or a higher salary.

          1. Janice in Accounting*

            Thank you for pointing this out. It is very easy to forget that one person’s norms are another person’s goals.

          2. Turtle Candle*

            Very true. My first job with benefits felt like a fairy tale–“you mean if I have violent food poisoning I don’t have to choose between ‘barf at work’ and ‘make rent’? I can stay home and still get a day’s pay???” I’ve been in the job long enough to be inured to it, but at the time it felt magical.

          3. Jady*

            True enough, but keep in mind the positions OP listed. These are positions most would expect at least some benefits to exist.

            1. Moonsaults*

              That strongly depends on the size of company. If you’re a one or two person office, benefits are less frequent. However higher salary tends to come along with it in my experience working for sole ownership.

            2. Stranger than fiction*

              Yeah, plus if it was a non-professional job, there’d be no formal offer. It’d be more like “ok you’re hired. When can you start?”

            3. Anxa*

              I might not understand what an executive assistant is then, but I wouldn’t blink twice at at administrative assistant job that didn’t offer benefits. At my current job there are different classes of administrative assistants with different jobs. Some departments are primarily staffed by a class of worker that gets full-time jobs and all of the benefits offered, some of part-time with no benefits, and others are contracted out or temps.

              I do however think that’s quite common to be a full-time admin, as in many classes that’s a role you want filled by fewer people with more broad coverage.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Maybe this is regional? I would be pretty shocked by an admin assistant job that didn’t offer benefits, unless it was something like a tiny business run out of someone’s home.

                1. Emac*

                  It also unfortunately seems like admin assistant jobs that target certain populations do this. I see a lot of ads in my city for admin assistants who are bilingual Spanish speakers, that pay $10/hr (minimum wage here) and no benefits. It makes me so angry.

                2. AdminMeow*

                  Since Company 1 was a real estate company this actually didn’t surprise me at all. Generally admins are hired by an individual agent or a team and not “ABC Realty” – so hired by people who are self employed and paying their own benefits out of their pockets. I’ve only known a couple large teams that offered any insurance or retirement because they had enough people to make it cost effective. The good ones (I’m sure not the person in the example) will usually just pay more to offset how sucky they realize that is.

          4. Gazebo Slayer (formerly I'm a Little Teapot)*

            Yes… things that are legally mandated and considered the bare minimum in a lot of other countries are special privileges only for the ~valuable~ and ~successful~ here, because large and influential swathes of the population pride themselves on having not an ounce of compassion for anyone outside their narrow little circle.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              That’s not really why — it’s rooted in varying ideas about the role of government. I don’t want to get into a political debate here, but I’d rather not have people denigrate other viewpoints on either side of this here.

          5. Parcae*

            That is so true. For several years right out of college, and then again during the financial crisis, I mentally classed anyone I knew with a full-time job with benefits as having “made it” professionally. I’d hear a friend talk about going through her insurance paperwork for the first time or figuring out the 401K, and I’d think, “Oh, good, she’s safe now.”

            As my friends have gotten older and more established in their careers, my personal metrics for their success have gotten a little more aspirational. “Doesn’t need a second job.” “Can afford daycare.” “Cries at work no more than once a month.”

            1. Anon13*

              I know it’s not necessarily funny and it is the reality for a lot of people, but I laughed at the last comment. I was at the “cries at work no more than once a month” level, but, sadly, I have regressed. I’m down to about once a week, at least!

              1. Parcae*

                I was trying for a chuckle, though you’re right, it’s more sad than funny for a lot of people. My previous job drove me to tears on a weekly basis. At my current job, I think I’ve cried 4 times, max, in two whole years, and one of the people who made me cry is no longer employed by our organization for just that reason. I think it’s my favorite perk or benefit offered here, and our health coverage is really pretty good!

          6. Zillah*

            Agreed. Benefits aren’t even in my frame of reference – I’d be happy with a decent paycheck and flexible unpaid time off, tbh.

        5. Chevron*

          Possibly unnecessary explanation, but just in case this isn’t a thing where you live:
          “Retirement plans” in Alison’s reply doesn’t mean (or only very, very, very rarely means) a pension. It means access to a 401K plan that the company has hired a firm to manage; contributions are deducted automatically from your paycheck pre-tax. Such a plan may or may not include the company matching your paycheck percentage of contributions, and in the case of the company matching, the matching may only occur if the company reaches its quarterly or fiscal year financial goals (or some other circumstance stipulated in the fine print). Also, depending again on the fine print, you may only retain the company’s matched contribution if you have stayed at the company for a certain number of years (otherwise they take it back when you leave).

          1. Natalie*

            Accounting pedantry alert! A 401k is a type of pension plan. It’s just a “defined contribution” plan rather than a “defined benefit” plan.

    1. Audiophile*

      I’ve seen a few jobs lately, that don’t offer benefits. But the job ad is usually very clear about that. The salary has to make up for the lack of benefits or I’m not moving forward with the job.

      1. T3k*

        Unfortunately not everyone has that luxury :( My second job, and first full time out of college, had no benefits. When I asked later about it (yep, naive me didn’t ask beforehand) my boss’ response? “Oh… well you can have holidays off…” Riiiight….

        1. sunny-dee*

          Yeah, early in my career, I worked a lot with no benefits. Sometimes, it’s just what you do — take something with some drawbacks and work your way up.

          But, um, not if Manager A is crazy and there is another company in a bidding war for you. At that point, you have options.

          1. shep*

            Same. I worked an hourly job with no benefits during graduate school. It was partly tutoring and partly office admin, and I became one of the key people there. I took on a ton of responsibility and ended up working almost full-time, and, of course, the bosses turned out to be crazy, icing and all. It took me almost a year and a half to escape into a job with a living wage and extant benefits.

            Contrast this no-benefits job experience to another of my graduate school friends, who at the same time worked at Starbucks, also hourly, but was making several dollars more per hour, was considered a full-time employee, and had at least some limited health insurance benefits. That is also an extraordinarily demanding job (anything in food service or retail seems daunting to me), and she did have to work her way up a few years to get to that point, but man I wished I’d started working at Starbucks like she did a few years prior. More money, health insurance, and promised hours. Plus, no screaming children or snotty teenagers. I mean, like kids. I liked quite a few of my students. But not that much, especially compounded with the crazy.

            1. shep*

              (I mean, no screaming children or snotty teenagers that you’d deal with directly for longer than they were in the coffee shop line and/or eluding their parents.)

        2. Audiophile*

          When I say the salary has to make up for it, I mean it has to be a livable wage.

          I did a phone interview for a job that was only going to pay me 30k and no health benefits. On paper it looked like a great job, but once I heard that, I was done.
          No amount of perks would have made me take my job, unless it included a bubble to keep me from getting sick.

          As someone who’s gone long stretches without health insurance, I really prefer to have it. But some people are OK without it if it means a higher salary.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Am I crazy? I thought the whole healthcare reform made employers now require health insurance in some way shape or form or they get fined?

        1. davey1983*

          Yes, but one can pay the fine and not pay for the insurance. The fee is $2,000 per FTE, meaning it is cheaper for many businesses to pay the fee rather than pay for the insurance.

          It is a matter of semantics, but not offering insurance is legal as long as they pay the fine (I personally view the fine as a penalty for not following the law, like a speeding ticket, but that is not how the law is written and the Supreme Court classified the fees as ‘taxes’). Again, it is all semantics.

        2. One of the Annes*

          Also, small business (don’t know the max number of employees offhand) still don’t have to offer insurance.

          1. MaggiePi*

            I think it’s 50 “full-time equivalent” employees. I’ve never worked at a place that big.
            10 years out of college, and the only benefit I’ve ever had is earning PTO and paid holidays.

        3. Anon13*

          In addition to what davey1983 said, it also depends on the size of the company. I don’t know the exact rule, but my company (we only have three employees and then several 1099s) isn’t required to offer it.

    2. Alton*

      At the very least, I would not consider an admin job in a real estate office with no benefits to be a priceless opportunity. What exactly are they offering that the OP should feel so chastised about having the offer withdrawn?

      1. KT*

        OP here. The kicker? I took the law firm job when they offered it. And their offer was $7,000 a year more than real estate (the one that got retracted), with benefits from Day 1.

        So they weren’t that great to begin with. :P

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Yay! Congrats. I’d be tempted to send that offer to that other snarky B, but I’m bratty like that.

          1. TempestuousTeapot*

            If you really want snarky: When it’s time to move, LW could always visit that real estate office to see what is offered in rentals/sales. What a thing to mention that doing so might not be possible had LW accepted their sub-par and rude offer. And yes, congrats to you, LW!!
            I’m reminded of a Beverly Hills 90210 episode where the mother of a sales girl cheated out of a commission by her manager double parks and goes through the motions of getting ‘help’ with shopping from same sales girl, complains about the ticket, agrees to the manager paying the ticket, witnesses the manager take the sales girl’s sale, and then cancels it, leaving the opportunistic manager with the ticket and no sale. Not quite the same, but the feels of ‘Ha!’ ring the same.

        2. Christopher Tracy*

          Congrats! Look at this as the universe’s way of putting you on the path where you belong.

  3. brightstar*

    OP, your behavior here was fine. It’s the company that was totally out of line. As Alison said, the fact that this was over a weekend has little to do with it. You’ve dodged a real bullet here and what most likely would have been a miserable working environment.

  4. Rabbit*

    This reminds me of a company I’d applied to. They emailed me back telling me, “Come in at 3:30 for an interview tomorrow.” I told them I was currently employed as an hourly temp so I couldn’t just leave, except at lunchtime and before/after hours. They refused and told me again to come in at 3:30. I told them not possible, thanks for the opportunity, and good luck. What really made me laugh was that they were ACROSS THE STREET from my current job. I could literally have been there at 6:10 PM, but they said absolutely nothing outside of work hours was acceptable to interview.

    That was nearly 2 years ago, and they’ve reached out to me maybe 2-3 times “inviting” me to interview in the same manner. I don’t want to burn bridges in my small industry, but after the second time I just stopped responding. Good luck filling that position!

    1. she was a fast machine*

      What makes them think that you suddenly would magically be able to make a 3:30 appointment(or any other daytime interview) when you couldn’t before? Sheesh. If you’re that desperate, you should be flexible. If you’re not flexible…you’re not really desperate yet.

        1. Anon13*

          Made even worse by the fact that lying to her current employer would be especially risky in this situation because there’s a good chance they would see her at the building ACROSS THE STREET and realize that she’s not actually sick. (Not that I’m condoning lying in most situations, but it’s often pretty low risk.)

    2. shep*

      Oh my goodness! That’s bizarre. And then they continued to try to recruit you.

      When I was still very green to the hiring process, the boss at what became my first job out of undergrad (and while I was in graduate school and rapidly accumulating student loan debt) called me at 10pm. I thought it was weird but I was also super desperate, and figured it was an impromptu invitation to an interview. What it turned into was a very poorly executed phone screening, which ended with an invitation to a person-to-person interview.

      I was there for nearly three years, and learned very quickly that my boss was just as green as I was. We were the same age, and she’d been given pretty much every authority to run business by her parents. Which she did. With mixed to poor results. I liked HER as a person, but as a business associate? Yikes.

      tl;dr–I could totally see her pulling something like you describe.

  5. LawCat*

    Cartoon villain! :-D I picture the manager as Snidely Whiplash!

    You’re fortunate the offer was withdrawn, OP. Definitely a bullet dodged! What an unreasonable loon. I feel bad for whoever ends up getting stuck with that boss.

    1. LBK*

      That silly Nell Fenwick had no idea what opportunity she lost by not allowing herself to be run over by a train!

      1. Liane*

        Now I have this image of Alison riding in on a white cartoon horse to save the OP from feeling bad about how she handled Whiplash Realty.

  6. she was a fast machine*

    I have a feeling that this employer has been looking for their “next assistant” for a long time, and will continue to be doing so. What a farce.

      1. pope suburban*

        I’m gonna go with your option. Before I took my current position, they’d burned through something like seven or eight people over the three previous years. It was entirely due to the hazing and steadfast refusal to implement policies that require employees to act like adults. The only way this company is going to get someone who lasts is if they find someone desperate, who evidently looks unemployable on paper. Everyone else will walk within weeks, if not days.

    1. Serin*

      Also, his next girlfriend will understand what a find he is and not be a crazy clinging needy bitch like the last seventeen.

  7. LBK*

    I’m wildly curious what those other 10 emails said. Was it seriously just repeating that you needed to come in on Monday to do this, without any further prompting from you? I can’t imagine what goes through someone’s head that they would do that.

    Frankly, I’m surprised you asked for a few days to think about it – after those 10 emails, I’d have rejected the offer. I can only imagine it must have either been a highly prestigious company or an insane salary offer to even consider putting up with that.

    1. Karo*

      With someone this unhinged, I can imagine how it would devolve…Starts with “no benefits” then maybe an email about how if you had been working in the industry you’d know that there are no benefits, then an email to clarify the industry, etc. Crazy people are crazy.

      1. Karo*

        …Also, to be fair, I once texted a guy I had gone on a few dates like 5 times before he texted back. Once was to clarify something and once was to edit a mistake, and it was over the course of a weekend, but still. He looked at his phone and saw 5 texts from a crazy person.

        1. TL -*

          If it was a series of texts like this:

          Great time on the date!
          Caboose at 8:30 tomorrow, right?
          Sorry for the text storm!

          I think it would be okay? I tend to text in short sentences, though, so sending 3 or 4 texts when 1 would also be okay is something that I would do.

          1. KT*

            OP here.
            The other 10 emails were either asking me to confirm receipt of previous emails and saying that as an assistant with Whiplash Realty (I did like the name up there :P ), I would need to confirm all emails before I actioned them; and insisting that I come in on increasingly earlier times on Monday to sign everything. What started as a 1pm Monday appointment in the first email, became a 9am Monday appointment in the second to last email.

  8. K.*

    “No benefits” would have made the decision for me. Then to pile on rudeness and crazy on top of that? Nope! Bullet dodged, OP.

    1. KT*

      OP here. I’ve had companies say that they wouldn’t be initially offering benefits before, and then negotiated for a slight decrease in pay if the company would wear the cost of benefits. I’m in Canada, so the cost isn’t too high for me to buy my own, but generally it works out cheaper to negotiate with an employer. But Whiplash Realty didn’t want a bar of it.

  9. Elizabeth West*


    Boy, they think pretty highly of themselves, don’t they? A pushy offer, with NO BENEFITS, and you should be jumping at it? And they can’t even get your name right!?

    Bullet dodged!

    1. Ama*

      I suspect the pushiness was partly because they wanted to OP to commit to the job without thinking things through carefully (after all, it was only the OP’s question that even prompted the manager to disclose there were no benefits). I bet the OP is not the first person to have some serious reservations about the position once that came out.

      1. Jadelyn*

        THIS. It sounds a lot like high-pressure sales, where you insist that this offer is only good RIGHT NOW, RIGHT THIS SECOND, to force people to jump without thinking it through because you know you’re ripping them off.

      1. Jadelyn*

        You’re probably right – my boss has told me stories about a particularly antagonistic union rep who would deliberately misspell her name in every single email between them. She’s got a common name, even spellcheck and/or autocorrect would pick it up and fix it, so it had to have been deliberate, plus it was a different misspelling every time. Some people use that as a power play, a kind of professional negging, as it were.

        1. Roman Holiday*

          Yep, had the same thing happen between two of my colleagues – there was no possible way it could have been accidental that she found new and creative ways to misspell the same name every single week. It’s a very strange, petty and obnoxious power play.

          1. TL -*

            I would be so tempted to reply to every email with – Woops, look like you have the wrong recipient! I’m Alex, not Allexi.

    2. KT*

      OP here. I was almost annoyed enough to just go ‘to hell with you, then’ and just reject it, but my other half convinced me that I should at least listen to them. I’d been unemployed for 3 months, and we’re both brand new in Canada, so ineligible for unemployment benefits, so we’d been living on her income.

      But it all worked out. Law firm offered about $7,000 more a year and benefits from day 1. And, an actual notice period that met the laws of the province, not ‘a conversation’, which is what Whiplash Realty were going to give.

      1. Serafina*

        Sweet! Definitely all working out for the best, OP, and so happy that you got appropriate details and benefits from the other employer!

      2. Misslawmom*

        Now that I know you are in Canada, I can tell you that you were well advised to be wary of the lack of benefits. Most employers here (except Ma & Pa type operations) offer benefits with full time employment. I would expect a real estate agency to offer them and most certainly a law firm would offer them. Heck, my son has a part time job that provides extended benefits (prescription drugs, glasses, dental etc.) which is a new one for me!

        Glad you landed in a good place and welcome to Canada!

  10. boop*

    You could have ended up with repeats of my situation, where I’m constantly rescheduled for work on my days off with less than 24 hours notice, and without really asking. If I say I have an important thing scheduled (well, because it’s my scheduled day off), I get “Oh gee that’s too bad, YOU’RE WORKING.”

    Yeah okay, let’s just see how long.

    1. boop*

      Is it really that surprising that there are no benefits? I haven’t had any benefits at my crappy jobs since 2005. And I’m even in a lousy union now. One that lists me as “part time” so that I don’t get benefits, but schedules me full time anyway. Nice little loophole there.

        1. Retail HR Guy*

          Why? What law is there against scheduling full hours for someone listed internally as part time? Genuinely curious.

          1. bee~*

            Welp, if the ACA applies to that employer, listing an employee as part-time and not offering health insurance when they work over 30 hours a week is pretty much illegal, unless they are doing some serious loophole searching.

            1. Retail HR Guy*

              Not illegal, so long as they are paying the associated extra tax. And that’s not a loophole, it was always a well-advertised feature of the ACA.

            2. Brett*

              There is a really nice loophole in the ACA for union jobs.

              Basically, the ACA allows unions to negotiate away their healthcare benefit without the employer being fined for not offering healthcare. It is more complicated than that, but that is roughly how the loophole works.

          2. Judy*

            The ACA? I’m pretty sure it requires health insurance to those working 30 hours a week or more, if the company supplies health insurance to anyone.

          3. she was a fast machine*

            I don’t think there is a law that says you can’t do that, I think there’s a law that says if you schedule someone for 40+ then you have to provide them with healthcare.

              1. she was a fast machine*

                How does the ACA NOT mandate that? That’s literally one of the main tenants of it and how it was explained to me when I worked for a business that loathed it.

                1. LBK*

                  The ACA doesn’t mandate it in the sense that it doesn’t make it illegal to not provide health insurance to your FTEs – you have to pay a fee if you don’t, but it’s not violating the law to do so. It’s only violating the law if you don’t provide health insurance and you also don’t pay the fee.

          4. Charlotte Collins*

            And the union probably gives benefits to full-time employees, so this might be against the contract the employer has with them.

          5. Meg Murry*

            The ACA makes the determination as to an employer is required to offer health insurance (or pay a penalty) based on how the average weekly hours the employee actually worked, no matter how many hours they were hired to work. They define it as: “a full-time employee is, for a calendar month, an employee employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week, or 130 hours of service per month.”

            So if OP was hired as a 25 hour per week employee (and therefore no benefits) but regularly works 30+ hours a week, the company could be operating illegally by not offering her benefits.

            1. Retail HR Guy*

              But only if they are lying to the government about the hours worked to avoid paying the extra tax under the ACA. The ACA doesn’t actually require any employers to offer health insurance, it just encourages and incentivizes it.

          6. Retail HR Guy*

            A lot of people are answering that the ACA requires it, but it doesn’t. The ACA never requires that employers provide health insurance, but does require special taxes to those who don’t based on how many employees they have working 30+ hours.

            If boop’s employer is paying the correct amount to the government based on his actual hours worked, what law is being broken?

            1. LBK*

              Well, it either requires you to provide coverage for 95% of your FTEs or pay a fairly substantial penalty fee ($2000 per FTE, excluding the first 30 FTEs). I guess it depends on your definition of “required” – I would consider “do something or pay a fee” to mean that thing is required and the fee is the punishment for not doing the required thing, but if you’re perfectly happy to pay the fee then I suppose it’s not technically required.

              1. Retail HR Guy*

                Sure, a lot of it is semantics, but it I think it is important to point out that it is perfectly legal to just pay the fee. A lot of responses here (not yours) describe what boop’s employer is doing to be “illegal” and it just isn’t.

                And while you describe the penalty fee as substantial, keep in mind it is still cheaper than actually providing the insurance. $2000 per year is only $167 per month; you won’t find even crappy insurance at that price. (That’s one of the biggest issues that the political left has with the ACA–that the disincentive isn’t strong enough.)

            2. ACA stuff*

              Also note that these ACA regulations only apply to applicable large employers (ALEs). If this is a one-stop shop of crazy (boss and one or two employees), he won’t pay a fine for not offering coverage.

      1. she was a fast machine*

        Well, it’s surprising in that it’s assumedly a full-time position and in the US full-time positions are required to provide health insurance. So that’s the ~shocking~ part.

        1. Retail HR Guy*

          No. There is no (federal) law requiring employers to provide health insurance to full-time employees. Not even the ACA. Employers can just pay the extra tax and tell their employees to go get insurance off the exchanges.

          1. twentymilehike*

            I think this is for companies with 50 employees or less …. IIRC, 50 employees and over would require health insurance to be offered.

            1. ACA stuff*

              Nope, it’s still not required. Small employers do not pay a penalty if they don’t offer coverage. Large employers do pay a penalty if they don’t offer coverage. That’s it.

      2. CMT*

        Yes, I do think it’s surprising. Most full-time jobs offer benefits and I think it’s only the crappy ones that don’t.

  11. Snarkus Aurelius*

    I’m guessing the reason this employer wanted to lock you down so fast is because no benefits isn’t a competitive package these days. Fast food and retail offer benefits. My high school job offered a couple of benefits!

    If this guy thinks people will be beating down his door, fine. I don’t believe it because he’s using a desperate tactic but fine.

    Was the pay crap? I’m guessing so.

    1. Anxa*

      Hmm, I wouldn’t think that at all, but I have a much different experience.

      I pretty much wouldn’t expect benefits at this point in my life; I’ve never had them. Of course, I don’t work for a huge corporation or anything and I don’t have a highly skilled job. Or at least, my skills aren’t really in high demand. Perhaps I’m insulated in my little world of higher ed, and I know academia, law, and California are the big exceptions always listed here.

      1. davey1983*

        Even in higher education, benefits are the norm– the lowly PhD students even get health insurance!

        1. Anxa*

          In my experience higher ed typically has fairly generous benefits, but it’s extremely difficult to ascend into that professional class. PhD students usually (and I don’t think this is just in my experience but is typical across the US) have student insurance, and not typical employer-based insurance.

          Where I am the vast majority of new hires are adjuncts (no benefits) and many of the teaching support responsibilities shifted to part-time workers (aides, tutors, computer technicians, etc.) which also have no responsibilities.

          A company I volunteered at for a while and interviewed with had very generous benefits for one tier of employees, but some people would be hired for very similar positions and would qualify only for health insurance and no other ones, depending on how your hiring was classified.

          What I’m getting at is that I think there might be regional or SES differences here, because I know quite a few people working in higher ed who have no benefits and no security and would flock to fast food and retail jobs if more were available or there were good benefits.

            1. Christopher Tracy*

              When I was a temp at a law firm, I had no benefits for a year and a half. Then when I was hired on, I got crap benefits. Yay. (And sadly, my current company’s health insurance isn’t much better.)

  12. Miaw*

    Wow. I am so glad you dodged this bullet, OP! You have done nothing wrong and deserve to be treated with respect. It is absolutely fine to walk away from lunatics like this next time. I have had a lot of interviews with horrible workplaces with horrible bosses myself and I am so glad I didn’t receive or accept offer from any of them because I am now in a much, much better place.

  13. Tequila Mockingbird*

    And they didn’t even bother spelling your name correctly. They did not give (and would not have given) two damns about you at that company.

    1. Catalin*

      “Lizzie: wait, we’ll let you come work for us if you’re in good health and willing to donate your liver. But contact me IMMEDIATELY!”

      1. orchidsandtea*

        Reminds me! Allison, can we get an update on the liver donation post? My next blogger will be all over that!

        (deliberately misspelling your name in reference to this post)

  14. Interviewer*

    I bet it was an independent contractor role with no benefits. And I bet they were going to tell you to work nights and weekends until your notice period is over.

    Lastly, I bet the last assistant jumped at the first opportunity to leave.

    1. Kelly L.*

      Yep, my very first thought was that the reason he needs someone Monday morning is that he ran off the previous assistant by being a royal ass to him or her.

    2. she was a fast machine*

      It hadn’t even occurred to me that it might be a 1099 position. And a probably illegal one, at that!

      1. KT*

        OP here!

        I’m in Canada, and the problem with it was that it was supposed to be a full-time permanent position. In my province, there’s no law that says you -have- to offer benefits, and the universal health care here is generally good enough so that you’re not squillions out of pocket if you have a pre-existing condition (I do), but the benefits make life a hell of a lot easier. Problem is, I’m brand new in Canada (immigrant from Australia), so I wasn’t 100% on the whole benefits deal and what was full-time and all that. But after talking to some people here, I’ve realised that they were probably going to call my position full-time, but pay it like a contractor.

        1. she was a fast machine*

          Being in Canada, I’m not sure if the law is the same as it is in the US, but here if you function as an employee you’re legally not supposed to be categorized as a contractor. My fiance went through that just last year with a BS employer trying to get out of paying their taxes by calling all of their employees “contractors”. That’s really what I meant by the legality of it. But it’s also especially funky in the reply you got and the manner in which you received it. Yikes.

  15. neverjaunty*

    OP, when somebody pushes you to decide without giving you time to think, it’s because they know if you had time to think it over, you’d say no. Con artists, creeps and bad bosses have used this technique since forever.

    You did the absolutely smartest thing here and cut them short. Nothing good would have come from this employer.

    1. AnonEMoose*

      This. SO MUCH THIS. Any time someone pushes me to decide right now, and it’s not a life-or-death situation, I’m going to dig my heels in and look things over carefully. For this exact reason.

      You didn’t just dodge a bullet, OP. You dodged a machine gun barrage of crazy. I hope the other offer comes through and is fabulous.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I can’t believe I almost let that go without commenting on that aspect of it! That’s one of my rules, too. If someone says “I’ve got lots of other people who would love to [work/buy/whatever]”, then why are they pressuring you?? It’s because they’re desperate for a sucker! MashaKasha (below) is right, they sound like a timeshare salesperson!

    3. Blurgle*

      And misspelling OP’s name is a classic negging technique. “You’re so worthless I can’t be bothered,” followed (they hope) by you e-mailing back in a wild panic begging them to reconsider.

      You know, because you were lying about the second offer and were just yanking their chain.

      1. Daisy Steiner*

        ‘It’ll be like, “So where’s your boyfriend, what’s-his-name, Chester?” And she’ll go, “No-no-no, it’s Chandler.” And he’ll go, “Whatever. Ha-ha-ha-ha!”‘ – Chandler Bing

  16. MashaKasha*

    This person is in the wrong career. They should be selling timeshares. I expect them to recognize this opportunity and jump at it.

    Sketchy dork. Ugh.

    1. Kelly L.*

      I was thinking of some kind of pyramid scheme type thing. That hard sell where they act like only a subhuman piece of scum would ever dare turn them down! Grrrrr.

  17. Katie the Senual Wristed Fed*

    LOL. Good luck finding a good executive assistant who is willing to be treated like a peasant. Good admins are a godsend, and they know it.

    1. KT*

      OP here!! Thank you for that!!

      My boss back in Australia used to say that too. Admins are a dime a dozen, -good- admins are worth their weight in gold.

      ( :P And trust me, friends, I am a -good- admin)

      1. Beancounter in Texas*

        Having been an admin (and not enjoyed it), I appreciate good admins! They are worth their weight in gold!

  18. Miaw*

    Alison, I am not in the US and I have always find it surprising that most workplaces in the US have 2 weeks notice at most. If it interest you, in my country the standard notice is 1-2 months. My previous workplace has a 3 months notice. It is a standard practice to ask or negotiate notice period before accepting a job. The company can even change the notice period AFTER you work there. For example, my OldJob used to impose 2 month notice as per my employment contract, but they recently implemented 3-month notice to all current employee and make everybody signs a new agreement. It sucks. Luckily I managed to push back. This is the Asia branch of a well known USA multinational, btw.

    I am in Asia. What’s the standard notice period in your country?

    1. anonykins*

      I had similar requirements working in Asia, and I stuck to them because I was on contract. The first job I had required one month notice, which I managed to get down to three weeks because my next employer needed me OMG SO BAD RIGHT NOW (red flag!!!!). That next employer then asked for THREE MONTHS notice which, again, I gave them. I ended up committing the cardinal job hunting sin of giving notice before securing future employment because, seriously, who is going to wait for me for THREE MONTHS? It worked out alright in the end as my current employer is very flexible, but there were some white knuckle months of waiting to potentially be homeless and jobless….

    2. Pwyll*

      Unless someone has an employment contract, which is generally rare and usually limited to only very senior positions, there’s no requirement to give notice at all. You can be fired at any time for any reason (as long as it’s not discriminatory) and you can quit at any time and for any reason. In the US, even if employers have employees sign some kind of document or contract, the document itself almost always states the employee is “at will”. And even when handbooks or policy statements indicate a notice period, it’s typically the legal equivalent of a suggestion and not a requirement.

      That said, professional courtesy is to give 2 weeks notice in many industries so as to not leave them in a lurch, and 1 month can be seen as particularly generous.

      1. JOTeepe*

        Yup. A lot of employee handbooks may “require” a certain notice period in order to resign “in good standing” (which typically means eligible for rehire, payout of unused vacation leave, access to 401K match contributions if there were any, etc.). As a company is not required to every rehire you, pay out your unused leave, or pony up matched contributions (obviously anything you paid they have to give you back), then this is essentially meaningless. However, as people want that money, we often follow it.

        1. Natalie*

          This depends a bit. If your matching contributions have vested your employer can’t claw them back no matter what you do. And some states do require vacation payout regardless of notice period.

          1. NW Mossy*

            You are also entitled to matching contributions in the year you leave if you meet the requirements for them spelled out in the plan’s governing document. Some 401(k) plans have no requirements other than having contributed yourself at some point during the year; others may require that you are employed on the last day of the plan year and have worked at least 1,000 hours during the year. You may not be fully vested in these contributions, but if you meet the requirements, they have to make the contribution to your account even if you later forfeit because you don’t meet the vesting requirements.

            I’ve been in the industry for 15 years and have never once seen a plan written to make a certain type of exit (i.e., a “good standing” departure rather than a firing) a requirement, largely because doing that would likely guarantee that the plan can’t meet the nondiscrimination requirements the IRS spells out to protect rank-and-file employees.

            1. LBK*

              Yeah, I was in a role that specialized in assisting with 401(k) withdrawals for 3 years and I can only recall a handful of times where there was an issue with a participant withdrawing their funds because of the person’s standing with the company (one person had a ton of company equipment the employer wanted them to return first, one was in the process of suing the company, etc.). Those were all extenuating circumstances where the plan trustee just refused to sign the paperwork, though, not rules written into the plan. The participants probably could have gone to the DOL about it if they’d wanted to.

              As a company is not required to…pony up matched contributions (obviously anything you paid they have to give you back)

              This isn’t true, if they’ve already contributed the money to the plan they can’t use it for anything but IRS-approved plan expenses or towards other matching contributions. Even if you withdraw from the plan before you’re fully vested, those forfeitures have to stay in the plan, typically in a designated cash account or forfeiture account – that money doesn’t get refunded to the employer. IIRC the only way they could ever get it back is if the plan terminated, and then they can withdraw the remaining cash balance (but I believe it’s at a crazy high tax rate, like 50%).

      2. Miaw*

        Wow. USA employment norm is very different from what I am used to! I wonder how would any USA employer feel when one of the employee announced that they are leaving 3 months later. 1-3 months notice is quite a standard in Asia. And everybody has an rmployment contract. Even the contractor, part timer and the lowest level employee. Employment contract is mandatory by law.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          I wonder how would any USA employer feel when one of the employee announced that they are leaving 3 months later.

          I’ve usually given more than 3 months’ notice (one time even 9 months’ notice). Granted, I’ve primarily worked in schools that have one-year contracts, but even when I worked at a for-profit, I gave about 6 months’ notice, and it was fine, because I was professional (didn’t slack off in the last few months working there), and they were professional (didn’t fire me earlier than I gave notice for or treat me badly).

        2. Retail HR Guy*

          It’s actually not that uncommon to give a very large notice, even 3 months, if employees have a good relationship with their company and want to give them as much time as possible to plan. But it’s usually for a life-change event like, “Hey, I’m retiring at the end of the year”, or “When summer’s over I’m quitting to go back to grad school”, or “I don’t plan on continuing to work once the baby comes”.

          1. Kyrielle*

            Yep. I gave just over two weeks’ notice at my previous job – I might have given a month if I felt like I could, but because two weeks is standard in most industries, the next employer isn’t usually expecting to wait much longer than 2-3 from the point where you accept (unless it’s contingent – I made it clear that I’d aim for a start date about 3 weeks after clearing the background-check contingency, giving me a chance to give proper notice once the offer was firm). So a longer notice, in those industries, can be hard if you’re going to another job (vs. retiring, going to school, quitting to be a stay-at-home parent, or moving elsewhere whether you have another job or not).

          2. Anonymous Educator*

            No, you’re right. In my for-profit case, my spouse and I were moving cross-country, so I knew for certain I wouldn’t be staying at the company. My telling them early had advantages for both of us:
            1. I didn’t have to be secretive about my job search, and they could actually help me find a job (which they did).
            2. They could get started really early on finding my replace, and I actually had time to train my replacement.

            That said, for K-12 schools, giving long notice, particularly for people in teaching positions, is fairly standard and doesn’t necessarily have to involve a major life change.

            1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

              Yes, schools are definitely different in this regard. At my school contracts for the new school year go out in April so that hiring can ideally happen before the end of the current school year. Since demo lessons are often part of the hiring process for teachers, it’s extra important to do it before school is out! But I’ve known teachers to give much more notice. At the extreme, one of my former coworkers announced in the spring of 2015 that she was going to retire in June 2016 (after decades at our school!).

          3. Moonsaults*

            Yes. Mine was that “I’m moving to be closer to my partner.”

            If someone gives 2 weeks, it’s usually because they’ve come across a deal and actively want to leave your organization.

          4. Turtle Candle*

            It depends hugely on your employer. Good or decent employers will be grateful that you gave them plenty of transition time (since three months, unlike two weeks, is potentially enough time to hire and train a replacement). Vindictive employers, though, may try to shove you out early, which could be a problem if you won’t have your new position for a couple more months.

            My experience is that if you’re moving from Job A to Job B, Job B wants you ASAP, and so it doesn’t come up–you take your two weeks and maybe a week off in between, but they aren’t going to want to wait three months for you to be ready to start. But I imagine that depends hugely on industry (I’m in tech).

        3. J*

          It depends. My last job had five months’s notice that I was leaving. It was a place I enjoyed working very much, and I knew they would need time to find and train my replacement. (We relocated for my husband’s job, so this was an amicable separation.)

          But that’s the only time I’ve ever given so much notice. I think the job I had before that, I tendered my resignation, giving them a month’s notice and they walked me out the door that same afternoon.

    3. the gold digger*

      At my old job, the employee manual said we had to give three months’ notice. I am in the US, but the company HQ were in Australia.

      I laughed and gave two weeks. What were they going to do – come to my house and force me to work at gunpoint?

      1. Blurgle*

        Here you have to be paid for the entire time of your notice period *unless* you’re terminated for cause or you voluntarily leave before your notice period is up. If you quit and give two weeks notice (which is the legal standard for employees of one year’s standing) we have to pay you two weeks’ wages whether we let you work the notice period or walk you out for security reasons, but we don’t have to pay if you walk out voluntarily.

        1. Retail HR Guy*

          The US is kind of similar but indirectly. Unemployment insurance would kick in if a company fires an employee just for putting in notice, but it would not cover an employee leaving voluntarily. And companies ultimately foot the bill for unemployment insurance.

    4. Murphy*

      I’m Canadian and standard here is two-to-four weeks (two weeks being the minimum baring unforeseen circumstances). In fact, I generally prefer short notice periods (both for myself and my staff). I’ve found that once someone has a new job their attention turns in that direction so keeping them around makes little sense to me. All I need is a good transition plan, updates on where all their work is at, and a staffing request for their position filled out and signed.

      1. Grumpy Wolf*

        I was basically hired immediately after an interview last week; new food retail opening later this month and they needed bodies NAO (I hadn’t even applied, but was encouraged to after I tagged along with a friend to an open interview and the grocery manager was very interested). Gave notice at my current job yesterday; new boss understands I’m still employed elsewhere and have to leave ‘early’ to make it to that job. Current boss just wanted to know when I was leaving for good; I plan to work through this week as much as I can (seeing as the schedule was made before I gave notice). They have the people to replace my position, but probably not many will want to (specific task in a retail setting, very few like doing it). I had planned on the usual 14-day notice, but for various reasons it didn’t work out that way.

    5. Meg Murry*

      I’m wondering if when OP was referring to the notice period what she was talking about was the notice period at her current job (i.e. fixing her start date for this new job for 2 weeks in the future, or whatever).

      I wonder if, in addition to this being a power trip, this was actually another test to see how OP would respond to a demand that happened on a Friday and then over the weekend. Real estate can be the kind of industry where the difference between getting an offer submitted first or second but only 5 minutes later can mean the difference between winning or losing a sale, and it doesn’t stop on the weekends – so I’m guessing that anything other than a very prompt response on Friday and Saturday and then showing up on time on Monday morning would have resulted in the offer being rescinded. Heck, for all OP knows, they made the same offer to multiple people, planning to rescind it for everyone except the one person that said “yes, of course, whatever you say” and jumped.

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        Good point. I didn’t even think about the industry until you pointed it out. I don’t know anyone in real estate – is this a thing there? Anyone?

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Northern Europe. It depends on how long you have worked for a company here. Under 5 years is 1 month’s notice, 5-10 years 2 months and over 10 3 months.

      2. Anna*

        It depends on the level of the job. In my experience, things like retail, call centre work etc two weeks is standard.

    6. Jessi*

      In New Zealand, standard notice is two weeks. I’m sure some industries have longer ones. If you don’t give proper notice, or don’t fulfill that notice you can lose any remaining holiday pay. Holiday pay is accrued at something like 6% of your earnings, full time that works out to 20 days/4 work weeks. Part time accures as well but casual workers get that % as part of each paycheck. If you have worked a bunch of public/ bank holidays you will have gained more holiday time/pay so it pays to deal with notice properly!

  19. Natalie*

    What a lucky escape! When I had an interview for my current job I asked if I could be seen later in the day to avoid taking time of work (my Mum had just suffered a stroke and my old workplace had been great about me having time off) and they agreed to 4pm. It made a great impression on me, and made me comfortable being interviewed.

  20. recruit-o-rama*

    I would be super duper careful about working for a Real Estate agency under any circumstances. The bar to open a brokerage is set really low in most states and there are a LOT of fly by the seat of my pants operations out there, a LOT. There are a lot of really good ones, but if anyone ever plans to work for a brokerage, be so, so, so careful. I am not surprised to hear that a real estate agency does not offer benefits, that is really typical in that industry. You dodged a bullet!!!

  21. hermit crab*

    Re: the notice period, I assumed that the OP was referring to the new job’s start date (which would affect the notice she could give at her current job).

    1. KT*

      OP here!

      No, I didn’t have a job at the time. I was referring to the period of notice I would have to give if I wanted to leave that job. Every other job I’ve ever had in my working life has had that written into the contract. And I was vaguely aware that there was a minimum in my province. So to hear that notice would only involve a ‘conversation’, made it sound like an ‘at will’ workplace, which is against the law in my province.

  22. Just a thought*

    I definitely don’t think this happening over the weekend was part of the problem.

    My best job yet came from a Friday afternoon interview that went 2 hours long (!) and ended in an on-site offer (!!) to be discussed over the weekend and signed on Monday.

    1) The manager was available to answer any and all questions.
    2) I was able to negotiate a moving/signing bonus.
    3) The salary was HIGHER than I’d asked for by a good 10%
    4) Benefits included (lol)

    As I mentioned, that was my best job yet. The company was dysfunctional as hell but they gave my manager the room to do what he needed to build the best team, and our team was fantastic. We were in-sync on everything, had the respect of our manager (and he ours), a direct line to the C-level when we needed it, and… gosh, I really miss that job. ;) It resulted in a 100% raise for me from my previous job by the time I left, a huge promotion, a leg up in a new-to-me industry, and great contacts.

    … anyway. The weekend activity was not the problem in OP’s case, IMO. :)

    1. Pwyll*

      True. I’m particularly appreciative of employers who were willing to meet/talk after hours so I could interview without my current employer finding out. The weekend part wasn’t the problem, everything else was.

    2. Moonsaults*

      I’m used to random texts or emails at whatever hour they happen, so I don’t see it as an issue either. Granted it really depends on how much you are devoted to working and what part you’ll play in the team.

      It just matters is there’s open communication and nobody is being berated or treated like a peon right out of the gate >_<

  23. Tomato Frog*

    There is a parallel universe version of you who is so so sad she got this job.

    Or is glad she got the job because she parlayed the experience into a hilarious best-selling novel.

    1. SophieChotek*

      Multiple universes…I can see a great comic book now…with SuperVillain as the main character…

  24. anon (the other one)*

    I’m going to speculate this was the real estate firm and not the law office. I worked as an assistant in real estate many years ago, and it was a foray into crazy town. Because THEY are an independent contractor, they want you to be one as well. Except for the actual independent part of course. And they don’t get benefits, so why should you? Eventually I went to work for a broker who was trying to get a new brokerage off the ground. Being called to her home on Sunday for “meetings” was frequent. Mostly, we just watched in horror as she wept hysterically. And that was just a small part of the crazy. 15 years later, a group of us still get together to hoist a drink as members of the “I survived working for Jane club”.

    1. some1*

      Yup, it was. Also, realtors are used to needing to move on something right away, or else the sale or opportunity could be lost, and might forget that not all business operates that way.

      1. Joseph*

        Though even in real estate, the “gotta move now” only applies if it’s a truly desirable house. This is like trying to sell a house with a poor location or similar major flaw: After I think it over, I might decide that I live with it, but if you need an answer today, well, let’s just say I’m not crying over losing Just An Average House.

        1. Camellia*

          Where I live, the best houses are on the market for less than 12 hours. If it has been on the market for more than 24 hours there is usually something wrong. For the house we currently own, the realtor had us there within the hour, we viewed and made the offer immediately, and it was accepted right away. Less than 8 hours from market to signed contract and most of that time was spent preparing and submitting documents, etc..

          1. FiveWheels*

            No bidding wars where you are? Here if there’s a lot of interest in the house there would be offers and counter offers pushing the price up

            1. grasshopper*

              Bully offers are the new bidding wars. It used to work where sellers would set an offer date a few days after listing and then drum up a bidding war. Usually they underpriced the house to generate interest and got between half a dozen to two dozen interested buyers going against each other. So many people got tired of losing in bidding wars that they now go in with bully offers. As soon as the house is listed they offer waaaay over asking in order to secure it before anyone else can even see it.

          2. ThatGirl*

            Please tell me you at least have clauses in your contract like “subject to inspection” where you can back out if something is seriously wrong?

            1. Camellia*

              Oh, absolutely! In fact, we did back out of one that failed the inspection – the wiring was surprisingly not up to code and the owner was not willing to pay for the work required to get it up to code. That was over a year ago and last time we looked it was still up for sale.

            2. Honeybee*

              I live in an area where houses are on the market for relatively short times (maybe not 24 hours, but certainly less than a week) AND it’s common to waive inspection in order to get the house. And there are definitely bidding wars. It’s crazy town!

          3. Joseph*

            I have heard that in some places (notably San Francisco), it’s not unheard of for the market to be so hot that you basically show up to the viewing with a suitcase of cash in hand (or the bank equivalent) and pay on the spot – or else someone else will. That said, the key differences between that and this job:
            *The housing which people are willing to rush for is highly desirable.* All the information OP posted (expecting an immediate answer on a weekend, no benefits, no negotiation, entitled “this is going to someone who appreciates it”) make it pretty clear that this is a crummy house. Rather, this is like selling a house which requires major repairs. You know your market better than random internet guy (me!) does, but I’m betting the houses selling in 12 hours aren’t ones with tree-damaged roofs and no working bathrooms – at least not if they’re trying to price it similar to other houses without such issues.

            1. Camellia*

              Yup! That’s why I said if it was on the market longer than that, there was probably something wrong with it.

      2. Murphy*

        Fair enough, but hell, if my real estate agent treated me this way when I was looking to buy and/or sell a home they’d be fired faster than they could send me 10 harassing emails.

        1. Bob Barker*

          Ha ha, I had a seller’s agent treat me that way, when I was the buyer. It was like, Do you want me to buy the house or don’t you? Okay then, STFU.

          (I was well along in the process by then, so couldn’t back out. But damn, she pissed off absolutely everybody involved — the other owners in the condo association, the lawyer, my MORTGAGE BROKER. She called and harassed my mortgage broker to make sure close date didn’t slip, which it did not, no thanks to her meddling. There’s a middle-aged woman in this world who is very lucky I can’t kill people with my brain waves.)

  25. Violet Fox*

    Oh wow. OP you did nothing wrong and very much dodged a bullet with that one.

    That behaviour is just.. well I can’t even.

  26. BethRA*

    I assumed “notice period” meant when they needed OP to start and how much notice she could giver her current employer?

    But yes, bullet dodged – this is not normal behavior, but it is a good indication of how the “executive” you’d be assisting treats people.

    1. KT*

      OP here!

      No, I was out of a job at that point. I was asking about the notice period if I wanted to leave the position. Every other job I’ve worked in my career, has had a notice period (generally 2 weeks) written into the contract. In my province, 2 weeks is the minimum. The fact that Whiplash Realty said the notice period would be a conversation, suggested it was an ‘at will’ workplace (illegal in my province in Canada), or that I would be a contractor.

  27. Chalupa Batman*

    You made a big mistake, OP. Your refusal to jump at this employer’s demands almost surely lost us the Worst Boss of 2016 letter…because you would be writing it within a month tops.

      1. Chris*

        Times are tougher than usual. It’s easy to coast by when things are going well. When the pressure is on, the flaws that don’t matter so much in other times turn into catastrophic failures.

  28. Audiophile*

    This is like the time when I applied for a job I found on Craigslist. The response I got back was, “When can you start?” Not when can I interview, but when can I start working for them. I never replied because those were all the red flags I needed.

  29. Marisol*

    I agree with everyone’s comments and have this to add. OP, I am an exec assistant and have worked in real estate and legal. This guy is an abusive lunatic and the operation sounds cheesy and not worth the hassle. Execs like this frequently burn through assistants, sometimes as often as every 18 months, with the assistant either getting fired or simply walking out because she’s fed up.

    There are times when it makes sense to work for someone you know is an abusive. If the pay is incredible and the exec is a high-profile type, then sticking it out for a year or two can be a great credit on your resume and can open lots of doors for you–people say, “you worked for so-and-so? You must be good!”–and it can teach you lots of skills/attributes like having grace under extreme pressure, working fast, learning how to not take things personally, developing political savvy, etc. You can also make important contacts.

    But in the kind of situation I’m describing, the guy (usually male) is well established in the industry and his company can pay benefits. There would be absolutely no question of benefits; it would be a given. Also, whoever does the initial screening interview or whoever recruits you would give some sort of heads-up about the exec’s nature: “this guy can be intense” with “intense” being code for “asshole” or, “this position requires a thick skin”–something like that. Even the exec himself may say something like that: “I can be intense and I need someone who doesn’t get their feelings hurt.”

    Then they offer a big fat paycheck and possibly other perks like free catered meals. Because there’s a recognition at the company that constantly recruiting new assistants is a burden and it’s better to make the position attractive enough to keep someone for at least a few years.

    A reputable company might keep an asshole on staff because he is such a high performer, or the asshole might be the founder or founding partner and thus not fire-able. But in either case, you’d be dealing with savvy negotiators and pragmatic business people who realize that being abusive to the assistant comes with a price, just like the building contractors they hire require payment. They DON’T badger you while offering nothing to make it worth your while. It almost sounds like this guy was trying to bamboozle you into taking the job.

    So he sounds like a cheesy, chicken-shit low-level punk. I agree with whoever said, “you dodged a bullet.”

    1. Marisol*

      I was thinking commercial real estate, like building malls and hotels. Some others above are discussing real estate agents, or brokers or whatever it’s called that sell individual homes. If it’s the latter, then you definitely didn’t lose out on anything special.

      1. TL -*

        Academia. Some professors are terrible to work for, but they have a great research reputation/have enough connections that if you can make it through with a good recommendation, you can get into whatever grad school/industry job/postdoc you’re aiming for.

  30. Central Perk Regular*

    One small thing to note is that not everyone requires a job w/benefits. I know several people who are fortunate enough to have a spouse that has an excellent benefits packages, and it’s just not as much of a concern for some job hunters as it the majority of folks.

    But this situation is just terrible all the way around. I would have run screaming for the hills immediately.

    1. Judy*

      I think you’re just thinking about insurance. Benefits also includes vacation and sick days, 401ks or mythical pension plans, etc.

      As far as insurance goes, many companies will not insure working spouses any more. My insurance choices are “individual” or “family”, but if my spouse works, then my insurance has to be secondary. My spouse has to have his own insurance that is primary. (We have to fill out a form each year that states if my spouse works or not for the annual enrollment.) My previous company was a F50 company that charged $1000/year additional premiums if a spouse worked but was covered by the employees insurance.

      1. Anxa*

        Yeah, but a lot of us aren’t really interested in those either; that’s just the icing on the cake.

        I’m young enough where if only I could guarantee enough hours to cross the FPL, my health insurance costs would plummet. If I had more hours or a higher salary, I wouldn’t even need them to plummet to make out better, as I’d have more money to pay them.

        If I was able to work full-time, I could also start qualifying of PSLF. The sad fact is that I’m closing in on 10 years post graduation and still haven’t found a stable job, but have worked or volunteered in some form of public service for quite a bit of that time. However, none of it will count toward years on forgiveness. It’s so strange to me that someone that tutors part-time, volunteers regularly, and has a part-time retail job making poverty salaries is cut off from loan forgiveness that a well-paid, public service employee with full-benefits has.

        Paid days off would be great, but an increase in salary can make up for missed days at work. Having a good income as being a regular employee (not a contractor or a fellow) also gives you access to IRAs.

        Some people are already making more and have different needs, but there are so many people for whom a full-time job with decent pay IS a huge benefit and a giant step forward financially and professionally.

      2. ThatGirl*

        My company charges I think $200 extra a month for spouses IF they opt out of their employer’s coverage. But if their employer doesn’t offer any/they’re not employed then it’s all good.

        My husband’s job, on the other hand, goes from employee to employee + family with no +spouse option and so it’d be like 4x more to cover one more person (we don’t have kids).

  31. Moonsaults*

    As someone who has always had eccentric bosses and worked in executive assistance positions, they’ve always had a bit of a warm up period but never have they started out of the gate with demands like that. How vile. I wonder how he treats his clients. It sounds like he’s probably that small office real estate agent that thinks he’s more important than anyone else.

    My boss once told me about a guy he’s done business with for awhile and he hates him. That Guy is always yelling at everyone and has had many assistants walk out for it. The first time he heard That frigging Guy raised his voice at me over an error, he told to immediately cease speaking to me. Anyone who yells at you is a scumbag and not worth your time.

      1. Moonsaults*

        It was literally just something he could have fixed on his end and I’d fix the books when I got the payment. It was not that big of deal at all, it was just an annoying mix up that if he had done some work himself, he could have just fixed it and then complained about it to my boss. He works in that mindset that human errors are unacceptable and should be punished by a verbal lashing.

    1. FiveWheels*

      I don’t think one instance of yelling is automatically enough to write someone off… If so i would have precisely no family left. Personal mileage varies of course.

      1. Marisol*

        It sounds like he didn’t sever the business tie, he just told the guy to stop raising his voice at his assistant.

      2. Moonsaults*

        It wasn’t a business tie severed, they’ve had a long standing relationship, even though they don’t necessarily like one another when it all shakes out. It was a “Don’t talk to her that way, you know what, don’t talk to her at all.” Since it’s rare he needs to speak with me anyways. A few of my boss’s connections will try to circumvent him because he doesn’t have as much patience as I do for tomfoolery.

  32. grasshopper*

    I think that the crazy factor may have been amplified by the fact that this is a real estate company.

    In my city, houses can list in the morning and be sold by the afternoon. Real estate isn’t a M-F 9-5 job because of showings in the evenings and open houses on weekends. Clients expect agents to be available and respond instantly to every email and call 24/7. Clearly the company has turned this customer service pressure around the other way towards the candidate and went way out of line in frequency and tone of the emails to the candidate.

    1. the_scientist*

      Definitely. My mom went back to work after being a SAHM for 12 years and her first job was an admin assistant position at a residential real estate brokerage. It was HORRIBLE. It was a part-time job, but she was frequently asked to work more hours than she’d been hired for. It paid minimum wage. The average tenure of an admin assistant there was about 11 months… part, because the majority of the people willing to work for minimum wage in my hometown are generally a bit flaky, but also because you had to tolerate regularly being screamed at by realtors for the princely sum of $9/hr. You need to be a little bit cutthroat to really be successful in residential real estate, and many of the realtors in that office were not very nice at all to the people they perceived as being beneath them. Plus, the manager of the brokerage would eventually just get tired of people and fire anyone who lasted longer than about 16 months.

      Anecdata, obviously, but I’m going to go ahead and say the OP dodged a HUGE bullet here.

  33. Central Perk Regular*

    The OP’s situation reminds me of something I went through several years ago. I had several interviews with a regional bank (communications position) and after observing one of the leaders I would be working closely with, I decided to withdraw from the process. In short, the leader mentioned that they really needed someone who could work a lot of nights and weekends (this was in addition to the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F standard hours), so they really needed someone without children or someone who wasn’t married and planning to have children. This was explicitly stated. The leader then went on to talk about how his wife was now a stay-at-home and how kids ruined her career.

    So I didn’t feel too bad withdrawing myself from consideration, even though I had been on several interviews and was close to getting an offer. When I emailed the leader to let them know, I got a response about how disappointed he was in me, how he had high hopes for me, and how I was making a huge mistake letting this golden opportunity go.

    Not surprisingly, their communications department has had tons of turnover. :(

    1. Tandar*

      Reminds me of the job I withdrew from consideration for instead of going to the second round interview. The owner asked me in the first interview if I was married or had children because, as he put it, he “needed someone who could be married to the job.”

      He seemed honestly confused about why I didn’t want to work for him for $10/hr and his “really good benefits” like 3 whole days of PTO a year. I was desperate to get out of the job I was in at the time, but not that desperate.

    2. she was a fast machine*

      So it kind of sounds like some discriminatory hiring practices going on there, sheesh.

  34. art_ticulate*

    Jesus, was the employer Miranda Priestly?? The whole “I have people waiting to jump at this” is so very Devil Wears Prada.

    Their pushiness is so, so gross. They obviously wanted you to commit without knowing what you were getting into, only to find out after you’d signed on that you had no benefits. Ugh. Bullet dodged, OP.

    1. LBK*

      At least with Miranda it was actually true that the position was extremely prestigious and there were tons of women who would jump at the chance to have that job. I somehow find it highly unlikely that the same is true in the OP’s case.

      1. Marisol*

        Yeah, I kinda make that point above. A prestigious and career-advancing, albeit stressful, position versus…some lowlife offer you could get from ten minutes of searching Craigslist.

        1. art_ticulate*

          Fair enough. And I’d hope Miranda’s assistant at least got benefits. Plus, access to the sweet sample closet.

  35. Mimmy*

    Wow, big bullet dodged!! I hope the other offer comes through!

    It just occurred to me that this kind of demanding behavior is why I’d be afraid to work as an executive assistant.

  36. 2 Cents*

    I can’t imagine having Company A boss as my real estate agent. S/he’d be pushing for answers about major life decisions involving tons of money in the most annoying way possible. “I gave you 5 minutes to think about offering $625K on this house. How much more time do you need???”

    1. OhNo*

      You know, that’s probably exactly where the mindset came from. If the realtor is used to pushing customers to make decisions nownownow so they don’t lose out on a sale, they might forget (or never realize in the first place) that it’s not appropriate behavior in every situation.

  37. KT*

    OP here. Thanks for all the positive comments. It’s good to know that I wasn’t the one overreacting in this situation! :)

  38. Alli525*

    Geeeeeez. I would have just replied with a picture of Snidely Whiplash twirling his mustache. That would have been the entirety of my reply.

  39. Excel Slayer*

    WOW. Er. I’m not really sure what world these people are living in.

    I’m very glad you have a different offer.

  40. Anita Brayke*

    Wow. This employer sounds like he or she is running a sweatshop! And like s/he’s out of touch with reality. I think you dodged a definite bullet here!

  41. Zack*

    For OP. You are smart. Lets turn this situation around. Quite a few employers have no problem admitting they are jerks. They tend to prowl for people they can exploit and keep margins low with. Most wont give benefits or perks unless they really have to. Simply put they do not care. When extending a job offer they generally suss out candidates who do not assert themselves or challenge them in any way. Which is why you must ask questions in interviews and gauge their reactions. Do they balk? Do they answer you properly etc. If you had turned up for this job, your actions would tell them all they needed to know about you. I am job hunting ATM and believe me I check employers out carefully. I cannot afford to waste time playing games with loser employers! Once you are there think a forced marriage you will be trapped in something you hate because of the professional and social stigma that candidates must bear if they walk away from an abusive employer and jobs with short tenures will blacken YOUR name not theirs. Always think about what is best for you. The employer is only thinking about no.1 their business needs. Companies like these should be named and shamed. They have zero respect for their business or employees. Good luck. You did the right thing!

  42. HR called me on weekend*

    I went to an interview on site on Friday and the HR just called me on my cellphone today (Sunday). I didn’t pick it up thinking it was a spam but after I found out that’s the HR’s number, I thought it’s pretty weird. Are they working on a Sunday? Does this happen often? What is she trying to call me for???

    Anyways, I am going to pretend I didn’t know it’s her and just wait for her email/call tomorrow (Monday).

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