I lied on my resume, coworker won’t stop an endless flood of words, and more

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

1. I lied on my resume about where I went to school

I’ve been a longtime reader and I credit you for helping me get my current job (I’ve been in this role for about three years). With that said, I did not heed your advice and lied on my resume. Specifically, I lied about where I went to school when I applied for a prestigious company looking to fill a role that’s rarely open. The company hires people from top-caliber schools and I thought swapping the name of my college would help me get my foot in the door.

Of course, I didn’t plan the follow-up because the company’s already called me in for a phone interview and a series of in-person interviews with key players in the department. My interaction with the team has reinforced my confidence in wanting the job and guilt about lying where I attended college (at least two people have remarked what a wonderful place it is, so it hasn’t gone unnoticed).

My HR contact just reached out to me and asked me to complete a Taleo application and–again– it prompts me to fill in my education credentials. Now that I’m in the final stages of consideration, I’m terrified of the background check revealing the lie and losing this job over it. Also, in all of the consent and release statements I’ve signed for the company, they only mention they will be performing work history verification.

If I completed the Taleo application with the college I received my bachelor’s and not the college I listed on my resume, do you think it will go unnoticed?

Honestly, at this point, the best thing you could do would be to withdraw from consideration from the job. There’s a very good chance that it will be noticed, and even worse, it might not be noticed until after you’ve already been working there for a while — meaning that you could end up getting fired from this job in a way that would be very damaging to your reputation. It also means that the whole time you work there, you’d need to fear it coming out — which it easily could, since people are already trying to talk to you about what they believe are your shared experiences at that school.

I’m sure you’ve already figured out the flaw in your logic here, but just in case: If this company cares so much about where you went to school that it would be a factor in getting you in the door, then lying about it means that you’d be lying about something that they pay particular attention to.

But even if that weren’t true, companies that don’t care that much about where you went to school generally still care a great deal about lying. If it comes out, you’ll have done really serious harm to your reputation not only with them, but potentially with others too (because people move around to other companies and they remember stuff like this).

You made a mistake here. The only way to fix it is to take ownership for it, which means accepting that this job can’t be an option for you anymore.

2. My coworker won’t stop her unending flood of words

I’ve been at my current job for about a year now and I really do like it! However, a few months after I was hired, a new receptionist was hired. Our offices are joined by a small copy room, which didn’t really seem like a big deal to me. But little did I know that she would literally never stop talking. She even has loud conversations with herself.

Aside from it being incredibly distracting, it is frustrating. She constantly asks questions (which is totally fine with me) but doesn’t accept the answer, even if I say, “I don’t know, but this person definitely will. Let’s ask when they come in.” She pushes me to give an answer anyway, and this goes on until I say, “Look, I have to get this paperwork done. We will talk about this some other time.” If I do answer, she can’t accept the answer and I have to go to the manager with her so they can tell her word for word what I just said, and then it’s okay. It’s getting to the point that I just keep my door closed all day every day, which makes me not as accessible to the people who actually need me (they think I’m on a call or in a meeting) and she just busts in whenever it suits her anyway.

I need some help setting up some boundaries with her. I’ve tried, but she gets offended easily, so I’m delicate about it but it’s just not working.

If she’s unreasonable — and it sounds like she is — she might be offended no matter how you say it. Your idea of success here can’t be “we discuss this and she’s not offended,” because that puts the outcome totally outside of your control. Instead, I think you need to be okay with the idea that she might be offended, but that as long as you approach this professionally and politely, that’s on her, not on you.

I would say this: “Jane, I’m finding it very hard to focus when you talk to yourself, and when you ask me questions so frequently. I’m willing to occasionally answer questions if you need me, but I need to be able to return my focus to my work — which means that I can’t debate the answer I give you or go back and forth about it a bunch. If that doesn’t work for you, it would be better to check with someone else instead.” (And on that last point — is it your job to be answering all her questions? If not, I might skip that last point and just tell her that you need to focus and can’t be her point person for questions anymore.) From then on, stick to it and be willing to speak up when her behavior is causing problems — as in, “Hey, could you keep it down out there?” and “I’m sorry, I’m on deadline and can’t help.”

But if this doesn’t solve it, you should talk to her boss. A decent manager would want to know this is happening and would want to intervene.

Alternately or in addition, you might also explain what’s going on to your own boss and ask if she has any problem with you keeping your door closed more often. It might be that you can solve this with a closed door and a sign that says “feel free to knock if you need me” (and a discreet heads-up to the people who come to your office most often about how to interpret the closed door).

3. VP is mandating over-use of email lists

We recently got an email from a vice president in our company (about 1,000 employees globally) that said: “It is very important for all points of contact and project members to use internal email alias when sending any internal email, from the first day. These projects are very critical for our business and over-communication is good. Email aliases ensure all project members are fully aware of what is going on, and it is easier to filter/group/prioritize emails in Google email.”

This VP has told me candidly that he receives about 100 emails per day, if not more, and he cannot keep up with all of them. I personally am on one distribution list for a project that I don’t really work on, and my inbox gets cluttered with emails that I mostly ignore. Even if I were actively engaged in the project, only about 10% of the emails would be relevant to me.

The idea that “over-communication is good” and distribution lists help “ensure all project members are fully aware of what is going on” seems like a stretch to me. Any thoughts? Advice on email distribution list policy?

It’s true that when you need to communicate with a whole project group, it can be helpful to use a distribution list for the reasons your VP mentions, like making it easier for people to filter messages to the right place. But he’s over-applying that principle where it doesn’t belong, because generally not every group member needs to be included on every single message related to a project. And if he mandates that they must be, that’s just going to make people more likely to miss important emails because it’ll be harder to pick them out from the flood of unimportant ones. It’s a bad idea.

If there’s a specific problem (like lack of clarity about who needs to be included on what), he should address it specifically, not make blanket rules that will make things less efficient overall.

4. Am I obligated to hire these internal applicants?

I’m a manager in charge of two permanent employees and three temps. Before I came to the agency, these temps were contracted employees and were encouraged to make the switch to a temp agency because there would be two positions opening and their contracts were ending. So, basically, three people were all promised permanent positions when, at the time, there were only two openings. Fast forward — I’m hired as the manager and tasked with filling these two positions and have been told that we could hire a third person, too. Am I obligated to give these temps the spots?

They’re *fine* at their jobs, but one especially has had issues with performance in the past. I feel I was put up against a wall because it was indicated the positions were theirs by my supervisor. The same person who put the task of hiring people on me (which I don’t mind in the slightest, but I want to do the department justice — not just give the jobs to people because they’re already here). All this being said, the job was posted externally and there are at least a few potential applicants who should be given a chance.

Ooof. In general, no, you’re definitely not obligated to hire them. This is a little more complicated because they were told the jobs were theirs and may have made decisions accordingly (like turning down other jobs). So I’d want to find out exactly what was said to them — how firm those promises were. If you find out they weren’t absolute commitments, you can move forward with less guilt. If they were pretty firm promises, you still aren’t obligated to hire someone who’s struggling … but if that’s the case, you’d want to have a really open conversation with them about the situation, ensure they’re being given feedback, give them as much cushion as possible in terms of notice if their position is going to end, etc.

5. Should managers have to work weekends and holidays when other people do?

Should bosses work weekends and holidays? Ever? At my job they seem to have a lot of expectations of us as far as holidays but never work them! I know there are benefits to moving up in the food chain, like more money and extra vacation, but this just seems a little much. Fewer holidays or weekends is different than none!

It really varies by field and depends on the context and what expectations are set up. It’s not inherently unreasonable for a manager to hire people to cover the weekends and holidays so that she doesn’t have to, as long as (a) it’s made clear to people during the hiring process that they’ll be expected to work those days, and (b) things are set up so that the absence of a manager doesn’t cause major problems during the times they’re not around.

{ 248 comments… read them below }

  1. Amber*

    I had a co-worker who was fired over a similar lie to letter 1 after about 5 yrs when it turned up in something hr was looking at for a promotion.

    1. Garrett*

      Yep, we were all set to hire a new contractor and it came out he lied about his education (one semester short of a degree he said he had completed and he wasn’t enrolled). He was pre-fired because of this. Not because of not having the degree, but because of the lie. It was sad because he would’ve been good and probably hired even if he had been honest.

    2. Honeybee*

      Yeah, there have been high-profile cases in academia in the past 3-5 years about people getting fired years, sometimes decades, after it came out that they lied on their resume, usually when they were getting considered for a promotion. Usually it was that they claimed they had a degree they didn’t have, but in at least one case it was someone saying they had a degree from one place when it was another place, really.

    3. Anonamoose*

      Wasnt the CEO of Yahoo fired for the same sort of thing? He said that he had a dual degree in computer science and accounting, but he only had accounting. The axed him fast – and he was CEO.

      WITHDRAW and learn your lesson: you are who you are and lying about it only means that you have to watch your back. Find a job where you don’t have to go to Harvard (and that is a million places).

      1. KH*

        Yes, this is really bad, not just because of the ethics but how this appears to all levels of the organization. If nothing is done about it, it looks as if the company is ok with rewarding people for cheating. I don’t care how good he or she is, if s/he lied to get his foot in the door, s/he cannot be allowed to continue benefiting.

    4. Kelly O*

      I worked with someone at a previous employer who was fired immediately when a lie about education was exposed, under what sounds like fairly similar circumstances. A promotion was coming up, the new department did some poking, and found out. They told our department head, and she was gone that day.

      She was really good at what she did. The worst part was the lie was not even about a required degree area. If she’d left it off, no one would have blinked. But she wanted to “stand out.”

      1. Elizabeth West*

        They absolutely will check, too–depending on the job, they might ask for transcripts. Is OP prepared to fake those too? If the job is really gung-ho about hiring people from those schools, they’re likely to want pretty detailed information.

        It would be best to withdraw right now before the interviews. OP doesn’t have to give a reason other than “I’ve had to reconsider my candidacy for personal reasons; please remove me from consideration.”

  2. Anna of Green Tables*

    For letter 1, you *will* be found out and the lie *will* damage your reputation. The only uncertainty is how long it will take. It sounds like not long –even if the company does not complete a background check– based on the college already being noticed and admired. There have been many cases of misrepresentation leading to career damage heartache, but the one I recall the best was Marilee Jones from MIT. She had done enough good work to salvage her career, but I remember one interview where she was just devastated about her deceit and her colleagues’ reaction to her lapse of integrity. It was so sad.

    For letter 5, although it would be fitting for managers who misplan to have to give up their weekends too, those managers that end up with those situations at my office aren’t the ones anyone wants to spend a minute more with. You might be lucky!

    1. College Career Counselor*

      The HR director at the university where I work informed us a while back that educational credentials are the number one thing that candidates lie about. (Now, maybe that’s the easiest thing to catch someone doing, which might explain the prevalence.) OP, please take yourself out of the running before this blows up and torpedoes your career.

    2. Lia*

      Agreed. I know of one case where a manager lied about having a master’s degree and despite having a long and successful tenure, she got escorted out the same day. We’ve also failed searches because the top candidate lied about their education (usually having a degree when they hadn’t quite completed it).

      If it is a small school or program, it is not a case of if you’ll be found out, it’s when. Pull out of the search and be honest going forward.

    3. Honeybee*

      Also, if this company has a habit of hiring students primarily from prestigious universities, then chances are really high that there are other alumni of the university you claimed on your resume at this workplace (or will be soon). Once they find out that you “went there,” they’re going to want to talk to the new alumna/alumnus from their university and it’ll become obvious pretty quickly that you didn’t go there.

    4. KH*

      Really the only way to get away with this would be to work at the place for a year or two at most and use it as a stepping stone into the next job. Presumably the education would matter less on your next job hunt and whatever you told the first company wouldn’t matter any more (and records would likely be gone by that time – the only way to be caught would be if you talked about your eduction at lot at work and people vividly recalled it – and even then it would be unprovable).

  3. JessaB*

    And depending on the industry #1, it could get you in major trouble. And a lot of places wouldn’t care if you were there for 1 year or 10. There was a story about when they changed banking regulations to be more tight and critical a guy who’d been with a bank forever was going to be fired because of something in his record from ages ago. They were able to get a waiver for him, but he could have lost the job for something that practically happened when he was a kid. It’s just not going to work out well. This isn’t padding your experience or counting bonuses into your general pay. You can’t say “oh I counted the bonus,” when the problem is you lied.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      Something like that happened at a hospital in the UK, a guy had been working in a clerical job managing a department for 15 years. He got found out during a annual perforance review and was a sacked on the spot, I think he also ended up in court on fraud charges.

    2. Florida*

      I worked at a place years ago where, if they wanted to fire someone but needed a good reason (for political purposes, not legal), they would pull the person’s application and do a thorough background check. Often, they would then be able to fire the person for lying on their application.
      They did this to people who had worked there several years.

      1. Indiana*

        Our background check provider actually has a educational screen for candidates so if this company really does take education as seriously as they say they do, they might run that check when they do background checks. If so, you will be found out anyway.

    3. Anon for this*

      A friend was working at a bank through a temp agency when the bank decided that everyone was going to get a background check, not just full time employees. My friend had worked with the Weather Underground in the ’60s and went to prison (I don’t remember what for, but it was a felony). He had indicated on the hiring application that he had never been convicted of a felony because, even though it was so long ago, he thought he wouldn’t get hired. Once the bank notified everyone there would be background checks, he decided to quit the job and avoid the background check.

      1. KH*

        This is really unfair. (I work as a supplier for a huge software company. They recently implemented a supplier screening policy. They will screen all suppliers going forward but it doesn’t apply to people already there. That’s more fair don’t you think? Otherwise, it’s like being making a new law and retroactively applying it to anyone who ‘violated’ it before it was enacted.

  4. Gaia*

    OP 5. I am a manager and I do not work holidays. We do have staff cover most holidays (usually just 2 or 3 people) with the exception of Christmas Day and New Years Day. When they were hired, all of our staff knew holidays would need to be covered by someone. We try to make it as palatable and flexible as possible and offer incentives for those that do it but no, I do not work them.

    I do, however, work a lot of hours my staff will never see. I work early mornings. I work late nights. I work a few hours here and there on my weekends. Sometimes this is formal work of me on my laptop, logged into the network and completing task X or project Y. Sometimes it is me considering how a change to policy Z will impact my group or working through how to handle a personnel issue.

    So while it may seem unfair for managers to not work holidays, I think it depends on the context. My job is very different from that of the staff I manage and the days and types of hours we work reflect that. Having me there on a holiday isn’t going to mean I don’t need staff there in the same way that I couldn’t’ decide I won’t need to log in early in the morning because I’ll just have staff come in early.

    1. DragoCucina (formerly Library Director)*

      Yes, the hidden hours add up. The 12 hour days, 6 days a week. Then coming in when the frontline is really, really understaffed. I’m working Christmas morning so no one has to. It will only be mentioned if someone asks how it’s covered.

      1. Gaia*

        I’m the same in that I do occasionally work Sunday if my Sunday worker needs that day off. I never mention it unless someone asks who will be working that day – but I wouldn’t feel right asking someone else to interrupt their weekend or to tell this worker (who is by far my biggest star) that she cannot have the day off.

    2. Al Lo*

      Sometimes it is me considering how a change to policy Z will impact my group or working through how to handle a personnel issue.

      Yes. The unseen, unquantifiable mental work. I work in a creative field, and the amount of time I spend off the clock thinking about my job is, well, unquantifiable. Some of that is that when an idea or inspiration for a show strikes, there’s the exciting, fun time of thinking through it and plotting out the various factors. Some of it is, like you said, mulling over staffing needs or big-picture changes. A lot of it is just turning over various challenges in my mind until they make sense. We talk in my office about the number of hours we spend working (mentally working) on our commutes or in the shower — the standard joke is that a good hair-washing massages the ideas out.

      Among other things, those managerial and higher-level planning tasks are a big part of why my CEO will never micro-manage, say, my phone or Facebook use at work. We have an intern this summer that we’ve been working on that with, and trying to define the difference between her position, which can leave the building when she leaves, and those of us whose work is measured more in outcomes, not in at-the-desk hours. The payoff to being able to check Facebook or shop on Amazon at work (or not work holidays, although that’s not the important point in my office) is that my work follows me home and my brain is engaged a lot of the time. I chose a field that I love, so I enjoy that, but it’s definitely different than being able to switch off.

      1. Gaia*

        Agreed. I will say that I think this is different in fields where “manager” is more title than work. By that I mean that “managers” essentially do the same thing as their staff with just a title added on. You see this often in call centers or retail jobs.

      2. FiveWheels*

        For workers who aren’t exempt, how does this work with overtime laws? It seems strange that you would have to be paid for sitting at your desk thinking, but not for sitting in your armchair thinking.

        1. Gaia*

          For workers who aren’t exempt they often aren’t compensated for this sort of work. I would encourage them to try to shut off outside of work which is sometimes easier said than done.

        2. Koko*

          It would be tricky, but I would wager that most people in these kinds of creative positions are indeed exempt. If they are producing content for a brand, that means the brand is trusting them to use their judgment and make significant decisions independently, even if they aren’t the one giving final approval. The creative department might have lower-level non-exempt staff, but at that level they aren’t creating content where they need to be brainstorming after hours.

    3. AB*

      This hits home to me too. My staff hate working weekends and one did mention that they thought it was unfair I didn’t work them do (They were generally very immature and do not work here anymore). They don’t understand that with my work phone and laptop I am constantly working. I take work home with me every day. I answer their calls and emails when they’re working in the evening and at the weekend. I deal with any urgent issues that arise on a Sunday when I have my family over. Also I WILL very occasionally cover shifts. I covered boxing day and the day after so that staff members could book time off, event though it meant I didn’t have enough time to take a trip home to see my family over Christmas. It was appreciated at the time but things like that are forgotten almost instantly.

    4. Former Invoice Girl*

      Yep. When I open my mail account in the morning I can see many e-mails from my manager, often written after 21:00 or even after midnight sometimes. He also tends to check in on weekends a lot.

    5. edj3*

      Also a manager and I work all kinds of crazy hours including weekends, evenings, and holidays. I may not fire up our internal chat program so I’m not always immediately visible, but I’m working.

      1. Finman*

        My wife had an example where I think there was a need for management to work her shift. She was a nurse working nights (mostly 11-7) getting there after the manager/assistant manager and leaving right as they came in. And yet every year they had to do an evaluation of her work without ever experiencing her actively work. Yes they have team leads who are responsible for the floor during those shifts (and she was one), she had no power to legitimately manage any of her coworkers beyond assigning beds to nurses, dealing with difficult patients, and being in charge of the crash team for the night. There was a time when the floor had 3 assistant managers with legitimate power who would rotate through the various shifts to ensure at least one member of management was working with each shift, but that was cut back due to “budget issues”.

    6. CMT*

      Yeah, but presumably you’re making a lot more money than your staff, too, to compensate for the extra work.

      1. boop*

        At my last workplace, I was reasonably chummy with my manager and he always pulled the “aw but I worked such a longer day than you” schtick on me all the time. Yeah, but I’m pretty sure he got paid nearly twice what I did, though! And I didn’t have the option of sitting in the office, playing online poker so… tiny violin?

    7. EddieSherbert*

      I think this is a good reminder as well. For my work, we have evening and weekend on-call hours, and our support staff rotates weekly shifts. The support manager gets a “pass” on it. But….. if any support person can’t solve an issue, or there’s a server crash that affects a lot of customers…. guess who gets called? The support manager (even if it’s a holiday or he’s on vacation).

    8. sstabeler*

      I think it depends on the situation. In many cases where managers not working holidays is a problem, it’s where it seems that managers make people work holidays without giving any real consideration to the fact it is depriving the staff members that come in on that holiday. Teh real resentment is about not considering the impact on the staff, not the fact the manager doesn’t work the holiday as such,

  5. Lizzy*

    #1 Oof. I agree with Alison’s advice.

    For what it’s worth, there are plenty of companies who don’t care that much where you went to school, as long as you communicate you’ll succeed at the job. (And the information you give is truthful.)

  6. Stellaaaaa*

    OP2: It sounds like the receptionist has decided that her chattiness is an adorable facet of her personality. She has some notion that other people find her offensive, which is why she has this hang-up about being offended. She is ALSO using her delicate sense of what’s offensive as a way of controlling you. I wouldn’t be as diplomatic as Alison. Let’s be real, your coworker won’t listen anyway. I’d have probably snapped and said something like, “I’m sorry, it’s not my job to entertain you” or “I don’t have time to lavish you with attention today” every time she interrupted me with a BS question. I do think you need to tell your higher-up that the receptionist is bothering you with irrelevant questions and forcing you to leave your office with her frequently. You should also find a way to inform your manager that the front-facing receptionist is sitting at her desk talking loudly to herself. Is she people’s first contact when they walk into the office? Is that the face that your company wants to put forward? I can understand why you might not want to talk about this but it’s the sort of thing management needs to know about, and they might find it weird that you knew about it for a long time and didn’t tell anyone. The most pressing thing to do is verify with your supervisor that it’s acceptable for you to ignore your coworker. Just stop responding to her.

    1. Cat Steals Keyboard*

      “She is ALSO using her delicate sense of what’s offensive as a way of controlling you”

      This! It’s manipulative and you’re walking on eggshells. Set reasonable boundaries and if she doesn’t like it that’s a shame but not your problem to fix.

    2. Dot Warner*

      You should also find a way to inform your manager that the front-facing receptionist is sitting at her desk talking loudly to herself. Is she people’s first contact when they walk into the office? Is that the face that your company wants to put forward?

      That’s a really good point. Some visitors might not mind, but others would find it off-putting, to say the least. If I were the receptionist’s boss, I’d want to know.

      1. Jeanne*

        I was wondering if clients/visitors were there while she did that. It’s not what I think of as a professional receptionist.

        1. Flora*

          You all are completely right! My focus needs to be doing my job, not walking on eggshells trying not to offend her or be her encyclopedia of answers! My responsibility ends at answering payroll and accounts payable questions. Anything else is not my concern and I need to be firm with her on that!
          We have the same supervisor, and she has actually seen the receptionist talking to herself. When it was brought up the receptionist just laughs it off. I definitely don’t think our supervisor realizes how frequently it happens though. So, that is something I should bring to her attention for sure.
          I can’t thank you all enough for your input!

          1. LCL*

            One specific way to fend off the question that is asked repeatedly is:
            “I just told you the answer. Asking me again won’t get a different answer.”

            Or, if you want to engage with them (it sounds like you don’t in this case)
            “I just told you I don’t know. What do you want me to tell you? Should I make up an answer that sounds better?”
            Repeat as necessary.

            1. MashaKasha*

              The second option once ended a first date for me; one that I desperately wanted to get out of, but didn’t know how. Our entire conversation consisted of the person kept asking me one question after another about myself, and then refusing to accept my answers. After fifteen minutes of that, I finally looked him in the eye and said, “okay, what answer do you want me to give you?” He immediately remembered that he had to be somewhere, stood up, and left. Awesome!

              In OP2’s case, I don’t understand why the receptionist goes to the OP with her questions to begin with, since she ends up in the manager’s office asking the manager the exact same question, every. damn. time. By coming to OP with a question that she is already prepared not to accept any of OP’s answers to, she’s wasting the OP’s time, which should be pretty infuriating both for OP and for OP’s manager, who I’m sure prefers the OP to be left alone to do her job without unnecessary interruptions! I’d be tempted to ask her something along those lines. But I can’t think of a way to say it that wouldn’t make OP look like she doesn’t know any of the answers and keeps dumping the receptionist and her questions on their boss. Does anyone have any suggestions?

            2. EddieSherbert*

              I honestly start using “I don’t know” or “I can’t help you” for everything. Even if I know the answer. It sound silly, but I had a coworker who would do this to me (her issue was an age thing… she couldn’t imagine someone as young as her kids knowing this stuff, so obviously I don’t actually know it). And I just stopped helping. Period.

              I don’t have time to convince you, and if you don’t actually want MY help, I’m not going to offer it. Headphones and deadlines. Shut that door. Sorry.

            3. Clever Name*

              This is the same tactic I use with my 9-year-old. He remains convinced that asking repeatedly will get a different answer when all it does is get him a time out. Unfortunately, you can’t give your coworker a time out.

          2. LCL*

            Your key to dealing with her is hidden in your answer.
            You said ‘My responsibility ends at…payroll & accounts payable questions…anything else is not my concern…’
            Repeat that to her as necessary. Invoke the name of your boss if you have to-‘Joaquin told me I was to stick to my job.’

    3. Sadsack*

      Yeah, I wouldn’t agree to walking around to find a manager with her to confirm whether or not what I told her was correct. Tell her you aren’t doing that, but that she’s welcome to go by herself. Seriously, just refuse to spend the time with her that she demands. Who cares if she is offended?

      1. The Butcher of Luverne*


        “I can’t help with you that.”
        “Can you please ease up on the chatter? It’s very distracting.”

        Don’t say, “We can talk about it later.” Say “You will need to solve that yourself.” Then stop responding.

        1. Flora*

          I can absolutely see those responses shutting down oppertunities to continue with the questions, rather than leave it open, like my response had!

          1. EmmaLou*

            Well, your response is a polite verbal clue for most reasonable people. She’s not yet (maybe someday she will be but it’s not your job to fix that) Reasonable People. Most would say, “Oh! I’m sorry. I’ll let you get back to work.” Even exceedingly chatty people like me can come up with, “Please let me know if I should ask someone else or if this isn’t a good time.”

      2. boop*

        Yeah, that’s weird. If someone asks me a question, and I give them an answer, and their response is “I don’t believe you!”, my response is usually “Okay, cool. See you!”

    4. Fifty and Forward*

      You are right on all counts. Chatty coworkers are always easily offended, it is part of their needy shtick.

      The only way to handle is to shut it down. Politely if possible, but no matter what, shut it down immediately.

    5. Anansi*

      I have a coworker who is a stream of consciousness talker. From the second she arrives in the morning to when she leaves, everyone in the office is subjected to a running commentary on her life. Everyone finds this deeply annoying, and like the secretary in letter #2, she is also extremely sensitive and dramatic if criticized.

      Sadly, my boss realizes it is a problem but won’t do anything about it (and would not support me if I were to tell this coworker to please be quiet). I have found the only thing that works is to pretend I can’t hear her at all and ignore her entirely unless it’s actually a work issue. It feels very rude, but it has been moderately effective. It doesn’t fully put a stop to her behavior, but it significantly cuts down on it because it’s creating more work for her to have to talk to me and she doesn’t get much pleasure or attention out of the effort.

      1. Clever Name*

        My old office mate did this. Drove me batty. She also liked to ask rhetorical questions that really weren’t. I just ignored them. Once or twice she repeated the same question, and I said, “Sorry. I didn’t respond since that seemed pretty rhetorical.” I’ve also said, “Are you talking to me?” more than once. So glad I’m not sharing an office with her anymore.

  7. Canton*

    Within the first few weeks at my job, my company fired someone about having a degree, even though the position don’t necessarily require one. The fact that the person led was the deciding factor and we didn’t even check her education history until after she started (bad idea I know).

  8. Cat Steals Keyboard*

    #1: You need to withdraw. Even if they don’t catch you out, you will have to be on guard at work forever. I fired someone once after they unthinkingly told an anecdote that alerted me to a lie on their resume. It kind of worked for Mike in Suits but in real life it’s a terrible idea.

    #3: Why not propose an alternative solution to ensure everyone is updated, eg a weekly progress/status update email?

    1. blackcat*

      Yes to your comment for #1.

      LW1, if the company is known for hiring from a small number of elite colleges/universities, there will be small talk about college. You could have someone come up to you and say, “Oh, I graduated in [year you claimed] in [major you claimed]! Did you take a class with Professor X?”
      You will not know if the answer should be, “Oh, yes, I took Advanced Y with them and they were wonderful.” or “Oh, man, talk about an experience I never want to repeat!”
      The other person would just be trying to make friendly chit chat. You, however, would have to be constantly on guard, and people will find it odd that you don’t share anecdotes the way others do.
      Withdraw now. It involves the least amount of pain and suffering all around.

      1. Allie*

        I work with a lot of people from my school and it does come up randomly. For instance, our school sent out a particularly ridiculous fundraising letter and we all mentioned how it was too much money to ask for. I can’t even imagine the level of lying and recon someone would have to keep up with.

        1. blackcat*

          True. And even if the school not small, if company disproportionately hires say, economics or business majors, you’ll have the same effect.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Yes, they’ll have had classes together! Even when I had those big general ed ones with 150 students in a lecture hall, there were still people I knew because they were in my year. Some were even in my program.

        2. fishy*

          This. I’m not even a very social person, but I absolutely knew everyone who shared my major, not only in my year but in the couple years ahead of and behind me.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        I think #1 is particularly problematic in the scenario that #1 is in. If the company specifically hires people from certain schools and majors, it’s going to come out.

        My company is in engineering consulting, so you have a lot of people with the same degrees from the same schools. My coworker and I graduated from two different schools over 10 years apart, but we both attended the same third school for freshman year. We have had a conversation about living in Dorm X vs Dorm Y at that school.

        If the employer was the type of place where educational pedigree didn’t matter or people had a wide variety of backgrounds so those common threads weren’t discussed, I’d be less concerned, but I believe it will definitely come up early and often at that company.

    2. Naomi*

      Well, even for Mike it only kind of worked. I’ve only seen a little of the show, but it seems like he did end up spending his entire time at that law firm doing damage control against someone finding out.

      But yeah, if there’s a background check AND people are already asking you about it, you’re in trouble. Especially if the school you claimed is a local one; I live near my alma mater, and my boss is always asking me and my fellow alumni to do career fairs and mentoring programs to attract more students from there.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      It kind of worked for Mike in Suits but in real life it’s a terrible idea.

      That was sort of my thought reading the letter: “Mike Ross, is that you?” Also, kind of didn’t work out for him in the long run, since he’s in jail now.

      He didn’t get fired but a former coworker lost a promotion and relocation when it turned out he hadn’t completed a degree. Since it involved moving internationally, the visa requirements were very strict and he didn’t meet them. So there’s that, too.

  9. Jaws*

    #3: Your VP is wrong, but you can also help yourself here. Unsubscribe from that project list or create a filter to put it in a folder that you scan every once in a while so it’s not “cluttering up your inbox”.

    The more important thing for these email lists is: can people find the archives via a web browser? Then sending to a list is a form of storing information and any employee can search the archives easily. Or, if access is limited, people can be on the list and set it to not email them, but they can go to the web archives to search when they need to.

    1. AMT*

      When I worked at an organization with horrible email practices, I found it helpful to use Outlook’s email rules function to filter everything that was going to an email list to my “Other Mail” inbox, while keeping my “real” inbox free for stuff that was actually directed to me. This is a must when your internal email lists are getting clogged with personal “anyone want a cat?”-type blasts and projects that don’t pertain to you.

      1. Sharon*

        Another thing the LW can do (if the mail admin is willing) is to set up different distribution lists for different purposes even within each project. For example where I work, and on the project I’m currently on we have “project-devsandQA” and “project-wholeteam”. Technical discussions are kept to the devsandQA list, and anything that the business side of the team needs to be concerned with is sent to the other list.

      2. NW Mossy*

        I’m a manager, so I’m on all the aliases that reach different parts of both the team I manage and my peers. Outlook rules are essential, and I’ve been known to set certain legacy aliases as “Send to Deleted Items.”

        Another helpful tip for Outlook users – “Ignore Conversation.” If you’ve inadvertently gotten cc’ed on something you don’t care about at all or other people are abusing reply-all, you can use this to opt out of all future messages on that conversation. So nice when an email goes out to 60 people about “System X is down” and people reply all with “It’s down for me!”

        1. Joan Callamezzo*

          I’ve been on Outlook for a million years and have never used the “Ignore” function. Thanks for this!

        2. AMT*

          I’ve been known to set certain PEOPLE as “Send to Deleted Items”! No, former coworker, I do not need your daily “Have a blessed day!” email blast to the hundreds of people who work here, but I am way too polite to reply to you with a blunt “unsubscribe.”

  10. Freezing Librarian*

    For #3, if you’re not already doing this, you should be able to create a filter rule that will automatically move any email sent to a particular group address to a separate inbox folder. That way the group emails don’t clutter up your inbox and you never even have to look at them if you don’t want to. I’m on a few distribution lists like that which would add 100+ emails to my inbox daily, but with the folders, I just set aside some time to skim them quickly every Friday morning and see if there’s anything that’s actually relevant to me.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The problem with that, though, is if she might actually need to see/respond to some of the messages, or respond to them faster than she could with a weekly check. (But if she doesn’t ever need to, then yes.)

      1. Kyrielle*

        Even there, she could look at that folder once or twice a day – but after handling anything that stayed in the main inbox, so the deluge of not-quite-relevant-project emails won’t bury the important stuff she needs to attend to.

  11. Volunteer Enforcer*

    #1 – I’d just heed Allison’s advice. The best thing you can do is withdraw from consideration for this job, consider it a lesson learned and never do it again. Also, ask yourself: is this really the employer you want if they are that particular about education?

    1. Mike C.*

      There’s nothing intrinsically wrong about being particular about education, so long as it doesn’t create a disparity by protected class.

      1. Pwyll*

        That’s true from a legal standpoint, but not necessarily from a moral (or even practical) one. Companies who only hire from elite schools are almost certainly going to receive a homogeneous set of mid-to-upper class candidates.

        1. Mike C.*

          It really depends on the school.

          Being rich doesn’t mean you can pass an upper division course on general relativity. Even then, I’ve seen my alma mater drastically change for the better when it comes to diversity – most of their engineering graduates are women for instance.

          And I do get it – there are schools out there that have big names but are little more than country clubs and finishing schools for the rich and well-connected. But there are others out there that have really difficult programs of study and gain reputations for producing good results rather than simply charging a high price. Too many folks out there assume that all schools are generally the same and it’s really not the case.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            It also depends on the organization. I work in legal, which is probably a half-step behind Wall Street finance in degree snobbery, and my experience is that when people here get snooty about schools, it’s really not about the best educational program, it is almost entirely about the name recognition and upper-class cache of the school. And I don’t hire lawyers, I’m hiring staff, whose CVs will not be on the website.

            For example, I had two candidates last year, one from a small, southern private school with a nationally ranked program in an area of study relevant to the job and the other from a public Ivy with a fine but not exceptional comparable program of study. Candidate A also had a year of relevant work experience and was very personable. I am STILL hearing about my “bad judgment” for sending Candidate A because how dare I send them a candidate from No Name U?!?!? (They, of course, hired Candidate B, who has been almost entirely mediocre.)

            And another one: I had to fire someone who’d graduated from an Ivy (and was genuinely the worst employee I’ve ever had — this person wasn’t even trying), and it took twice as long to do the termination because people kept wanting to offer one more chance, “because they went to [Ivy]!”.

            I could handle insisting on a rigorous educational program; I cannot handle the insistence on a brand name school that is only accessible to the wealthy and the select few who could manage a scholarship.

          2. Jadelyn*

            You’re right, being rich doesn’t mean you can pass upper-div courses on general relativity; but being poor means you generally don’t even get the chance to try, or your trying is restricted to cheaper schools even if the most rigorous programs are elsewhere.

      2. Tammy*

        There’s nothing intrinsically legally wrong. But the way the corporate culture acts around this may be uncomfortable if you aren’t in the “right” education box. For example, if the company is picky about wanting graduates from the University of Downstairs and your degree is from the University of Outside, you may be considered a bit of a social outsider. (I worked once in a really cliquey company where this sort of thing happened). Not something we can assess from the letter, I think, but not a subject unworthy of consideration.

        1. Random Lurker*

          I interviewed at a place like this when I was only a couple of years out of school. They were all proud of “University of Downstairs” – nothing wrong with that. But several times in the process, they made disparaging remarks about “Univeristy of Outside”, and let me know how special I was because they wouldn’t normally deign to interview anyone from there. I withdrew after two interviews resulted in the same treatment. I had no desire to be treated like a lesser person.

          So, I agree with you. Not legally wrong. Probably not even ethically wrong. Just a different culture. But, it is a culture that has a high degree of probability of being uncomfortable for outsiders.

          1. Allison*

            Right. I went to Northeastern, and if someone feels I’m not capable of working for them because I went to NEU instead of Harvard, or feels that my fellow alumni are generally unfit for their organization but they’re willing to make a biiiig exception for me, I might not want anything to do with them.

  12. TeaPotDesigner*

    OP 5 – as somebody who had quite often had to work weekends (creative industry), I have to admit I really don’t mind it if the manager doesn’t show up. Weekend work is often “last minute, chasing the deadline, please don’t change anything else” work, so quite often the team likes to just get on with it, and finish things up without managerial input (or as we designers like to call it, BLEEPING DESIGN CHANGES). Unless you are also rolling up your sleeves and doing a part of the work, I’d say your subordinates doesn’t mind it if you just pop by for a few minute on the weekend, say the work they are doing is okay, and then leave in the afternoon.
    I had coworkers who had bosses who loved to work weekends and expected the team to show up, whether or not there is a deadline. They didn’t say in the company for long.

    1. Sherry*

      Not just creative fields. When I worked in retail, I loved “no manager Sundays” — just a supervisor around, no one at the manager level.

      1. ithinkyouhavemystapler*

        When I worked in a lab, it was just me and a same-level coworker on the weekends. It was the. best. I miss having two days a week without my supervisor and all of the other people in the office around.

  13. Augusta Sugarbean*

    #1 – In addition to possibly getting fired from this current job, it’s possible/likely you’d have to explain to the next potential employer why you were fired. And there goes your chances of getting that job or possibly even future jobs in your chosen field. Please do your future self a favor and walk away now. Fix your resume and move forward. Good luck.

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      it’s possible/likely you’d have to explain to the next potential employer why you were fired.

      It’s a given. She will be asked why she left her last job, and then what – she lies again? Tells the truth? Either way, it’s going to be a serious issue going forward. Most good employers aren’t going to be too keen on hiring someone with an ethics problem.

  14. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    OP2: I have to keep my office door closed for a similar reason (noisy / constantly chatty people in the office opposite). I have developed signage for my door – for example I deliver a lot of online training to customers, and offer support via Skype, so I have a ‘telephone’ sticker that goes on my door when I’m on call, which means ‘do not disturb, no really, do not’. The rest of the time, a closed door with no sign means my manager and other colleagues CAN come in – but the noisy neighbours don’t!

    1. kristinyc*

      When I was in high school, our choir director had a sign on his office door that had something like:

      Door open: Come in and say hi!
      Door closed, blinds open: Knock first
      Door closed, blinds closed: Come back later

      I wasn’t in choir – just walked by the office a lot on my way to orchestra, so I don’t know if this worked, or what situations warranted “door closed, blinds closed” (I’m assuming it was for difficult conversations with students about auditions or something). But maybe something like that could work. At least, maybe it helped with awkward high school students who needed to learn social cues.

  15. Knitting Cat Lady*

    #1: A member of the German parliament just tripped over this in Juli.

    According to her vita she had a law degree, when in fact she dropped out of the German equivalent of high school.
    She claimed she worked as a lawyer in a law firm. She never did.

    This all came to light because many of her former employees complained about her bullying behaviour in a magazine article. Most of her employees only lasted a few months at best because of her assholishness. And some of them were puzzled by weird gaps in her knowledge that didn’t fit with her supposed education.

    So the journalists started digging.

    She was a pretty high next gen flyer in the SPD and some people saw her at the top of the party one day.

    Now she had to resign from all her party duties, resign from the Bundestag and will get kicked out of the party soon.

      1. Knitting Cat Lady*

        It gets better.

        In August, while hospitalized for something and not able to resign her post in parliament (yeah, right), she invited journalists to do an interview.

        She was all whiny and teary and poor little old her, so hard done by all the mean people, and it was all a big misunderstanding and she never wanted to mislead anyone…

        Yeah, right. Don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining.

        No remorse, that woman.

    1. Mike C.*

      Don’t they do opposition research in Germany? This would have been found out a long time ago in the United States.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        There’s a lot I could say here about a certain candidate’s lack of transparency when it comes to things like tax returns… but I won’t. That is one of the things of this election cycle that I am completely amazed by, didn’t anyone do research? Or how does that research not even seem to matter? I just do not understand it at all.

          1. Mike C.*

            I just want to be clear, I wasn’t trying to get into a discussion about political candidates, I was literally confused as to whether or not opposition research was a standard part of a political campaign in Germany.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              Me neither. I was literally confused as to whether or not opposition research was something that was still being done in the US.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Depending on the position, they may not dig all that deep–and some people are blinded by credentials. I’m not referring to politics, but remember Frank Abnagale? There are people who are really good at convincing others (and themselves) that they deserve said job and a little fib won’t hurt.

          This situation is why I won’t change so much as a title on my resume. Someone once advised me to do that to make receptionist sound better than it was, and I was like noooooo. No way. One phone call where that old job said, “We don’t have a position called that here,” and I would have been undone.

          That’s not the same as tweaking descriptions to focus on metrics or accomplishments, though. Managed ten-line phone system doesn’t sound as good as Successfully triaged inquiries to relevant departments and resolved communication issues. :)

      2. De (Germany)*

        Not a lot, at least. German politics are a lot less focused on people. Even out national elections are a lot more tame than anything I have seen from the US. Any kind of personal attack does not go over well with Germans, generally, as it’s perceived as unprofessional.

        Besides, she was “just” a normal member of parliament.

  16. lamuella*

    re: #5 I think it depends on the role and the industry.

    When I worked as a manager in retail, I probably worked more weekends and evenings than I did when working as frontline staff, in part because the company wanted managers to lead by example, in part because managers often acted as a “backstop” for occasions where there were holes in the schedule.

    When I worked in public libraries, managers at the departmental level were schedules the exact same amount of weekends and evenings as other full time staff (it was probably different at higher levels, but certainly to the level of building manager they had as many weekend shifts as anyone else).

    Now I manage a medical library that is open Monday to Friday, 9-5. However, as lead of a very small team, if there’s a requirement for library presence at the weekend, I’m the natural person to fill it. However however, if we were looking to extend opening hours to include weekends it would probably involve me hiring someone new for a weekend shift rather than shifting my own hours.

  17. ExceptionToTheRule*

    OP 5 – I’m a manager (salaried, exempt), but I also have several of the same “front line” responsibilities I had before I was management. Yesterday was Labor Day and I was at work for a full shift. I’ll take Friday off instead because I don’t get holiday pay and really don’t want to start accruing comp days on top of the 6 vacation days I have to take by the end of the month.

    My co-workers get it. They know I’m in longer days then they are & I’m the backstop coverage and that I’ll work a holiday or weekend if it’s needed.

  18. Future EdTech*

    OP1, I would withdraw immediately. People get fired for this for good reason. Never lie on your resume, no matter if you think it’ll make you look good.

    I had a career coach a few years ago that tried to have me lie on my resume saying I had “special training” and was “certified” in a field I never taken course work for. It was a job for the government. A huge no. I ended up arguing with them about it because it showed lack of integrity on their part to help people get careers and really had me cast suspicion on how they got their job.

  19. Nobody*

    #5 – This is very common in my industry. There are many roles that must be staffed 24/7, but managers typically only work day shift, Monday through Friday. We usually have a pretty bare-bones staff on nights, weekends, and holidays — only the positions that must be staffed 24/7 — and very few managers. There are a lot of other roles that aren’t required to be staffed 24/7, like HR, administrative assistants, and various support staff, and they don’t typically have to work weekends and holidays, either.

    It seems like you’re looking at it as managers taking unfair advantage of their authority to make you work weekends and holidays while they get those days off, but you should probably think of it as just a difference in roles. Your role may be needed on weekends and holidays, while your manager’s role isn’t. That’s just how it works sometimes. I hope your company at least pays you extra to work holidays.

  20. Former Invoice Girl*

    ,,The company hires people from top-caliber schools and I thought swapping the name of my college would help me get my foot in the door.”

    OP doesn’t mention explicitly whether it is a requirement to have attended a top-caliber school or if it is something more along the lines of “they tend to hire Ivy League but there are also exceptions”, so I’m not sure, but it’s an important distinction, I think. I have made some really bad choices based on things that I had thought were necessary when in reality they were only optional and there might have been other paths to take instead.

    Whichever it is, lying about these things in job applications is so not worth it. It will come out in the end.

    1. MK*

      I don’t see how it matters. Maybe they are college snobs and only hire graduates of specific schools, maybe they prefer them but it’s not an actual requirement, maybe they hire the best people they can and they are graduates from specific schools that have the best programme for the field. If the first is true and the company really cares about this, it will come out eventually and the consequences will be bad. If they don’t, the OP has shot herself in the foot; the might not care about the college, but they almost certainly will care about the lie.

      1. edj3*

        Also–if you lie to me as a candidate about where you got your degree, what else will you lie to me about?

      2. Former Invoice Girl*

        You are right – I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to say that lying was right or that it was worth it, because it was neither of those things. I’m not really sure I can explain what I wanted to say there, but you are right – it doesn’t matter in the end.

        1. Anon13*

          I think I get what you were saying. It’s not that important as far as what the OP needs to do now (withdraw her name from consideration, obviously), but the lie may have hurt her even more if they merely prefer top-tier schools (assuming she withdraws and they never find out about the lie, which is possible, depending on the field and the size of the city). If they exclusively hire from Ivy League schools, OP would never have been in the running for the job even if she had been truthful. If they merely prefer hiring from Ivy League schools, but will consider candidates who attended other colleges, OP may have lost herself a great opportunity – it’s possible they would have considered her anyway.

  21. Joseph*

    #3: “This VP has told me candidly that he receives about 100 emails per day, if not more, and he cannot keep up with all of them. ”
    Wait, what? I’m pretty sure this is called “Being a Senior Manager”. At every single company I’ve worked at, the senior leaders tend to get a ton of emails – team members providing project updates, clients asking for information, potential clients asking for proposals, other managers providing management-wide updates, and so on.
    If he can’t handle his flood of email, he needs to work on HIS system of handling emails, because if he ever gets promoted to President or Chief ___ or whatever, he’s going to get even more emails.
    Also, FWIW, adding more people to the email chains doesn’t increase the odds that someone handles it. It just means that another 20 people will glance at the email, deem it irrelevant, then basically forget it exists.

    1. (different) Rebecca*

      I’m wondering why he doesn’t have an admin doing triage. I worked (briefly) for the head of a very small publishing house, and the first thing she had me do was triage her emails: spam, things I could handle, things she needed to handle.

    2. Mreasy*

      I guess it depends on the industry, but…I definitely get more than 100 emails a day, and they’re not distribution list ones I can simply glance at, either!

    3. NW Mossy*

      I’m a first-level manager and easily get 200+ most days, largely because it’s a multi-year odyssey to gradually kill off all the automated notifications from various workflows my team uses. 100 emails/day seems positively itsy from my point of view.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        God, we’re on similar announcements and notifications now for certain teams in the division. I don’t know why I get them. I don’t know what fishbrain thought I needed to know about that stuff–I don’t touch any of it. Probably everyone in our department distribution list is on them. But all day long they pop up and annoy me.

  22. Feotakahari*

    “She constantly asks questions (which is totally fine with me) but doesn’t accept the answer, even if I say, “I don’t know, but this person definitely will. Let’s ask when they come in.” She pushes me to give an answer anyway, and this goes on until I say, “Look, I have to get this paperwork done. We will talk about this some other time.” If I do answer, she can’t accept the answer and I have to go to the manager with her so they can tell her word for word what I just said, and then it’s okay.”

    This could potentially be a sign of much deeper issues. If she cares less about the response you give, and more about the fact that you respond whenever she asks, what matters to her may be the feeling that she can control you and make you do as she pleases. I had a colleague who pulled something like this, and he got really into playing people against each other for his own gain. He tried to get me fired by convincing the manager I was a bad employee, he tried to convince other employees the manager was incompetent and they should listen to him instead, and he stole money and framed another employee for it.

    Obviously, nothing in the letter is that bad, but I still think it’s worth keeping an eye out in case the situation changes.

    1. Nea*

      I don’t know — always refusing to accept an answer until someone else higher up backs it up is pretty bad. It makes me wonder if the receptionist is devaluing the OP for the funsies of talking to/messing with OP, or if the receptionist is disqualifying OP’s answers due to OP being of a race/gender/class not shared by the manager.

      1. Flora*

        I’m thinking it is because I am on the younger end of most of my co workers. However, I think she is the type who enjoys an argument… As long as she wins.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          If she enjoys an argument, refuse to give her one.

          Her: Do the chocolate teapot handles have pink polka dots or blue stripes?
          You: (without looking up) They have pink stripes.
          Her: No, I don’t think so.
          You: Fine.
          Her: I really think you’re wrong about that.
          You: Okay then.

          1. Jen RO*

            +1 to this. This is the only way I managed to get a coworker off my back. After a month or so of agreeing with her disagreements, she finally stopped asking.

    2. shep*

      I’ve known a few people who would push back on answers, but I’ve found (at least in these situations) it’s because they already had an answer firmly in their mind and just wanted me to corroborate it. All of these people were obnoxiously know-it-all in action and attitude.

      I don’t know if that’s the case here; it’s just a very clear pattern I’ve become aware of in my own interactions with people.

      1. (different) Rebecca*

        I like to go all “Toby from the West Wing” on those people: “I have no new information on that subject since the last time you asked me.”

      2. C Average*

        I had a colleague like this. She was several years behind me in seniority in the position, but thought she knew everything. At one point, we were stuck on some very technical point and she wouldn’t accept my answer. Finally I said (and I’m sure I sounded like a jerk when I said it), “Look, I have an SME designation in my file. Do you know what that means?” She shook her head. “It stands for subject matter expert. Our company considers me a subject matter expert in this technology. I don’t haul that particular credential out into the light very often, but in a case like this I will, because it entitles me to be the final word on this matter. I am correct about this. You are not. We are moving on now.”

  23. Allie*

    Lw1, you really really need to withdraw ASAP and hope they haven’t checked your background yet. The damage this could do, not only in this job, but also in the field generally, cannot be underestimated. This company is lost to you forever and it was from the second you submitied a resume with a blatant and inexplicable lie. People in the industry talk, and even if it’s not on official grounds, something as extreme as lying where you went to school could very easily turn you into a blacklisted candidate. To give you an idea of how bad this is, in my field this kind of lie would be reported to our licensing organization. There is no sugarcoating this. An obviously, never, ever do something like this again. You may have heard of a friend of a friend that it worked for, but trust me, it is never worth it. I am really not trying to be mean here, and I really hope it isn’t too late to withdraw.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      People in the industry talk, and even if it’s not on official grounds, something as extreme as lying where you went to school could very easily turn you into a blacklisted candidate.

      Yeah, this is key. I can tell you right now working in an industry that cares where you went to college (no, it isn’t full-on exclusionary in terms of “Oh, you didn’t go to X? We can’t even interview you,” but a name-brand school helps a little), it would be a huge mark against you in the industry (not just the hiring school) to have lied about where you went to school, and word would get around fast.

  24. Apparatchic*

    LW1, in addition to Allison’s and everyone’s great comments – you have also really cheated yourself here. Give yourself the opportunity to be hired for the qualifications you’ve earned and the skills you have, because I can’t imagine anything less undermining to your confidence than never knowing if you were hired for yourself or because you put some Ivy League school on your CV.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I don’t know exactly what industry LW #1 is in, but I would imagine most industries that tend to hire more often from prestigious schools will also hire occasionally from less prestigious schools. Google won’t hire exclusively from Stanford/Harvard/MIT, for example, even though that pedigree does give you a leg up. LW #1 is always going to have to wonder “Maybe I could have actually gotten the job without lying?”

      Well, now she’ll never know.

  25. Anon Accountant*

    All it takes is a simple question of who did you have for English class or does Professor Adams still jump on the desk when he recites poetry to begin raising suspicions exposing the lie.

    Sorry OP1. Withdraw before it goes further.

  26. Bluesheart*

    LW1 you need to withdraw ASAP, the company I currently work for, this is automatically a termination no question, when I applied, there was a area for the GPA you had when you graduated, a person whom I know that worked for the firm said leave it blank if I can’t remember, if you lie, you will not get hired. This is a integrity issue. She said they let someone start as they needed the person to start ASAP and they just needed to verify his diploma, will they found out that he didn’t have a diploma from that university and he was terminated and escorted out by security. So don’t do it.

  27. Worried*

    I am reading your comments and responses to OP1 with growing worries. I have applied for a position with an american firm who will be conducting background checks. I have stated that I have a bachelor in X and a masters in specialized X. I have graduated from the masters programme, but never applied for the bachelor’s degree diploma. I just went straight from bachelors into masters programme (same university, same department) and never thought anymore of it. I can prove that I have taken all my courses, but don’t have the bachelor’s diploma itself.
    I live in a European country where references are always checked, but thorough background checks are not common practice so I don’t really know how extensive they are.
    Do you think this will be a problem?

    1. Nea*

      Did you actually go to the school you said and do you have all the qualifications for the bachelors? Then you should be okay. I never picked up one of my diplomas; just called the school and said “I’ve fulfilled this and can claim it, right?” I hate that commute and wasn’t driving back just for paperwork.

      1. Worried*

        Yes, I have gone to my school, done my bachelors classes, continued in the masters programme and have a nice golden diploma for my masters. I was just worried that they will see it a discrepancy that I cannot produce a bachelors diploma. I have never been subjected to a background check by an external investigator and was just freaking out a bit I guess….

        1. (different) Rebecca*

          No, you’re fine. It will be seen as having been awarded a bachelors on the way to a terminal masters. You’re absolutely in the clear.

        2. Nea*

          Relax, you’re fine. :) And I’ve never been asked to actually produce a diploma (and would be up the creek if that was a demand, considering I don’t physically have one of them!) The background check boils down to the company calling the school and saying “Did Worried attend between year and year and obtain the qualifications of Teapot Bachelor and Master?”

        3. Tuckerman*

          In the United States you need to apply to graduate. Do you have a bachelors degree conferral date? If you didn’t apply to graduate, you may have met the graduation requirements but your transcripts may not have a graduation date.

    2. MK*

      If I understand correctly, you silly haven’t picked up the physical paper diploma, right? But you have earned the degree, as in completed all the requirements your university has before awarding degrees? If so, you do have a degree, so it should be fine. But I think you can always apply for a copy of your diploma.

      1. Worried*

        Yes, I never filled in the online application to get the physical diploma. I need to talk to uni admin and see if they could send me one!

        1. Mike C.*

          You should do that just for your piece of mind. I’ve had employers that want to you bring your degrees on the first day or work just to show HR. But like everyone else has said, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

          1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

            Whoa, really? My diploma is in a box in my mother’s house in another state. I suppose I have a copy of an official transcript around somewhere, though…

            1. Christopher Tracy*

              I had to bring my undergrad diploma to the staffing agency where I worked so they could make photocopies of it – apparently the law firm where they were going to place me required it to prove their employees graduated when and where they said they did. A transcript would have been much better because I had to lug this thing in its heavy frame downtown on a bus in the rain. It was highly annoying.

              1. NotAnotherManager!*

                I also work in legal and heard a number of my peers say that their employers had required this. Not having any idea how I’d lug my diplomas into the city, I have always kept a certified (raised seal) copy of my undergraduate transcripts at home in hopes that it would suffice. (I didn’t even HAVE my undergrad diplomas for several years. I couldn’t afford framing, so they lived in a drawer at my mom’s house. Now they are framed and not at all portable.)

                There was apparently an epidemic of people lying about degree credentials in the legal industry in my city in the 80s, and everyone here verifies degrees as a contingency of employment after that.

            2. Anon 2*

              Where I work, it’s a requirement upon the first day of employment. You need to bring in the original of your degree the first day (although it only needs to the minimum required degree), or have your official transcripts sent so that they arrive in advance of your start date. If you fail to do either one you are sent home until one of those items can be provided.

            3. Oryx*

              I’m a librarian and I’ve had jobs where I’ve had to prove I have my MLIS, sometimes even at the application stage. They’ll accept unofficial transcripts then but if hired I’ve had to bring a copy of my degree or official transcripts.

            4. Jen RO*

              In my country it’s mandatory to provide it before your employment paperwork can be processed. This applies to any level of school (e.g. if you only graduated from high school, you need to bring that diploma).

          2. NotAnotherManager!*

            I am just thinking through how I would do this. My bachelor’s degrees, which are much larger than 8.5 x 11, are both professionally mounted in large, double-matted frames that don’t come apart, and I haven’t yet found my master’s degree (also large) since I moved, though I do recall writing on the outside of the cardboard envelope, “Degree, do not recycle!” before packing it.

            And I take the subway to work.

            1. MK*

              This is where the procrastrination of my university turned out to be helpful: they are perpetually late in printing the “real” (fancy parchment-like paper, engraved writing in calligraphy, etc.) diplomas, so what you get handed over on your graduation ceremony is basically a normal printed copy document (though on good quality, thick paper). The first thing most people do is make a couple of dozen photocopies of this on the day after graduation (you need the copies for varied beaurocratic purposes, like handing one to the tax and health insurance authorities, once you are no longer a student, as well as for job searching) and keep it. The real one comes in the mail, several months to a year after graduation, and that’s the one people frame (though mine is still in the third drawer of the desk in my childhood room in my parents’ home).

          3. Rusty Shackelford*

            Ha! I literally have no idea where my paper diploma is, and any organization that insisted on seeing that (presumably easily faked) document instead of an official transcript probably isn’t anyone I’d want to work for anyway…

            1. neverjaunty*

              Seriously. Faking a paper diploma is a lot easier than faking a response directly from a college records department.

            2. themmases*

              Transcripts are both easier to get and more secure. Many schools will now do immediate delivery of a secure PDF that you can just order online in 10 minutes.

              This was the part of grad school applications I was dreading the most, but it was actually the easiest thing ever. It had noticeably improved at every school I attended, even just compared to 2013.

              Someone who *wants* a diploma sounds really ignorant. They’re getting less information and security, at more inconvenience to the candidate, all because they don’t know how school works.

          4. Putting Out Fires, Esq*

            I had to get a copy of my law school diploma for my mortgage application. That was an interesting hoop to jump through.

    3. M from NY*

      This isn’t the same thing. You actually have the credits and your transcript will show you have (for example) 200 +60 earned credits. Now if you only had transcript for masters work that didn’t indicate on it that you completed any bachelor’s credits that could possibly lead to questions. If there’s a simple fix for you to get the separate degree issued (like paying an administrative fee) take care of it now and keep in your files. If you’re relocating to US you don’t want another company’s hiring process in the future to weed you out because they require copy of your actual degree and now you’re trying to take care of this while abroad.

    4. Allie*

      I wouldn’t worry. My dad is in a similar situation in the US (went straight from undergraduate to medical school and technically doesn’t have his actual bachelor’s degree) and it has never been a problem with jobs or his medical license.

    5. Rusty Shackelford*

      I don’t know anything about European graduation practices, but it sounds like you took all the classes, but didn’t do the last step of formally applying to graduate. (Some are speculating that you did all of the official stuff but just didn’t pick up your physical copy of your diploma, which I don’t think is what you’re saying.) I don’t think this would necessarily be a problem – you’re not lying, you did finish the coursework successfully – but would it be possible to complete the process retroactively, just so you don’t have to worry about it? Because if it comes up, and you explain what happened, it should be fine. But it may come up in a background check before you even have the chance to explain it (if the employer calls your school and they check their official records and say “No, Worried does not have a bachelors degree from this institution.”)

      1. Worried*

        You are right. Once all the classes are complete, one is supposed to fill in an online application to graduate. Instead of doing applying for the bachelors graduation, I applied for the master’s programme and then never bothered about the bachelors. However, in my CV, I have stated that I have a Bachelors and a Masters… Formally I would only have a Masters (graduate and have physical diploma). I need to talk to uni and see if they can help me out. I have the official bachelors course transcripts, but am not sure that is enough. Better to ask the uni for help than having to worry…

        1. AFT123*

          Yep I’d ask the school about it. I know someone who was in a similar situation – they’d completed all of the coursework for the BA but didn’t think it was necessary to formally “check the box” and “pay the fee” to process the BA graduation before rolling right into the MA program. The issue they ran into years later was that the BA course requirements had slightly changed and they ended up being short credits or something (I’m not 100% sure of the situation ).

  28. Roscoe*

    #4 While I agree that you shouln’t be obligated to hire them, I think you should do it at least for the ones who aren’t struggling. There is nothing more annoying than the new manager who comes in and just because they have a different style, preference, whatever decides to clean house and change things up because the “can”. Speaking from experience, the people who do stick around aren’t really going to like you. You have people who can do the job, who you admit are fine at the job, and were basically promised the job, but you just want to give some random people a chance? If you get rid of these temps, it will probably not look good on you to the people who stay there, and they may follow them out the door soon after. Would you want to work for someone who did that?

    #5 I’m not in management, but I think its fine that they don’t work weekends or holidays. As you move up the ladder you get certain perks. You also have a lot more responsibility, and if something goes wrong, you will have a steeper price to pay. Its a trade off

    1. BBBizAnalyst*

      I don’t think it’s about giving random people a chance. As a manager, you want to hire the best folks. Just because you’re fine at doing the job doesn’t mean you’re the best candidate. I think OP should open up the application pool and be frank with the people who were promised jobs about this. I worked in a dept where we inherited someone who was promised a job. He ended up being the weakest on the team and a big morale suck.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Yes. The current employees have had the best interview you can get for a job — a chance to actually do it. They’re already know to be, at best, fine. Certainly there is the risk of replacing them with someone worse via an interview process, but I think the biggest issue here is the morale problem if it’s widely known they were promised the jobs and that doesn’t materialize — unless, of course, the other staff can see that they are weaker performers because keeping people who aren’t up to snuff/rewarding middling performance can also be a morale-killer. If there is any way to hold off the full-time hire until some coaching can be done with improvement shown, I’d go that route, and I would not deliberately hire a known weak performer.

        1. NotTHATManager*

          Hi, I’m OP #4. I am still in the middle of this. Interviews wrapping up tomorrow. Basically, I am doing what you all are suggesting. I gave everyone a fair shake at the open positions and two people (one internal, and one external) are rising to the top. This was a panel interview process, with HR and another permanent employee (who’s been here a LOT longer than me) included in the interviews. Roscoe, I never wanted to be that ‘new manager who comes in and changes everything’ so I’ve been very cognizant of that!!

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            Sounds like things worked out well! With the panel interview, too, that gives you some cover that it wasn’t just your decision. I like that you included a permanent employee in the process. I always find it helpful to get feedback from someone with on-the-ground experience, and, as an inteviewee, love being able to ask someone who does the job what it’s like.

  29. Rebecca*

    #3 I also work for a company that uses “the more, the merrier” approach to group email addresses. I’ve given up on trying to point out how a more narrow approach with clear subject lines would cut down on everyone’s work load. Auto filters are your friend; use them. I’m subscribed to so many automatic reports that I don’t even know what many of them are for, let alone look at them, so every time a new one pops up, I add it to my “Kill Reports” filter to not only delete it, but permanently delete it so I never have to deal with them. Ditto on endless back and forth “reply all” trails that can drag on for days – I just add a key word or phrase from that particular message to another generic filter, and they’re gone too. I delete between 100-200 messages per work day this way, plus ones that I just delete manually. It’s horrible. And one of the many reasons I’m looking for another job.

  30. Becky*

    #3 I don’t know your company culture, but we’ve been using Yammer here for a couple years, and it’s been really great in helping organize projects and cut down on those interminable email Reply Alls where you start out with 5 people on a project and then suddenly you’ve got 750 emails with different Reply All strings and file versions.

    We have not replaced email at all, mind you; Yammer is more like a supplement/enhancement. I see people put their entire projects on Yammer where it’s all linear and streamlined and the latest file version with comments is always available.

    It’s also a great way for a VP or other exec to showcase their leadership. :)

    Source: Me, because I’m the Yammer admin.

    It does take some training, guidance, and engagement, so that might not solve your immediate problem and it might not be something your company wants to invest in. We use Yammer because we’re all over O365 here, but any enterprise social network might help with that, and there are several out there. I never used one of these before I got to my company, so it’s pretty fun for me.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Yammer, Slack, Skype, or Lync are great for instant messaging, but not so much for longer messages or longer conversations that may last weeks or months (as long as the task takes, usually). They would help shift some of the load off of email, though. My other recommendation would be to look into a ticketing system, because then tickets can be assigned to specific people and others can either search for them or even be assigned as a “watcher”, meaning they’re copied on all messages but aren’t the owner of the ticket. Those are great for task-oriented discussions. I recommend JIRA or ZenDesk.

      1. Naomi*

        I’d recommend Fogbugz, personally. But I’d also note that bug tracking systems also generate a lot of email (though it’s easier to direct the emails to the right person).

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Right, you can customize the audience for each ticket, even adjusting it midway through a task, whereas with email distribution lists (which have their place, we use them every day) you cannot control who gets what.

  31. MissGirl*

    Years ago my city launched its first mass transit rail line. Opening weekend coincided with a huge event, and a bunch of us bumpkins rode it for the first time. When we pulled up to the station to load, a train was already there. We jumped out of our car to run to it.

    An attendant yelled out, “If you have to run, it ain’t your train. There’s another one coming.” Words to live by.

    LW1, if you have to lie, it ain’t your job. There’s another one coming.

    1. Temperance*

      Clearly that person has never ridden SEPTA. If you don’t run, you could be standing around for an hour or more.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        TRUTH. Coming out of “sagging power lines season” and heading into “slippery rail season” (falling leaves) right about now..

      2. eplawyer*

        Ain’t nothing like Metro in DC. Even if your train does come, you might as well Uber because you will only be offloaded two stops and an hour later. That’s if you don’t die.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Yep. When you have a derailment weeks after your “Safe Track” maintenance program is completed in a particular area, you have a problem.

          I run for Metro trains all the time because who the hell knows if/when the next one will show up and if you can sardine yourself on it?

      3. Allison*

        I get that. And if you’re taking the commuter rail in Massachusetts, the same could be said. But I also take the green line a lot (it’s part subway and part trolley, mostly runs within the city but the lines reach some suburb-ish towns west of Boston), and it’s fine to run for the train but it baffles me how many people expect the train to wait for them when they run. Especially if the train’s already been sitting there for 5 minutes while a line of people have been packing into the train, we gotta go now! We have places to be!

  32. Cheesehead*

    Re: #2, I would get VERY annoyed at the fact that she’d ask me a question and then I’d have to interrupt my work to prove that my answer is correct by *accompanying* her to the manager. I mean….seriously? Is this grade school?

    If you want to handle it somewhat non-confrontationally, as they say, “live your boundaries”. She asks you a question, you answer it. Simple enough, and you’re done. Refuse to answer any more.
    Her: Do the chocolate teapot handles have pink polka dots or blue stripes?
    You: (without looking up) They have pink stripes.
    Her: No, I don’t think so.
    You: Then why did you ask?
    Her: Let’s go ask Fergus. He’ll know!
    You: No. I don’t have time for that.
    Her: You need to come with meeeee! We have to get the answer from Fergus!
    You: No. If you want to see Fergus, go ahead. But I’m confident in my answer.
    Her: You should find out for sure!
    You: Lucinda, I have work to do. I’ve given you my answer. Please close my door on your way out.

    Then if/when it happens again, you can always resort to being blunt: The next time she tries to ask a question, I’d be ready to counter with, “Are you going to accept the answer that I give you? Because I really don’t have time for a debate to justify my answer, and I don’t feel the need to take time away from my work just to bother Fergus because you won’t accept my answer.” If she get offended, too bad. You don’t have time to play that game anymore. Call it what it is.

    One other thing that I read a few years ago was actually in an article on parenting, on dealing with kids when they try to wear you down by asking the same question over and over until they hear the answer they want. You answer the question. Then when it’s asked again, you say “You already asked that, and I already answered you.” Then the response gets shortened to simply “Asked and answered.” (Sometimes my kids will try to say, “But I don’t remember!” At which point I can look them in the eye and say the answer very slowly so they get the point.) This sounds like it could potentially work for the coworker.

    But really, OP, if you try to shut it down and she still persists in this behavior, go talk to her manager. And use words like ‘bother’ and ‘interrupt’. Please give us an update!

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I actually wonder if it’s happening like this:

      Her: Do the chocolate teapot handles have pink polka dots or blue stripes?
      You: (without looking up) They have pink stripes.
      Her: Are you sure? Can you look up the answer?
      You: No, trust me, they have pink stripes.
      Her: I don’t think that’s right.
      You: (sigh) Let’s go have Fergus confirm what I just told you, if that means you’ll stop asking.

      And if that’s the case, it might be even easier to stop her in her tracks. Instead of escalating to prove you’re right (even if it seems like the only way to shut her up), just shut the whole thing down and refuse to engage.

      “I told you what I know. If you don’t believe me, you can go bother someone else.”

      Also, keep in mind that when she asks you a question five times, and you refuse to answer, and on the sixth time you finally answer, you’re not teaching her to stop asking questions. You’re teaching her that it takes six times to ask the same question in order to get you to answer.

      1. Flora*

        True, that after I figured out that was the only way she’d believe me, that I would go to our supervisor quicker so I could get back to my work. Just sending off on her own, saying “No. If you want to see Fergus, go ahead. But I’m confident in my answer” will 1. Get me back to my work quicker and 2. Our supervisor will be able to get a better look at her behavior.

        I do answer her as soon as I can though. Sometimes I will say let me wrap this up and I’ll get back to you, especially if it requires me pulling up old paperwork. She would just stand in my office and wait until I did it! (it has never been for a pressing matter) Initially I would just drop what I was doing and get her answer to get her to move on. Now I just say “is there anything else you needed” when she says no, I say “if you want to go back to your office I will let you know when I have that for you.” Which seems to have diffused that part of the situation.
        Most of the repeat questioning happens when my answer is “I don’t know”, “I don’t have/use that computer program”, “that is so-and-so’s job, they will know”, ect.

        1. Jadelyn*

          Oh, god, office-waiters are the WORST. +100 for “Is there something else you needed?” Most of the time they get the hint and shoo.

          1. Liz*

            As an exec asst IME the worst culprits though are the bosses who expect me to just SIT THERE as they insist on reading over the calendars/papers/reports I’ve brought in to review and whatnot. I do NOT need to be there twiddling my thumbs awkwardly watching you take your time and I COULD be doing that thing you asked about earlier. Ugh!

            She just needs to feel important and center of attention. Keep the door closed with a white board/sticker/magnet to let people know when they are free to knock.

    2. Flora*

      So, I finally ended up snapping at her after she had been hounding me for an answer before I even got to my office that morning. I raised my voice (which honestly, I’m pretty meek and never do) ” How am I supposed to know that when the paperwork hasn’t been updated!” (The paper work she is responsible for, that she is a solid week behind on.) So, I made some calls to our central office and got everything taken care of and when she asked about it again I told her “It is all taken care of, center office will be emailing me their final decision on the matter. I will foward it to you when it arrives.” She was so angry, she stomped out of my office and slammed the door! I realize I was not right to go over her head without giving her the chance to update her work, I acted out of fusteration. Now we have to go to a meeting with our supervisor and her new office mate because she has been ticked off at me all week. On the plus side, she has been driving her new office mate crazy, so at least we can stick together…

  33. Katie the Senual Wristed Fed*

    Regarding #5 – My employees frequently have to work nights and weekends. My job is a daytime job – the bulk of the requirements are during the day so it doesn’t make sense for me to work nights/weekends.

    That being said, I actually do sometimes, usually to fill in for one of my employees rather than have another one come in when they weren’t scheduled. I also take a shift of weekend duty on holidays to give the team a break.

    It’s not required and frankly my own boss thinks it’s a little unnecessary (he doesn’t mind though) but I think it’s helped me build good will with the team – shows I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and do the unpleasant stuff once in a while. They love it. Plus I get a better sense for what they deal with.

    1. Bob Barker*

      Yeah, my idea of a good boss is a boss that would never ask you to do something she wouldn’t be willing to do herself. Not every time, not even most of the time — but someone who recognizes what she’s asking of her people, understands what the task involves, and is not just offloading the unpleasant stuff onto someone who can’t say no.

      It’s a pretty rare quality, I think, so good on you for demonstrating it.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        This comes up a lot, and I’m going to dispute it :)

        A good boss would generally be willing to do the things she asks employees to do, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll ever see her doing them or that she ever will do them — because a good boss also allocates her time and other people’s time appropriately, and there are lots of things that it doesn’t make sense for a manager to spend her time doing when more junior people are available to do it.

        This is different in field like retail, where sometimes everyone just needs to pitch in and check customers out or straighten up the store. But in lots of other fields, it really doesn’t make sense for a manager to spend her time (which probably costs the company much more money) on tasks that she can assign to other people.

        1. Katie the Senual Wristed Fed*

          I agree with both of you :)

          In my case, it’s not a good use of my time. But for example, I came in for Labor Day because someone left a week before and we had a gap, and my team is tired and I didn’t want to saddle anyone with that.

          It also worked because I had other stuff I needed to get done that’s easier to do when I’m alone in the office and not getting interrupted with things all day. So it was a win/win. I don’t do it often – maybe 2-3 times a year at most.

        2. LQ*

          There are plenty of things that quite frankly I’d prefer my boss not do. It would take him 10 times as long and he’d likely miss steps. That’s ok. There are a lot of things that I’m faster and better at than my boss so him jumping in to do those things would be a horrible plan.

          That said when my coworker and I – who on this am normally her backup (weird sentence but stick with me)- were out of the office and he called me up he didn’t say come in, he said where is the documentation so he could do it himself. It wasn’t perfect, it took a very long time, but he did make sure to protect our vacation (which we both appreciated).

        3. NW Mossy*

          In my line of work, it’s dangerous for managers to “pitch in to help out” because it creates a perception that the team’s capacity is higher than it truly is and obscures when the team really is maxed out. It’s tough for managers who were previously rock-start individual contributors, because they think “I know how to do this, I can help us get over this little hump and then everything will be fine.” Except then the next overflow situation comes along, and the next, and the next, and pretty soon, the manager has no time to actually manage because she’s spending so much time doing work that should be done by her staff.

          Managing sometimes doesn’t feel like “real work” because so much of what managers do is conversation-based and happens behind the scenes, but it’s essential to spend time on it to do it well. Look at it this way – if your manager is in the trenches covering your team’s gaps on a recurring basis, it means she’s not spending time making the case for additional resources (people, technology, etc.) that would allow the team to handle the workload without her doing some of it.

  34. Pucci Mane*

    Reading #1 messed me up a little this morning – have a lot of empathy for someone who wants the opportunities an Ivy League degree makes available – but have to agree with the crowd here, #1, you still have a chance to prevent this from turning into a massive long-tail screwup. I do understand the impulse to do it in the first place, though, even though it’s such a bad idea.

  35. C Average*

    LW #1, you don’t mention whether or not this is the only time you’ve lied about a thing like this, but I’m going to guess it isn’t. People who lie somewhat easily usually have some practice.

    Take some time to think about why you choose to lie about where you went to school (or what you’ve accomplished, or where you’re from, or what you know).

    When I was much younger, I used to lie about dumb things. Although I never lied on a resume or any other official document, I sometimes lied to new people I met, and this became awkward if I wound up becoming friends with them.

    Some of the things I lied about included these: Being from a more respectable background. Having more money than I actually had. Having accomplished things I actually only WISHED I’d accomplished. Having a much more exciting love life than I actually had.

    I realized, at a certain point, that I lied because I was ashamed of who I actually was and what I had actually done. It seemed sad and uninteresting and inadequate.

    I eventually came to terms with my past. Some of the stuff that caused me shame when I was younger actually made me proud as I grew older: I came to see those experiences as things I had overcome, not things I needed to disown. I let go of some dreams and aspirations that I had. I came to understand that just as, at a certain point, you’re too old to be a child prodigy, if you’re most people, at a certain point you’re too old to get a do-over on your college education and other formative experiences. And there were some things I’d lied about because I wanted them really badly, and I decided to go out and get them so I didn’t feel tempted to lie about them anymore; I could proudly claim them instead.

    It’s hard to accept that the doors to certain opportunities and experiences are closed forever to us because of choices that we made–or that were made for us–when we were too young to even know such doors existed. But it’s part of growing up to come to terms with it, not to lie to get around it.

    Maybe this lie is just one stand-alone lie for you, LW. But if it’s part of something bigger and deeper, take some time to work on that. It’s a much more pleasant life when you’re honest with yourself and others.

  36. Kore*

    #4, I’d just say that if you don’t hire them and tell them they aren’t getting the job they will most likely be upset and there’s not an insignificant chance that they will leave to look for work elsewhere. Something similar happened while I was temping – a coworker was repeatedly told that they were going to be giving her a full time position. Then, quite a ways into it, she was told there was no full time position, and she left almost immediately afterwards. A lot of temp positions are sold on the job becoming full time eventually. This isn’t to say you should hire these temps if they’re not doing the job well enough or you’d prefer to look outside, but there’s also a chance you could be hiring/training new temps.

    1. NotTHATManager*

      Kore, yes – especially because we have enough work for more full time positions!! We are trying to move these positions away from temps and into all permanent positions in the department, but I hear what you’re saying! Thanks!(I’m OP #4)

  37. Meg Murry*

    Not to pile on to OP#1, but this absolutely could come back to bite you many, many years from now. See the case of Marilee Jones, who resigned from the Dean of Admissions office at MIT after having been there for 28 years, working her way up from an entry level position (note that this was a case where she was allowed to “resign” to save a tiny bit of face, but for all intents and purposes she was basically fired after being publicly shamed).

    If you search for “Dean at M.I.T. Resigns, Ending a 28-Year Lie”, you’ll find the NYTimes story, or “Learning The Hard Truth About Lying” for an NPR article on it, or “Former Dean Received Bachelor’s Degree, But From Different Institution” you’ll see an article that gets into the details of Jones’s lies.

    In a nutshell, Marilee Jones did exactly what OP is mentioning here: she put on her first resume that got her hired that she had her degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (where she had spent time as a non-degree student, but had not received any degrees from there) instead of where she got her actual degree from: the College of Saint Rose. Later, apparently, the lies spiraled, and she added additional degrees to her resume and/or bio that she didn’t receive.

    What is crazy about this story is that she didn’t even need a degree at all for her first job (it was entry level secretarial), and she worked her way all the way to the top before that lie came out.

    Don’t do it OP. It may not seem like a huge deal now, but you’ll have to carry that lie for the rest of your career, if not the rest of your life. I’d suggest withdrawing from the process at this point (you can say something vague like “due to a change in personal circumstances, I need to withdraw my candidacy at this time. Thank you for your consideration.”). Then you need to go make sure all of your information out there is correct, or at least does not contain any lies: LinkedIn; any resumes you may have uploaded to Monster, Indeed, etc; any resumes you have saved in the cloud, etc – because you don’t want to compound this error by next accidentally applying to a future position using an old copy of your resume with the lying degree/college on it.

    You might, *might* be able to apply to this company again in the future (I’d suggest waiting 3-5 years minimum), and if the discrepancy between your new (truthful) resume and the previously submitted one comes up, you could tell them the true story as you posted it here: you lied on that initial resume submission because you thought that was the only way to get noticed for an interview, realized the error in your ways and withdrew your application, and never did that again. It still might kill your chances of ever being hired at that company again – so it’s possible you’ve burned that bridge, but you maybe, might be able to get past this many years in the future as a “very poor decision I made when I was young and green and hadn’t thought it through, I’ve matured since then”. But OP, you need to get out from this *now*, before the mistake you made turns from an error of poor judgement that you may be able to escape from to a potential career-ending one.

  38. crazy8s*

    LW #1 I understand the pressure you probably felt. I live in the academic snob capital of the US. People are not only obsessed with where you went to school, but with your GPA, the subject of your undergraduate honors thesis, your masters thesis, whether you have a BA or a BS, an academic PhD or a professional PhD–it goes on and on. It happens at all hiring levels, not just entry level.

    I am at a mid career level now, and I have a BA, and lack one field experience to get my MA. I got an amazing full time job opportunity in the middle of my graduate program, and I opted to do that–I recognize that not everyone will think that was a good choice, but in retrospect, it was for me.

    I just try to focus my resume on my career accomplishments and I have been able to progress professionally to my satisfaction. I get a lot of “I can’t believe you only have a bachelor’s degree” kind of comments, but I just say, ” Well I have a PhD’s worth of experience, and I am glad I can bring it to your organization.”

    Be who you are! Lying will always catch up with you. It sounds like you are doing a good job, so focus on that, but your next position is going to have to be outside of your current organization–with a corrected resume, a list of accomplishments, and no more secrets.

  39. LQ*

    #3 are you in any position to suggest, or push use of if you already have, project management tools?

    Even a spreadsheet can go a long way. This lets people check in, know where they are at and not have all the emails. Email isn’t a great project management tool and it sounds like that’s what it is being used for primarily here, so could you suggest something more useful and effective? Suggesting something like that if you are in a position to do so might work well to cut down on the emails.

  40. V2*

    Op1, we let someone go who had been working here for 10 years because he lied about having a degree. The job didn’t even require a degree, it was a sales position, but he lied about it and when the lie was discovered (he let it slip), he was fired. Then how do you explain that to future employers?

  41. seejay*

    LW#1: We had a manager who claimed he went to Harvard. The problem was, we had a software engineer that also went to Harvard. Out of curiosity, she had asked him a few questions about which campus he was on, etc, and he didn’t have any good answers, so she went digging around, as she had alumni access to the site. It turns out he was a) working for us under an alias (which we were able to discover) and b) he had no record under either of his names as ever being at Harvard, but it was on his resume.

    While we didn’t technically fire him for that, it was just another piece in a long list of really skeevy things that wound up being unearthed with some really simple checks that regular employees were able to do. We were able to find stuff about him that was seriously questionable without much effort, having a Harvard grad with access to the alumni records and a few other sources was just extra bits but there was a lot of dirt that easily accessible.

    In short, the Internet makes it super easy to uncover lies, don’t expect to hide anything and get away with it. Someone will find it, it will blow up, and if you’re lucky you’ll just wind up with egg on your face at best.

    1. Temperance*

      I have to ask … if you didn’t fire him for using an assumed name and lying about his qualifications …. what DID you fire him for?

      1. seejay*

        Multiple reasons:
        1) He was technically hired to be a manager of my team (UX) and the QA team, but he wound up ignoring my team and *only* managing the QA team.

        2) The QA team had a revolving door where we hired five different people for one position in two months (they all left under various conditions: one just didn’t show up one day, one was working two jobs (see #3), one took a week’s vacation to India and then didn’t come back, one was fired, and the last one I have no idea).

        3) The one that was working two jobs, the manager actually caught him on the train when he was “taking his wife to the hospital” and followed him to his second job, which is how we found out he was working two jobs. While it was kind of sketch that we hired a guy that was working two jobs, it was also kind of sketch that the manager was… um… stalking/following an employee? (To be fair, he wasn’t intentionally, at least as far as we could tell, he just happened to cross paths with him on the train and went “hey, wasn’t he supposed to be at home with his sick wife?” and proceeded to covertly follow him to see where he was going after that, only to find out the guy was working a second job).

        4) The really bad manager was 75% responsible for the bad hires and obviously didn’t do due diligence in background/reference checks which would have caught most of the problems.

        5) The bulk of the reason why this manager was hired in the first place was because he knew someone in upper management who hired him (good ol’ boys club) only for it to wind up being clear he had no idea what he was doing (he didn’t want to be involved in managing my team except for the one time he got mad at and yelled at me for not including him on a decision when I swapped out an image without getting his approval on it because it “modified the approved code base”, nevermind that images don’t actually change “code” when you get the designer to just adjust the hue and copy over the original… it was pretty clear to me then that he had zero idea what was actual critical changes that needed his oversight and stamp of approval on versus minor touches that we could sanity test ourselves.)

        Overall, we were better off self-managing our team which is what we were doing before he came in and what we did after he was hoofed out.

  42. Anon Accountant*

    OP1- what if they ask for transcripts? I’ve had to produce transcripts for several jobs due to candidates lying about their backgrounds/having coursework and training in our field. It pertained to eligibility for the CPA exam but the same principle applies.

    What if they ask for transcripts or if you are hired and there would be an unusual request such as for a promotion or some new requirement. Then your lie is exposed. The truth always comes out.

    1. jm*

      Yes to this. My current job required me to submit college transcripts if I was to claim my degree on the application.

  43. jm*

    #1, bow out now while you still can. Dishonesty is the worst. And the guilt will drive you crazy.
    I served on an interview panel, and we all liked two candidates equally. They had very similar backgrounds. One candidate told us she had completed an internship at our local chamber of commerce, and had completed a major marketing project for them. One of us had a friend at the chamber, and called to get details on the candidate’s work. We found out that the “internship” was simply a meeting at the chamber, and the “major marketing project” was simply class project assigned to all the students in the candidate’s college class.
    Needless to say, she did not get the job – which was sad, because everything else about her was terrific.

  44. NicoleK*

    #4. If your boss “promised” these jobs to the temps, you may not have a choice in the matter. Like Allison said, find out from your boss how firm the promises were and her thoughts on the current situation.

    1. NotTHATManager*

      NicoleK, I’m the OP for #4. My manager maintains that they did not actually ‘promise’ the jobs to anyone… :-/ And, she’s the one who tasked me with filling the positions. Thanks for your comment!

  45. Christine*

    # 1 — I’ve known two people that lied on job applications. One I was hired as their replacement. They had left one job to take the new one. My employer bought her in before her background check cleared (mistake on their part). She was there about 2 days and they terminated her. Not sure what the lie was, but she was gone.

    The 2nd one was a former co-worker of mine. Both worked for a CRO (Clinical Research Org) and he got a position with a university which was a promotion. Same thing as the OP, lied that he had finished a Graduate Certificate when he hadn’t finished it. They got rid of him the first week.

    Pull yourself out of the running for this position. Keep an eye on that particular company if you wish to work there and reapply. But give it about six months. Sometimes companies keep application & resumes on file. Not sure if they will pull up your prior application materials, but they might.

  46. Katie F*

    LW 5, this is going to be all about your industry. My first thought on reading this was that you almost certainly work retail or service industry. I have worked in places where management made damn sure they only ever worked 8 – 4 M-F and yet all their employees had randomized schedules that were never the same week-to-week, never the same amount of hours, and almost everyone ended up having to clopen at least once per week due to poor scheduling. Those were the places where I loathed the management for not stepping in to help us out on busy holidays (like the manager who wouldn’t come in for Black Friday, but literally everyone else was scheduled and we were STILL swamped and could have used an extra hand).

    I find that a lot of the poor morale that can be caused in the service industry by having a manager schedule their own lives to be much more convenient than anyone else’s can be mitigated simply by having the manager pitch in now and then. A retail/service manager who comes in for a semi-regular weekend shift or evening shift in order to ensure no employee has to clopen is one that is going to build a lot of goodwill.

    I don’t expect management to work every holiday in retail/service, but I definitely think that it is understandable why employees become resentful when they see management clearly making poor scheduling decisions they never have to deal with the results of themselves.

    That said – as soon as I got out of retail/service, that resentment was gone. I think it’s a matter of the switchover from strict hourly shifts and irregular schedules like M: 9 – 4, T: 3 – 9, W: 2 – 10, Th: 8 – 4, F: 11 – 8, S: 3 – close, Sunday OFF, M: 3 – close, etc to more regular scheduling and an ability to actually plan a life around your job. Retail/service can breed resentment just because of its overall corporate structure. It’s difficult to take on the basic structure that creates the problem, and people tend to focus their resentment on the “representative” of the company, which most often ends up being the manager.

    1. Katie F*

      I worked as “acting manager” after my manager was fired at one retail job and found that I managed to get rid of basically all the festering resentment among employees (which had been a pretty big problem under the previous manager) simply by spending an extra hour or two each week on schedules. Everyone’s schedule week-to-week might not be exactly the same, but I worked it out so every single employee could depend on at least one of their days off being the same day, I never scheduled anyone to close and then open, and I kept the “preferred availability” list next to my elbow while I worked to make sure that whenever possible, people were working the shifts they actually liked the best.

      It was a little extra work, but it was amazing the difference it made during the five months or so I was doing it.

      1. KR*

        My manager in my second job ( a grocery store) is like this and I LOVE IT. He knows I like under 20 hours, preferably 16-18. He knows I like to have my hours condensed so it’s easier to fit around my other job. And he knows weekends are better than during the week. Not that hard and he keeps it in mind when he does the schedule every week.

        1. Katie F*

          Yeah, I basically made myself a set of notes where I listed each employee, their “best availability” first (IE, preferred), and then their “actual availability” second, and worked a little longer on fitting everyone in where they wanted to be. It was a good situation where we had a nice group of people who liked day shifts and also a group of people who preferred evening shifts, so I could get coverage taken care of really easily if I just put in a little extra time on scheduling.

  47. Greg*

    #1: The other reason you should withdraw and never do this again: Once you get false information on your resume, it can become surprisingly hard to get it off. You don’t remove it because what if someone who saw the fake version sees the real one? And then you have to leave it on your LinkedIn profile as well. And after awhile, you start to rationalize, “Hey, I’ve gotten away with it for this long …”

    Just nip it in the bud now. Your future self will thank you.

  48. Observer*

    Also, in all of the consent and release statements I’ve signed for the company, they only mention they will be performing work history verification.

    What difference does that make? What are you going to do when the truth comes out? Complain that you never gave them permission to check your educational credentials?

    You NEVER, EVER succeed in getting around having lied by trying to blame the other party for finding out about the lie. And, the fact that there was nothing about their checking your education credentials means nothing. They don’t need your permission to verify that you have the degree you claim to have, and even if they did, there are plenty of ways for them to find the truth without ever calling the college.

    “they aren’t allowed to check” is a very dangerous mindset.

    Just another reason to take yourself out of the running while you still have a chance to keep your reputation unharmed. And to take a good hard look at your ethical compass.

  49. Corby*

    Re: #3

    I’ll disagree. Email distribution lists are good when used correctly. And a lot of times the email might not be relevant now, but you might need some information from it later, so having the email is important so you can search your mail for the info.

    I think the missing component here is mail filters and setting up mailboxes (and sub-mailboxes) to filter stuff into. (Or groups/labels or what-not if it’s a Gmail type situation they use.) Just filter all mail sent to that list into a mailbox for that list. It’s not going into your main inbox and distracting you, and the information is there if you need it.

  50. Jessica*

    OP#1- Obviously, I will agree with the other advice here but do want to point out to all those who say that the” job didn’t require a degree anyway so there was no need to lie” doesn’t reflect my 20 years of work experience. I have never been hired through the online big company systems for job applications, never once gotten an interview through them. My husband applied a few years ago and also didn’t get one interview from the many submissions. I don’t have a degree and he has a Belgian degree. We both have had lucrative and challenging careers mainly through personal connections and good luck or starting at the bottom and working our way up. I will finally complete a BA this year if only to have the ability to apply to larger organizations through the required online portals and hopefully not get weeded out for lack of degree. For better or worse, most jobs you can live from these days require a bachelors degree as a minimum. I’m not arguing to challenge that through deception, but it is a system that needs to be questioned more rigorously, especially as evidence shows up in the research about social mobility within the current structure for members of underprivileged groups.

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      The OP has a degree though – it just wasn’t from one of the company’s allegedly preferred schools. Your situation is very different. OP really didn’t have to lie.

    2. Sas*

      I see your point. And, seriously Christopher, way to dig the knife in, what? I am not sure that was the commenter’s point AT ALL.

  51. Parrish*

    LW #1: One other thing that it doesn’t look like anybody else has brought up. If you get the position by lying and saying you have (for example) a bachelor’s degree from Yale, you might be taking the position away from someone who actually DOES have a bachelor’s degree from Yale and would have gotten the position if not for your dishonesty. Would you like to have that on your conscience?

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