I manage my boss’s husband and it’s terrible, my boss calls and texts me constantly on my days off, and more

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

1. I manage my boss’s husband and it’s terrible

I work at a public institution that is partially funded by state/federal monies. Recently, the head of our institution hired her spouse to fill an entry-level spot in my department, of which I am the supervisor — so I am, very technically, her husband’s boss. I say “technically” because it often seems like he’s the boss since he came on board. He has a lot to say about how our department is run (mostly complaints), which he voices to his wife after work hours. She will then come to me to discuss these “problems,” something that never happened before her husband’s hire. Prior to his hire, complaints from individual employees were always funneled through the department head first; it would be unthinkable for a newbie employee to take a complaint directly to the head.

I told my boss straight-up that this dynamic not only undermines my authority, it makes me uncomfortable. However, she dismissed my concerns, calling these post-work conversations harmless “marital chitchat.” Despite her dismissive attitude, her husband’s complaints have resulted in very real procedural changes within my department, and now my boss is leaning on me to give him more authority and responsibility. Plus, even though he’s a brand new hire, my boss has already given him permission to attend a national seminar on the institution’s dime in favor of much more senior and deserving employees. Am I right to chafe at this situation? If so, is there anything I can do that won’t result in my boss hating me/terminating me?

Good lord. You are indeed right to chafe at it — this is nepotism, it’s terrible management, and it’s horribly undermining to you. It’s pretty shocking that either of them think this is okay.

Do you have a board of directors? If so, I’d consider alerting them to what’s going on, as there’s almost certainly a conflict of interest policy that the head of your organization is violating (and even if there isn’t, typically a board would be pretty alarmed to hear about such terrible judgment). You could ask them not to connect your name with the report but even if you do that, it comes with the risk of retaliation from her so I’d be ready to move on (and possibly would wait to do it until you’re already on your way out). But even if there’s no retaliation (or if you decide not to report it), it sounds like it’s probably time to leave — the situation is untenable and says something very, very bad about the acumen of the person running the place.

2. My boss calls and texts me constantly on my days off

I am a supervisor who is paid hourly at a small corporate company. Every single day off that I have, my boss calls and texts me throughout the day and night to inform me of any and every mistake that I have possibly made during the week while I was there. With the vast majority of these issues, it turns out later that they are not even my mistakes but nonetheless I am hunted down and informed about them and then made to answer her barrage of questions and humiliations. This not only forces me to have to stop what I am doing with my children and family, but it is ruining my days off to the point where I feel as though I am at work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and not getting paid for that. I think she does this to me because she is plugged into her job 24/7.

Please advise because this is either going to make me have to quit or I am going to end up divorced because of it. Also, is it legal for a company to do this to an hourly employee who is off the clock?

It’s legal as long as they’re paying you for the time it takes up. If they’re not, that’s illegal and you should start logging those hours and submitting them (including overtime pay if it takes you over 40 hours in a week).

But it’s certainly super obnoxious. Your boss sounds unreasonable enough that the ultimate solution here might indeed be that you need to find another job. I say that not just because of the constant interruptions — those are bad, but the fact that she keeps blaming you for mistakes you didn’t make, and continues to do it even after seeing time and again that you weren’t at fault, is a pretty bad sign about the likelihood of her seeing reason any time soon.

Still, though, you could try to address this and see where that gets you. I’d start by saying something like this: “Jane, I’m finding that it’s impossible for me to disconnect from work or have a true day off because we’re in such regular contact when I’m not at work. Especially as an hourly employee, it’s important to me to have real time off. Could we set up a different system for communication so that I’m only being contacted at home when it’s a real emergency?” Alternately or in addition to this, you could ignore her calls and texts on your days off (although if you’re still seeing them, that may not help your stress level). You could also try telling her in advance that you’re going to be keeping your phone off so that you’re able to disconnect.

Given the behavior that you’ve described from her, I’m not hopeful that she’s salvageable. But it makes sense to give it a shot and see what happens.

3. Job applicants who try to “neg” an employer

Has “negging” potential employers become a thing? Particularly when hiring for communications/outreach positions, we had applicants essentially auditing our social media accounts and website, and letting us know what they thought worked and didn’t, and whether they approved of who we followed or liked. I had thought it was particular to media positions, but I’ve now had two admin coordinator applicants send similar critiques. We tell folks to check us out online to get a good feel for what we do – are they misinterpreting that? I realize they’re trying to show initiative, but it comes across critical, and sometimes borderline insulting. It feels a little like someone approaching you in a bar and insulting your shoes, then asking you on a date so they can buy you a pair they think is better.

I don’t think it’s a new trend, but if you’re seeing a lot of it, who knows. It sounds to me like a misapplication of the advice some people give to tell employers how you could solve a problem they’re having — but the challenge, of course, is that it’s very, very hard to know from the outside what problems the employer considers itself to have, let alone whether your suggestions make sense for their context. As a result, this approach can come across as presumptuous or even insulting, as it sounds like happened with your applicants.

4. Should I tell my boss that I’m going through a tough time in my personal life?

I work at an amazing company that cares about me as a person, is incredibly flexible with time off and working from home, and treats me very well as an employee. In the past few months, I have gone through a terrible depressive episode. I broke up with an emotionally and verbally abusive narcissistic boyfriend and struggled with the decision.

I know that this has affected my performance — the quality of my work hasn’t become worse, I just have become less productive and driven. I’ve started therapy and adjusted my meds (I was already taking an antidepressant for anxiety). However, I am wondering if I should disclose some of this to my bosses so that they understand that this is not my usual behavior and I am actively working to improve it.

If you think your bosses have likely noticed a change in your behavior, it could be useful to let them know that you’ve been dealing with some personal issues outside of work. I wouldn’t get into the details — the details don’t actually matter for the purpose of what you want to communicate to them — but instead would just say something like, “I want to let you know that I’ve been dealing with some difficulties in my personal life, and I realize I may not have been working at 100% over the last few weeks as a result. I’m working to fix that, but in case you’d noticed any changes, I wanted to give you some context for it.”

A good boss will appreciate knowing you’re in a stressful time (so that if they have noticed any change in your work, they’ll understand why) and will also appreciate knowing that you’re trying to mitigate it.

5. Same-day interview travel tips

I recently received an interview request for a position two states away from where I live. The company is paying for both the flight and a rental car for me, and I will be in their city for less than eight hours. What tips/tricks do you have for travel interviews? Specifically, I’m worried about my outfit getting wrinkled while sitting on a two-hour long flight and my make-up looking not-so-fresh by the time of the actual interview. I have about 90 minutes between when the plane lands and the start of the interview.

I plan on bringing a large, professional looking tote bag with me to carry emergency make-up, deodorant, mints, extra hair ties,etc. But with so much time between when I have to get ready to catch my flight and the interview, I worry I will look, well, like I’ve traveled all day. Any suggestions?

Can you bring a garment bag, despite it being a same-day trip? That way you could change into your interview outfit after your plane arrives, which will keep it looking reasonably fresh. You could also fly with no makeup and apply it in the airport at your destination.

Readers, what other advice do you have on this?

{ 218 comments… read them below }

  1. FTW*

    For #5:

    – Do your hair at home, but do your make-up in the airport bathroom
    – Look for clothes that don’t wrinkle, but this is though with interview attire. I would bring a garment bag (kind you might get with a nice purchase at Nordstrom, nothing too fancy). When you board the plane, ask the flight attendant if they could hang it in the closet if there is room. If not lay it on top of suitcases in the overhead bin.
    – Put your clothes directly in the garment bag from the dry-cleaner. Keep any plastic bag or paper intact.
    – If you don’t wear bulky clothing on the plane, you can usually put your clothes and garment bag in a big enough tote. Otherwise, look for left luggage or lockers at the airport (Google to check ahead of time) where you can leave during your interview.
    – If you have room in your tote, put your heels (if you’re wearing them) in there and fly in flats.

    Signed, someone who routinely goes from red-eyes to meet with clients.

    1. MeepMeep*

      Same thoughts, I’ve done the traveling interviews a fair amount and I’ve found funding clothing that doesn’t wrinkle essential. I once caught a midnight bus from SF to LA for a morning interview at college and wore a very nice tailored jersey dress and tights. It was pretty comfy and looked fine when I got up, not all crinkly. Good luck!!

    2. Emmie*

      I took a small carry on and packed my interview clothes and heels. I also applied my makeup at my destination and brushed my teeth. My interviewing company took no concern w/ the small carry on when I arrived (by taxi, but leave it in your rental.). I also think changing back into cozy flying clothes on the flight home helped me decompress after a long travel day. I also recommend allowing yourself plenty of time to get to the interview from the airport and returning back. Good luck!

      1. Anon for this*

        Oh! Resumes, snacks, IPad or reading material, phone chargers, directions, Tylenol, car rental reservation/ flight info, contact info for people, and *deodorant* were all helpful too!
        (I flew in and out during a major storm – think blizzard or tropical storm!)

        1. Anon-Anon*

          In addition to the Tylenol – Non-Drowsy Dramamine. Even if you are not prone to airsickness – check the weather forecast and if there is any chance there is going to be bad weather in your flight pattern – take some before your flight. I travel quite frequently and had never gotten air sickness before. Earlier this year was flying to a one-day meeting during a particularly rough bought of weather that affected the entire coast. By the time I reached my destination, I felt awful. I haven’t traveled without it since.

      2. Turanga Leela*

        Yes—wear different clothes. This will also come in handy if your return flight is delayed or cancelled; you probably don’t want to be stuck at the airport La Quinta in just your interview suit. (I might throw a change of underwear and a nightshirt in my tote, too.)

    3. Mander*

      I’d definitely freshen up and change clothes when I got there. A comfy outfit for traveling that folds up small would be ideal (I’m thinking leggings and a long top), and maybe some of those little flats that fold up into a case. Not great walking shoes but they are not bulky.

      I always feel disgusting and greasy after getting off a plane, so I usually carry a washcloth and wash my face (sometimes other bits too) when I get to my destination. The damp cloth goes in a zip lock bag afterward. Or some baby wipes or face wipes work, too. I also brush my teeth and sometimes dab a little dry shampoo on before tidying up my hair.

      I don’t think you need to worry that the employer will be put off if you have an unusually large tote or a backpack with you, given that you had to fly out. As long as it’s not excessively huge I imagine they would expect that.

      1. Parenthetically*

        This is all great advice. A couple years ago I was meeting my boyfriend at the airport after a 12-hour flight, a two hour layover, and a 1 hour flight, and wanted to look non-bedraggled — dry shampoo, deodorant, washcloth, a quick change, and some makeup in the departure lounge bathroom made a huge difference in how I felt and looked!

        1. Shauna*

          Where do you get the dry shampoo, and which brand do you recommend? I have searched, but not found it at the drugstore.

          1. phedre*

            I use Moroccan Oil and buy it on Amazon. It’s a bit expensive ($23) but I find it lasts a while and it’s the only dry shampoo I’ve found that works.

          2. akgb*

            I love L’Oreal Professional Fresh Dust. I purchase it at my salon. But it doesn’t smell bad or make my hair look white. Just remember to do a good job brushing it through. (And try it before the day of!)

          3. shep*

            I know this question was directed at someone else, but personally I use Dove Dry Shampoo. Pretty easily found at drug stores, grocery stores, and places like Walmart and Target. I will also occasionally just order it on Amazon. I’ve tried a few other brands, but Dove seems far and away to work best for me!

            1. Salamander*

              I second the Dove Dry Shampoo. I’ve tried a lot of brands, but this works best on my fine, limp hair.

            2. HoVertical*

              I’ve used the NYM (Not Your Mother’s) brand dry shampoo. Smells nice, brushes through beautifully, and they have a travel size available – I’ve purchased it at Ulta and Target.

          4. Lily Evans*

            The Not Your Mother’s brand has pretty decent dry shampoo that most drugstores and Target carry (in the NE US at least). If you’re willing to spend more, though, I haven’t found anything that can beat Bumble and Bumble’s Pret a Powder. It does last awhile though, I got the travel size and have been using it every few days for over a month now, but you can only get it in salons and Sephora, I think.

            1. Snork Maiden*

              I love Living Proof, it works very well on my thick greasy Caucasian hair. Sephora sells a nice little travel size that I keep in my day tote. I’d like to add for others, it’s very strongly scented, if perfumes are an issue. Klorane makes an acceptable scent free shampoo.

          5. librarygirl*

            I love Lush’s No Drought. Its a bit harder to apply as it isn’t in a spray but its not over the top perfume-y and it doesn’t get clumpy/weird if you tend to get a little sweaty when nervous. And a bottle lasts a long time. You can ask for a sample at the store to see if you like it before you buy it too.

          6. irritable vowel*

            Plain old cornstarch does exactly the same thing as any dry shampoo and costs almost nothing! Just dust it on with a makeup brush.

            1. Emily*

              Cornstarch works okay for me (more passable than amazing, but I have pretty thick hair and struggle to get it through all my roots). For anyone with darker hair considering it, I would recommend mixing the cornstarch with cocoa powder to avoid a whitish cast.

      2. AndersonDarling*

        I was going to suggest the makeup remover wipes, or there are special face wipes for freshening up and removing oils. I ordered some from Amazon for my husband when he had to go from 8 hours in a factory directly to on interview.

      3. Travel Tips*

        They also make large “shower wipes” for camping. They’re basically large baby wipes. A few years ago I bought a large box of them and through one in my carry on for long flights.

    4. FQTV*

      Depending on your budget and the airport you’re flying into, you can investigate whether an airline club is available. The one-day rates aren’t exactly cheap, but many of them have shower suites available where you can change/freshen up after you land (check this online before you arrive). And with the day rate you should be able to use the facility again on your way home to change out of your interview attire and either a celebratory drink at the bar if the interview goes well or a consolation drink if it doesn’t. Day passes are ~$40-$50 last time I checked so this might not be in everyone’s budget and they’re not at all airports but worth thinking about if OP is worried about finding somewhere to freshen up.

    5. AdAgencyChick*

      If #5 is a woman, I’d say jersey or ponte dress for sure, unless you absolutely must wear a suit to the interview.

    6. Sunshine*

      And pack an extra outfit in case of flight cancellations. I learned the hard way after a day trip extended into the following day and I was stuck in the same suit and heels for two days. A medium-sized tote should be enough, and I wouldn’t think the employer would have an issue. I’ve even used a leather one and loaded my laptop/materials in the same bag to avoid carrying multiple bags.

      1. ZuKeeper*

        Good advice on the extra clothes and OP will have a rental car, so any travel baggage can be left in the trunk, so the potential employer will never even see it.

    7. Damn It Hardison!*

      I’ve found that J Jill’s Wearever separates (jersey) work well for traveling. They are professional but not traditional – no structured blazers but light jackets for example. Of course it depends on the culture of the workplace at which you are interviewing. Doing your makeup in the airport bathroom is a good idea; don’t forget to bring a travel pack of face wipes to prep your face before putting on your makeup.

      1. kac*

        As someone who travels a lot for work, and often has meetings the same day that I fly in, I agree with what others have said here:

        Fly in comfy clothes, and change your outfit in the airport bathroom. Apply makeup once you land and bring a hairbrush (depending on your hair type, of course) to freshen up. Having a change of shoes is a good idea too, so you don’t have to fly in fancy and perhaps uncomfortable shoes.

        You’ll feel fresher this way, and I find the ritual of changing helps me shift into ‘go-time’ mode, even if it’s a silly change in an airport bathroom.

        As you’ll have a rental car, you can leave the bag with your flying clothes and makeup in the car!

    8. Julia*

      I’d also add a nighttime moisturizer to wear during the flight. Usually the main reason my makeup looks ehh after flights (even if I apply after!) is because the plane dried my skin out.

        1. Snork Maiden*

          I love putting on a luxurious night cream before flying! I also find a saline nasal spray is also nice to have if your sinuses dry out as well.

    9. orchidsandtea*

      Airplane Hair is the worst for me; I always look so frazzled. If you have straight or wavy hair, consider getting your hair professionally blown out the day before. Cost varies by city ($35ish in my midsized city) but it’ll give you a fighting chance at having a good hair day for your interview. I don’t have advice for curly or textured hair, I’m afraid, but a blowout works for me for 2-3 days.

      Wear a lightweight, comfortable outfit on the plane and then change everything—including undergarments and a quick scrub with a washcloth—while still on the plane, just before the captain puts the seatbelt sign on for landing. Do your makeup and put on your suitjacket once you’ve landed. No need to poke your eye out with mascara during turbulance!

      1. Karo*

        For curly hair, I use the Deva curl line. I can (normally) style my hair at the start of one day and rock it for a second day. It may not look as great as the first day, but it’s certainly passable. Another option would be to have a professional do it for you (google Deva Cut), which I’ve found lasts longer (mostly because they’re better at the process than I am, so day 2 professionally-styled Deva = day 1 Karo-styled Deva). Expensive, so not in everyone’s price range, but it’s been worth it for me.

        That said, I can’t attest to how it looks after a day of plane travel.

        1. March*

          I’m actually allergic to the scents in Deva Products (I wore them for one day and by the time I got home that evening, I was a sniffly, miserable wreck), but for curly/wavy hair, I really love Marc Anthony products. The Strictly Curls mousse is fantastic and does a great job of avoiding frizz. Held up great on flights from the Canadian east coast to London.

            1. Natalie*

              Purchase with care, though – I’ve bought Deva products on Amazon that were clearly either out of date or counterfeit.

              If you order directly from their website, it’s often cheaper than salons. And if you can swing ordering the giant bottle, the per ounce price goes way down.

    10. Garrett*

      One thing to think about though is the size of the airport/city you are going to. If it is a large place, getting to the car rental and getting the car may take a good amount of time. Plus, the drive if during high-traffic times. 1.5 hours may not be a lot in that case, so I agree about the wrinkle-free stuff and maybe a quick jump into the bathroom to freshen up. The interviewers will know you just flew in, so if you are a bit “traveled” it won’t be the end of the world.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Personally, for such a short flight, I’d worry more about the flight being late and not having time to change and do makeup than I would about looking disheveled after the flight. A flight delay, a large airport, or a lineup at the rental car counter and you could eat up all your prep time.

        I might pack a change of clothing with me, plus supplies like spare nylons,, makeup, toothpaste, etc, but I’d make sure to wear something that would be acceptable to the interview, so I could go straight there with a quick tidy of hair and makeup in the bathroom and maybe a breath mint and change of shoes.

        For longer flights (I had a 27 door to door trip last week, with 19 hours in the air), I wear loose, light clothing, and have a small towel, clean underwear, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, hair wax and mouthwash in my bag. I can hit up the bathroom, wash my armpits and face, brush my teeth and re-apply deodorant. My hair is short enough that I can rinse it out at the bathroom sink if I have to, towel dry, and apply styling wax. The air of zombie like fatigue is harder to hide, unfortunately.

        1. Becky*

          I regularly go right from an airport to client meetings. The few times I’ve had to wear suite-like clothing, I’ve made sure that the material is wrinkle-resistant and that I put the jacket in the overhead bin.

          OP #5, I don’t know what your makeup routine is, but if you’re factoring in interview nerves + canned airline air + 90 minutes from landing to interview, opt for as basic as possible.

          And a tip I got from other frequent fliers – drink lots of water for 48 hours ahead of the flight. It really does help my skin feel fresher after a flight and it keeps me feeling more awake after I land.

          Good luck on your interview!

        2. irritable vowel*

          I wouldn’t worry too much about the flight being delayed – the interviewers kind of have to accept that’s a possibility if the OP is coming in the morning of the interview. If the flight is delayed, I think the OP is still well within her rights to take the time she needs to freshen up before picking up her rental car (a point at which delays seem to happen even more often than flights – if I hear “Sorry, we don’t have any cars right now, please wait 30-45 minutes” one more time…). Having the rental car is a huge bonus, though, because the OP can leave all her stuff in it!

    11. Lily Evans*

      For make-up, if you’re willing to splurge a bit, Urban Decay setting spray is amazing. It kept my make-up in place for an outdoor wedding ceremony that was over eighty degrees and humid and the reception after. Someone even asked me how I got it to stay so well.

      1. AVP*

        DryBar sells something similar for loose hair! It’s not as tough as a hairspray that you would use to keep an updo in place, but it makes your loose curls or blowout look fresh and not too worn-in. I think it’s called Triple Sec.

      2. martinij*

        If you’re looking for a budget friendly option, NYX makes a great $8 drugstore setting spray that comes in a dewy and matte finish.

    12. Venus Supreme*

      Hi, OP! I’m not sure what your hair is like but I’ll give my $0.02 about hair. My hair is long and very thick and can’t really hold a curl that well. But my go-to for “low maintenance, yet fancy” hair is: hot rollers.

      I bought my ConAir rollers at a rummage sale for a dollar back in 2003, so I’m sure any brand will suffice. In the morning I put my whole head of hair up in rollers, go about the rest of my morning, take out my rollers before leaving (30-60 minutes), and spritz with hairspray. My hair is SUPER DUPER curly immediately after removing the rollers, but the hair “falls” for the rest of the day. I’m usually left with silky, frizz-free waves. I get a ton of compliments and I find this to be the cheapest, quickest, and most effective way to have quality-styled hair.

      My recommendation to you is to set your hair with hot rollers at the beginning of the day and then touch up your hair with either a serum or hair spray before your interview. Best of luck!

    13. AshleyH*

      I’ve flew for a few interviews when I was relocating from the East Coast back to the Midwest. I lived an hour from my local airport, so it was an hour drive to PHL, then a 2 hour flight to the Midwest. I always just got ready at home (one interview I wore a business shift dress and blazer, one I wore a skirt suit), wore flats with heels in my professional looking tote purse, and then when I arrived went to the airport bathroom to brush my hair, use oil-blotting sheets and reapply lip gloss. I didn’t really have to add anything to my regular work bag – I kept oil blotting sheets, an evian mister (super unnecessary but it’s my travel splurge), a brush, bobby pins, a hair elastic for worst-case scenarios, deodorant, mini lint roller (I have a cat), mints, stain stick, lip gloss, makeup remover wipe, mascara (just in case), and obviously all interview-related things.

      I always left my flats in my rental car, but they were the small fold-up kind so I could have kept them in there (it just seemed really embarrassing to potentially have shoes fall out of my bag.

      I definitely didn’t bring clothes or change or anything like that – it’s a 2 hour flight, not a trek to Tibet, and if you select your clothes well, you’ll be fine, and your interviewers know you’re traveling – obviously you want to look your best but any wrinkles I’d get from sitting on a flight I’d also get sitting in my car . For what it’s worth, I got offers for both jobs. Most makeup should last for a 2 hour flight – if it isn’t, you probably need new makeup :). I’d be way more worried about getting powder or dripping foundation on myself than maybe looking a little more shiny than normal

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        I definitely didn’t bring clothes or change or anything like that – it’s a 2 hour flight, not a trek to Tibet

        Yeah, I’m kind of surprised that a 2 hour flight is such a big deal.

        1. Anon today*

          For me personally, it’s not the two hour flight as much as all of the drama of getting to and through airports. Between shuttles, the lines, the airports and the plane itself there are often multiple temperature changes. I often get sweaty then cold again and that leaves me looking pretty bedraggled.

    14. Meg*

      I think a lot of people are overthinking this. When I was in law school, I had several (over the course of a few weeks) same day interviews in Chicago and flew in early before my interview from a Midwest city about an hour’s flight from Chicago. I wore my suit and did my hair at 4:30 before leaving for my flight. No one will notice or care if your suit is a little wrinkled. They know you are flying in from out of town and don’t expect perfection. The suggestion of a professional blow out (if you are a woman) the day before is probably a good one as then you won’t have to get up extra early to make sure your hair looks good. The suggestion of comfortable shoes is also a good one because you may have to do a lot of walking at the airport (I just wore my heels). Otherwise, don’t stress about this. You don’t need to do a wipe down in the bathroom or reapply your makeup. You don’t need to change at the airport. No one will care.

      1. Oryx*

        I think much of it depends on flight duration. An hour flight is short enough that I’d probably get off the flight still feeling comfortable and confident if I wore my interview outfit. But flying, say, across the country? I’d want to change.

        1. Meg*

          Yes. I guess I was assuming that two states away equals no more than a 2 hour flight (I can fly to Florida from the Midwest in 2 1/2 hours).

        2. irritable vowel*

          The OP says it’s a 2-hour flight, and then there’s the drive which I imagine could be up to an hour given the amount of time between landing and interview. I kind of agree with Meg that some of this advice is more suited to having to go to an interview after a red-eye across the country. I’d probably wear the suit, take the jacket off during the flight* and drive, and bring a change of shoes in my bag if my “interview shoes” weren’t comfy enough for trekking through an airport. And bring extra pantyhose/tights if wearing a skirt in case of runs. The drive will take place after all this post-flight primping, so there’s still the opportunity for wrinkles, etc.

          * When you get on the plane, tell the flight attendant you’re on your way to a job interview and ask if they can hang up your suit jacket in the business/first-class cabin coat closet, if there is one.

  2. Stellaaaaa*

    OP1: I agree with Alison that it’s time to look for something new. The current situation is working for your boss and her husband. It’s not like either one of them is in a rush to leave.

    OP3: The only time I’ve heard of this happening regularly is when you’re the sort of company that’s regarded as being a “good opportunity” but also one that (sorry to say it) is known for hiring and rewarding mediocre employees (either because there’s no room for advancement or because raises simply don’t happen). Prospective employees can have a weird envy toward the people that already work there, especially if it’s clear from the outside that those people aren’t good at their jobs. There’s a company like this in my city. It’s the only local stepping stone if you’re trying to get into a certain line of work, and its current media is riddled with typos and evidence of poor decisions. People tend to go in for interviews with the approach of, “You’re clearly strapped for talented employees, so here’s how I’d fix all of the obvious mistakes you’re making.” Of course, none of these people end up getting hired even though they’re technically right about what they could contribute to the company.

    This was long-winded and vague, but even if you don’t hire these candidates, perhaps you should think about whether their criticism is valid and whether your company has a reputation you don’t know about. It’s certainly curious that so many people are taking this approach with you.

    1. MK*

      I agree that if a lot of people are noticing errors (actual errors, not things they think they can do better), there is probably something there. But even so, it should be common sense that criticising your perspective employer isn’t the best idea.

      1. Stellaaaaa*

        Well they tell interviewees to check out the company’s online presence before coming in. So if the interviewer asks a question along the lines of, “So did you look at our website and social media? Do you have any overall thoughts or questions about what we’re about?” I can see how an intervieweee might say something like, “I actually found your website to be out of date and hard to navigate” or “I had a hard time getting a feel for the company because the blog posts were hard to follow.”

        Basically, if you direct people to your social media before the interview and a lot of interviewees are subsequently raising issues with your social media, there’s a good chance the social media is problematic, even if the interviewees aren’t showing good etiquette.

        1. Jack the Treacle Eater*

          Presumably the idea of ‘do you know what we’re about’ is ‘do you understand our business’ rather than ‘can you rip us to shreds’?

          Point taken that the social media might be problematic, but…

          1. Stellaaaaa*

            Then there might be an issue with the questions being asked as well, unless we want to believe that this company is drawing from an exceedingly rude pool of applicants. Are they being asked how they might improve the social media? Or whether they interacted with the social media at all? Something is giving them the opening to say these things. Most people wouldn’t mention a company’s social media in an interview unless they were asked about it.

            Ultimately though, I’ve found that when a bunch of unconnected people independently draw the same conclusions about something, those conclusions should be taken seriously.

              1. Koko*

                You are somewhat talking past each other. Stellaaaa is talking about whether the candidates might be right in their critical assessment, regardless of whether they’ve been rude or inappropriate, for the purpose of assessing whether the company should consider making changes. The others of you seem to be talking about whether the candidate was rude or inappropriate in their critical assessment, regardless of whether they might be right, for the purpose of assessing whether the candidate should be hired.

                A bunch of rude people who shouldn’t be hired may nonetheless be pointing out an actual problem that should be fixed.

                1. Oryx*

                  They are pointing it out because they are either misunderstanding the question being asked or are being asked a bad question that opens itself to answers like this.

        2. OP #3*

          Occasionally it’s mentioned in interviews, but most recently I had a candidate email me which local businesses he thought we should support, and that we should ‘unlike’ the town mayor as an organization since it showed partisanship.

          We’re experiencing this with candidates who aren’t actually applying for comms positions, and haven’t even been interviewed.

      2. Bob*

        I was on an interview panel once for an IT Director and a few of the candidates voluntarily started listing how they would “fix” our IT department. This was local government so much of it was under the assumption there was a lot of “waste” that needed to be cleaned up. The really odd thing was I seemed to be the only one in the room that thought “who said we have ANY problems that need fixed?” For all you know, the previous guy got promoted or found a higher paying job in the private sector (ha was actually fired but that wasn’t public). In the end, we went with an underwhelming internal candidate who was ultimately let go two years later.

        I think the safer answer would have been you wouldn’t want to make any immediate changes that might disrupt service but you would certainly evaluate all of the people and processes. A fresh set of eyes from a different background can often find obvious improvements in any job. I would also meet with senior management and department heads to hear their concerns about the services my department provides.

      3. OP #3*

        It’s not errors they seem to be reporting – if it was, I agree, that says something about us. One of the applicants emailed me to let me know they thought we were ‘chain-heavy’ in our Facebook likes and should be focusing on promoting local businesses (which is in no way related to our work), but criticized us for ‘Liking’ our town’s mayor for creating a partisan image.

        I was reading back answers on AAM and noticed Alison suggested in another answer about odd jobseeking behavior that maybe a local professor could be giving out bad advice, so I’ve sent a few emails to other people around town I know that do a fair amount of hiring to see if they’ve experienced anything similar. I’ll update everyone if I ever find out where it’s coming from!

    2. mazzy*

      The comment on #3 is really good, yes this is a thing. It also overlays with small companies acting like big old fashioned companies and treating longevity and desire to “advance” or at least get the perks that come with it as a good thing

    3. Joseph*

      Good point in the second paragraph. I think the usual rule of three applies here: The first time you write it off as happenstance, the second time could be coincidence, but the third time means there’s something there. *Especially* since the admin candidates pointed it out – it’s one thing for specialists like social media experts to critique, but if a ‘layman’ candidate like an admin finds problems, then you should really think whether other outsiders (i.e., potential clients!) might think the same thing.

      1. the gold digger*

        Yes – the proper reaction is not to get defensive but to think, “Here is an opportunity for us to improve.” I am always very happy when a customer tells me what she does not like rather than just going to a competitor. I don’t want to make or sell crappy product. If we are not doing it right, I want to fix it, not tell the customer she is wrong.

        (I bought a t-shirt with a big Texas map on it. The fabric was cut so much on the bias that the hem rose up on one side. I wrote a polite email to the vendor, asking to exchange the shirt for one where the fabric was cut properly and he got nasty with me. He did send me a new shirt- and it, too, had the same problem.

        That’s when I asked for my money back. He got nasty again, basically telling me I was wrong to find fault with his product. My attitude was, “Your supplier needs to do it right” and his was, “How dare you not like a shirt with the fabric cut on the bias.”

        I did not want to argue with him about the product, which was clearly flawed. I was waiting for the pants letter from Confederacy of Dunces, but it never came.)

      2. Always Anon*

        I don’t know if I agree with this completely.

        There are many people who believe they know information that they simply don’t, and are trying to be overly critical in an effort to look like they are competent. Especially, when it comes to things like social media strategy. I work with volunteers and it’s not unusual for one of them to share with me how our social media strategy is all wrong, and how we really need to do xyz. Typically xyz will not follow best practices, and there is a reason why we have experienced professionals providing guidance versus our volunteers.

        So I think a lot of those things have to be taken with a grain of salt. But, I also think that how this kind of topic is approached by the candidate and the employer says a lot about both.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Strategy, perhaps. But if the website is hard to navigate or the company information isn’t clear in a way the most uninformed layman (or a potential customer) could understand, then there might be a problem. Those are basics.

        2. AnonAnalyst*

          This definitely happens, but I still think it’s reasonable to reassess your strategy if you have gotten multiple comments that it is not working. You might conclude that the strategy is working fine for the reasons mentioned above, but it seems premature to just write off all of the comments as “we know better than they do” without any reflection on whether there is any merit to the complaints.

    4. Lisa*

      However OP#3 specifically said “whether they approved of who we followed or liked” which is not an objective decision like a typo, it’s a subjective decision that is going to be partially based on the company’s internal strategies, priorities, etc.

      I can see an applicant using that as an opening to discuss the company’s goals – “I notice you follow Controversial Blogger on Twitter and sometimes retweet him which I believe is unusual in your industry, can you tell me anything about the strategy behind that?” This might uncover insight into the culture that an applicant would want to know (they court controversy, they have a sloppy strategy, they consider themselves fearless…).

      But offering it as a critique is really risky because you just don’t have enough information. This reminds me of the time an applicant for my coworker’s opening emailed her his thank you note and included a helpful “warning” about an “issue” he’d “discovered” on our website. She came to me in a panic and I had to spend some time and effort reassuring her that everything was fine. And what it all boiled down to was, he was so unfamiliar with our industry that he thought something was a horrible mistake–it could have been, for a different kind of company–that in our case was completely normal and proper. So it made him look dumb and uniformed, it made HER look bad internally for not spotting the discrepancy herself, it wasted her time and mine and left both of us irritated with him.

      This is especially risky because there are very subtle factors that influence digital media decisions that can vary widely from brand to brand. So even if you were a social media expert at Acme Teapots that doesn’t tell you enough about the strategy at AAA Teapots to be critiquing them.

  3. state government jane*

    For #5, you could add wrinkle release spray to your go bag. Drugstores often sell it in travel sizes. It gets the job pretty well done and also has a mild “laundry” scent that might help you feel a little more “freshened up” post-flight. You don’t need a lot of it for it to be effective, and you will have plenty of time between your flight and interview for it to dry. Just be sure to do a test run with it on some hidden part of your outfit before you go. I’ve never had a problem with it, but the last thing you want is to create self-imposed stains right before an interview. Good luck!

  4. Observer*

    #1 – is there any sort of anonymous “whistle-blower” channel in your organization?

    What your boss has done in hiring her husband almost certainly violated anti-nepotism and conflict of interest policies here. Most government agencies that provide funds to organizations require that the agencies they fund to have such policies in place.

    The Board needs to know about this ASAP

    1. Seal*

      This. I worked in a similar situation at a public university library years ago where an artificial reporting line was created to accommodate the wife of a department head. In this case, they promoted a librarian for the sole purpose of being the wife’s boss they could both work in the same department. Although everyone involved insisted that the wife didn’t report to her husband, the reality was that the woman’s boss had no managerial skills whatsoever, so the wife – who was a nasty piece of work on a good day – did whatever the hell she wanted, including bullying the staff. This nonsense went on for a couple of years before several of us complained to the university about the blatant nepotism. To this day I can’t imagine why anyone in administration signed off on that arrangement.

      1. SouthernLadybug*

        Every now and again a stern email reminding faculty/staff of the nepotism policies is sent out. There’s nearly always a good reason that everyone has heard about that’s behind the reminder….

    2. Bend & Snap*

      I worked for a VP whose wife was the president of the company…so there was nowhere to go with issues. I had to quit to get out of that toxic situation. This sounds like the same thing–there’s no way to resolve it without quitting.

    3. Shark Lady*

      Agreed. My employer has an “Ethics Hotline” that can be contacted 24/7 through multiple means, and we do have the option of remaining anonymous. It’s a great tool.

  5. Anon for this*

    OP #4: I am very proud of you! You are a very strong person. It takes a while to unpack mentally after such a difficult relationship. With time and the hard work you’re doing now – esp counseling, you’ll be stronger and happier. If it’s any consolation, it was more difficult initially for me for after I left a man similar to yours than it was being with him; however, I got to a place where I am now back to my old self. It gets better!

    1. Cat steals keyboard*

      +1, and I’m glad you’re back to your old self. OP, it does get better. I wish you hope and healing.

    2. Fluke Skywalker*

      Seconded. I wish I’d been the one to dump my emotionally manipulative ex, but he dumped me (over the phone!) and I was a WRECK from it. It was how I imagine drug withdrawal must be. Even though he was awful and treated me awfully. :( Anyway! OP, you sound like you’re on the right path to recovery. I know it sucks now, but you’re doing all the right things to get better, and if you’re at a workplace that cares about you, they’ll understand. I’m wishing you the best over here.

      1. Anon for this*

        I am so sorry you went through this. It’s so normal to be a massive wreck no matter who ended the relationship. In fact, his ending shows how he still asserted power, control, and manipulation even during the breakup. You are a very strong person, Fluke! Big kudos for staying gone.

        1. Fluke Skywalker*

          Aw, you’re sweet. :) Thank you! That happened a year and a half ago, and it was a very long, hard road. Fortunately, I relocated 600 miles away for a great new job, and while I’m sad to be so far from home, I love where I live now and I finally feel like I’m completely over it. I feel like myself again… I think. It’s been so long I honestly couldn’t remember who I was anymore! Eek!

          1. Anon for this*

            What a brave move! Big congratulations! Keep up the good work, and much joy and happiness in your new town! :)

    3. Camellia*

      This! Well said.

      I do want to add something, though. I went through something similar and made a great recovery. I stayed single for seven years. I am now married to a wonderful man, going on thirteen years. However, when we first got together, simply having a man in the house/bed triggered a recurrence of the old nightmares, fears, etc.. Nothing and no one had prepared me for this; none of the books I had read or counselors I had seen had mentioned that this was even a possibility. We nearly didn’t survive the first year of marriage and I had to go back on antidepressants for a while. Luckily I finally adjusted and he, terrific guy that he is, stuck it out and helped me as much as he could.

      I can’t be the only person this has happened to but to this day I’ve never seen it mentioned. So you might want to discuss it with your therapist when the time is right.

      1. SarcasticFringehead*

        It’s so important to internalize the idea that recovery isn’t linear and that there might be things years down the line that could still throw you for a loop (and, conversely, that being thrown for a loop doesn’t mean you’ve “failed” at recovery). It’s discouraging enough when you’re experiencing it, but it can be devastating if you didn’t realize it might happen.

      2. Anon for this*

        I had no idea that could happen Carmellia. FWIW, I find now – nearly 3 yrs later – that I react really strongly to fights on TV – heart races very fast, why doesn’t he hit her thoughts – and realize I still have work to do. It’s strange how these things manifest years later like Sarcastic eloquently said. Thank you for sharing your experience, and telling us about it. I am in awe of how you worked so hard that you chose a really great guy. That takes a lot of hard work, and progress. I wish you an amazing, healthy, long marriage.

    4. Anon for this*

      Thank y’all for your very kind comments. And as everyone said – big ups, and health and healing to OP. You will gain your spirit back, your peace, your safety, your health, and your laugh.

    5. Also Anon*

      I think I might be in that situation now. (4 year relationship) I wish I could tell for sure that that’s what’s going on…I don’t want to give up a good thing and regret it, but something doesn’t feel right. Any tips?

      1. Polka dot bird*

        In my experience, if things were all good you wouldn’t be questioning it. Maybe this relationship is good but still not right for you specifically. Maybe something is going on that would be bad for anyone. My tip is, trust your instincts. Look for help to talk about it.

  6. Blurgle*

    #3: Is there any chance that your social media accounts simply aren’t as well-handled or responsive as you think they are? There are companies that don’t seem to understand the need to (to give an example) go through the posts to their Facebook wall or update their profiles more than once a month and still they brag about their online presence as if mere existence mattered.

    If you tell me to look at your Facebook page on September 15 and the top post is about your Labour Day hours I might not wonder too much – although that’s obviously not optimal – but if the top post is about your Canada Day hours I might very well say something.

    1. DeskBird*

      I handle the email account that our company has posted on our Webpage and I get emails alll the time of people telling us how bad our (newly renovated) webpage is and how they can fix it. I don’t know if there is advice out there suggesting people do this – or people are deciding on their own that is how they can get a job but it defiantly is a thing that happens.

      1. AVP*

        I get these *all the time* too. I don’t mind constructive criticism, but many of them are just form emails from a giant SEO company trying to drum up business. Those are immediately marked as spam.

  7. Gene*

    For #2, let all the boss’s calls go to voice mail and ignore the texts. Let her spend her weekend blowing up your phone and don’t respond until you are back at work. By responding, you have told her it’s OK to ruin your personal time.

    1. Sherm*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends real quick if OP2 logs these calls and texts and presents a bill.

      If not, I would give the boss a heads up that I was disconnecting, not as a request, but an announcement. I had a boss that would call me on the weekend occasionally about stupid stuff. One day, he called, and I was irritated with him, so I didn’t answer. Later in the day, he called again. I realized that if I didn’t pick up the phone I would get a series of calls throughout the day. So, that situation might have been prevented if I had told him I wouldn’t be available.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Also, logging the calls means you have documentation of what is going on.

        You also might want to consider getting a Google Voice number specifically for this workplace. From what I understand, the service converts the voicemail into an e-mail (or something like that) which would take out a lot of the work in tracking this stuff. Telling your boss you got a new number — she doesn’t need to know it’s just for her. Would also make it easier in case you decide to leave to disconnect from them. I have a feeling that this person would be one who would call you after you left with more questions.

      2. Hotstreak*

        I had a boss who used to text in the evenings. Our company had a policy that if you stop working for less than 30 minutes, then clock back in for any reason, it’s considered a “break” and is paid time. One week when he texted a particularly high number of times, I clocked out, then back in, then out, then in, over and over extending my day for several hours. He was pretty shocked when he saw my timesheet (and I was shocked at how big my paycheck was!), but he stopped texting after that.

      1. burnout*

        Well if it will get her fired or put on a PIP then she definitely should look for a new job.

        I have this conversation regularly with my husband, who is salaried non-exempt and ALWAYS answers his phone, or responds to emails or texts during his off hours. When you do that, you create the expectation that you are ALWAYS available and that your personal time is not valuable or important.

        OP2, please tell your boss — nicely! — that from here forward, you are going to save replies to phone calls, etc. for when you are back in the office UNLESS it is a true emergency situation (meaning someone died suddenly…. the office caught fire…..). And then, FOLLOW THROUGH.

        We “train” people on how to treat us. Retrain your boss.

      2. Alton*

        Since she’s hourly, the company has to be really careful about doing anything that could be seen as penalizing someone for not working off the clock. That doesn’t mean they aren’t stupid enough to do that, but they should know better.

    2. Purple Dragon*

      OP # 2
      My phone (iPhone) has a Do Not Disturb function. I can set my phone to DND but have a list of numbers that can call. So I add my family & friends to this list and everything else goes to voicemail. I can also set this up as a permanent thing with a schedule.

      Maybe your phone has something similar ? This might help.

      1. Natalie*

        I think DND will let a call through if they call twice in a short time span (a minute or two). It should still help, that’s just something to be aware of.

      2. LawCat*

        I have an Android phone and it can do this as well. It works not only for calls, but any other notifications like text or email. Love it.

      3. Jayn*

        Another option I’ve used in a very different situation–custom ringtones. Or rather the lack of. I set the number to neither ring not vibrate, so I didn’t notice when the calls came in.

    3. Emac*

      I agree in principle, but I’m one of those people who gets anxious if I see unread texts or un-listened to voice mails, so if it were me, this would still be impacting my time off.

      1. Jen S. 2.0*

        Even if that’s the case, you can still listen or read if you want to; you just stop **responding**, in order to give Boss the idea that you’re off the clock. After a couple of weeks of that, the number of calls and texts likely will drop dramatically.

    4. LBK*

      I wouldn’t do this without prefacing it to the manager, especially since she’s set the precedent that she usually responds. I suspect spontaneously going AWOL on her days off when she’s usually available will only lead to an escalation of the situation, because then on top of the current texts/calls, she’ll be getting a million “why aren’t you answering???” follow ups.

    5. Tiny orchid*

      I have exactly this kind of boss. Fortunately, they issue cell phones to their employees, so I was able to draw a boundary that is working. They know that I will check my work phone on weekend mornings but then put it away. If something comes up, they can get in touch that way, and if there is a capital-E emergency, they will call/text on my personal phone. This has solved, to some extent, the competing needs of them wanting to have their employees available, and me needing time to recharge.

      It has hurt my growth at the company, though, since most other employees make themselves available at all times. I don’t see it as a long-term place for me, so I’m not worried about that, but it is a potential consequence of being clear with boundaries.

    6. addlady*

      Remember that whatever happens you are legally owed that money. And in my experience, although IANAL, it’s pretty easy to get it back from the DOL if you report it to them.

    1. babblemouth aka One Of The Greatest Minds Of The 21st Century*

      I roll my eyes so hard at that tactic. If a business asks you as part of the interview questions how you think you could improve things, by all means, do let them know. But if they don’t chances are you’re just going to appear smug, because you’re judging them without knowing history, limitations, budgets etc. Context is everything; don’t evaluate performance without knowing it.

      1. Trig*

        Never heard of a pain letter, but reading about it, it just seems like a fancy name for the reasonable advice of using a ‘you’ tone in the cover letter, with some added creepy LinkedIn stalking.

        Seems like it’s misleading candidates into being negative, when instead they should just be emphasizing their skills and experience in a way that involves the employer and their team, describing what the candidate can do for them, how they can help them.

    2. Emac*

      I’m so relieved after reading the linked discussion on this website about this way of applying to jobs. I’ve read articles about this and always wondered how people know what a manager’s pain is before starting to work in their department, and feeling inadequate because I couldn’t do that.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      Aside from being part of the Sandler Selling System, there are many business coaches right now who have taken the same principle and repackaged it. Website tear-downs are A Thing that some people do to create content for their blog, demonstrate their thinking/authority in a particular area, and hopefully drum up business (because some of them send the video link to the CEO or CTO of the company they’ve chosen to tear down). Yes, it’s meant to get the prospect thinking about how their business may be damaged or that the Tear-Downer has really hit on a problem they’ve got — and they are the solution! #shutupandtakemymoney

      Having said that, sometimes I will send an e-mail if I notice a really bad typo on a website. Just yesterday someone sent me an e-mail advertising a day-long workshop, but it didn’t have the link (and the graphic did not have the price of the event, a link was necessary), so I replied in a friendly way to let them know. Most times, the person on the other end has been thankful but then again, I’m pointing out a mistake not telling them how The Internets, You’re Doing It Wrong.

  8. Jen RO*

    #4 – As the manager in a similar situation, I appreciated a heads up. In one of the cases, I think the person started to use the situation as an excuse to take long breaks and not do the job (he has since quit and I don’t know how it’s going at his new job). In the other case, the person is doing his best – he is not at 100%, but I can tell he is not neglecting the job.

  9. MK*

    #5, the OP should consider how much time she may actually have when she gets there. If the airport is 50 minutes by car from the interview site, she might not have enough time to dress\apply make up after she lands; there might be delays in landing, disembarking, getting the rental, etc.

      1. GigglyPuff*

        They may not have the option if the potential employer is booking everything, or that might be the first flight out of the day to that city.

        If the OP doesn’t think they have time after they land, I’d ask one of the flight attendants for a heads-up, maybe explain the situation, when there’s X amount of time left in the flight, so they could change in the plane bathroom. Not convenient but might help save time.

  10. Jules the First*

    OP5 – never wear your interview outfit on the plane if you can avoid it. The day you go directly from the flight to a big meeting is somehow also always the day the flight attendant drops a glass of coke in your lap, or you end up holding an infant with a leaky diaper. Or maybe that’s just me…

    Pack stuff that doesn’t wrinkle, change when you get to your destination, leave your bag in the rental car.

    Also, think about whether 8 hours on the ground gived you enough time to check out the city if you’d be moving there if you took the job…

    1. Anna the Accounting Grad*

      Unless OP5 is already familiar with the city they’re going to, I agree that 8 hours isn’t enough to arrive, interview, and leave doesn’t leave enough time to properly scope out the area. After all, you’d presumably have to live there.

      I’ve never had to fly anywhere for anything other than a vacation, but could you get away with a smallish wheeled carry-on and a small handbag? It would be more secure than a tote bag — we all know that pickpockets like crowded places with a certain density of tourists, and an airport certainly fits that bill. And nobody reasonable could fault an out-of-towner for preferring a wheeled case to a tote bag.

      1. Anna the Accounting Grad*

        Okay, I just had an editing fail. My intended meaning in that first paragraph is clear(ish), right?

      2. sarah*

        I would honestly avoid any bag that won’t fit under the seat. I have had too many times of being told at the last minute that there’s no more room in the overhead bins and I have to gate check my bag. That’s annoying if it’s just personal stuff, but could be a real problem if your interview clothes are in there and you end up in just leggings and a tee-shirt.

        1. Meg Murry*

          I was going to say the same thing. A flight 2 states away could easily be a a small regional jet with tiny overhead bins, or OP could have to be one of the very last to board and anything that wouldn’t fit under the seat would be gate checked. And unfortunately, now at some airports/airlines, items that were gate checked wind up getting sent down to the baggage claim, not always available for you to just pick them up as soon as you step out of the plane.

          I’d recommend only taking a roller bag if OP owns one small enough to fit in one of the regional jet’s overhead bins (like the ones that are more like a briefcase on wheels, approximately half the size of the maximum size carry-on).

          Also, all the advice I’ve seen so far assumes OP has at least passing familiarity with air travel. OP, if this is your first time on a plane in a while, or the first time you’ve traveled on your own as an adult, you probably want to do a little more research on air travel basics, like how long you’ll need to arrive at the airport before your flight, things you can and can’t take through security, etc. This is the kind of thing everyone assumes other professionals know, but I have more than one friend that had never traveled by plane and didn’t know that they couldn’t just show up 15 minutes before the flight or how checking in and airport security works.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      When I fly for one-day meetings, I always carry a shawl and wrap it around myself. Helps with the crumbs.

  11. Cat steals keyboard*

    #1 What an awkward situation. My employer has a policy about hiring family members, partners or close friends – you need to disclose the relationship and excuse yourself from the hiring committee. I’m sorry your boss is allowing such unprofessional behaviour – she should not be listening to his complaints or acting on them in this way or letting him sidestep the existing hierarchy! Ugh! I really feel for you.

    #3 I think this is a classic mistake made by relative newcomers to the world of work (this is based, anecdotally, on my own experiences) who haven’t yet learned that you need to start by taking things in and getting to understand what the existing strategy is and why, rather than trying to make your mark by seemingly knowing better. I’ve had freelancers do this in the past when I worked in magazine publishing: they’d suggest we were failing our readers by not covering x or y when we knew our readership inside out.

    1. I@W*

      +1000 for the handle….
      Ugh! This is similar to a situation at a Fortune 1000 company if not a Fortune 500 company where nepotism is the norm. The worst situation I’m aware of is Husband who is a Sr. Manager who got his wife into his department without the needed skills (and as soon as she got hired she got pregnant…not that that’s bad). She now reports to my friend and takes a lot of liberties like attending her Husband’s quarterly team building events and other events for his team, including going with her husband to a conference and calling it her “training,” even going so far as saying she is saving the company money because they are sharing a hotel room. She’s, of course, privy to confidential information that someone at her level would not/should not know. The director loves him and seems to take a blind eye to the situation. My friend feels like her hands are tied.

  12. Kat A.*

    For #5: Remember that the flight could be delayed, you still have to pick up the rental car, navigate an unknown city and its traffic to get to their office for an interview. My spouse has done this many times over his career, and the 90-minute window would not be enough. He always spoke to whomever was coordinating the flight and would ask for at least a 2-hour window.

    My advice is to go fully dressed and ready for the interview, but with a bag that has an extra suit, antiperspirant, toothbrush, mints, a washcloth and facial soap, face lotion, makeup, and the shoes you’re going to wear in the interview. (Wear more comfortable shoes on the flight.)

    Have a separate briefcase for the interview (or just your purse), but leave the garment bag or overnight bag in the rental car while at their office.

    Also, make sure you go over the route and an alt route to drive to their office before you even get on the plane. Have a map of their city with you because anything could happen to your phone. It could get wet or be dropped or stolen. Always have a backup. And don’t try to purchase the map in the airport or at the rental agency. Not only may it be more expensive, looking for one and waiting in line will take up more time.

    Yes, some rental car companies will give you a map for free, but many will (over)charge for it, and those maps are usually not the easily-readable kind. Plus, since so many people just use the GPS on their phones, some agencies don’t even carry maps anymore.

    1. kac*

      I travel all the time for work (1-2 weeks a month) often to brand new locations, and I’ve never once used a map from the rental car or airport. Smart phone map apps are extremely reliable and will present alternate routes if it turns out that there’s traffic, etc.

      Interviews are stressful enough; imo there’s no use getting wound up about something she likely wouldn’t even touch.

      1. MarketingLady PA*

        I legit have not seen anyone use a map since my 1994 vacation to the beach with my parents. Thank god for the internet, direction downloads and eventually GPS.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          And I just returned from a visit to another city and we never were successful in finding a decent map. Google maps worked to get us where we needed to go, but it fails miserably when I’m trying to decide where I might want to go. In other words, if I don’t have a specific destination, I don’t get a good overview of what the options really are. It’s like buying a book online vs in a book store. Online is great if you know what you want, a bookstore shows you options you may never have considered. (Bookstores are getting hard to find too.)

          Of course, I like to explore, and that’s not something you can do in a one day interview visit. Exploring is more difficult without a map. And it’s much safer with a map instead of GPS.

      2. Meg Murry*

        Unless something happens to your smart phone (dead battery, it gets lost or damaged, discover that your service provider has terrible service in the new city and you can’t connect to 4G, etc). I don’t know that OP needs to buy a map, but I think doing a Google Map printout from the rental car lot to the company location wouldn’t be the worst backup plan and would only involve carrying an extra piece of paper or two in her bag.

        Also, saving all the rest of the interview details (address and contact info for the company, flight numbers and confirmation numbers) on paper/somewhere other than the smartphone would also be a good idea. I don’t think OP needs to go nuts with having a multi-layer backup plan to her backup plan, but having a fallback of something other than “every single piece of information I need is residing in my phone” would probably be a good idea. Maybe I’m a little paranoid/superstitious, but doing things like making paper backups to take with me for something important as an interview makes me feel better – like somehow the more I prepare, the less likely I am to need that preparation. I’ve also had bad experiences with flaky phones that have decided to die at the most inconvenient times ever, so I don’t like relying on that as my only lifeline.

        1. Judy*

          Based on my past experience, it’s in your best interest to have the google map printout of your route, even if your phone is working. Depending on the size of the airport, the rental car may be in a parking garage, then you turn out to the airport loop and need to decide which highway to get on. I’ve had phone and airport combinations that didn’t acquire the satellites soon enough for me to know which exit to use.

  13. Sophie*

    “Particularly when hiring for communications/outreach positions, we had applicants essentially auditing our social media accounts and website”

    I don’t think I would do this off the bat, but when I applied for my social media position I was specifically asked to come up with points for improvement and suggestions. I do agree that it might be a misguided attempt at saying “this are items I would tackle if I had the position”

    I read an article about a person who landed a copywriting job by sending emails pointing out mistakes in articles on a specific website. It may all depend on the delivery of the critique as well – Saying “I found A, B and C wrong with this process, this is how it should be done” is very different to “I love to work on X tasks, and this will be useful in this role as I noticed a trend of Bad Point A on your existing media” or something along the lines of.

    1. Dynamic Beige*

      when I applied for my social media position I was specifically asked to come up with points for improvement and suggestions.

      You have to be careful about this, because it can get into working for free. Sometimes, it might be they want to hire the person with the best ideas, others it might be they just want some ideas. It’s not unheard of in my industry that a client will take the creative from one pitch but hire a different agency whose pitch might not have been so good, but their prices are, to do it.

  14. Natalie*

    #2, one technical option, assuming you can’t get her to actually stop contacting you repeatedly, would be to block her number for the weekend. I know you can pretty easily block and unblock on the iPhone and I assume most other smartphones have a similar feature. The caller/texter does not know that they’ve been blocked.

    One caveat is that it may be a bit of a nuclear option: her texts will go into the ether never to be retreived. so you wouldn’t be able to review them on Monday. I don’t think this is salvageable though, so if I were in your shoes I’d do this just to get some breathing space on weekends while also saving as much money as possible and looking for another job.

  15. AnonEMoose*

    For #5, if you need to do your makeup before getting on the plane, there are two products I know of that will help it stay fresh looking. I’ve used both successfully in some pretty challenging conditions.

    Urban Decay has an eye shadow primer that is seriously the best stuff ever. You put a small amount on your eyelid before applying your eye makeup, let it dry for 30 seconds or so, and then apply eye makeup normally. I put my eye makeup on at 7:30 in the morning – and still have to actually remove it before going to bed at night. No smudging, no creasing.

    Urban Decay also has a couple of makeup setting sprays. Spray it on your face, let dry, apply makeup, spray again. Makeup stays put for HOURS, even in some pretty warm and humid conditions.

    Neither is even particularly expensive as cosmetics go. You can either order online directly through the Urban Decay website, or places like Ulta and Sephora carry it.

    I’d still bring what you need for touch-ups, but these things could help if you think you might find yourself in a time crunch between airport and interview.

    1. Cortney*

      +1 on the urban decay products. Ulta and Sephora usually carry them in sample sizes too so you don’t have to invest in a big bottle unless you love them. Also, those oil blotting papers are a really great way to freshen makeup after a flight … Target brand are my favorite.

    2. kk*

      Was going to suggest make up setting spray as well – you can even get it at the drugstore now! NYX and ELF both make decent setting sprays. I would never wait until I got to the airport to do my makeup. Florescent lighting is not your friend.

    3. Former Teacher*

      Big support for the Urban Decay setting spray! I found it through a wedding make up artist when I was a bridesmaid, then used it on my wedding day a few months later and did not need to touch up once on either day. It became a staple for me, as I was living in the super humid South/Gulf region at the time and my make up never ran with it on. In fact, I was just extolling it’s virtues this weekend when I got caught in the rain while walking and my make up didn’t budge!

  16. Employment Lawyer*

    Most obviously, try something like this:

    “I only have 90 minutes between scheduled landing and the interview. I’m concerned that a delay or traffic would make me hold you up, and I don’t want to do that. Is there any way to push the start time back by a bit?”

  17. Workfromhome*

    #2- Is your cell phone a work phone or a personal phone?

    If its a work phone and you are hourly then just turn the work phone off on the weekend.
    If its personal get a new number. Don’t give it to the boss.

    If neither is an option I agree that the best course of action is simply to ignore/block any calls or text from boss when you are off the clock. Turn the block on the weekend and off when you start work. If you have email on your phone you can create another folder and have all work email routed to the folder on the weekend “out of site” to avoid.

    I prefer this method to confronting boss right off. He is obviously unreasonable so just walking inot his office and opening up this issue is not going to go well.

    However ; I find many times when someone contacts you about something that isn’t your fault isn’t that important etc that if you don’t respond they just move on to the next “:target” for their anger. By the time you come into the office they have moved on.

    Also if when you do come in on Monday and complain “I called and texted you X times on the weekend” this is a perfect time to say “Oh since I’m hourly I’ve become concerned about getting in trouble with government regulations around working off the clock and I didn’t think you wanted to incur overtime costs”. “Did we need to discuss how much overtime you want me to work on a weekend or did we need to discuss changing my job to included being on call 24/7 and make sure the pay matches what the government requires?”
    Basically put him on notice that if he wants to call you on the weekend he needs to pay. If he tells you he WONT pay then you can’t pick up the phone because you be breaking the law ;-)

    See how that works while you loo9k for another job because this will never get better. Get out of there.

    1. CMT*

      I think at this point, most people have had their cell phone numbers for years and years. Getting a brand new number is a very drastic first step in this situation.

      1. KK*

        +1. I would use the block option over getting a new number and having to relay this new info to all of my contacts.

  18. Whats In A Name*

    OP#1: I do not understand why places invite nepotism into the workplace in this manner. I am all for spouses working together, I just don’t think they should be up-down line of one another.
    But since it’s done, I don’t know that there is anything you CAN do outside of take it to a higher power, as Alison suggested. My guess would be since your supervisor dismissed your concerns and didn’t change her behavior, though, it might be time to start looking elsewhere. Doesn’t sound like it’s getting better and with the added responsibilities she is asking for there is a *chance* she is looking to fast track him to a higher position in your department.

    OP #5 – this has happed to me a few times, when I was interviewing to get out of my 75% away from home job. I’d interview at home as I was land. I invested in a heavy ponte knit sheath dress that I could throw a suit jacket over and a pair of comfortable but professional looking wedges, (the ponte doesn’t wrinkle at all!) and go bare faced in the airplane and do my make up quickly when I landed; I didn’t look great for the passengers but the fresh make up looked better than touched up make up. Those little blotting sheets are great, too.

    As for packing, if you go this route you really should just need a nice messenger bag or professional tote that will hold a makeup bag, extra hose if you are wearing any and one of those shoe buffers in case you get a scuff running to and from the interview.

    I would also just give them a heads up lightly during my confirmation, not as an excuse but just a reiteration that I was flying. “Great – my flight lands at 9:30 and the interview is scheduled at 11:00, is that what you have as well?”

    And good luck!

    1. Whats In A Name*

      OP#1: I would also like to add that I call BS on “marital chitchat”. That’s only a legitmate excuse if she doesn’t take action on what he says in the manner she is. I mean, we all talk about work at home, but that’s completely different. Could you imagine if I called my s/o’s VP to discuss changes I thought they needed to make based on what we talked about over dinner?

      1. Michelle*

        I agree. I think OP#1’s boss is going to move her husband up the ladder as quickly at possible. Even if OP could anonymously report the behavior, the boss is going to know it was the OP. I hate to say this, OP#1, but you should probably brush up the resume and start looking. I don’t see this ending well and your boss sucks for not only hiring her husband, but for using “marital chitchat” as an excuse to undermine your authority and make changes that favor or for her husband’s comfort/benefit. What a nightmare. My sympathies.

        1. J.B.*

          Totally agree, plus given the funding issues and government requirements discussed by other posters for this organization, the whole organization may go under from this. Get out as quickly as possible!

      2. Newish Reader*

        I want going to say a similar thing. My husband and I work for the same employer and talk/vent about work at home. Even when one of us has been in a situation where we may have had some small influence to try to help the other one out with an issue at work, we’ve never done that. It’s great to have someone to vent to or use as a sounding board, but we each need to be professional, responsible, independent adults at work. Part of the whole reason companies have policies limiting or preventing family from working together is to avoid abuses of power or favoritism.

      3. Dynamic Beige*

        I do not understand why places invite nepotism into the workplace in this manner.

        The thing I wonder about is if there is something specifically in the organisation’s policies that prohibit this. It appears the husband was hired without any sort of interview, he was just placed in an entry level position. Wife may be the head of the institution, but if the OP had done something similar, I’m sure she would be raked over the coals.

        Total BS on the “marital chitchat” I can practically see how this has gone. Hubby loses job for whatever reason, complains about not being able to find a new one to Wife so much, she finally just gives him one to shut him up. He’s still not happy, though, because his wife outranks him and so it’s a constant “this is the way things should be done” barrage. It’s not about the job, it’s about her level of trust and belief in his abilities. What a freakin’ nightmare for all the other people who work there.

    2. Analyze All The Data*

      Sometimes nepotism can work for a company. My grandma got my dad a job at her company when my dad was a kid (my dad quit school at 14 and went to work full time after his father passed to help my grandma pay the bills). My dad is now VP of that company and has worked there almost 40 years. My grandma also worked there until her retirement.

      Later on, my dad got me a job there when I was teen, coincidentally in his line of reporting but I think that’s just because that’s where they had an opening. My dad was professional enough to warn me that anything I did reflected on him and if I screwed up, I’d regret it. It (mostly) didn’t affect my relationship with my boss. But then my boss had really loved my grandma so he’d let me take long lunches so she could take me out to eat. :)

      Ours wasn’t the only family to have family members working together. My dad’s secretary has her son-in-law there. There are a few husband/wives. At least one monther/daughter that I know of. The company is family-owned and it works for them.

      1. Observer*

        When nepotism works, it can actually work well. But, when it doesn’t, oh brother!

        This is also not a privately owned company. This is a publicly funded institution that’s getting government money. These places need to have nepotism policies in place – and enforce them!

      2. KellyK*

        I’ve seen companies where it works well too. I think what your dad told you–that what you did would reflect on him–is really important. In places where it works, people view getting a job through family not as something that they’re owed, but as an extra level of responsibility because their actions and work ethic reflect on their family members too. And the family member who’s higher in the food chain has to avoid even the appearance of favoritism, let alone letting their family member get away with problem behavior.

  19. Anon-Anon*

    For OP 3: Having recently begun the process of interviewing for an addition to our marketing team , I feel your pain. However, as part of our process we throw out some real life struggles and ask them their thoughts. While not all of the answers are on point, as they don’t know the nuances of our business model, it does give some insight into (1) how they think and approach problems/critical thinking skills and (2) their ability to be tactful. One of the questions we asked is what suggestions do you have for our website. I recently had on candidate very proudly proclaim in a group interview that she found a typo on our website – followed up by a big smile. I saw one of my team members bristle – as this candidate unwittingly called her our in front of her bosses while not exactly scoring points with her potential new teammates.

    1. Biff*

      Doesn’t the ‘class’ of issue found matter? I mean, imagine if the candidate found a really, really bad typo. If you found it after a round of hiring and NO ONE said anything, I’d not be inclined to hire someone from tat batch. If it’s a minor thng then… well, I can see your point. Of course, if hiring for a copy editor for the marketing department, I’d expect them to edit at least a section of the website before arriving, and share that info with me.

          1. Anon-Anon*

            Ha! Those would be pretty bad! I’ve seen weirder things happen.

            We went back after the interview to find it was an omitted comma in one section and the other was a due to a really weird style thing that our president insists upon (don’t get me started). Neither were majorly embarrassing. I don’t object to feedback – that’s how you improve. And anyone in marketing communications will tell you, EVERYONE thinks that they can do our jobs – so unsolicited feedback is a fact of life in our role. I think an interviewee needs to take into account that he/she doesn’t know what roles the interviewers have played in the project, so how they approach giving feedback is just as important as the feedback they provide.

  20. Argh!*

    #5 – call the airport to see if you can check your bags early for your return trip. If they allow that, you can bring your interview outfit in a carry-on, change into it, then check the bag with your travel clothes.

  21. Zach*

    #3 — I have applied and interviewed at dozens of communications/web strategy positions in higher ed, nonprofits, and big commercial organizations. A big thread during the interview process is the organization will ASK me to critique their social media and web presence and offer ways I could improve what they are already doing. Sometimes there ain’t much to change, sometimes they need a lot of help.

    My bet is that you have a lot of candidates who have in the past been asked to offer ways to improve digital channels and they assume that you want the same kind of info. To be honest, what the candidates say may be helpful and positive, even if it does come off initially as unwanted.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I think this is a big part of the issue. You said this is particularly frequent in people interviewing for communications positions. Telling someone in that kind of role to look at your social media probably says (to them) “Look at our social media and be prepared to tell us what you would do about it.”

  22. Fluke Skywalker*

    Well, #1 is horrifying, isn’t it?

    If you’re partially funded by state and federal money, then I’d look into reporting this to those agencies. They should have some kind of whistleblower/anonymous way to report what’s happening. Or if your own organization has a way to do that, you should. And go to the board. This is wrong on so many levels that I’m actually having a hard time maintaining my composure because it’s really upsetting. “Marital chitchat” my butt.

  23. Erika*

    LW #5 – Since they’re renting you a car, it’s not like you have to bring everything into the interview with you. It may seem goofy, but I say pack an overnight bag with whatever you need to get ready, wear comfy clothes, and change and do your makeup at the airport.

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      That’s dangerous, though — what if the plane is delayed and she loses the (minimal) transition time she has?

  24. Cheesehead*

    Re: #2: “Boss, I’m finding that with the frequent texts and phone calls on my day off, I can’t properly disconnect. Of course if there’s an emergency, I’m happy to put in the overtime* to see it through, but that isn’t the case with most of the interruptions. So I wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to handle anything further on my off-time unless it’s a stated emergency. I also don’t want to run into any problems with state and federal labor laws by not submitting that time that I am on work business, so I will be tracking all of those emergency interruptions, as I should be, and submitting the hours for payroll.”

    *It IS overtime, so I’m in favor of calling it what it is.

    A lot of people back down when you show even a little bit of assertiveness. I think you should show some assertiveness to protect YOUR time, and let her know if she interrupts that, she has to pony up and pay you for it. And get it in your head that there is NOTHING wrong with you doing that!

    1. Tiny orchid*

      When I did this, I was branded “not dedicated to the company” – and though they didn’t terminate me, they did stop giving me interesting projects.

      I don’t regret what I did, but it did hurt my long-term options at the company.

  25. Kate*

    For #5, as an alternative perspective, I travel a ton, both cross-country and locally, and if the flight isn’t too long (say less than 1.5 hours), I will wear my professional clothing on the flight. For me, this is either a wrinkle-free dress (which is the easiest), or a suit, in which case I wear a top that is unlikely to wrinkle, and either hang my jacket or lay it across the upper head space on top of bags. If it’s a relatively short flight, I don’t think you’re any worse off than you are if you pack the clothes you are going to wear. I do makeup when I arrive, and I carry anti-wrinkle spray as well.

    This allows me to carry a relatively small bag. I usually put a pair of jeans in my bag (or leggings and flip flops, if I have enough room to stow my heels), so I can change after my meeting for the trip home, at which point it doesn’t matter if I completely wrinkle my professional clothes by cramming them into my bag.

    To me, it’s vastly preferable than showing up at a meeting with luggage. It sounds like I’m in the minority, though!

    1. Betty (the other Betty)*

      The letter writer mentioned that they will have a rental car, so any luggage can stay in the car.

      If it were me, I’d carry my interview clothes and change at the airport. (I would be finding a restroom right away anyway.) That wouldn’t take much longer than straightening my outfit after I landed and would probably look much better.

      Depending on how far the car ride would be and the weather, I might even change shirts at a coffee shop closer to the interview. But then I tend to get sweaty and am a wrinkle and stain magnet.

  26. Chickaletta*

    #1 – You mentioned talking to your boss directly about the situation, but have you tried talking to her husband? Sometimes people need to be told directly why going to their family member is a bad idea. I run orientations for exchange students and part of it is that I tell the teenagers that they should not contact their parents directly when they have a problem while they’re abroad and that they go to their local resources instead. I tell the parents the same thing.

    I know this is much different from nepotism between a wife and husband in the workplace, but like you I am asking family members to not communicate with each other about problems and this is the method I use:

    – I present the chain of communication to them
    – I acknowledge that we ask the students not to contact their parents first when they have a problem and that this is deliberate
    – I ask them why they think this is (This step is key – by asking them to give me the reasons it creates buy in)
    – Get your report to think of reasons why using his wife to solve problems can be harmful to him, not just you or the organization. For one, it’s destroying his reputation and hurting his credibility. He needs to know this.
    – I clarify or provide additional reasons they may have missed
    – I ask them if they agree

    I almost never have push back. Will some people disregard this and text mommy from 9,000 miles away when they had a bad day at school and mommy will call the head office in two different countries to resolve what was basically a case of teenage hormones? Of course. But overall we get them to understand why they shouldn’t rely on a family member to solve problems that can be resolved in a much better way.

    But, I do realize that it sounds like your boss and her husband are not reasonable people based on what’s happened already. So, I agree with the other posters that no matter what you probably need to start updating your resume.

  27. animaniactoo*

    OP1, can you try from the avenue of pointing out that the conversations themselves may be harmless, but how she’s acting on them isn’t?

    She isn’t redirecting him to come to you with his complaints and allow you to handle them before she gets involved on taking action on them. She isn’t instructing him that these things may not seem to make sense but that there may be reasons for them. She’s making procedural changes based on what she hears from him, and NOT on what you are bringing to her or advising her about or she’s noticing and discussing with you and agreeing with you on a plan of action for.

    So the chitchat itself really isn’t the problem. Frankly, it’s to be expected between a married couple. The issue is how she’s handling it, and that handling is what is undermining you rather than supporting the authority you have within the department and can the two of you please work on how to resolve that. Because it will affect your authority not just with him, but with the rest of the department as well.

    Question: The procedural changes she’s made – are there issues with the specific changes she’s made, or is it just the fact that she’s making them? Because that would be two different scenarios.

    1. Poohbear McGriddles*

      I have a feeling that the OP will be reporting to the boss’s husband sooner rather than later.

  28. SignalLost*

    Re #2: if you really can’t get her to stop but don’t want to turn your phone off, put her in phone-jail. No idea if it’s doable on Android but iPhone as far as I can tell doesn’t have a default silent tone for any one contact – you would have to manually block them, and I find I’d rather GET the messages, just not be bothered by them. You can download a silent ringtone and set it for both text tone and ring tone, and then set the vibration for both to none. It’s a pain in the ass, and since it is a ringtone you’ll hear it if she texts when your phone is otherwise making noise, but it gives so much peace of mind when someone is being unreasonable and annoying.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Actually, the iPhone does have the option to set a text tone to “none.” Still not an option for a ringtone, though, unless it’s in the latest OS that I haven’t downloaded yet.

      1. Kyrielle*

        I solved this on my iPhone by using a “ringtone” that’s a couple seconds of silence, as SignalLost suggests. But yes, being able to turn it off for texts is important.

        It doesn’t, however, solve the problem where you see the texts while doing other things on your phone and get stressed out. There’s probably no complete solution to this situation, because the boss is being unreasonable. But it’s definitely worth trying whatever seems like it might work.

  29. Always Anon*

    #1 — I think you need to start looking. If there is a board of directors then it may be a good idea to approach them, but in general unless they are a board that tries to micromanage at the staff level, then they probably won’t do anything unless they are already concerned about your bosses performance.

    If there is a board of directors, then if there is one member that you are more familiar with, then it might be a good idea to talk to them privately. Indicating that you wouldn’t normally go to a board member for a staffing issue, but given the situation that you are unsure about the next steps. Typically board members will have offline discussions and this issue may come up, and at the very least you will probably get a good idea about if the board even finds this type of behavior concerning.

  30. OP5*

    Thank you all for your great advice! I am happy to report that I got the job! I ended up not needing a garment bag (I just wore one of my usual interview outfits). I did wear flats to the airport but brought heels in my tote bag. Touched up my makeup at a coffee shop just down the street from where I was interviewing. I have to say AAM is my favorite website. So much great advice and supportive community. Thank you all!

  31. Tiny_Tiger*

    OP #1 : How in the world did she manage to hire her own husband to this position? That reeks of conflict of interest right off the bat that she should have the authority to do so. My mother and step-father (although not married) are in the same hierarchy but since my step-father is the hire-up, my mother has to report to HIS boss rather than him to avoid favoritism. If YOUR boss is being so dismissive of your concerns then I’ll have to agree to what Allison and others have said, it is definitely time to look for another job. Your coworker’s husband is creating an obviously toxic work environment and nothing is being done about it.

    OP #2: I’m so sorry you’ve been put into that position. That is just downright crummy of your boss to expect an hourly employee to handle all of that on a day off, let alone handle problems that you never created. I’d say you need to draw a very firm line with her, “This is my day off, you are only to contact me in the event of a true emergency. If you are only calling/texting to reprimand me, it can wait until I’m back in the office.” There’s nothing I hate more than a boss who can’t appreciate that a day off is your time. And if she has a problem with this then start looking elsewhere. You don’t get paid to put up with that crap (literally).

  32. twentymilehike*

    #4 — I don’t have any great advice, but I do want to offer some encouragement! I have dealt with the death of both parents and a messy divorce while employed, and experienced a change in management in the middle of that messy divorce. What I realized is that EVERYONE goes through incredibly tough times in life, and even though I was terrified of being a “failure” at work during these hard times, the people I worked with were more supportive than I ever would have expected. They didn’t know all the details, but they knew I wasn’t feeling great and needed a little extra leeway until I could bounce back.

    I really think that most reasonable people are exceptionally kind and sympathetic when appropriate. If your employers already treat you well, I can almost guarantee that they will be supportive during this time. Giving them a head’s up, just knowing they are supportive and no longer feeling like you are keeping some huge secret will feel like a huge weight off of your shoulders. Best of luck!

  33. TootsNYC*

    #2–tell your boss that your text charges are out of control, and you’ve going to turn off texting for everyone except you closest family. And then block her number from texts.

    And can you set up a rule that all phone calls from her go to voicemail?

  34. TootsNYC*

    Oh, #2–I wonder if you could go over her head to HR or someone and say, “Since I’m hourly, if I answer these texts, or even read them, I need to clock that time. Can you make her stop?”

    1. TootsNYC*

      Or tell her you had to get a new phone number, and give her a Google Voice one.
      Then go check the messages, etc. via email just before you go back to work.

    2. ToxicNudibranch*

      That seems…needlessly adversarial. Why not go to the boss directly and say “Since I’m hourly, if I answer these texts, or even read them, I need to clock that time. How should I submit these hours?”

  35. Biff*

    I wonder if #3 is misunderstanding the candidates.

    I know that I check company social media presence to determine if there are questions I need to ask about their culture/direction. I wonder if that’s the kind of question that the candidate is really asking. Something along the lines of “I saw on your social media that you uploaded a ‘cute’ video of a dog being hit by a baby. But I feel like that is at odds at with your mission statement, overall branding. As someone who would be joining your outreach program, I would find that video hard to explain away to clients as many of them would see it as animal absue. Can you tell me why you chose it?”

    The company sounds like it’s not realizing that social media presence informs potential employees as much as potential clients.

  36. When Destiny Calls Me*

    OP#5 – Long time reader, first time comment. I had to relay my unfortunate dress for travel “tips”. I had to leave early to catch a 5:30am flight Orlando to Boston to finish negotiating a big supplier contract. I was happy in my new blue silk blouse and suit. The toll road to the airport skims over a large gator infested lake. Just as I got to the swamp edge of the bridge, a 6′ aluminum ladder from the back of a truck in front of me flew off. With little time to skid to the side, at 60mph the ladder slid under my car and wedged into the axles. I was stuck mostly on the side next to a 2′ barrier between me a the croaking gators. I can still see the dozens eyes shining in the weeds. Calls to FHP and Road Ranger said they wouldn’t arrive for an hour. Called my ex and he said he was too tired and to call back later. By then I didn’t know if I’d be stuck there for hours, miss my flight, if the gators would climb the barrier, the car was damaged, or a weirdo would end up stopping (watch too many detective shows). I was so frustrated I put on my jacket inside out to protect my blouse,and crawled under the car, legs sticking out in the road. I wrestled the ladder out, dragged it to the side and threw it at the lake. My car did start and I raced to the airport, and ran to check-in and the restroom. I then realized I still had on an inside out jacket, my curly hair was an astonishing mess, runs and gravel in my panty hose, and a large black tire tread mark across the bottom front of my lovely blouse, now hanging half out of my skirt. Buttoned and turned the jacket to cover the tire tread, sorta tamed my hair and ditched the nylons. Took most of the flight to calm down. I probably did my employer a favor as by the time of the meeting, I was in no mood to take nonsense from anyone. So yes OP, do wear comfy clothes, and carryon your business attire and face repair kit. You never know when you need to fight off gators on the way.

  37. Iris*

    The Negging thing was in a commercial from some online business school. A young woman goes into an interview for a stuffy “international business” job, and when the interviewer tells her “your readiness has been called into question” the interviewee says “well, here are 3 things your company is doing wrong.” And it’s supposed to be impressive.

    1. OP #3*

      Thank you!! That’s what I was beginning to suspect. A lot of the readers seem to think I’m asking an interview question about our social media and not liking the feedback, but what actually inspired me to write was someone submitting a resume for an administrative assistant position along with a critique of all our ‘Liked Pages’ on Facebook – ie, ‘You really shouldn’t like political candidates like Mayor Jane, it creates the impression of partisanship and you’re a 501c3’ when we follow all local elected officials.

      I remembered seeing the dating show and wondered if there was an incarnation of it in the business world.

  38. OP #3*

    Just a couple clarfications on #3:

    1. This is coming from applicants, mostly via email, not in interview questions, since it would be silly to ask a candidate to critique our web presence then be offended at the answer.

    2. It’s not about spelling mistakes or grammar/formatting issues – we had an applicant for an administrative position email me suggesting that we ‘unlike’ our town mayor since it showed partisanship (we follow all local elected officials from both parties), and that we should try to ‘like’ more local businesses.

    I’m a little surprised at how adamant commenters are that it’s the organization’s fault, but it’s always good to see potential similar applicants’ points of view as a hiring manager and remember that job hunts can lead people to do extreme things and get pretty anti-employer and/or aggressive.

    1. DragoCucina*

      OP#3, it is a thing among some applicants, cold callers, etc. It’s not about typos or Facebook pages that aren’t up-to-date. Maybe the commercial has seeped into people’s ideas of how to make an impression. This week I had a call from a school librarian. It turned out that she wanted a “little retirement” job. After I told her we didn’t have anything open (true) she started telling me how to change our website and we could hire her to do it. Some of the ideas were no-goes. We aren’t having intro music.

      During an interview where I’m seeking suggestions is fine. Saying, “Hey, you left out the L in public library” is great. Random ideas to push me isn’t the way to convince me to offer a job.

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