my manager takes credit for my work, rejected by form letter from someone I know personally, and more

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

1. My manager takes credit for my work

I work for a small company with only three full-time employees, so things can get quite hectic at times for my supervisor, Jane. She often gives me projects that our customers and sales reps request from her and that she is too busy to work on. To give some background, I have worked at my company for a year now, and have gotten constant praise from Jane from day one. She is always telling me what a great job I do, and how I am “well above the learning curve” for my position. However, I am starting to see an ongoing pattern in the way she presents my finished work to our customers and sales reps; that is, she claims my work as her own.

Every time that I work on these projects, Jane tells me to bring my finished work into her office so that she can “take care of the rest.” After checking my work, she tells me how great everything looks and how she is so thankful that my work is generally mistake-free, so she does not have to fix anything (which I appreciate). But she then proceeds to send my finished work to the customer and their sales rep and claim it as her own. She cc’s me on these emails, and the body of the email usually says something along the lines of, “Please see attached my work on X, Y, and Z.” Subsequently, the customer and/or sales reps will email Jane back and say something like, Thank you so much, Jane, for all your help completing this project for us.”

I would partially understand Jane’s reasoning for doing this if I were merely assisting her with these projects, but these are projects that I am completing 100% on my own, from start to finish. I know that Jane trusts my work, so I wish she would just allow me to send the project over to our customers on my own, without her intervening and taking credit. Just to clarify, in no way do I mind doing these projects for Jane as I truly enjoy the work I do, but I think it’s reasonable of me to expect some type of credit. Am I being petty about this, or would it be appropriate to bring up this ongoing issue with Jane? 

It’s not all that unusual for managers not to give specific credit to contributors when sending work to clients, since most of the time clients don’t really care about the specifics of who did it; they just care that it’s done well. But saying “please see my work” is explicitly taking credit for something she didn’t do; typically a manager would at least say “our work” in this context.

I think you’re entitled to be annoyed by that; it’s grating to me just reading about it. But whether it’s worth saying something about depends on what the impact is on you. If you’re trying to build a reputation with these particular customers, and it would be a significant help to you if they knew about your contributions, then yes, say something. Or if these were high-profile projects inside or outside your company, then getting credit would have real career benefits to you, so in those cases you’d absolutely want to speak up. But if — as is often the case — it doesn’t actually have a real impact and is just irritating, I’d probably let it go, in favor of saving your capital with Jane for something else.

2. My coworkers ask me to send them the same info over and over

I work at a university as office support associate, basically bottom of the pack. One of my duties is to book the hotel, air flights, and various other items to bring in an invited speaker for seminar class. The faculty do the asking and inviting and then I take over from there.

When I am in contact with the speaker asking for the information I need to book the items, I always include the faculty/host of the guest in the emails so they are seeing how things are unfolding and have the confirmation numbers and flight itineraries etc. — everything they need to make the visit itinerary. Yet I continuously have to keep sending the information over and over, like they never seen it before. This is getting really frustrating and I want to minimize this. What are your suggestions?

I wonder if the problem is that you’re including the faculty host on all the back-and-forth, meaning that they have a bunch of emails that they don’t really need and thus are more easily missing the ones they do need. Could you stop including them on all that correspondence, and just wait until you have a confirmed itinerary to send? At that point, you could send all the details in one email with a clear subject line (“Falcon Flanagan’s itinerary info for 10/7 seminar”).

Since this is a change from what you’ve been doing, you’d want to alert them to it so they’re not wondering why they’re not seeing any movement on your end as things get planned. To explain what you’re doing differently and to assure them you’re on it even though they’re not getting cc’d on everything, you could send them an email at the start that says “I’m reaching out to Falcon. I’ll leave you off the back and forth as we make arrangements, but I will send you a detailed itinerary once I have it all confirmed.” If you have antsy faculty to work with, you could add, “I expect to send that to you no later than X days from now.”

Alternately, you could store all the itinerary info an easily-accessed central location — streamlined in a way where it’s just the details they need, in a well-organized format — so they’d always just need to go to the same place to find it. But I bet the first suggestion might solve things better.

3. Rejected by form letter from someone I know personally

I recently applied for a job for which I considered myself to be an exceptionally strong candidate. In addition to having deep experience and qualifications that nail every one of the skills and requirements outlined in the position description, I have known the hiring manager for many years and she knows my accomplishments well. I prepared a very strong cover letter (in my opinion), and really worked hard on updating my resume to reflect all the ways in which my experiences mirror the skills they said they were looking for in the posting.

Today, about a month after I applied, I received a form email from the account of an administrator at the organization rejecting my candidacy with no explanation. The form email was signed by the hiring manager, my acquaintance, even though the email did not come from her email account. While I have not heard from my acquaintance directly during the process, I know/assume she is aware of my application as I included her on the email I sent to the administrator when I initially submitted my materials for review. Plus, I would’ve hoped she would have review them as part of the process!

Now, I feel like I’m in an extremely awkward position. First, I am completely confused as to why I was not even offered the opportunity to interview for this position. The form email offered no explanation. I don’t think I’m overselling myself when I say I have exactly the qualifications and experience they are looking for, and I have a strong reputation in my field for being a smart and effective leader. I would like to ask for feedback from my acquaintance, but don’t want to seem too pushy. Second, our field is extremely small and we live in an extremely small town. I will see her again, probably soon, and I’m not sure I will be able to hide my frustration with not even being granted a courtesy interview. Third, even if I figure out a way to gracefully ask for feedback or express my disappointment, I’m not even sure who to email because I haven’t received any direct communication from my acquaintance. The whole thing is bizarre and so foreign to my direct way of communicating, I’m second-guessing all my instincts on how to respond!

Yeah, if she knows you as more than just a passing acquaintance, she should have reached out to you personally to say something. I would try not to be offended that you weren’t interviewed; it’s really common for hiring managers to want very nuanced things that aren’t always easy to reflect in the ad. And because she does know you, she might know that you’re great in X ways but not quite the right fit in Y way. (That’s the double-edged sword of knowing the hiring manager — they know your strengths, but they also know the sometimes-more-hidden ways in which this role might not be the right match.)

Alternately, though, it’s possible that she’s not the person doing the initial screenings and that she doesn’t actually know you were rejected. She might have forgotten to flag your candidacy for them, or there could have been all sorts of other miscommunications. Because of that, it’s worth making sure she knows — but you need to do it in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re assuming that she must not or that you think the decision to reject you was a weird one. I’d send an email that says something like this: “Got a note from Teapots Inc.’s admin account this week letting me know I’m not moving forward for the teapot painter position. I’m disappointed, but I know you’ll find someone great. Thanks for considering me, and I’d love to catch up any time.” That way, if she wasn’t in the loop, she’ll now be alerted and can step in if she wants to.

4. Should I give my interviewer a pre-written thank-you note at the end of our interview?

I have an upcoming interview for a position that is, essentially, my dream job. I’m preparing to go above and beyond to nail the interview and wow my potential employer. The interview is scheduled at the end of the day on Friday, and immediately following I’ll be out of pocket until the following Monday, traveling out of town (I’ll be driving, then at a music festival all weekend).

Would it be overkill if I prepared a thank you note ahead of time and gave it to my interviewer at the conclusion of the interview? I plan to send an additional thank-you email/thank-you note the Monday after.

Don’t do that.

A big part of the point of a thank-you note is to show you that you thought about what was discussed during an interview and decided that you’re still enthusiastic about the job. If it’s clear that you wrote it before you even came to the interview, it’s going to look really perfunctory, like you’re just checking off a box, and is going to feel pretty strange to your interviewer since it clearly doesn’t have anything to do with the content of the interview. It would be like if at the end of a first date, the person handed you a sealed envelope with a card inside about what a nice time they had with you, which they’d written ahead of the date.

And you also don’t want to do two separate thank-you’s for the same interview. Just sent one, and send it by email on Monday. (Email is the better option these days, since if you send it by postal mail, the person may not even see it until after they’ve made a decision. Some people don’t open their postal mail at work for months because so rarely is it relevant to some jobs.)

5. Taking a week of vacation after giving notice

I am planning on quitting my job in the near future and will relocate to another state. I would love to use up my week of vacation time that I have left. I plan on submitting the week vacation request, getting it approved, and then officially resigning, giving three weeks notice (my vacation being the third week). Is that acceptable? I don’t want to burn bridges.

It depends on your company. A lot of companies have policies that you can’t use vacation time — particularly significant chunks of vacation time, like a week — during your notice period (because the notice period is for transitioning your work, so they want you to be there). There’s a decent chance that they’ll end up telling you to set your last day at the end of the two weeks, and not to include the vacation week at all. If your vacation time gets paid out in cash when you leave, that may not matter. But if you’re in a state that doesn’t require vacation pay-out and your company doesn’t do it on their own, you could lose that week of vacation.

So I’d check your employee handbook to find out what it says about all of this before you do anything. (Alternately, could you just take that week of vacation, and then give your notice when you return?)


{ 170 comments… read them below }

  1. Engineer Girl*

    #1 – I had a manager that would repeatedly take full credit for my work and pass it off as his to upper management. Others had the same problem. We all decided to put our initials in the corner of our work along with the dates. So spreadsheets, drawings, analysis all got the same small secret initials somewhere in the document.
    Then we waited. He had not done the work so couldn’t answer the complicated questions. So he’d bring us along. When he was asked a question he’d have us answer it. Then each of us would answer, referring to the product as MY work “as you can see from my drawing…”.
    When upper management challenged the statement we would point out the initials on the work.
    I think we got away with it because there were several of us doing it.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        He didn’t get another promotion for over 20 years.
        Engineers are big on attribution of work. Engineering management was not pleased.

        1. mazzy*

          I was going to say that though, the OP’S work doesn’t sound as intense.

          For jobs involving what sound like simpler requests, it isn’t as aggregious.

          My litmus test over time became: if the person can take your work and explain it as well as you can, answer any questions you could, and understands all of the nuances, then it is OK to do what the manager doing – but only in situations like the OP’S where the other side really doesn’t care who did what.

          But I have worked and unfortunately still do work with a few people who try to do what Jane does with really complicated analysis I’ve done that track certain issues over time, or manuals I’ve made off of really complicated financial analysis. Since they understand the gist of the essay, they think that is a substitution for the dozens of hours of research and math that went into the thoughts I put on paper. No it is not. But something like compiling pricing information or past sales data for a customer? Unless they have lots of exceptions, No one really needs to stamp ownership. Actually, in some cases like that it can be silly.

          1. Emily*


            I am the author of #1. To answer your question, the difficulty of the projects vary. Are some of them general projects that anyone could take care of? Sure. However, often times, they ARE difficult projects that are also specific to my degree (that I do not believe others without my educational background could complete successfully). With that being said, all in all, it IS more of an irritation than something that will negatively influence my professional career over time. I think it really irks me due to the work ethic I see in my supervisor (not a particularly good one!) But, that’s a whole different issue that doesn’t necessarily belong in this conversation!

            1. Stranger than fiction*

              My worry is not so much what the clients are thinking, but that you may not be gaining visibility to the rest of management at your organization.

        2. TL -*

          There’s a very famous professor in my field who will present his lab’s work (not as his own) and then responds to questions by calling out the name of the lab member that can answer it.

          It’s really amusing to watch.

    1. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

      I did something similar in a past role; my work (policy documents, press releases, reports, speeches) which I had researched and written was being passed off by my manager as his own. For a while I tolerated this, but as the manager in question became more sexist, more irritating, and more belligerent in his daily communication with me, I decided not to accept this any more, so I started putting a subtle ‘watermark’ on my finished Word and PDF documents which showed the work was mine.

      I was offered a promotion (in title, but not with a salary increase – aagh!) soon after that, but then decided to leave and take up a more satisfying role elsewhere where I didn’t need to resort to subterfuge to get credit for my work. To my knowledge, the manager in question is still there, seven years on, in the same role. Ugh.

      1. Chinook*

        Forget just watermarking it, you can use the metadata and actually flat out write your name as author in any Microsoft and Adobe product (Google how – it is surprisingly easy but most people don’t know about it). There is even a place to write comments and this information sticks with the document until manually changed in the metadata.

        Then, if someone questions who wrote it, you can pull up a “hidden” part of the document and prove it.

    2. Purest Green*

      A supervisor (not mine) once tried to take credit for some technical work I did that she has no knowledge of. Her words were, “I will show this to Manager and Director.” The glow in her eyes left when I said, “you literally can’t,” and proceeded to explain how it was login-based and currently only accessible to me. I built it that way because it was needed and not to specifically thwart her, but that was certainly a bonus.

    3. DCompliance*

      I agree with the initials in the corner. That is a good tip someone told me about once when I had a similar problem.

    4. Koko*

      You know, what’s craziest to me about this situation isn’t your jerk credit-stealing manager, because those people are unfortunately the kind you run into throughout your career.

      What’s craziest to me is your insane upper management who would hear an employee answer a question and refer to something as “my drawing” and then right there in front of the entire meeting accuse them of lying about it! I can’t believe you had to deal with that kind of open hostility from your managers. You have my sympathies.

    5. Emily*


      I’m the author of #1. That’s a really great, idea actually. As mentioned below, the difficulty/time spent on these projects can vary greatly, but for the more important ones, I may try this. My only reservation would be perhaps coming on as passive aggressive if Jane happens to notice the initials!

      1. Engineer Girl*

        Just put it down in the footer for all your documents – “W Lomas – Sep 12, 2016”
        If you do t for all your documents you aren’t targeting her specifically.
        I like 8 point or smaller.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I really wouldn’t do this in the OP’s context where she’s said that it’s not impacting her, just annoying her. The boss knows that the OP knows how the docs will be used, and this will be a change that will either be annoying because the boss has to remove it or will make her look like she’s trying to sneak something by her. Neither of those are good.

          The OP says she’s not being harmed by this internally. It’s a different situation.

  2. H.C.*

    OP3 – another possible reason for the form letter reject (& lack of personal acknowledgment from your acquaintance/friend) was that she recused herself from the hiring process upon knowing that you applied. It could’ve been company policy to do so, or she may have done so on purpose to so as to remain unbiased.

    And, as mentioned in AAM many times, there’s always the potential for stronger candidates in the applicant pool (or simply candidates who are better fit for the role, work culture, etc.)

    But I concur with Alison on reaching out once more to the person you know and see how (or if) she responds.

    1. Susan C.*

      The first point was my thought too… depending on where the manager sees their relationship on the professional – friendship scale, she might’ve been actually put off by the prospect of managing LW. In which case it still would’ve been nice to say something, but I can see how the whole thing might be the result of an ostrich approach to awkwardness…

    2. College Career Counselor*

      Agreed. I think the form letter was just the easiest thing to do, and although your contact could have reached out to you, she may not have been involved in the search.

      And sometimes it’s not about stronger candidates, but DIFFERENTLY qualified candidates. I get that it stings and is disheartening not even to get an interview at a job you KNOW you’re qualified for, but it says more about the organization’s evolving needs/focus than it does about your qualifications. Case in point: some time ago, I applied for a job that I was well qualified for, per the job description. Didn’t even get an interview. Instead, they hired someone with ZERO experience in higher education or working with students. Evidently, they wanted to make a change from how things had been done before, and on paper I looked a little too much like the person who had left the role. Nothing I can do about that if the search committee/hiring manager determines they want to go in a different direction, unfortunately.

    3. Kaybee*

      This is exactly what is happening to two friends of mine right now. One applied for a couple of open positions for which the other friend was on the hiring committee. The hiring committee friend recused herself from the process for those positions in order to be fair to all of the applicants – including our mutual friend, because as Alison pointed out, she knows her weaknesses as well as her strengths.

      And as Alison also mentioned, it’s very possible that LW3’s application was weeded out for some reason by HR before it ever reached the hiring manager. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a hiring process where someone *didn’t* make a first cut before the more qualified applications went to the hiring manager. LW3’s friend may never have seen her application.

      1. LW3*

        Hello! LW3 here! Thanks so much for all these great perspectives. While I certainly wasn’t counting my chickens on being offered or even being a finalist for the position, I was really disappointed to not be offered an opportunity to interview. From what I know about the org in general, I’m pretty sure that the hiring manager didn’t recuse herself (and even if she did, my work with my current org is well known enough that I would think I would have passed muster regardless of her recusal), so I’m thinking now that it must be either something like Susan C. mentioned — being put off by working with me, or by working with a known entity — or, like College Career Counselor says, that they are looking for a different approach/skill set than really came through in the position description.

        One other thing that has crossed my mind is that they think that I wouldn’t actually take the job, so why bother. I have a great job and love my current role, which my acquaintance knows. I am also pretty sure that the new job would be a somewhat significant pay cut (which I’m willing to entertain), and they may know that, too, given that it would be a move from a national entity to a local/state-based one. Having hired for lots of positions, I can understand not wanting to waste time on an applicant you don’t think is serious. I did express my seriousness in my letter, acknowledging that I wasn’t looking yet laying out my reasons for applying, but I could imagine that being problematic. Personally, I always give qualified candidates whose seriousness I question an interview and then give them a chance to answer those questions or doubts directly instead of making assumptions on their behalf.

        Another thought that crossed my mind is that they might be already set on promoting internally for the role — I know they have a lot of great folks on staff who already have intimate familiarity with the issues and programs. Anyway, thanks for the great advice, Alison and readers! I’m going to reach out to my acquaintance directly and express my disappointment, but wish them luck in the process.

  3. Gaia*

    OP 5, as Alison says this really varies by company. I can tell you that while my company allows a few days of PTO that had already been approved, your last day is your last day you are in the office. In no way would we allow your last week to be one that you are on PTO.

    We do pay out accrued but unused PTO when someone leaves, so even though we don’t permit people to do what you’d want to do, they may still get paid.

    1. H.C.*

      Yeah, combining vacation/PTO days with your notice period does vary a lot with the company culture & your political capital within it.

      I recently did include vacation during my notice period (though I did give four weeks, and the vacation days were in the middle of my notice period & were approved well before I got the new job offer & gave subsequent notice.)

      I also know an ex-colleague of mine who was able add vacation time after his physical last day, which stretched his “official” last day to the beginning of next month, thus ensuring he still has medical/dental/life/etc. until his new jobs’ benefits kick in. But he was very well-liked in the team and neither HR nor his then supervisor had an issue with it.

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        I’m in a state that doesn’t require vacation payout, but my company handbook says they pay out five days of unused PTO upon termination, voluntary or otherwise. When one of my former colleagues resigned last month to go back to school, our division allowed him to take off most of his last two weeks – I think he only showed up twice during his last week. The SVP told the group if any of us ever wants to leave and we’re like former colleague with plenty of PTO left on the books to just take the time – we earned it. We shouldn’t lose all but five days.

      2. NW Mossy*

        The reason why you’re leaving can also have an impact. For example, it’s common in my org for those who are retiring to have an official last day well after their actual last day in the office because they’re running out their PTO. However, the same isn’t possible for those leaving for other reasons.

        1. doreen*

          My job is similar – with the exception that the retiree has to be at work for some period of time on the official last day itself. He or she of course won’t do any actual work on that day – but that’s when equipment, ID’s, etc have to be turned in.

    2. snuck*

      I’d be frustrated if you did this rather than be honest and up front with me. If the policies were such that this was the only way you could do it I’d understand but be annoyed you hadn’t talked to me about it to find a way around it – it’s a pretty strong indication that you don’t trust the company to work with you on it.

      If you did this: approached me for leave, I approved it, and then you gave your notice with the intention of the leave being the end of it… I’d probably be rather annoyed. If I thought it was premeditated (because an interstate move isn’t a last minute decision… ) I’d be doubly so. I’d probably make your leave contingent on you completing all handover tasks and functions, and maintaining good work standing – if you aren’t going to do that in your last two weeks I might just walk you out the door earlier, because the trust could be quite shaken. I’d much rather you actually talked to me about it than outright lied and then tried to manipulate the system.

      The only time I might consider what you are doing, and not be annoyed about it… is if your company has a zero payout policy on leave, and it would leave you out of pocket for the leave you have accrued. Then I’d fight for you to have access to your entitlement, and automatically give you what you are asking for because rules like not paying out leave are horrid (and illegal in Australia).

      And… the last couple of weeks might well be transition time (I know nothing of your job role and so forth), and having you on leave would make it hard, but also might be fine (if you were in a role where many others performed your job role and we would have to just pick up your work anyway it might be fine, if you were a stand alone person then you might need to train others up).

      What has happened for others? Recent past behaviour is the best indicator of near future behaviour! :)

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Agreed. I had someone this year take a prescheduled vacation and interoffice me, on the last day before their vacation at the very end of the day, their resignation letter giving two weeks’ notice. They were literally in the office for three days to train their replacement, and I ended up having to pull someone off another team to make sure we had someone available for those last days to learn the ropes. It was bad all around. The team whose staff member was pulled was mad, the team member felt like they didn’t get enough training, and the team of the departing person felt like they got left in a lurch. (Ironically, this person replaced someone who did the same damn thing to me — gave their two weeks over the Thanksgiving holiday with no transition overlap. The more recent departee had been the person who didn’t get adequate training and then turned round and did the same thing to his successor.)

    3. lfi*

      agreed – especially as our benefits end your last date of employment. so if you are prolonging it with vacation just to extend your benefits (as we recently had someone try to do..) nice try.

  4. Al Lo*

    #4 – In a similar vein (i.e. how out-of-touch a mailed note comes across)… I work with a performance group and book gigs for various clients. One of our upcoming clients is a volunteer-run seniors’ association. All of my initial negotiations on the contract were, as usual, by email. At one point this summer, their volunteer leadership turned over, so I started dealing with a second individual, who needed to be brought up to speed on the prior conversations. All good. A few weeks ago, I sent them the contract to sign and email back to me.

    Well, the other day, I get a letter mailed to me at the office, with their signed contract and a SASE for me to send the counter-signed contract back. Along with a very business-formal typed letter explaining that I may be confused because someone new took over the event.

    I was a little insulted by the letter (because I’d already dealt with the new person on a couple of email exchanges, and because I’m a professional who understands being turned over to someone else), and a little irritated by the contract, because it’s less convenient for me. Not a huge deal in the long run, but it definitely colored my impression of the client and made them seem very out of touch with business norms.

    1. Al Lo*

      (And the letter and SASE definitely got a chuckle and an “Oh, that’s quaint” around the office from everyone who happened to see it.)

      1. the gold digger*

        volunteer-run seniors’ association

        I think that’s the key to the letter and the SASE. When my husband and I were cleaning out his parents’ house after they died, we found phone books. PHONE BOOKS! Who uses a phone book anymore?

          1. the gold digger*

            Us, too. They go straight from the front porch to the recycling.

            BTW, if someone (my husband’s father) can master online porn, surely he could figure out how to look up phone numbers online.

          2. Kit*

            Donate your phone book to a local art college or print shop! They are extremely useful in traditional printmaking, and reduce the use of chemical cleaners!

        1. Witty Nickname*

          Lots of people, actually! (This is somewhat my industry, though there is a much heavier focus on digital media these days). Businesses still buy ads in the phone book because they still get value from it.

          That said, I opted out of all except the one my company prints a long time ago. And since they deliver a large stack of them to the mailbox area in my apartment complex, rather than directly to my door, I don’t get that one either. :) But yes, there is still a demographic out there that uses the printed phone book quite heavily.

    2. Art not drama*

      I may be missing something, but many businesses require an original signature on a contract. It is incredibly easy to forge a digital signature. I think the SASE was a kindness to save you time.

        1. Enh*

          But was it necessary to be rude to Art Not Drama when responding, Cordelia? Geepers. Al Lo seemed a bit rude herself, to me (not necessarily to her clients), or at least a bit youthful (and I mean this in a negative light) because she was annoyed at *gasps* a “Along with a very business-formal typed letter,” the fact that something was sent in the *gasps again* snail mail, and in the fact that their “handwriting” was probably neat and nice and maybe even written in some type of fancy cursive writin’. The nerve of the elderly!

          Yeah, um, I don’t get the “how quaint” and the rudeness towards those that are “paying you” for a “gig.” I also don’t get the annoyance with how “out of touch” someone is for using a different method of communication. I thought diversity was supposed to be good *wink* maybe I’m a crabby old chick or something (not really, just put off by the arrogance and the easily annoyed by “different stuff” attitude of the young people these days). In fairness, I just turned up my nose in annoyance regarding Al Lo, and chalked it off to youth and felt it was no big deal until I read your rudeness to Art not drama, Cordelia.

          So yeah, Al Lo…I don’t really have a prob with, just not understanding your manner here to a complete and total stranger on a thing that wasn’t really “that serious” to begin with. Enh. Where’s my cane, snuff jar, and walker? Bloody memory skills!

          1. Enh*

            Enh, I should have read before hitting reply…what I meant to say was:

            1.) because she was annoyed at *gasps* a “a very business-formal typed letter,”


            2.) When I said “o yeah, Al Lo…I don’t really have a prob with, just not understanding your manner here to a complete and total stranger on a thing that wasn’t really ‘that serious’ to begin with,” I was referring to you, Cordy, not Al Lo in the whole “just not understanding your manner here to a complete and total stranger,” blah blah blah.

            Because that wasn’t clear. Um. Yup. None of what I wrote was necessarily necessary. Just wrote it because I am avoiding do my (unpaid) work right now. Drats! That makes me a majorly sucky person right now. The End.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        Original signatures are completely outdated and not required for contracts. And unless the original signature is notarized, it’s considerably easier to fake than a digital signature. How do you authenticate a signature from someone you’ve never met?

        At least a digital signature comes with an IP address attached.

        1. NW Mossy*

          I’ve been heavily involved in the legal side of digital signature lately, and part of our reason for moving to it for our contracts and agreements is precisely because it gives us more ways to authenticate the signer(s). Most reputable e-signature vendors will allow you to have multiple levels of authentication, some of which are quite stringent. I’ve seen one where the signer would need to correctly answer up to 5 personal questions about themselves based on a consumer report of their history, which could include items like “Who was your roommate in 2004?” and “What street did you live on in 2006?” No one’s going to that level of detail on paper!

        2. anon (the other one)*

          I work in finance and original signatures are required for many, many documents. We have clients who have attempted to use digital signatures and they have been rejected by the custodian.

          1. NW Mossy*

            And it’s likely very frustrating for those clients, particularly when the reasons they’re given as to why the custodian won’t accept e-signature don’t make sense. It’s very common for custodians to simply say “nope – it’s insecure!” and see that as a meaningful end to the discussion, forgetting that everyone who already uses e-signature had the same questions of their e-signature vendors and got satisfactory answers.

            I recently was involved in bringing a gigantic financial institution around to accepting e-signature on agreements for our mutual clients. Their legal department was emphatically against the idea at first, and it took about 18 months to allay all their fears. Now that we’ve been live with it for a little while, though, they’re thrilled because it means that they get instant notifications when agreements are executed and the agreements are typically returned in 1-4 days instead of 1-4 weeks as in the paper-based system.

            I guess what I’m saying is that while I understand the reluctance to accept e-signature, paper-based is definitely on the decline. Organizations that don’t accept it currently should take it seriously, because demand for it is rising. Knowing how it works and having one’s own mechanism to permit it means that you then don’t have to sift through the merits of hundreds of other solutions designed by others.

            1. Chinook*

              The bias against the switch from paper to electronic format still catches me by surprise, My national organization is doing annual reports electronically for the first time this year (thank you, Survey Monkey) and I had very smart but very old women (think 70+) question how anyone is going to be able to complete the 2500 individual repetitive comments. It took 3 of us (all of whom do this for a living) to get her to understand that that is what computers do, that most of our questions can be multiple choice and not long answer and that the data we will grow will be so much better. She conceded we may be right but expects the project to fail miserably and take too many man hours to complete.

              I suspect she is also one of those who would only trust hand written signatures as they can’t be faked.

      2. Al Lo*

        Yup, for this particular contract, an email with even the standard “sign here” adobe acrobat signature field default is sufficient. And provided.

      3. Enh*

        I agree with you, but see the points mentioned, didn’t seem like a big deal to me, and the formal letter just seemed like they were “old school” and wanting to conduct business in a manner that they deemed most respectful of Al Lo…nothing more…nothing less.

        But I only replied to your comment to say I had to “Google” what a “SASE” was. I am glad to say I figured out that it did NOT, indeed mean, that the senior citizens had mailed Al Lo a bunch of smart Asian people.* Yeah…confusion…once again averted by GOOGLE! Yay. :P

        *SASE (Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers)

    3. Miss Betty*

      We use snail mail and SASEs all the time in the legal field. More and more things are becoming digital and (thank goodness) more courts are turning to e-filing – including mandatory e-filing – but there’s still a lot of old fashioned-ness in our field. Even brand new attorneys right out of law school still use snail mail and SASEs!

  5. Bookworm*

    I love Alison’s wording for #3, and think that reaching out is a good idea. Both for the reason Alison mentioned, and also because you definitely don’t want to inadvertently let any frustration boil over, should you run into her in person. It’s easier to project a demeanor of calm acceptance over e-mail than in person.

    1. LW3*

      LW3 here.

      So true! I’d definitely instantly regret any misstep in person, so better to address head-on before that happens!

  6. Fiona the Lurker*

    It’s no consolation to the LW, but #1 reminded me of a manager I had who liked to pretend she was running a one-woman department when in fact she had two assistants – one full-time and one part-time – who did most of the actual work while she took all the credit. This went on for 23 years until she decided to host a meeting of her professional association and all her equivalents from across the region came to our location for their big annual meeting – and suddenly the penny dropped that this wonderful multi-talented woman who had seemed such a star was revealed to have a crew of hard-working backup staff. Most of her equivalents were actually running their departments on their own, and this deception did her professional reputation no good at all.

    1. SophieChotek*

      So it became obvious at the professional meeting she wasn’t on par and had to say “Well, actually, Fiona did…”?

      1. MK*

        I think the others were actually doing all the work on their own, and she made it seem that she did too, and then they found out she had assistants.

    2. Lia*


      I know of someone who was brought down (as in, actually terminated) due to a similar scheme where I work. It’s been probably ten years since it happened and people STILL bring it up from time to time.

    3. Mary Ellen*

      When did delegating work to assistants become a bad thing?

      Most famous book authors have armies of them, doing research and writing drafts. Big keynote speakers hire experts to create their PPTS.

  7. Cat steals keyboard*

    #4 I strongly recommend you search out the AAM post about dream jobs and how it’s not a very helpful concept. Also, the way to wow is to be a good interviewee, and get the basics right, not through gimmicks.

    Alison has it spot on with the date analogy!

    1. Koko*

      It’s so funny once you’re on the other side of the hiring table how much more obvious things become that weren’t obvious at all when you had only ever been a candidate.

      One of the perspective shifts is that hiring managers don’t see themselves as judges and he job as a prize that they’ll give to the person who impresses them most. The job vacancy exists because there is work that needs to be done that currently isn’t getting done, or isn’t being done as well or at as high a level as it could be. It’s limiting the amount of work the team can take on, or it’s limiting the efficacy of what they do. Other team members feel the pain of the vacancy when they have to cover extra work or do work outside their own area that they don’t have the right specialized knowledge to do well or maybe even raises are small because the department’s productivity has hit a ceiling.

      The job opening is an attempt to solve that business problem. Hiring managers are looking for a solution in the form of a person who can come in, get that work done, and at a high level that’s going to bring a lot of value to the company. They also generally want that person to be pleasant to be around, but sometimes a very talented jerk can manage to get hired. OTOH, a really nice person who lacks a track record of success in a similar role makes you think, “Is this person really going to be able to solve my problem? Or are they going to struggle, not be able to learn the work or do it well enough, and eventually have to be fired?”

      That’s why gimmicks are ineffective. The manager isn’t sitting in this position of power looking to be flattered and won over. They are sitting on a problem looking with laser focus for a solution. Everything else is just extraneous.

  8. nofelix*

    #2 –
    Can you invite them to a calendar event that has the details in the description? Then you can update as necessary and they can check it when they need.

    The trick here is to imagine the situation from the PoV of a stressed person who only has time to skim any emails. It also helps if you can tailor your communication to each person’s personality.

    Never bury important information several lines into an email, or expect people to remember info spread across several emails. e.g. if you send out itinerary details and then something changes, repeat all the details again in the next email, not just the change.

    Try asking after the event if there’s something you could have done differently. It’s more convenient for people if they can find info easily rather than asking, so improving the process is a win-win as long as it seems hassle-free.

    If you are working on one big event at a time it could make sense to put a link to the itineraries in your signature. I had an admin that did this and it was great, because every time he emailed me I’d see a reminder of where the itinerary was stored.

    1. Christine*

      2. My coworkers ask me to send them the same info over and over
      I work in higher education. Not sure how long you’re been in your position but you’ll learn which faculty members do not read e-mails, etc. I have two additional suggestions to add what Alison & nofelix suggest. I would set up a category for the travel with a particular color, so every e-mail going out has it, and use the delay delivery feature in outlook. You send out the final details when completed. Then turn around and forward the exact same e-mail to all of the individuals involved and set it up to go out at say at 8:00 or 9:00a.m. one or two business days before the trip. Do it then and there so it’s prepared & off your plate. Your outlook has to be open for it to work, but it makes it easier.

      1. Ama*

        Yup. My last job in academia included booking guest travel and basically once the “hey we’ve invited this person, please coordinate with them on travel” email was sent to me, I didn’t communicate with the faculty again until everything was settled, unless there was a major issue (for example, if I was unable to find a flight within the budget range they gave me). (I should note that calendar invites, though in theory I like the idea, would not have worked for the vast majority of faculty in my department because they didn’t use electronic calendars.)

        I also mostly didn’t cc the faculty on the final email to the guest because the guest emails had lots of details the faculty didn’t need to know (like how to get to our building from the airport or hotel) and what they DID need to see would get lost– I would just forward the copy of the final booked flight directly to the faculty member and say, “Here is Professor X’s flight. I’ve booked them two nights at our usual hotel and sent them all the necessary info.”

        Now, did I still have some faculty miss that email and ask me if I’d booked it? Of course, because as Christine says, there are some faculty who just don’t keep up with their email or who don’t remember an email if they don’t act on it immediately. But it’s a lot easier to resend one fairly brief email that has all the details up top than to resend the last in a long exchange and expect them to sort through what the relevant info is.

      2. SubtleSub*

        I’m amazed at how many faculty don’t read emails…or have voicemail set-up, but that’s another issue.

    2. BPT*

      Agree. Generally (unless you’re working for someone who’s likes to micromanage), assistants who set up schedules do the work behind the scenes so that upper level employees don’t actually have to go through the back and forth. OP2 – you say they have “everything they need to make the visit itinerary.” But I would actually suggest that making the itinerary is your job – or essentially ends up being that way to save you some headache. Just confirm everything, create an itinerary with all the relevant information (time, flight #’s, boarding gates, confirmation numbers, the time meetings start, everything from when they leave to when they return). Then put each of those things on their calendar (or send a calendar invite). If their flight is from 2-5 PM, then have the calendar invite be for those 3 hours and in the notes section, include the flight number, where they go, confirmation number, seat number, anything they might need. Then have a calendar item for when they pick up a rental car, with the same information. Then a calendar item for the meeting they’re going to. Make everything as easy as possible for them.

      1. the gold digger*

        It makes me crazy to see a ton of emails about detail that I do not care about. All I want is for something to be done. I don’t care how it happens and I don’t want to be involved.

        1. Koko*

          I used to have a lot of problems with other departments who would email me about doing a project for them, promising that the details would be coming later. So I’d agree to this basically theoretical question but then all the information I needed would trickle across in multiple emails over the next few days as they scrambled to nail everything down. By the time the last piece of info came over I had a whole chain of sporadic emails over the past week and the project was probably due by tomorrow at that point.

          Eventually I managed to enforce a policy of requiring all the information I need to be present in a single email request, and the completed request to be made 3 days before the product is needed.

          Like you, I don’t need to hear about why the various components are delayed and what you’re doing to track them down. Cool, that’s your job. Mine is to take the inputs you give me and hand you a finished product. I only need the inputs.

      2. Geneticist*

        Yes I am in academia and I never get CC’d on individual travel items– the inviting institution’s admin sends me a PDF or Word doc with my complete itinerary from start to finish (plane flight and booking code, pickup arrangements, hotel info, names and meeting times with the faculty at their institution, usually even the dinner arrangements).

        Sooo yeah in my experience, your job actually includes creating the itinerary and sending THAT to the invited speaker.

      3. Bob Barker*

        Knowing when to cut the faculty principal out of an email chain is a fine art, and it’s part and parcel of how academia is different from other fields. There’s a whole lot of incentive built into faculty positions for them to plead ignorance/inability on the practical stuff, and it’s a status symbol to have someone else who does the practical stuff for you. There are a few micro-managing faculty out there (and to be fair, a few who are just that on the ball, and do take care of themselves), but the vast majority just want it all handled for them. So much so that the other fine art is finding ways to tell someone with all the power, “No, look, this isn’t my job, this is your job, you cannot make me do your job.” (Or, much harder, “No, look, you only get me for 50% of my job. You cannot edge out my other tasks without an approved change in job description.”)

        So, whose job is it to make the itinerary? Is that job separate from arranging the various parts of the itinerary, and why? Is there a staff supervisor who has thought through this workflow? Is that staff supervisor willing to be the one to deliver the news that faculty below a certain fame/money threshold cannot ask staff to do everything? Is there a department administrator who works with the faculty chair on that, and is the faculty chair proactive about promoting a culture of own-butt-wiping among faculty?

        1. TL -*

          There’s also the fact that some faculty get crazy amounts of email – I think my boss average 10+/minute. (He’s on the higher end, I think, but even 1/10th that much is hard to manage!)

          1. Bob Barker*

            You’ve got my boss beat! But generally, when you’re getting that many, you’re either subscribed to a ton of listservs (so, you’re doing it to yourself), or you’re big enough you get your own (or a shared) assistant anyway. Or your department is having one of those “Hey, it’s not necessary to Reply-All” flamewars. I love those.

            1. TL -*

              He has an assistant and I’m 99% sure it’s not not a listserv or reply-all thing, it’s an everyone wants his input/attention thing. (Assistant definitely helps a lot! But you have to email a couple of times to get his attention and it’s best to keep it short.)

              1. Bob Barker*

                I know of a couple of professors who make an exquisite art out of being elusive, mostly by strategic inaction on email, but also quite a few who “don’t know” how to work voicemail. I have lurked outside particular doors to pry answers out of people like that! (Only when I had the authority to do so.)

                I think most of them aren’t so strategic about it, and just fall behind and skip over stuff rather than catch up. But it’s pretty funny watching the strategic ones operate.

      4. Lynn Whitehat*

        OP2, I would really recommend leaving faculty out of all the back-and-forth regarding travel. My company’s travel agency loves to copy us on all the intermediate steps of booking travel. It’s terrible. I might get 25 emails about a straightforward domestic trip, and every one of them is an annoying decision that has to be made. I have to read it and figure out “is this preliminary? Final? Do they need me to state a preference? Do they need more information from me (e.g. TSA pre-check number)?”

        And I’m never quite sure when things have finally been settled. All that “communication” is so overwhelming that it basically ends up being the same as no communication. More than once, I’ve headed to the airport not being completely sure whether there was a hotel booked for me on the other end, and if so, where.

        1. Lynn Whitehat*

          Oh yeah, and the reason they delegated the task to you in the first place is that they don’t want to think about all the details. And then by copying them on so many emails, you’re making them do that.

    3. Elizabeth*

      I really like using for this kind of thing — I can have all the information in one place, and if I forward them emails with reservations, it automatically imports the details.

    4. Julie*

      It seems a no win situation, Some faculty want to micro manage, and some faculty just want the end facts I try to accommodate as best I can, but just when you get them figured out they change their mind. My goal of course is to minimize those ridiculous back and forth emails nobody has time for. However I can’t win. I really like the idea of maybe using box to dump things in? I don’t bury facts I always keep it to the point, but again I am not making the itinerary’s they are so I just give the facts over and over and over again. I use the outlook flags etc. I also add the link at the end of the emails to the web calendar that has the details as well. Who knows I just thought I would get input, Thanks every one.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Why not ask at the start? “Typically I’ll handle all the back and forth with Falcon but keep you out of that and just send you a completed itinerary once it’s done. But if you’d like to be cc’d on the planning emails too, just let me know.”

        1. Nicole*

          This is part of my job too! It can take awhile to learn different faculty preferences, and I like Alison’s suggestion to just ask while you’re still learning. I think it sounds like it would help a lot if you were able to do the itinerary and send a completed one to the faculty. That’s how we do it in my department and it works fairly well. Maybe it would save you a lot of back and forth? In my experience, putting everything in a central location will only help with faculty who want to be very involved and have access to all the details. Most want it to be just organized and sent to them, so they aren’t going to go looking for the information. Do you have a faculty member who is sort of in charge of the seminar class, such as the instructor of record? I find it helpful when I’m thinking of making a change, or if I notice something isn’t working well, to talk with that instructor about the issues and solutions I’m thinking of, since that person is also thinking about the larger picture of the whole quarter but has more of a pulse on the faculty than I do.

      2. Formica Dinette*

        I feel you on this one. It’s unlikely you’ll please everyone all the time, but I do hope some of these ideas will make your work less frustrating. If we could post photos here, I’d add the “hang in there” kitty to this comment.

  9. Wrench Turner*

    #1- My current manager does this frequently and there’s only 2 of us at the branch. He also gets all the store performance bonuses, company trips, etc. that come from our hard work. My last day there is tomorrow (transferring out), which brings me to…

    #5- He told me that if I wasn’t transferring, it’s policy that when someone puts in their notice they are cut a check for the 2 weeks and immediately escorted out. It’s good for the notice person but real bad for the store because then it’s just the one employee to do everything AND find a replacement.

    1. SophieChotek*

      So if you give notice and aren’t transferring do you work two weeks and then get escorted out? Or are you given two weeks’ pay and escorted out immediately after giving notice (not working any more, and your last day is the day you give notice)?

      Hope transfer goes well!

      1. Wrench Turner*

        As soon as your notice is processed by management, that’s it for you. Take it and get out. Maybe management get treated differently but the workers definitely don’t hang around.

          1. Wrench Turner*

            I’m still new (just under 2yrs) to this industry, but had never heard of it before and never with my previous vocation.

  10. Eleanora*

    For OP #1, I wonder if your manager is presenting it as her work because it will create the impression that the client is so important that your manager did the work (even if she didn’t) – i.e. it’s a PR thing, rather than trying to diminish your contributions?

    Not that that makes it right, but I could see that it would hold some sway with external clients.

    1. nofelix*

      Or she always did their work in the past, or has promised to see to it personally, or some other kind of pattern where she feels the client would raise an eyebrow at a change from ‘I’ to ‘we’. Poor reasons all.

      1. BPT*

        It’s not necessarily poor reasons – sometimes there is work that needs to be done that lower level employees can do easily, but the client doesn’t like anyone but upper level people working on it. Or the firm wants to give the impression of upper level people working on all the clients’ work. Sure, it would be nice if people always got credit for all their work, but it just isn’t always feasible in certain settings. I would still prefer a manager shying away from explicitly saying, “my work,” but there’s nothing wrong with it coming from the manager and saying, “here’s what we came up with,” or “here is the project” without explicitly saying who did it.

        1. Tex*

          Or the client may be paying a higher rate for work supposedly being done by an upper level person. Still does not bode well for OP in the long run; this is probably a place where she will find little to none career progression or raises.

            1. Emily*

              As the letter writer, I can confirm that is not the case. The industry that I work for is particular in that there are no “big wigs.” There are not clients paying big money to specifically have my supervisor work on their projects. There are really no big names within my company, although I can see how that justification might make sense in other industries.

    2. MK*

      Not just PR, especially if the OP’s job is actually not doing this work. I have had friends working as teapot polishers who were given teapot-making duties by their supervisors; in two separate cases, when the supervisor gave credit to them in front of the client, the client specifically asked that all their work be done by teapot makers in the future. Which was really not the desired result!

  11. insert witty name here*

    #1 – With two caveats, this is VERY common when sending work to clients. In fact, I’d say it’s the norm. The caveats are what Allison already noted: 1) it’s always “our work” and 2) it’s work that’s not high-profile / career making. But if it’s just run of the mill stuff then yeah, saying “here’s what we did” is part of being on a team.

    1. MK*

      I find the possessive pronoun odd; I would almost always say “see attached the report/reports”. I mean, obviously it’s coming from me/my team/my department/my organization.

      1. Laura*

        I like that wording better. I will say from a client side, it’s good to know who is doing the work. I work in PR and we’ve always employed outside PR agencies for help with larger projects. Sometimes the work you get is awesome and other times it’s not so great. It is always turned in by our account manager and while I know she didn’t do all of the work, I would sometimes really love to see “Jane pulled together some great press materials” or “I worked with Lisa on this” because in a time crunch, it would be nice to say “Hey, we need a statement by the end of day, is this something you might be able to have Jane do? She really has done a great job with getting our voice in the past.”

      2. Emily*

        As the author of#1, I find it odd, as well. When I send any type of work to customers, I use phrasing such as “see attached the requested ____.”

    2. Trout 'Waver*

      That was my impression too. The manager takes ownership of the work before it gets sent to the clients and is responsible for any follow-up. If Jane is accurately representing the OP’s work internally, then I don’t think there’s any issue here. Yeah, the ‘my work’ bit is annoying and should be ‘our work’.

      Also, the fact that the OP is being CC’ed on the work speaks in her favor. When a manager sends out a project and CCs one of their direct reports on it, I think everyone knows that the CC’ed direct report at least made a significant contribution to the project and most likely did the bulk of it. Additionally, if the manager really was trying to take credit (instead of ownership) they wouldn’t CC the OP on the e-mails to the client.

    3. Elizabeth*

      This, but I’m weird and hate seeing my work given attribution in this type of context. They don’t need to know that I did the research / put the documents together / whatever else I did. If the work is done as part of a larger team and my manager or team lead is the one sending the work, I don’t need a “Here’s what Elizabeth put together” shout out. Depending on what it is, it can actually make me really uncomfortable, as if someone is pre-emptively trying to pin any mistakes that might be in the work on me (but I concede this is a lingering feeling from a previous dysfunctional workplace!).

  12. Wakeen Teapots, Ltd.*


    Hmmm. Without knowing the exact nature of the clients and the business at hand, I can’t say I’m sure Jane is in the wrong here. Our entire org (my division, the outside sales division, and a couple other divisions) is built on having a “single voice to the customer” approach. The person who faces the customer is supposed to take the credit for research done, technical or delivery problems solved, etc.

    Which, is not the same thing as internal credit.

    So when the OP asks why she can’t send it to the client directly, and seems to feel resentful about that, my jury is out as to whether that is justified. That set up might be the right business choice.

    If the OP feels that Jane is never giving internal credit and nobody but Jane knows what a great job she is doing, well recognition is the gas to go into the tank to continue doing a great job.

    1. SubtleSub*

      We are the same way. Even when I have stepped in and written something, or done back-end work from one of my staff members, I would route it back to them to send to the client.

      But internally, I’m always, always credit my team with their work.

    2. Margaret*

      This is similar to my field (taxes) – it depends on the client and specific type of work, but often there’s one person (or maybe two – a manager doing more detailed stuff and a partner doing more high level stuff) who’s the face of the firm to the client, and although the client is usually at least vaguely aware that there are staff accountants/others helping behind the scenes, it’s easier and better for a lot of reasons to keep the relationship consolidated to the one or two people.

      That said, if I’m sending something to the client I’m more like to not use a possessive word or to say here’s what “we” did, in the sense that I’m representing the firm’s work generally, not necessarily mine specifically. But even if I didn’t do the detailed work, I’m the one the client is going to blame if there’s something wrong if I’m the one building the relationship with them, so in that sense it is still “my” work in that I’m responsible for making sure it was done and done properly.

      And that’s very different than internal recognition – there are required levels of review, it’s essentially not even allowed for anything to go out the door with less than two people looking at it! So no matter how the client views how the work got done, everyone within the firm is aware of how things actually happened.

    3. Emily*

      As the author of #1, I wanted to mention that it’s specially the “my” in the context of the email that irritates me. I understand that in some work places, it may be appropriate for upper management to present the project (although that’s not really the case in my particular industry.) However, I would certainly be LESS bothered by these emails if she were to just say something along the lines of “please see attached the work on x, y and z. As Alison mentioned though, it’s probably not worth me bringing up unless it were something affecting my career long term – which, it is not.

  13. Laura*

    I have what may be a weird exception for #4… or maybe not

    When I interviewed for my current position, I had been a seasonal employee at that same location. I knew my snail mailed thank you would not make it there in time based on prior experience. (They’d hired me seasonally on the day my note went out or was still in transit) I prewrote my notes for that new interview (was good that I did because one of the interviewers was leaving for their own promotion the next week and would not have received it) There’s something about hand writing a thank you note that I like.

    I knew the interviewers and I knew I was eager for the job and I still enjoy working there today.

    Would not do that without a professional rapport and definitely not after a first interview.

    1. Gaara*

      And then they can potentially see that it’s postmarked before your interview? And, more importantly, you can’t use it to follow up on your conversation, which is largely the point of sending a follow up/thank you note to begin with.

      It’s awesome that it worked out for you, but that doesn’t seem like an exception that others should follow — just send email follow up notes.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah — you’re missing out on one of the big points of a thank-you note, which is that you can build on points that were made in the discussion.

        There’s also the whole “not everyone checks their work postal mail more than once a month or so now” issue.

        1. Laura*

          I forgot to say that I gave these ones in person right after the interview so there was no postmark on those. In retrospect it probably did come off like checking a box. I was also seasonal for two separate seasons totaling 5 months; I had experience there.

          Would I do that again? No.

          I understand I was very fortunate in circumstances and on that outcome.

  14. Not an IT Guy*

    #1 – I would think the OP would want to speak up regardless of the situation. If they decide to job search they could say “I accomplished X, Y, and Z with my previous employer” but Jane could turn around and say “no they didn’t, that was all me and I have the proof”. I’ve been told on here before that if a manager can’t/won’t validate your accomplishments then it doesn’t count.

    1. MK*

      I think that was the point of Alison’s response: are these things accomplishments? Can the OP forsee a situation where taking credit matters? Or are they run-of-the-mill tasks that don’t belong in a resume?

  15. coffeeandpearls*

    OP #2- You and I have the same job! Solidarity! I’ve found that though The Faculty I work with are brilliant in their field; they need so much help with the simple things and have little patience. Honestly, if you taped that itinerary to their foreheads, there will still be someone asking you where it is. I’m dying to get back to working primarily with students because of the same frustrations you are feeling. Some are great, but overall- Faculty are 3x the work and terrifying when angry!

    1. Dr. Doll*

      And we complain ad nauseum that our students do not read and remember minutely every word of the syllabus and textbook! And we delete emails that explain decisions and then rage that the administration is non-transparent! /irony

      Sorry, coffeeandpearls, I hope you will also find the faculty who realize that they are not special, but lucky.

    2. Phoenix Feather*

      Ditto! I’ve worked in various departments at a mid-major university, including research departments, special programs, and Athletics. No matter how oblivious my brilliant faculty are, none compare to the hand-holding required by coaches. Half don’t use a cell phone and the other half don’t exist without it. I worked out a great system years ago with Trip-It, as a physical app for their travel and for their guests’ travel. My tech savvy faculty and coaches loved the app, and my non-savvy personnel were just fine with the printouts from the desktop site. It’s even easier now that our University’s travel vendor (Concur) has bought Trip-It.

  16. Mirve*

    LW1, are you cc on everything that goes out or just the items you worked on? That cc may be the internal credit while not confusing the clients by hearing from Jane one time and you the next.

  17. Sarah*

    #1 – it doesn’t seem like your manager is actually taking credit for your work. She gives you praise and recognition internally and she clearly doesn’t think that she did the work. She even copies you when she emails your work to the client – that’s unusually nice of her. As the boss, she is simply taking responsibility for the work as far as the client is concerned. Her name and butt is on the line professionally for the quality of your work. That is pretty normal and it actually does you a favor by shielding you from client blowback.

    I don’t know what field you’re in, but in both fields I have worked in, this is very common. Clients in the legal industry and the consulting industry want to talk to partners, not associates, and they want to believe that partners have done the work, not associates, because they’re paying top dollar. But the reality is that partners are way too busy to write things like memos or make spreadsheets, so they delegate the work to associates, but attach their name to the work. The client doesn’t need to know about the chain of command or the minutiae of delegation, and the associate gets credit within the firm.

    1. Emily*


      I am the author of #1. To clarify (because I think it may be important in this case), I work in an industry that in particularly has no “big-wigs”, so to speak. It is not important to the client or our internal sales representatives that upper management, and they are not paying top dollar to have a particular person work on these projects. In a way, maybe because of this, it shouldn’t matter to me. On the other hand, I communicate with many, many customer every day, and would like to build those relationships over time. If they think my supervisors is taking care of their taller tasks, it may be hard to build that relationship as strongly as I otherwise could. With that being said, I plan on taking Alison’s advice.

  18. JLK in the ATX*

    #3 Rejected by form letter from someone I know personally

    Makes me wonder why we we’re told over and over to ‘work the network’ when our network doesn’t do much to help us. I agree with the previous posters and Allison in their reasoning, but it makes me so mad that affiliation, network seems to have little value anymore.

    I think the error, if there has to be one, by the OP is that they didn’t ask/tell their acquaintance what they wanted. Yes, they included them in the submission, but the acquaintance might have considered that an FYI, not a ‘Please advocate on my behalf and here’s how or why you should.” Cc: types of email don’t always mean the same thing, just that you’re included not to take action.

    When I let someone know that I’ve submitted to an organization they’re affiliated with, I say (and did this recently) “Hi Christina. I submitted for Teapot Manager at Teapot Inc. and it looks like you know Ms. Director. I would appreciate if you could send a note to her advocating on my behalf for the position and here’s why….” Some people have written back saying, “I think you’d be a great fit… ” and some have written back (and I know it was hard for them to do so), “I don’t know if you’ve done this kinda work before. Are you sure?”

    I would also follow-up with the acquaintance to let them know the outcome, as they may not know (as others and Allison have indicated) and might be able to inquire the details as to why one didn’t at least obtain an interview.

    Worse would be when the acquaintance sent the job posting to OP, encouraged OP to submit, and then falls off the radar and doesn’t help in the process.

    1. BPT*

      But “working your network” has never been an automatic shoo-in, and shouldn’t be. I get why it seems personal, but you just can’t take it that personally. Maybe your contact thinks that you do have the skills necessary, but they’ve seen the pool of applicants and know that there are 5-10 people more qualified than you in there. It might make you feel better to have the perfunctory interview anyway, but would you still want to do it if you knew it was only as a favor, and you weren’t one of the better candidates? I’d rather not waste my time.

      And just because someone is in your “network” doesn’t mean that they think that you’re really good at your job (the general you – not you “JLK”). If they fall off the radar, it might be that they just didn’t think you were that great. Or it means that they got busy. Or they know that their company only takes referrals into account in the very preliminary stage, and it doesn’t count for anything after that. Your network isn’t required to help you in the process.

      1. TootsNYC*

        It may mean that they don’t think they have enough pull or aren’t in an appropriate position to say something to that particular manager, or about that particular job. (I would pay very little attention to a recommendation from someone in accounting; they don’t know my field at all.) Or that they don’t want to spend their networking capital that way, or on you.

        Lots of things.

      2. JLK in the ATX*

        Our networks nf working our network is different then. I go to bat forthe and and vice versa. That’s the point of having a network. I never said it should warrant an auto interview but if you ask your network to advocate and they do, then a good hiring manager should take a second look and consider why theyd go to bat? It’s lik doing an internal publish of a posotion asking for employee referrals. They’re not going to refer their weakest network connection (embarrassing); they’ll put forth their strongest contender (proof of their own strength, too) and say, ‘You have to talk to her. She’s awesome at ABC. You’ll enjoy the time spent talking to her.’ Then the network turns around and preps their connection.

        If the network can’t advocate for the requestor, they should say so as well. That’s what networks should do. Mine does.

        1. LW3*

          LW3 here!

          As Alison says below, my acquaintance was the hiring manager, so I couldn’t ask her to advocate.

          Here’s a bit more detail:

          I’ve known the hiring manager professionally for over 10 years. In that time, I’ve advanced pretty quickly in our field and now have a fairly high-profile career at a well-known (in our field) non-profit organization. I left our mutual home state during that time and have recently returned and am interested in potentially scaling back my national work for the right role at a smaller organization. In that same time, my acquaintance has moved up the ladder at a well-respected, awesome state-based organization and is about to take over leadership of the whole thing. So, they are hiring to fill her position and that is the job for which I applied.

          Before the job was posted or I was even aware that she would be leaving her position, I met with her in-person to reconnect now that I’m back in-state. We had a really nice, lovely meeting and agreed we should continue to find ways to connect our two organizations. She and I both followed-up by email a few times after that with specific ideas, events, etc. When her promotion became public, I emailed to congratulate and asked about her position. She responded with when it would be posted, etc. Then, when I applied, I included her on the email and addressed her directly in the digital message and the attached cover letter. She never responded to that email (which I considered odd at the time).

          Anyway, that’s why the whole thing feels so awkward. We’ve reconnected recently, been in close communication, and, unless she actually doesn’t like me and has just been faking it the whole time, I’ve always found her to be super warm, super impressed with the work I’m doing, and eager to be connected.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The contact in this case was the hiring manager, so it would have been really off for the OP to ask her to advocate on her behalf. She’s the decision maker!

      I wouldn’t take this as evidence that networking doesn’t help. If the OP wasn’t the right person for this job, networking wouldn’t and shouldn’t help. And of course, this is one situation, versus tons of others where networking did help.

      1. Formica Dinette*

        I was once advised by a job coach that networking most often pays off through people at three or more degrees of separation, rather than immediate contacts. What has your experience been?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Hmmm. My experience is that it pays off most with the people you know directly and those with only one degree of separation. Three or more sounds off to me.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I would never approach an acquaintance to ask them to advocate for me.

      Maybe this is a bit of semantics, in terms of how you use those words.

      A former colleague with whom I worked closely, I’d ask them to put in a good word.
      A former colleague that I didn’t work that closely with? I’d say, “I’ve applied for X job with Y manager. Do you have any insights about that job, or that manager? Can I pick your brain?”
      And I’d levae it up to them to decide if they want to say something on my behalf.

      1. JLK in the ATX*

        I agreed that no one cares about you, more than you. But what’s the point of having a network if they’re not willing to advocate for you in some way? If they don’t want to, they’ll say no and it’s always no if you don’t ask. frankly, in this age of stats, 75-80% of people find a job through their network, how can’t it not help to make the ask.

        We can’t pussyfoot around and hope we get a job. We have to work to get the job. That means asking for advice, inquiring about the inside details and yes, asking for advocacy from those who know us having performed in a similar role we’re applying for. Otherwise it’s just another passive application with no legs.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m pretty sure that stat isn’t true though (just like the “80% of jobs are unadvertised” stat); it’s a thing career advisors like to tell people, but it’s not clear where it came from. I don’t think it’s true.

          I tend to agree with TootsNYC that directly asking someone to advocate for you isn’t usually what “working your network” means — it’s more things like getting an insider perspective on the job or company, getting someone to forward your application along, asking questions, etc. and leaving it to them to decide how much they want to advocate for you or not.

    4. Kaybee*

      Where I’ve found networks to be really helpful is in alerting people to job openings that may not be widely announced, having very honest conversations about the job, the management, working conditions, benefits, etc. so you can make an informed assessment about whether you’d be happy there, and perhaps an introduction or two. But, there comes a point when it’s up to the applicant to actually go out and get the job.

      The idea of having a shoo-in to a job simply based on affiliation makes me uncomfortable. Affiliation isn’t merit. Also, when it comes to advocating for someone, simply having a connection isn’t practical when you factor how big our networks actually are. Undergrad, grad school, previous coworkers, friends, friends-of-friends, community organizations and activities, and it goes on. When there’s an open position at my work, I can’t advocate for all of the people from all of those different facets of my life who might (and are) interested. And honestly, there’s usually less than a handful whom I know so well that I would feel comfortable advocating for their employment.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Seconding this strongly: “affiliation isn’t merit.”

        Treating affiliation as merit perpetuates a lot of inequality too — candidates from less advantaged backgrounds are less likely to have networks that can help them in that way.

  19. Temperance*

    LW #2: I’m not sure you *can* minimize this, unless these VIPs have a secretary of their own to keep track of such things. You’re tilting at windmills.

    1. Blue_eyes*

      This. I’m a personal assistant and one of my job duties is to keep information organized and easy to find so I can send my bosses the same exact information they also requested yesterday and last week. Yes, it’s in their email somewhere, but it’s a better use of time for me to search for it and then sent it to them than for them to have to dig around for it. If you’re an admin and at a low level in the hierarchy, this kind of thing is probably just a part of your job. But I like Alison’s suggestions for ways to minimize the issue.

  20. squids*

    #1 — I experienced that for years. Kept going back and forth on whether I should do anything or say anything. I knew in this case my manager wasn’t malicious about it, but was very keen on all attribution going to “the team” which inevitably translated into him getting the credit, even though he never intended it that way. I found out that a significant percentage of management of other departments actually thought that I was his personal assistant, rather than a professional with the same certifications and 10 years less experience.

    I kept working hard, corrected people when I could do so without causing a fuss, and got a new job where I’m the program head. And now I’m really conscious of giving credit to individual people here, to a degree that my employees find surprising. I know I’ll mess up in other aspects of management, but not for this reason, dammit.

  21. Jesmlet*

    #4- You can write a generic thank you email in your phone beforehand, save as a draft, and then when you get out of the email, fill in with specifics from what transpired during the interview. That way you can just send it from your phone in the car (not while driving of course). Since the interview is on a Friday it isn’t absolutely essential that you send it right away but that does tend to be my preference. I’d just wait a few hours when you’re at some rest stop and send it. It’s important to make these things specific and address things that came up while you were with them so giving the interviewer some generic letter that was clearly pre-written would throw up all sorts of red flags. Almost better to not even send one than to do that.

  22. ACA*

    OP #5, I did this, but the difference was 1) I’d already gotten the vacation request approved well before I gave notice, and 2) my new job was at the same institution. I can easily see them retroactively turning down your vacation request once you give notice. I’m with Alison – take the vacation and then give notice, or cash it out, if possible. (Alternately, give three weeks notice, and schedule your vacation for the second week of that – but that may not go over well with your employer.)

  23. Julie*

    Question 2.
    I appreciate the advice and I like the central location idea, but being a state university I will check with the IT guys to recommend a way that doesn’t break any rules. Its just that they have all the available tools at their fingertips to answer their own questions, the students too, but it’s easier for Mom (me) to do it and I have a responsibility to over 100 people in my dept. and I am extremely BUSY to babysit adults (Ph.D.’s no less).

    1. Bob Barker*

      Yeah, faculty are gonna play the helpless card and ask you to Mom them. Not all, and not all to degrees that are overtly insulting, but it’s gonna happen. I think how that tendency is managed is hugely related to the department culture: there are departments where you can speak to faculty as you would to a lateral coworker about how they’re imposing on your time, and there are departments where you can’t. Senior staff and senior faculty really set the tone, here, and they also field the petty and not-so-petty complaints about you. So if you do decide to do something — a new strategy for information sharing, a new procedure — make sure you’ve got your supervisor on board for it.

    2. Anon 2*

      The reality is people need reminders, and need one go to document. I know myself, once emails start flying around about logistical details that I tend to ignore them, especially if the event if months away. Having one document with all the information to refer to is helpful and I can save it for reference purposes. Having to sift through half a dozen emails some of which contain information that isn’t that relevant makes my life more difficult.

      And reminders are so important about critical information. Most of the people who are invited to speak are very busy and so things easily fall through the cracks.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Eh, this isn’t being Mom — this is being an admin. Part of the job is handling these details and pulling info for people, and finding a way to make it as easy as possible on them.

  24. Trout 'Waver*

    I had a former employee who used to complain that she did all the work on certain projects and nobody ever supported her.

    As her manager, I bought the instruments to support the projects, serviced and maintained those instruments, collected samples for her to run, trained her on the instruments, developed the methods for the instruments, determined which samples to run and how, and then she ran the samples for the project. I analyzed the data, attributed it to her, and forwarded it to internal customers.

    She then complained to my boss she was the only person doing any work. Ugh.

    I’m definitely not saying this is the case with OP#1. But individual contributors sometimes fail to recognize the work that goes into getting customers, keeping those customers happy, understanding what exactly customers are wanting, and developing methods or protocols to get what the customers want done correctly.

    1. Beezus*

      I screwed this up terribly a couple of years ago, and I still cringe when I think about it.

      I spent a great deal of time creating an analysis process that could tell us information quickly about our customer order patterns in a way we’d never looked at them before. I worked with Bob, my team’s data and reports guy, to get all of my source data, but the final work I turned in was 90% my effort and 100% my ideas, and I was very proud of it. I presented it to our management team and they assumed it was all Bob’s work (I was newish, and he was well-established as the go-to guy for data). I was so anxious to correct them and make sure I got credit for my work, that I failed to give Bob any credit at all. He was offended, and I spent months mending fences with him.

  25. 2 Cents*

    #1 I think there’s a difference between the manager appearing to take credit for work she presents to clients of the business versus taking credit for work when presenting it before her boss / upper management. I work at an ad agency, so it’s assumed that stuff you do will be presented to the client as part of a whole. Very rarely to individuals get credit when it’s the agency getting credit for the work. However, on an internal basis, individuals are credited and recognized, so we all know that Jane did the design work for Client X and that Bob wrote awesome copy for Client Y.

    Her wording of “my work” in the client emails is grating, but as long as she acknowledges you did the work to the people signing your checks, I don’t see it as a huge problem.

    1. Emily*

      Thanks for your input! I am the author of #1 and tend to agree with you. She absolutely gives me credit internally. Like you said, it is grating, but probably more of just an annoyance than anything worth bringing up. The more comments I read, the more I believe that.

  26. Murphy*

    #2 – Yeah, faculty don’t read. I deal with stuff like this all the time. Although I do like Alison’s suggestion! I hop e it helps some.

  27. Maria*

    I ended up not sending thank-yous after the interview for my last job. I had a horribly long drive home due to an accident, and by the time I arrived home there was already a phone message offering me the job. I felt weird doing it then, so I just thanked them profusely when calling back to negotiate. I was never sure if I made the correct decision doing that.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      I don’t think you need to in that case. Technically the goal of the thank you card (and interview) is to get the job offer, right? You already accomplished that goal without the thank you card (plus, you’d be talking to and/or seeing these people again, so you can say your “thanks” in the following email/phone call/in-person meeting).

      I actually had the reverse – I sent the (handwritten) thank yous within an hour or two of the interview, got the callback a couple hours later, and then felt weird knowing they’d receive the thank yous in a couple days. So maybe no right (or wrong!) answer there.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        And I see now you did share your thanks when you spoke with them, which I think is definitely the way to go :)

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No one expects a same-day thank-you note (in fact, I’d argue that they’re less effective than showing you waited a day or two and have digested everything). And it would be weird to send one after the offer. Nothing to worry about here.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        And I’d add — the point isn’t really about thanking them anyway. It’s about affirming your continued enthusiasm and building on the conversation. Profuse thanks aren’t really necessary!

        1. TootsNYC*

          I love the idea (which I know I’ve heard you expound) of thinking of them as follow-up letters, and not thank-you notes.

          This is business. People weren’t extending great kindness to you, or giving you a gift (the hospitality of your home is a gift to your dinner guests). It was a mutually beneficial conversation.

          That doesn’t mean you don’t say “thank you for your time”; that’s basic courtesy. When I interview people, I say to them, “Thank you for coming in.” When I place an order in the restaurant, I say “thank you” to the waitress.

          Focus on making your case again, in writing this time (and shorter). And let them know you’re very interested.

  28. Ellie H.*

    For LW#2, sending faculty the same information over and over again: I do very similar work also in academic administrative support. In my opinion, there is no way to fix this problem! You really have to send them the same information over and over again. I do this constantly. I don’t want to embarrass people or seem difficult so I don’t usually allude to the fact I have sent it before. Once in a while I will forward the email I sent earlier if I think there might be a need to make it clear that I didn’t drop the ball on something, but if that’s not necessary I usually I just copy and paste or re-send to avoid seeming passive aggressive.

    Some people do like to be CC’ed on everything. It is probably the case that half the people are annoyed by it and don’t want to be CC’ed and half the people would immediately email you anxiously if you stopped CC’ing them on the arrangements, which would just create more complications, and there is no way to predict who this is.

  29. Rafe*

    #1 — Depending on the field, often a boss cc’ing someone internally on a big outgoing piece of work signals to the receiver (unless the person on the other end is very green) that the cc’d person played a big role in the project (or maybe even was the primary person from start to finish). Just an FYI to the OP, in case it helps take out some of the sting.

  30. Seal*

    #3 – How well do you really know the hiring manager? I was in your exact situation earlier this year: applied for a job for which I was well-qualified, knew the hiring manager for years, am well-regarded in a small niche in my profession. In fact, a number of our mutual colleagues even encouraged me to apply. To say I was stunned when I didn’t get so much as a phone interview is an understatement. When I reached out to the hiring manager in a manner similar to what Alison recommended, I got no response. As it turns out, the hiring manager – with whom I thought I had a cordial, mutually respectful relationship – does not like me AT ALL. Apparently I inadvertently offended her at an event years ago and that has influenced her opinion of me ever since. I have no idea what I said or did at the time (in fact, I barely remember having attended the event in question), nor do the few mutual colleagues I confided in, and certainly would have apologized had I know I offended anyone. In all of our subsequent transactions, the hiring manager was never anything less than warm and polite to me and never gave any indication that she had any animosity towards me. So I am very confused as to what’s going on with this woman and very much dreading our next encounter because I’m not exactly sure what to say to her, if anything.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I had something similar happen to me. It was actually a former workplace, in which I was well-regarded (except by the hiring manager). No reply. No phone interview. No acknowledgement whatsoever. My other former colleagues, who actually encouraged me to apply, were shocked I hadn’t heard anything, but I wasn’t. That person just had it out for me. Even then, I do think it would be common courtesy to at least send a form rejection email.

    2. NicoleK*

      Agree. I have former colleagues who I like personally, stay in touch with, and have served as professional references for them. That said, knowing these colleagues, I would not consider hiring them or recommending them based on what I know about their temperament, personality, and weaknesses.

    3. LW3*

      LW3 here!

      To be honest, this is my biggest concern given the radio silence. She’s always been super friendly and we’ve reconnected more deeply recently (had a one-on-one meeting once I moved back in-state, prior to job being posted) and it has all been very upbeat and mutually appreciative. I haven’t seen her enough in the past 10 years to have offended, I don’t think, but I’m worried that there is something personal about me or about my current work/organization that is the primary driver here. I mean, if that’s what it is then that’s what it is, but I’m hoping it’s not! :(

  31. Tookie Clothespin*

    Regarding #3 – I wonder how you handle following up on the other side as the employee who submitted the referral. There have been times that I’ve referred candidates I thought were excellent and they got an auto-rejection almost immediately. I’ve wanted to follow up with HR/recruiters in some instances but don’t know how to go about it without overstepping or being a pain.

    I had an easier time with this when I worked in smaller offices, but now that I work for a large global professional services firm I’m lost as to how to handle it.

    As for the #1 question – I think this depends on the industry, to echo earlier commenters. I’m in consulting so we generally don’t get specific credit at a staff level with regards to client recognition, as that goes to managers and above. My boss is great about cc’ing me and introducing me to clients, but it’s not something I expect here. I’ve also helped write technical articles edited and approved by managers, partners, ect and we usually use their name on it as an industry norm.

    It is worth pointing out that we get internal credit, primarily through billing hours. The way a lot of systems are set up you will also see who worked on what.

  32. Amanda*

    For #5, my company has a pretty strict policy of not paying out vacation, and it’s looked at very unfavorably if you take the vacation when you put in notice. I have pushed to get the vacation paid out for my team (and for one peer) through HR because I believe we have earned that benefit and you don’t want people to leave on a negative note.

  33. TootsNYC*


    The underlying message is that these people need this information in a clearly identifiable, easy to access form. Fast, findable.
    I can’t fault them for that.

    I think that expecting them to glean all the details as you go along isn’t really fair to them.
    Create a master sheet for the event, and once it’s almost complete, email the info to them (in the body of the email, not just attached; attach or not as you like, but paste the info into the email, so it’s readable easily on a phone–which will take care of a computer as well).

    Use a carefully crafted subject line that will make it easy to find in their email inbox.

  34. I'm Not Phyllis*

    #1 I find it a bit bizarre that your boss even needs to say “my work”. I usually just write “please find attached (that thing).” I realize this doesn’t help you at all but I just think it’s strange. I completely understand why this would irritate you!

    1. Emily - OP #1*

      I find it bizarre as well! I, too (and I imagine most people) always use the phrase, “please find attached ____.” So yes, that in particular is what really irks me!

  35. Frustrated Optimist*

    #3 — Well, first of all, I think Alison’s wording on how to approach the hiring manager is perfect. From what you describe, given what a good fit you would appear to be, I would strongly suspect that they either had an internal candidate or someone else hand-picked for the role. If that’s the case, I would not feel bad about not being granted a “courtesy interview.” I’ve had a lot of my time wasted this past year essentially helping companies fulfill an interviewing quota as mandated by HR. You certainly don’t realize what’s going on at the time, but later, you find out you were just a patsy. It’s pretty disheartening.

    1. LW3*

      LW3 here!

      Ugh, super disheartening — sorry to hear that you’ve been through that! I agree that they may likely have an internal candidate in the wings, which is just what it is, if that’s the case. Re: courtesy interview, I think my goal or desire with having one is to be able to introduce myself a little more as a potential employee more broadly, even if this position isn’t the right one (though, frankly, it seems freaking perfect for me). I really admire the organization and would love to work there one day.

  36. designbot*

    #1, I wouldn’t bring this up directly, but I’d use the knowledge you’ve gained through this situation in your next review. Start talking about how you’d like to begin handling clients more directly yourself, cite the work you’ve done including how it gets presented with no alterations directly to the clients, and point out how useful a professional skill client management will be for you to develop. Thank you boss for including you in this correspondence and say how prepared it’s made you feel for this next step. Use this info you’ve gained for its highest and best use.

    1. Emily*

      Thank you so much for the advice! I plan on asking for a raise in my end of the year review with my supervisor and boss, and I believe citing that information would be useful. I am currently in an entry-level position, as a recent college graduate, so I think this could certainly be useful for preparing for the next step; especially since my boss is aware that I would love to grow within the company.

  37. Liz T*

    #4: Last year I was interviewed by someone I knew quite well in college, who upon seeing my application called me excitedly and had me come in that same day to interview me for almost two hours.

    I never got a rejection AT ALL. Just silence.

    At reunion this spring we completely avoided each other.

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