open thread – October 21-22, 2016

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)

{ 1,663 comments… read them below }

    1. AliceBD*

      Feel better! I just emailed my boss and key coworkers that I’ll be working from home due to a cold, and to please IM me rather than call.

    2. caledonia*

      I am also enjoying coughing, sneezing and sniffing. (Am at work too… – because this is my first week of new job). May we feel better soon!

    3. Punkin*

      I thought I was missing it. I was up late for work & kept checking for a new post. Glad to know I was not mistaken.

      Alison – you take care of yourself. We will amuse ourselves quietly in the corner. ;-)

    4. Joanna*

      Hope you’re feeling better soon. Don’t push yourself to get back into writing too quickly. There’s plenty of your wonderful work in the archives to keep us reading for a very long time!

    5. OldAdmin*

      Get well soon!
      Remember, recognizing when to call in sick and stay home – instead of infecting everybody else and dragging it out for yourself – is the best way to regain productivity! :-D

    6. Jean*

      Chicken soup, or veggie equivalent, and diluted fruit juices and lots of weak tea (decaf, regular, or herbal). Anti-post-nasal drip actions. And rest, lots of rest. Feel better soon, and feel free to ignore this advice.

      1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

        You might want to go to the doc. I’m out with the exact same symptoms and it had turned quickly to a bacterial infection. I feel slightly better after 4 days of antibiotics

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think I will! My husband has the same thing but is a few days ahead of me and he went to the doctor and was told it’s viral and they can’t prescribe anything, but I want to be sure mine hasn’t mutated into something else. And I found a doctor who makes house calls, so that is very tempting to try.

          1. Eyes Wide Open*

            Viral sicknesses are the worst. All you can do is stay in bed and be miserable.
            I would get viral pneumonia at least 3xs a year in grad school. Sucks.

          2. Lore*

            I am incredibly prone to throat issues like that–swollen, painful tonsils and completely losing my voice, but not testing positive for strep. I find Advil works better than Nyquil/cold medications, for what that’s worth…

          3. anoncmntr*

            Whoa, a doctor in the US that makes house calls? How did you find such a thing? Genuinely wondering, I thought this was something that didn’t exist at all today.

            1. JustaTech*

              In Seattle one of the big hospitals has started a house-calls program. There are limits on the patients (no one under 2 or over 65) and I don’t know how it bills to insurance, but it sure seems sensible to me, at least in a super-dense area where you’re not going far from patient to patient.

              1. Honeybee*

                I was about to say the same thing, but I also live in Seattle. A lot of Seattle-area companies have health insurance that include doctor house calls and 24/7 nurse hotlines.

            2. azvlr*

              The doctor making house calls has been a win for both my SO and the insurance company. Being disabled, it is difficult for him to get to a regular doctor. (It pretty much requires that I take a day off work to take him, and before we were together, his caregivers just weren’t that reliable.)
              Now, the doctor comes to the house on a regular basis. He has gone from being hospitalized once every couple of months to vastly improved health and no hospitalizations in over a year.
              It took a lot of persistence to get this set up for him, to put it politely. The logic of this escapes me. This service should be more widely available.

              1. anoncmntr*

                That sounds wonderful! I mean, that it’s working now so well and that his health is so improved. I’m glad your persistence paid off!

            3. Ask a Manager* Post author

              On Yelp! I was looking at reviews of urgent care places and I found a few places that send a doctor to you. He actually just left — says it’s viral, not strep, and gave me anti-inflammatory throat lozenges from Canada that are already working when nothing else has, along with a bunch of other advice on what OTC stuff to take and a prescription for a narcotic to help me sleep (I’ve basically not slept for the last two nights). I am relieved.

              1. anoncmntr*

                That’s great! Not just that you didn’t have to leave your house, but also that he was so helpful :)

                1. Dynamic Beige*

                  Yeah — you need sleep to heal!

                  If you can stand it/are allowed based on other medication, a client of mine is Russian and her “cure” for feeling sick is a shot of good non-flavoured vodka (Stoli) as cold as you can get it, straight from the freezer. Proceed directly to bed. I’ve done it a few times when I felt something coming on and it worked.

                  Another thing that’s nice in the cold weather is Chinese Quince Tea (also known as Citron Tea, Jujube tea). It’s like a cup of sunshine and full of vitamin C.

          4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I’m so sorry, Alison—that sounds awful. I just went through 8 weeks of really insane, rib-bruising, subconcussion- and nausea-inducing coughing: I caught a cold, then a bacterial infection, then a completely separate (non-viral and uncommon) infection that required an Rx and that took root b/c I was immune-suppressed after a round of antibiotics.

            This is a long way of saying I think it’s worth seeing a doctor because you may be dealing with a second infection that piggy-backed on the original virus. Also, I find Zicam can be really helpful for getting one’s voice back (it’s a zinc supplement to speed recovery, but it has a nice short-term effect of making your throat feel less awful). Saltwater gargling every 1-2 hours can also help (although the relief is brief). For serious coughs where NyQuil fails, I’m a Mucinex DM believer. And of course, lots of warm liquids (ginger lemon tea, peppermint tea, fennel tea) and oral rehydration can make a huge difference.

            Wishing you a speedy recovery!

          5. The Strand*

            I’m so sorry you’re feeling bad. You may consider getting something that can do nasal lavage, a neti pot or NeilMed bottle. It helps clear crud out of your system.

        2. Mephyle*

          A viral infection in the throat can open the way to getting a bacterial infection on top of it, so the fact that it’s viral doesn’t rule out that you might also be helped with antibiotics.

        3. Red*

          I am absolutely in agreement with this advice! If you can’t swallow, it’s so easy to get dehydrated, which on top of everything else, it would be a whole extra level of awful. If nothing else, head to your nearest urgent care – this is what they’re for! They typically try to have you in and out in about an hour, appointments are not needed, and the copay is usually somewhere between a sick visit copay and an ER copay.

          Though, I do ask that you wear a mask when you do that – they’ve been available in the waiting room in every medical environment I’ve visited lately, but it doesn’t always occur to people to put them on (I only think of it because I work in a hospital and it’s one of the requirements of the job that we not spread germs), so I always remind the sick people in my life that sharing is NOT caring.

      2. Amy*

        I had something similar last week and found the alka seltzer severe day/night worked much better than dayquil/nyquil. I only grabbed it because I had used up my supply of nyquil and the alka selter stuff was on sale at CVS.

      3. Adlib*

        Oh man, sounds like what my supervisor has. She was “out” sick yesterday (too sick even to WFH). She’s online this morning, but I’ll bet she still sounds terrible.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          Throat-coat tea is really good too. In fact, next time I get sick, I think I’m going to add ginger and honey to my throat-coat tea.

      4. Clever Name*

        Yeah, it sounds like strep throat. How high is your fever? When I had strep, I had the worst sore throat of my life (I couldn’t swallow my own spit) and I had a fever of 104. And of course it was over a holiday weekend.

    7. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

      Hope you feel better, ma’am!

      Early morning works for me! Makes it easier to post before work. :)

  1. Joanna*

    Yesterday I saw a real ad for a real business school with the text “It’s the year 2033. Your employees aren’t all restricted to earth. Will you be able to connect them all?” So is intergalactic HR a thing there’s people working on now? What would that involve?

      1. Joanna*

        I wonder what the legal issues about employing aliens are? And would they get the same number of days off on planets with vastly longer or shorter days and years?

        1. Gandalf the Nude*

          I look forward to the day we officially change it from Human Resources to Sapient Resources.

        2. Archive of Anxiety*

          There might also be discussion about whether the Aliens have an advantage compared to human labour forces due to their multiple limbs and advanced intelligence XD

          1. Lance*

            I mean, that depends, right? There’ll probably be some without any limbs, then we’ve gotta get into some really tricky disability policy changes.

          2. Jadelyn*

            New definitions for bona fide occupational qualifications – does this job *require* three arms, or is it just easier with three arms? Are you discriminating against humans by only hiring three-armed aliens for this position? Or vice-versa – are you discriminating against telekinetics by only hiring humans because you say this job *requires* physical manual dexterity?

        3. Cyrus*

          Boring serious answers: under current law, legal personhood only belongs to human beings and corporations they have created. Working with an alien would be governed by animal cruelty laws, not by workers’ rights laws. Any contract you make with one would be legally unenforceable, in general. And all relevant references to days and years in Earth law mean Earth days and years. All those laws would hopefully change if we make first contact or it otherwise becomes relevant, but it’s hard to say how until we see what those aliens are like.

          The really interesting question is time dilation. I don’t know what to expect about hours and days of work when time is flowing at different rates for managers and their employees, except that I’d expect things to get complicated.

          1. OhNo*

            Ooooh, I hadn’t even thought about time dilation. Neat! I wonder if it counts as overtime if you’re scheduled to work an eight-hour day but time passes more slowly for you. Would bosses have to do time-rate conversions when scheduling?

            1. Lillian Styx*

              I imagine the prospect of figuring these kinds of things out is what made Gene Roddenberry decide that Starfleet officers worked for the betterment of mankind and not wages…

            2. Slippy*

              I bet that banks would also on pay interest on the perceived time of your investments and not on the actual time passed because lets face it; time-related fraud seems like a logical next step for Wells-Fargo.

            3. Jadelyn*

              We might start paying on a percentage basis – ie, wage rate would be per 5% of your planet’s rotational cycle. So an “hourly wage” on Earth would actually be for 72 minutes of work (5% of 1,440 minutes in a day), but an alien worker on a planet with a 30-hour day would receive the same pay for 90 minutes of work.

              Which of course would lead to massive off-planeting of jobs to planets with longer rotational cycles so that corporations could either pay less for the same amount of actual time worked, or get more time worked for the same amount of pay. Followed by protests from workers on both sides. And so on.

              1. Slippy*

                We would need to build a tall wall in space to stop interplanetary criminals from coming here and stealing our rotational jobs!

                Side note: Yeesh I’ve had a lot of caffeine today…..

        4. Boop*

          Not only that, but what about leave for illness, etc? Aliens who lay eggs require less recovery time than the aliens who spawn by cell division and regrowth. Should everyone get the same amount of leave for such life events? These are very serious issues!

          1. Pixel*

            Dear AAM,

            After much discussion, me and the other egg-laying employees convinced HR to have an empty office dedicated to egg brooding. On several occasions I have heard co-workers of other species entering the brooding rooms while I was sitting quietly in the back. I suspect they were taking naps or interviewing for positions in other solar systems. I feel violated and seriously suspect their negative energy cracks my eggs (I know I may be a bit paranoid here, but you can’t be too careful). Is there any way to make it clear that brooding rooms are out of bounds to any non-egg-laying species?

        5. Pixel*

          How do you calculate an alien’s age for CPP/pension purposes? Do you use Earth years or whatever year is in their local planet? What abour very long- or short-lived species compared to humans?

        1. Ama*

          I don’t know if anyone else here has seen The Expanse on Scyfy (despite it being excellent they don’t seem particularly interested in letting anyone watch it – they still haven’t put the last two eps of season 1 on their streaming app). But even though it’s mostly a scifi mystery, it basically deals with all kinds of class and workers’ rights issues on an asteroid mine of sorts — one issue being that people raised primarily on Earth are actually biologically different than those raised in the artificial gravity of the mine.

          I don’t think they’ve addressed the time differential issue, though — they basically just go with “tech is so advanced you can talk to anyone, anywhere instantly.”

          1. Sophie*

            Yes, I absolutely loved the TV show! Even if I know exactly what is happening because I read the books (which I think is onto book number 4 now)

            Avasarala is just my favourite :)

      2. Creag an Tuire*

        That’s why I’m voting for Trump’s re-animated head in a jar in 2036.

        “Build The Wall. Yes, In Space, Loser.”

    1. Folklorist*

      Have you guys seen this? Asgardia is a real space nation that’s currently taking applications. It’s not unfeasible! (Link in reply)

        1. nonegiven*

          IDK, the Asgard are supposed to be the good guys but the little grey guys with big heads just creep me the hell out.

        1. Dazed and Confused*

          Huh? Is there a reference I’m not seeing?

          From the website:
          1. The project’s philosophy starts at selecting the name for this new country – Asgardia. In ancient Norse mythology, Asgard was a city in the skies, the country of the Gods. It is the realisation of man’s eternal dream to leave his cradle on Earth and expand into the Universe.

    2. AMD*

      “Dear Ask a Manager,

      I think I might be in a hostile work environment, and I don’t just mean because of the constant exposure to theta radiation. I’m half-Klingon, and have worked hard to reign in my battle lust at work, however on my last three performance evaluations my boss has told me I am ‘over-emotional’ at work and need to be more ‘logical,’ but won’t give specific examples. I tried to go to HR, but they’re off-site and super focused on team building right now, so any mention of problems is met with a blanket statement of ‘You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.’ Can I sue for racial discrimination?”

      1. Hush42*

        “Also one of my co-worker’s thought it would be funny to stuff a Tribble in my locker. I HATE Tribbles!”

        1. AMD*

          “Our office is pet-friendly, but my coworker brought in her tribble once and now there are hundreds of them, and I have a terrible allergy to tribble dander!”

      2. Joanna*

        Dear Ask A Manager,
        Thanks for answering my question a few months ago about anti-Klingon discrimination in the work place. Unfortunately things didn’t work out and I’m now job hunting. I’m in the final stages of interviewing for a great job based out of a Martian city with many Klingon residents. I’m having a bit of trouble when it comes to references. Most of the beings I worked with at my last job at lunar base Thespian-Crunkoid are currently in transit to other jobs in the far reaches of the solar-system and even with the interstellar communication features on the iPhone 79s are difficult to reach. I can reach a few old co-workers from my time on a space station orbiting Jupiter but the challenges of space station employment are quite different to those of working at a planetary base. What should I do?

        1. OldAdmin*

          “Thanks for answering my question a few months ago about anti-Klingon discrimination in the work place. Unfortunately things didn’t work out and I’m now job hunting. I’m in the final stages of interviewing for a great job based out of a Martian city with many Klingon residents. I’m having a bit of trouble when it comes to references. ”

          Dear Joanna (is that an honorable name for a (half)Klingon?),
          There may be a way out of your reference quandary.
          As it is the Klingon way to show real gumption and to charge into a situation, I would suggest you put on full battle armor and turn up at your future job in person!
          I guarantee you they will be impressed by your forwardness!


          1. Creag an Tuire*

            Klingon AAM has the easiest job in the galaxy.

            #1. I want to tell our CEO to fire his incompetent assistant and hire me for her job.
            “Why would you sneak behind her back like a Romulan? If you want her job, just challenge her to honorable combat and kill her where she stands!”

            #2. People keep trying to get me to leave my home-based business
            “Are they suggesting your current job is inadequate? Tell them if they were not family, you would kill them where they stand!”

            #3. Withdrawing a reference after uncovering serious problems with someone’s work
            “Clearly, this worthless petaQ has stained your honor by accepting your reference. Find him at his new place of employment and kill him where he stands!”

      3. Amber Rose*

        Dear Ask A Manager,

        Hi from Chiron Beta Prime where we’re working for our robot overlords- I mean, protectors. Recently I was banished to a small asteroid, do you think it would be worth addressing at next week’so meeting that I feel isolated ? I miss chatting with the others about the futility of escape attempts.


      4. MillersSpring*

        Dear Ask A Manager:
        I don’t like showing my thighs at work but it is part of the expected uniform for women at my workplace. Do you think I could ask my manager if I could wear the men’s uniform? Another issue is that while I graduated from my organization’s academy and I’m considered an officer at this, er, teapot factory, I’m essentially just answering the phone. I’m a minority but for crying out loud, another minority here (a man), gets to fly the factory! Is that illegal? If I can’t complain to my boss, I know that I can’t complain to my boss’ boss, because I always get the vibe he wants to kiss me. Hope you can help; our factory has several years left in its mission.

        1. Creag an Tuire*

          Oh god, TOS would be so much WTF-fodder on this site.

          “Dear AAM,
          I made a mistake at work and injured my department head (not seriously). Ever since then the department head has been treating me and all of the other female teapot engineers like crap because he has a “total resentment toward women”.

          I told HR and the next thing I heard, my boss had been ordered to take “therapy” — which turns out to be the Cap- er, CEO and the onsite physician taking him to a strip club! What the actual hell. Is this legal? I know we’re in outer space and the EEOC was apparently blown up in the Eugenics Wars, but this can’t be legal.”

    3. Boop*

      1) I think 2033 is a bit optimistic for planning interstellar personnel management. It’s 2016 and we haven’t even achieved flying cars yet.

      2) Can’t we just ask NASA?

        1. Fruity Tuity*

          Can you imagine the babies of today heading off to Mars University when they turn 18?? The cost of sending care packages to your kids would be astronomical.

          1. Lance*

            I guess that depends how fast teleportation technology comes along. ‘Til then, I can only imagine the costs and the time to delivery.

          2. Snazzy Hat*

            Well, Planet Express seems like a pretty cheap option. I mean their stock is worth less than toilet paper, and I heard they recently re-hired their entire staff at severely-reduced pay.

  2. YetAnotherAnon*

    A friend of mine is having a difficult time finding work. He has a GED that isn’t recognized everywhere and he has been out of work for a couple of years. He’s planning to go back to school, but until then, what kind of job can he find?

    1. .*

      Food service, entry level retail, possibly manufacturing depending upon location, physical labor like lawn care and snow removal. Nothing great, but income is better than 0 income.

        1. Dulcinea*

          In my experience telemarketing or telefundraiding jobs have such high turnover they hire most everyone who applies and are constantly hiring new people. Loke training a new group every week. Look for a company called integral resources and see if they have a facility near you.

        2. Two-Time College Dropout*

          I know call center jobs aren’t for everyone, but I worked in a call center for almost three years and LOVED it. The pay is usually a lot better than other entry-level low-skill jobs, and the hours are really flexible if the call center is open 24/7.

          Plus, the call center I worked in was by far the most diverse team I’ve ever been in– my ~30 person group had people of all ages, race, gender, ability, education level, you name it– which taught me a lot about how my own assumptions and expectations of How Work Works were far from universal.

          1. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

            I’ll second this. I was at a call center for 8 years and the bonus potential was really good, plus it started at more per hour than other retail jobs. I know people that could hit the bonuses every time and bring home $40k+. I live in a super low cost of living area so that’s great money for this area.

          2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            Yeah, I feel like there aren’t a ton of people that really *thrive* in the call center environment, but if you’re one of them, the world is kind of your oyster. Advancement potential, good wages, and a job that you don’t have to take home with you (which, even if the day is stressful, can make your life otherwise feel like a breeze!)

    2. Construction Safety*

      Construction. Skip residential (and light commercial) if at all possible. Look for high rise, stadium or industrial sites.

    3. A. Nonymous*

      I second construction if that’s available. Also places like Kroger or the Post Office. Bartending is also an option, but he’d have to be able to obtain the license

      1. Natalie*

        Worth noting though that bartending can be extremely competitive, especially for someone with no experience.

      2. BarManager*

        Please don’t encourage people with zero experience in the idea that they can just go out and get a job as a bartender.

        1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

          This. I’m always amazed when I hear someone suggest, “just pick up some bartending shifts.”

          1. Sunflower*

            So true. Even people with extensive serving experience can not get a job bar tending. A lot of places will not hire you unless you’ve been behind a bar.

            If someone has no experience, expect to start as a host or maybe barback.

          2. BarManager*

            I have to throw out so many resumes (also shows people aren’t really reading the ad/description where it requires 5+ years experience) and it’s a bummer because those people wasted their time as well as mine. Even in a neighborhood bar or casual restaurant, years of experience or knowing the right people and convincing them to hire someone completely green are necessary.

          3. Not So NewReader*

            Tending bar came as part of a package deal with one job I had. This is NOT something you just start doing one day. My boss thought I could watch the bar for a minute or two here and there. Oh boy. But it was one of many misconceptions my boss had and it was not long after that I left.

        2. Lily in NYC*

          I had lots of friends in college who worked as bartenders without having even one iota of experience. There are so many different types of bars that it’s entirely possible.

          1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

            That interesting to hear! One of my former employees just moved to NYC and she was trying to pick up a bartending gig to supplement her day job and even with years of experience she is struggling finding something.

            I’ll have to let her know to keep plugging away at it!

            1. Pilar*

              It depends on the place and what her experience is in. NYC is a very competitive market overflowing with highly qualified bartenders. I would look for places similar to what her exact source of experience is–sports bars or local watering holes may be one thing, while cocktail and wine bars can be quite difficult to break into. She might also try serving if she has experience there. (I did some serving here in NYC and my husband is a professional bartender. He was a knowledgeable, passionate drinks nerd, but got his professional start by networking. It can be done!)

    4. Monica*

      He should seriously try to look into waste management (garbage man). They actually make a lot of money! I have had a cousin and a friend who both worked in that field and really liked it, and the money is good! Plus, it is the kind of job not a lot of people THINK they would want to do, so maybe it wouldn’t be hard to get in?

      1. Coffee and Mountains*

        My neighbor is in recycling and loves it. Makes solid money, has a good schedule (if you don’t mind getting up early), and I think his truck has an arm now so he doesn’t even have to lift the cans himself.

      2. Master Bean Counter*

        Most of those jobs require a diploma and a commercial driver’s license. They are not entry level. They are semi-skilled. If he can find a job as a yard man at a dump he might have a chance with no skills. But nothing driving or equipment related. But if he can get in, they’ll train him for the next step.

        1. RKB*

          Yes – I know for my city all utilities and waste management are municipal positions. All municipal positions require a high school diploma or an equivalent.

    5. ZSD*

      I didn’t know that GEDs weren’t universally recognized the way high school diplomas are. What determines who recognizes it?

      1. AFRC*

        Yes, that’s really disappointing to hear. I wonder if it’s the school through which you receive it – like an ITT Tech for GEDs – where they aren’t properly accredited.

        1. OhNo*

          I thought the GED was a test that you could take that was the same nationwide – like the ACT or the GRE. So maybe he didn’t get a high enough score on it to qualify everywhere?

          1. Natalie*

            The GED is a specific, trademarked test, but it’s no longer the only one. There are two others on the market now and which test you take depends on which state you are in. So perhaps he took the test in one state, and then moved to a state that doesn’t recognize it.

            Passing the test is not actually a high school equivalency diploma, just the primary step in obtaining one. I wonder if he did not actually apply for the diploma itself, which should cross state lines just like a regular high school diploma.

              1. Natalie*

                I’m not sure, maybe! The rules are probably all different depending on what state he is in, but it would certainly be worth looking into.

      2. EmmaLou*

        Husband worked for a place that wouldn’t take GEDs. They said that a diploma showed that you were willing to put in the years and time. As a teenager? I don’t agree at all but that was their reasoning. Also some GEDs were because the person had some kind of trouble in their youth (ie jail time) so clearly that’s everyone’s story and I guess they don’t believe you can mature and change even if it was jail.

    6. ShippingGuru*

      He could try shipping companies like UPS and FedEx. They are hiring seasonal workers for the Christmas season soon (if not now). They also hire year-round for all kinds of positions. It used to be that UPS offered tuition reimbursement and they might still do that. If so, that would be a good way for him to go to school and get paid at the same time.

      1. Adlib*

        Seconding this! All the UPS/FedEx guys I’ve dealt with in business get a ton of great benefits like lots of vacation. If he can move into full-time after seasonal, that’s a great place to start.

      2. Honeybee*

        I was going to say this, too. My brother used to work at UPS before he got vocational training with his HS diploma and no additional experience. The pay was good and the benefits were decent, and he attended community college part-time while he worked there, if your friend is interested in that.

        1. Snazzy Hat*

          The best part is, this is hilarious whether you think of managing the pejorative or managing garden equipment as if they were your underlings.

          “Come on, team! We’ve got new soil to tend to!”

    7. Ann Furthermore*

      Try Safeway or Kroger (or any other large grocery chain in the area). My stepdaughter started working there when she was 16 as a customer service clerk. When she turned 18, she moved into a cashier position. After 6 months her boss told her to apply for a manager position, which she got. She turned 19 last month and is making about $20 per hour. She works part time and goes to school.

      The opportunities for advancement were there because like retail, a lot of the people hired in those entry level jobs are flaky, unreliable, and have zero work ethic. So the fact that she just showed up on time every day put her miles ahead of her peers.

      1. BadPlanning*

        One college summer, I worked at a factory where they daily filled in the work force with temps. There were a handful of other college temps too. Halfway through August, one of the full time workers sighed at lunch and basically said she dreaded the end of August since they lost the college temps. Not that we were stupendous at our factory work, but we were consistent. If you decided the job was okay in June, then you just worked all summer.

      1. Mirax*

        Depending on location a lot of these will require HS diploma at minimum, bachelor’s in larger cities.

    8. Natalie*

      Warehouse and manufacturing work are good options. A lot of them hire through staffing firms so he should look for industrial temp agencies.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      If he can find a way to get a CDL, he could probably afford to be chosey about who he works for. Some companies treat their drivers like crap, so he would have to watch out for that. But generally speaking if he likes driving and added bonus if he is interested in things on wheels, then this might be something to check out. I saw a job advertised here that paid almost $20 per hour for an escort vehicle driver for over-sized loads. Even I was tempted at that one. The ad said home by dinner time every night.

      The larger nurseries in your area, ones that stay open year round, might be something to check out also. Look for places that offer snow plowing services in the winter, that would be his winter time work. In the summer they will probably have him do landscape jobs. I don’t know how to say this- nurseries around here are not fussy about who they hire and they hire a wide range of people. It was the best job I ever had, but some people were involved in stuff that I chose not to be involved in. I did not want to go to jail. In general from what I have seen nurseries do not look too closely at your education or your other background stuff. They just want to know if you have an interest in their work.

    10. Snazzy Hat*

      Seconding temp work with warehousing or manufacturing. If your friend wants to work and he’s cool with those environments, he’ll be set. When I did temp work in a factory and later a warehouse, I loved what I did, and for the most part I could avoid the people I didn’t like. There were some circumstantial issues here and there: in the factory, it was a complete toss-up each day which department I would be working in, and my colleagues in Dept A were so annoying I started wearing earplugs to avoid listening to them; at the warehouse, I had difficulty lifting the two largest boxes, I was an excellent worker but didn’t know it because I never got feedback, and large orders sucked especially near quitting time since I was busting my butt while my same-shift coworkers were finished and sitting in the break room waiting to clock out at exactly 4pm.

      My s.o. is currently a temp at a different warehouse and LOVES the work. He already had experience in warehousing, but he has colleagues who started there years ago, and others who have been shoved into the place by their agencies. Additionally, his warehouse does regular temp-to-hire promotions, and the next round will include him even though he started in March. It’s an excellent field for blue-collar introverts due to the independence and responsibility.

  3. Pot Meeting Kettle*

    Just to share my job swapping woes. I changed a job recently because I had a lot of frustrations with my old job. I had thought changing a firm will help… but the firm put me in management, so instead of making things (which I love), I am now tasked with running between multiple people in the company, organizing schedules, typing up to-do lists (none of which I love). I am socially awkward and I hate talking to people. To make it worst, the new role doesn’t even pay better than my previous job. (they promised a pay raise… but depending on my job performance)
    Now I feel depressed and dread coming in each day, while praying that my phone rings up with an interview opportunity with another firm. The only thing that this job swapping confirmed to me is that I need a drastic change of industry, because I confirmed that what I hate most about this industry is the constant threat of deadline, more deadlines and bosses who don’t care how much overtime you work as long as you finish the things.

    I do have a question though, when you are in a new job that you hate, should you quit as soon as possible (even without another job offer?). I am worried that the boss is giving me more and more responsibilities. If I leave now, the current managers can still take back their responsibilities. If I leave, say, three months later where I got a job offer, the deadline will be looming and I will be leaving at the worst time possible for the office. What should I do?

    1. .*

      Find new job, then quit, and don’t worry about dumping your responsibilities right back on the now-former employer. It’s never a good time to quit, but businesses have to deal.

      1. Joseph*

        “It’s never a good time to quit, but businesses have to deal.”
        Frankly, I’d be worried if there was a “good” time to quit. Why? Because the common occasions when it *doesn’t* cause inconvenience to have someone leave unexpectedly are: (a) the company is struggling to find enough work to keep their current employees busy, (b) the employee’s job function is completely expendable, or (c) the employee is unproductive and should have already been fired.

          1. Liz L*

            It doesn’t sound like the pay raise is going to help with not liking the biggest part of your responsibilities. I say look super hard for something that appeals to you and jump as soon as possible. But don’t just up and quit unless you have a big cushion!

    2. AMD*

      If you got hit by a bus, the company would have to find a way to deal with your responsibilities. People suddenly being unavailable is a normal part of business. So if you get a new job offer, give notice and go without guilt about the responsibilities you’re leaving behind.

    3. Joanna*

      If you’re quitting because you have another job lined up reasonable employers will accept that sometimes people leave at inconvenient times and make it work. If you’re quitting with nothing lined up you can quit whenever you want but if finishing a couple of weeks earlier or later would make a big difference to the business it’s probably a good gesture to factor that into deciding your finish dare.

    4. Ayshe*

      As Alison always says, it’s not your job to make sure they’re covered. They will hire someone new if needed. If you can handle it I’d say stay but put the job search into hyperdrive.

    5. A. Nonymous*

      Have you discussed your concerns with your manager? There has to be a reason they put you in management despite it being a bad fit. It may help you to just be honest “I didn’t realize when I was hiring on that this would be a management position. I thought that I’d be filling more of an X role. Is there anything we can do to transition me to handling X instead of the managerial work?”

      I wouldn’t quit until a new job is lined up, but your situation may be different.

    6. Pot Meeting Kettle*

      Much thanks everybody! Yeah, I was wondering if I should quit now, but going by the group’s wisdom, I better wait till I worked a few months. :-) Thanks for the encouragement!

    7. Yetanotherjennifer*

      It’s to your credit that you are still thinking about the company while being so miserable in your job. But this is business and the best thing for the business aspects of your life is to get a new job and then give notice. You have no idea when you will find another job or what else could happen in the meantime and your financial security is more important than their level of convenience.

    8. BePositive*

      My colleague was in your similar situation. He was valued and my company rather keep strong performers then let them leave if they were unhappy if they can help it. He let his manager know and wanted to accommodate. Over a few weeks he volunteeraly ‘demoted’. Now he’s happier, his productivity is up. Both parties win. Best part is it made the rest of us respect my colleague more.

      If you have a good relationship with your manager, maybe you can discuss

  4. Folklorist*

    Just a quick update from a post the other week where I asked whether or not I should refer my mentally ill and frequently fired (but amazing in many, many ways) friend to a job at my company: I ended up referring her to a women’s clinic that had really helped me through a lot of my own depression issues and gave me some good career counseling. She was able to get in for therapy on a massively sliding scale!

    And just when I had decided to take everyone’s advice and pass the job listing on to her saying that I couldn’t necessarily recommend her–she got a job with a company that she had really wanted to work for for a long time but never had any openings. They have great insurance and telework, fall in line with her values/passions, and are all genuinely open people trying to make sure that their hard-working employees succeed. I think that she’ll be much happier there than she ever would be at my company! Overall, a win-win-win.

    1. NarrowDoorways*

      What a great conclusion! I found myself in a somewhat similar situation last year.

      I had a friend with severe depression that, even with counseling, she couldn’t get a handle on. While her job had been AMAZING with giving her leave, allowing unpaid absences after her PTO ran out, letting her to show up at 1pm on the days she couldn’t get out of bed, eventually it just wasn’t workable for them any more and she was fired.

      That did not have the happy conclusion and I would be terrified to ever recommend her. She recently left the area for a family support network across country. I have no out of state network contacts anyway.

    2. Snazzy Hat*

      That is so awesome, and it gives me additional hope that my mental illnesses aren’t lead weights guaranteed to prevent me from thriving in a job. {celebratory hot cocoa}

  5. Folklorist*

    Super-early insomniac ANTI-PROCRASTINATION POST!!!! I’m so not procrastinating, I’m not even sleeping. Today will be fun. /sarcasm (Post your non-procrastinatey accomplishments in reply.)

    Also, Alison, thanks so much for the Why Procrastination Is Good article yesterday. I’ve found all of the points it made to be true!! I often call my futzing “percolating” and there are many, many times where, when I put something off, some magical, perfect, unlooked-for source comes through that perfectly unlocks whatever piece of writing I’m stuck on and makes the whole thing better in ways I couldn’t have imagined. But yeah, sometimes you really just need to get those lingering emails, calls, and invoices out of the way.

    1. misspiggy*

      Yes to percolating! I just wish it were easier to know in advance how long things need to percolate for…

      1. bibliovore*

        yet, I have to say how helpful it is to check into AAM on Fridays and bookend tasks I never want to tackle.
        Expense reimbursement- WHY is this so hard for me? I have outstanding receipts from August!!!!
        Today. Today I will organize and document. Will check back later.

        1. TootsNYC*

          you aren’t the only one who ends up w/ reimbursement delays. I don’t know why I feel so guilty about it!

          Here’s what helped me w/ stuff like that:

          I automated it as much as I possibly could. When the forms were paper, I filled a bunch of them out at once. I made a folder w/ blank sheets of paper to tape the little receipts to, etc. And I made it a routine that every Monday I tape them onto the paper, and every month I just run through the procedures.

          I also started praising myself verbally when I filed them.

          and I began recognizing that filing my expenses was helping my employer.

          1. TootsNYC*

            I mean, I feel guilty about asking for reimbursement, somehow. As if I wasn’t allowed to spend the money.

            And then it’s just that I hate forms. Which the “automation” helps with, a lot! I do that w/ medical reimbursement as well–fill everything out, etc.

    2. Lillian Styx*

      I thought about this anti-procrastination post on Monday so I made a phone call I’ve been dreading and got a huge problem worked out in a matter of minutes! Thanks from the past!

    3. Junior Dev*

      I’m going to clean up my apartment this morning–I have plans to have friends over tomorrow and it’s not clean enough yet.

      1. EmmaLou*

        I shamefully swear that’s how some parts of our home ever get cleaned. Company’s coming! Get those cobwebs down! Ugh take OUT the recycling!

      2. Snazzy Hat*

        Search Google for “ufyh” and learn the wonderful ways to unf*&% your habitat. By the way, I learned about AAM through the UFYH facebook page. ^_^ The article “Why “Company Ready” is Good, But “You Ready” is Better” delves into having company over.

    4. Jules the First*

      The Germans have a great new word for productive procrastination: Merkelling. So called after the lovely Angela’s talent for usefully kicking any can a little further down the road until it either becomes irrelevant or consensus is achieved. I learned this marvellous word when Useless Girl was given her annual goals for this year…she has a tendency to take the wrong action too quickly.

      And now I’m off to finish the agenda for Monday morning’s meeting, which should have gone out a couple of hours ago….

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Emailed HR to see if my health screening went through so I can get my credits on insurance. I missed the nosy one we have at the office and had to go to my PCP for it. :P

    6. TootsNYC*

      I’ve come to value “percolating” (I call it that too).
      But I also beat myself up for procrastinating. I’ve been working on telling the difference.

      it helps that I’m getting better at figuring out WHY I’m procrastinating. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know what the right thing is to do; and sometimes that’s because I’m actually percolating. When I can figure that out, I give myself permission to percolate, but I try to pick a time that I will decide and act.

    7. Snazzy Hat*

      Got a call from s.o. regarding his new meds. He’s been approved for the manufacturer’s financial assistance program. Before he could finish worrying about “what does this mean for the bill I received a few days ago”, I offered to call the pharmacy (yay HIPAA authorization!) and ask them, adding that I knew exactly what program he was talking about & he didn’t need to worry. He then said I’m “the best”.

      As soon as I got off the phone with him, I wrote my notes for how the conversation with the pharmacy would go, called the place, and had all of my questions answered satisfactorily.

      Now I have to do some cleaning around the house, but I’m genuinely proud of being asked to do something and then immediately doing it and not having any snags.

  6. Greta*

    Hi, I’m 17 and I work weekends at a fast food restaurant (in my senior year of high school the rest of the time). Last week, the guy who has been bullying me since fifth grade was hired to work at my same restaurant. I’m pretty sure he applied to get to me. At school, he has pushed me down, called me terrible names, and has even hit me in the head with textbooks. At home he has texted me from different phone numbers pretending to be other kids at school (he has my number because once he pretended to be nice to me for weeks in seventh grade, and I thought he’d changed, so I gave it to him). I’ve never gotten a Facebook page because I am scared of this guy, and my Instagram is private to keep him away. I am terrified of this guy being around me at work so much, but I don’t know if there is anything I can do. He’s a master manipulator, and I can totally see him getting me fired while remaining angelic to management, as this is what he does at school. Does anyone have any advice? Can I just ask my manager to not hire him because I am scared of him? I am a good employee and have been working at the restaurant for a year.

    1. Joanna Holman*

      I don’t know if it would be appropriate to tell your manager not to hire him, but it might be a good idea to let them know this person has treated you very poorly in the past so they have some context for stuff they might observe

    2. Sunshine*

      Yes, talk to your manager and let him know that you’ve had trouble with this person in the past, to the point of physical violence. I know keep its upsetting, but be as calm as you can while you explain. They likely will not fire him, but if your manager is reasonable, hopefully he can managr your schedules so you don’t have to be there with theither bully, at minimum.

      Good luck. That’s a terrible position to be in..

      1. Greta*

        The only problem is that I know this guy has told them he’s only available on the weekends, so we would end up at least overlapping for a couple hours on Saturday and Sunday, and would most likely work together on Friday evenings.

    3. Incognitokiwi*

      This creep is stalking you. Please please talk to your parents and ask them to help you report this to the police. IANAL, but I would think you might be able to get a restraining order against him.

      1. Greta*

        My parents tall me he does these things because he likes me. They pay for my phone, so they’d have to change the number and they don’t want to. I’ve learned that they’re not much help with this issue.

        1. Greta*

          I forgot to also say that my parents have told me to just ignore him and he’ll stop, but that hasn’t worked so far. I’ve brought up getting the police involved but my parents say I’m over reacting. I told a teacher about it way back in sixth grade, but they didn’t handle it right and the bully found out I told on him, and that’s when he started pushing me down and tripping me. I am scared of what he might do to me if I go to the police. I still have almost a whole year of school with him.

          1. TL -*

            Tell the principal or talk to the school counselor. Tell them what was done last time and how it didn’t help. Keep the text messages and show them to the powers that be.

            1. Greta*

              The text messages are all from different numbers, though, and he pretends to be different people. I don’t really have any proof that he’s the one behind it. It’s just my word against his, and like I said, he’s basically a model student when the right people are watching him. My school is not good with bullying. One of my bully’s friends put a pencil through a girl’s hand two years ago, and he went to a psychiatric hospital but is back now and even has some classes with the girl he hurt.

              1. TL -*

                Going to a psychiatric hospital is a big, big, big response! Is the kid still bullying your friend or has that resolved?
                I would say that kind of response is more heartening than not. You should go to the principal.

              2. LD*

                And you seem to be saying that because something you tried before didn’t work, that you don’t think it will work this time. Don’t fall into that trap! Try again! People often have to try multiple times before they get the help they need. Tell everyone! Show the texts to your friends and your parents and the counselors and your teachers and the principal and even your boss and your coworkers and even your doctor the next time you go for a physical! It may feel like there is nothing you can do, but you have more resources and power than you know. Find someone you trust and tell them what’s going on. You deserve to have someone on your side. Be safe and take care of yourself. We are rooting for you.

              3. LD*

                Also, you (or your parents) may be able to make that number switch without a fee by telling your provider that you are getting harassing text messages and need a new number. It’s not news to cell or phone service providers that these things happen and people need help.

            2. Laura*

              Yes, this. You are probably at a different school now and even within districts that can be a difference. Bullying has gotten so much more attention now that they are more likely to act. My father was wondering how a 12 year old we know could be bullied and was shocked at all the ways I mentioned and how many I experienced.

            1. Annony For This One*

              I once had a run in with someone at work. It was progressing as time went on. I finally just popped into the police station to say that I only wanted them to make a note of something, put it in a record…once I mentioned the persons name they police told me they knew the person. UGH!

              This doesn’t seem like your situation, but if I were in your situation I would strongly consider speaking with your manager and put an application in across the street (is there another fast food place close)? Please note: What I would do is not necessarily right. But I like to remove myself from situations and potential situations.

          2. Argh!*

            ugh I thought people were more enlightened these days. That’s the kind of feedback I got way back in the 1960s when I was bullied!

            Is there a women’s shelter near you? They would have better advice.

          3. Collie*

            So, a few things, from someone who also felt trapped in high school (although under different and less violent circumstances) —

            It sounds like, despite your crappy experiences and lack of support, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. That will take you far. My guess is, one or both of you will be headed out of town for college in a year, and I know a year is a long time, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Focus on that.

            But more importantly, I think it’s time to check in with a teacher or guidance counselor again. I realize having a bad experience doing that in the past can make doing so now daunting. But this has got to stop. I know it’s exhausting to even think about, but you deserve far better than this. Please find someone you trust and talk with them about it. Emphasize that you’d like as much anonymity as possible if you like. But please speak up. Not only will you be helping yourself, but if someone can address whatever issues this kid has now, hopefully he won’t continue this pattern of abuse with others.

            As far as what you actually asked about, I’ll echo the others and say get to your supervisor/the hiring manager as soon as you can. Be honest but professional in what you tell them. Try to leave emotions out of it and state things factually and objectively. I’d say don’t be too specific (listing exact instances, for example), but don’t be too vague, either (and I’d personally avoid the word “bullying” because I feel it comes off as a little naive — others may feel differently here, though; and I don’t say this to belittle you or your story).

            Wishing you all the best and wellness.

            1. Emac*

              Yes, I think using the word “harassing” instead of bullying might get a better response from your boss. I think it puts it in more of a “what he’s doing is illegal not just school kid stuff”, which your boss might take more seriously.

              1. Collie*

                I considered that, but “harassing” has a different connotation in the workplace, IMO, that leans toward legal issues of protected classes. I’m not convinced that’s what’s happening here (although it could be; I don’t have all the context), so I’d stay away from that word unless it’s clear that it’s appropriate.

                1. Observer*

                  Yes, but in this particular case, it probably has weight. If her parents really think he “likes” her, then there is probably good reason to think he’s doing this to her because she’s a girl. (ie he would be less likely to treat a guy that way.)

                  THAT does make a difference. But, also harassment can be non-gender (or other protected class) related. The fact that he’s using masked numbers to text her sounds like it’s falling into that territory.

            2. Tex*

              This and please keep a diary with lists of what happened with dates, phone numbers, etc. Sometimes verbal description does not convey the problem enough but if they see a written list of with a pervasive pattern of harassment they (parents, school officials, police) might be more inclined to see something going terribly wrong. For example, if you bring up the bullying once in a couple of months with your parents, they might assume that the harassment is just sporadic instead of every week or every day. That might wake them up to the fact that this is making your life miserable. And if it’s gone so far as affecting your job, your social life (where you choose to hang out or avoid), then it is legal harassment and there are protections against it.

          4. Ms. Anne Thrope*

            Wow, this is 1960s advice.
            –If you ignore him, he’ll stop. “Well, that hasn’t worked in the last 6 years, Mom, so now what?”
            –He’s doing it because he likes you. “That’s nice, but I don’t like him. I need him to stop. Also, since when is it ok to hit someone you like? Really, Mom?”

            Please talk to the school, tell them that last time you did that he found out and retaliated, and if he touches you again go to the police. Tell your boss that this guy has assaulted you in the past, so please keep him away from you.

            And continue to know that it’s not your fault, you haven’t brought it on yourself, and this isn’t how men who like’ you are supposed to act. And be careful, because this behavior escalates. Don’t let him get you alone.

            Good luck!

            1. Artemesia*

              Your parents have really dropped the ball — this kind of advice is classic ‘how not to help your kid with a bully’ advice. But at 17 you are not a little kid — you can take some responsibility for standing firm i.e. talking with your manager, filing a police report if he continues to assault you etc. I hope you can find some adult counselor or coach or whatever who is not a complete waste of skin and will step up and assist you with this. You know you are not overreacting and your parents are useless here so it is on you to take some steps to protect yourself. And make sure you are not assigned to work with this guy alone ever.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Right on!

                OP, parents who don’t know how to handle a bully, cannot teach their kids how to handle a bully.

                You are 17, you WILL have credibility with the police and your boss. Please talk to them.

          5. Emac*

            I’m so sorry, this makes me so angry for you. As others have said, your parents are definitely dropping the ball. I did a quick search for “anti bullying help” and “anti bullying support” and there were a lot of good sites and groups, both in the US and in other countries. Some of them had materials to help educate parents on helping their kids deal with bullies – maybe you could give yours some of that information?

            The “he’s doing it because he likes you” is especially infuriating. There are just so many things wrong with that attitude. If you’re a regular reader here, you’ve probably seen Captain Awkward mentioned – she might have some advice on how to deal with the bully or your parents!

            1. Honeybee*

              Oh yes! Captain Awkward would be a great resource and she’d give you some excellent scripts to use with the adults in your life. And her army of commenters will give you support, just like here. You don’t have to wait to hear back from her to start acting, but it might be worth writing in.

            2. Tempestuous Teapot*

              I don’t really care why he’s doing it. You are not responsible for his emotional dysfunction. Preschoolers can learn how to handle themselves respectfully and he’s nearly an adult. Follow the great advise above. And hold firm. Yes, he is harassing you, yes, he has assaulted you. Yes, he retaliates when you report, yes, he escalates, and abuses the trust of mutual acquaintances to emotionally isolate you.

              1. Not So NewReader*


                This turns my stomach- he’s doing it because he likes you. If this is so acceptable then why isn’t everyone doing it? The answer is because this is NOT acceptable behavior, no how, no way.

                I remember in grammar school a kid hit me on the shoulder everyday. I had a bruise that would not heal from it. By lucky chance my father worked with his father.
                My father told his father. And when the kid did not quit, my father told his father again. And again. Finally it stopped. The excuse was he liked me. All I saw was a hitter that I wanted nothing to do with. I ignored the kid for the remainder of our school years. But I often wondered if his father beat the kid to make the kid stop beating me.

                OP, keep telling someone until you find someone who takes action and brings this to an end. Your parents are not going to be action-taking people. Move on, find someone else, perhaps a trusted relative, a favorite teacher, a well-respected coworker, keep going until you find that person.

                1. Dynamic Beige*

                  This turns my stomach- he’s doing it because he likes you.

                  Yeah, and what the hell kind of parents *want* their kid to date or at least be kind to someone who hurts them? That makes absolutely no sense.

          6. Althea*

            Ugh. First of all, ignoring bullies doesn’t work. Asserting yourself can.

            I do think you should involve adults, and ones that you think are sympathetic – not ones that you think will react like your parents. Also, tell friends or others whenever an incident occurs.

            And – people won’t be hoodwinked by the different cell phone numbers, just like you aren’t. Only people who are looking for an excuse to do nothing will PRETEND they don’t know it’s the same person. This kind of thing is very transparent.

            But also, I think you should enroll in a self-defense class, or a martial art. You may never need to use it, but it can really help your confidence to think that if he ever grabs or touches you, you can twist his arm behind his back, or smash his knee with the right kick. I promise it doesn’t take long to learn some basic moves and it will make you feel a LOT better – no matter what the teachers / police / managers around you do.

            1. INFJ*

              Good point about others looking for an excuse not to do anything.

              They’re probably worried about the ramifications of accusing this “model student”

          7. Former Borders Refugee*

            Your parents are wrong. They are wrong and you are not crazy. This is 12 kinds of bullshit and I am sorry that the adults in your life are not stepping up to protect you.

            I also had a bully and while the administration took his side, I had a few teachers who took mine. Ask a teacher that you trust if you can meet with them and lay it all out- everything. Don’t worry about the “he said/she said” dynamic and see if they have any advice. (also the word “lawsuit” scared the shit out of my school and that’s how we got them to take action. I’m just saying.)

            And I second bring it up again with your parents- write out what you want to say before hand if you have to so you don’t miss anything because they start getting dismissive- and point out that this has been going on for YEARS and he will not stop and that tripping and hitting you is not a sign of “liking” you.

            He is terrorizing you. Your feelings are valid. Your experience is valid. This is happening to you. Best of luck.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Yeah, the fact that this has been going on for years speaks volumes about the nature and extent of the problem.

            2. TootsNYC*

              I agree you should go to every and any teacher you trust.

              Get as many grownups as possible on your team.

              also, you don’t need to prove who sent the texts. Just be sure the principal or guidance counselor knows that someone is sending them. because if ANYone is sending you nasty texts, the need to know, and they’re obligated to do something about it.

          8. Junior Dev*

            On a side note–when I had a stalker in high school my parents and family members said similar things–“he likes you,” “just ignore it.” Please know that your parents are wrong. This is not an ok or normal way for someone to be treating you. I’m so glad you are asking for advice here and standing up for yourself.

            Sadly, there are people in the world who do awful things, and sadly sometimes the people who should have your back will have more sympathy for your abusers. (Harassing and physically assaulting you is abuse.) It is not your job to be sympathetic to people who want to hurt you. It is your job to keep yourself safe from them. Please don’t let your parents’ unfortunate comments warp your view of how people should treat each other.

            As for the work situation–I would talk to a manager, hopefully one who knows you and likes you if there are multiple. Explain that you have been harassed and physically assaulted by (name), who was just hired, and you would like (specific measures–maybe him never working the same location as you, or never having to close the store alone).

            Also, and it sucks and is unfair, but if work doesn’t or can’t help protect you from him, there is no shame in quitting and finding a new job if that’s what you have to do.

            1. Chalupa Batman*

              This is what I wanted to say, only better. It is not a compliment when someone hits or trips you, it is an ASSAULT. Your post doesn’t give any indication that your parents are uncaring, just that they aren’t understanding the severity of the issue. Lots of people think all teenagers are drama llamas and that it does them a disservice to intervene (“she needs to learn to deal with these things herself”). Greta, please try talking to your parents again and emphasizing that you are afraid for your physical and mental safety around this person and need their help and support. You have changed your behavior (staying completely off social media is pretty unusual anymore) to avoid attacks from him. You are almost an adult, this is not kid drama, and this is not something any adult would be expected to tolerate. I’m sorry this has been happening to you.

            2. Dynamic Beige*

              Or if you don’t have any specific ideas on what you would like, ask the manager what they would suggest could be done (separate shifts? you no longer work weekends?). If their answer is “get over it”/”it’s not my job to mediate your petty high school drama” or something similar, time to hand in your first resignation. Unless this is the only place in town, there has got to be another place you could get a job at.

          9. Whats In A Name*

            This is not a case of him pulling your ponytail in the school yard to get your attention. Throwing books at your head and pushing you down/tripping you in the hallway is physical abuse. I am sorry that your parents are not seeing the difference in these 2 things, but I agree with others who have said to go to your school counselor. I don’t know about principal, but a counselor should keep the source confidential.

          10. blackcat*

            Do you have a teacher now who you trust? I know it hasn’t been handled well in the past, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an adult around you now who can help. You could even approach a teacher you had last year (or even before that), if you feel more comfortable.

            You need an adult on your side. I used to teach high school, and I would absolutely want a student to tell me if something like this was going on. I was even in a situation once where I didn’t trust the administration to help the student (private school, the bully had rich parents, and I had seen that situation go down before), so I mostly served as a sounding board/offered to moderate conversations between the student and her parents. I was able to get the parents on the kid’s side–because they believe my assessment of the seriousness even when they didn’t believe their child.

            I guarantee you there is at least one teacher who knows you who can and will help you. You may need to choose wisely, but there is some teacher you can talk to.

            1. Snazzy Hat*

              Even if you don’t trust any of your teachers but you have a friend who has an awesome trustworthy teacher, you can always go to that teacher even if s/he has no idea who you are. Hell, if you have a friend with awesome parents, maybe you can go to them too.

              You don’t have to deal with this abuse or this garbage. Plus you’re 17 years old and in the workforce; you can talk to your manager (see the amazing examples elsewhere in this thread) and either your manager will react poorly and you can just get a job at a similar establishment (I know it’s easier said than done, but if you can simply go to a different franchise, that year of experience is going to say “you don’t need to train me because I know this specific system”), or your manager will be supportive and might even help you with restraining orders & whatnot.

          11. Observer*

            Well, can you point out to them that you HAVE been ignoring him, and it hasn’t worked?

            Put together a list of the worst texts he has sent you in the last 3 months and show them ALL to you parents in one shot, so they can see what he’s really doing.

            Also, point out to your parents that it makes ZERO difference “why” he’s doing this. It’s nasty and he is physically hurting you, and it needs to stop. Period. Full stop.

            If he hits you again, please call the police. Even if he does it in school or at work.

            And, try talking to someone at school, as well. There has been increased awareness of bullying in the last few years. And, it’s new staff as well. You might have better success.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              OP, you can even tell your parents that you WILL be calling the police, if he bothers you again. Take the decision out of their hands. Tell the school authorities also.

              Unfortunately, it seems that the bullied, battered person has to take the lead sometimes. But you have spent years (too long) following their advice and it has not worked.

            2. Dynamic Beige*

              I know that this may be illegal, but you’ve got a phone OP… can it record conversations? If this little punk is putting on the angel face saying “I would never say that” in true Trumpian fashion, some footage or recordings would bring that lie to light. Also, agree with showing your parents the texts and keeping a copy. Because if you do go to the police, that shows a pattern and it shows that he’s deliberately targeting you through different numbers.

          12. TootsNYC*

            Call a hotline for battered women. Seriously. Go straight to them.

            If he escalated when you told on him once, then you want guidance.

            And absolutely, sit down with your manager and tell him what this guy has done. Draw up a list on paper, write it out, and then read it off. FACTS, “he called me and said this,” and “he pushed me down the stairs” and “he hit me on the head.”
            And then when your boss says, “really?” say, “I am not making this up.”

            Also start looking into a job at Wendy’s or something.

            All my sympathies.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              OP, it might be that your boss is very interested in what you are saying. I have seen some bosses realize that they are clueless about how younger people interact with each other. The bosses went with what their employee said. They know their employee to be a good worker and someone who does not complain regularly about others. So if that good employee said, “hey there is a problem here!”, the boss actually LISTENED. Take heart, OP. There is hope here.

          13. Honeybee*

            Your parents are wrong, Greta. I cannot stress this enough. I wish we did not tell our young women that men who mistreat them just like them. Even if it were true, it’s still inappropriate and he should stop. I’m not saying this to bash your parents, but simply because I don’t want you to internalize that message that this attention is somehow flattering and you should just ignore him. He’s been bullying you for 7-8 years straight, from what it sounds like. This is a person who has verbally bullied you and physically assaulted you as well as harassed you over the phone, and now he is stalking you. You are terrified of him. Listen to your instincts!

            Definitely speak to your manager, but others are right that you don’t need your parents to go to the police to make a complaint about this person. It doesn’t matter what you don’t know for sure; even if they don’t do anything right this moment, if god forbid they would need to do something later you have started some file. I would also definitely talk to your principal and your guidance counselor.

            Don’t let anyone minimize this for you!

        2. Jessica*

          OH MY GOD! Your parents should be ashamed of themselves. They are condoning abuse and violence by writing it off as he LIKES you?

          I honestly don’t know why people are saying not to tell the boss to not hire him. If you were in your 30’s, this would be 100% something you would tell your boss to stop the hiring. There have even been similar questions on this site to that effect. I second the person who said to take legal action.

          What we are teaching our kids is acceptable in school is insane. If he was her boyfriend and hitting her, and stalking her, you would all have a different response.

          1. Lance*

            The issue is the sort of connotations ‘don’t hire this person’ can have. ‘Please keep this person away from me’ or ‘this is a person I’ve had frequent issues with’ give much more context, and aren’t a case of stepping directly into a hiring decision; managers will probably be a lot more receptive that way.

            1. TootsNYC*

              Don’t pitch it as what you want; pitch it as, “I have experiences with this guy that I think you should know about. Here is what I personally have experienced with him.”
              And then at the end, say, “I will not feel safe if he is working here.”

              and leave it at that.

        3. Lady Bug*

          If your parents won’t change your number you can get an inexpensive prepaid/non-contract phone and use that instead.

          1. Greta*

            Do they make smartphones like this? I never call anyone, I just use my phone to text people and take pictures and play on the Internet.
            Also if my parents saw me using a crappy phone and not the phone I asked for and they bought me and pay for, I’d be in a lot of trouble.

            1. TL -*

              Well, would you rather be in trouble or free from harassment? You can get your own phone plan, or a pay as you go phone with the money you earned. Your parents are free to cancel your phone line.

              Also, serious question: what’s the worst they will do to you? If it’s reasonable yelling/scolding or grounding, well, you took care of something they wouldn’t. Let them react to that how they will.

            2. TL -*

              Is getting away from the bully worth the reaction from your parents?
              Just because your parents would be angry about something doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You’re 17; you get to have agency over your life. Decide what you’d rather have: no texts or happy parents and then go from there.

            3. anonderella*


              First: Please continue to look for ways to improve this situation for yourself. You will clearly have to be your own white knight here.

              Yes, Cricket offers a handful of smartphone options. Plans are non-contract, about $35-55 a month for unlimited texts/calls, plus like a 1 or 2 gig data cap – so you can still use the internet after you’ve gone beyond the allotted data gigs, it just slows down a bit. I stream music in my car on the way to work and home every day, so I use mine up pretty fast, but using a music service like Pandora instead of the browser to stream music works much better. – essentially what I’m saying is, I have never had any other service but Cricket, their service has always been reliable in every state I’ve lived in or traveled to (the Midwest, the South, and lots of Florida – though I don’t spend much time in very, very rural areas), and I’ve never been extremely disappointed by the smartphones they offer. You won’t get your choice of any phone out there, but check out their website and see if any phones catch your interest.

              What I really want to say is this – they are your *parents*; they WILL get over you getting a new phone. You know why? Because unless they are psychotic, there WILL be occurrences in the future that will matter more to them (both good and bad; both your fault and not); are they really going to hold changing your phone without their permission over you forever? If they understood that you are willing to risk their respect for you, by not using the phone they bought you, in order for you to feel *safe*, do you think that would that change anything? On the other hand, if they think you are overreacting, do you really need them to be understanding of what actions you take – it sounds like they are coming from a skewed perspective.

              I leave you with this; I know I was not a very independent 17-yo financially (sounds like you have a step up on me at that age, since you are already working steadily! awesome, btw) but there was an incident the month after I turned 18 (a long-ago January), where my cousin, who was my same age, had gotten into a horrible car wreck; laid out in hospital bed for months, broken arms, leg, head, everything. Truly awful.
              She got out, and I went to visit her, and ended up driving her around to her friends’ houses who had also been in the wreck with her, but who escaped with way less injuries; I’d always been told, if you are going to be late coming home, just let us know – so I did. I was going to be about 30 minutes late, coming in at 10:30 instead of 10. Most of my friends did not have a curfew at 18 yo, but hey. I feel you on maybe feeling like your parents control your life.
              Anyway, I got grounded from the TVs in the house for the rest of the time I lived in that house. Until September, when I left for college. Not kidding – mom&stepdad put a PIN on the TVs, and wouldn’t tell me what it was. This meant I could only watch what they were watching; and lord no, I could not request a channel change. I could not watch it without them, etc etc.
              These things they hold over you, they are just things. I want to say you are stronger than needing a smartphone, but kids are different nowadays, society is different, and I accept that.

              Lastly: My dad was a deadbeat drunk/junkie/selfish/(albeit *lucky*)/asshole for my entire life; he is about to inherit half a million dollars – do you think this changes my relationship with him? No. I don’t want that in my life; he can’t buy my love and respect. Stay strong, be safe – things will be better for you without this bullyloser in your life.

            4. LadyKelvin*

              Smart Talk (online or from walmart) is a prepaid plan for unlimited everything for $45 a month. Since I have it to pay automatically I get a couple dollar discount too. You can bring your own smart phone and they use the AT&T and Verizon towers instead of building their own, so you can pick whichever network you want to be on based upon what’s most reliable in your area. Both my husband and I have brand new smartphones on it, so I encourage you to look into it. Since you’re working I’ll assume you have some spare money and can pay the $45 a month to get away from this guy. Good luck.

            5. Observer*

              If your parents won’t change your number, then get yourself a new phone (and yes, they don’t have to be hugely expensive) and give your parents back the phone they pay for.

              They won’t like it, I’m sure, but the won’t be able to claim that you are “wasting their money”. Just keep on repeating, like a broken record “I shouldn’t have to keep getting texts from someone I can’t stand.” It doesn’t matter if “he likes you”, “you’re over-reacting”, “you’re being a drama queen” etc. “I don’t have to keep getting texts from someone I can’t stand.” “Just ignore him” gets “This is how I ignore him.” Any buts gets another repeat of the same two lines.

              If you have $200 to spend, you can get a shockingly good phone. If you don’t have that kind of money, look for last year’s models, and worst case a “junk” phone in the $80 range. It will keep you going for a while.

            6. nonegiven*

              Offer to pay the charge for changing phone number yourself. Tell them it is worth it to escape the harassment.

              1. TheAssistant*

                You can get a phone number changed for free in cases of harrassment. Before I got my restraining order, my ex called me/texted me all the time threatening to make me pay or kill my friends (he was a winner). I called the phone company, explained I was a victim of stalking and was there anything they could do about the change fee, and boom! New number, $0.

              2. LD*

                There may not be a charge if she explains that she’s being harassed. The provider may be willing to make the change at no charge.

            7. Dynamic Beige*

              You can always give it back to them. “Mom, Dad, since I have a job now, I want to start paying my cellphone bill. So I’m going to get a prepaid one.” Or, “Mom, Dad, can I get a new phone number? Because that creep who has been abusing me for years is still at it and I want it to stop. (show texts) I don’t care if you think it’s cute or that he likes me, this is a big part of the reason why I’m not doing well in school, I feel like there is a target on my back constantly. I never know when he’s going to trip me or push me into the lockers again. Now, he’s gotten a job where I work and I’m not even safe there any more.” If they refuse, hand the phone over to them, thank them for their generosity and go get your own — be very careful to whom you give the number.

          2. TootsNYC*

            Also, consider blocking or not answering any calls from numbers that aren’t on your “OK” list. And trim that list way down.
            Use ringtones, maybe? Pick the short list of numbers that are OK (besetst friends, Mom & Dad, manager at work), and assign them ringtones. Set all other calls to silent, maybe, or leave them at the default and simply never answer them; let them go to voicemail.

            And ignore the voicemail.

            1. Greta*

              He’s never actually called me, it’s all just texts, and as I’ve said, he uses different numbers. So I block them after they come through, but I can’t pre-emptively block them.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                This may not be the best advice. But I would consider forwarding each one of those texts to my parents until they changed their tune about my phone number. Let them share the full experience with you so that they can learn exactly what is going on here.

                1. Elle*

                  This is good advice. Perhaps this will help in getting your parents to stop burying their heads in the sand.
                  Greta, I have a 20 year old daughter and a 17 year old son, and there is no way in hell this would be going on for them for as long as it has for you. Your parents HAVE dropped the ball. My guess is that they are either not fully grasping what is going on here, or they don’t know what to do. I’m so sorry you’re going through this!! I like the advice you are getting from the commenters here. It sounds like you will need to advocate for yourself here. You are worth it.

        4. Bad Candidate*

          Your parents are idiots and wrong. Abuse is not love (or like). Can you block him on your phone?

          1. Greta*

            He never calls from his own number. I know he uses some of his friends’ phones to text, but other times, I have no idea whose phones he is using. Maybe his friends’ parents, if they leave them unattended? Every time I get a text from a number I don’t recognize, I block it, but he still manages to send really awful texts to me a couple times a month.

            1. Case of the Mondays*

              Talk to someone at the phone store. You might be able to use google voice as an alternate text/call number and block all other calls/texts to your phone except the google voice pass through.

        5. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

          He DOES NOT do these things because he likes you. This is the worst thing we teach girls. Please, please go to the highest level manager that you trust and explain how he has treated you. Also, go to a school counselor and tell them what has happened. And report EVERY new instance. No matter how small. If your parents won’t get on board, how about an aunt, uncle, grandparent, etc? This is the exact type of behavior that escalates into domestic violence.

          Again, this is not how people should treat other people. This is not how someone that “likes you” should treat you.

        6. Yetanotherjennifer*

          This is not what good people do when they like someone. This is not the good kind of socially akward attention. This sort of attention is really not even about you and anyway, you get to choose what kind of behavior you will reward, tolerate or stop. You do not have to be passive and understanding to a person who is bullying you and being abusive. He had proven time and time again that your ignoring his behavior doesn’t stop him. If your parents can’t help you with this then it’s time to find someone else to help. Maybe a different teacher or a guidance counselor or even the police. I don’t think that’s an overreaction at all. And maybe a new job would be a good idea as well. Your safety is more important than his feelings.

          1. Yetanotherjennifer*

            Sorry if I sound shouty here. I have a teen daughter and our entire year has been full of teachable moments about consent and relationships. I think it would be helpful to your case to develop a timeline of everything you remember he has done to you and what you have done about it. Use dates where you can and mark the entries where you have proof in the form of a witness or text or something. Then show your parents. Hopefully this will help them realize the true nature of the situation and they will back you up in getting help. Good luck, I’ll be thinking of you and I’m sure others here will be too. Stop back and give us an update.

        7. Michelle*

          No, Greta, he doesn’t do this because he “likes” you. He does this because he is a bully and enjoys the high he gets from bullying you. Please talk to your manager and let them know how he has treated you.

          I really, really, wish people/parents would stop that telling kids that he/she does that because they like you. I feel like it’s so harmful to keep perpetuating acts of violence (pushing people down/hitting them with books, etc.) with love.

          1. Greta*

            I don’t believe he likes me, but my parents do, and that’s why they say to just ignore him and he’ll go away. I stopped telling them about things he does a few years ago because they would just keep saying, “Oh, ignore him long enough and he’ll leave you alone.” My best friend’s mom knows about the stuff and would get involved if I let her, but my dad is one of those people who thinks you don’t spread your business around, and if he found out I was telling other people that he and my mom weren’t helping me like I want them to, I would probably be grounded forever and not allowed to see or talk to my best friend.

            1. Lance*

              Honestly, I’m just going to say it: let her get involved. Your parents are clearly completely useless (as I’m sure you’ve more than figured out by now), and should be told flat-out that you need someone to do something, because frankly, there are times in people’s lives when they absolutely need help (don’t spread your business around? that’s practically telling you ‘solve your own problems’ when you don’t have all the tools to do that).

              Sorry your parents are completely unhelpful, and I hope you can find a way to resolve this.

              1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

                Yes, absolutely, let her get involved. Let your Dad have a fit over it. Maybe tip her off that you didn’t want her to get involved initially because you were afraid they would keep you from seeing them. She might even be able to spin it that she saw it independently, or that her daughter did, and felt a duty to step in. (That’s what I would do in her shoes.) You need an adult on your side.

                In the meantime, re: work, I agree with the advice to not tell your manager not to hire him per se, but definitely tell your manager about your concerns with working with him (especially alone).

                1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

                  Please, please, please let your best friend’s mom get involved. You need an adult you can trust in your corner.

            2. Marcy Marketer*

              Please, please, please let your best friend’s mom help you. You need an advocate. You need an adult who can champion for you and help you navigate available solutions.

              His behavior has a high likelihood of escalating to serious violence. He is displaying classic abuser behavior; he is more than just a bully. Abusers hide behind their sterling reputations and abuse their victims in private. This kind of abuse is really hard to escape from, but it is possible. Here’s what you need to do:
              1. Gather a “team you.” Team You is everyone who is on your side, believes you, and is going to help/protect you. They are going to walk you to class, make sure you’re never alone, and record the abuse if they see it. They are going to be key witnesses; when the adults say, “Alex is such a nice guy! You’re probably over thinking it,” Team You is going to say, “Alex’s behavior is NOT okay and we need your help to stop it.”
              2. Start documenting his behavior with authorities. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have “proof.” You are not a detective; it’s not your job to gather proof. Your job is to inform the police of harassment. Each time you go to the police, tell them you want to file a report of harassment. Ask them if they’ve found out who is sending you the messages. Hold them accountable (your best friend’s mom can really help you with this).
              3. If the bully starts coming near you, turn on your voice recorder on your cell phone. If he hits you, file an assault complaint with the police. Once you’ve filed a complaint of assult or harassment, you can file to get a restraining order.
              4. Get rid of the word, “Can’t.” There is no “I can’t tell my best friend’s mom because….” Because nothing. “I can’t tell the police because…” There is no because. His stalking you and the abuse is escalating. Your life could be in danger and you need to take steps to end it. Your parents could be mad at you for going to the police, but what are they really going to do? They could ground you, but so what. They could take away your phone– so what? This is about being safe. There is nothing that’s more important than that.

              I’m sorry that this is happening to you. If you take all of the steps above, you will make it a lot harder for him to harass you. If you get a restraining order, you might be able to get him out of your workplace, as well.

              1. catsAreCool*

                Turning on your voice recorder on your cell phone might be an issue in some states – not all of them let you record unless the other person/people agree to it. You could talk to the police and ask about that when you file a report.

                Your parents don’t want to help you, but they don’t want you to get help from someone else because they’d look bad? That’s terrible, and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it.

            3. Althea*

              I think saying to your parents, “This has been going on for 7 years now. Ignoring the problem has not worked. What other solution do you suggest?”

              For “he likes you” say, “Do most of the people who like you hurt you, push you, and scare you? Do you regularly feel scared and sad and angry around the people who like you? Because that’s what’s going on. Someone who liked me would try to make me feel good, not scared.”

              However. They are being willfully blind, so these are things you can just have ready when you go AROUND them to work on solving the problem.

            4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              I agree with Lance and the others. Your parents are failing at their job, and your dad is an idiot if he thinks reporting harassment is “spreading your business around.” Also, as the child of overbearing parents who strongly discouraged “sharing private matters” (a variation of don’t spread your business), I think you need to start sticking up for yourself with them. What’s the worst they can do? Ground you? Take away your phone? Their failure to act is putting you in (physical!) danger.

              You’ve got to remember that you aren’t powerless—you can take action to protect yourself, and if your parents flip out, enlist an adult who’s in your corner (a teacher, a friend’s parent, etc.). You’re also almost an adult. Tell your manager that you don’t feel physically safe and asked to be scheduled for non-overlapping shifts (don’t worry whether this can happen—just make the request; it helps to have a paper trail). Speak to a teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult. If things escalate or continue as they have in the past go to the police. You don’t need your parents’ permission to do any of these things.

              Right now you’re talking yourself out of solutions, but your reasons are mostly based on speculation (and I understand why—this guy is upsetting your sense of safety, and you’ve had bad experiences trying to enlist adults). I understand adults have failed you in the past. They may continue to fail you, but you should not let that deter you from creating a record showing that you tried to get help.

              Good luck, and please keep us posted!

            5. Whats In A Name*

              Greta, I agree with the others. Let her get involved. You need an adult role model to help you with this. Yes, you are 17 and responsible for your own life; but my guess would be you also need advise/guidance to handle this properly. You can’t get the help you need from your parents and you need to go to another source. (I mentioned above that a school counselor may also be an option.)

              I would advise you to also go to the manger and let him know simply that you found out X person has been hired and that while you don’t have a formal restraining order this is someone who has harassed you physically and verbally in the past and working with them is concerning. You don’t have to get into details, you don’t need to worry about he said/she said, and don’t get into his Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality.

              If working different schedules is not an option then moving to another job might be. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are weak if you quit this job if you are forced to work with this guy – it is about managing your emotions, reactions and well-being.

              I feel bad people are calling your parents idiots and other thinks, but my parents were/are the same as yours. You don’t “air your dirty laundry” and just suck it up and put on a smile. Again, regardless of age you have to look out for YOU. And sometimes that means going to the people and making the choices that are best equipped to help the situation.

              I am so fired up.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                I apologize if I caused offense by calling Greta’s dad’s attitude towards “spreading your business” idiotic. I was upset at her parents’ inaction, and I probably should have taken a deep breath or reread what I wrote before posting it. Sincere apologies; this was not good behavior on my part.

                1. Whats In A Name*

                  I don’t know if you’ll see this 3 days later but I wasn’t calling anyone in particular out and the reality is I her parents sound like mine. Who I can call idiots all day long; but anyone else…NOPE, I’ll knock you out in 2 seconds flat! I just always feel bad when people talk about someone else’s parents, especially a school-aged person who, like it or not, is living under their roof so can’t really control their parents actions. Which is why I am hoping against hope she gets other adults involved so she can control what is going on as much as possible.

            6. Regular Poster, Anon for This*

              Greta: My father was like this. He didn’t like our “business” out there in the public. He also was abusive, and there were things going on at home that he didn’t want people to know about. Please excuse me for overstepping here. Is there something off about your parent’s relationship at home too? Or your home dynamic? Sometimes that can make these situations much more complicated. And, again, I am sorry if this is overstepping and I don’t intend to read too much into your home life.

              1. twig*

                This occurred to me too. My husband came from a “don’t share our business with the public” family — and that “business” involved abuse, excessive drinking (usually combined) and drunk driving.

                BUT they had to keep the facade up — gotta present the happy family to potential real-estate clients!!

                1. Regular Poster, Anon for This*

                  The “business” really changed my perception of normal. It’s especially hard when you combine abuse, alcohol, and a person with a professional reputation to maintain. I am so sorry you went through that, twig.

              2. Greta*

                I mean, no one is being abused at home. My parents (and my dad especially) are just painfully private people. They have one other couple that they’re friends with, but they just don’t open up about anything with most people. If there’s a problem, they deal with it themselves and don’t involve other people. If they have an argument with each other, they don’t go to other people to look for advice. Once at the end of middle school, I was feeling very depressed and crying a lot and my mom said, “Do you want to see a pschiatrist?!” in a voice that I knew meant that was supposed to be a big insult, like, “Are you really so weak mentally that you need to see a head doctor?” I answered, “Yes!” and i think that just scared her and she never brought it up again.

                1. Former Borders Refugee*

                  They ain’t dealing with the problem, so screw ’em. Talk to an adult who will and if your parents are upset about it, that is not your problem.

                  I know it’s really easy for us strangers on the internet to say “stand up to your parents!” because we won’t have to deal with the fall out when you do. I know it’s a hard and scary thing, especially if they won’t even cope with helping you meet your needs and keep you safe. But you can do it! You have a good head on your shoulders, you recognize this situation is messed up enough that you’re asking for help. That is a GREAT sign for you and the adult you’re becoming. Sadly, there’s no magic wand or magic words we can give you that will fix the problem and make everything okay without causing an uproar. I wish there was.

                  However, change rarely happens without an uproar. So go and roar and take care of you.

                2. Gaia*

                  The issue, Greta, is that they are not dealing with it themselves. So if they won’t deal with it, let someone else help you. And also? Screw them. They’ve failed you as your parents.

                3. Observer*

                  That’s their problem, not yours.

                  Another line to practice. “I get to choose who I tell MY business to. This is MY business.”

            7. The Strand*

              I agree completely with Lance’s comment.

              You are almost an adult; your parents, who are adults, have dropped the ball horribly. I am so sorry you’ve been harassed like this for years, with them doing nothing.

              Let your best friend’s mom help you. Your father is a fool, and he’s put his pride before his daughter’s safety and well-being. Their minimization of your bullying is bad, but his wanting you to hide your problems from the world, when it involves physical abuse, is unconscionable and idiotic behavior.

              See if you can’t also get a referral to a low-cost counseling solution with the help of your best friend’s mother. If your parents care so little over this, I am sure there are other things they’ve done that can be best solved with some counseling.

            8. MC*

              Your parents are supposed to protect you – not leave you open to abuse. Start taking screen shots. If there are any that threaten you – go to the police. You should not have to put up with this. It is unacceptable. Screw “Boys will be boys” mentality. Boys and girls and teens and adults need to be responsible for their actions. End of story. Your parents suck. Call a women’s shelter, ask for help. Start screaming for help in fact. If your parents are embarrassed, they only have themselves to blame for asking you to put up with this for 6 years!!! Whatever they take away from you – you’ll live through it. They can be as mad as they want but you will know you were right. Unless you think it will result in physical violence from your parents – start screaming for help.

              Tell your manager that this person has been harassing you for years. Tell them that if he is hired, you will need to resign. Then do it. Find another job – maybe retail in a womens’ shop where they are less likely to hire a teenage boy. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing.

            9. TL -*

              You’re just 17 and probably don’t know this yet, but your parents’ anger or disappointment is not the worst thing in the world. Far from it. You will survive and even thrive if they get angry at you. If you pay for your own phone, you can text and call whomever you want, including your best friend, regardless of how they feel about it.
              You can get other adults involved. There are options. Take them.

            10. Elizabeth West*

              LET. HER. HELP.
              What this guy is doing is most likely illegal under stalking statutes . If your best friend’s mum knows what’s going on, there is a lot she can do to help even if you’re not allowed to see your best friend. You need her help!!!

              Talk about hitting–I want to knock some sense into your parents with a clue-by-four right now. >:(

            11. TootsNYC*

              Ditto, let her get involved.

              And your dad doesn’t need to know everything that your best friend’s mom does on your behalf. Talk to your best friend’s mom right now about the job thing, and let her coach you.

              If I were your best friend’s mom, I might (despite the conventional wisdom) ask you to let me go with you to talk to your manager, so that there’s a credible grownup sitting right there saying, “she’s not a hysterical teenager making this stuff up.”

              And get your best friend’s mom to go with you to the police or to any social agency that helps battered and stalked women.

              This is a safety issue, honey–not just an “unpleasantness” issue. And you deserve to have no more unpleasantness!

            12. Sunshine*

              I’m so sorry for all of this. As the mom of teenagers, I want to hug you and fight for you. Find an adult you trust and let them help you. Be grounded for a while if you have to. You need to be safe.

            13. Newbie Librarian*

              Tell her. Tell her now. Tell anyone who will listen. You do not deserve this.
              When I was a little younger than you are now, a friend of mine was in a abusive relationship with a senior in our highschool. And by abusive relationship, I mean that it got so far that he threatened to kill himself if she broke up with him. She thought her parents liked him and would also be mad at her . However, myself and a mutual friend managed to learn enough that we were able to keep her grounded. While she was not comfortable informing any adult at that time (we should have encouraged her to do so, but we were all a little freaked out by this guy) we managed to pool our collective resources of friends to band together around her during that last stretch of school in which he would be in close proximity to her, effectively giving her a body guard from this creep so she would always feel safe. She told her parents not long after, they protected her at home, and we were always ready to run to her.
              You are not alone. People care about you. Don’t listen to your father, tell your friends mom and tell her what you think your parents might react, and let her help you find options. You are nearly a legal adult and you have a right to feel safe and loved.

            14. chickabiddy*

              Yes! I have a teenage daughter and from a parent’s perspective, I would be very happy to help any of her friends if they were being stalked and harassed (well, not really happy, because it’s not a happy situation, but you know what I mean). Let her help. She means it. You seem very intelligent and aware, but sometimes you need an adult on your side Take her up on that.

            15. Not So NewReader*

              Key point: It’s NOT that they aren’t helping you like you WANT.
              This is not a WANT, it’s a NEED. You need your parents to protect you and they are failing massively. Yeah, he is going to be mad when he finds out he is an epic fail. Tell him that this kid hit his daughter, repeatedly over a period of years. Ask him if he is okay with someone hitting you.

              You are 17. Let’s say your birthday is a year from now. The worst thing that can happen is that they ground you for a year. Then you are an adult and you are out of there. BTDT. Take what they are dishing, then when it comes time to leave, leave and don’t look back.

              I am beginning to see more than one problem here, Greta. You got parent stuff going on, too, maybe. Okay, deal with one thing at a time. Your immediate problem is getting this guy away from you. Deal with that first.

              My folks were out of touch in many ways. I forced myself to remain calm and deliberate. I put up with their stuff such as grounding me for an accident, they sided with the other guy and they did not allow me to get medical help. I was 17 and a half. When the time came that I could move on with my life, I made that jump and I did not look back. This maybe the route you decide to go, but it is too soon and you have immediate stuff to deal with here.

            16. JennyFair*

              Grounded is better than assaulted. Your parents are being ridiculous, and I’m so sorry that this is the case. But this boy is clearly not going to respect any boundaries that aren’t enforced by people who can MAKE him stay away from you. Also, once you are away at college next year, he’ll pick someone else who seems helpless and do this to them (assuming he doesn’t follow you). Let your friend’s mom help. The negative consequences will be temporary and survivable. You do not deserve to put up with this treatment. Hang in there!

            17. LCL*

              Everybody here keeps saying your parents aren’t doing enough to help you, and I think they should be doing more, but you say ‘I stopped telling them about things he does a few years ago’…
              How can they help you now when they don’t even know what is happening? You have got to get your parents involved, as long as they aren’t irrational people. Tell them the whole story, and as someone suggested start forwarding them the nasty texts. Because right now, you are keeping his secrets for him. The shame should be his, not yours.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Parents like this let you know that their expectation is for you to stop talking about it. “I told you how to handle it. We are done talking about it.”

                Parents like this have a way of shutting down conversation permanently. You know you cannot go back and ask again.

              2. Observer*

                I agree she needs to tell her parents again, but with the understanding that it probably won’t help. They should have put a stop to it a LONG time ago – when she WAS telling them about it. The thing is that they are apparently NOT rational people – at least when it comes to this issue. I mean is “he’s hitting you because he likes you” a rational thing to say to your child?

            18. LD*

              Ask your friend’s mom to say her daughter told her…maybe that can help keep it from seeming like you are spreading it around if she can be helpful and talk to your parents. Seriously, this is serious and your parents aren’t thinking that way. They are most likely thinking, “kid stuff! it’s harmless” But it’s not harmless and you can talk to your friend’s mom and ask her to help. Please, if she is someone you trust, please let her help and explain to her what your concerns are with your parents. It really can feel isolating when your parents don’t understand how serious and threatening this is for you. Please talk to your friend’s mom or access some of the great advice others have had for resources to guide you in how to navigate this harassment. This community wants you to be safe.

        8. INFJ*

          Wow. That is not how a boy who “likes” you acts. It is NOT ok for a guy to harass and be violent towards you. Ever. This is not acceptable behavior. I’m sorry that nobody is taking it seriously and nobody in authority is believing you.

        9. Kerry ( like the county in Ireland)*

          Your parents are wrong. Even so, his liking you isn’t a pass to assault you, press boundaries, and not behave like a decent person.

        10. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

          Great: Please know that physical violence is NEVER EVER an indication that someone likes you. I am sorry your parents cannot tell the difference between abuse and genuine feelings. That sets you up very poorly for relationships in the future.


          I kind of want to scream at your parents… I am sorry.

          Talk to your managers about his harassment and abuse. Let them know you are afraid to be left alone with him, and are working on a restraining order. Please also talk to your principal, school counselor, a trusted teacher, SOMEONE at the school. Fight back. Start being proactive and put a stop to it. It is super hard, I know, but the only way to make it stop is to stand up to him. Sometimes that means intervention from adults who have more power than you. The next time he is physical violent to you, go to the police. IMMEDIATELY. Press charges for assault and ask for a restraining order. Does your school have security cameras that might have caught some of the previous abuse? Do you have a school resource officer?

        11. stelmselms*

          I so wish that people would stop telling girls that the reason a boy punches you, “pulls your pig tails”, etc. is because they like you. This reasoning has to stop.

          1. Honeybee*

            I know! It has never made sense, ever, ever, and the only reason ‘we’ even started it is to give men a pass for abusing women.

          2. Lance*

            It’s not even remotely sound reasoning after, say, elementary school, when they hardly know how to act. Now she’s in high school. So I just have to say: really?

        12. Clever Name*

          I am so sorry your parents are not helpful. Do you have another adult you trust? An aunt or uncle or a family friend? Maybe a friend’s parent? A counselor or teacher? You are being stalked and bullied, and it’s not on you to deal with it alone. Adults need to step in to help you.

        13. Gaia*

          Ok first of all, this is horrible commentary from your parents. Men don’t hit women they like. Men that hit women are abusive and abuse =/= like. Please know that this is completely untrue and DANGEROUS. Shame on your parents for giving you this message.

          Second, you do not need permission from your parents to go to the police. This person has assaulted you. You have a right to be safe in your person. Talk to your manager. Make it clear this is *not* normal school age teasing but actual assault, harassment and possibly stalking. Any manager that is even moderately competent will not want to hire this person.

          And if he assaults you again (or even if he doesn’t) you should alert the authorities. This is not acceptable behavior and if he hasn’t learned that yet, he needs to learn it.

        14. mander*

          Oh my god that “he likes you” response really burns me up. No, people don’t do creepy nasty things to you because they *like* you.

    4. Jen*

      I would definitely talk with your manager and let her know your history with this guy. You don’t have to get into specifics. Just the fact that he has been physically abusive towards you is enough. And this is definitely a pattern over time. You shouldn’t have to put up with that at work….or anywhere!

    5. Artemesia*

      You need to get to your manager before the bully does; let him know your history with this guy and you would appreciate not having to work alone with him or closely with him. At least if things start going down, there will be context. Sorry this is happening to you. Recognize too that ‘pushing someone down’ is assault and you are now adults; if he physically assaults you call the police. Stalking is also illegal most places so save texts etc and push back legally. You are not in 7th grade anymore and you have some legal tools at your disposal.

      1. SophieChotek*

        I agree. You’ve worked with the manager longer and should have some credit built up as to your good attitude, good work ethic, not likely to over-exaggerate etc. (i.e. if you had just started manager might not know enough to assess that).

        It sounds like this bullying is not just in the past but still quite recent; if it was just a long time ago, while not discounting I might wonder if this person had changed. (I had a classmate that was always mean to me, not physically, but just verbally, and she got hired at the same restaurant/coffee shop I worked at in High school; I about flipped and told my manager I wouldn’t work with her–in retrospect I could have handled that better, I wasn’t smart enough, like you, to come to a place like this, not that AAM likely existed 16-17 years ago–…which shocked my manager because I never said things like that — and except for some super busy holidays, we never had to work together…but honestly, the few times we did work together, I discovered she had totally changed and was decent.) But it sounds like you’ve had much more recent, prolonged, and more intense bullying —

        So documentation, screenshots of these texts? etc. If any of that is possible I would do that. There is more awareness about bullying and the repercussions than their used to be — so I’m sorry you are going through this and good luck!

      2. Sunshine*

        Yes. And use those words: “safety”, “harassment”, “stalking”, and “assault”. This is well beyond childish bullying.

    6. Bexx*

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I have to disagree with your parents. This guy is too old to act like this if he likes you. Is there a counselor you can talk too? The next time he prank calls you or touches you in any way please call the police. Start a log of his behavior and ask friends to back you up if they can. If my daughter was going through this I’d feel the need to string that boy up by his toenails!

    7. Liz L*

      I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. That you’ve been going through this for years! It’s completely unacceptable. Know that there is something seriously wrong with anyone who would go to these lengths to make someone fearful or miserable. Please tell all the trustworthy people in your life about this situation and let people help you when and where they can. If you have a good relationship with your manager and knows that he/she trusts you, please have that discussion. Rooting for you! Good luck.

    8. Beezus*

      You’ve gotten a lot of great advice on the bullying stuff. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I just wanted to chime in and say that your manager absolutely should want to know about this – maybe not deep detail, but definitely hit on the duration and some of the highlights, including the pushing/hitting. Your manager is just looking to hire another shift worker, not looking to bring in this kind of behavior, especially into an environment where pushing/hitting could cause someone to be terribly injured.

      1. Emily*

        I agree with this. I used to manage a quick service food establishment and I would 100% want to know about any potential problems with a new hire. I agree that approaching the conversation calmly and with facts is the best approach especially with the holidays coming up, which can and probably will affect your schedule/hours.

    9. Pineapple Incident*

      Definitely talk to your manager and let them know about this! 12 years of horrible treatment at the hands of this person should at least be enough to keep this creep on different shifts than you, if they value your employment there. If anybody balks at helping you avoid this person, it is time to find another job. You can only work so hard to ask someone to help you in this situation, and it will always look better if you leave a job voluntarily for something else than if this creep were to get you fired, no matter how unjustified.

    10. Anon 12*

      Restraining order? Maybe you should talk to somebody at the local police station to see what they recommend.

    11. GigglyPuff*

      Also keep in mind, many high schools now have cameras. If he physically touches you at school, tripping, hitting, or even just physically intimidating you, it might not matter if a teacher doesn’t see. If it happens again and you involve a teacher/counselor, I’d ask about seeing it on the video cameras. Something to keep in mind.

      1. Greta*

        This is interesting, though I don’t know if it would be “conclusive.” He hasn’t pushed me since we started high school, but he has tripped me a few times, but he’s always really careful to do when there’s a crowd of people around so it’s like it was an accident. I can’t prove he did it because it would be easy to for him to say, “So and so bumped into me and I bumped into Greta, it was an accident.” The two times I’ve been hit with a textbook, he actually didn’t do it, he instructed his friend to do it. That friend is a known troublemaker and basically will do anything the bully tells him to do (not very bright). One time no one saw it when he hit me (but maybe a camera would have shown it). The second time, the teacher did see it and just told the kid to go to the principal’s office, which is basically a weekly occurence for him anyway. The teacher asked me if I was okay and since I wasn’t bleeding or bruised, that was the end of it. There’s a lot of fighting at my school so it always feels like the teachers have much bigger problems to deal with than one kid tripping another or someone getting slapped or hit by a book.
        Mostly at school, the bully has just been saying truly awful stuff to me lately, but he’ll usually do it very quietly so only I can hear him, or he’ll say it around a group of his friends so that they could stick up for him if I told. And the texts, which are just mean because he pretends to be people I’m friendly with at school to try to get me to respond, and I’m always worried that I’ll end up actually blocking a guy I like for real or something. :(

        1. GigglyPuff*

          I would definitely take the advice on looking into getting a new phone or a Google voice number, and then only give the number to people you absolutely trust and know will not give it to him or his friends. That way you’ll have a much better chance of knowing who you are actually corresponding to on your phone.
          I’m really sorry this is happening and wish I had better advice, but there is some great advice given by others and I hope you consider it.

        2. TootsNYC*

          If any guy would allow him to use his phone to send mean texts to you, this is not a guy you should like.

          There’s plenty of time to encounter decent men; don’t worry about who you might miss out on in high school.

          Also: If your school is known for having lots of fights, your manager is going to want to know that this guy is part of starting them, bcs the manager doesn’t want this in his/her workplace.

        3. Ms. Anne Thrope*

          “Truly awful things”–like threats? If so, go to the police. Like ‘you’re fat and ugly’? If so, please know that this is the lazy man/boy’s way to insult a woman or girl. It’s not true, so just pretend you don’t hear him. Or, of course, tell him he’s a dickless wonder. Given the violence, though, I probably wouldn’t do that.

          Keep yourself safe, let your friend’ mom help you stay safe, because IT GETS BETTER. REally, I promise. Get through high school, get out of your parents’ house and into college, a job, or both. Once you have control over your life it’s so. much. better.

        4. Not So NewReader*

          Oh, Greta, this so sucks. My heart is breaking for you, life does not have to be this hard.

          My wise friend gave me some advice that you might like:

          Someone hurts you once, that is an accident.
          Someone hurts you twice that is carelessness.
          Someone hurts you three times that is reportable.

          Please, please hang on to this forever, and ever.

          Here’s additional info:

          The first time someone hurts you,it is fine to hold it in a good light and forgive them.
          The second time someone hurts you, you point out, “hey this is the second time you have done this, you need to be more careful!” (Oddly, I have had someone do this to me because I was not watching what I was doing. It gave me enough of a jolt that I made darn sure I did not bump them or whatever again.)
          The third time someone hurts you is when you drag a third party into the situation. Chose your third party wisely, be deliberate about who you pick.

          But please, memorize this and keep it with you for life:
          Someone hurts you once, that is an accident.
          Someone hurts you twice that is carelessness.
          Someone hurts you three times that is reportable.

        5. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

          Saying comments where you are the only one that can hear them is classic abuser behavior. Abusers make sure they look great to everyone else. It isolates you and keeps you from getting help, since others have only seen Mr. Wonderful and don’t see the creepy jerk. This is not bullying. This is stalking and abusive. Don’t feel like you don’t deserve help because it’s “not as bad” as the other fights you see in school.

    12. A. D. Kay*

      Greta, please keep us updated! this creep is very concerning. He is breaking the law and the police need to know about it. Definitely bring in your parents’ friend. She should be able to help you deal with any blowback you get from them. You don’t have to go it alone! You might want to think about calling the RAINN hotline too.

    13. Emmie*

      It’s okay to go to your manager about this. Be factual. Explain what’s been happening for years with this person, and how you’ve tried to address it. Any good manager would want to know about this dynamic. My heart goes out to you. You shouldn’t have to deal with this. It’s wrong, and I am sorry you haven’t had support from those you love.

  7. The other Dawn*

    I’ve been on a temp contract via an agency working full time hours with no paid leave and minimal benefits for several years. There’s rumors going around that there may be offers made for temps to move to permanent contracts employed directly by the company with paid leave and more benefits. Normally this would be great news however I’m a bit torn because I’m starting to consider opportunities elsewhere as I don’t think the company is the right fit for me long term. What’s the appropriate etiquette in this situation? Do I have an obligation to be upfront and let them know it’s possible I’ll be gone in a few months or do I just accept the new contract and deal with any fallout when it happens? While there’s no new job training required as my responsibilities would be exactly the same, I would feel bad about the effort they took to move me onto their payroll if I left soon after

    1. NJ Anon*

      Take the permanent position. Don’t feel bad if you leave. You don’t know how long it will take to find something else.

      1. Artemesia*

        This. Companies that pay poorly should expect to lose people to better opportunities; and since you will have been working for these people for awhile even before taking a full time gig, it is not ‘short term.’ Do what is in your own best interest.

    2. A. Nonymous*

      Take the position if offered and take a better one if it comes along. I’ve always considered my job to be a mutually “best fit” situation. If you get another “best fit” then you’re under no obligation to stay.

    3. Rusty Shackelford*

      The company has been working in its own best interests. You have the right to work in yours.

    4. Karanda Baywood*

      I waited and waited to be made permanent and it never happened. You have to do what’s best for you.

      If you ARE made perm but then find something better, TAKE IT.

      And no, do not tell them you might be gone in a few months. The less said, the better for you.

    5. CMT*

      Don’t tell them you’re thinking of leaving. Accept the permanent position if it’s offered. Start your search when/if you feel ready and leave when/if you feel ready and have a good offer!

    6. Jersey's Mom*

      You’re hearing rumors. Don’t make a job decision based on rumor.

      If they offer you a permanent contract, read it carefully to see what severance requirements are there (2 weeks? something else?). That is exactly what the business is requiring you to do if you decide to leave. You are not required to give notice that “you’re looking for another job”, or “I don’t think this company is a right fit for me long term”. In fact, if you tell someone that, chances are you will be out the door as soon as they can find someone else to fill your position.

    7. LD*

      Do what is helpful for you. Take the job/contract if they offer it before you get another offer that you’d prefer. There are no guarantees that you’ll get another job right away. And if you do, and you like it, then you can just give them appropriate notice and say thanks for the experience, but you’re moving on to another opportunity more in line with your career goals. Don’t make your choices based on what you hope; make them on what you know to be true right now.

  8. The other Dawn*

    On a different note, an apology to the person who usually comments under the username Dawn for accidentally impersonating you in the open thread last week. I should have checked if the name was in use before commenting

    1. Cristina in England*

      We actually already have The Other Dawn too, so maybe try again? I am guessing you aren’t her since she links to her blog in her username. So sorry! We had the same thing a few months ago with Engineer Girl, I think.

      1. Yet another Dawn*

        Can’t believe I was careless enough to impersonate someone by mistake twice in a row. Going to try dreaming up a REALLY creative nickname for future threads.

        1. fposte*

          Dawn of the Dead? Dawn without Tony Orlando? Dawn Quixote? Dawn Pardo?

          Sorry, couldn’t resist a riff.

            1. Fortitude Jones*

              I actually really like Dawn Juan Demarco and Dawn Quixote. I just changed my handle, but these names are making me want to change again, lol.

    2. Natalie*

      If you’re comfortable using Gravatar (the picture that shows up next to your name) that will distinguish you from original Dawn and The Other Dawn. That’s what I did when a new Natalie started showing up sometimes.

        1. Windchime*

          Exactly — like mine. Clearly it’s not a picture of me, unless you want to believe that my name is really Windchime. (That would actually be kind of a hippy/cool name).

  9. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

    Feel better, Alison!

    I’m curious how y’all feel about this thing from Dear Prudence earlier this week:
    “We can, however, donate our PTO to our co-workers, and I have done so with one of my other co-workers who has cancer. I have a week left on my account. My former co-worker used up all hers in July but still booked a trip to Disney World this Christmas with her mom and kids. She screwed up with HR and has now been begging people to donate to her so she can go. ”

    That seems like possibly the worst PTO system in existence. A combined bank that you can be encouraged or “encouraged” to donate to other people from?

    Am I overreacting?

    1. Cb*

      I think when it is used this way, it’s terrible. But my mom is in management and regularly hits the top of her allowed PTO accumulation and she’s been known to discretely donate it to someone in urgent need (ie. someone with a sick parent and no FMLA eligibility, new parent, etc)

      1. Deets*

        This was also my thought – I’ve worked places that allowed employees to transfer PTO to coworkers dealing with some sort of long-term medical problem, family emergency, etc. But allowing it for vacations seems odd.

    2. Joanna*

      No, you’re not. It’s a nice idea in theory and perhaps there’s some workplaces with excellent cultures where perhaps it would work. However, as demonstrated in the letter there is many many ways that bullying, guilt tripping and office politics could turn it very bad.

      And even if people are giving up PTO of their own free will, it’s not healthy for people to be taking no/minimal time away from work.

    3. Faith*

      I used to work for a company that allowed PTO donations. You could donate as little as 8 and as much as 40 hours to somebody. The way it would work is that an employee in need of donation would approach HR and an email would go out to the entire company asking for donation without naming the employee or the reason for them asking. I saw no problem with that system. I knew that an email like that usually meant that someone has run out of their FMLA and PTO. There was zero pressure to donate.

      1. OhNo*

        I worked for a while at a government agency that did something similar – except they always mentioned who it was for and why they needed it.

        Talk about a guilt trip! I could tell they were trying to be nonjudgmental in the request phrasing, but there’s only so many times you can read “PTO donations are now being accepted for Wakeen, who is taking time off to support his father, son, brother, and third cousin twice removed, all of whom have horrible cancers of the appendix and only six weeks to live” before you start to feel like a tool for not donating.

        I am really glad that the requests came from HR and not the person themselves, though. I’m just enough of a pushover that I would have caved to a direct request every time.

    4. Red Reader*

      I don’t know anyone I would be willing to effectively just donate a quarter of my monthly salary to, so no, I think it’s a pretty absurd idea. :-P

    5. Artemesia*

      I had the same reaction. I couldn’t tell if she was losing the PTO anyway to rollover in which case, perhaps. But the idea that I should fund someone else’s vacation, especially someone I don’t even like is ridiculous. If the unliked employee were needing it because their child was in the hospital or some such that would be one thing — but to go to Disneyworld? ANY time off I take is as valuable to me as seeing some one else go to Disneyworld.

      1. Jennifer*

        I think I’d be even more resentful of the coworker than I already am if I donated PTO so she could go to Disneyworld. If I was already at bitch-eating-crackers stage with her, that would be another thing going through my head every time I was dealing with her shenanigans.

        Something similar came up for me once–someone who made it very clear to me that We Will Not Be Friends needed PTO donated to her and I did not want to donate it.

    6. Sophie Winston*

      Nope. I’ve worked for organizations that allowed donating PTO, but only to individuals on leave with very serious illnesses, and it was anonymous.

      The only exception was for a woman who went out on maternity leave just before the 1 year of service mark when STD went into affect. And that was not the Mom’s idea – a group of supervisors and managers in her Dept went to HR asking to each donate some of their vacation to her, so she could have at least the medical portion of her leave paid. Actual donation amounts handled anonymously by HR. I work with some pretty awesome people.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Same, and I appreciated that I could do this (although in reality it was rarely anonymous because the organization was so small/unprofessional that everyone knew everyone else’s business). Donating for someone else’s vacation seems strange (it’s almost like donating cash to her so she can go on a vacation), although I did donate PTO, once, so a colleague could be with her dying mother across the country. But it was generally understood that folks did not have to donate, that others should not solicit donations, and that donations should only be made in serious/grave circumstances (death, illness).

    7. Murphy*

      We have a system where you need to be approved in order to receive donated leave, and it’s only people with FMLA type situations going on. You shouldn’t be able to get donations to go to Disney. That’s just gross.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Thank you, I knew there were ways to do this right. I’ve pushed for this at our small-to-medium sized company, because upper level employees often have to use leave or lose it, and I know some that do lose leave before they get to use it. Meanwhile, some new, young employees with small children are constantly going temporarily negative if their supervisor allows it or taking leave without pay if they don’t. And this company has done a lot to support employees facing extreme life challenges, so it seemed like a good fit, but apparently it was too much of an administrative headache.

        1. not really a lurker anymore*

          I’m local gov’t, so we still do separate banks of vacation and sick leave. We are permitted to donate VAC or previously banked CompTime to other employees who have completed paperwork with HR. I am aware of 2 people out of about 4,000 currently being permitted donations.

          Our sick leave is restricted by City Ordinances and has been for decades.

          1. LCL*

            Local govt here, separate vac and sick leave. We are allowed to donate sick leave, not vac. It is administered by HR, can be anonymous or not.
            What was so WTF about that letter was NuPru’s response. She said, basically, be the bigger person and donate, it will make you feel good.

      2. littlemoose*

        Same here. My large organization offers leave donations for people dealing with serious medical situations or who are caring for ill family members – donating leave for a Disney trip would never pass muster.

      3. Kittymommy*

        Where I currently work it’s like this, I actually used to work in the particular division that approved stuff like this. Had to be catastrophic illness, FMLA and your own sick leave had to be gone as well. You could ask for it anonymously our not, up to the individual.
        I remember seeing that question on Slate – no way in he’ll would I give that person my sick leave. If I remember correctly, Prudence advised donating it.

      4. Science!*

        My mom worked for a school with this system and paid into it every year. When my father was in the hospital for a serious accident and she needed to take a couple weeks off to be with him, she benefited extremely from this system. But I wonder if those kinds of systems work better in smaller organizations. People would feel better about giving some of their PTO to someone else if they thought it was someone they at least know. My last organization was massive, I couldn’t see how it would work in that organization.

    8. Henrietta Gondorf*

      I work for the federal government and we can transfer leave under certain limited circumstances (someone has to be preapproved and it’s only available once they’ve exhausted all their own sick and annual leave, etc.)

      I just thought the answer was nuts because my take is “Be generous if you like, but there is no obligation here whatsoever.”

      1. Paige Turner*

        Yeah, I’m a fed contractor, so I get tons of emails saying “So-and-so has exhausted their leave” but since I’m not a fed myself, I can’t donate. I have friends who have received leave donations to take paternity leave, which was very helpful for them. Still, I feel like asking for leave from coworkers (including tons of people you don’t know if it’s a large sub-agency/agency) is kind of weird. I feel like a better system would be for people to donate excess leave to a general fund that would be distributed to approved applicants, instead of the current system which feels like a half step away from getting a link to a Go Fund Me.

    9. Elsajeni*

      It’s pretty common to have a pool for donated sick leave, which can really be a lifesaver for people dealing with long-term health problems (chronic illness, cancer treatment, etc.). I’ve never heard of letting people donate toward a vacation, though. I guess if you have a combined sick/vacation pool, you could think of it as retroactively donating toward sick leave they’ve already taken, so that the person gets some of their days back and can spend them on vacation…? Still feels questionable, though, honestly. (I also think it’s probably better for HR to handle these donations in a way that keeps the recipient and the reason anonymous, like Faith described; sucks to be the sick person who no one likes enough to donate to, or the person whose time-off request is for a stigmatized reason like mental health treatment.)

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        I guess the whole thing is kinda weird for me since I come from a country where the government (generally) pays for extended sick leave. But this sounded very strange, all of it.
        I like the anonymous donation thing, if one has to have it.

      2. fposte*

        We have the sick leave pool; in ours, you can’t donate to anybody specific, and the only way you can be eligible for the pool is to have donated to it (I generally don’t use all my sick leave so I donated to it as an insurance plan, basically).

        1. Lance*

          That actually seems like a really good way to do it; only eligible if you’ve donated, which kicks off some of the possible excess one person could potentially have if they have donated before, and have thereby ‘earned’ it, in a sense. I like it.

        2. Annie Moose*

          Oh, I like this. Then it’s not about “Susie needs this time” (bringing up all sorts of awkward issues about donating time directly to Susie, or Susie needing to reveal to the whole company that she has some need for extra sick time, or whatever) and is about “if anyone needs this time, it’s available”.

    10. Joseph*

      You are not. That’s terrible.
      Also, FWIW, I didn’t like Prudence’s advice. The crux of Prudence’s argument seems to be based on OP saying she wasn’t traveling to see her family…but that doesn’t mean that the PTO is useless. OP’s parents might be taking time off work, OP’s kids or nieces/nephews/cousins will be off school, OP might want to spend a day with a friend, OP might just want the chance to relax (which is a legitimate use of the benefits you negotiated for!) and so on.
      Prudence also completely dismissed the relevance of the co-worker’s general behavior, but I’m not sure you can. Asking OP to give up her vacation for someone else is asking a massive favor – and it’s legit for personal feelings to play into that. In fact, it’s possible that the reason the new manager is so strict is partly because he realized that the previous, looser rules were being overly abused.

        1. SophieChotek*

          Yes, I was surprised to some degree too. I usually agree with her advice to. Part of me understood the idea of “be the bigger person, no matter what” – but a whole week is a big thing. And come on, in holidays, we all can use the extra time for last minute shopping, more time with family, etc. I could see giving one day, if everyone else also gave 1 day, to get to a week — but all of it….eh…

            1. Orca*

              Not at all! It really is a lot. And in last week’s Dear Prudence, I just remembered, she answered a question with “have a good work life balance! It’s okay!” So to tell this person they should donate more of their PTO when they’ve already given some away is just baffling.

            2. Brownie Queen*

              I felt the same way when I read her answer and I am glad to see others agree. I can see maybe a day but not an entire week.

          1. Artemesia*

            The idea that the time is not valuable to me because I am not traveling is just nuts. If my folks were visiting for Christmas or we had various events with my grandchildren who are out of school etc, then having that time off at Christmas is valuable to me. I would never give it up so someone else could vacation. Why would I? For their kidney transplant, yes. But vacation? Huh?

            1. AFRC*

              Exactly – and not to assume, but why would you book a trip if you knew you didn’t have PTO? Donating time rewards the behavior.

              1. Honeybee*

                That’s what I was thinking. If I reward this co-worker for her behavior she’s just going to try it again.

            1. Anonsie*

              What, are you trying to tell me that you DON’T agree that women drinking is the most pressing evil facing our society today?

        2. Mustache Cat*

          I almost wonder if Mallory misinterpreted the OP’s letter to say that she wasn’t planning to take any time off at all. But yes, agreed, a miss from her when I usually love her to pieces.

          (btw, did you hear the latest PrudiePod? Carvell’s advice for the young man to ask the father’s advice over the wishes/consultation of his young lady had me screaming THAT’S SO PATERNALISTIC out loud…or at least it would have had I not been in the office. I was glad Mallory disagreed so vehemently)

      1. Allison*

        Right, she seems to assume that if the asker isn’t traveling, they don’t need time off. That’s bunk. Sure, lots of people work through or around the holidays and take minimal time off, but lots of people see that time as a time to relax, especially since Christmas can be stressful even if you’re staying home. Maybe the asker has kids who are going to be home between Christmas Eve and New Years Day, maybe they have family coming over, maybe they just really wanna binge watch Netflix after a year of working hard. Why should they give that up so someone they don’t like can get extra time off to go to Disney World?

        1. AFineSpringDay*

          I agree! We were just discussing the week after Christmas in a staff meeting yesterday. We don’t get it off as a company. My colleagues all have partners and/or kids, or their parents live across the country. I always wind up working that week because none of those boxes fit me, and they call me a “saint” for it.
          Honestly, I don’t mind that much – no one’s here, it’s super quiet, no work needs to happen, I can wear yoga pants and lay on my office couch reading a book, or search to the ends of the internet for milkshake recipes, or actually get my desk cleaned off. But one of these years, I’m going to want to take that week off just to chill, and one of my colleagues better be prepared to work that week.

        2. Karanda Baywood*

          And maybe they slip on the ice on xmas eve and need to lay on the sofa with an ice pack for a week.

          I would never give up my time to someone I don’t even like.

          1. DragoCucina*

            Close to my experience. Preparing for visiting relatives the week after Christmas I fell and cracked three ribs. You never know…

        3. Some Sort of Management Consulta*

          People need time off to relax and recharge! They can do that at Disney world or on their couch but I mean, there’s a reason there are vacation laws in most countries.

      2. just another librarian*

        Super bad advice from Mallory on this one! (And I like her writing generally.) Let’s convert one week of PTO into its cash equivalent. Let’s say it’s $1500 a week. Should you donate $1500 so someone you don’t even like can go to Disney? That’s totally up to the individual. Some of us would do it. I would not. Because it’s my $1500. And the person already had the $1500 and chose to spend it another way. Which is her call. But shameless of her to ask me for it for a vacation.

        1. fposte*

          I also thought that Mallory wasn’t aware that sometimes you literally can cash your vacation out, so that a donation could well be losing the OP money.

          1. Faith*

            Yeah, at my current job, you get to carry over you unused vacation up to a certain number of hours, and after that, they will write you a check. So, you still get you benefit one way or the other. I would have understood the advice to donate if the letter writer had a ton of accrued vacation that she was unable to carry over or cash out and it would have simply gone to waste. But to donate your ONLY week of PTO accrued to someone you don’t even LIKE? Unless you are trying to fix some major negative karma in your life, I don’t understand the point of that sacrifice.

          2. BAS*

            Yeah, especially in states like CA where PTO/Vacation time is considered accrued wages. It gets paid out when you leave and carried over year-to-year.

          3. Hibiscus*

            Mallory has never had a real office job where she was expected to show up and do work. She admits it.

      3. Rachel*

        I didn’t like it either. Lose out on my PTO that I’ve earned so someone I don’t even like can go to Disney World? Especially after she booked the trip knowing she did not have enough PTO? No way! I’d just say sorry, I have plans for that time. Never mind that those plans may be to sleep until noon and binge watch Judge Judy, those are still plans. : )

        I have worked at places where you could borrow against your next year’s PTO, but that was generally only done for FMLA-type situations.

        1. catsAreCool*

          Taking it easy for a week of PTO might be exactly what the LW needs. I don’t understand why the LW would donate PTO for a trip to an amusement park unless the LW didn’t want to use the PTO at all.

    11. Allison*

      You’re not overreacting, and I disagree with Prudence’s advice that the asker should give their coworker all of their PTO just because they weren’t using it to travel, as though that means they don’t need time off around the holidays. If I had a week left and wasn’t traveling, I *might* give the coworker a day of mine, but definitely not the whole thing. Why should I give up a chance to relax around the holidays because someone else was bad at planning their time off?

      However, if it was revealed that one of her kids had a terminal illness and that’s why she’s always out, and why she wants to go to Disney World, I might be more inclined to help.

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        My holiday is my holiday. It’s no one’s business how I spend it.

        I mena, of course if someone’s kid had a terminal illness, it’d be a different case. But… Otherwise, no touching my holidays.

    12. Temperance*

      I almost never agree with her, but her advice on that case was so shitty! I would have told LW to enjoy her staycation.

    13. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

      I had a coworker that I would have loved to have donated a couple of weeks to when she was out for cancer treatments. But I would object to be encouraged to donate. Especially for a fun vacation and not someone out for a prolonged illness.

    14. Jubilance*

      I’m not opposed to PTO donation but in this instance there’s no way that I’d donate in the Dear Prudie situation. Emergencies or illness is one thing, not managing your time is quite another.

      At my mom’s workplace they do PTO donation. Several years ago my younger sister suffered a near-drowning, and my mom took time off to help care for my sister (she was 12 at the time). Some of her coworkers graciously donated PTO and my mom was very grateful to be able to take the time off, as she was the primary breadwinner for our family at the time.

    15. Charlotte, not NC*

      I know some places that let you donate sick days, but consider vacation/personal days separate. I think that’s the way to go if you’re going to do it.

    16. Pineapple Incident*

      We can donate PTO where I work, but there are all sorts of caveats, and it can only go to someone who is on FMLA for something medical once they’ve officially used up all of their own leave.

    17. Pen and Pencil*

      I worked at a place that did something similar with comp time. We had to use comp time up in 6 month chunks, and if you didn’t use it, you lost it. There was enough comp time to go around, that I would have an extra two weeks of vacation time a year, so it would get to the point where you just couldn’t use it all. They would “bank” these unused hours so that if an employee ever ran into the cancer/grave illness/ unexpected car crash /etc. happened the company would dip into the “bank”. You had to use up all of your PTO, sick days, etc. first, and then I want to say the employees had to vote whether or not to dip into the bank for a person (not sure about this though). It sucked having to work so much comp time that you couldn’t use up all of your hours, but it was nice knowing that there was a sort of fallback plan until disability kicked in. AFAIK it has never been used in the 20 years that the business has been open. I think some currently employees have suggested starting to use the bank to cover paid maternal leave. That being said, I would be much more skeptical about this being used with PTO. That’s like being asked to donate several hundred dollars to someone. Seems like the stakes would be too high, and in most places the internal pressure would be too much to really make it fair.

    18. Whats In A Name*

      I worked for a place like this but there were some very specific conditions and in all cases it was an optional donation.

      1) Only people using FMLA or with serious medical issues could dip into the company pool
      2) You could only donate what you couldn’t carry over (you could carry over all your accrued days but only up to 30/year, once you hit your limit, you could opt to donate it to pool)
      3) When you left you cashed out vacation days but sick was unpaid. You could donate your leftover to the pool.

    19. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I’m not sure what your objection is. Combined PTO in general? (I’m on the record as saying I don’t think it’s a good idea, so I’m with you there.) Having a system to transfer/donate PTO?

      My current organization has this system, and while I’m not a fan of combined PTO there’s nothing objectionable to me about the donation aspect. The way I’ve seen it used is when someone goes out on parental leave, or has a health crisis. Usually folks will throw in 1/2 or 1 day — which adds up quickly when enough people do it. We have allow an unusual amount of carryover (you can bank up to 2 times your annual leave), so I’m sure there are folks who have been here for a long time who are able to give even more than the token day.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Whoops, hit submit too soon.

        That being said, I really disagree with Prudie’s advice. This person doesn’t have a health crisis or once-in-a-lifetime need. She screwed up her vacation. That’s not her colleague’s problem to solve (and certainly not be giving away their vacation, unless she agrees to immediately donate hers back when she accrues it… but I wouldn’t trust her to do that). Prudie really got this one wrong.

    20. CMT*

      We have this system where I work, but I’m fairly certain that a request for donations has to be approved. So the Disneyland trip would probably not be approved but a more serious situation would be. It’s nice to know that if something terrible ever happens where I’d need paid leave, there’s a little bit of a safety net.

    21. Karo*

      We have something set up like that here, where you can choose to donate your own PTO to someone else (it’s not a combined bank, though – it’s a case-by-base basis). For the most part it can only be used in a serious situation, like helping someone cover a medical emergency that they’d have to take unpaid time for, but you can petition HR to have it used for less serious stuff, like vacation.

      Honestly I really love the idea, but that may be because I’ve never been asked to donate to it or had to take advantage of it. Typically the people that are asked are people who regularly take two weeks less than their allotted time (and we have a use it or lose it policy), and it’s always done discretely so there’s no pressure of having to avert your eyes in the hall because you didn’t want to give up your vacation because someone is fighting a serious disease.

    22. Honeybee*

      I have to say that I wholeheartedly disagree with Mallory’s advice. I wouldn’t give her the PTO. You can’t schedule a vacation if you use up all your PTO, and if you know that you have a week-long vacation booked don’t use all your PTO! I’m not giving away my chance to have a vacation because she can’t manage her time.

      But it doesn’t sound like a shared PTO system. It sounds like everyone has their own PTO, but you can donate your own unused PTO to coworkers who have used all of theirs up for whatever reason.

    23. Formica Dinette*

      My company allows PTO donations. They don’t actively advertise it, but it is in the policy. I offered some of mine to a coworker who mentioned they had run out due to several different medical issues, but they declined. I have never heard of anyone here bugging anyone else to donate PTO, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.

      I’m not sure I entirely agree with Mallory’s answer. I’m sure I would be annoyed if anyone nagged me to give them my PTO, but I do see her point about being charitable. I would probably give my coworker two days and take three for myself or something like that.

      Now that I think about it, there’s another coworker I like very much who has a chronic illness and might be running out of PTO. I should see if they need any of mine.

      1. Ange*

        My company doesn’t do donations but you can buy or sell 5 days each year (with management approval). They just adjust your pay up or down accordingly.

    24. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I would never do this in a company I ran, but it does strike me as making a level of sense (and being kinda Libertarian in nature). Like, if the company had approached it as “we can absorb this much labor being gone over the course of the year” then, from the business perspective, it makes sense to allow employees to buy, sell, trade or donate their lave however they wanted. Like, if you viewed PTO as a contingency plan than as a benefit to your employees.

  10. Lolly Scrambler*

    I got a job interview on Thursday but judging from the fact she has taken the day off it looks like my colleague who does the same job too. I actually think she should get it but I guess as long as one of us does hopefully one of us will be closer to getting a new workplace soon. Our other colleagues are leaving next week and the week after.

    1. Sophie Winston*

      Don’t sell yourself short. Just because your colleague has X skill or experience you don’t doesn’t mean she is the better fit for this particular job. You worry about showing them how awesome you are and leave the decision to the hiring manager.

      1. Lance*

        Agreed; if you want the job, then put your effort toward getting it. Don’t worry at all about who else might be applying, because there could always be someone you might consider more likely to get it… but then, as stated, that decision is ultimately up to the hiring manager, and you still have a chance if you feel you do.

  11. Reporting Analyst*

    Spouse accepted a new job offer yesterday, and I couldn’t be happier that he’s getting away from his horribly chaotic current employer (and recovering over an hour each day in commuting time alone). Thanks again to AAM – advice from this site was instrumental in updating his resume and preparing to interview after 10+ years with the same company!

  12. Sally Sparrow*

    Last week I mentioned possibly sharing my supervisor’s office during my office’s construction. I an happy to say that I mentioned sharing with the PT further and she supported the option. So whether construction does start that boundary will still be in place as she has her office.

    In other news, I am now finding myself without work again. And still no job description after 3-4 months. I keep getting told to let my supervisor know when I have nothing to do, but then nothing ends up happening. Then if I mention it to someone else and it gets back to her, I get asked why I didn’t tell her.

    I am also dealing with a CW who keeps going around me. The culprit, Jane, keeps going to Monica. Monica and I both process teapot orders, and Monica has been here longer (but no authority, we both also report to Phoebe). I am new to the process but am handling a new teapot vendor exclusively which is a new thing for everyone. So Jane goes to Monica to discuss process details for the new vendor or asks for updates from her instead of coming to me. Now sometimes I might go to Monica myself to bounce some ideas off of, but it feels really weird that Jane keeps overstepping me and going to Monica who literally has no responsibility or say with the new vendor. And I am nowhere near Jane or Monica to interject in the moment and, for what it’s worth, Jane is the sane distance from Monica as she is from me. But mostly I find out after the fact when Monica says, “So Jane mentioned X in the process for your vendor…”

    1. Artemesia*

      Since Jane is incorrigible, you need to fix this with Monica as in “Jane insists on going around me on the new vender I am managing and this is a recipe for missed communication and not meeting the vender’s needs when I am looped in after the fact. I really need you to just tell Jane to bring the information directly to me until she gets it that I am responsible for this.”

      If Monica refuses to do this then you need to take it a step up if that seems at all feasible. This behavior is a great way to undercut a new person’s authority and professionalism.

  13. Kerry*

    I’m an American working in the UK, and my coworkers will not stop coming up to me to talk about the US election. I find it stressful and unpleasant to think about in my own time, never mind at work, but does anyone have suggestions for how to get people to knock it off? I’ve been saying “I’ve already voted, I find it unpleasant to think about and I don’t want to talk about it at work”, but they often keep talking at me anyway – one person yesterday flat-out said “I don’t believe you”! I’m considering repeating that and walking away if they continue, or putting headphones on if they come up to me at my desk to ask “Have you seen…?”, but that feels rude…

    1. caledonia*

      Not helpful but as a British person, we shouldn’t be judging given what we are going through politically right now….

      1. Gandalf the Nude*

        That’s probably why they do it, of course. Look at their train wreck and not our car crash!

    2. Danielle*

      I have this problem too!! I manage a lot of volunteers and they really don’t take the hint (or very blunt ‘I don’t talk about politics!’ line). I know my volunteers are a bit wary because they never expected Brexit to happen and now that it has, their wildest fears about Trump could happen too.

      I definitely think you should say ‘I don’t discuss politics at work and I don’t want to be a part of this conversation’ and walk away. I wouldn’t even mention that you’ve voted or find it unpleasant- voting and who you vote for is private! I’ve found that people can get very in-your-face about it and walking away is the only thing to do. The only thing that has helped me is locking myself in my office or scaring people with ‘Well when Overlord Trump rules the world…’

      1. Kerry*

        Yes, I totally agree it’s kind of a response to Brexit – it’s not even that they’re going “wow, your country is so screwed up!”, I think they’re trying to do a kind of “man, it’s awful all over, isn’t it?” solidarity. We do often talk about politics in general at work, so this is a change for me – which is why I’ve been feeling the need to explain why this specific subject is different.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          I think a lot of it is people are actually really scared, especially since Brexit – it’s kind of talking it out instead of bottling up fears. Which isn’t helpful for you! but it probably isn’t meant to be personal, and they may not realise that it is unless it’s spelt out.

          1. Mike C.*

            It doesn’t help that there’s a lot anti-immigrant sentiment cropping up in Europe right now.

            1. Annie Moose*

              On that note, I had a fascinating conversation with a guy I know in Germany the other day–he’s normally much more liberal than me, yet when it came to immigration, he was massively more anti-immigration that I was! It took us a few minutes to realize that we were looking at immigration from wildly different perspectives. When I, as an American, think of immigration, it’s almost entirely in terms of Mexican immigrants (and, despite what certain would-be politicians think, they’ve pretty universally been awesome, hard-working, law-abiding people), whereas for him, immigration is quite a different issue.

    3. Joanna*

      How about something like “I know the whole American election thing is probably really fascinating looking in from the outside. But, you remember how exhausting all the Brexit discussion and coverage was? Well American election campaigns go on for much longer and get as or more nasty. I can’t endure any more engagement with it. Now, about that dark chocolate teapot sales forecast you were working on…..” That way you’re both empathising with their interest and hopefully giving them a frame of reference to empathise with your needs.

    4. Artemesia*

      I am in Europe right now and have been for a couple of months precisely to avoid the US campaign. I get the same thing all the time — ‘what is wrong with the US?’ in one form or another. If they are British we just say, ‘yeah and what about Brexit’. Otherwise we just say ‘yeah its awful that is why we are here and not home.”

      You could say ‘Hey I left the country — what more could I do?’ i.e. make it a joke. (and you are in the UK so ‘Brexit!’

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        I travel to Europe a few times a year for work, and every time I’m there at least one person asks me some version of, “WTF is the deal with American politics?” It’s been going on since the 2008 election. My answer is always the same: that the process has been completely corrupted and destroyed by money. A couple years ago I explained the Citizens United decision to some European colleagues, and the were all completely appalled — especially the Swedes, since they are so egalitarian.

    5. Akcipitrokulo*

      Bring up brexit each time?

      I’m in a fairly politically aware office where we do chat about things pretty much as small talk, but no-one is forced to take part which I think is the issue. If you’ve said that you don’t want to discuss it and they keep pushing, they’re just being rude.

      If you think it wouldn’t cause you more hassle, then it might help to say “Look, it’s not what I want to talk about and I’m sure you don’t want to come across as rude…”

    6. Cristina in England*

      I haven’t had that this time around but people used to try and bait me like this all the time when I first moved here. Sympathies. I have already voted as well, and I just want it all to stop getting worse every day and be over.

    7. A. Nonymous*

      I’ve found the best way to deal with that is to be a broken record. “I know that this fascinates you, but I’m not comfortable talking about this at work. If this is about [insert work related thing] I would be happy to help you.”

      I have actually just flat out said “I think it’s best if we stop talking about this, now.” Every. Single. Time.

    8. Sunflower*

      I like what you are saying first. If they keep talking, I would go back with a ‘I’ve already told you I don’t like speaking about this at work so please do not bring up the election again.’ I wouldn’t be opposed to adding ‘do you understand?’.

      BTW headphones, repeating, is not rude THEY ARE RUDE. It’s rude when someone directly asks you to not do something and they do it anyway.

    9. Emilia Bedelia*

      I always say something “Ugh, I go to work to get AWAY from talking politics. This is my stress free, relaxed haven. Speaking of stress free and relaxed, what’s the news on *whatever emergency we’re working on right now*?” This always get a laugh because “stress free” and “relaxed haven” are basically the opposite of my job most of the time, but it usually works pretty well to get people to stop. If they’re very determined to keep talking, “I’m so done hearing about politics- this sounds like a great time for a coffee break” and walking away works fine. Taking a humorous approach is easier for me, and it actually makes me feel more comfortable being “rude” and walking away.

    10. Observer*

      Not rude at all. You have told them POLITELY that you don’t want to talk about it and they insist. That’s what is rude. As for accusing you of lying?! That person lost any expectation of even a semblance of politeness.

    11. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Im in the UK too and rather thankful I am out of the workforce at the moment (and until the week after the election!) because I don’t want to deal with it. Comments do crop up from time to time in text messages with friends, but most people understand if you dont want to talk about it.

      Last year this time, however, folks kept wanting to talk about it and I just shut it down saying “I won’t talk about the election until the actual year it is happening”. That seemed to work well. And when the drama llama (another American) would try and get people to talk to him about Trump stuff happening I would just get up and walk away or say that I wasn’t paying much attention to the election this time.

      Frankly I’ve gotten more questions about Brexit impacts because my visa status is EU reliant. I don’t like to do tit for tat, but when folks have gotten on my nerves in the past about American politics I throw BoJo back in their face and that seems to shut them up pretty good.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      “I don’t believe you!” wth.

      “Okay, you have a right to believe whatever you want. Now, I must get back to my work here.”

      “Hmm. It really does not matter if you believe me or not. I am returning to my work anyway.”

      “I asked you to stop talking about this. That is a polite request and has nothing to do with what you do or don’t believe.”

      “If you don’t believe me what I am saying that means you can stop asking, right?”

      Really, there is only so much you can say about a 100 car pile up on the freeway and then you have exhausted the topic. Same deal here.

    13. The Strand*

      I have been there, but in a different country, being asked about Bill, not Hillary. I couldn’t very well push off on the boss, though.

      But if they’re roughly equals, I’d bait them by answering a comment or two… then talking about Brexit, and the right of the far right in Europe, and … (thank you AAM readers for teaching this) … Merkelating…

      Or you could just shame them by saying, “I guess that old saw about Britons being loath to bring offense or be rude isn’t really accurate, huh?”

    14. mander*

      I wonder what aspect your colleague doesn’t believe? That you voted already?

      Not that it matters, though. This election has somehow taken over my brain and I’m even annoying myself at this point. I guess because I live in the UK permanently so I’ve already been suffering the Brexit trauma, so my weakened state has left me vulnerable?

      I guess the best thing to do is tell them over and over that you’re sick of the topic and ignore further questions.

  14. bassclefchick*

    Well, the new job is slow going. The person who trains me keeps getting frustrated with me and yells at me instead of showing me how to correct a mistake. Part of the problem is my anxiety is through the roof so I end up crying at the least provocation. Which never helps. I’m so terrified that I won’t make it through the probationary period that every little thing I do wrong just makes me panic.

    I did hear in a third party way (I have a friend who also works there. She talked to one of my coworkers and related what was said) that a coworker who was also trained by the same person went through the same thing and thinks I’m doing fine. She also said they don’t want me to walk out. Would be nice if they told me that directly. I don’t get told when I do something well.

    And then I received an email from a boss at one of my recent temp assignments saying she has an opening and wants to talk to me. Great. Where were you 3 months ago? But the rumors of layoffs there are getting stronger and I have a feeling the position is limited term, so I said no.

    I’m going to stick this new job out as long as I can. I like the job and think eventually it will be a good fit. But man, the growing pains are stressing me out!

    Thanks for all the encouragement everyone!

    1. Pot Meeting Kettle*

      Feeling your pain bassclefchick! My current boss is also frustratingly unwilling to train me properly. I wish all the luck in weathering this uncertain period!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Mine is, but they can’t seem to agree on how to do things yet, so as soon as they tell me “Do this,” it turns into “No, do this.” Arrrrgghhh!!

        I miss my job the way it was and my old boss. :(

        1. Pot Meeting Kettle*

          Oh my GOD mine too. Even worse when the conflicting instructions are staggered, and when one of the bosses ask you, they ask it in a way that implies you wasted somebody’s time doing stupid things. ARGH

    2. NicoleK*

      You have my sympathy. I just started a new job this week and it appears that I’ll need to take charge of my own training and learning. The two people responsible for training me, my boss and my coworker, seem to be very inexperienced in training.

  15. thehighercommonsense*

    Someone at my organization leaked a confidential document to [the organization the document was about]. If it was just information that would have been better if the recipient didn’t know, or was kind of embarrassing, that would be one thing, but this was pretty important stuff, with interesting repercussions. (No, I don’t work on any political campaigns.)

    My manager claims that they can’t possibly have any idea who did it, and that even if they found out, that person can’t get fired. I….really want to hand in my two weeks’ notice, yesterday. Stuff happens, I know that. But knowing that chances are good that one of my coworkers did this, and that there will be no accountability for it…I just can’t.

    Has anyone been in a situation like this? Did you stay with the organization? Or is my instinct to get the heck out of Dodge correct?

    1. SophieChotek*

      You say it will have repercussions? So you mean you as an employee will get worse treatment now? Pay cuts? I mean, maybe you do want to start looking, but not sure if it’s because of this one incident or if this is part of a line of problem.

      1. thehighercommonsense*

        There are multiple problems in my org, unfortunately, I just felt like they might be tolerable and part of the upheaval caused by wider changes. Now that this is happened, I’m 1) not convinced that culture change is ever going to happen 2) this feels like an order of magnitude level difference from “cultural changes tend to cause rough times in organizations”.

    2. Construction Safety*

      I don’t get why leaking a confidential document to the subject party wouldn’t get someone fired unless it was a whistle blower situation.

      1. thehighercommonsense*

        Definitely not a whistleblower situation. I don’t know why, either. I mean, how can you deal with having people you know or suspect are untrustworthy on your team? Investigate and figure out where it came from, and either improve the process (if it was a process weakness) or fire the person (if it was a person).

        1. Observer*

          That’s actually why this is such a huge red flag to me. It sounds like the manager is working on the assumption that he can’t trust anyone anyway, so what difference does it make if he’s been proven correct?

          Is there someone higher up you can talk to? Not in “you need to find the culprit”, because it never works to tell management how to do their jobs. But in a “Could you help me understand the thinking here? This seems like a significant breach, and worthy of severe consequences. What purpose is served by letting it go?”

          There are a number of possible responses here, and I think that they will either be actually useful, of give you some information that could help you decide next steps.

          1. thehighercommonsense*

            That is a really good way to approach it–thank you! I was so stunned, I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t take action to deal with it.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            The times I have seen something of this magnitude go unchecked is because something else that is far worse is going on. They don’t have the bandwidth to pick up on this one and deal with the bigger issue also.

            Observer is right, ask the question and see what you think about the answer.

            If you have reason to believe this one will bite you later on, then yes build a plan to move on. And roll out that plan.
            If you think that you are ashamed of your workplace and how they handle things, then start your casual, non-urgent, job search. Commit to searching on a regular basis until you find that new place. (I say this because most of the time when we decide we are ashamed of our employer that feeling does not go away. Ever.)

    3. Sunflower*

      Well I guess the questions I would ask are
      1. Was this document leaked on purpose or could it have been a mistake?
      2. What was the nature of the information? Is it possible the person leaked it because they felt a moral obligation to do so(not saying that makes it right necessarily but I’d be more willing to let this go if this leak exposed someone breaking the law or mistreating people, etc)
      3. Why would they not be able to fire them? I would think if your dealing with this high level of classified information, there would be a pretty strict policy on what happens if you intentionally release this info

      1. thehighercommonsense*

        1. The only person who could have leaked it by mistake in the way it was leaked was me (I checked, I didn’t). Nobody else would have been able to (sorry to be vague, it’s the way our processes work). The other possibilities are that someone random in the office saw the document and leaked it (possible, our chains of custody need work, but nobody outside the org seems to have been in the area at the relevant times).
        2. Don’t want to get into identifying information here, but it did not have to do with any kind of moral obligation. The benefit would be to the other org and their employees.
        3. I have no idea, though we are one of those orgs where firing takes forever and has a million layers of bureaucracy, so I’m reading “we couldn’t fire the person” as “it would be too much hassle to fire the person.”

  16. Dave*

    I GOT A JOB!

    I was offered Job A last Friday afternoon. The offer was a good one, and I liked the organization well enough, but I wasn’t totally sold that the job was for me. The manager had said that the position was new and would evolve over time, but I still wasn’t 100% sure it was a great match. He said to read the offer over the weekend and we’d chat on Monday if I had any questions.

    In the meantime, I contacted Job B immediately to let them know I had another offer in hand, emphasizing that I felt that they were my top choice and asking if they might have a decision by early the following week.

    On Monday, nothing from Job B. I had the call with Job A’s hiring manager. I did have some questions, some of which he was able to answer, but a few he had to refer to HR. When I got the answer to those, he wanted to book another call. He tried for Tuesday but I (honestly) said it wasn’t a great day for me so we scheduled a call to give them the decision Wednesday at 2.

    I finally heard from Job B first thing Tuesday morning. They said they did want to proceed with an offer but wanted to perform a reference and background check first. I provided my references and submitted the online background check form.

    Wednesday, I was very stressed out that I wouldn’t hear back from Job B before I had the call from Job A at 2. Finally at around 10:30 I got a call from HR at Job B. They wanted to confirm my salary range. I mentioned I had an offer of $x from Job A. She said they were hoping to match or beat that and that I’d get an offer shortly. Finally at about noon I got another phone call with the verbal offer. They did match Job A’s offer (but putting all compensation into salary rather than reserving a small portion as a variable incentive as Job B did). I got the written version a few minutes later, reviewed it, and accepted.

    I told Job B that I thought they looked like a great place to work and that I really enjoyed meeting everyone there, but ultimately made a very difficult decision that the specific role I was being offered wasn’t a great fit. The hiring manager was extremely gracious and said he wanted to keep my resume on file in case something that was a better fit comes along.

    Ultimately, though, the most important thing is I HAVE A JOB! Thanks to everyone who’s been supportive in these open threads the last few months, and to Alison, whose advice was always spot on.

  17. Sutemi*

    Does anyone have resources or advice on what to do when I have to work with someone more senior on a project who is very verbose and won’t answer straight questions? He is experienced, but quite new to the company. I changed career paths 8 months ago but have 8 years experience with this company and know the key players and culture much better. Several people have commented to me that he is way too slow, tells us things we all already know, is on step 1 still when the rest of us are on step 5. Conversely, he has told me multiple times that other leaders on the team are too inexperienced and too detail oriented. He treats our relationship like he is mentoring me, which I would be OK with if I trusted his opinions to be accurate.
    I don’t want him to fail, I want him to do good work but more importantly I don’t want me to fail and need to look good.

    1. Susan C.*

      After rereading, I’m pretty sure you two are on the same level within the team, right? In that case, I’d recommend smiling, nodding, and doing whatever you were doing anyways.

      At most, nudge him away from stuff you know is blatantly wrong (rather than sub-optimal or out of synch) or that will affect the team as a whole, but otherwise, do not engage. Let his manager do their job. If nothing on that front seems forthcoming, and he’s starting to seriously drag down the project, maybe go for the tried and true tactic of asking for advice – the manager, not the guy, obviously.

      1. fposte*

        And for your own mental health shut him down when he complains about the leaders and push back when co-workers complain about him. “I definitely want to know if there’s an error that I need to correct or that’s substantive enough for [manager] to know, but otherwise, no; he’s new and let’s give him time.”

    2. Anonish*

      It’s crazy how similar this is to a situation I’m dealing with. I actually just sent your post to a coworker and asked her if she thought you might be one of our team members! I can’t wait to see what advice is offered because this is a point for point description of someone I work with and I know most of my team is at the end of our ropes in frustration.

    3. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

      In my case (peer at equal level1):

      1) Work around him when possible–are there other people that can answer the question and move things along? CC him in on emails as need be.
      2) Let him investigate whatever path he’s currently on (that he’ll get to in his own time) and work on parts of the project that he is not currently working on to get them done.
      3) Set aside time to let them talk (and talk, and talk), realizing they aren’t going to change. Make decisions as a team based on all inputs (even if that person doesn’t agree). GET IT IN WRITING after the
      meeting with an e-mail ASAP.
      4) Have a list of things to cover. When they talk (and talk, and talk), make sure you go back to your bulleted list and confirm the answer. If no answer, propose your own and see what they think. If you don’t have a proposal because it’s something way outside your skillset, see #1.

      Mine is a looper (no decision, come full circle to the start of the discussion with no decision, repeat as necessary), and mostly agreeable, so your strategy may change if this person is very stubborn or forceful. But I’ve found no way to make the person commit…they usually think later and want to debate again (or change their minds). This is why I get it in writing. :)

      If they are the ultimate decision maker for certain points of the project and won’t commit (so not a project team decision), go over their head to the boss.

      Oh, finally–you can’t save him from himself. He’s been like this long before you and will be like this long after you. Totally recommend suggestions if he seems amenable to change, but don’t be surprised if he thanks you and continues on doing his thing.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Ugh, I hate this stuff. It’s tough because you don’t want to alienate the person but at the same time you can’t afford the time sink.

      I have done a few things:
      1) [Wait for him to go through his process.]
      “Okay so, in short, did X work for Y situation, I can’t tell from your answer and I just need a yes or a no.”
      In a similar vein, you can preface your questions with “Bob, I am looking for the punchline answer here.”

      2) Look for opportunities to explain some of the things you have learned about your company. “Bob, I have learned that emails with bullet points work much better than lengthy explanations.”

      3) When he puts down the leadership, let him know, “Bob, I really can’t go there with you. If you have difficulty with someone probably your best bet would be to talk with them directly. For me, I have to maintain a working relationship with everyone so I am trying to focus on what people do well.”

      4) When people comment to you that he is way too slow redirect them to Bob. “Well, Sue, that is something you might be able to gently point out to Bob.” Refuse to absorb your cohorts concerns and worries, redirect them to solution based conversations. I found that many complaints dried up when I started insisting that people work to remedy their complaint.

  18. Miss Elaine E*

    Hope you feel better soon Alison! I love your site — and your insights!

    I’m writing because I don’t know how to (or whether I should) address this situation:

    I work remotely for a company doing a specialized type of writing. I’ve been there since March. Generally, if we meet certain metrics we have been receiving recognition (think “Attaboy!” “Attagirl!”). For the previous quarter, having met and exceeded that metric, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an online gift card! Great!

    Of course that inspired me to continue as I’ve been doing. I have met the metric for each month in this past quarter and gotten my monthly “Attaboy/girl!” However, the quarter ended Sept. 30 and there has yet been no recognition for anyone, either for the month or the quarter. Asked my immediate supervisor in passing (i.e. an “oh by the way” in an email about another issue) and she said surely the recognition would be coming soon as in “surely by the end of next week.” That week has come and gone with no recognition for me or anyone else. This supervisor is not the one who sends the email about that recognition.

    Couple of considerations:

    * The company I work for has recently been absorbed by another. Perhaps the recognition is being phased out or was overlooked in the transition.
    * I was hired in March along with many others, so many of us are learning the company’s ins and outs along with me. When I noticed the “attaboy/girl!” it made me work harder (yay!) and once I started getting the recognition, I noticed an uptick in others also getting the recognition. Perhaps to the point that too many are up for the quarterly gift card. (I can see where it can start to add up.)
    *There is no provision anywhere that this recognition is obligatory on the company.

    So, the question is, do I mention it to the person who sends out the usual email or does it come across as greedy/entitled etc.? It’s a $50 gift card by the way, about two hours of work. It won’t significantly affect my budget but for this part-time worker, it’s certainly appreciated. (Yes, I did thank them last time.)

    Your thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.


    1. fposte*

      I think it’s okay to ask the usual email person since you have a reasonable broader question that makes it more than just “gimme.” “I noticed the gift cards haven’t been awarded this quarter; is that program being phased out with the ownership transition?”

    2. self employed*

      Do you have a reason to assume it is a guaranteed reward? It may just be an occasional incentive.

      1. Blue Anne*

        This was my question too. I’ve worked at a firm where you could get rewards like gift cards or even an extra day of holiday, but it was very much on the basis of “someone noticed you were doing unusually good work and nominated you”. Some people or teams got them pretty regularly, but not on a schedule or anything.

        1. Miss Elaine E*

          No. I don’t. I’ve only been there since March. So I’ve only been there for one full quarter and I work remotely, so it’s sometimes hard to gauge the culture.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            Yeah, I would ask. You have the benefit of being new, so you can just say you’re trying to clarify the process since you weren’t sure if this was a regular thing or not.

  19. AliceBD*

    Where do you go to find job offers? I’m job searching in a city a few hours away; I want to move there to be closer to family, so I’m mostly using job boards as I don’t know what companies there I would want to work for (other than some universities, and I’m watching their job pages). But I keep getting SO MANY unrelated jobs and few related jobs. If my current job is teapot spout design, a subset of teapot design, then I put in teapot design as the search term because I want to look more broadly. I also want full time positions, and I’ve indicated this wherever possible. But the vast majority of the results that come back are for part time teapot polishing jobs, with a brief mention that you may be helping a little with teapot design (regardless of the fact that these don’t make sense). Or they are full time Director of Teapots positions, which have authority over teapot designers, and which I am not yet qualified for (and don’t want to do). It doesn’t help that there will be 5 jobs posted daily for teapot polishers and then the posts are reposted daily, so they seem like a bigger portion of the positions that exist than they really are. I am using Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, and LinkedIn.

    1. Murphy*

      During my last job search, I had the best luck with Indeed(and found my current job that way). I found that those others suffered from the drawbacks you mentioned: the same jobs being reposted daily, or part time showing up in a full time search.

    2. bb-great*

      I subscribed to Indeed’s daily emails; they search for my industry once a day and send me only the new results. It works pretty well. I also use the job boards/newsletters of professional orgs in my field. Some industries recruit a lot on LinkedIn so I would look into that if you haven’t. But mostly it sounds like you just have to keep an eye on things and wait for something really relevant. I’m going through this right now so I know the pain!!

    3. Kelly L.*

      The websites of places I wanted to work at. A lot of times there’ll be jobs listed there, depending on the field.

    4. littlemoose*

      Any professional association websites or job boards for your field? Maybe university job boards for alums (that’s where I found my job)? I also used to see jobs listed in my city’s Business Journal that I didn’t see posted anywhere else.

    5. WorkerBee 23*

      I also used to find my next job – I looked literally every single morning, cbecked all of the postings marked “new.” LinkedIn had a few decent prospects but Indeed was the most useful. Good luck to you!

    6. Fabulous*

      You can do searches subtracting certain words as well. Are you trying that? Here’s an example of what you could write: “Teapot Design -polishing -part -part-time -PT -director”

    7. Ann Furthermore*

      If you’re in IT, try I think it links to Dice, but it’s got a pretty good search engine that will narrow things down and eliminate a lot of the jobs that are not relevant to your skill set.

      I don’t know if it’s just for IT, or for all fields.

    8. Ashie*

      I found out about my current position through Facebook, of all places. I stumbled across a Facebook group specifically for “(My Small Industry) Job Postings” and someone had posted it there.

    9. CMT*

      LinkedIn and the websites of specific places I want to work. Can you do some research into employers in that city so you can target your searching?

    10. Sibley*

      Some industries use recruiting companies heavily, so maybe look into that? My company doesn’t post on the job boards a lot.

  20. Tomato Frog*

    I have an interview at an academic library! Archives/special collections. East Coast. Should a dress with a blazer be okay or do I need a suit?

      1. Tomato Frog*

        Thank you!

        Plain gray or navy a-line dress, unless I see a pencil dress I prefer when I’m out blazer shopping.

    1. Damn It Hardison!*

      Dress with a blazer should be just fine. Academia tends to be a little less formal. (former employee of East coast archives/special collections)

    2. Seal*

      Academic librarian and department head here. Either is fine, although in my opinion a suit is best. Regardless, err on the side of conservative – nothing too short or low-cut, no ridiculously high heels (you’ll most likely be doing a lot of walking anyway) or extreme jewelry. Don’t forget about your bag – again, err on the side of conservative. The most important thing is to look polished and professional. We still talk about a candidate for a librarian position here who showed up for her interview dressed for a night at the club. As in sky-high heels, a low-cut mini dress and pounds of makeup. This was someone with a fair amount of experience, too; in other words, someone who should have known better. Needless to say, she didn’t get the job.

      1. Cassandra*

        Concur, especially about the shoes, though I’m not sold on suits unless you actually enjoy wearing them. Jacket dresses suit (so to speak) me better, and can be a similar-or-only-slightly-less degree of formal. Suits cut me off at the diaphragm, which is not great for job talks.

        For archives/special collections, avoid anything that could catch on something. (I tend to like trailing garb myself, but it wouldn’t be right in this context!)

        Good luck! I hope the place turns out to be a great fit.

      2. Tomato Frog*

        Thank you! I tend to lean conservative in dress, but I know people who have interviewed for academic library positions here in New York who got the job in a dress and a cardigan. This will be outside New York, though.

        Would opague black or navy tights be a no-go, in your view? I’m not sure how cold it’s going to be.

        If you talked about the nightclub interviewee before on this blog, I think I actually remember it! I think of it occasionally.

        1. Whats In A Name*

          If you are wearing a dress I would say opaque tights or hose are a must, really. I know I lean conservative, but for something like an interview I feel that bare legs are a no-no.

          Just be sure the dress and the jacket are tailored to fit well and that you wear comfy shoes, all of which have been expressed already. I would definitely not do the cardigan, but it sounds like you were not leaning that way at all, just sharing.

            1. Whats In A Name*

              Yes. I agree. But what I am saying here is either option is fine in this setting with a fitted blazer and dress. Just wear something on those legs if you wear a dress.

              1. Tomato Frog*

                Gotcha. Yeah, I was going to have something on my legs regardless. I’m glad if I can get away with non-flesh tones.

    3. ModernHypatia*

      Dress with blazer sounds fine. Make sure your shoes are something you can walk in comfortably, though! (I always did at least 5 miles over the course of the day in academic library interviews.)

      1. Tomato Frog*

        Yep, I have tried and tested shoes, fortunately! Last time around, I was wearing sensible but new wedges, and I was in pain by the end of the three hours the interview took. This one’s 9-5 and I take no chances.

        1. bibliovore*

          academic, archival librarian and department manager.
          dress and blazer is fine. second the shoes you can walk in.
          black tights or navy tights are fine

          as long as I am giving advice-
          have examples of difficult patron/researcher/student interactions and how you resolved them successfully
          bring a note book and a mechanical pencil or two (no pens are permitted in our work areas)
          tuck a protein bar into your bag.
          read the latest issues of SAA journals.
          bring a few copies of your updated CV (have a CV prepared even if you were asked for a resume)

  21. Ayshe*

    So I have a question about business cards that I cant seem to find anywhere else. I am in school for broadcasting and I am doing volunteer work and internships to get experience. I want to make business cards for networking but I want to put something on there aside from my contact information. I could put my school name (It carries a lot of weight in this industry) or I could put Aspiring On-Air Talent or something along those lines. Any advice??

    1. Joanna*

      Do you have (or would you consider making) an online portfolio of your work that you could include a link to? As for the school thing, I don’t know what’s standard in your industry, but I’d wonder if including it on your cards would make you come across as quite young?

      Given how cheap it’s possible to get business cards made though places like Vistaprint, you could consider having two different lots of business cards. For a while I had one batch for more social interactions that had social media links and a pretty design and another batch for formal networking without social media links and with a more formal design.

      1. SophieChotek*

        +1 to portfolio link on your business card.

        and +1 to two sets; I used to have two for similar purposes.

      2. Ayshe*

        Well in networking, people are going to see that I am young, so thats kinda moot. I want people to know why they have my business cards so just something. Im not in the radio industry yet and even as I gain experience, the first few years at least, im gonna be a lacky without an decent title. I actually already have business cards but theyre for my cosplay and custom accessories hobby.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Yeah, don’t repurpose those cards. ;-)

          What type of work are you currently doing and/or looking for? Could you list those skills, briefly, on the card? I’m thinking something like this:


          – On-air announcing – Advertising copyright and production
          – Other skill – Student at Radio University, class of 2018

          email address & phone
          link to portfolio

    2. Sunflower*

      I would put your major and anticipated graduation date/year and then the school name under it. I think it makes sense for you to put your college on there.

    3. CMT*

      When I was in grad school, they had a deal on business cards for students. They were the school’s business cards with logo and stuff, and then you could put your program and class. Maybe your school has something like this?

  22. Trill*

    I have been working at a new job for several months now. Overall it has been going well. Theres been a lot of changes since I started: several changes in senior staff and overall improvements to efficiency in my area and getting things more organized.
    However, the “senior” person on my team has been out on medical leave since before I started so I have never worked with him. It’s still up in the air when he will return, but it could be soon. As the other staff here has gotten to know me, they have started warning me that he can be difficult to work with. According to them, he is very set in his ways, thinks he is better than everyone else, is not reliable (even disappears for half of the day), and one person said he “has a problem with women”.
    So needless to say, I am worried about how things will go when he returns. We’ve made a lot of changes while he’s been gone, and I’m worried that he will try to undo those changes or have a negative attitude towards them since he is the “senior” in our area and they were made without consulting him. I also hate working with a teammate who is not reliable, is egotistical and possibly sexist.
    Any advice on how to handle his return? I’m generally good at getting along with difficult people (although I don’t always enjoy it), and I’m confident in my work and in the necessity of the changes we’ve made, but if he is overly unreasonable, I’m not sure how to handle that.

    1. VA Anon*

      Wait until he comes back and form your own opinion. I’ve had people warn me about working with a particular person in the past, and we ended up getting along just fine.

    2. Artemesia*

      What has served me well when for example a teacher decades ago and hearing all sorts of stories about a particular terrible student and then seeing him on my rolls for the next semester, or when a new department head with a bad reputation was appointed, or when starting a new job with someone reputed to be difficult is to very consciously give them a clean slate. I would go in committed to assuming this guy will be great to work with, that you are pleased to see him back and that you are looking forward to his input. I would think about ways you can project that to him in your first interactions and have planned what you will say. If he gets prickly, think about how you will interact around the issue in ways that honor his experience and welcome his input while ignoring his demeanor and let you also hold your ground. Think about things you would want to consult him on.

      Going in with a chip on your shoulder will result in bad things. Going in with a careful strategy to connect with him increases the odds of good things happening. No guarantee but it sure has worked for me. I got a letter from the father of the ‘awful student’ who wrote that it was the first class he had had in our field that he had looked forward to. ALL I did was treat him as if I had never heard a thing about him and be welcoming; he was one of 160 students I had that semester of high school and so I certainly wasn’t doing all that much special for any one student — He was fine in the class.

      With the grumpy or difficult bosses, I have had similar results. Don’t borrow trouble here but prepare to make the new relationship positive from the start but also hold your ground. Good luck.

    3. Charlotte, not NC*

      Definitely take their advice with a grain of salt. Even if he is difficult, he might not be with you specifically.

      At an old job, a coworker transferred in from another state, and I was warned that he was difficult. After interacting with him a few times, it became obvious to me that he shared a lot of traits with a relative of mine who has Asperger’s. I had experience dealing with his quirks, and I think most coworkers didn’t understand them and were uncomfortable with them. We ended up working very well together.

      1. Lance*

        Exactly; you never know what’ll happen. Let the hearsay stay as hearsay, and as people are saying, judge by what you see when the coworker does come back. Maybe he’ll be difficult, as they say, or maybe you’ll get on fine; it’s just a matter of finding out with him personally.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Their experience may not be your experience, OP. And like Charlotte says here it boils down to the differences in people.

        I remember one place I worked. I had a great boss. Probably one of my top five great bosses of my life.
        The problem came in where NO ONE could see that. Everyone there thought the guy was an idiot. This would be on a par with you say the sky is blue and I try to convince you that it is actually brown. There was no way I was going to convince these people this guy was a great boss.

        I had to dig deeper to find out what was at play here.

        There was a supervisor who was VERY toxic. Great Boss was locked into Toxic Supervisor because he could not find a replacement for her and he could not do her work himself. This person was so toxic that people could only see the havoc she caused. Added wrinkle she was as nice as pie to me in the beginning so I could not see why everyone was against her.

        I ended up quitting because there is not enough ibuprofen in the world to take away the headaches I experienced because of her death threats. Before I left I had a lengthy conversation with one person about the situation. I said, “You actually have a Great Boss who is in a very bad spot.” Since this person was well liked, I knew she would advise others once she understood.

        I ran into her a few years later. She was so happy to see me. The first thing she said was, “You were right. I have a great boss. Once Toxic Supervisor was gone the whole place changed. I love my job.”

        There is always one more layer of complexity to the story line, OP. You may be able to see right through the situation and work with it quite well. If you are lucky you might get others to calm down also.

  23. mazzy*

    I hate open offices, I’m seriously considering leaving my job just to get one with an office. Besides zero privacy and people talking over me all the time, I now am dealing with office music. And not good or soothing or ambient music, annoying “pop” music from now. I seriously can’t concentrate with it on echoing in my head. It is really sad that they care more about a “fun” atmosphere than people doing actual work. Not to mention it’s all the lower level people who have time to sit and make playlists and things, which upper management is ok with. I’ve started just leaving whenever they turn the music on. If my high level work isn’t important, I’m not going to fight to do it.

    1. CoffeeLover*

      I worked in an open office and didn’t mind in the slightest. The big difference was that I worked with conscientious human beings. We had meeting rooms and phone rooms (to take calls) to avoid disturbing people in the open office. Mostly I think this worked for us because every one was BUSY and had work that needed to get done. Someone playing pop music in the office would have caused an uproar. So I guess I’d like to say, open offices aren’t the problem, people are the problem… but people sometimes suck so open offices don’t work (like gun laws in the US :P)

      1. Susan C.*

        Did the name of that company have a really good Scrabble score? Otherwise we have now, amazingly enough, confirmed the existence of TWO workplaces with functioning open plan offices. ;)

        1. CoffeeLover*

          It’s one of the Big 4. As far as I know, open offices are used effectively at all the Big 4 and most strategy/management consulting firms. Like Bexes firm, there are no assigned desks except for the support staff that are there every day. In fact, I would bet Bex works at one of the firms I described in my first sentence. Like her/him, I also love the open office plan. It makes collaborating/working together a lot smoother (what open offices are meant to do I suppose) and I don’t really need my own office. Plus, it was set up so everyone got a lot of sunlight and great views.

      2. Bex*

        My current office is open, and doesn’t even have assigned desk/workstations. You book a desk for a day or a week at a time. It actually works out great since you can avoid certain people if you want to. And because your neighbors change often, no one really gets up to BEC status. We also have tons of conference rooms for call/meetings and phone booths for short calls. There are also designated “quiet” sections. There were a lot of people who were totally against the change when it happened, but overall I’ve been thrilled

      3. Sassytype*

        My company also has a successful open plan, but they also gave everyone noise cancelling headphones.

    2. AFRC*

      Can you say something to a manager? That is pretty ridiculous. Why do people not understand that you can hear them?!?!

    3. Jennifer*

      Been there, except it was with country music. I spoke up to my manager (note: something I very rarely do because it usually causes me more trouble) and well…people would be asked to curb it, they might do it for a bit, then they’d put the music back on. This happened so much (or I’d get talked to by the country fan about but why don’t I like it*) that I just gave up. It wasn’t worth it. I’d have my own headphones on and that was the best I could do.

      * answer: usually I’m fine with country, but the station you listen to plays the worst bro-country crap, screaming out “IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT!” on Monday morning….

  24. Cam*

    Would it be terrible for my husband to get a job with Wells Fargo, what with all of the bad stuff going on with them recently? It sounds like it would be mostly data entry for processing loans and he would be a contractor for a little while until hired on full time. He’s been out of work for about two months, so he’s not quite desperate yet, but he’s getting there. Since he’s on unemployment, he can’t turn down the offer without losing his unemployment benefits, if he ends up seeing any red flags at the interview. And speaking of red flags, are there any good ways to ask in the interview about how wells Fargo is planning on handling their problems?

    1. Dawn*

      Well… I think go into it eyes open, with the real possibility that the poop might hit the fan in a huge, ugly way or there might be layoffs or the contract might not ever turn into a full time job. He could work there and still apply to other jobs!

      1. SophieChotek*

        Yep, I agree. Plus his start date will clearly be after the Well Fargo thing broke, so no one can wonder if he was involved. I understand wondering if one should work for such a company; one can hope they are changing things now. It sort of reminds me of how right after the big oil spill, a friend’s mom was trying to figure out if it was ethical to buy BP shares when they plunged; I think BP bounced back….

    2. Anon WF Employee*

      I currently work for them, and I have to say the division makes a big difference. Retail banking, where the current scandal is, is a different beast entirely to mortgage banking, which is where I work. They had their mortgage scandal a few years back with the rest of the industry and the culture now is to scrupulously follow both the letter and spirit of the laws and regulations.

      And a good thing about their temp jobs is that you’re pretty likely to be hired on, and once you get a foot in the door it’s easy to move up in the company.

      1. Anon WF Employee*

        I should say I’m in mortgage servicing, not originations. I don’t know what their culture is like.

    3. Another WF employee*

      Coming in to second or third that it definitely depends on the area you’re in. I’m in operations and the culture there is fantastic.

  25. Ghost Pepper*

    Would you ever accept a job offer that met your professional and financial goals but was located in an area that is politically the opposite of your values?

    My friend is a progressive (bleeding-heart liberal), culture-loving, Jewish guy. He is considering a move from NY to a rural town in Alabama because of a wonderful job opportunity.

    I mention his religious affiliation only because I’ve heard from a couple Southerners that being Jewish in the South is a different experience than, say, being Jewish in NY. The reception is a bit…chillier. Perhaps these couple Southerners are way off and are just feeding into a stereotype that is simply inaccurate.

    Also, he has never lived in a “red state” before. I’m a little bit worried for him.

    Has anyone had a similar experience? Or can anyone shed some light on this? I guess I just want someone to tell me that he’s going to be all right.

    1. Rachel Greene*

      Im a Yankee currently living in the South. Ive lived here for almost 10 years and luckily, I found a good group of friends and settling in quicker than most in my city. Ive lived in two Southern cities, one being Nashville, which i found surprisingly very un-welcominging. I actually had someone tell me that people from NV dont really get to know new people because the city is so transient and they dont want to invest in someone who wont be here in a year.

      Is your friend going to be close to a bigger city where he might be able to meet people? I think that would help. In my opinion, the culture of the South is just really different and pretty non-inclusive but of you can find pockets of friendliness, it helps.

    2. Violet Fox*

      Have him go visit the area in Alabama. See if there is any sort of Jewish community if that matters to him, and generally how life is before he moves there.

      There are actually a lot of Jewish communities in the South, and communities can be very accepting. Generally if there it is the type of place that has an interesting job offer, and enough of a local economy to support that, things will probably be fine.

      Really though, having him visit first and get a feel of the place before moving is a very good idea, but I tend to think of this as generally good idea for any sort of long distance job offer.

    3. Dawn*

      I grew up in the South (NC) and haven’t ever heard or witnessed anything bad ever being said about Jews, ever. I grew up in the Southern Baptist church and the only thing I ever heard about Jews was that all good Christians should support them and the reunification of Israel because once Israel was reunified and all the Jews lived there Jesus would come back.

      Also, if it makes him feel any better the partner of a good friend of mine is currently living/working at a tiny college in Alabama as a non-gender conforming punk lesbian feminist teaching Women’s Studies and hasn’t run into any issues so far, so I think your friend will probably be fine if a bit culture shocked.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I just have to put something here… the theory that all Christians should support Jews and Israel so we can all go back there is, however well-intentioned, offensive to many of us (Jewish people, that is!). This is something that we don’t hear much of in the Northeast (I’m a transplant from NYC to the Southeast). It’s not as blatant as the “you’re going to Hell” and “all Jews care about is money” rhetoric, but it’s pretty alienating nonetheless.

        For what it’s worth, I live in a place that’s pretty progressive and “blue” and I haven’t heard any anti-Semitic language directed toward me or anyone else, but I do know there are people here who don’t want me living in their neighborhoods. I belong to a very strong Jewish community. Most people I’ve encountered here are lovely and very well-meaning, but some look at me kind of funny when they see the Star of David around my neck. (A necklace I bought at a synagogue in Charleston, of all places!) From what I’ve experienced, Ghost Pepper’s friend is far more likely to hear the more subtle “you are other” language down south than any outright aggression.

      2. Observer*

        grew up in the South (NC) and haven’t ever heard or witnessed anything bad ever being said about Jews, ever. I grew up in the Southern Baptist church and the only thing I ever heard about Jews was that all good Christians should support them and the reunification of Israel because once Israel was reunified and all the Jews lived there Jesus would come back.

        That’s actually a good example of a really disrespectful and alienating thing for most Jews. Think about it for a second. What would it sound like if I said “All smart X party people should support Horrible Y party candidate, because if they win the nomination it will destroy the Y party.” (And that’s actually something I saw written withing the primary cycle.) This is pretty much what you are saying. Nice.

        1. Dawn*

          Yeah I mean… by giving the example I was absolutely not saying that I agree with it or anything! Or that it was an OK thing to say, or was any less hurtful than any of the other horrid things that could be said out of ignorance. It’s the only thing relating to Jews in the South that I have ever personally witnessed.

          1. Observer*

            I got that part. What I’m getting at is that you imply that it’s not so bad – and it really is quite bad.

            1. Dawn*

              Ah ok. I wasn’t trying to be fillipiant about it, just stating what I’d seen- the seriousness of my tone definitely got lost in typing vs talking! I appreciate you saying exactly why it’s offensive; hopefully I can use that to counter further ignorance when I go to visit NC.

    4. TL -*

      How rural? The South is quite different and the rural South tends to be poor and underserved; very different from the more charming and quaint of the
      Northeast small towns.

      That being said, it does have a lot of good points. What does your friend like to do?

    5. Murphy*

      Not all places in the south are created equal. Not everyone down here is a bad southern stereotype. I’m from the northeast, and I live in a southern city and it’s great. Some rural areas in the south may be less welcoming.

    6. Going underground for this one*

      Based on my own experience with a rural town in Alabama, I’d have to say “it varies.” How important is it to be around other Jewish people? The people I know wouldn’t be chilly toward him, but he’s very unlikely to find any kindred spirits. Or a nearby place of worship. Or a kosher restaurant. If these things matter to him, it’s going to be a cold, lonely place.

    7. Rhie*

      I’m Jewish and live in Jackson, MS–I’m not from the South although I’ve been bouncing around the area for a long time. If he’s going to be a rural area it will be harder, for sure, but that doesn’t mean your friend couldn’t have a rewarding experience there if he’s open to it. This also depends what part of the state he’s in–if it’s rural but close to a city then he’ll probably be able to get to a synagogue when he wants to, and probably even be able to choose from a couple of options if he’s close to Montgomery or Birmingham (as opposed to MS where the substantive Jewish life is all in Jackson). I would define myself as naturally Conservadox/traditional Conservative (in religious terms, not political) and I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to be religious in the South, even if that religion is Judaism–people tend to respect that you care about your faith. Personally, I’ve never had any negative experiences being Jewish here. No one’s ever tried to convert me, the community is very supportive of the synagogue, I wear my Star of David sweater to the annual Xmas party and it’s all good. I would caution against assuming that the area is totally red just because it’s rural Alabama. I mean, it probably is, but like I said, Jackson MS and even though my state is totally red, my county is reliably Democratic and there’s a nice little liberal community here. That being said, like Violet Fox, I would highly recommend a weekend visit to the area to see how your friend feels about it, because if he’s never lived in the South, well, it can be very different.

      1. Construction Safety*

        I lived in Columbus, the company I was with was applying for a Kosher certification of one of our products & when it came time for the inspection of our process/system by the Rabbi I told, depending on his level of observance, him he might want to bring his lunch with him. He said it wasn’t a problem.

    8. Artemesia*

      I did my whole career in a red state that is constantly in the news for really awful new legislative policies. But it was in a larger city with a substantial liberal minority and a very strong Jewish community. A small rural town would be altogether different. I could see moving to Atlanta or Nashville or even Birmingham if you had no better choices, but not to Outbacknowhere. I could see doing it as a sort of anthropological experiment with a plan to be there a few years, but I sure wouldn’t settle there if I wanted to raise a family. It was hard enough in a large not crazy alt-right city.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        Treating it like a sort of anthropological experiment sounds like you’re dehumanizing the people you disagree with. That’s got to be a stressful way to live.

        1. Mela*

          Maybe anthropology from 100 years ago! I framed my 3 years in a rural area in a very similar way and it actually de-stressed me and made me last much longer than I thought I would. Anthropology tries to understand why cultures are different, which is exactly the opposite of dehumanizing them.

        2. Anonthropologist*

          I am an anthropologist and that is really 100% the opposite of what we are trying to do! The goals of anthropology today are usually a) to show why apparently weird or foreign practices have their own internal logic that makes sense (which can include looking at parts of your own culture), and/or b) to show the impact of larger policies or systems on people’s actual lives, i.e. unintended consequences and local adaptations. If it comes out dehumanizing then it’s bad anthropology. (In line with its 19th/early 20th century colonial history though, so I get why you would say that. Too much baggage.)

          I think this advice is just saying “view yourself as an outsider here to learn something, and recognize that it may be uncomfortable, don’t get too depressed if it doesn’t feel like home.”

    9. Seal*

      I moved from a very liberal part of the Upper Midwest to the Deep South for a job almost a decade ago. It was absolutely the right thing to do career-wise; I’ve had tremendous opportunities here I never would have had elsewhere. But I also live in a liberal college town, which makes a huge difference. While I still cringe at the politics of the state in general, at least I’m surrounded by like-minded people who make living here bearable. That said, I’m job hunting with the intent of moving north. For me, the weather is the biggest factor – not a fan of long, hot summers.

    10. Manders*

      I grew up in Nashville, and I was raised by a Jewish dad and a Greek Orthodox mom to celebrate elements of both religions. I went to college in the northeast and now live in the PNW.

      Overall, northeasterners know the most about Judaism, and people in the PNW are the most clueless/sometimes inadvertently offensive. Southerners actually tend to be pretty polite to Jews, because many religious organizations there believe that the Jewish people are somehow essential to making the Rapture happen. I was sometimes told I was “exotic” even though I usually read as white in America. My friends did try to convert me a few times, but I know they meant well.

      That said–I lived in a city, and it was over 10 years ago. I’d worry about returning now, especially if dating or raising kids in a small town environment was a concern. Now that I’m an adult, things like access to a reliable abortion clinic should I need one, doctors who don’t judge my “sinful” sex life, etc. matter in a way they didn’t when I was a kid. And the political situation was different when I was a kid–certain things seem more toxic now.

        1. Manders*

          Yeah, I think that’s the biggest deal for me personally. I don’t feel particularly lonely or isolated when I’m not around other Jews, but being in an area where almost everyone else strongly believes that an essential part of your identity or lifestyle is immoral or sinful can be really, really rough.

          In my experience, finding a critical mass of people with similar views on that kind of social issue is more of a city/small town/country divide than a south/rest of the country divide.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I think that’s definitely something the OP’s friend should consider. Even though I’m not in the demographics they’re disparaging, it’s exhausting trying to deal with it because they just make me so mad.

            And just the other day, I noticed judgmental Jesus-y and “Trump’s just misunderstood!” posts start showing up on a relative’s FB wall. *sigh* Unfollow. It’s like an epidemic. I don’t need this stress.

    11. Trout 'Waver*

      I think it will depend a lot on your friend. I live in the somewhat rural South and my Jewish coworkers haven’t had any problems finding Jewish communities and synagogues. The only problems I see fitting in are when people from the North move to the South and act like they’re smarter, more cultured, or somehow better because of where they’re from.

    12. insert name here*

      I did it for 3 years. I am a minority, albeit not a religious minority. Got amazing experience and saved a ton of money. Just pick a place with a direct flight back to a big open-minded city!!

    13. Anon Marketer*

      I’m Jewish, I live in the south. For me, discrimination usually happened in school, not at work, and even then, it was pretty rare. Also, there are “red” Jews out there. I promise he’s not going to have a hard time at all. A lot of us realize what we’re getting into, and he probably did, too. Unless he starts expressing concern, he’s probably okay with it. :)

    14. BRR*

      In considering whether to accept the job, I wouldn’t focus on just the political climate but everything as a whole like you would for any job. How far from cultural opportunities is he? How large is the Jewish community? Does he want to be near family and friends? Are their future jobs for him in the area? Etc. I wouldn’t prioritize finances or a certain job over those things. What’s coming to mind is the number of times I’ve read of people in industries with fewer openings like librarians or professors moving to a place for a job and being super unhappy because they don’t like anything about the job or the area.

      My in laws have lived in a small town their entire lives. There is not a significant Jewish population there. Being raised Jewish, I would sort of call their reception chilly but not in a judgmental way. Just no familiarity due to lack of exposure.

    15. blackcat*

      I want to echo others who’ve said that what matters is how important it is to him to have a Jewish community.

      I’ve had tons of liberal friends live in deep red areas. Most of the time, it works just fine. I’ve also had a bunch of Jewish friends struggle in areas where there were few other Jews. The only person who stayed put was already married to another Jew. The others (5 people) all moved back to big cities with Jewish communities. It’s not that anyone was hostile to their faith, but that they felt very alone. So it wasn’t the reception that convinced them to leave, it was having to special order food for passover, celebrate the high holy days alone, etc. It would have been much harder if any of them kept kosher other than for holidays.

      So I’d worry much less about the politics and much more about religious community. If having a Jewish community doesn’t matter, then he’ll likely be fine.

    16. Pearl*

      I moved from Atlanta to Boston and I would agree that he needs to visit the area first. Politics may be less of an issue than the rural part. Especially if he lives in an urban area where walking and public transit is a thing, he needs to consider the impact of having to drive everywhere. My friends up here really don’t understand how much more TIME and DISTANCE are built into your life when you live in the South/rural areas. (If he’s from rural NY this will not be as much an issue.) When I visited my family with a friend, they were more thrown off than they were expecting by the fact that there was nothing within walking distance and no public transit nearby (and this was in the suburbs, so a drive to the store was 10 minutes as opposed to 45+ like it was at my grandparents’ rural house).

      Also if he keeps kosher to the extent of buying only kosher meat, this may necessitate a change in his shopping habits if there is no kosher deli in the nearest town. I am not Jewish but work in a shul. People here say when they lived in the South away from large Jewish communities, there were many places without a deli and they either had to eat non-kosher meat, eat vegetarian/vegan, or special order meat with groups from their synagogues (shipped frozen, so it was a few-times-a-year treat).

      1. Manders*

        This is a really important point. Access to things like public transit and a nearby big city can make a HUGE difference in someone’s quality of life. Adjusting to having to drive everywhere, especially in a small town, is going to be a big deal for a New Yorker of any religion.

        1. Honeybee*

          In my opinion, driving around a small town was actually an easier adjustment than driving around the suburban area of a large city with mediocre public transit. Small towns are – well, small, and the traffic is much better. When I lived in State College, PA, I could leave work at 5 on the dot at the same time as everyone else and still get home by 5:15 (I lived a 5-10 minute drive from work…because the furthest distance in State College was probably about 30 minutes). There was also a bus I could take that stopped in front of my apartment and dropped off in front of my office.

          Driving around the suburbs of Seattle? I live 20 minutes from work and don’t have to take the highway, but if I leave at 5, I’m not getting home until 5:45. And driving into the city, I have to contend with parking. I never had problems finding parking in State College, lol.

      2. Honeybee*

        OH MAN, definitely the first paragraph. I spent 7 years living in New York and walking and taking public transit everywhere. I live in a suburban area that has terrible public transit, and I’m still dissatisfied with the fact that I have to drive everywhere and can’t easily walk to coffee shops or restaurants based on where I live. Against my better judgment I moved into this suburban area with a poor walk score because I liked the condo. My husband and I currently share a car and I feel trapped; I don’t have the personal freedom of movement without us constantly having to coordinate schedules. I can’t just decide to go shopping or to a workout class or the library spontaneously after work, because I get picked up at a specified time.

        And even if I did have full access to my car again, traffic patterns make things difficult. If I leave work between 4:45 and 6:00 pm, my commute home doubles, and swinging by the grocery store or something takes much longer. Not to mention that maintaining a personal vehicle, with the insurance, the gas and the maintenance, is expensive. When my friends visit me here, I have to be around to entertain and drive them to places because unless they rent a car, they can’t really explore by themselves. When I lived in New York and friends visited, they often entertained themselves. Ugh, why did we as a society ever move away from dense urban areas?!

        If I could move here all over again, I think I would move into the city or at least into one of the semi-urban downtown areas in the suburban towns around Seattle.

    17. Whats In A Name*

      I am a Yankee currently living in the south, I live in the same 4-state pocket of the old south that Alabama is in but not Alabama itself. Our congregation was very welcoming and is about 350 families.

      Overall, while there are some big cultural differences from where I grew up, the entire community has been welcoming. We’ve made some good friends and have settled in nicely over the past 5 years. None of our close friends are Jewish and we’ve never felt tension from that. I am pretty liberal in the bleeding heart sense but I lean conservative on some other issues. I just don’t talk politics.

      Now, depending on what part of NY he lives in some things could be very different. I grew up where there was a Jewish neighborhood and a kosher deli on every corner. Now I live somewhere that looked at me like I had 14 heads when I asked what part of town the Jewish neighborhood was and I have to drive 2 hours to get a good brisket.

      1. Whats In A Name*

        Also 2nd what Pearl said – if this wasn’t clear I definitely think he needs to look into the area, see what is around, if attending services is important look at the size of the congregation and what is available locally.

    18. Jewish anon*

      One thing he may want to prepare for is a change in how people perceive him racially. I moved from NY to VA for college and all of a sudden, I wasn’t always treated as white. Now, I have the dark curly hair and a pretty stereotypical nose, but I always thought I was pretty obviously white, even if I did look very Jewish. That only works if your area is familiar with Jews and since where I was, they aren’t, people tried to figure out why I didn’t look white. I got asked if I was: mixed (black and white), mixed (white and Chinese), Latina, and black.

      I started experiencing the whole “Where are you from? Where are your parents from? What are you?” variety of micro-aggressions, plus a lot of ignorant questions. And this was in a liberal area as well. When people descended upon campus to convert people, I got a lot of “Jesus was Jewish, so come to Jesus.” And I met a Virginian in high school who told me how sad she was that I was going to hell, because I seem so nice.

      So, it really depends on his area and he might not be able to gage everything in one visit.

    19. H.C.*

      Can’t say much about the Jewish aspect of it, but RE: politics – is your friend particularly verbose his stance? If so, he may want to keep a lower profile about that in work settings to avoid starting conflicts especially at the start of his new job (i.e. excusing himself from political talk if need be.) Of course, he should raise concerns upon hearing discussions that boils over into bigotry, hate speech, perceived threats, etc. But otherwise, save the politics chat with like minded friends, there or back in NY.

    20. Fortitude Jones*

      I currently live this life, and I’m trying like crazy to get out of the Midwest (I hate this place so much) and back to the east coast. If my job didn’t pay so well, and if the company didn’t offer the amazing advancement and professional development opportunities it does, I would up and leave now. But I’m just grinning and bearing it while slowly dying inside when having to deal with the über conservatives that surround me.

    21. Honeybee*

      Maybe. It would entirely depend. I grew up in a red state – Georgia – that on face is very different politically from what I believe. But I grew up on the outskirts of Atlanta, which is a pretty liberal and progressive city. Relocating to Birmingham or Montgomery, even, would be quite different than relocating to a small rural Alabama town. I would not move to rural Alabama, not because of the political situation but because of pretty much everything else. I’ve been to rural Alabama multiple times and there’s nothing there that appeals to me.

      There are a lot of unfavorable and untrue stereotypes about Southerners, but they do tend to be more conservative on average than New Yorkers, and their brand of conservatism – especially in rural areas – is different than, say, upper-middle-class New Yorkers from the Upper East Side.

      Yes, I would imagine being Jewish in the South is VERY different from being Jewish in NY. NY has a proportionately large Jewish population and a pretty thriving Jewish life. Jewish life in the South – especially outside of big Southern cities – can be very small, possibly nonexistent depending on where you live. A rural town in Alabama might not have a synagogue at all, and depending on how observant he is it may be difficult to observe some Jewish religious tenets. But I wouldn’t expect a chilly reception on the basis of Jewish identity, necessarily. I would instead expect most people to simply Not Get It but maybe leave you alone about it, and a handful of really obnoxious people repeatedly inviting you to their church and/or trying to convert you to some denomination of Christianity.

      Is there any way he can spend a couple weeks in the rural town before he decides to make the move? I mean, I guess he could always move away if he hated it. I spent a year as a researcher at a university in a place that was on the line between suburban and rural (the town itself was suburban, but if you drove 20-30 minutes in any direction you were in a pretty rural area, and the nearest large city was 3 hours away), just to see if I would like it and could possibly do it long-term – the career I was considering has many locations in small rural-ish areas. I decided I couldn’t, but I didn’t hate it. In fact, I found it to be kind of charming, and could’ve gladly spent 2-3 years there. It was the job I came to dislike, not the town.

    22. It Might Be Me*

      As a Flushingite that transplanted to Alabama 30 years ago I can attest that there will be challenges. There is culture here. It may not be the MOMA, but there are museums. It’s easier for me to visit the art museums in Birmingam or Huntsville. A drive to the Frist in Nashville may be farther geographically, but it’s shorter time wise than going into Manhatten. There are also great local arts scenes. I know there are several librarians here. I’ve been impressed at the edgy events going on at libraries.

      Religiously I’m in a minority and go to the next county for services. My rural county has two Hindu temples so it’s not as monolithic as people assume. I’m active in the Pride Coalition in my county. I’ve never had any problems at work or socially. I’ve had epithets thrown at me on South Street in Philly, but never here.

      The restaurant diversity isn’t as big here. I have an okay place to get bagels. There are fantastic Indian and Thai places. Shopping is not hard. Lots of organic farms. Good cheese.

      Politically I’d classify most of the people as libertarian rather than red-red-right. Gay marriage? That’s a civil action and not much to do with them. Taxes need to be justified. They care a lot about the quality of roads because it impacts their livelihood.

      It’s like many places. In Philly I couldn’t tell you my neighbor’s name after three years. I had bronchitis this past winter. The local sandwich shop where I eat twice a week called to see if I was okay and if I needed anything. They know I am single. I had a free home delivery of soup and sandwich. The point is sitting outside a community will keep you outside.

  26. A. Nonymous*

    How do you guys think one should handle people coming to you about a coworker’s performance? I used to be in charge of a very non-glamorous but essential technician job. I had a large shop to myself, it was very quiet and I did well in the position. I was promoted to another position and thus moved into my main tech shop and another person, we’ll call him Sam, took the position I used to have.

    Since then I figured things were going fine, but in the past two months I’ve had a few different people from different departments come and talk to me about how poorly my old job is being done. Some of them didn’t even know that I’d left that position and were concerned about me! I explained I didn’t have that responsibility anymore and apologized.

    2 of these people asked me who his manager (also my manager) was. I gave them his name, but now I feel like I did the wrong thing? Should I warn my co-worker? Should I talk to my manager? I really like Sam, he’s a nice person, but maybe that’s clouding my judgement.

    I’m usually on the side of the fence where it’s not effecting me don’t do anything, but this is a patient care environment and it could effect others. For what it’s worth, Sam isn’t a very hard worker. He spends a great deal of time in the main shop on his phone or following other techs around during their jobs instead of picking up obvious work that could be done and isn’t assigned to anyone.

    1. Lacking Reference*

      I think you were right to pass along his manager’s name. It’s not like you were passing along gossip, or even passing along the feedback directly-you’re just sharing information that would allow others that work directly with him to provide necessary feedback to his manager, who in turn could work with him to make improvements.

      I don’t think you have any obligation to give him a heads up. Even though you like the guy, it doesn’t sound like you have a particularly close relationship or work closely with him to bring up the performance concerns. Let it be between the people who have the concerns and his manager.

      1. ZVA*

        Yes, exactly this. Your colleagues should be giving feedback to Sam’s manager, and Sam’s manager should be dealing with that feedback as he sees fit. You’ve facilitated this—no need to get any more involved!

  27. short term job*

    I had a short 3 month job that didn’t work out. My former job said that they would say I was still employed there that whole time and would update their HR records to reflect that (they’re small). I’ll probably go back there to help them out a couple hours a week for some extra cash but with both sides knowing it’s temporary. Is it totally unethical for me to say I was employed there for those 3 months, even if their story matches?

    1. SophieChotek*

      Sorry I am confused. Did you work there three months or not? If you did and they say you did, then that would be true? Or do you mean, adding the additional 3 months when you technically didn’t work there? But now you are going back to help out? So you would not have the gap?

      1. short term job*

        Sorry, I wrote this while still in bed! Clearly need more caffeine. I had a job for 2 years. I left it for a new job that did not work out. I’m going back to the previous job (that I was at for 2 years) – but just on a very part-time basis. They said they would tell reference checkers I was there the whole time. So I would essentially be pretending the 3 month job didn’t happen.

        1. Artemesia*

          I would not do this — lies get out. I might ask if they could list you in some consulting role like lawyers can be ‘of counsel’ so you worked there and then continued in a consulting capacity or something like that.

        2. CoffeeLover*

          I think it’s totally fine. 3 months is a short enough time in a 2 year period that its not worth mentioning. Say you took 3 months off for a short term leave for medical reasons for example and came back on a part time basis… you wouldnt list the absence on your resume. Same thing applies here.

          1. CoffeeLover*

            I also wanted to add that 3 months isn’t a big gap in general. You could also just mention that you took 3months off without mentioning the other role.

            1. short term job*

              What kind of reason could I have for taking 3 months off though, that doesn’t seem sketchy?

              1. CoffeeLover*

                I’ve legitimately taken 3 month vacations to travel, visit family, relax, etc. While I realize I’m lucky to be able to take such an extended amount of time off, it’s also not uncommon for people to do that. I don’t think 3 months is long enough that the interviewer would even ask you for a reason – if they do you could be vague and say it was for personal/family reasons.

                But, like I said in the first post, I don’t think this is something worth pointing out on your resume. It’s not even about lying, but more about worthiness of stating on your resume. A small break of 3 months doesn’t matter, which is why your employer is willing to extend your work history through that time. If you really feel obligated, you could mention in an interview that you worked full-time for 2 years and then took 3months off before switching to a part-time schedule when discussing the position.

              2. N.J.*

                Maybe something like–I left the job for a few months to explore other opportunities. Ultimately nothing panned out and I returned to job X, where I have continued to develop my skills in X, Y, Z.

    2. BRR*

      I would not lie about it. Three months is a long enough time that it’s not erasable. I know it feels like a great opportunity to have the three-month job be erased but it could so easily come back to bite you.

      1. short term job*

        I’m not saying this to be antagonistic but I’m genuinely naive about this – ha. How could it come back to bite me? I could see if someone at a potential employer knew someone at that 3 month employer and I came up… is that the sort of thing you mean?

        1. Sunshine on a cloudy day*

          Some companies do really thorough background checks. This probably is more prevalent in certain industries or with certain types of roles.

          Story time: I had been offered a role (an administrative assistant role, so not one of extraordinary power, etc.). I was asked to fill out a very detailed past work experience/prior compensation form for the background check process. My offer was almost rescinded because some “income” showed up from a company that I had not listed as past experience. My friend is a casting director for background actors and on two occasions I helped him out by filling in as a background actor on weekend shoots when someone dropped out at the last minute. These are paid gigs, so I filled out a W-4 and received checks for the work. Luckily the company really liked me and gave me the opportunity to explain the situation (and my explanation made sense).

          I think you can definitely leave the 3 month job off of your resume and you can probably list remaining at the past job the whole time on your resume, but be careful if there’s any paperwork or a background check involved. It could come up.

    3. Chaordic One*

      I asked a former supervisor to be a professional reference for me and (unsolicited by me) she offered to tell a little white lie about the dates I worked for her. I never took her up on it, but I appreciated the thought. Also, in my situation, there were ways that the deception could have been found out since the former supervisor no longer worked at that employer either and I didn’t want to risk that happening.

      In your situation it probably wouldn’t be a big deal for a your former employer to tell a little fib about the dates you worked there.

    4. Snazzy Hat*

      I can see this rearing its head in several ways. I’m including your decision to definitely return to OldJob.

      1) If you apply to a place with a rigorous background check including all the places you worked and don’t want to waste application space by listing the same job info twice, I would list the date range as, for example, January 2014 to Present and add “three month hiatus” in the text box for description of job duties.
      2) Your résumé could list the job “January 2014 – June 2016, October 2016 – Present”. Don’t bother listing the 3-month job unless you learned some very valuable skills or programs during that time.
      3) Whether you say you worked two jobs at once, or left one for another and later went back to the first, is not going to raise eyebrows high enough to make a difference. The worst I can anticipate is they ask you why you left the replacement job; it’s highly unlikely they’ll ask why you went back to your previous employer, especially if it’s a field which normally has part-time or seasonal employees.

  28. Lacking Reference*

    Does anyone have advice on who to use as a reference when moving on from an entry-level(ish) role?

    I graduated in 2010, worked a limited-term-contract-type job for 2 years (AmeriCorps if anyone is curious!) And now I have been at my current job for 4 years. I’ve taken on increasing responsibility with each year (essentially being promoted with a new title), but the way the company is structured, I’ve had the same direct supervisor the whole time.

    I’m looking to move on, but I’m nervous about who to use as references. I don’t think I can use anyone from my current job, and while I know my previous supervisor would give me a great reference–I feel like its a little out of date because I have learned a ton and really changed over the past four years at this new job (gaining progressively more responsibility and new skills). I also worry about only having the one reference. I worked for a student org all through college but the faculty advisor who was my supervisor sadly passed away. Other than that, my only work-experience are random retail jobs.

    How do other people find contacts that can give a positive and accurate reference when they are looking to move on from the first job that really developed them into the employee they are today?

    1. Joanna*

      Is there anyone who worked with you for a while at your current job but has now moved elsewhere who would give you a reference?

      Don’t discount the previous supervisor as a reference. While they may not be able to say much about your current knowledge, what they have to say about your work ethic and ability to get on with others is still valuable.

    2. CoffeeLover*

      It’s tough when you feel you can’t use your current employer as a reference. I was very lucky at my last position because it was project based and I had different project managers throughout my time there. People who didn’t really care whether I stayed or left, but that could give great references because they managed my work. I was also lucky at a previous job because my manager was a reasonable human being that I developed a solid relationship with. She supported my choice to leave and gave me a good reference. I don’t understand why employers act the way they do – like wanting to leave your job is the worst thing in the world. No one stays in a job forever, so why are you sabotaging people that are trying to develop their career >.</rant.

      Anyway, if you feel you can't approach your manager for a reference, are there other people who you have worked with that can speak to your character? Ie., discrete coworkers, clients, other managers in your org you have worked with that you can trust? I think references are more about your character than your accomplishments. The interviewer knows your accomplishments through your resume, but they learn about what you're really like to work with through your references. If the old references can speak to your good character, I think that still says a lot even if they can't speak to your most recent accomplishments.

  29. Kaori*

    I’m very glad to have found this site when I did, because after having a tough conversation with my boss about how the job I was hired to do is completely different than what I’m now asked to do, I have pretty suddenly been let go and I’m feeling stressed about the whole thing. But there’s amazing advice here and I’m going to use it to throw myself into my search!

    Please feel better, Alison!

    1. Whats In A Name*

      I am sorry that happened to you but I am glad you had the discussion with your boss. That shows some good hardiness and will serve you well in your next job! Best of luck on your search.

      1. Kaori*

        Thanks much for your kind words! The job had a very different role in the summer (which is what I was hired for), but the changes that would happen in fall weren’t made very clear to me, and it just wasn’t a good fit with what they wanted. I’m a little bummed, but not too down. I’ll carry on :)

  30. Rachel Greene*

    Ive been in my role for just over a year. I got stellar reviews and feedback from other teams I work with. I got a 3% merit raise.

    I took on a major stretch project earlier this year and needless to say, some changes are happening at my company and it is now where I will be spending all of my efforts. Im okay with that because I like the work, but it truly is a stretch for me.

    For many reasons, I had a conversation with Bob, my manager, about increasing my compensation. I phrased it as asking what i specifically need to do to get $x. Bob seemed open to the idea. Ive been told by him and upper leadership that im highly valuable and they dont want to lose me.

    Since then, Bob has been acting cold and more harsh to me. This is really out of character for him, as our relationship is usually very warm and friendly.

    My current pay is decent but i still feel like im underpaid, especially considering the work i do, the excellent reviews, and that others on my team are making significantly more while having the same skills set and amount of experience.

    1. Artemesia*

      When a manager can’t deliver what you need or want, it makes them feel bad. They can then punish themselves by feeling bad or punish you. Sounds like this guy can’t help you so he has to hurt you to feel better himself.

      I think this is your queue to be rethinking moving on. You don’t need to rush but once you make that decision and start lining the ducks up, you will be surprised at how empowering that feeling is. When you feel underpaid and get rebuffed, it is time to look around. You may not be able to do better but it is particularly grating when peers are paid more for the same work and experience.

    2. Trout 'Waver*

      Some bad managers have the view that their employees owe them gratitude for having a job and wage. Asking for more money makes you seem ungrateful in their eyes. That could be going on here, maybe?

      1. TootsNYC*

        And I sort of hate to say it, but sometimes a gender bias will amplify that sort of reaction–that you shouldn’t advocate for yourself.

    3. BRR*

      I think other comments could be applicable. On top of Trout ‘Waver’s comment of gratitude he might have also taken it personally.

      1. Rachel Greene*

        These are all really good perspectives, and things I hadnt thought about, so thank you. The gratitude thing could definitely be coming into play here.

        I forgot to mention in the original post that I received the merit raise almost months ago, and I just recently asked about increased compensation within the past few weeks, so it wasnt as though i got the raise and turned back around and asked for more money.

    4. Fortitude Jones*

      Oh man, I have this same fear this will happen to me when I bring up wanting to either be promoted or to get a big enough raise to put me into a higher quintile in my current job grade at my next check-in (I’m having this conversation early because salary increases go into effect in March). I’m outperforming a lot of my peers and have attained three professional designations in my industry in the nine months I’ve been in my new division.

      But some people get weird when the topic of money comes up, and my supervisor is a new supervisor (she was promoted to the role in January), so she may not react well or our mutual manager may not because he’s the type who won’t even advocate for himself.

  31. CoffeeLover*

    I’m working in Africa now! I was looking for a paid internship position in Africa with little success and have posted about my search on here before. After aggressively looking, I could only apply to ONE posting that fit my criteria (ie, relevance to my career goals, sustainability of project, legitimacy of organization, etc.) and that I was even remotely qualified for (I’m looking at you UN with your outrageous requirements for UNPAID positions). To my surprise they called me in for an interview. It was a brutal week waiting for their response (literally all my hopes and dreams rested on this one application), and I didn’t get it! But, a couple of weeks later they called me in for another position, I got the offer that same day, gave my two weeks notice, and here I am living and working in Africa! Loving every minute of it. I guess the moral of the story is that life works out sometimes.

    1. Master Bean Counter*

      Congrats! And can I say that I think working in Africa is way cool! Enjoy the experience and please post updates here often.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        I. Love. It. Here! The experience has been great so far (though I’m only 2 weeks in to be fair). I feel like I’ve already learned so much about the people, the culture, and the struggles. I will try to post updates… and to also limit myself to how many updates I do post haha.

        1. AFRC*

          Sorry, I meant in many parts of Africa they grow great coffee beans :) Apologies for the “Africa is a country”-esque generalizing!

          1. CoffeeLover*

            Actually, that’s the one downside to the country I’m in! It’s a country of cocoa and most places only serve instant coffee :'(. Plus, people in general do not drink coffee (I do not know how they function as a society haha). I have located a few “real” coffee shops and I recently acquired a coffee machine so I won’t go into withdrawals :P.

  32. fond_of_jam*

    Oh boy, an Open Thread I can participate in!

    I have a workplace etiquette question. I teach early childhood special education in a public school. I manage a team of three assistant teachers, one of whom (Lucinda) is leaving in the middle of next week.
    Lucinda is, to put it bluntly, absolutely the worst. I’ve had many conversations with her about her tone and affect in the classroom, and yet I’m still dealing with eye rolls and sighs. She’s impatient with the children and rude to her co-workers. She was about two steps away from being fired anyway, but somehow she found a position elsewhere and is moving on. Managing her has really sucked, and the whole team will be happier when she’s gone (even though it leaves us very short-handed).
    My question is, do I have to get her a card or something? It seems like the normal human thing to do; on the other hand, I can’t think of anything to say that won’t sound like a hollow lie. Which it will be, because all I want to write is “Don’t let the door hit you…”

    Thoughts? I won’t be around much to read replies (teaching preschoolers with special needs doesn’t leave much time for internetting), but I’d appreciate any feedback!

    1. Scorpio*

      Get one of those cards thats “from all of us” and have everyone sign it, or even have some of the kids sign it if possible (I realize you said early childhood special ed). That way you’ve done the nice human thing but you don’t have to fill a whole card by yourself. You can just write something like “Best of luck in your new venture!”.

      1. KR*

        I agree with having the kids sign it – then you don’t have to go around and get a bunch of signatures from other staff who may not like her. You could help her students sign it if they’re able and maybe get signatures from other kids who are in the same classrooms she aids in. There was an aid specifically assigned to certain special education students in my school growing up but they were also wonderful company to students that didn’t have a lot of friends (me) and were left out of a lot of group activities or partner-type activities because they were unpopular. They offered kindness and support that I still remember today.

    2. Dawn*

      Be the better person- if you don’t want to give her a card at least make her transition out as easy as possible and be as professional and polite as you can while she’s still there. I know you wanna be like “BEYONCE HAS A SONG ABOUT THIS – I’M TAKING CREATIVE LIBERTIES WITH IT – GIRL, BYE!!!!!!” but you can’t do that and remain professional (and not lose the respect of your remaining employees, even if they’re thinking it too).

    3. TC*

      I think if previous staff members got cards, then she probably should too. I’ve received my fair share of farewell cards and I’ve never been offended by an “All the best!” from someone I didn’t know/didn’t get along with famously. Not getting one would give her grounds to kick up a stink and that might travel through the grapevine.

    4. just another librarian*

      I don’t think you need to get a card, but I think you should try to say something nice about her on her last day. Even something like “Good look with your new job! Things sure will be different around here without you!”

    5. Fiona the Lurker*

      I just hope she stays gone, though; I gave enthusiastically towards a leaving present for a manager I loathed, because I was so grateful to see the back of him, and ONE MONTH LATER he was back, having interviewed and been hired for a much more senior post in the department. (On reflection, can we all say ‘put-up job’?) I was invalided out of there with stress a short time later …

    6. Xarcady*

      Get the card. You can always write, “Congratulations on the new job! We’re so happy for you!” without explaining that the reason everyone is so happy is that she is leaving.

      And having the kids sign a card/draw pictures/make handprints or something for her is a great idea.

      Be the bigger person here. Let her leave on a high note. Then forget all about her and work on hiring someone who will mesh with the rest of the team.

    7. Trout 'Waver*

      Take the high road and get a card. Don’t give her any more ammo to badmouth you at her new job.

  33. Allypopx*

    Implementing layoffs today and I’m feeling lousy about it – don’t really need advice just looking to commiserate.

    1. Dawn*

      <3 You will get through the layoff! <3

      It's tough, I went through sudden and unexpected layoffs a few years ago at a job I really loved and wanted to stay in for a very long time and it just FLOORED me. Gutted. It took a long time to bounce back BUT I bounced back, I'm in a better situation now and have a much better handle on where I want my career to go, and hey, I survived!

      1. Allypopx*

        Thank you! That’s really encouraging to hear. Of course my biggest worry is that we’re leaving people high and dry (and right before the holidays, ugh, I swear there aren’t other options). We offer references and put notes in their files that they’re eligible for rehire in the future and offer what severance we can but it still eats at that little non-business-minded humanitarian nugget in my heart so badly. I know intellectually though that people land on their feet – I’m so happy you did!

        1. SeekingBetter*

          It sounds like you really have a conscience, and I’m glad you’re doing what you can to help the people who are going to be laid off. I’m sure it’s never a fun thing to do. I’m glad my previous company can provide a positive reference for me if they’re called.

    2. NoCalHR*

      Offering Jedi hugs …

      Layoffs are tough on everyone involved. My best advice is to be respectful, professional, and as warm as is natural for you. Don’t force empathy, and don’t hide out in unusual reserve/coldness. And take care of yourself as well!

      1. Allypopx*

        I love jedi hugs, thank you! That’s really great advice. My co-manager is a lot more of the warm touchy feely type than I am and I don’t tend to like to drag these things out with tons of apologies and explanations – I’m not cold, just sympathetic and concise. I personally like to answer questions, wish people well, and then give them some space to process. But people can totally read when you aren’t being natural so I need to remember to follow my own style and not hers.

        (And yes I’m buying myself a nice sushi bowl for lunch and leaving an hour early if I can, for sure.)

        1. Dawn*

          Yay self-care!

          I would say that the absolute best thing you can do in implementing the layoffs is be sympathetic but understand the position they’re in. The big boss that actually did the “OK we’re laying you off” meeting was all “Oh god I’m so sorry just let me know if there’s *anything* I can do for you!” and I was like “Uh… how about not lay me off? Go to bat for me and keep me?” It was really insensitive at the time.

          Stick to the facts of the transition, understand that they’re gonna be mad or sad or whatever about it, and also realize that survivor’s guilt is a thing and it’s probably going to hit you hard in the coming weeks- be prepared for that as well.

        2. Annie Moose*

          Hey, for what it’s worth, I just was laid off a couple months ago, and I absolutely did not get upset with the person who told me. Actually, I wanted to tell her that I knew it had to be hard for her and that I appreciated her doing it (my direct manager wasn’t able to meet with me, so his manager volunteered to tell me so I wouldn’t have to wait until he got back)! I ended up feeling too upset to say it, but I genuinely did not blame her. And I’m also glad that she, like you, didn’t make it this big emotional production… just told me the facts, was kind about it, and let me have the room to myself after telling me so I could process by myself. Honestly, if she’d stayed in the room longer or tried to engage me in conversation more, I probably would’ve burst into tears in front of her, and that would’ve been even worse for both of us!

          1. Whats In A Name*

            Yes – keep your concise delivery. I was laid off once. The person who delivered the message offered some apologies and kept asking how I felt and if I was ok. I was so blind-sided that the meeting ended with me saying something like
            “Well, if I tell you I’m not ok are you going to give me my job back?”
            “Well, then can we stop doing this and can I go pack up my things?”
            Exit stage left.

            1. Allypopx*

              Thank you all for your reassurance. This is my first real management role and my second round of layoffs ever, and working with such a wide variety of personality types it’s somethings hard to know if I’m getting it right.

    3. TootsNYC*

      It sucks to be the one doing the layoffs. It’s a different kind of “sucks,” but it does suck.

      I had a friend call me for advice once; she had to escort some of her people to the conference rooms to get laid off, and the night before, she called to ask what to do. “I can’t even warn them!”

      I told her, “when you come to them and say, “the VP would like to speak with you in the conference room; I’ll take you there,” that’s their warning.

      And my other advice was: * be regretful; * be matter-of-fact; * don’t dwell on why the company decided, or otherwise justify the decision; *acknowledge that it stinks for them; say “I’m sorry”; *thank them for the work they did; * do everything you can tom are things logistically easy for them.

      I’ve worked at a place that did NOT make people walk out right away, but let them wind down at their desks, and it was SO much better for everyone (remaining employees, laid-off employees, supervisors). I didn’t hear of any downside, and it soothed people a lot to see their laid-off colleagues be treated like valued and admired professionals instead of potential law-breakers.

      Good luck. And be kind to yourself this weekend.

    4. Bob Barker*

      Yeah, it sucks. My first time being laid off, it was very clear from timing that (a) it was a result of the company having been bought out and (b) the bigwig who laid me off was doing the same to like 100 people that day, all in-person meetings, ALL DAY LONG.

      I ended up telling her how sorry I was she was having to go through that. Honor on her for doing it that way (I know a lot of people cried; it was a die-in-harness type of company up till then), but man, it just sounded emotionally exhausting. Me, I was out of a job, but I was also free (and paid) to move on, which I did, into another profession that lays people off much less frequently. That poor woman had to try to keep steering the ship despite its obvious trajectory toward the shoals. (The company no longer exists, having been basically cannibalized for parts.)

    5. Ife*

      Oh man, I was going to comment about my department’s massive layoff earlier this week today, but as one of the “lucky” ones who survived I was working on my coworker’s projects all day and didn’t have time! Next week, next week…
      I am sorry you are going through this on the manager side. That’s not a role I would want to have to play.

  34. H&S B**ch*

    So today I explained to our shop workers the emergency safety plan as requested by their boss. I of course have no problem explaining this because frankly I have a more thorough understanding and because I like the guys.

    Here’s where it got rough:

    Before I even start talking their boss tells me I need to speak up and laughs while looking around the room. Now I’m sure this is connected but while I’m speaking HIS boss interrupts to ask questions (who is also half way my boss) and of course the shop workers all start to murmur and just generally be rude (no laughing though) I’ve done a number of presentations to many different demographics and this is the worst behaviour I’ve ever seen. (even from three year olds) I think it stems from their boss and his disrespect for me. How can I confront him on a day to day basis but specifically this incident while making him hear me and demanding better respect in the future?

    Also, I’m a crier (over practically everything including confrontation which is very frustrating) so that will be a challenge. And finally, is it just me or is it every young female in a male dominated role?

    1. misspiggy*

      I wouldn’t necessarily confront him – he may be wanting to needle you into a reaction, and may be even worse when he gets confirmation that you’re annoyed with him.

      Instead I’d suggest channelling the scariest teacher you ever had whenever you’re interacting with him, with a group, or with anyone who gives you trouble. You know the teacher that hardly ever had to raise their voice, but somehow managed to be terrifying enough that you’d all listen? How did they create that feeling that if anyone stepped out of line, the consequences would be unthinkable? Or if you can’t think of a teacher, think about Dame Maggie Smith. Go over exactly what that person does with their face, body and voice. Practise emulating that, in all sorts of interactions inside and outside work.

      Remember that as long as you’re polite, there’s no need to be nice or friendly to people unless they are the same with you. Learning to be physically assertive takes time, but it’s a set of skills well worth learning.

      1. Artemesia*

        I agree. this yutz wants a confrontation. Steely cool demeanor — letting him snark and then asking ‘is there anything else?’ and then moving back to the presentation may be the best you can do. And work on the crying thing. You MUST master yourself and your emotions when you work in this sort of situation. If you have to think of some visual image that helps do this or whatever, figure it out. Cry and you can’t gain respect in this environment.

        1. H&S B**ch*

          I’ve never thought of that as a way to prevent the crying! Do you have any more detailed recommendations of how to do this? I mean, today it was because I was so angry and about 20% embarrassed. So do you think about something that makes you happy, something incredibly neutral like white noise, terrifying like realizing on December 31 that you haven’t done your year end reports? Thanks again.

          1. Karanda Baywood*

            What makes you feel powerful or even just calm? Thinking of yourself as a pillar of steel, or the smartest adult in the room, or pretend you’re Oprah, or…?

          2. LCL*

            Thinking about something happy doesn’t work for me, the switch between emotions is too great and I don’t want to associate happy things with the jerks. I prefer to think of them (whoever them is, I’m sure they aren’t all jerks) as people who will someday be dead and the worms will eat them. So with contempt. But be careful. A little bit of contempt can help you deal with people like this, it allows you to distance yourself. Contempt is very corrosive and should be used sparingly.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        YES. Be Professor McGonagall!!

        If you can’t do that, some phrasing said in a firm yet polite tone:

        “Hey, guys, I’d appreciate it if you would hold your questions until I’m finished. Thanks.”

        *to questiony interrupter* “Fergus, I’ll get to that when I’ve gone over the information. Just hang tight.”

      3. TootsNYC*

        I like to think of “channeling my inner day-care worker.”

        Also, I had a boss (female) tell me, when I was getting teary when I was bringing her a complaint against someone: “don’t cry. get mad if you need to, but don’t cry.”

        i find that trying to suppress some strong emotion is why I get tears. I’m working on letting that emotion be itself, and not trying to stop it–but then trying to control how I express it. Like, get an angry tone and speak bitingly, but not loudly and not meanly.

        then I’m focusing on steering anger or frustration, and I don’t have tears that come from trying to suppress the emotion.

        Also–one other thought. When people start to talk while you’re talking, it’s tempting to try to talk louder or faster.

        Do the opposite. Slow down, and speak more slowly.

    2. Construction Safety*

      As with other hecklers / smart asses, stop talking, slightly raise your eyebrows and have an expectant look on your face. When they cease, count to about three before beginning. Scan the group & make eye contact with several individuals.

      For folks being rude & talking / whispering while the meeting is going on, tell the group that there’s only one meeting going on & the sooner it’s over the sooner they can resume their activities.

      Lose the crying. There’s no crying in safety.

      1. the gold digger*

        Two techniques I learned from the men in my life:

        1. When my dad was teaching 7th grade, he would walk over and stand next to the kid who was acting up. He didn’t say anything, just stood next to the kid. It usually worked.
        2. When I was just starting my career and being teased by groups of men to whom I was presenting, my brother advised that I turn them against one of their own. Pick one of them and tease him gently and smilingly. That can divert attention from you as they pile onto their coworker.

        1. motherofdragons*

          #1 is great. My husband was a trainer for a long time, and this was his favorite technique when a trainee was goofing off or talking.

        2. Hallway Feline*

          Great advice! I’ll use that when I’m doing my annual safety training for my team (all late-30’s and up males while I’m a mid-20’s female).

    3. H&S B**ch*

      *Blanket statement to confirm that I’m not a water fountain; I did not cry while this was happening (or even come close), or once I got back to my office. Thanks for the support thus far.

    4. evilintraining*

      Before you go into the presentation, say, “Good morning,” or whatever would be appropriate for that time of day. Then say, “(name), can you hear me okay? I want to make sure because of the last time.” Look him in the eye when you say it and don’t back down. If boss’s boss asks a question, answer it and ask him, “Did that answer your question? I want to be sure you have the information you need.” If the room starts to dissolve into side comments or if you see people whispering, speak up. “Joe, do you have a question? No? Just checking because I really need everyone to focus on this so that we can move through this. We all have other things to do, but I need to make sure everyone understands the procedure.” Don’t lose eye contact, and don’t back down! If you need to, call them out again and say, “Would you please hold off your conversation until the end of the presentation? We need to respect everyone’s time here. Thanks,” and continue.

    5. TheCupcakeCounter*

      Work very hard on the one eyebrow lift and look down your nose with a “wow that was juvenile” expression on your face.

  35. AvonLady Barksdale*

    In the ongoing saga of my unemployment… I feel like every time I take a step forward, I get stuck in that employer/employee limbo. At the end of last week, I met with the president of a company. He is creating a position and thinks I would be great for it, and he asked me my salary requirements (very respectfully, I might add). I emailed him back, and… nothing. No response. It’s been a week now, so of course I’m freaking out, even as I tell myself to relax. I spoke to the woman who introduced us, and she said he had been so excited to meet me and I shouldn’t worry too much. Easier said than done, right? Ugh.

    So in the meantime, I’ve taken a seasonal retail job. I’m looking forward to it, and it will get me out of the house, but… man. Maybe I just need my usual commiseration here, because I am remarkably frustrated.

    1. SeekingBetter*

      I know exactly how you feel! I’m unemployed too and every time I think I get good signs from an employer, it always seems like nothing positive like a job offer to come. The only thing I don’t have yet is a seasonal or survival job, and I’ve been looking into that lately so I can have some income coming in. Great to hear that you got a seasonal retail job!

    2. Gala apple*

      Good luck! Great thinking with the seasonal job. I hope it’s something you are able to enjoy for now!

  36. ABL*

    How would you let an assisstant know that accomodation for a work trip wasn’t suitable?

    I just got back from a conference trip, and the hotel we were booked into had a “topless reivew” entertainment thing downstairs. Thankfully I never saw any of it, and it didn’t really bother me because I didnt have to witness it, but what’s the most tactful way to mention this to the assistant so she knows for future conferences?

    1. Joanna*

      Would something as simple as “the hotel was pretty bad. Please make sure you’ve done a quick skim though the reviews or that the hotel is with a very reputable chain before you book” work or do they tend to need you to be more direct?

      1. SophieChotek*

        I think that’s fair. Or maybe act surprised and make the assumption she read reviews and say “Did none of the review mention X, Y, and Z?” and if she then admits she never did the reviews or none did, then just a push to search for reviews more thoroughly, etc.?

      2. ABL*

        Yeah none of the review mention it and its not mentioned online at all (I read the reviews of hotels myself because I’m nosy!) – to be clear I’m not concerned about her methods for finding hotels, but how to tactfully explain why this one probably isn’t suitable for work trips in the future!

        1. Kelly L.*

          That’s so weird that no one even mentioned it in the reviews! Was it a permanent feature of the hotel, or was there like a toplessness convention going on that happened to rent the common areas?

          1. SophieChotek*

            Yes I am surprised no one mentioned it either (!). Even if it was technically not part of the hotel, but a separate establishment, you would think enough people would be surprised…
            That was why I was wondering if the assistant didn’t do adequate research.

            1. Kelly L.*

              Right? I’ve definitely been on both sides of Two Conventions in Hotel that Are an Awkward Match, but if it’s a permanent fixture, that’s…very odd.

        2. SophieChotek*

          Since it’s not about research (or lack thereof), I think you can be pretty straightforward then.

        3. Observer*

          In that case, be straightforward with her. Tell her “It’s a shame that none of the reviews mentioned this, but I was shocked to find this topless review being headlined at the hotel when I got there. I thought you would want to know.”

          1. TootsNYC*

            I wouldn’t say “I was shocked”–that’s too much value judgment.

            Make it informational and recommendations: “there was a topless review. That probably means we shouldn’t have people stay there for work anymore.”

        4. TootsNYC*

          Just tell her the way you’d tell someone the you discovered the exit is closed next to your vendor’s facility.

          “Oh, hey–something you should know. The hotel had a topless performance in the ground floor. We should probably not use them again.” And walk off.

          There’s no need for anybody to be embarrassed here. You have information that she’d benefit from knowing. That’s all.

    2. Not Today Satan*

      I would just be straightforward. Tell the hotel you stayed at had a topless show and that all accommodations needs to be appropriate for business trips. Tbh, this really doesn’t seem like a difficult task–there are so many Holiday Inns, etc out there it almost seems like you’d have to try to find a sketchy hotel.

    3. Susan C.*

      Straightforward is the way to go, I think. Maybe she looked at the overall rating, but not reviews, without stopping to consider that those might be from a different target audience… it happens.

      A veteran member of my team likes to tell the story about colleagues from country A coming to help us out with a customer in country B – their accommodation was booked by HQ in country C, who picked a perfectly acceptable hotel. In literally the worst part of town, which any of us could’ve told them. They now know better. (I realize that told this way, the story doesn’t have much of a punchline, sorry about that :/)

    4. ZVA*

      Since it sounds like this wasn’t a huge deal for you, I would take a light tone with this (but I would be more specific than “the hotel was pretty bad”)… something like “Hey, just a heads up, the hotel you booked us wasn’t work-appropriate (there was a “topless review” downstairs)—can you make sure this doesn’t happen again in future?”

      If I were the assistant, I’d be mortified and do everything I could to ensure accommodations were SFW from now on!

      1. Kai*

        I agree with this. You don’t have to over-explain why the hotel wasn’t appropriate–she’ll understand immediately.

      2. Emilia Bedelia*

        I agree- I think you need to be specific about why this hotel was not acceptable. “It was not acceptable” is not a helpful comment, because the problem could range from bedbugs to scratchy towels to not enough waffles at breakfast; “This hotel had a topless show next door” makes it pretty clear what she should look for in the future. You could say something like “I was really surprised to see this- just wanted to let you know so that you don’t book there in the future!” which gives her the benefit of the doubt that if she knew, she wouldn’t have made reservations there (which is a pretty safe bet, it sounds like)

    5. Bad Candidate*

      I would say “Hey Jane, FYI, you might not want to book anyone else at that hotel. They have a topless show next to the lobby!” I don’t know how your travel booking works, but I worked for a company where I had to book through their contracted travel site, it didn’t have reviews. I booked things based on proximity to where someone was visiting and preferred chains by the company and/or traveler. Something like that wouldn’t be on the travel site I used, and I’d have to call them up and have it removed from options.

      1. Sunflower*

        I like this. Above you said you couldn’t find any reviews about the hotel having this so I don’t think you can give her any guidance on how to avoid this in the future. However, I would have her call the hotel and complain that there was no mention of it.

        1. TootsNYC*

          also, I don’t know that you need to be the one to give her that guidance. Once she knows about the problem, I bet she can figure out ways to avoid it next time.

    6. Artemesia*

      The hotel I was booked in when I flew to interview for my main career job (held for 35 years) had a program in the lobby where a yodeling cowboy was ‘roping them in for Jesus’ — and yes as I walked through the lobby towards the elevator and my room, I got roped and asked to testify. One of life’s weirder experiences. There were maybe 15 people gathered to listen to this guy — but I was the one who got roped just walking by.

      1. Beezus*

        I think if a stranger roped me in public, he’d be more likely to get a story about his encounter with the demon possessed crazy woman (and his subsequent encounter with the police) than a testimony.

      2. Batshua*


        Suggestions on how to handle clients who want to witness to you and won’t take no for an answer? I am front-facing and managed to be polite, but I can’t seem to deter this particular guy, and I’m sure he won’t be the last one.

        1. Beezus*

          What do you mean “won’t take no for an answer”? How does that conversation go?

          Have you talked to your boss about how you should handle it, and what was the outcome?

          1. Batshua*

            Basically, he did a little lecture on his beliefs, which I managed not to comment on, but eventually he asked me a direct question, to which I responded “I’m not a Christian, sir” — which led to him trying to explain to me that “a Christian is just someone who says yes”. If I’d felt like I could’ve gotten away with it, I would’ve tried for something like “Sir, your appointment is scheduled and thus our business is concluded.” Unfortunately, since there wasn’t a line behind him, I couldn’t use that as an appropriate prompt to make him leave.

            I haven’t asked my boss yet … she works at the other end of the building, but I suppose that is something I might want to mention at some point.

            1. Bob Barker*

              The one I use on door-to-door people is a polite, firm, “Thank you, I already have a religion, and I’m not up for discussing it with you right now.”

              Are there jerks who won’t take that for an answer? Sure. But those are the people who won’t take anything for an answer. Your boss needs to know about the people like that.

            2. Beezus*

              I think you should be fine with a polite but firm, “I don’t discuss religion at work.” followed by either redirecting him to the task at hand (“you said you wanted an afternoon appointment, is 3:30 on the 9th okay?”) or gently concluding the conversation and saying you need to get back to work. Just because you’re client facing doesn’t mean you don’t have anything else you can/should/might do just because no one else is in line. “OK, I think you’re all set! If you’ll excuse me, I need to type up some notes/call another client back/find where all my pens have gotten to/take out the trash/go for my break/run to the restroom, etc., have a great day!”

              It would be great if you could just bluntly shut him down, but that’s usually not ideal when the person is a client, so the best alternative is usually be bright and cheery but deflect personal questions, redirect conversations back to business if there is still business to be done, and firmly but pleasantly conclude conversations when business is done.

    7. Eyes Wide Open*

      Have to agree – just be up front that there was a problem with the accommodation. I have booked lodgings and would be horrified to learn there was a topless review in the hotel.

    8. Ann Furthermore*

      Last year I had to book a last minute trip to the UK. We’d been there a few months prior, and stayed at a very nice hotel in London, and then took the train out to Welwyn Garden City, where the office was located. The hotel was walking distance from the train station, so it was perfect.

      When I went to book the next trip, the rooms at that hotel were astronomically expensive. I mean…London is pricey to begin with, but the same hotel was about $100 more per night. I looked all over and couldn’t find anything cheaper that looked like a decent and safe place to stay. So then I thought well, maybe I could stay outside of London, in one of the towns that’s a stop or 2 away from where the office is. So then I started looking there. Found a Holiday Inn with a reasonable rate, which I thought would work, because those are usually OK. Did a quick check on Expedia, and one review said the hotel was very nice, and that “the ladies of the evening were easily accessible.” At that point I gave up and booked into the original hotel in London. I told the PM I had really tried to find somewhere less expensive, but gave up when I came across that comment, and even told her I’d grab a screen shot if someone complained about how expensive my trip was. She laughed and said it would not be necessary.

    9. Tuckerman*

      Admittedly, I’d find this pretty funny. It sounds like there was no way for the assistant to know this event was happening. Even if she were to call every hotel and ask if they had any topless entertainment planned for that weekend, they could still add an event last minute.
      I’d probably say, “Hey Amy, thanks for booking the hotel for my trip. I think we should avoid using this hotel in the future though, since they actually host some NSFW events!”

      1. CMT*

        Same. I mean, I’m an adult. I can ignore the inappropriate-for-work happenings in the lobby. Just be straightforward and ask her not to use that hotel in the future.

    10. Whats In A Name*

      Was the conference at that hotel or was it a nearby hotel?

      I would just outright tell her, but in a very “Hey, I don’t know if this is advertised on their website but they have a strip club/review in the hotel I stayed at. I just wanted to let you know in case you didn’t realize.” You don’t even have to get into it not being appropriate – the message should be apparent. I once stayed at a hotel with a Hooters and had no idea until I showed up. I mean, I realize Hooters is not a topless club but it’s not always apparent on the web or when you call what the “amenities” are.

    11. Sassytype*

      I once booked my team in a chain hotel (mid tier) when they were doing a tour of the sales region. Although I had booked for late check in, when they got there, they were given “theme” rooms, as that was all that were left. This is where I found out that chains sometimes had themed rooms, and to always confirm standard rooms. (Hollywood room, desert oasis room, Waikiki room, etc.).

  37. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    Well, I’m sitting squarely in limbo ad to whether or not I’ll get an offer. When my manager left, I offered to help out with some of her tasks and applied for her position. I’ve had a phone interview with the person I believe is the mid-level manager, a role play call with someone else and another phone interview with the manager of the dept. (The job is remote which is why there haven’t been any in person interviews). They requested my references (even though I’ve been working with them part time for 4 years)… and now, radio silence. I know I need to be patient, but it is starting to drive me nuts.

    I actually made a point not to tell anyone except my husband and my best friend that I applied, so at least I’m not getting constant pestering from my family about it. /vent

    1. bb-great*

      My sympathies. Waiting is the worst part. But good for you on the secrecy–I’ve learned to do that too!

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        Thanks. I know my mom would be all over it. She knows I’ve taken on the extra responsibilities and she’s already been asking me if I’ve put my hat in the ring, telling me that they should just hire me blah blah blah… I don’t like lying to her, but I did a pretty good job of deflecting. On the one hand, if I get it it, it will be really exciting to reveal. On the other, if I don’t I can save face and not have to have tons of conversations about what went wrong.

  38. Scorpio*

    I have an interview next Friday. We set it up this Tuesday. The manager stated a few times how busy she was and she even needed me to re-send her my materials because she was working from a different location. Should I send an email the day before just saying I’m looking forward to meeting her sort of as a reminder?

  39. Batshua*

    Does anyone have advice on managing a coworking relationship?

    Whoever is assigned with me for the day shares my workload; we switch off on duties halfway through the day. Sometimes I’m on front in the morning (lots of client interaction, minimal paperwork), and sometimes I’m on side in the morning (everything else, usually paperwork, but sometimes phone calls or other duties).

    A couple days ago I had an incident while on front. At 4:00, half an hour before my tour is up, I asked a friend online to tell me a joke because my energy was flagging. The conversation lasted all of five minutes, maybe less, during which time I was still doing work.

    The coworker I’m usually assigned to angrily told me that it was not appreciated that I was “emailing my friends all day long” when there’s so much work to do. There’s almost always work to do, and it’s usually not possible to finish it all in one day. This person is does not have any authority over me, and I was hardly shirking my duties, but I’m concerned about how to manage their perceptions given that they might lodge a complaint that I’m sticking them with “all the paperwork”.


    1. Whats In A Name*

      Unless they escalate it let it go. It was a snarky comment, untrue and quite frankly as your peer none of her business. And how did she know you did it anyways, was she looking over your shoulder?

      1. Batshua*

        Coworker’s been creeping over my shoulder lately, yeah, and offering their opinions about everything. It’s totally unsolicited and I’m finding it awkward, to put it mildly.

        1. Whats In A Name*

          I’d address the pattern of behavior then, and bring up the issues, leaving the emotion out. Its probably going to be weird but I think it has to come from you not a manager.

          I just had to do this Wednesday with a co-worker who basically gets defensive and goes into attack mode if we have a difference in opinion on anything. Different but the same, basically her personality drives me nuts but I had to bring it back to how it is actually affecting our working relationship.

  40. TC*

    Need some advice from the most reasonable comments section there ever way (it’s amazing!).

    I moved to America six months ago, following my husband who had a job offer. Back in Australia, I had only had my first “proper” job for 2 years since graduating, one year as a front-end developer and one year coding emails (which I am finding out was generally a “step back”). The programming languages in demand back where I’m from are different to the ones here, so I am spending some time retraining (my degree makes it much more easier to pick these up), but I don’t have much to show for it yet.

    Now I’m struggling to even get interviews. A customer service position for a programming-related website has come up, which I’m extremely qualified for — I did customer service in a similar capacity when I was at university, however I recognise that it might be considered another “step back”, despite the role being in the field that I trained for.

    Opinions and anecdotes welcome. :)

    1. Scorpio*

      I know someone who wanted to do web design but needed work experience to create a portfolio…she took an admin assistant position at a small marketing place and asked to take on small projects/clients when the team was overloaded. She was there about 2 years and now has a full-time web design position at a different company. So…my point is that it could be a way to build your resume and if the website you’d be working for is well known in that field, it would catch someone’s eye.

      1. TC*

        I figured that the time spent working in such a position for such a company would at least give me the time to build up a better portfolio (I have one and I don’t think it’s terrible, but I would say that!). My husband is concerned about the fact it’s not a role that I’ve studied for and I don’t need to take the first job offered, but I figured a) I haven’t even applied yet and b) this city is much more competitive than where I’m from, especially since I don’t know anyone. A foot in the door is just that.

        1. Same here*

          I would say to definitely apply to anything that seems relevant and in your wheelhouse. You’re right that you don’t have to take the first job you’re offered, but you should apply to “reach” jobs and “safety” jobs (just like college). That way, when you start to get responses, you have an idea of what you’re qualified for in this city/industry.

    2. Joanna*

      Would it be possible to do some remote part-time freelance work for companies in Australia or wherever else those skills are in demand so that you’re keeping your existing skills sharp and filling in the gap on your resume?

      1. TC*

        It might be possible — I’ve done volunteer work and lots of personal projects. But I don’t have the ABN (business tax number) required and I’m not sure if I need to be onshore to apply for that. But I will look that up!

        1. Joanna*

          Maybe have a look at what sites like CloudPeeps that connect freelancers with companies require from freelancers as they’ll have some experience with the legalities?

    3. Brett*

      What languages were you working in previously and which ones are you targeting now? What region of the country are you in?
      Different languages can be in demand in specific sectors and different parts of the country. Sometimes it is just a matter of finding a good sector match for your current skills.

    4. Terra*

      It will depend a lot on the company. Some tech companies the CSR department does a lot more than just customer service but some are pretty strict about not letting you take additional duties. FWIW I’ve had better experience being able to do more than just my job description at smaller companies but your mileage may vary. It’s also worth keeping in mind that if you’re female and take a CSR position you may get pigeon holed even if you have the technical degree.

      If you’re looking for work to help get a foot in the door you might look for Technical Service Rep or Help Desk type jobs since they’re almost guaranteed to use more of your technical skills. If you’re a decent writer you could also look for Technical Writing jobs as they’re usually pretty eager to hire people with programming experience.

    5. Nerfmobile*

      My company makes software for highly technical disciplines (not programming, but many engineers know and love/hate our products). Our support people are often experts in those disciplines – in many cases it’s really necessary to understand what the customer is really trying to accomplish. And they can and do move from those customer support roles to others in the company, including development. (I work with someone now who followed exactly that path into my area of focus.) So it depends on the nature of the company and the kind of customer support needed, but it can be a legitimate entry path.

    6. Anon4Now*

      We live in the USA. My husband is a programmer and he found his current job through a recruiter. Have you contacted any recruiters? Also look up meet up groups in your city (or near by your city). Great place to meet people in your field who might be able to tell you about job openings. Other ideas: temporary staffing agencies, attend local conferences and check job boards at local universities. Good luck!

  41. purple people eater*

    I will begin working from home for my company starting in February (I need to move back to my hometown for family reasons and, fortunately, my employer is letting me keep my job and work remotely). I’ve always worked in an office, with only the occasional day or partial day from home when I had a doctor’s appointment or something being delivered, etc., so working from home full-time will be a big change for me. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions? My company has other remote workers, so I won’t be the only one, so I think that will help, but I want to make sure they don’t regret letting me do this (and that I don’t regret it either!)

    1. Kaori*

      Yes! As someone who worked entirely from home for this job, I can offer my thoughts – these are passed on from my dad, who also works from home.

      For me, the biggest thing was always setting a schedule. It’s much harder to disconnect from work when it’s always present. So every day, I do the same thing – I get online at the same time, take lunch at the same time, and leave at the same time. And if you can, try to find things to do after work that aren’t around the house. Whether it’s going to the grocery store, or just going for a quick walk, disconnect from your office. It’ll make your life way easier and help to separate work from home.

      Also, try not to be connected 24/7. I get work emails on my phone, and it’s always tempting to answer it when it comes in at 8:30 at night. But unless it’s an emergency, I make it wait until the morning now.

      I hope that helps! It’s a big change, but I love working from home!

    2. Kat_Map*

      I work from home as well! I have found that it’s helpful, if you live with others, to lay clear boundaries regarding when you’re working and not, otherwise distractions in the home are harder to tear yourself away from than distractions in the workplace. At home it’s easier to allow my mind to get totally distracted and wander off. If I find my mind starting to wander, I’ll get up from my chair and walk around for a bit. It’s easier to re-focus from a quick stretch than it is from mindless time scrolling Facebook. Other than that, small things that I do include trying to stick to a regular work schedule (taking breaks for snacks and meals around the same time…), having a dedicated work space that I can ‘leave’ at the end of the day is helpful. If you’re normally a very social person, meet up with friends or family after work for coffee nearby, make a routine of it, otherwise you might end up feeling very isolated. Good luck! I am very thankful for the opportunity to work from home as it’s been great for me, so I wish you success :)

    3. The IT Manager*

      I pay for a landline phone by my desk. When I’m not working, I don’t answer that phone. Also it means I can ignore unknown callers on my cell phone instead of having to answer in case it’s work related.

      Separate (somewhat dedicated at least) work space so you can shut the door.

      Don’t fall into the trap of doing housework, napping, whatever instead of work Keep to your hours. I hate getting up as early as I do but there’s not way I want to work later every day.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        On the flip side, I found that I didn’t mind working a little later in the evening (because no commute!), and really liked taking time in the afternoon to do personal stuff.

        But I did always get up and have a normal morning routine (shower, breakfast, getting dressed) before “going to work.”

    4. Maxine of Arc*

      A couple of things that really helped me when I was working from home:

      1. Have a dedicated space that is just for your work. A desk separate from whatever you use for home computing if at all possible.
      2. Get dressed! This was the big one that worked for me- I refused to give myself permission to roll out of bed and go to work in my pj’s. Keeping a morning routine where I showered and put on real clothes helped create a mental division between down time and work time.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Yeah, getting dressed is my advice as well. It doesn’t even have to be anything fancy or dressy, but the act of getting up, showering, and getting ready for the day helps get me into the right frame of mind to get ready to start working.

    5. BRR*

      This is very relatable because I’m working from home two days a week and it took me awhile to adjust. Search through the archives as there have been very good articles on the topic. It is going to really depend on your preferences as different people have different challenges. Here is what I have found to be the most essential:
      -The silence was a big thing for me (the noise in my office is also a big thing for me so I guess I just can never be pleased). I had to figure out what wouldn’t hold my attention, needed little effort to set up, and was good as background noise. Using pandora doesn’t work for me because I like to skip things too much and it takes my attention away from work.
      -Take breaks. It’s super easy to just eat at your desk.
      -Have a good set up. This meant for me buying a monitor and a new desk chair.
      -Reply quickly to emails and IMs is a big one for letting your company not regret it (output being the most important).

      1. catsAreCool*

        I found that listening to jazz (especially just instrumentals) helped me. Lyrics distract me sometimes, and the problem with rock is that I love some and hate some rock songs.

    6. Observer*

      Have a separate space for your work – it can be just a corner but it’s you”office”. If you have children who need care, you get child care. Housework (except perhaps throwing on a load of laundry THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN SEPARATED into the machine) is off limits. For starters, keep your schedule very consistent. And, be very responsive to emails, phone calls, etc.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yes, your company may have a stipulation that you must have childcare during working hours in order to work remotely. Mine does and I’m sure many others do as well.

        And Observer is right about the dedicated space thing. That’s your workplace. :) It’s not so important if you only work from home once in a while, but if it’s all the time, you will want to separate the two.

  42. Nellie*

    I recently found out my CEO informed senior management (around 15 people in a 70 person nonprofit) that they were required to attend (though not “work”) the annual fundraising gala. The CEO expected everyone to pay full price – $175 – for their own tickets. Gaskets were blown and apparently the edict was rescinded. That’s not normal, right? None of these people are making six figures and even if they were, being required to pay for a work function seems ridiculously overreachy and presumptive to me.

    1. SophieChotek*

      I would think it would be unfair to be expected to pay. I know at my dad’s organization, they have a similar fund-raising gala where the prices are in a similar range; my dad’s boss actually buys a block of tickets and then they have a raffle so her employees in her group can enter their name if they want to go (for free), but there is no obligation to go. I think sometimes certain people in the organization that are in the fundraising department have to go but then I think it is probably covered or maybe very reduced fees. Doesn’t seem normal to me.

    2. Ashley*

      At one of my old jobs there was a black tie fundraising event that it was highly suggested employees at a certain level went, but wasn’t mandatory. If you were a mandatory employee, you got a free ticket, and everyone else could get a ticket for $25 (regular price to the public was $250)

    3. Murphy*

      No, that’s crazy. I used to work for a nonprofit with a similar event, and it was free for us, and a reduced ticket fee to bring a guest. And our attendance was not required.

    4. Lillian Styx*

      Not normal. If we have a $10/tix event, we are asked to pay “if [we] can” but never at the higher priced events and NEVER are we required to attend unless we are working.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      Definitely not normal. I’ve mainly worked in private schools (which tend to do at least one huge fundraiser a year) and the fee is always waived for employees. On top of that, $175 is a ridiculously high amount. It wouldn’t be okay (but would be less egregious) if the price was $15 or $20.

    6. Pearl*

      Not normal. Senior staff at my workplace are expected to attend the fundraising gala and their tickets are free. Usually their spouses’ tickets are too, although they had to pay for spouses this year, which I do think is also unusual and caused a lot of grumbling. (But us office staff were also given free tickets, and we didn’t want to go, so we were able to give them to the spouses anyway.)

    7. Ama*

      Definitely not normal. The senior management at my org “gets” seated at our gala while the rest of us do the event management stuff, but they essentially end up acting as hosts for various tables and are generally doing relationship building with donors or corporate sponsors. It is definitely working the event just as much as junior staff — they’d never be expected to pay for seats. (And I personally much prefer working the registration table to having to make small talk all evening.)

      We have some staff who have a personal connection to our mission and who will sometimes have their families purchase tickets but there is no pressure to do that at all, it’s entirely their own decision.

      It sounds to me like maybe ticket sales are a little down this year? I know there was a year where ours were down and extra staff members were recruited to fill seats so the room didn’t look half empty, but even then they were not required to buy tickets.

    8. Bex*

      That’s NOT normal. In my 15 yrs of experience, if people are required to go then the tickets are comped. Heck, sometimes our senior leaders are asked to attend galas for partner organizations and those tickets are either comped by the partner or my company pays for it. Mandatory events should never be paid out of pocket

      1. Nellie*

        Thanks, all, for the solidarity. I similarly thought this was ridiculous, and although it apparently the requirement was rescinded, there are staff who chose to go voluntarily who are being asked to play certain “host”/”working the room” who are feeling a little stiffed that they are basically to do work that evening. The CEO continues to think this is completely reasonable and even pearl-clutches when others imply it is not, and that is why I will soon be leaving for another job.

    9. Ada Lovelace*

      No that is not normal. Our gala is next week and tickets start at $450. This is not mandatory for us but our CEO just announced discounted tickets for staff who wish to go. Senior staff will be going but as a part of their job function; they do not have to pay for it.

  43. Kat_Map*

    I have a very random question that I suspect I may already have the answer to, but I want to hear it from someone else, too.
    My manager and I both work remotely from our homes, in two different cities. We usually meet up once every two weeks or so to discuss projects. When we met last week, she mentioned that she was due to give birth literally any day now, her actual due date was earlier this week. I know she won’t be taking maternity leave, but will instead be working reduced hours. She’s responded to all the emails I’ve sent this week in a totally normal turn-around time, but in the case that she has given birth, I want to lay off on the communications a bit to give her a chance to rest. Now I feel like it is 100% inappropriate for me to ask “so, have you had that baby yet?”, but I would like to know when she implements reduced hours for herself. Should I just wait it out and if she says something, awesome. If not, oh well?

    1. Ashley*

      I don’t think it’s weird to ask if she’s had the baby! I would just email her and say “Jane, I know you’re due soon and will be going on reduced hours- can you give me a heads up when that occurs so I can prepare for slower response times?”

      1. Kat_Map*

        I like the way you’ve phrased that — keeping the emphasis off the baby and entirely on our work. Thanks!

    2. SophieChotek*

      Maybe you have a good enough relationship you can ask. But also surely she can manage her own time; if she can’t answer, surely she won’t. (Similar to some advice given here to people who get frustrated when their bosses send them emails when they are on vacation, and it’s been said the –reasonable–boss knows the person is on vacation, but is just keeping employee in the loop.) Is that how you could see it? Or ask her/say to her, I am keeping you in the loop about projects X, Y, Z, but if it’s urgent and I really need your feedback I’ll put Urgent in the subject line or send you a text to tell you to read X email. (I know some people say that’s really annoying to send people texts about emails; I work remotedly from my boss, too, and we do that, if it is important, since he’s not always in the office he might be out with clients, if there is something he needs to see, I send him a text so he knows to look for it when he gets back to his computer)

      1. Kat_Map*

        Really good point — “But also surely she can manage her own time; if she can’t answer, surely she won’t.” I appreciate hearing the frequency with which people communicate with their bosses remotely, because I usually fear sending too many messages, but what you’re suggesting sounds totally reasonable — Thank you!

    3. Bob Barker*

      Anticipation is great! “Please let me know when you’ve gone into labor” is a funny thing to have to say, but it’s better than the alternative.

      I had a coworker Bob who just didn’t show up to work one day (he was in one office, I was in another). I called him and called him and ran a conference call he was supposed to run and told everyone on it he was “unavoidably engaged.” I already had a bad relationship with him, but man, his going invisible on me made me pretty mad.

      …His wife, it turned out, had gone into premature labor (at 7 months) the previous evening. He had told one coworker, Alice, who didn’t realize she was supposed to tell everyone else, and Bob hadn’t bothered to update his voicemail or put an out-of-office on his email. It all came clear when I called up that coworker and said, “Hey, is Bob just the biggest jerk in the world, or is he dead in a ditch somewhere?” and THEN she let us know that he was busy having a premature (but healthy, as it turned out) baby. Sometimes, I felt like I worked in a sitcom at that office.

  44. Dean*

    I commented on a thread awhile back and I can’t remember the username I even used but the gist of my comment was about if/when I started looking for a new job and my boss asked why how/if I should tell him that the biggest reason was the nepotism with a coworker of mine whom he is very good friends with outside work (won’t try to get them to improve because they “get to defensive” so they just make someone else do it – words from my bosses mouth, and so). Well I ended up delaying looking because I wanted to push through a little more and hope things got better but the last two weeks in particular were terrible and now I’m basically being forced into that very situation of discussing this nepotism by my boss own request…

    The situation is that coworker who I’ll call Harry is dropping the ball on things that are strictly his job duty and we keep all getting scolded, he keeps “forgetting ” to follow new improvement process we’ve brought in which I’ve talked with him, gently, about multiple times, and recently threw a fit at me for talking with the group as a whole about follow procedures strictly to the letter (our boss is pushing this hard so I’ve been pushing it hard as well) Then Harry threw another co-worker, Neville, (whom he does not like) under the bus for the same thing instead of talking to them directly or going to me going straight to our boss, Dumbledore, and it got us all in trouble, I wasn’t even in office and I was told we’d all be getting seriously reprimanded none-the-less, and Dumbledore has now asked to have a sit down with me to discuss all the drama with my impression being he thinks the personality conflicts are all Neville’s fault and that I’m not involved at all. I’m not really involved, Harry and Neville have never liked each other, I can work with the both of them though I frankly can’t stand Harry, but I am affected and am sick of dealing with Harry’s fits. But my biggest problems are a) really don’t want to discuss any of this with my boss particularly since it’s my opinion Harry is the biggest offender and Harry and Dumbledore are so close. People who’ve tried to bring this up previously have been soured against and shuffled out of the department/job and b) I’m really not directly involved and I can only say what I observed which is mainly that Harry has, blankly told me he doesn’t like Neville, and treats Neville like he’s incapable (literally not even capable of scanning paperwork) when I’ve found Neville to be pretty good at stepping up to the plate and taking responsibilities for thing and is even eager to do so. I feel like I’m in a lose-lose situation, if I speak candidly and say that while they are both very guilty of being rude about each other behind the other’s backs and don’t work together well, Harry has personality issues with *every single person* in the office and *isn’t doing their job* but if I waffle about this my boss may even become annoyed with me for not wanting to do or say anything when he’s always pushing me to take more leadership roles in the department. I’m burnt out badly and can’t say I have any good will for anybody left so I don’t really know what to do or how to deal with this situation tactfully…