am I scaring off job candidates with early morning interview slots, pressure to chip in more money for a gift to our boss, and more

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

1. Am I scaring off job candidates with these interview time slots?

I have been reading through many of the postings at Ask a Manager, and I cam across an old post dealing with an interview time of 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

I am a physician in private practice, and when I need to hire a new employee I have always scheduled interviews around my clinic time. This means that sometimes I will interview a candidate at 7:00 a.m., sometimes during my lunch break at 12:00 p.m., and sometimes after I have finished seeing patients at 4:30 p.m. I have always done this because seeing patients is the only way in which income is generated for my practice, and I am not going to inconvenience patients by rescheduling their visits, in order to do interviews during regular business times.

Is this unreasonable? Am I scaring off potential employees (nurses/medical assistants)?

You’re not going to scare anyone off with the noon or post-4:30 interview times. 7 a.m., possibly — and not just night owls, but also people with child care commitments or other reasons they might not easily be able to interview so early in the morning. At a minimum, I’d say to explain your reasoning (which makes perfect sense, but might not be obvious to people unless you explain it), but ideally you’d make it clear that you can offer a lunch or late-in-the-day slot if they can’t make the early morning one.

2. Coworker is pressuring us all to chip in more money for a gift to our boss

I work for a small company, and this time every year our office takes up a collection that goes towards a gift card or something similar for our owners. It has never been advertised, at least that I know of, how much the collection totals out to and no number has ever been requested. The general understanding is just chip in if you can or want to and it’s given at the holiday party and that’s that.

This year, one of my coworkers apparently got wind of how much had been collected so far and is up in arms about the amount. He has now sent out three different emails detailing what wonderful bosses we have and that the amount collected is a “disgrace.” Each email has been more condescending than the last, and honestly I’m fed up. I gave to the fund and I really feel like he’s crossing the line by continuing to make snarky comments and imply how ungrateful we all are for not giving more to the fund. I think this all comes from him giving more than everyone else, but I also think it’s none of his business what anyone else has done or given. The holiday party is coming up and I’m really at a loss as to what to do here.

Please, please say something. I can almost guarantee you that some of your coworkers are feeling pressured to give more money than they can afford and are feeling really uncomfortable with this guy. Ideally, you should reply-all to one of his pushy emails and say something like this: “Please stop pressuring people to contribute to this. I’m sure people gave what they could afford and were inclined to contribute, and we should not be pressuring people to give more of their personal money than they felt comfortable giving.”

And then if you really want bonus points from grateful coworkers, you could add, “For what it’s worth, etiquette experts say that employees shouldn’t ‘gift up’ to their managers at all; it’s considered in poor taste because of the power dynamic in the relationship.” And then you could link them to this and/or this.

3. Can I ethically sell a prize I won in a company fundraiser?

My company does an annual fundraiser for a large charity org. To encourage people to participate, they automatically enter people into a raffle to win prizes if they pledge by a certain date. Evidently I won a prize valued at $1,000 but really I don’t need it (it’s nice but not something I need), but I suppose we will use it.

I feel like the right thing to do is say give it to someone who would find more use for it, but I’m tempted to sell it for half price to a family member or friend and just get some cash for it (and most likely keep it myself … or maybe increase my donation pledge with a fraction of it).

Is it ethical to sell the prize and keep the money? I don’t think anyone is going to ask me next summer how I like the item or ask me to talk about it in some company news story, so I guess no one will know. I didn’t ask to be entered in the raffle, so it’s not like I was out to get the prize. It feels like one of those things where if you ask yourself if it’s ethical than it’s probably not.

I think that once you’ve won it, it’s yours to do with as you like. It would certainly be kind of you to offer it to someone who would be more excited to have it, but I don’t think you have an ethical obligation to do that. You won it, it’s yours, and you can do with it what you’d like.

4. Contact is being too pushy about a job she wants me to apply for

I was recently approached via my work email by a former colleague, Gina (not her real name) about a position open at her new employer. I was not looking to leave leave my current job, where I enjoy great benefits and good pay, but I was intrigued. Although it’s a smaller company, it would be a title and pay bump and reduce my commute by 90%. However, I’m not sure if I would be the best fit as the posting asks for two more years of experience than I have, and requires expertise in a niche field that I have absolutely no knowledge of. Regardless, I figured I would take Gina up on her offer and at least apply.

I’m now turned off from the job — mainly from Gina’s pushiness! I took almost 24 hours to reply to her initial email as I was at work and did not want to do job searching on the clock, so she texted me. I responded that morning and said I would work on the application over the holiday. It’s taking me awhile to put together a resume and cover letter since I was not actually searching for a new job, which I thought she would understand. She has since emailed my personal email address twice and my work email once more, all over the past week of Thanksgiving!

The eagerness makes me think this will continue to get in the way of the work I am currently doing especially as we enter one of our busiest times of the year. And since I’m not that interested in the job anyway, I feel like it’s going to become more of a burden instead of an opportunity. I’d like to keep a good rapport with Gina as she thinks I’m talented and has been in our industry for quite sometime and she would make an excellent reference down the road. Should I continue to apply and try dodge Gina’s constant emails? Should I respectively bow out and explain now is not a good time?

If you’re resolved on definitely not pursuing that, it’s fine to just say something like, “I really appreciate you approaching me about this. I’ve realized that I’m not ready to move on from my current job just yet, but I’ll definitely give you a heads-up if that changes in the future.” (Or if her pushiness has turned you off to the point that you don’t want to say that last part, you could just change that to “but I’m so grateful that you thought of me.”)

However, if you’d still be interested in applying if she stopped pressuring you, you could instead say this: “I’m definitely interested, but I’m in a busy period at work and don’t think I’ll have time to put together a resume and cover letter for another week or so. If that’s too late, I understand.”

5. HR manager says dog-sitting for me would be a conflict of interest

I recently discovered our HR manager is a dog-sitter. I’m a seasonal employee yearly. HR says he can’t dog-sit for me because of conflict of interest. Would this be true?

It certainly could be. Lots of people prefer not to perform outside work for coworkers (like dog-sitting, house-sitting, hair-cutting, working on their car, or whatever) because of the potential for problems. For example, if you have a dispute over your dog’s care or over payment, that’s the kind of thing that can easily impact your relationship at work — so many people prefer to forego any possibility of that kind of messiness.

Your company may even have a rule that would prevent the HR person from doing outside business with employees, for exactly these reasons. Even if the rule doesn’t apply throughout the company, it could be specific to HR and to managers.

{ 254 comments… read them below }

  1. ZuKeeper*

    And really, OP #5, do you want the HR person wandering through your home while you’re gone? That just gives me an “Ewwwww!” moment.

  2. Dan*


    A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t do business with a person you wouldn’t be willing to sue if things went south.

    1. Jam*

      Yes – and this is also about boundaries – just as good fences make good neighbors, so it goes with work. I vetted my Toastmasters’ group to make sure that I was in it for me, and not worried that someone from my very large employer was going to “out” me.

  3. Cat steals keyboard*

    #5 Imagine if you weren’t happy with the service – would you feel able to complain?

    Your employer may have a policy as AAM mentions. It’s also possible that there is no policy but he’s saying this as a way of declining as he feels uncomfortable with the idea and personally feels it’s not appropriate. Or that he’s uncomfortable working for someone where, if you don’t pay (I’m sure you would but there are some horror stories out there!) he won’t feel confortable pursuing you for the money.

    Whether or not there’s a rule I think he’s trying to set a boundary and it’s best to accept that.

    1. Ayla K*

      Seconded. “Conflict of interest” doesn’t necessarily mean a formal company policy – in this case, it may be an easier way of saying that they have a personal policy of not dog-sitting for anyone from work.

    2. Sunrise Farm*

      Also, what if the dog walker does not want to service another employee? If it’s a stranger to stranger relationship, he or she is free to always say no. However, in a work environment, if you help one person it makes it much harder to say no to someone else.

      The letter writer is thinking only of their situation, but not the situation here she is putting the dog walker in vis-a-vis other employees.

      1. INFJ*

        Yeah, I can sympathize with OP wanting their dog to be taken care of by someone they know and (most likely) trust; however, Alison’s right. You can’t take the chance of something going wrong and hurting the working relationship. Especially with the person being in HR, there’s more concern for the appearance of partiality.

      2. Jam*

        Yes, the letter writer sounds like they are having a hard time accepting a “no”. It’s not personal, better to move on and let it go graciously.

    3. Someone Else*

      Also, it doesn’t have to be the employer’s policy. The dog sitting is also a business, so it may be that the policy (if there is one) is the policy of the dog sitting business (even one-person side businesses get to put policies in place if they want to).

    4. LQ*

      I think this is an entirely appropriate stance from the HR manager, official company policy or not. Personal policy. Personal ethic. HR professional ethic. I’d think all or any would think this is an appropriate boundary.

  4. Andrew*

    Chipped in once last year for a gift to the manager in charge of the department I was in, wasn’t my idea, and just went along with it since it was only 10 bucks for each person of the team of 6. I probably wouldn’t have done it by myself…

    but either way 3 out of those people including myself and the boss are no longer employed as of June or so,. oops, that turned out well lol.

    1. Sunrise Farm*

      One has to wonder what the purpose of such gifting is and whether or not it accomplishes it in most cases. if it’s to show appreciation for work, that should be done by the company. If it’s to show personal appreciation, then it should be done in such a public fashion and less it’s done for everyone in exactly the same fashion.

      I have friends who moved here from other countries to find American work-related giftgiving practices really shocking. In their cultures, giftgiving in a workplace is unheard of. Yes, companies give birthday, holiday, and retirement gift. But it’s an automatic thing the company does and not a social nicety.

      I think these issues are going to become more complex ad our society becomes more diverse.

      1. Anon Two*

        Honestly, while that sort of appreciation should come from the company many times it doesn’t. My department occasionally gives token gifts to our boss.

        For example, my boss had a major landmark work anniversary and we all chipped in and bought her flowers. We always chip in around her birthday to buy her a cake. It’s never more than $2-3 a person, and if someone can’t afford to or doesn’t want to give it’s definitely no big deal. The birthday thing is because we do that for everyone in our department and we don’t want to exclude her, but the other stuff is specifically because the company doesn’t recognize any of that sort of stuff.

        1. Karanda Baywood*

          $3 a person because you WANT to do it seems fine to me. But a coworker hassling everyone to give a substantial gift at holiday time? NOPE.

          1. Anon Two*

            I agree. We don’t have an issue because it’s really a token amount and if someone doesn’t give (for whatever reason) it’s no big deal. Some of these large amounts are ridiculous.

      2. Natalie*

        I’m not sure it’s a sign of a deep cultural divide – it used to be standard for retirement, holiday, wedding and baby gifts to come from the company rather than a collection of co-workers, at least in white collar environments. I don’t know precisely when that changed, though.

    2. Jen*

      My VP role was eliminated in a round of layoffs. My department (25-30 people, I had 4 direct reports) threw me a huge baby shower/going away party. I got small gifts and a $1000 gift card (!!).

      It was awkward. It was also incredibly sweet. I talked to one of my former directs after and she said “I couldn’t stop them (the team); they were all so rocked by your layoff they wanted to do *something* to show they care/will miss you/think this is a horribly stupid move.”

      I will always have a special place in my heart/network for that team. And will go to bat for them in the future. But it really was awkward to try and figure out how to thank a group I no longer manage for a VERY nice gift.

    3. Teapot project manager*

      A few years ago someone took up a collection for a gift for our manager. She was a great manager but I’m of the no gifts up mindset. And it was odd as it wasn’t even for a special occasion as I recall but just because she was so great and the organizer thought we should all let her know when we had a big team meeting.

      Luckily she had a few teams report to her and I’m on a different team than the gift organizer plus I’m remote so it was easy for me and my coworkers who also felt the same to just ignore the email requests for donations.

      It was insane, she had a huge number of direct reports and they collected a couple of hundred dollars and bought spa gift certificate and I don’t recall what else.

      As they were talking about this leading up to the “giving” my close coworkers commented to each other how we thought our boss would find it awkward to receive and it wasn’t appropriate. She was gracious when they presented it but I’m sure she felt awkward especially as less than 3 weeks later she gave her notice.

  5. NicoleK*

    #2 Wished I had known about this gifting rule of thumb two years ago. I was new to the team and didn’t know what had been done in the past so I asked a coworker if the team should get the boss a gift. Coworker took the idea and ran with it. We chipped in money and got the boss a gift. Looking back, I shouldn’t have brought up the subject. I may have inadvertently made others uncomfortable or feel pressured to donate. Additionally, the boss was a major factor in why I left the job so I totally regret my financial contribution and involvement.

  6. Edith*

    #5: My employer had some conflict of interest-related embezzlement a decade ago involving a company owned by the spouse of a manager being awarded contracts at inflated rates, and they’ve had a “once burned twice shy” mentality to conflicts of interest ever since. They would most definitely want to know if an employee had a side business other employees patronized, and I can totally see our HR rep wanting to keep her two jobs as separate as possible. Caesar’s wife must be above reproach and all.

  7. David St Hubbins*

    Where I work there’s always a collection when someone resigns or is about to retire. But luckily there is never any pressure to contribute. Someone sends an email saying so-and-so is leaving at the end of the month, and if we want to contribute to a gift, we can give the money to The Person Who Handles These Things. And then there’s another follow-up email close to the end of the month. That’s how you’re supposed to handles this.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I would go a step further and say that an even better way to handle it is for the employer to pay for goodbye gifts. (That’s prohibited for government workers, but it’s good practice for everywhere else.)

      1. David St Hubbins*

        mm… Maybe I’m just a bit paranoid about personal boundaries, but I feel that the company pays me to do my work, and anything more would be a bit intrusive.

        But maybe I’m wrong. probably.

        1. Mookie*

          People receive financial and other material bonuses all the time, on top of their wages. Where benefits are provided this is sometimes compulsory, depending on where the employer is located. I don’t see how “personal boundaries” come into play when an employer, in a professional setting, offers up a warm, public gesture of thanks and goodwill to a long-term employee, but maybe you can explain a bit more?

          1. David St Hubbins*

            I just feel that warm gestures are something that happen between friends and family, and doesn’t belong at work. But I don’t feel comfortable giving or receiving gifts anyway, so my opinion is not worth much.

        2. Natalie*

          For whatever it’s worth, company-purchased retirement gifts used to be the norm rather than gifts purchased by co-workers. That’s where the trope of the “gold watch” came from. It’s a warm gesture I suppose, but in a business context, in the same way a company might send their clients a holiday gift.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Just want to agree/flag Natalie’s comment—a company providing gifts to employees for major work achievements or life moments was standard for white-collar workers and for some blue-collar professions based on length of service. I don’t know when this began to decline, but I expect it was when someone figured out they could just extort money from their employees :P

            (Less sarcastically, it could be that as we moved to a system of work in which it was less likely to stay at one employer for your whole lifetime, it made less sense to allocate gifts that are based on one’s length of service and the relationship one creates with their employer over time.)

          2. Judy*

            I still have the one year pin from two of my employers and a five year pin from one of them. One of my more recent companies gave a catalog option at the 5 year intervals. The current company doesn’t do that.

            And yes, the 25 year option included a very nice watch.

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            The client gift is a good comparison. Gift-giving does have an established place in business. For example, one of my clients sends me a really nice food gift every December, and another client even sent me a fruit gift to welcome me back from some time off recently. As long as the gifts aren’t overly personal (a bathrobe, for example, would be weird), it’s just a warm expression of good will.

            (These are of course the opposite direction of the client gifts Natalie was talking about, but it’s the same idea.)

      2. Gaia*

        Our company does a mixed approach. We send around a card and an envelope to contribute at will (but without identifying who contributed and at what amount). The difference between contributions and the amount of the gift is paid by the company.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          But… what’s the incentive for anyone to give, if the company is going to make up the difference? Or do people get a nicer gift if there are more contributions?

        2. Natalie*

          That seems like kind of a crass way for a company to defray their expenses. If there’s money available for retirement gifts, just set a standard amount (or amount per years or whatever) and budget for it.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            When I first read this I agreed that it sounds kind of icky. But then I thought, what if the company is trying to accommodate folks who are fervent about contributing?

            Assuming the company is not evil, I can imagine scenarios in which employees have stated that they want to contribute to a gift or host a lunch for their coworker(s). In order to channel that appreciation and avoid “unequal” celebrations between more/less popular employees, the company plans to organize a gift, anyway, but they allow folks to contribute in order to “head off” competing gift attempts and/or to avoid creating an expectation among employees that they must contribute to coworker gifts.

            Of course, the alternative is that the company is crass/exploitative/cheap. :)

            1. Natalie*

              Oh, sure, I suppose it could have started the way you describe. I would hope that at some point someone in charge would notice how weird it is and just start budgeting for gifts, but I suppose people do have a strong tendency to just keep doing whatever they’ve been doing without re-examining it.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                Totally agreed that companies should budget for this and not expect to lean on staff to “make up the difference.” Based on Gaia’s description, it sounds like that’s probably happening—the company has a budget but allows folks to contribute at-will. But of course, it’s impossible to know without more information.

            2. Whats In A Name*

              I have the same thought as you, as we used to do this at old job. Reasoning was simple & had nothing to do with defraying costs.

              When company bought a gift and didn’t ask for contributions then some people would buy a gift…for the people they liked. So, Bob would get the company gift plus an individual gift from 10 co-workers and Bill would get company gift plan an individual gift from 2 co-workers. Didn’t stop until we allowed anonymous contributions for gift to level the playing field. Suggesting “individual gifts not necessary” didn’t work – I mean, have you ever been the person who showed up to the birthday party without a gift when the invite said “Gifts no necessary.”?

      3. Sunrise Farm*

        That also have the advantage of making sure that the ball doesn’t get dropped and everyone gets the same treatment.

        Giftgiving at work should follow the kindergarten rule: if it’s done publicly it should be uniform for everyone and everyone should be included.

        if you leave it up to voluntary donations from employees you’re not only asking people to spend money that they may not have, you’re creating a situation where there will be favoritism because not everybody has the charm of George Clooney.

        1. Katherine*

          In a previous job I was admin support for the department. We had three members of staff, all at the same relatively senior level, who all retired in the same month (this was an academic setting and they all timed it for the end of the academic year). I was tasked with keeping three separate cards and collections for them. One of the retiring staff members was very well liked, the other two not so much, in fact they were both fairly unpopular. It was very awkward to see the differences between their collections, and many people were very upfront about donating different amounts or only donating to the collection for the more popular staff member. They were all presented with their cards at the same time, with an envelope inside with the cash gift. I was very relieved that they didn’t open them there to compare!

      4. Not Karen*

        That’s the way my employer does it – the company pays for all gifts – retirements, anniversaries, holidays, etc. The employees are only asked to contribute signatures on a card, which is completely voluntary.

      5. BananaPants*

        My employer pays for a retirement lunch for retirees. It’s a certain amount of money provided, so either the retiree can go out with 6 or 8 coworkers to a high end restaurant or can invite many more people for a mid-level buffet or something like that; it’s left up to the retiree. If the retiree is a high level employee, there’s usually a building-wide farewell with speeches made, tokens of appreciation given (paid for by the company), and a cake.

        We get a company-paid gift at milestone anniversaries (every 5 years). You’re given a catalog and you get to choose what you want from it. Obviously it steps up in value as you get further along; the options are pretty cheap/chintzy until the 15 and 20 year catalogs. I think at the 5 year mark I chose a waffle iron and at 10 years a panini press. Looking forward to the 15 year; I’ll need a new set of kitchen knives by then.

        Resigning employees (not retirees) are usually treated to a lunch planned by and paid for by coworkers, but it’s made clear in the invite that it’s not on the company dime.

        1. BananaPants*

          The company also pays for a floral arrangement to be sent to an employee’s home when a new baby is born or when an employee’s spouse or parent dies, or if an employee or their spouse is hospitalized. New babies also get a company logo blanket or onesie or something like that.

          For a wedding or new baby, sometimes a manager will take up a collection for a gift card and have a card for everyone to sign (regardless of whether or not they contributed to the gift). That’s what my group did for me with both of my babies, even though I had expressly asked my boss NOT to do it for the second one.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            ExExjob sent me flowers when I had my gallbladder out. I was very surprised and pleased. At NewExJob, people did baby showers, etc. on their own because we had so many departments. They were generally done within those departments or groups of work friends. The admins did get a gift card on Admin’s Day from the company (I know, but it helped me get a Kindle Fire so I’m not complaining!).

      6. JanMA*

        Speaking of which, are retirement gifts from your employer a thing of the past? An ex-colleague just retired after 30 years and the employer (a hospital) did nothing. No lunch/tea/party/clock/gold watch, nothing. I was appalled. Although she didn’t say anything, I think she was very hurt.

      7. Jojo*

        Contract can do gifts but is usually capped at 25 dollar’s to prevent graft. So the company usually gets a cake and plaque. Cake is big enough for majority working in area.

    2. Fiona the Lurker*

      Some years ago I chipped in *very* generously towards a goodbye gift for a manager because I was so glad to be seeing him go. *One month later* he was back, in a higher position on the management structure – the whole thing, including bringing in a new man who only stayed a month – had been a complicated manoeuvre to give him an accelerated promotion whilst still paying lip service to the formalities. An entire department of seventy people felt *very* cheated and at the very least that he should have either given back his leaving present or made some gesture of his own in return. (Cakes all round would have been polite, for example.) Great way to cement staff relations … not!

      1. TheLazyB*

        There was a guy in my old job who left for one day then found out his new job was misrepresented and came back. He did indeed his leaving gift back.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        That’s vile and contemptible. I’m sorry you had to work with someone so selfish/tone-deaf.

  8. Paige Turner*

    When I started reading OP #2’s letter, I thought that it was going to go in a different direction- if the total amount collected isn’t known by the contributors, how do the contributors know that all of the money is actually going to the intended place? Besides the inherent issues with gifting up, the setup that OP’s company is using could theoretically result in the person collecting the money keeping some for themselves. I don’t see any evidence of that happening here, but it’s another reason why the whole situation is a bad idea.

  9. Paige Turner*

    I also don’t think that OP #3 should feel bad about selling the prize, and that most likely, no one will ask OP about it or even remember that she won. My dad won a “laptop” in a company raffle, but the “laptop” was actually an Amex gift card for the cost of a certain laptop (I don’t remember if there was some reason for this). My dad did not actually buy a laptop and just spent the GC on other things. I think there might be some tax obligations to keep in mind, but if I were OP #3, I would definitely sell the prize if I didn’t need it and just say something brief like, “My sister has it since her old laptop had just died and she loves it!” only if someone asked about it directly.

    1. Jen*

      One year at work I “won” a gift basket of baseball stuff (like $500 worth) because the Cardinals had just won the World Series (I’m in St. Louis). I hate baseball. I couldn’t care less about baseball if you paid me to care less. I took the stuff back to the store, returned it for store credit and bought t-shirts for my children and a whole bunch of stuff for my brother-in-law who adores baseball as his Christmas gift. Didn’t feel slightly bad about it.

        1. Jen*

          There are a good amount of jobs. I mean, there are always a lot of applicants but at least I see jobs posted. Good luck! I know job searching is hard.

      1. many bells down*

        Yeah, I *never* win raffles or drawings UNLESS the item is something I absolutely cannot use. Once I won a new DVD player – but I had a perfectly good one and only one TV set. I ended up donating it to my daughter’s school.

        1. Hillary*

          My boyfriend’s dad once won the same shotgun three years in a row in a raffle (they’re in a rural area where this is a very desirable raffle prize). He donated and won it back multiple times.

    2. Moonsaults*

      My boss gifted his managers some random electronic of their choice the other year and his CPA told him to give them the amount of money as a gift so that the taxes could be computed properly.

    3. OP#3*

      Thanks! I’ve asked others in the office who I trust and they’ve been giving the same advice that Alison gave and you are offering here. Starting to feel better that others might do the same.

      1. JohnJ*

        Paige mentioned a potential tax obligation. Assuming you’re in the US, since the prize was worth more than $700 you may get a 1099 (misc. income) for the value of the prize. In which case you’d be on the hook for reporting it as income. Just keep that in mind when you set a selling price.

  10. Naerose Eiren*

    Seriously, don’t. I had my dog with the daughter of one of my staff (in that staff member’s home) for a weekend when we took a short family holiday. Long story short, they overfed her on a fatty food which overloaded her pancreas, resulting in a near-fatal illness and $3000 vet bill … and that’s after insurance payout. Made for very awkward times at work.

      1. Naerose Eiren*

        Nope – the staff member was determined to show that the pancreatitis could have been caused by anything other than the 4 raw chicken necks she fed my tiny 4kg dog, going so far as to tell me stories about how her friend’s mother got it from alcohol abuse … which I am well aware of, but I kind of failed to see the relevance of it to my dog who had not been known for her alcoholism!

        My dog was okay after spending 3 days in doggy hospital, but she was already old when it happened and it seems like she never really recovered from it, dying earlier this year at just over 16 years. Her health kind of went downhill after the pancreatitis and we decided our pets will only ever be boarded at a vet in future, regardless of the cost.

        It was a good learning for me as a reasonably new manager in that environment – I’d been a colleague first and then stepped into the manager’s role which is probably why boundaries were blurred.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      Our dog got hit by a car when my parents’ friends were watching him. I was a little kid and barely remember it, but I can imagine how incredibly terrible they must have felt (they were not irresponsible – it was truly a freak accident kind of thing). And if it had been a coworker instead of my dad’s best friend? Yikes. Awkwardness all around.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        Yeah, my aunt didn’t listen to my parents when they said specifically to NOT leave the dog out in the yard unsupervised because he would dig his way under the fence. No one ever did find him. It made for really chilly relations for awhile. If it had been a coworker, that would have been so much more terrible!

        1. SJ*

          It drives me nuts when people don’t listen to the care instructions for an animal. I follow all of an owners’ instructions down to the letter. But last year I had two friends in my neighborhood check in on my cat while I was away on a vacation, and I emailed my friend M. detailed information about exactly how to deal with my bitey cat (she plays rough when she’s in a mood — she likes to latch onto your arm and bunny-kick if you make the mistake of putting your arm in her vicinity), and sure enough, M.’s boyfriend N. didn’t listen and got a bite on the hand. She never bites hard enough to break the skin, so I have very little sympathy for him despite his constant whining about how he’s never known a cat to do that, and I’ve never asked them to watch my cat again.

          1. Temperance*

            I have a very nippy ferret. I tell people not to bother her, or touch her (except my friend who is a vet, because she knows how to take care of animals), and they don’t listen, and she bites them.

          2. Jessesgirl72*

            I have a friend with a cat like that. She always warns people, and I will still pet him, but I’ve always had cats, have known other cats like that, and know what to look for and how to avoid being bitten. But if he did get me, I’d blame myself, not the cat or owner. And it wouldn’t be my first bite/scratch and probably wouldn’t be my last!

            It probably helps that as a kid, any time I got scratched or (lightly) bitten by a dog/cat, if I complained, my mom would always ask me what I was doing to the pet, and then tell me to leave them alone if I didn’t want to take what I got.

            Good idea to not ask them to check on the cat again. Anyone like that doesn’t have enough experience with animals.

            1. SimontheGreyWarden*

              My mom’s response (the cat we had when I was growing up was a biter, but he ALWAYS gave a warning and never bit my sister when she was a baby and pulled his tail, not until she was a toddler and started chasing him) was to tell us to leave him alone and pay better attention to his ears and tail.

              1. Jessesgirl72*

                This cat I had let my toddler brother carry him around by his neck without a scratch (the poor cat WAS rescued as soon as an adult saw) but had his limits.

                Most animals do give a warning. I did have a childhood friend who had a cat that would leap out from under furniture to attack passers-by who weren’t bothering him, but that is the rare cat.

          3. ElCee*

            I told a close family member to NEVER walk my large dog after dark. This is because this family member tends not to be sober after dark and my dog is high-maintenance on his walks. One night this person went ahead and walked him anyway, the dog pulled her, and she fell down. It is my fault in the end for trusting this person so after apologies and making up we just stopped asking her to watch the dog. Go figure, she’s now miffed about NOT being asked to watch him. Sigh.

          4. Moonsaults*

            I very specifically ask for care instructions when I’m watching someone else’s animals. “Do they have dietary restrictions, can I feed them human food?” is my big one because I have known many dogs and cats with restrictions and would be terrified if I harmed them just because I’m used to feeding my fat healthy cat from my plate.

            I’ve known so many cats to attach to arms like that, that guy must be sheltered….

          5. AnonAnalyst*

            We had issues with this when I was a kid. We had a small, really mean cat (REALLY mean — he hated and attacked everyone, and usually drew blood) and a giant, but super friendly, rottweiler (the only danger posed by the rottweiler was that she might accidentally knock you over while she thundered across the room to lick you).

            People would come to our house and be terrified of the dog, which was understandable, so they usually stayed far away from her even though we told them that they didn’t need to worry about her. However, despite our repeated warnings that the cat WILL bite if they bothered him (he was usually sleeping somewhere or hiding from visitors), they couldn’t wait to pet the cat. It was apparently the most enticing thing they could possibly do in our house. Then they would get angry when he bit and/or scratched them, which happened 100% of the time when people tried to touch him. We were just like, dude, we told you this exact thing would happen. It’s not like we somehow couched the warning so it wasn’t clear.

          6. VelociraptorAttack*

            We have a dog with some separation anxiety as a rescue dog. She used to be kenneled when no one was home, with the door to the room her kennel was in open and the lights on. We also had to make sure her kennel was securely latched because she’s an escape artist. We had a house guest one week, we went over the process for putting her in her kennel and then one day he kenneled her, turned the light off, and shut the door. It was an interior room with no windows and it was not pretty when we got home and found her because naturally she panicked, escaped the kennel, and lost her mind trying to escape the room. We couldn’t be mad at her but we were pleased it was our guest’s last day in town.

          7. YawningDodo*

            At one point I lived with two other people and we were considering candidates for a fourth housemate. I have two rabbits, one of which is very aggressive (he’s mellowed out a little in the last year, but at the time he would literally charge across his pen to bite or punch anyone who came within reach. He’s strong enough to draw blood whenever he does this). Before taking her on the bunny room portion of the house tour, I warned her about the psycho bunny and asked her to keep her hands out of his pen. First thing she does when we walk in the room? Stick her hand in his pen and try to pet him. She was lucky he was in a standoffish mood and just retreated to the other side instead of attacking her.

            Didn’t take her on as a housemate. I just really don’t get it.

      2. SarahKay*

        When I was a kid our family looked after my parents’ friend’s dog for a week. At Mum’s request I took him for a walk in the local woods and he ran off. He reappeared about 5 minutes later, but gosh, it was a loooooonnnngggg five minutes. In particular I was filled with horror because he wasn’t even our dog! Not that losing our dog would have been good, but losing someone else’s dog felt far far worse. How much worse if it’d been a co-worker’s dog?!?

        1. many bells down*

          When we adopted our dog, we finished all the paperwork, walked out the door of the shelter … and somehow he slipped right out of the collar and took off. Worst 15 minutes of my life calling/searching for this dog we’d literally only owned for 10 seconds. Turned out he just took himself on a little stroll around the building and came back to the doorway, but I will never forget the panic of running through the surrounding woods calling for him.

          He only gets walked on a secure harness, now. Not having THAT happen again!

      3. Turtle Candle*

        One of my friends pet-sat for my family when I was a teenager, and our ancient cat died in the interim. It 100% was not her fault; Rusty was in poor shape to start with. (We warned her that he was old and sick, of course–but we didn’t know before our long weekend that he was close to death, obviously, or we would not have gone!) The poor girl found him dead and was just beside herself and had to deal with the body and cleanup and whatnot (this was before cell phones, so she couldn’t easily get in touch).

        Because we were all good people, the ‘conflict’ was that she didn’t want payment because she’d ‘let’ one of our animals die (even though it was COMPLETELY not her fault), whereas my parents wanted to pay her double for the emotional trauma and extra work of dealing with an unexpectedly dead animal. Ultimately she accepted her “normal” pay and my parents and I used the rest of the money for a particularly nice birthday gift that year, so it worked out. But even when everyone means the best for each other, personal situations like that can get awkward.

    2. Electric Hedgehog*

      Yeah, something similar happened when I was a kid. A family friend left their beautiful and expensive parrot with us for two weeks. Apparently, parrots can get pneumonia from people, as we discovered when it died. :(

    3. Hrovitnir*

      Realistically, this is not super relevant if the coworker in question is a professional. I’m so sorry for your old dog, this kind of thing is why I don’t trust most people with my animals.

      But still, it’s a bad idea for all the ideas everyone’s mentioned anyway.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        I have no idea what point you are trying to make with your first sentence. What does “if the coworker in question is a professional” mean? And thanks so much for telling me my comment wasn’t relevant; how kind of you. ahem.

  11. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    OP#1 – I’d be chuffed to pieces if a potential employer offered me the option of a 7am, lunchtime or after work interview, simply because it would mean not taking a day off work to interview.

    However I can see why some people would be put off by the suggestion, but if you explain why, I’m sure most would understand, as long as you give them a choice (I think making a 7am interview a condition of getting an interview would not be OK)

    1. SystemsLady*

      And I think the letter OP was referring to was one where somebody intentionally set very early interviews to “test” applicants…which is, frankly, ridiculous. This OP’s reasoning is fine, especially because they offer multiple options.

    2. Violet Fox*

      Maybe give the interviewee a choice of slots, say this day at 7am, or this day at 12, or this day at 4:30pm, and they don’t have to feel odd about saying no to the 7am thing, since for a lot of people that can be really just too early.

      1. Epsilon Delta*

        I am squarely in the camp of “could not hack a 7 AM interview.” I am just waking up at 6:30 to 7 AM most days. My brain doesn’t start functioning all the way till about 8:00 or 9:00. Even if all I had to do was get up an hour earlier and show up (nevermind being sharp enough to answer interview questions well), it would be a struggle. Offering a choice of different times is good.

    3. Jess1216*

      I thought the same thing! To me, the times seem courteous to a job-seeker who might be currently employed.

      1. Danielle*

        I also think OP #1’s field is relevant. I used to work in a doc’s office (admin) and I would totally understand a super early interview time. You don’t want to take away from available patient appointment times.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Depending on his specialty and/or how busy he is, especially! I have to book my regular OB/GYN appointments 4 months out, and when the medical group restructured their coverage schedule a month before my appointment, they had ONE appointment slot available to offer me that was only 3 weeks later, instead of months later.

        2. Ama*

          I do think most doctor’s assistants will recognize the need to work around patients, however, I work in a field that requires me to work closely with a lot of doctors’ admins/assistants and there are a few doctors out there that do have unrealistic expectations of hours (for example, a doctor who has gone through six assistants in four years because he works late every evening and expects his staff to stay in the office until *he’s* ready to leave), so I don’t think the OP is wrong that some people may be a little wary if he initially offers 7:30.

          However, I think if the OP were to use Alison’s suggestion and explain that they are working around patient appointments (and if the position would not normally start their day until later, add that as well) it should help ease a good candidate’s concerns.

    4. lowercase holly*

      i would be very into interviews after 4:30, they are so hard to get. the 7am (only) would put me off and also make me wonder if this was the job’s starting time so an explanation would be great.

      1. Leatherwings*

        Yep. A one time early morning would be fine (preferable even for reasons mentioned above) but I might worry that 7 (or even earlier) is time for the job which I wouldn’t be able to swing on a daily basis.

    5. Is it Friday Yet?*

      I thought the same thing. Those would all be really convenient times for me or probably anyone who has a 9 – 5 job. The mid-morning or mid-afternoon times are the least convenient.

    6. Jamaica*

      There is a difference between scheduling by necessity, scheduling due to the nature of the position (if you could get called in for any of those times, good to know that early!), but can’t see how it would be a test otherwise. The doc is fine. The tester seems shady.

  12. I Herd the Cats*

    As someone who’s been in the workforce since the days of the buggy-whip, I’m fascinated by the manager-gift thing. I work in admin support roles. I have never, in all my various places of employment, been asked or expected to gift up. I think it would have embarrassed or horrified my bosses. In some industries they were making many, many times more than any of the support folks. They generally gifted “down” in the form of bonuses at holidays. I have *the* best boss ever who has gifted me with a random assortment of oddities/toys for my desk (he picks something tacky up on his business travels). He is the CEO and since I sit outside his office everyone gets to enjoy them. We both like to cook (and eat) so we do exchange non-special-occasion gifts of food items — homemade relishes, tomatoes, etc. But our routine is that I leave mine in his inbox and then deny it.

  13. Joanna*

    #1: I would not take a 7am interview because my brain is just not awake yet. If work started that early, I could fake it until the caffeine kicked in, but I don’t have that luxury for an interview. The later slots are doable.

    1. Sunrise Farm*

      My one question would be whether or not this job requires them to occasionally be available at 7 AM if they were hired.

      The Propriety the interview times also depends upon with the regular business hours are. If is interviewing for a factory job that would start at 6 AM, at 7 AM interview is not unreasonable.

      If normal business hours are 8 to 5, I don’t think I want off 7 AM interview is all that out of whack. Provided that the interviewer is willing to provide alternative times for someone childcare issues, I wouldn’t see a problem. if normal hours are 10 to 6, it would be much more of an inconvenience

      1. Alton*

        This might be a good reason for the OP to explain the reasoning, too. If I were offered a 7 AM interview, I might assume that that’s part of normal working hours and wonder if I’d be expected to start at/before 7, which would affect my interest in the job. Explaining up front that they’re trying to fit interviews in when they don’t have patients might help clarify that if they don’t actually expect the person to be working at that time if they’re hired.

        1. Liane*

          I was just wondering if this might be the problem, some candidates assuming the office hours are that early. Mostly those new to Work World, but I could also see someone who hasn’t worked for a small practice thinking that way, too.

          1. katamia*

            My GP’s office actually opens at 6am some days so people who work 9-5 can still see him. It’s not the case for OP, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that other doctor’s offices really would need someone there that early.

            1. BananaPants*

              My OBGYN’s office offers evening appointments every Wednesday (I think until 8 PM) and Saturday morning appointments once or twice a month. Super-convenient for folks who can’t or don’t want to take time off of work for their doctor’s visit.

    2. Bwmn*

      Personally, a 7am interview would be great for me. I’m a bit of an early riser so being awake and there on time wouldn’t be a huge issue for me – and would mean that I wouldn’t need to take off time at my current place of employment.

      I think having it as an option is fine – especially if you’re interviewing people who are already working. But I would stress that it is just an option and that other time slots are available.

      1. Whats In A Name*

        All I could think was how lovely a 7 a.m. interview option is. When I was sole interviewer in my organization I had many requests for 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. interviews so that people could work around busy schedules. To us, it was actually a check in the positive column because it signaled commitment to getting the job they were in done properly.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I work at a place where we starts mostly at 10; other companies in our field might start at 9.

      I’ve always offered an 8am interview slot bcs I assumed that THEY had to get to work, and might not want to take time off.

      And I offer evening slots as well.

  14. hbc*

    OP1: As long as you’re not assigning them a particular slot without discussion, the range of times you offer is actually a benefit. At my last job, I’d be able to slip in for the 7am time slot without losing any time at work, and at my current job, the later slot would accomplish the same.

    Not really on topic, but…you might want to consider that many of your patients would be thrilled to have an earlier or later slot for the same reason. Your 8am patients were probably booking the earliest spot they could get, and some would be grateful for an offer to move earlier. Might be impossible with your support staff needs, but something to keep in mind if you’ve got a good candidate who can’t work with your normal interview options.

    1. Joseph*

      “As long as you’re not assigning them a particular slot without discussion, the range of times you offer is actually a benefit.”
      This is true, but I’d like to emphasize the bolded part. While most people would probably love the ability to come in super early or at lunch and not have to worry about time off, there are some people for whom one of those options might be completely impossible – parents who need to drop their kids off at school might not be able to make a 7 am; lunch might be impractical for someone whose current job is 15+ minutes away. That said, since your three options (early, mid-day and late) cover a wide range of possibilities, I would expect most candidates would be able to find one of those choices that works for them.
      Also, a general kudos to actually thinking of things from the candidate’s perspective and checking to make sure you’re reasonable. AAM has far too many posts of interviewers expecting candidates to jump through incredible hoops (see: last week’s post about the application process more detailed than security jobs for the federal government), so it’s always refreshing to see the other side.

    2. katamia*

      Ugh, I hate it when places assign you a time slot without discussion. Every single time that’s happened to me I’ve had something else planned. Most of the time I could reschedule, but a few times I had to cancel the interview because they weren’t responsive enough to my requests for a different time and I couldn’t skip what I had planned.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        The inflexible companies were doing you the favor of letting you know from the start that you didn’t want to work for them.

        1. katamia*

          Oh, one of those companies I had to cancel on was a restaurant I love that gave you a free meal every shift. If I had to work at a restaurant (no offense to those who do, I’m just unsuited for it for a lot of reasons), I would really have preferred that it be that one, lol.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            Working there would just have ruined the restaurant for you. Better to keep a restaurant you love and get a job that allowed more flexibility!

            Those restaurant jobs are really hard. I have family who have worked in them all their adult lives- but I am just not that hard of a worker.

  15. Roscoe*

    #1 I’d honestly avoid the 7:00 am times. Even though I’m more of a morning person than many people (and that’s not saying much), I wouldn’t want to do it. Even if I’m normally up at 6am, I’m very likely not on my A game that early. Now, some people may like it, so maybe just give them 3 options of time, and see how many actually pick the early one.

  16. Temperance*

    LW3 – at a work raffle two years ago, I won a Kindle and gave it to my husband, because I already had one. No one acted weird if it came up.

    I would also probably sell the item for face value to someone outside your family, but that’s just me.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I recently won a cooler at a work raffle. It was a family event, and my husband pretty much took over the cooler and started making plans for it before they even handed it to us and no one seemed to mind. . .I think people are just happy the gift is appreciated and will get used by SOMEONE (even if it’s a 3rd party from Craigslist, at least you’re getting the benefit of the cash).

    2. caryatis*

      I don’t even understand what the ethical objection would be. If you won it fair and square, it’s yours now. If you won the lottery, you wouldn’t be raising ethical questions about whether you could keep the money, right?

      1. Allison*

        A lot of people feel that if you win the lottery, you should give a portion of the money to charity.

        1. Temperance*

          I’ve more often heard that you need to care for your family with that cash.

          I also won a large TV last year in a work raffle, and my MIL started making noises about how she needed a new TV and since we just won that one, we should give her the one we had been using. People are weirdly proprietary about other people’s property. (OPP)

          (Of course I didn’t give it to her, we put the “old” tv in the guest room.)

          1. TootsNYC*

            “People are weirdly proprietary about other people’s property.”

            The Ten Commandments has a word for that: coveting.

            And it’s forbidden for a reason.
            It’s REALLY damaging to people’s relationships. Even something like that TV and your MIL. It affected how you see her, didn’t it?

            1. Temperance*

              Oh it TOTALLY did! I won the TV last year, and whenever it, or a related topic, comes up I grumble. As you can see.

        2. Jessesgirl72*

          People always have opinions on how you should spend your money, but I’d tell them to shove off, just like I would in the OP’s case, if someone said something.

          1. Triangle Pose*

            I always think that but in some states you can’t claim the lottery winnings without identifying yourself. Other states let you claim it through a trust that has to exist prior to the winning, or a lawyer representing you. I always fantasize about this but I never buy lottery tickets anyway so I guess it’s moot!

            1. Allison*

              Yup, at least where I live, they publish the names of lottery winners. So if you win, you end up with random people calling you with sob stories trying to guilt you into helping them out. I think your home may become a target for theft, too. I’m not sure how I’d handle that if I ever won the lottery, but I rarely buy tickets, so there’s that.

              1. Hrovitnir*

                Eeesh, that’s uncool. It’s not an issue since I don’t buy lottery tickets, but I most certainly would want to keep it on the down low. My partner is less suspicious than I, but I think large amounts of money can mess up relationships so easily: I would be planning out the best way to help out my family and not telling them the full extent of it.

              2. Anon for this*

                It’s still possible to ask for your name not to be released. I used to work for a newspaper and we received the names from lottery PR people. Most people wanted to be in the news, but every once in a while, someone would decide to ask for their name to be kept out of the press release.

          2. Temperance*

            I made a crack to Booth last week that if we won the lottery, I would light a chunk of cash on fire in front of his terrible family and then snort the ashes.

        3. Oryx*

          I won’t enter 50/50 raffles for that reason because there is that weird pressure to feel as if you should donate your portion back to the charity.

          1. Allison*

            Yes, exactly! My dad told me this explicitly, if you win a 50/50 for charity it’s expected you’ll donate your winnings back, so buying a ticket is really a donation and a vying for a chance to give the charity money other people donated, while taking credit. I’d look (and feel) like a dick keeping the money unless I could cite a damn good reason for keeping it.

      2. Joseph*

        That’s my thought too. The purpose of this raffle is to raise money for Good Cause. Giving out free stuff as an incentive to buy raffle tickets is part of that, you just happened to be lucky enough to win.

      3. Sherry*

        With a work raffle, prizes are often subsidized by the company — from the Christmas party fund, for example. So in a weird way, management might see them as “gifts,” and be a little upset that they’re not appreciated. Although, personally, I would probably still feel OK selling something like that. I just wouldn’t mention that I had done so.

        In the OP’s situation, though, the charity presumably profited from the raffle, so I see no issue with selling the item.

          1. Not Karen*

            Yes. Just yesterday I was watching a YouTube video in which the person said that once a gift has been given, its purpose has been fulfilled, and the receiver is then allowed to do whatever they want with it.

          2. Temperance*

            Marie Kondo has changed my entire life with her thinking on gifts. I had been holding on to so much … crap because it was a gift, and her idea that the gift’s function is complete once ownership has transferred to you really did remove all guilt.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              I know Marie Kondo is trendy now, but the idea that once given, a gift belongs to the recipient is a rule of etiquette that has always existed. ;)

              It’s rude to announce to the giver that you gave X to charity or threw it away, but that is where the recipient’s obligations end.

              1. Persephone Mulberry*

                I wish someone would bang this concept into my husband’s head. He is convinced that if something is a gift you’re obligated to hang onto it literally forever, including beyond its usable life span.

              2. JB (not in Houston)*

                Her rule addresses something a little different, though. Once it was given to you, sure, it belonged to you to do what you want. But a lot of people (myself included) always felt compelled to hold onto things out of guilt, or because it felt like we were saying that the gift had no meaning when we gave it away. It felt almost like rejecting the gift and the giver, and it felt rude or almost of heartless.

                Marie Kondo’s point is that the whole point of the gift, the very reason for and sentiment behind the gift giving, was fulfilled upon receipt, so you don’t need to feel guilty or rude by getting rid of it. It’s not whether it’s polite to get rid of it–you’re right, it’s always been fine on that point. It’s about making you emotionally able to part with it.

                1. Temperance*

                  Seriously, I donated so many gifts after reading her book. It felt AMAZING. I have particular tastes, and neither my mother nor my MIL understand it. I turned around and donated all the unworn, unused clothes/boots/etc to a gift drive for kids in foster care.

          3. Joseph*

            Personally, I always think of it as the recipient (me) choosing to actually get some use out of the gift by regifting/selling it rather than having it just sit uselessly in the back of the closet gathering dust.

          4. Cath in Canada*

            My parents bought me a keyboard/synthesizer type instrument for my birthday one year when I was studying music composition. I used it less after I finished that class (my primary instrument is the classical guitar, but the keyboard was much better for composing on), but would still play it from time to time. But then they sold it without asking me while I was away at university, and kept the money! I wasn’t happy, but in their minds it was theirs to do with as they wished, because they bought it. I’d have agreed if they’d bought it just because, but it was actually designated as a birthday present.

            My parents are usually very reasonable and generous people, so this really stood out as an anomaly…

    3. aeldest*

      I don’t think it’s an ethical problem either way, gifting or selling, and I don’t think very many other people would have a problem with it either. Especially since it’s not a personalized gift chosen specifically for you, or anything.

      Giving to your husband though–I can’t see how *anyone* would possibly have a problem with it! It stays in the family, a lot of things in most marriages are “communal property” anyway, plus the end result isn’t really any different than if you used the one you won and gave your husband the old kindle.

    4. Long Time Reader First Time Poster*

      #4 — I’ll bet you anything that Gina’s company offers a referral bonus to employees that refer new hires. She wants that money!!! That’s why she’s being so pushy, she needs the OP to get in there and GET THAT JOB before someone else snags it and deprives her of her reward.

  17. Pudding*

    #5: This is a prime conflict of interest example. The HR person would become financially entangled with an employee and financial dependence would incline the HR person to potentially treat OP differently in order for HR person to protect her side income from OP or even give preferential treatment

    1. Sunrise Farm*

      Or what if HR saw something in the house, such as weed, that was not particularly related to job performance but illegal? that would put the HR person in a real bind

      1. Pudding*

        Now that I think of it on top of finding things, what if something happened? Like OP jibbed HR of payment, or HR got injured during the dog walking???

        It makes me cringe to think that OP could be up for a promotion and the fact that OP has a messy house could block her!

  18. Sunrise Farm*

    With respect to the dog walker, one thing we consider is that the blanket policy is not directed at this employee. Perhaps there are other employees from the dog walker does not want to help. It’s better to say no one and I have to pick and choose and cause problems. when providing a service to strangers, the dog walker is free to say yes or no based upon their feeling about the person. They do some of that freedom if they start servicing coworkers.

    if it were me I would have the same policy

  19. Calallily*

    OP1: while everyone gets you want to maximize revenue by fully booking patients – you should not be underestimating the value of an interview to hire an employee. You don’t need to cancel/push back paying patients but you can work to create scheduling buffers that would give you more flexible timing for interviews. I know my doctor keeps administrative slots blocked off in the morning/afternoon and will only book in last minute patients if he has no business to attend to.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      That’s what I was thinking, too. There may be factors in play I’m not considering, like “HCA makes us do X”, but I’m thinking a doctor doesn’t fill a lot of positions in a given year. It should not be a huge impact on income, and administrative time is a given cost of doing business.

    2. seejay*

      This is totally what I was thinking.

      I get that the doctor needs to keep revenue going, but he also needs to hire someone. That means he’s going to need to make a sacrifice somewhere which means taking time away from something to put a good solid effort of time into looking for a receptionist/employee. This isn’t something you just squeeze in before you start the morning shift, during lunch, or at the end of the day. You’re going to need to block of chunks of real time to do it properly. Hiring an employee shouldn’t be something you fit in as an afterthought, at least if you want to get the right fit.

  20. Laura*

    #1 When I’ve interviewed, I’ve preferred those hours so I can cause the least disruption to my normal work day. If I can still be into the office by 8:30 no one is the wiser where I’ve been.
    #3 Happened at a previous job, clerical lady who lived in an apartment won a $10K kitchen remodel. Her boss bought it off her or $7 or $8K, and everyone was happy.

    1. OP#3*

      Whoo hoo! Yeah I don’t know why I was feeling icky about selling it. Probably just because it’s all around philanthropy.

  21. Noor*

    #3- It sounds like you work for a grill company or some outdoor seasonal place. If its a Weber BBQ grill I think you should do what you want with it, but don’t be foolish and list it on craigslist or ebay.. stay off the grid on this deal.


  22. Whats In A Name*

    #2 – please say something to this person or to someone that you think might be able to reign this guy in. My 1st thought was that if the owners knew of this they would be mortified to know.

    I am much less embarrassed by a token-type gift of my favorite bag of coffee or a container of homemade cookies. The time I got a $100 gift card I was mortified – subordinates should NOT be spending $20 each on me, which is what it amounted to for the gift card.

    1. Chickaletta*


      They seem to really like the owners and want to show their appreciation, which is great, but maybe it’s time to stop giving gift cards. After all, why would the owner need or want money from their employees? If they’re like a lot of business owners, they already take home a lot more than them. I like the idea of giving a token gift instead.

      1. TootsNYC*

        yeah, money to your boss is weird beyond words. I think a gift-card for a restaurant, maybe.

        The only think I’d be OK w/ receiving from the people who work for me is if they all got together and gave me a $35 mug to replace the one I loved and broke and lamented about. Then it would be about $5 per person, which wouldn’t be horrible, and it would be about me as a person (not so much as a boss) and our working relationship.

        But I’m also happy to not get anything at all, to be honest.

  23. katamia*

    OP1, when you contact potential interviewees, are you saying “Can you come in at 7am” or “Can you come in at 7am, 12pm, or 4:30pm”? The second one is fine, IMO, but I’d balk a bit at the first one because it makes it sound like there’s nothing else available or that other possible times might also be really early. I have a hard time regulating my sleep schedule and am not naturally up at that time, and going to one interview on one day would mess me up for probably at least two weeks.

    1. Temperance*

      I would actually love if an interviewer offered me a 7 AM slot with nothing else, FWIW. When I was desperately trying to leave my last job, I had one person who told me that if I couldn’t interview at 11:30 a.m. the next day (this was at 3), he wasn’t going to bother considering me because I wasn’t “serious” about wanting the job. It was a crap sales position, and my jerk boss was not letting me have any time off because she knew I was interviewing.

        1. Temperance*

          I would feel like it’s a test. Maybe I’ve worked with extremely craptastic companies before, but I can easily see this being a test to see if you’re selfish, etc.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            That kind of thing is way less common than people worry it is, to the point that I’d encourage everyone to jettison the “it’s a test” worry entirely.

  24. Elle*

    #4 – I wonder if there is a referral bonus at stake here. Just reading the description of how pushy Gina is being makes me wonder.

    1. neverjaunty*

      This. Or, Gina has some other reason she wants the OP in that job – so she can have a BFF at work, or maybe she talked the OP up to her boss so much that she’s going to look bad if OP doesn’t apply.

      When somebody is this pushy without a clear and open reason, OP #4, it’s because they want something from you. If the issue were that the job application period was about to close, say, her pushiness would make sense. Lacking that, Gina is benefiting from you applying and that’s why you should reject her hassling you.

      1. Liane*

        “If the issue were that the job application period was about to close” Gina would presumably have said that. When I tell people about an opening, I always include any deadline date.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Same. Although I usually only send a gentle reminder to friends who have expressed strong interest in applying; I don’t harangue them to apply.

      2. Trillian*

        Maybe less wanting a BFF in that job than not wanting an enemy. There may be an internal candidate with their eye on it.

  25. Jim*

    #4, if you got this job, would you be working with Gina? Is her attitude going to be a problem, or will the two of you not have much contact at work?

    Is Gina’s pushiness the only thing putting you off?

    Could there be something else going on…? Is she expecting a headhunting bonus for bringing you onboard? Could there be pressure on her from above to bring you onboard?

    1. OP4*

      OP4 here. I would not be working for Gina, as she would be on a different team and I’ve only had pleasant experiences with her up until this point. It’s also extremely polite pushiness as well which is why I’m so troubled! And it’s not the only thing putting me off – I currently like my job and was not looking for another one, and this position requires expertise I simply don’t have. Now that you mention it, it does seem like there may be a referral bonus going on.

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        Yes, I agree with Jim. Many of my former coworkers are currently spamming their social media with “job opportunities” because they will get $1K or $10K if a referral is successfully hired.

  26. Liane*

    Ques. 2: It would be so tempting to also forward this to the boss/es–but of course that would be a bad idea.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      I am not convinced it would be a bad idea. If they are as awesome as coworker implies, they would be horrified at his behavior. A good boss would recognize the inappropriateness of it and put a stop to it immediately- and are likely the only ones who actually can stop it!

      If I were the owners, I’d take the money and use it to do something nice for all the employees, and then place a rule that no one can take up a collection for them ever again.

      1. Whats In A Name*

        Agree 100% with everything you said. Pure speculation (b/c don’t know previous amounts) that in the past the owners were ok with the gift because it was smallish or a token-type gift.

  27. peanutbutter*

    #3 – I had a coworker who won a tablet ($200 retail), and turned around and sold it on the office-wide distribution list. It got a few laughs, but wasn’t a problem.

  28. Cube Ninja*

    OP #3: If it helps alleviate some of your potential guilt, it’s possible you’ll be paying taxes on that prize, but you’d probably have to check with your employer to know for sure. If that $1000 will be added to your income for the year and taxed, you should do whatever you want with the prize. If that $1000 will not be added to your income, you should STILL do whatever you want with the prize.

    It’s a prize, not a gift. :)

    1. OP#3*

      Yes, a coworker and I were debating on if it will be taxed or not. I’ve been taxed on gift cards that I’ve been given through our recognition system, but that comes out of the company’s budget so it was imputed income. We’ll see what happens with this however.

      1. Emi.*

        Do you have an ethics office you could ask about it? (Are those even common? I’ve only worked for the feds so far.)

    2. Jean*

      It looks like raffle winnings are taxable at a 25% rate if the amount (in cash or non-cash items) is over $5K.

  29. Sniffles*

    Gift giving to boss…
    We just had a staff meeting where someone brought up Secret Santa and/or Yankee Swap for office (I loathe both options); when I declined to be involved I also brought up the issue of “gifting up” . The response from others (the boss was not at that meeting) was that they do the SS and/or YS so that it’s not really “gifting up” since its all “secret”.

    Yes, when I was the boss, my staff did give me things because we were all friends (little things, like when they went on a trip; I’d do the same thing back to them). I did make a point to buy them pizza, pay for bday cakes/lunches/whatever when I could (I had a line item in the budget)

    1. Elsajeni*

      I’m curious about other people’s feelings on this one! I do feel like a Yankee Swap-type gift exchange, especially, is different — since you don’t know who’s going to get your gift, it doesn’t seem like the power dynamic really factors in, and as long as everyone abides by the rules, it should be a pretty even exchange in terms of money spent/value received. For a Secret Santa-type exchange, I feel a little weirder about it; I don’t think a big boss should participate (so, the owner of the company; the dean; the head of the department where all the other participants are employees; etc.), and if “smaller” bosses participate, I’d want the organizer to make an effort to match people so that no one ends up matched to their direct manager.

      1. AnonAnalyst*

        I sort of answered this below, but for me, it’s two things. The main issue in my workplace is that it’s not really voluntary to participate, so you are essentially forcing employees to spend their own money for a workplace event. That sucks.

        The other issue is that, depending on how large the disparities in employees’ pay are, even if everyone is contributing a gift of equal value, it’s a larger burden on employees who earn less. Someone making $150K is going to feel that $10-$15 hit a lot less than someone making $40K, especially when you’re talking about trying to live on that salary in a high cost of living area (which is the case for my company). There are a couple of employees in my company at the lower end of the salary scale that I particularly feel bad for because I know they aren’t earning much and that $15 could require a big cutback somewhere else in their budget for the month.

    2. AnonAnalyst*

      Ugh, my office does a Yankee Swap, and there is strong pressure for full participation. I held firm last year, but there was a lot of guilting about running out to buy something the week/day of.

      My position is: I am happy to join the group and participate in any gatherings and I will definitely come watch the swap happen with everyone else (and won’t take a gift, obviously), but I really dislike the notion that for an office event where everyone is expected to attend, there’s what amounts to a required fee.

      I don’t want to take a gift and I don’t want to participate in the swap, and I get pretty irritated that there’s an expectation that I will spend my own money purchasing gifts where there’s at least a 40% chance that whoever gets it earns more money than I do. There’s also a decent chance that I will end up with a gift purchased by someone who earns less than I do, which also seems crappy. I’m not a fan, but if this kind of stuff is truly voluntary I’m not going to make a big deal about not doing it, but if it’s “voluntary” (but with a huge side of guilt for not participating) it’s another story.

    3. Anonythis*

      I work in a pretty small office, we do SS because we think it is fun. For the past several years, the boss has opted out. We used to pitch in and get him something, but have not in the last 3 years or so. I never really thought much about it, but after reading around on this site I am glad we stopped. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but it really irks me to think of spending my hard earned money to buy a gift for someone who makes 4x what I make.

    4. zora*

      I’m in charge of planning holiday activities, and while talking about plans with my boss (who is the supervisor of everyone who works for our site), she said “Would people want to do a Secret Santa?” I said “oh, maybe, I’ll ask around” and she hasn’t brought it up since. I don’t think she’s really invested in it, but I don’t really want to tell her to her face that ‘gifting up’ is awkward.

      So, my current plan is to just not bring it up again, assume she will forget (she probably will) and if she does bring it up be noncommittal about some vague reason it didn’t work out. Is this a terrible idea, is there a better way to handle it? I might post on Friday in the open thread, I just remembered this situation.

  30. anon for this*

    OP#3’s letter reminded me of a time when my (former) employer gave all employees passes to a local music festival as a “morale booster.” My employer provided a service to the festival, and agreed to a less-than-usual payment along with 30 passes. At the time, I was a new mom, fresh off maternity leave, and my husband and I needed the cash, so I sold the two passes I was given. My employer found out, and was very critical, claiming that my selling the passes somehow put him in jeopardy of not working with the festival again…I never quite understood his take on it, but never accepted passes again unless I knew I would personally use them.

    1. OP#3*

      Ah, yes, we often get passes as part of our marketing work and connections. Those are often given as “thank yous” for being sponsors or participating and I think it’s understood that when those are offered it wouldn’t be right to turn around an sell them (this is still a bit different from the situation you described though).

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Ugh, I hate when people do this. Your behavior wasn’t the problem. My best bet is when he took passes as a substitute for cash payment, there may have been transferability limits placed on those passes (not on the actual pass, but in his agreement with the festival). But if there were limits to the distribution of those passes, it was on him to pay attention to those restrictions and communicate them to folks. It also sounds like he may have somehow created a distinction in his head between “gift” and “morale booster” which led him to come up with a completely bizarre, alternate etiquette reality.

      If it’s a gift, it’s a gift, and he has no right to try to limit how you use it. Same for passes given to you going forward. I know folks are sometimes attached to the gift they give someone and want to control how it’s used after it’s given, but that approach is manipulative and silly. A gift is not supposed to serve as a way to control other people; it’s a transfer of goodwill, and the recipient gets to decide what to do with it. If you want to control how someone uses something, don’t give it as a gift!

  31. Thornus67*

    Regarding gifting up, what is the etiquette in this situation?

    I work for a small office, eight workers total – two bosses, two associates, and four support staff. The other associate and I are unrelated to anyone, and one support staff is also unrelated. The rest are all related. The two bosses have an adopted son together (despite never being involved in any sort of relationship). The adopted son works as one of the support staff. The adopted son’s wife is also support staff. One of the bosses’ mothers also works as support staff.

    Come birthday times, we are generally pressured into giving gifts (either the son or boss’ mother is usually collecting it for the person in question). So, there’s definite unspoken pressure to give to the bosses (since someone related to them is usually asking for the contribution). But what about the support staff who are all related to the bosses? I also feel highly uncomfortable giving any contributions for a gift to any of them because, ultimately, they are related to the bosses, and I feel like the bosses are basically farming out their gift giving “responsibilities” to the unrelated people in the office since ultimately any gift given to the family member comes from bosses’ coffers. Am I wrong in feeling uncomfortable about giving gifts to the bosses’ son/daughter-in-law/mother?

    1. Anon Accountant*

      Is there a possibility of eliminating all the gift giving and financial contributions towards gifts?

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I would recommend treating the situation the same way you would if everyone were not related to everyone else.

      If part of the support staff’s work is to support you, and if there’s a hierarchical relationship between you and the support person, then it may be appropriate to give gifts of appreciation at various times in the year. So for example, if the organization has an office manager who fills your supply requests, handles your admin/scheduling, competently/proactively ensures your professional admin needs are met, then it could be appropriate to express gratitude for that support (although it’s not required and these norms of course vary by region, industry, etc.). It might also be appropriate for the bosses to send separate gifts of appreciation to support staff, but your giving a gift would be about your relationship to that staff. Don’t get distracted by the idea that only one “class” of employees (bosses) is required to be gracious/thoughtful.

      With respect to birthdays and boss gifts, I generally think it’s inappropriate to give gifts for birthdays when in the workplace unless: (1) unless it’s a milestone and the person being recognized is not the boss; or (2) you have an outside friendship with a person, in which case any gift should be given outside of the workplace.

  32. Anon Accountant*

    I wish giving the bosses a gift would stop and if others wished to do something for the boss then bring in cookies or fruit to share. Just place in a shared area and everyone can enjoy if they choose.

    We used to do a holiday potluck for the bosses but thankfully stopped that.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I’ve seen this become really challenging when people LOVE their boss. The best boss I’ve ever had is wonderful and thoughtful, and his employees often want to convey their appreciation because we all know that other bosses in the building are really horrible (we’re also organized in very small teams, so these are groups of 1 boss, 2 admin staff, 2-3 program staff). Because he’s awesome, he is extremely uncomfortable with gifting up and thinks it’s gauche unless it’s super tokenistic—like a $5 or less sort of thing.

      So he puts strong limits on when/how we do gifts. We’ll do a CD/DVD swap, for example, over the holidays with a financial limit on how much you can spend, and he participates. Or folks will bring in a dessert for everyone to share (which boss also does), and then it’s less creepy.

      But a holiday potluck for the bosses? I would be enraged.

  33. Dee*


    If someone tried to make me feel guilty for not giving enough towards a gift, I would be tempted to ask for my money back.

  34. Q*

    1.) My doctor’s office hours begin at 6:45am so I think an early morning interview time might help weed out people who would not be good this early. I personally would be terrible this early in the morning so I’d like to know going in what the expectation is.
    3) I always feel weird about fundraisers with prizes. If I win, I feel like I’m supposed to donate the prize right back since, you know, they are trying to raise money and that prize costs money. It’s awkward.
    5) I wouldn’t want a co-worker/acquaintance in my house when I was no there. Again, awkward. But maybe that’s just me.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      Re #3: Most prizes are donated, not bought, and in any case, they are a write off. So don’t feel guilty.

      1. OP#3*

        Good point! One coworker thinks they will tax me on the gift, but I’m not sure they will do that in this case.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          The federal government would tax you, if they knew about it, but your work likely won’t report it as income.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Re: #3, you should definitely feel ok with rejecting this framework. The prizes are almost always donated (costing the organization nothing), as Jessesgirl72 noted, and you made your donation/contribution when you bought into the fundraiser raffle/door prize. You can choose to donate back the prize, but unless they can use it at an event, they’re going to just raffle it, again. People who judge others for keeping prizes they win at fundraisers have too much time on their hands and often have non-standard beliefs/norms about money.

      1. TootsNYC*

        And actually, they’d probably rather you keep the gift (or sell it), and talk up the fact that you won it.

        That’s good publicity for them, and other people may be more likely to buy more raffle tickets.

  35. Student*

    #5 You are missing the point, poster #5. You asked somebody to do something for you. You got turned down. You need to find somebody else to dog-sit for you. You don’t get to litigate the HR person’s refusal to dog-sit for you on the internet.

    Maybe the refusal is an actual company policy, maybe it is a polite lie because HR person doesn’t want to dog-sit and doesn’t want to be confrontational about it, maybe it is the HR person’s personal ethical interpretation of job responsibilities. It is weird to try to contest the HR person’s decision about this by writing an advice blog – it comes off at minimum as missing the core message and focusing too much on something pretty minor, and at worst as inappropriately controlling/invasive/entitled. Just because you ask somebody to do something for you doesn’t mean they are obligated to accommodate you.

    1. Erin*

      This is kind of harsh. They asked a simple question about what constitutes a conflict of interest; I do not get the impression at all that they’re planning on going back to HR to push for the dog sitting.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Yeah, I read the question as an “is this legal?” type question, and Alison answered it. I assumed it was because OP#5 wants to avoid causing tension at work by trying to better understand why this would be a conflict of interest. I don’t know that s/he was trying to “litigate” whether it was wrong for HR person to turn down their request.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Yeah. It’s perfectly reasonable to accept the person’s response, but still wonder if this is common. And if you wonder, who better to ask than AAM?

        2. JB (not in Houston)*

          I read it the same way as Student did, actually, based on its wording/tone–that the OP was, at the least, annoyed about it, didn’t think the HR person had the right to do that, and was looking for someone to tell them they were right so they could argue with the person about it. But apparently we were the only ones who read it that way, and I’m glad to hear that I was seeing something that’s not there.

  36. Erin*

    #1 For what it’s worth, I’d be thrilled to get a 7am interview. I’d like that I wouldn’t have to take time off work because I could fit it in beforehand, and I’d love to get it overwith first thing in the morning, so I wasn’t thinking about it all day.

    But, sure, others might not feel the same, but I don’t think it’s a huge deal as long as you make it clear you can work with their schedule. “7am on Monday would be ideal for me, but if that doesn’t work for you I can possibly do noon on Thursday or 4:45pm on Friday.” Something like that. People like me might still opt for the morning one anyway.

  37. Anon 12*

    Our lovely next door neighbors have watched our animals for years when we are away. Many years ago their young teen son accidentally let our dog out and she dashed off. I guess he was completely hysterical and we were out of the country. They called my brother who calmly came over and listened to our answering machine (pre cell phone days) and sure enough, somebody had her and had called the number on the tags so she was returned before we knew. Had she been lost or injured I would have, in addition to my upset about the dog, probably never have forgiven myself for him having to live with that.

    1. Ms Ida*

      Pro tip from an overprotective helicopter dog mom. Get a second set of tags with your dog sitters contact info. We used to take a long trip every year and would not have cell phone reception for long stretches. My mom, who lives in another town, would pet sit and we swapped out the ID tags to show her address and phone.
      It gave us a lot of peace of mind.

  38. Christian Troy*

    #1 : If someone is scared off by a 7am interview time, you probably don’t want them anyway. Honest. I’ve had plenty of early morning interviews because I tend to interview for positions under physicians and it doesn’t bother me at all. I think it helps set the expectation for the position too.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Wait, no. 7 a.m. interviews times can be a big obstacle to people with child care commitments, for example. And frankly, there are tons of people who simply aren’t morning people who would be fine employees with a more typical starting time. People are allowed to have strong preferences on early morning appointments! (I personally wouldn’t go to a 7 a.m. interview.)

      1. Christian Troy*

        I think ideally a job interviewer will extend a few date/time options for an applicant to choose from, but it’s not always possible, fair or not. My own personal feeling (and experience) is that if someone is so put off by a 7am time, then they probably won’t enjoy a position that likely skews on the early side for a start time. The job the LW is interviewing for is a nurse/medical assistant position so I’m assuming the hours will mirror the physician’s and I’m also making the assumption the hours are from 7:30/8-4:30 based on the comment about being done with patients at 4:30.

        I appreciate your view and don’t disagree with you really, just chiming in that my read and POV of the letter was more along the lines that the 7am interview time wasn’t so far off from a 7:30/8am start time.

    2. Lemon Zinger*

      Agreed, this is for a doctor’s office! In that line of work, it’s important that employees are comfortable with very early hours.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*


        CT and LZ, you’re assuming that everyone works the same day at a doctor’s office, or that the doctor is an early morning person, which may not be true. There are plenty of doctors who keep later office hours (e.g., 10 a.m. to 7/8 p.m.) because they, too, are not morning people. And there are many offices that have part-time admins to allow excellent staff the flexibility they need for childcare or other personal reasons (or to avoid paying benefits).

        If OP#1 requires staff to come in at 7 a.m. as part of the position responsibilities, that can be communicated in the job announcement or through the interview process. But it’s not right to assume that “everyone knows” a physician has to open up at 7 a.m., therefore any job applicant to the position must show up for a 7 a.m. interview no matter what, and if they don’t, they’re unhireable. You also lose out on a lot of excellent and talented people (in ways that have discriminatory socioeconomic and sometimes gender impacts) when you try to force them to pick between family obligations and you being a reasonable human being about work hours/days.

        1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Especially because this particular doctor’s office DOESN’T open at 7:00 (presumably it opens at 8:00 or later, since the 7:00 interview doesn’t infringe on clinic time).

          1. JanMA*

            I’ve worked for several physicians over the years and never had one that actually saw patients every day the week (so that he could only interview during off hours). The kinds of clinics that are open 5 days/week would have someone else doing the interviewing. Odd.

    3. Kai*

      For many folks, it wouldn’t be an issue of being “scared off,” but more “I can’t fit that into my schedule given my current commitments.” And that’s okay!

  39. One Handed Typist*

    #1 – I don’t think anyone you are interviewing is being scared off by a 7am interview time. These are nurses and medical assistants, people who have experience in your field and understand those times. I think it is good to provide options with an explanation – “I’d like to schedule this interview around my patient’s appointments, so would Tuesday at 7am, 12pm, or 4:30pm work best for you?”. That should be more than enough explanation for those in health care.

  40. Lena*

    7am would be difficult logistically for many people – such as someone who relies on public transport, or has childcare that doesn’t start that early. I’d be able to make it, but I would be put off for that. I’d much rather the option for later in the day.

  41. amy*

    Yes, of course OP#1 is scaring off applicants with that crazy interview hour. Probably good ones, too, who know better than to accede from the start to a 6:45 am Saturday morning request.

    I can tell what this guy is like from here: very professional, but has no life outside work and no clue about the lives of anyone who does. He doesn’t notice how much others put into making sure he can go on doing nothing but working. He thinks nothing of asking people to stay late, come early, show up on weekends if it’s what business demands, and it doesn’t occur to him to compensate them extra for their trouble or make it up in any way. He also doesn’t keep track of what it’s reasonable to pay office staff, and his numbers are several years or more out of date. His ideal office assistant will devote her life to him while he pays her half of what she’s worth, she’s older, her name is Betty or Barb, and not too many of her exist anymore. Also, he’s writing in because people have been telling him he’s behaving like a crazy person and he’s hoping Allison will prove them all wrong, because after all his behavior is very logical and he’s always done things this way.

    I’m sure he’s a very nice, smart, earnest man, but he has to understand that it’s no longer 1982 and his expectations of what people will do to support him in his work are probably unreasonable. He’s going to have to consider what his employees’ and potential employees’ needs are, too.

    1. catsAreCool*

      If I were looking for work, I’d probably want to interview at a time when I wasn’t expected to be at work. The doctor’s times might work out well for me, and I’m not a morning person.

    2. Christian Troy*

      As I mentioned in my response above, the LW states they are interviewing for a nurse/medical assistant position and I assume based on when they’re finished seeing patients, they start at 7:30/8am. My doctor and dentist both have appointments before 8am on the weekdays so I don’t think it’s fair or reasonable to read into the letter so negatively.

  42. Fresh Faced*

    #1 Unless you’re only hiring local, location can be a killer for the 7am start time as well. As someone that lives in the countryside and is looking for a job in the city , most of my interview commutes are 2 hours+. I also rely on public transport so going to very early interviews can actually be impossible without staying the night before.

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