hiring someone for a job that might change soon, recommending a former coworker who left on bad terms, and more

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

1. Hiring someone when I know the job might change significantly soon

I work for a slightly dysfunctional company (around 150 employees) in a place where it can be hard to find work for highly skilled people with a certain speciality.

We’re looking to add a new person to my team, and found a person who would fit the job really well. Now, normally I would just hire him as fast as possible. But I am likely changing jobs soon. My department is really taking off, but that is largely because I have a certain skill set — a mix of a lot of experience in the company, being highly skilled in our speciality, and being an entrepreneur. If I go, this department and the job will very likely go in another direction, because short-term demands for our specialty will overtake long-term planning.

This person has another offer from another company. It’s not quite as exciting, with a longer commute. We’re within biking-distance and the other job would require him to buy a car, but it’s certainly a good job. I would rate our offer as a 9/10 and the other job as a 7/10 career-wise. Once I am gone, working in the department is likely going to change quite a lot, and move this job to a 6/10 or even lower.

Should I offer a person a job, knowing I am a large part of what makes this job work and that I might very likely (>80%) be gone in a matter of months?

Ethically, I don’t think you can offer him the job without disclosing what you’ve said here. Ideally, you’d explain all this to the candidate and then let him make his own decision. Otherwise it’s too much like offering someone a job without mentioning that there’s an 80% chance the job will be moving to another state in a few months, or that the role will change from X to Y.

I realize this might not be a simple thing to do since you probably don’t want others in your company to know this is a likelihood yet, and I’m sure you don’t want to freak out your current staff by having them hear that their jobs are likely to change dramatically. But I’d have real qualms about offering the job to someone who’d be turning down a decent offer to take it if you don’t disclose the likelihood of significant, near-term changes.

2. Recommending a former coworker who left on bad terms

I have a question about recommending friends/former colleagues to my current company. Dory and I used to work together in a government job and became pretty close friends. Although we were peers, I looked up to her in many ways because she was a little bit older and, frankly, better at that job than me (this isn’t to say I was bad at it, but Dory was fantastic, at least in my opinion.) Her only major shortcoming was that she always sounded a bit angry and had a major case of RBF (for lack of a better term.) She was also extremely direct, something that I appreciated. Some people didn’t like her for it, but almost everyone who go to know her realized that she was actually a really easy person to work with. I do think her gender had something to do with why she rubbed some people the wrong way.

I made a career change and went into the private sector several years ago, which has worked out well for me. I love my job and the company I work for. Dory stayed, but she recently left our old job on pretty bad terms. She was accused of being a toxic leader and disrespectful towards her superiors. My opinion of the situation is pretty one-sided (being that I’m Dory’s friend and no longer work there) but I do know some of the people who were involved, and from my perspective it’s a case of several coworkers ganging up to get rid of a person they didn’t like.

My company is hiring and I think Dory would be a great fit for a particular role. I really want to recommend her, but I’m not sure what to do about the situation with our previous employer. My gut feeling is to recommend her based entirely on the work we did together: I only know about what happened afterward because we’re still good friends. However, I’m also worried about backlash if I recommend her and then they hear all of these awful things from our previous employer. The head of the program that’s hiring has specifically mentioned that some of the recommendations he’s received have been less-than-stellar and he wants employees to really think about who would be a good fit, not just who their friends are. Yes, I do want to help my friend, but I really do think she would do great here.

To clarify, Dory briefly asked me about my company a while back before the situation blew up at her work, but she has not yet asked me to recommend her. Am I right to be concerned?

I think you have to disclose a bit more of the context if you recommend her because you don’t really know enough about the issues to be sure that your interpretation is the correct one. Also, if Dory rubs this many people the wrong way, it’s better for her to end up in a place that’s okay with her directness and demeanor, and being up-front about this stuff will increase the chances of that stuff. So I’d give your recommendation and add something like, “I do want to note that she’s very direct, which not everyone loves. I thought she was really easy to work with and I appreciated her directness and thought it got us better outcomes, but I want to be transparent with you that she rubbed some people the wrong way and that’s part of the reason she left Teapots Inc.”

That’ll increase your credibility (because you’re acknowledging the issue), give you some cover if things end up not going well, and give some context for things that might come up in reference checks. Ideally, it will also help your employer screen Dory out if she’s mismatched with what they need, which is a better outcome for everyone than hiring her into a job where she won’t thrive.

3. My coworkers are always late and it’s impacting me

I work in an office with six other full-time employees. One other person and I have worked in the office for several years, and the others all started a little over a year ago.

For security reasons, two people must be present to unlock and enter the building. We use the phone system to punch in and out. Time is rounded up or down. Example: 9:07 a.m. to 1:23 p.m. would count as 4.5 hours, where as 9:08 a.m. to 1:22 p.m. would count as 4 hours.

I have always been on time. And the last manager would put people on PIPs for too many late occasions (four times in a rolling six-month period, according to company guidelines). But with this new manager, it seems scheduled times are suggestions. Everyone seems to aim for the seven-minute leeway (and many times miss it), leaving me sitting out in the parking lot. Now, if I will truly lose time (like having to punch in at 9:08 a.m. or later when I was there before my scheduled 9 a.m.,) I can override the system. But it annoys me to punch in “late” when I wasn’t and sets the rest of the day to be more stressed as not everything gets done before we open. I have sat in the parking lot for 15 minutes or more past my scheduled start time on many occasions due to people “running late.”

Am I wrong to feel annoyed? Should I just aim for being late too? I really feel like the odd man out. One young employee (first real job out of college) actually said she would quit if they enforced actually expecting people to be there by the time they are scheduled.

No, you’re not wrong to feel annoyed. It’s annoying.

Talk to your manager and say this: “Over the past few months, I’ve found myself stuck in the parking lot waiting for a second person to arrive, because I’m on time and they’re late. This leaves me standing around waiting, it means that I look like I’m punching in late even though I was on time, and it means that we don’t have everything done before we open. Traditionally people have been expected to be on time in order to avoid these issues. Is it possible to go back to requiring that?”

4. Turning down an internal job offer

I have an interview scheduled as an internal candidate for a position in my organization’s satellite location. (I’m not actively job-seeking, but this position seemed like a good lateral move to build experience.) However, over the years in my current position I’ve heard lots of negative talk about the erratic management style and difficult workplace culture in this very small office, which has since been re-confirmed since I accepted the interview. My plan is to take the interview and ask a lot of questions about the position, and not accept if it doesn’t feel right. What I’m not sure about is whether it looks better to the hiring committee (which includes other senior managers I report to) to withdraw my name from consideration shortly after the interview, if I decide to do so, or to wait for an offer. I think I am a strong candidate, and don’t want to waste anyone’s time if I don’t want the position. I somehow feel it would raise more questions, though, if I were to withdraw right after the interview.

We’re not a large organization, so I want to make sure I don’t do anything to harm my reputation internally and keep a good rapport with this other manager and the hiring committee. Any advice?

If you decide you definitely don’t want the position, withdraw at that point rather than waiting for an offer, so that they’re not moving forward with wrong assumptions (cutting other candidates loose, etc.). That’s always the case but especially so with internal positions, where the relationships matter even more.

Also, there are some offices where turning down an internal offer once things get past to interview stage is a big deal — where it’s assumed that if you’re interviewing, you know enough about the company and the role that you’ll take it if you can come to terms on salary, etc. In those offices, turning down an offer can make it harder to get considered for promotions in the future because there’s a sense of “well, she turned us down last time so let’s not invest a bunch of time in this conversation again.” That’s not fair or reasonable, but it’s the way some offices work, so make sure you have a sense of that too before you let things go any farther. (If you trust your boss’s judgment or have an internal mentor, those are good people to talk to about that.)

5. What’s going on with my promised new office?

I work in an office job at a medium-sized company. When I first started in this position, there wasn’t much office space available so I was forced to work in a small corner of someone else’s desk for about eight months. As I moved up in my position, I got my own desk but it’s still very small and uncomfortable and in the corner of someone else’s office.

The president of my company said they would be building new office space for me by Christmas, but this was about four months ago and they still have not started construction. When new desk space opened up, a newer hire got it over me as the president said I would be getting my own office soon. My question is, is there any way for me to politely push for progress on the office situation? I am not comfortable in my current situation and I feel as though it’s a bit humiliating for a grown woman to be working in this tiny chair and desk. I think a comfortable working environment is necessary for me to maximize my productivity.

Yes, ask! First say this: “I know the plan was to build new office space for me by Christmas. Is there an updated timeline?” Depending on the answer, you could then say, “I know there are limited options, but given that I’m in such a tiny space with no room to spread out and that it’s been X months now and sounds like it’ll be at least a few more, could we explore alternatives for the interim?”

{ 146 comments… read them below }

  1. Generation Catalano

    #2 Always sounding a bit angry is a huge deal. RBF is not. But always sounding angry… I’m not sure I would want to recommend someone who fit that description.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Unfortunately, reading a woman as “angry” simply because she’s direct can often be tied up with implicit race/gender bias (e.g., the incorrect tropes that certain women, particularly certain women of color, are “angry” when in fact they’re simply direct) or regional bias (e.g., communication norms on the East Coast v. Midwest).

      In light of the fact that OP#2 has signaled that she thinks some of this perception can be attributed to gender bias, I’m not sure it’s helpful to her for us to speculate whether Dory is actually an “angry woman” or the victim of misperception.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yeah, as a parameter for this discussion, I think we’ll be most constructive if we don’t try to speculate in either direction about the concerns about Dory; we’re not going to be able to know and it’s all going to be speculation from internet strangers. (She very well might come across poorly and be difficult to work with. Or she might not. We’re not going to know.)

        Instead, I think the challenge for us here needs to be to advise the OP despite that unknown.

        1. Myrin

          Especially since the OP states all of the ways Dory came across as facts: “Her only major shortcoming was that she always sounded a bit angry and had a major case of RBF […]. She was also extremely direct.”, meaning Dory did indeed sound angry but some people got along with it just fine and some had a problem with it.

          And that really is something OP definitely needs to be aware of with her recommendation. I’ve always gotten along very easily with loud, intense, or intimidating people (and my current boss is like that) whereas my sister is very sensitive in that regard and said herself that she could never work for or with all these people I have no problems with. Definitely something for the OP to take into account.

          1. Stellaaaaa

            I took it that way too. It’s no great crime to not be blessed with the most genial personality. You often have to be pushy and gruff to get things done. But OP does need to factor in the reality that, for whatever reason, Dory is hard to warm up to.

            I’m not sure I could recommend a friend who’s a walking example of an office culture clash.

          1. MK

            What she actually said was that “almost everyone who got to know her realized that she was actually a really easy person to work with”, which isn’t really the same thing. It could be that people realised their first negative impression was wrong, or they got used to her abrupt style of communication, or they put up with it because they couldn’t do anything else, or they realised the OP was a personal friend of hers and backpedalled like crazy (“yes, absolutely, now that I got to know her I realise she is great”).

            I don’t want to secondguess what the OP says, but she herself admits her bias. And I am not a stranger to the experience od bitting my tongue when one coworker says of another,who happens to be a friend “sure, they seem difficult, but once you get to know them you realise it’s not that bad, and anyway their great X quality compensates for the difficult parts and everyone acknowledges that”. When in fact, the coworker is actually a nightmare to work with and it really is that bad and, no, their good qualities don’t outweigh the bad ones and the fact that no one is willing to get into an argument with ther BFF about this and nod non-commitally when the subject comes up does not mean much.

        2. Generation Catalano

          That’s not what I was saying at all. I wasn’t speculating. I was saying the LW is describing someone I’d be wary of recommending.

    2. OP2

      I should probably specify what I meant by “always sounding a bit angry.” It’s probably a combination of factors Dory can’t control (people have unkindly referred to her voice as “grating”) and factors she probably can (a tendency to skip all pleasantries before jumping into work-related conversations.) She doesn’t ever raise her voice or anything like that.

      Thanks for the responses, guys. I admit this is not the answer I was hoping for, so I’m glad I asked.

      1. RBF for the win!

        I’m going to agree with Alison and say that you SHOULD recommend her, because you think she’d excel at the actual work. I think adding a disclaimer about her personality/directness would be prudent as well.

        I’d also consider having a conversation with Dory directly. I also have a “unique” voice and a “serious” female face – the day someone had a real conversation with me about it did wonders for my career. Is it fair? No, that’s just the way my face is built! Stop telling women to smile! I don’t exist for you to have something pleasant to look at! (Etc etc) But I’ve been working on adding smiles to my one-on-ones, sending more emails (especially when I’m emotional, as my voice seems to go up an octave) that sort of thing, and frankly people are more responsive to it and I’m getting better results.

        I’m a bad feminist.

        1. Mandy

          I agree. Also, what Dory has recently been through has surely made her more conscious of how she went wrong and the need to ‘tone it down’. People do change. Also, I personally would *never* embarrass a friend who recommended me and would make sure to work hard the culture as someone else was in play. Rather than recommending Dory and then saying the negatives, I’d look at the context. If the job is for charming new hires, vs fighting off a hostile takeover, then pitch the skills to the job. If I knew this person I would have a bit of faith.

          1. Chaordic One

            I’m glad to see some support for Dory. I think that the advice Allison has provided is sound and the OP should recommend Dory with the caveats Allison has mentioned.

          1. ZVA

            +1 to this, thank you! Who even knows what a “good” feminist is, anyway? As long as it’s not harming anyone else, no shame in doing what you need to do to get by/ahead in a sexist world.

          2. turquoisecow

            Agreed! Be yourself. Isn’t that what feminism is about – allowing women to make their own choices to be themselves?

        2. paul

          RBF can be an issue. I once had a colleague tell me (after a few drinks at a conference) that my default face made me look like I was “trying to piss glass” and scared people. I’m just not sure what to actually do about it.

        3. Myrin

          You certainly aren’t a bad feminist for being cognisant of how you (can) come across! Lord knows I can think of several men who I wish would work on seeming more approachable and not like they’re always irritated or annoyed.

      2. Michele

        Is Dory by chance from outside of the area? I have moved around a few times, and I have noticed that people judge outsiders more harshly. Also, I come from an area where small talk isn’t really a thing, although we will launch into conversations with strangers. I have a hard time in some places because it seems like everything is small talk (which I associate with people trying to sell me something), but an actual conversation is considered rude or intrusive.

        1. Chaordic One

          I sort of wonder if Dory might be older than the coworkers who seem to have ganged up on her. There might be a bit of “ageism,” as well as “sexism,” involved.

          1. OP2

            No to both. She was average age for the workplace. And while she was from outside the area, so was everyone else.

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Totally agreed that you SHOULD recommend Dory. I have several friends who would meet the description you’ve provided, which sometimes sets people on their heels when they first meet them (it set me on my heels, and I’m pretty frank!). But they’re both fantastic and capable and entirely appropriate (and not angry—just direct), so I think it’s possible to recommend them and to note that they’re very direct.

        I would do the same thing, OP#2, if I were in your shoes and recommending Dory. You don’t have to walk on eggshells or otherwise make it sound like her communication style is A Thing. Offer your enthusiastic support, then qualify it with a “by the way” statement about her directness.

        1. Seal

          Me too. The Dorys of this world need champions. And I am SO sick and tired of people assuming direct = angry when talking about women.

    3. Stranger than fiction

      Meh, some people might describe me that way too, yet others are like the Op and just view me as direct or having a very dry sense of humor. These things are sometimes subjective.

      1. Birds of a feather

        This is me too…I work hard to mitigate these negative impressions (smile more, make small talk, etc.) but really has been an issue all of my life. Guess it’s good I’m cognizant of it but mostly leaves me feeling meh…….

  2. Stellaaaaa

    OP3: So if you clock in at 9:08 and work straight through to 1:22, they only pay you for 4 hours? I gotta ask the dreaded question….is that legal? Your boss doesn’t care that your coworkers are late because he’s cutting corners and getting a bit of free labor out of you.

    1. krysb

      This is the first thing that went through my mind. There are a lot of things employers with less than 15 employees can get away with, but wage theft isn’t one of them.

    2. Kyrielle

      Probably. Most states let you round up or down to 15 minute increments I believe? And 9:08 would round to 9:15 while 1:22 would round to 1:15 – 4 hours, tada. (But 9:07-1:23 would round to 9:00-1:30, 4.5 hours.)

        1. Natalie

          Nope, you can round every punch as long as it, on balance, evenly washes out or rounds in the employee’s favor.

      1. Stranger than fiction

        Yep, we do that here so you don’t have weird increments on your timesheet/payroll. But we don’t have the system like the Op where two people have to enter together. It’s nice because if you constantly get to work at 8:02 or 8:03, it’s considered 8:00 and you’re not late, but if you clock in at 8:08, you’re now 15 min. late. I’m rarely that late but when I am, I just stay that much later at the end of the day so I’m not “robbing” them of minutes.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      I’ve linked to the DOL regs in my username, but the FLSA allows employers to round down to the quarter hour so long as they also round up from time to time (i.e., you can’t round if you’re always rounding down). 29 C.F.R. § 785.48(b).

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Translation: No, it’s not inherently illegal (or wage theft) for an employer to round up/down an hourly employee’s time.

      2. Zip Silver

        That world be annoying. Every hourly job I’ve ever worked has been exact to the minute, when you swipe your time card. Pretty much all of those jobs were thinks like retail or fast food. Even now in my current company, my hourly employees aren’t getting time rounded.

        1. Natalie

          It’s really not that bad – per DOL rules it’s supposed to either wash out or round to the employee’s benefit. When I was hourly/non-exempt I liked that it made it easy to get exactly 40 hours (rather than 39.98 one week, 40.03 the next week), so my checks were consistent.

      3. Tandar

        I wish I’d known this years ago at an old job. They always rounded our time before and after shifts. Clock in at 7:46, it counted as 8am. Clock out at 5:14, it counted as 5pm. So you only got 8 hours pay. But if you clocked in at 8:01am and out at 4:59pm, they docked you the 2 minutes and you only got 7:58 hours pay. Drove us nuts because if the phone rang at 4:59 we’d get in trouble if we didn’t answer but if we got stuck on a customer call we weren’t getting paid for that time unless we could stretch the call past 5:15. It never rounded in the employee’s favor.

    4. Op3

      I can override the system if that is the case . But that “flags” my account and the manager has to approve it. I do end up getting properly paid. But being expected to punch in at, say 9:07 when you were in the lot ready to go before 9 is annoying.

      1. DeskBird

        Can you approach it with your manager that way? Tell them in order to punch in on time you need to override the account because no one else is there – and that this is happening more and more frequently?

        1. MaggiePi

          I think this is the approach I would take. Next time it happens (and I would probably just do it at 9:05 every time if no one else was there.) mention the flag and that you are waiting a lot.

      2. ThatGirl

        I’m sure it is, but it also helps build your case that this is happening a lot, and if you make it too inconvenient for your manager it might motivate them to help fix things.

        1. Jessesgirl72

          If the Manager is at all reasonable. S/he could also decide OP is too much trouble and penalize the squeaky wheel, instead.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            I would hope not, though. OP will know best if her manager is reasonable, but assuming s/he is, then better to raise the issue than to let it fester.

            1. Jessesgirl72

              I’m not saying she shouldn’t raise the issue. I just doubt the advisability of making more work for her manager.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                Ohhh, I think we’re reading the advice in two different ways.

                For some reason, I thought the advice was to note to the Manager that the late time punches were increasing that manager’s workload (by having to review and approve each override) as an additional justification for requesting a punctuality policy/change. So it’s not that OP would be creating new work for her manager; it’s that the current system is already creating more work for her manager.

                Did you see something different that I missed? (I’m asking this sincerely with no snark—sometimes I get lost in the comment nesting and miss key points.)

                1. Jessesgirl72

                  I think I was conflating this with other comments who suggested she override the system every time she was waiting past her start time. I think making too much of a nuisance about it can sometimes backfire, and the Manager is likely to decide the problem is the OP and not the system or her letting everyone else arrive late.

      3. SophieChotek

        I agree. I hope you can work something out.

        Like Zip Silver says — I work at a coffee shop job that does to the minute — but it is super frustrating to be there on time and not get paid!
        From my own experience – (and like you we cannot enter or even be in building unless there are two people) and to have to sit in the car and wait until other person shows up. I’ve lost up to an hour of pay when other person was late…coffee shop opened late and all I could do is stare at my regulars who wondered why I couldn’t go in and make coffee and say “rules!”…

        Thanks @Princess Counseula for clarifying 15 mins increments — I wondered that too!

      4. disconnect

        JFC. Punch in at 9:00. Work day starts at 9:00, not 9:07. Make your manager approve it Every. Single. Time.

    5. Michele

      It isn’t considered illegal because if they clock in at 9:07, they get paid for 7 minutes that they didn’t work.
      I suspect the coworkers are playing that game. It has been done at every place that I worked where we had to physically clock in. There was always friction with managers because they would want us to clock in at 8:53 so they could steal a few minutes and would get mad if someone clocked in at 8:52.

      1. Sas

        And see, that would be the argument against Aam’s advice. I mean seriously, this “game” starts somewhere past the employees. Why would any company not pay someone for the time that they work? Ridiculous seriously.

        1. Natalie

          If rounding is being done legally, an employee is getting paid for all time worked. You cannot use a rounding system that short changes an employee over the course of time – it has to balance or round in the employee’s favor.

        2. Observer

          Actually, it’s generally done because it’s easier to deal with. And, legally speaking, it can only be done if the rounding goes both ways (which the OP indicates is happening.)

          When we used to have paper timesheets, most of our staff did this as well.

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          As folks have noted, employees ultimately get paid for the time they work in a rounding system. An employer isn’t allowed to round time if they’re only rounding down—they have to round up and down in order to meet the FLSA’s regulations/requirements for hourly workers. OP has noted that her company does, in fact, round in both directions, and she’s also noted that she gets paid for all of her time because she can “override” when she clocks in to reflect her time on site (but the override is inconvenient and requires manager approval).

          So I think it may be more helpful to help her figure out how to get her manager on board with a punctuality expectation/policy than to focus on whether we think this kind of time-keeping policy is fair (since it sounds like it’s being implemented in accordance with federal law).

    6. SimonTheGreyWarden

      I worked a warehouse job for a while (I have worked a lot of strange places) and we had a rounding time-clock (4:56-5:04 would all show up as 5:00) because if you were the last in line to clock in or out, it might take 5 minutes for you to get to the time clock. Sure, some people bunched up and clocked out right at 4:56, but if you were parking your forklift and then had to grab your purse from your locker, you might just squeeze up at 5:03. In that way the company didn’t have to ding people for unauthorized overtime, but also the person trying to clock in by 8am and not getting to the clock until 8:03 because of the line wouldn’t be on an action plan.

  3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#1, I just want to emphasize that you should disclose the pro’s and cons you’ve provided in your letter when you make the candidate the offer. I generally had greater respect for and trust in my employer when they were frank about the limits or uncertainty of a position. When I took the offer, I went in with eyes open and with a great deal of goodwill toward my New Company because they didn’t try to cover up the unknowns and just leveled with me. And even if your candidate turns down the offer or withdraws, he’s more likely to think positively of you and your company (at a minimum, he’ll think you’re honest).

    OP#2, in addition to qualifying your recommendation, I would make it clear to your current employer when your working relationship with Dory ended. I know it sounds obvious that your employer should be able to figure out that you stopped working with her when you started working with them, but I think it would be useful for them to know that you can’t really speak to any of the drama that may have gone down after you left (I wouldn’t even mention that part—I’d stick to the parameters Alison suggested).

    OP#3, please say something. It’s not ok for you to be at work not getting paid (or getting paid but showing up as overriding the “late” designation) because your coworkers aren’t being punctual anymore. That would drive me up the wall (it also encourages lateness creep, because people who are on time start coming in later to “match” the time of their late colleagues, then those colleagues tend to come in slightly later, and things semi-spiral).

    OP#5, I have nothing to add except to say, wow, I would be so frustrated. I hope everything sorts itself, soon!

    1. Whats In A Name

      In addition, for OP#3: I think this could bite you in the butt if you don’t say something.

      What if a new manager shows up, looks back over past time sheets and seeing that you are overriding your late clock in on a regular basis. Do they then start a file to watch your comings and goings, are you addressed in an initial one-on-one in a “I was looking over past performance and noticed…”

      I really feel you should say something. And not everyone does want to have a job where they have to be held accountable for a certain start time. I don’t think that is specific to any age group, but it sounds like they need to find someone who is ok with having a clock-in time and is being more respectful of their co-worker’s time.

      1. Kyrielle

        I would hate having to have a job where I had to be there on-the-dot.

        But if I accepted one, I would do it. I’d probably be early a lot trying not to be late, but I would do it. Because I would have agreed to do it.

    1. BeenThere&GoingAnonForThis

      I disagree. Recently we went through this at work where a smallish (<7 % of our total staff ) group use our management review system to force out a manager they found irritating. She's like how OP described Dory. A bit brusque, but very easy to work with when you realize it's not personal. The group that pushed for her to be gone highly exaggerated her attitude and out the door she went. She's since started her own business and I've absolutely recommend her. I'm sure with the caveats recommend by Alison OP's just fine.
      (Off topic slightly, the manager who replaced her is a sexist dumbass. Sooo happy to have him over her…not.)

      1. SophieChotek

        I tend to agree that it is worth mentioning potential issues during referral.
        It depends on culture. I work at Coffee Shop with a manager like that — 90% of the time I think she’ great and I’ve had something like 10 managers at coffee shop and she is the 2nd best manager. But a lot of people don’t like her because she can be brusque and direct and doesn’t soften thing when she says you did something wrong — she just direct says what the issue was.

        1. rawr

          All of my favorite managers have been like this. They’re kind people, but they’re also direct. It makes it so much easier to get the job done and you always know exactly where you stand, no surprises.

          1. Golden Lioness

            This!!!
            All of my favorite managers have been direct and brusque (but not cruel) I also found them to be easy to work with. It’s much easier when you have clear expectation and know exactly where you stand. They also tend to be very fair.

      2. Stranger than fiction

        Agreed. My BF is currently job hunting because he’s pretty sure they’re trying to push him out for similar reasons. He’s far more experienced than almost everyone in the company, but because his directness has ruffled the underperformers’ feathers and shined a light on their lack of urgency and delivery, they’re making it about him. Just a poor culture fit. The old task oriented individual facing off with mostly people oriented coworkers. Or could be an east coast/west coarse thing because before he moved to CA, he never had these issues.

    2. Jessesgirl72

      Meh. Some office cultures appreciate directness and competence over willingness/ability to make casual chit chat before getting to the work, and could care less about someone’s natural voice and if she has RBF.

      I wouldn’t recommend her if I worked in one of those really social offices, but in other places, she’d be fine.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      I can’t see how/why OP#2 would regret it, so long as she’s candid in her recommendation.

  4. neverjaunty

    OP #1, if your company is “slightly dysfunctional” and you are the only thing keeping a job there from being mediocre, then it is not by any stretch of the imagination a 9/10. Even if you weren’t planning on leaving soon, you could get transferred or laid off, you could get an offer from a recruiter you couldn’t refuse, or god forbid you could get hit by a bus, and then the candidate would be in a much suckier job.

    (Also, please consider that you may be rating your job as ‘better’ because it’s a better fit for you, and not for the candidate. Maybe she doesn’t mind the longer commute. Maybe she’d rather drive further than deal with a dysfunctional workplace.)

    1. JonSnow

      Sorry, but it is actually a great job right now – my current team loves their job. Both my team and my own manager agrees on the fundation I have stated.

      But, by your logic I could never hire anyone?

      1. MK

        I think neverjaunty meant that you (or in fact your current team) are not in a position to evaluate whether this job is a 9/10 for this particular candidate. Also, it’s not really your place to compare your offer with their other one; just give them the pertinent facts abut your offer and company, as much as you can do so without being disloyal to your employer, and let them make up their own mind.

        1. Trout 'Waver

          This. Put all the facts out there about the position you’re offering and let the candidate make the decision based on their priorities. It comes across as presumptive that you’d know the candidate’s offers and their personal preferences better than they would themselves.

          1. Liane

            This. It is the flip side of the candidates who sometimes write to Alison: I am sure I am the best fit for this Teapot Engineer opening because I have so many years experience on top of a degree in Teapot Materials from the Ivy League school Chocolate U and an internship at Prestigious Tea Firm. Plus they said I am the only local candidate they are considering, which means I have to be a better choice than the applicants who live farther away. And one of the interviewers said she really, really wants me on the team–she’d never say that if the others on the panel didn’t agree I was the Chosen One.

        2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

          Why are folks harping on ratings? It seemed clear to me that JonSnow gave us the ratings in order to illustrate that while the job he’s offering currently appears to be a better offer, it won’t remain so once the changes take place. Sheesh.

            1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

              He’s not deciding anything. He used the ratings to illustrate the dilemma he has — a job that looks good now, but will be less good in the future.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            I agree with you, Victoria. Whether or not we agree with OP#1’s perception of the job, his ratings don’t really impact our ability to advise him on what (and whether) to disclose his move to the job candidate.

      2. Lablizard

        It might be a great job right now, but, by your own assessment, it will not remain great, and new hires are coming into future job, not present. That said, what you think are negative changes coming may not be negative to the candidate. The key is making sure that they know that the job they think they are applying to is going to change radically into something else so that they can make an informed decision

      3. neverjaunty

        I’m not following how you read ‘whether your company is the best choice for the candidate is up to the candidate, especially since it will be a much less great job in a few months’ to mean ‘you could never hire anyone’?

        If you meant that you love your job and you’re annoyed that anyone would think it wasn’t amazing – loving your job is subjective. Sure, there are lots of factors that most people would agree make a workplace amazing, like consistent, fair management, treating employees like competent adults, and so on. But one person’s great job is another person’s ‘no thanks’. One candidate may think nothing of a slightly longer commute, while another candidate may find filling out time sheets to be a deal-breaker. It’s not a slight on you or your team to acknowledge that.

        If you meant that you could never hire anyone because they’d say “no thanks” if they realized the job would drop from being a fantastic 9 to a meh 6 in a few months – making it worse than your candidate’s alternative – then your question is really “can I leave out important information to get this job filled and anyway it’ll rock for the next little while?”, which I really hope it isn’t.

      4. Lora

        Please tell the candidate! Otherwise they will definitely feel they have been bait-n-switched. They will be angry with you and anyone else they interviewed with for not disclosing this, and feel that they were deliberately lied to about the job.

        I’ve been bait-n-switched more than once. The second time, I asked loads of questions and got satisfactory answers, asked other people in my network, etc. and got either, “I don’t really know personally” or a reasonable answer. It did no good at all, the manager who hired me left after I had been there two months and the new manager was grossly incompetent, driving out and demoting the managers I liked and promoting ones that were so bad they had to be fired for legal liability reasons. I’m not just angry with the manager who hired me and then left – I have a low opinion of his boss and his grandboss too, because they ALL knew and were dishonest when I asked them directly. I’ve cut the whole company out of NewJob’s Approved Vendors List because I’d rather not deal with that tomfoolery ever again if at all possible.

        NewJob was very very honest about the position and how they anticipated it would change. They were upfront about how the department would be re-organized and what their hiring philosophies were for who my future boss would be when they hired that person. Everyone I spoke with talked candidly about how the job would likely evolve and grow and what the not-fun parts of it would be, and talked extensively about how their own positions had changed and grown. Grandboss has met with me more than once to be very apologetic about how the re-org wasn’t going as fast as he’d like and he knew it must be difficult to have things so unsettled. I’m actually pretty self-directed so this wasn’t a huge deal; I had plenty of guidance from colleagues. But I LOVE that they were so frank with me.

        Both places where I have been bait-n-switched, I will not recommend that anyone in my network to apply, if they are good. There’s no “well maybe they would be good for this particular opening under this particular boss…” or “maybe they have the right personality for the culture”; there’s no right personality for a boss who is dishonest and cannot be trusted to tell me what they know which directly affects me. I’m not the only ex-employee who does this, either – both those companies have developed reputations in the past few years for being terrible places to work, and they have difficulty recruiting even though they pay at the top of the range.

    2. Stranger than fiction

      Your last paragraph occurred to me too. His idea of what’s more appealing may be different.

  5. KR

    Number 5… That would annoy me too. For a while at my old job I didn’t have a desk that was just mine. I had a spot with a computer I used but I would come in to find someone using my computer and I wouldn’t be able to work, or to find my boss had unhooked my PC to take apart a server on my desk indefinitely, or so on. It made it much easier to work and made me feel much more valued and legitamite when my boss gave me my own desk, my own storage, and my own work laptop.

    1. Michelle

      Yes, not having a proper place to work is annoying. When I went from part-time to full-time, I still had to share a cubicle and computer with the other 2 part-time employees until my desk and office equipment was ordered and arrived. Since I was full-time and there everyday, I usually was using the computer and cubicle space to complete my assignments and I knew it was annoying for the part-time employees. I was always apologizing and trying to use the break room for things that did not require the computer so they had time to check email and work on their projects. They understood and we always managed to work something out, but it was a glorious day when the MIS guys showed up with my computer, phone and cubicle walls.

  6. JonSnow

    OP1 here – Thanks for the answer. Was more or less what I was leaning towards, but I wasn’t quite sure how to weigh the needs of the company versus this persons career.

    1. Newish Reader

      I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is that interviewers/hiring managers shouldn’t be weighing the needs of the person’s career. We all have different past experiences, current circumstances, and future goals and can’t know all of the factors a candidate is considering in their job search. As hiring managers, we want to hire the best qualified candidates and we hope that they will stay for a good length of time as happy, productive employees. The key is to provide candidates with full information so that they can make an informed decision for themselves.

      1. designbot

        That’s what I lean towards as well–after all, even if OP wasn’t planning a move, any number of things could happen that change the position. Or OP’s move may not go the way they currently intend. Or the organization could react to it differently than she expects, and it could become an opportunity for the new hire. This just feels like too much projection of not only circumstances, but other people’s reactions to them, to be actionable to me. At most I would ask a vague question about how comfortable the employee was with switching between high-level planning and day-to-day firefighting to signal to him that both will be part of the job.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      I wouldn’t focus as much on the candidate’s career, but rather, whether the candidate would feel lied to if you didn’t disclose the change (it can be really toxic to a new hire’s relationship with their company and would, at a minimum, erode trust). I guess what I’m trying to say is there’s a way to reframe this in your head as being related to the company’s needs but also being a good person, if that makes sense.

      Please let us know how it goes!

    3. Natalie

      Disclosing this upcoming change is in the company’s benefit. If they are going to be okay with this change, than you’re exactly where you started with your new hire. If they are *not* going to be okay with this change, telling them now prevents them from getting disillusioned and jumping ship immediately, meaning you have to start at the beginning hiring again.

      1. The Toronto graphic designer above

        Exactly. Disclosing the truth about the role is beneficial to the company and the applicant.

      2. been there done that

        I agree. At one point in my past I had two job offers and accepted what I felt was the better one only to find out within six weeks of starting that they were relocating the office I was working in to a different city two hours away and even though they knew this during the interview process they never bothered to tell me. Needless to say I was furious and immediately regretted not taking the other position. Since I couldn’t find anything else in my field before the move was made I relocated, but ended up leaving after about a year because my feelings about the company were severely damaged by the situation.

        If they had just been up front about the plans (even if they had not been firm at the time of my interview, which they were) I would not have accepted the position and the company would have been able to hire someone who might have stayed through the entire transition.

  7. Newish Reader

    #4: I have turned down internal offers a couple of times in my career. Even as an internal candidate, the interview can be an optimal time to find out the specifics and nuances (as best as possible) of the position you’re interested in. This is your opportunity, as well as theirs, to ask the pertinent questions to more fully evaluate the position. As Alison stated, do withdraw after the interview if you don’t think this is the right position for you. Turning down some internal offers doesn’t seem to have hindered my ability to seek out and obtain other internal offers within the same company.

    1. TootsNYC

      But also go into that interview having *already done* a lot of homework and background investigating of this site, the manager, the tasks.

      That will help you craft the right questions (and crafting questions should be part of your pre-interview efforts).

      1. chicken_flavored_deodorant

        At my last job, my second (and excellent) boss was an internal hire. He came highly recommended and had the skills and personality to do great work in his role. What he didn’t know was that our small regional office was run by the worst manager I’ve ever had or personally witnessed. This made it impossible for my good boss to operated effectively, build his team or have any sense of autonomy/authority. At the meeting where I put in my two weeks, he told me two interesting things: first, he intended to put in his two weeks notice that afternoon and, second, that he had some regrets about walking into that situation without knowing more about the environment. Knowing what you’re getting yourself into is something I will be keeping very much in mind for the rest of my career.

        For OP #4, I think it’s important to think about what potential problems might exist at the new office. For each of these, there are probably questions you can ask during or after the interview that will help to determine whether those problems are present and to what degree. I think it would be particularly helpful to seek out a few members of the staff that can offer an earnest assessment of what the office is like.

  8. Nina-Marie

    #3 ” One young employee (first real job out of college) actually said she would quit if they enforced actually expecting people to be there by the time they are scheduled.”. . . . .SMH . . . . I mean, seriously?!?! Who raised that child?! I was amazed when recently a college admissions officer said, if we give your child a work study job we expect her to go to work and complete the assignment. I looked at her and said of course she would. Are there just a bunch of young adults who think work and work times are optional???

    1. Wakeen Teapots, Ltd.

      There always have been.

      God bless when I was a youngster (and I’m a tail end Boomer) , I viewed a starting time as just a suggestion. I had to get beaten multiple times and honestly, it barely made a dent because I was smart and a hard worker (when I finally got there) and I smugly thought that made me an exception to the on time rule, even if my boss didn’t agree.

      Nothing new under the sun.

    2. Joseph

      This has nothing to do with the generation, it’s about being young and not used to work conventions yet. Most high schools do have a bit of leeway at the start of the day – technically homeroom starts at 7:30, but announcements don’t start until 7:40, so if you’re strolling in at 7:35, it’s not a huge issue.
      And it’s even worse at college. Most classes (except for labs or exams) don’t care if you attend at all, much less if you’re exactly on time or five minutes late. Social events you’re actually expected to show up a little late. Even campus events which *do* have set start times usually don’t care if people sneak in a few minutes late.
      It’s also worth noting that this could easily be a ‘one bad apple’ thing. The admissions officer once hired someone who’d never done shift work before and then had to deal with complaints from both sides about it (the job pissed that she hired someone who didn’t work; the student pissed that she wasn’t told clearly about attendance) – so even if 95% of students would be completely fine, the officer still says it to pre-emptively shut that down.

      1. Myrin

        I’m also realising more and more that it seems to have got to do with culture as well.

        I’m from a place where being on time is a big cultural value and deeply ingrained in a large part of the population (it’s even part of our national stereotype!). School here starts at 8 sharp and there are consequences to being late, even if it’s just a disapproving look the teacher throws your way. So I can imagine someone coming from the environment like you describe – where there’s a bit of leeway even as early as school – into the one I’m from and bam, misunderstandings and miscommunication ensue.

        And to tie this back to the original point, I’ve actually been observing the trend being kind of opposite here – that especially young people usually make sure to be extra punctual and first have to get to used to being able to manage their own time if their job allows them to. (There are always exceptions to all of this, of course. No nation is a hive mind.)

        1. Jessesgirl72

          OTOH, German high school have the philosophy that is more like American universities- if you don’t come to class, that’s on you, and there are natural consequences from that. They don’t punish you in other ways. (I was an exchange student in Frankfurt for a semester) In the US, they do.

          What Joseph describes also isn’t universally true. No one cared that the first few minutes were announcements. If I wasn’t in the room when the bell rang (sometimes in my seat!), I got written up. It was absolutely a big deal.

          In college, I also had a lot of professors who didn’t allow you to enter the class late- you didn’t have to show up, but if you were late, you weren’t allowed to disrupt others by coming in.

          My personality is much more comfortable in Germany than in other cultures. I love Ireland in all other ways, but when I’m there, I have to remind myself that they are very fluid with their time.

          1. Julia

            Wait, what? In my German high school, I needed a note from my parents or a doctor for absence. Those over 18 (and there were many since high school is a year longer than in the US and in the east of Germany many children started school at 7 instead of 6 – I moved there from Western Berlin and was always the youngest) could write their own notes, which defeated the purpose, but even then, too many absences could mean your graduation was jeopardized.

            At university, I remember feeling punished for being on time when instructors waited to start a peminar until the late people rolled in. Imagine having to go to class on a Saturday or Sunday and then being made to sit around until everyone arrived.

            Only once do I remember a girl being refused the opportunity to take an exam because she was late again.

            1. Myrin

              Yeah, I was just thinking that. I mean, maybe there are distinct “punishments” in the US that I just can’t think of because I’ve never heard of them and which indeed don’t exist here, but it’s definitely not true that German teachers just go “whatever” or something with regards to absences.

            2. Chinook

              “Those over 18 … could write their own notes, which defeated the purpose, but even then, too many absences could mean your graduation was jeopardized. ”

              As a teacher who has insisted that an 18 year old high school student had to call in his absence/justify his absence, I beg to differ about defeating the purpose. As I explained to said student (after having him prove his age – I was a sub for a month, so I didn’t have access to his records), those excuse notes are for our records so we can justify giving you a zero for a missed exam vs. not counting it due to a justified excuse (and I count helping a cousin move justifiable). He then got a quick lecture on notifying the school himself about an absence so that, if he is lying dead in a ditch, it won’t take a week before someone notices he didn’t show up to school (which actually did happen to a family friend because no one noticed he didn’t show up to class for a week).

              After that, he would just call the school secretary and say he wasn’t coming in that day, just like you would for a real job.

        2. Michele

          It definitely does. I grew up in an area of the US where punctuality matters. Then I moved to the South. It drove me crazy that no one there could ever be on time. They thought I was weird because I expected that a meeting scheduled for 1:00 start at 1:00.

          1. animaniactoo

            I am from NYC. My husband is from Florida. To my in-laws, I am the uptight woman about time and schedules who can let it go for everything but the airport. They now graciously leave 15 minutes earlier (and I thank them for it!) so that we have an hour and a half before departure to get to the airport that is 40 minutes away. Of course, it’s really only 10 minutes earlier by the time they’ve gone back to get a travel lid for the coffee and oops just tell somebody one thing before we go and…

            1. Michele

              Ha! My husband is from New Orleans, and my inlaws think that I am uptight, too. He has learned to be punctual, though.

            2. Epsilon Delta

              Ooh me too! I was trained that anything less than 5 minutes early was late and a huge disrespect to the person you were meeting. Then I get out into the real world and find that nobody else cares. It was a hard lesson. Many instances of sitting at the cafe sipping my coffee and thinking about how no one likes me because it’s now 12:02 and we were supposed to meet at 12:00 (and oh my god what if they fell down a manhole?). After nearly 10 years of practice I can make it to about 12:10 before I decide nobody’s showing up.

        3. Spoonie

          I grew up with a culture that saw that the later you were the more important you were. My parents (god bless them) didn’t let my sibling and I acquiesce to this cultural identity. I studied abroad in a culture that valued distinct punctuality. My personal goal has always been that five minutes early is on time, which allows for things like construction, slow walkers (!!), and other things out of my control.

          1. Michele

            I used to have a boss who would deliberately show up late for meetings, sometimes by an hour or more, because he thought it made him seem important to make us wait. Of course, we just thought he was an inefficient, rude jerk.

      2. Op3

        I don’t think it is generational either. I only mentioned her being so young as I hope she learns something. I am guessing her next job, when the time comes, won’t be as lenient. And we are a large company with thousands of employees across the country. She may want to transfer. This particular office is just small. And some of the the late people are in their 40’s and 50’s. So I am not blaming age or certain generations.

        1. Jessesgirl72

          Blame poor management! :) Taking a mile when given an inch isn’t generational at all. It also shows how insidious bad habits like this become. I’m sure others were more careful about being on time- especially the ones with other work experience, until they saw that it didn’t matter. Then it really becomes a “Why should I bother when Fergus is going to be late every day and I’m going to have to stand around waiting on him to clock in?”

        2. Anon13

          Depending on the type of work you do, her next job may be more lenient. At both offices in which I’ve worked, there has been a decent amount of leeway regarding arrival time – admittedly, one was extremely lenient and not at all what I would expect from most workplaces – I could occasionally arrive as late as 10:30 and regularly arrive as late as 10:00 (the office opened at 9:00), as long as I worked a minimum of 37.5 hours a week and completed my work. At the other (my current job), I can routinely arrive 15 minutes late and occasionally arrive about 30 minutes late with no consequences. At both jobs, I explicitly discussed this with my supervisor, and at the second it’s actually a written policy (the exact amount of time we’re allowed to arrive late isn’t written, but the handbook contains language regarding flexible arrival times for exempt employees). Of course, I completely understand why she needs to arrive on time, and also why any workplace can and would require employees to arrive on time, but it’s not universal.

      3. blackcat

        Depends on the high school. The semi-urban school I did my student teaching had a “If you are so much as visibly not in a seat when someone looks in from the hall when the bell goes off you get detention” policy–admin staff had to police that (teachers said this is ridiculous, we won’t do it, principal wanted it done so non-union employees did it). 3 such events got an in school suspension of half a day. The kids had their butts in chairs when the bell rang. This was particularly frustrating to me, given that I didn’t like starting class with butts in seats! So my students would come in, sit down, wait for 20 seconds or so after the bell, then get up to start the class.

        The fancy private school I taught at let teachers set their own policies–mine was you were late if you walked in the door after the bell, and three late-events got cleaning duty (science teachers always have crap that needs cleaning). Cleaning duty could happen at lunch of after school and was generally a pain in the ass. I had very few problems with lateness. When I did, it tended to be first period kids who would apologize profusely for the fact that their parent refused to get them to school on time. I’d talk to the parents in these cases, but there tended to be nothing I could do–the parents took the attitude you describe, of saying that it’s “just” 5 or 10 minutes. But when it’s 5 or 10 minutes out of a 50 class, every single day of the week, that kid got 10-20% less class time than their peers. The kids seem to understand this. It was their parents who didn’t. Tardiness knows no age boundaries!

        In college, yeah, I don’t mind students who come in late if they aren’t disruptive and don’t ask questions that they wouldn’t have if they were there in the first five minutes. I do the time-honored calling out “Susie! Please find a seat without disrupting your peers” announcing Susie’s faux pas to the entire class. Or “That’s a great question! Can someone who was on time answer it?” The desire to not be embarrassed works well.

      4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I actually don’t think this has to do with being young, either. I started working at the minimum legal age for my state (14), and I literally never met a young/new-to-work coworker (i.e., high school and/or college-aged) who was habitually late or who would make the statement that OP#3 referenced. Everyone knew being late was at best a stern talking to, and at worst, cause for being fired. The first time I saw people show up late was for work study in college.

        Granted, my experience is anecdotal, but I think that class background can be a factor in the same way regional background can be a factor. I came from a working class background where people work hourly, so you show up to your shift on time (i.e., early). But folks I met who were the kids of salaried (usually professional) parents had softer norms re: punctuality.

      5. Annie Moose

        That was definitely not my experience (at an American high school)–if you walked in ten seconds late to class, you were tardy. With some teachers, if you weren’t physically in your seat when the bell rang, you were tardy. Three tardies = detention, and eventually suspension.

      6. Callie

        It could also be a regional thing. I lived and worked in the south for a very long time; everything was on time. I was a music major and I remember the department chair *looking at his watch* and closing the doors to the recital hall exactly at the time whatever performance began or even a few seconds before.

        When I moved to the west coast for graduate school I was AMAZED at how nothing started on time. Not movies, not public transportation, and definitely not classes. I once went to a concert on campus that started HALF AN HOUR LATE for no reason. I was in a choir whose concerts regularly started 10 minutes late. Again, not because of technical difficulties… just because. Students tried to stroll into class whenever they felt like it and pushed back HARD when I enforced an absence and tardy policy. (Thankfully the dean backed me up.)

        There were many things I loved about the Pacific Northwest but “west coast time” was not one of them.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          That’s wild! I know we’re a little lax on the west coast, but I’ve never experienced late start times for concerts, movies, class times, high school start time, etc. (public transit is another story, but their punctuality challenges are usually related to underfunding and traffic). But I also have not lived in the Northwest, so maybe it’s different?

          1. Kyrielle

            I’m boggled! I grew up in the Northwest and live here now. I didn’t go to college here so I can’t speak to college times, but if I had pulled this stroll-in-late start-late mentality in school I would have quickly had another, unplanned lesson delivered! Although – someone noted up-thread this may also be a class differential, and I wonder if the heavy preponderance of tech (generally white-collar and high salary) companies in Portland and Seattle plays into it.

            My kids lose allowance if their behavior causes us to be late for the school bus in the morning!

          2. Candi

            PNW rez for 26 years now. Nope nope nope on that attitude towards late in my experience. Although I can’t speak for the four-year universities.

            The only reason my daughter’s instrument concerts run late is they take so long between sets swapping out stuff on the stage. School attendance at all the schools they attend(ed) is butt in seat at bell.

            Maybe the time issue was specific to that college?

            1. Candi

              PS: In my specific county, it takes ridiculously heavy rain or snow -when we get it- to mess up the buses’ punctuality. (But then, they don’t have issues with 99% of the transit horror stories I read online.)

      7. TootsNYC

        It might also be the result of having parents who just gave up on making kids do chores.
        (like me, maybe)

        I read a survey somewhat recently that said kids w/ 2 working parents did the least amount of chores. And kids with only 1 parent, who of course worked, did the second-least. And kids w/ an at-home mom did the most.

        That’s because it’s a TON OF WORK–mostly a ton of mental work (remembering to check later; giving up your time and energy to enforce the deadline, etc.)–to make your kid actually pick up the clothes off the floor.

        I gave my college-age kid the basket of freshly folded clothes and said, “Please put your clothes away. I don’t want this around here for people to trip over.” His sister was in the way at the moment, and I said, “Of course, you’ll have to wait a bit.”
        Four days later I realized he’d never done it. He’d walked around it, etc.

        But I hadn’t noticed; I hadn’t followed up to check whether he’d done it.

        I’m terrified that he’s going to have a rocky time as a grownup, and even in college, because he hasn’t really been taught how to exercise follow-through, or even that he needs to.

    3. Nina-Marie

      As I read through these comments, my freshman daughter came in and said – I’m leaving 30 min earlier than normal so I can make sure I know where the class is and get settled (Its the first week of the second semester at her University) – I thought – well there is what we need to be installing into young adults. In our area, most high schools have rules in place for tardiness to homeroom and classes – most include detention and are enforced. College is a bit more lenient – but I did notice some professors have policies in place with points attached to attendance/punctuality. What I taught my daughter is that if you’re late for things, not only are you missing out on what’s going on (or what you should be doing) but it shows a disrespect for others at the event.

      1. Julia

        Both in Germany and Japan, I have attended classes where three missed sessions could mean you failed that class.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I had a professor who would kick you out of class if you were late (which affected your class participation grade if it happened more than 2x/term). It seemed intense at first, and several students reacted very badly to the public shaming aspect of it, but I really appreciated his policy because it helped minimize distractions during lecture.

        And you’re right—there are many people who perceive perpetual lateness as rude and disrespectful of others’ time… usually because the late person comes in and wants to go over everything they missed or is otherwise disruptive as they get settled.

    4. AthenaC

      At this point in my career, I’m used to having some flexibility with my time, so I would be annoyed if my workplace were sticklers about time with me. But OP#3 has the sort of job where it makes sense, it seems. It’s unfortunate that the other employees as a group can’t be trusted to be responsible without the wrist-slap policy of the previous manager, but what can you do?

    5. Hush42

      I think a lot of it depends on work place culture. I had two jobs where being on time to work was important so I always made sure that I was there 15 minutes earlier than my start time. I’m currently in a job where it’s not at all important and I’m almost always a few minutes late. However I also stay late at night and put in more than 40 hours each week so no one really cares when I’m 15 minutes later than the official start time. The day I was 2 hours late (there was a bad accident that shut down the highway) the only reason anyone cared is because they were worried about me.

      1. Anon13

        It’s the same for me. I have one co-worker who is a stickler for getting here at the official arrival time, but the rest of us generally arrive 5-15 minutes later. It’s actually explicitly spelled out in our handbook that this is OK (it says something about flexible arrival time within reason; I can’t remember the exact wording). Everyone in OP’s office should be accustomed to arriving on time if the previous manager required it, but I actually think it would be difficult for me to get used to having a strict set arrival time again, now that I’ve gone about 10 years (three at this workplace, 7 at my prior workplace) without one.

        Of course, this is not to say that I wouldn’t arrive on time if it was required/important. I absolutely would, and would probably be so nervous about being late that I would arrive early every day. I’m just saying it would take some getting used to!

      2. ThatGirl

        My current workplace is sort of “set your own hours” and even that has flexibility – I work 7:30 to 3:30 but if I show up at 7:45 nobody blinks, and I make up the time. I also start earlier on work at home days but take a break in the middle… as long as your manager knows roughly when you’ll be there, that’s what matters.

      3. Joseph

        Yes, it’s really a work culture thing. Many offices seem to take the viewpoint of either (a) you’re a professional, we’re going to treat you like one or (b) meh, it all balances out given that we know you’re not leaving at exactly 5:00 either.
        That said, even in a flexible office, it’s usually good to at least let people know if you’re going to be massively late (1 hour+) so nobody worries about you or wonders where you’re at.

      4. Liane

        Even good managers in jobs with strict policies, IME, will cut you some slack on lateness if you are great at your job and **don’t** make it a habit. There were a couple times I had to call in late (or even absent) at Famed Retailer, for illness or car issues when it would have got me very close to a coaching. My best manager would see me and say, “Hey, I know you were late/out, and you’re making/made up the time?” “Yes.” “OK, let me get into the computer right now and approve it [so it wouldn’t count against me]”

        1. OP3

          I wanted to say that if I were in a position that was more flexible and didn’t require at least 2 of us to unlock the place, I truly couldn’t care less what my coworkers worked. I am not being petty or a stickler or anything. But we DO have to open our doors at a certain time and we DO have to have enough people to serve the people who have made appointments first thing (and were able to make it at their scheduled time). Can’t just not open and say “Jane wants to be flexible with her schedule”. My SO works a job where she can come in late in the morning or leave earlier or whatever, so long as she gets her work done. My job isn’t like that. I serve people who expect us to be there and be ready to work when we say we are going to be. And the “late starts”, even if I am getting paid for them, throw the day off unnecessarily.

          1. Michele

            Maybe you could emphasize that this is making it difficult to serve your customers. I know that one time a coworker and I did a scheduled audit of a company that we were considering doing business with. We got there on schedule, but the receptionist wasn’t there. We asked someone who was passing by and they just said that she sometimes came in late. It was very off putting and ate up a fair chunk of goodwill that we had toward the company.

  9. Mandy

    I agree. Also, what Dory has recently been through has surely made her more conscious of how she went wrong and the need to ‘tone it down’. People do change. Also, I personally would *never* embarrass a friend who recommended me and would make sure to work hard the culture as someone else was in play. Rather than recommending Dory and then saying the negatives, I’d look at the context. If the job is for charming new hires, vs fighting off a hostile takeover, then pitch the skills to the job. If I knew this person I would have a bit of faith.

    1. Artemesia

      In my experience people don’t change much. I’d be very hesitant to recommend someone for a job who came across like this; at least I’d make clear what the issue was and that it ultimately make her less effective. Never recommend someone that is likely to result in undercutting your own reputation.

      1. Natalie

        ” that it ultimately make her less effective”

        This isn’t a given, it’s going to depend heavily on the job.

      2. Mandy

        I agree about not risking your reputation, your own career. However, recommending anyone is always a risk. Think about how travelling with friends becomes an issue, when we don’t realize what people are like till we live with them! It’s the risk/consequence/return consideration. Dory has no job – her family could lose their home or income because noone will stand by her even enough to just say an honest, “If you want a no-nonsense hard hitter, Dory’s your girl, if you want a sweet soft friendly person, she may not be the right fit for the role”!
        When I say people can change, I don’t mean in essentials (like an introvert becoming an extrovert), but I mean in these social niceties Dory seems to have missed out on. *Assuming* what OP2 tells us is correct (and I don’t think it’s productive to speculate), surely Dory is intelligent enough to figure that if she has had problems at work because she launches into conversations without preamble, then next time, she will go through the social niceties. *OP2 will know best about that from her conversations with Dory of course*.
        Someone above made a point about culture of a place and I have seen this before. Someone from a hyped up big city takes a job in a softer, more genteel state and gets people offside before they know why. Once they do, it’s too late so they have to leave but they leave knowing more about how to conduct themselves in that place…if anyone will take a chance…

  10. Roscoe

    #1 I agree, you need to say SOMETHING with the job offer. How much you’d like to disclose is up to you, but you at least should acknowledge that the department may be going through a transition and the job functions may change.

    #2 I think you can still make the recommendation, with Alison’s phrasing. I also think you don’t have to bring up anything about the last employer. You weren’t there at that time, so you don’t really know what happened, so you aren’t in any position to speak on it either way.

  11. AthenaC

    OP2: I’ll go ahead and admit MY bias here – I’ve worked with a small handful of women who not only have RBF, but also tend to be jarringly abrasive and direct. My mother is the same way, so maybe that’s why it doesn’t phase me the way it does other people. Either way, I tend to err on the side of, “Other people should just learn how to work with them and not let it bother them.” Especially in the case of the most recent woman I worked with like this – if you needed any info about her particular area of expertise, boy were you glad to have her around, warts and all.

    Just to clarify – this one woman was more abrasive than any of the men I worked with. So it’s really not a gender thing.

    By all means, if someone can have a discussion with her about maybe just softening up her edges just so she doesn’t put people off so quickly – go for it. But I would prioritize competence over pleasantries. You don’t have to like them, you just have to work with them.

    Of course, be transparent with your employer the way Alison suggests. I’m well aware not many people think the way I do on this one.

    1. Jennifer

      Speaking as someone who manages to rub people the wrong way: you probably shouldn’t recommend her unless you are 100% sure everyone in the environment could deal with that. People are vicious against people who rub them the wrong way.

    2. Seal

      Agreed. It’s not a universal thing – what rubs one person the wrong way might be considered an asset by someone else.

  12. Michelle

    I cannot get over this part: “One young employee (first real job out of college) actually said she would quit if they enforced actually expecting people to be there by the time they are scheduled.” What?!? I don’t care how young or new to the workforce you are, employers expecting employees to be on time is pretty standard. Even more so if the coworkers constantly being late affects OP’s time.

    I would definitely mention it to the boss. Being on time is an asset, not a disadvantage.

  13. ohno1

    #3: “One young employee (first real job out of college) actually said she would quit if they enforced actually expecting people to be there by the time they are scheduled.” That person should be fired. If you’re such a special snowflake that you are objecting to *showing up to work on time*, no matter what your age or generation, you deserve to be unemployed.

    I’d live-tweet the 15 minutes of waiting in the parking lot, with pics of late employees arriving. Smile! JK

  14. Former Retail Manager

    OP#4….despite saying that you haven’t fully made up your mind yet, it sounds to me like you have. If you wouldn’t be willing to work in the new division in which you’ll be interviewing, I would bow out now and not even attend the interview, if that’s possible. If it were me, I would cite something vague like family commitments, scheduling conflicts related to some personal commitments that will prevent you from taking on a new role and new responsibilities right now, etc. if really pressed, but you may not need to cite anything if you can contact HR or withdraw your application electronically.

    In every organization I’ve ever worked in, both private and Government, it would be extremely frowned up and would significantly hurt your reputation to interview for a position that you have no intention of taking and chances of ever getting a future promotion at that company would be all but dead as long as the current management is around. If you think that you’re a strong candidate and there is a good chance you may receive any offer, I wouldn’t proceed with the interview. Although you say that you will ask a lot of questions to see if it’s a good fit, it sounds like even if it’s a great fit, you know that it will be difficult, at best, given the management you’ll be working under. At that point, you’re left to explain that it isn’t a good fit, which I believe most internal interviewers are astute enough to know means that you don’t want to work for/with someone that the new gig will bring you into contact with. After several years with the company, it stands to reason that you should either know enough about the position you applied for, or done your homework internally, to know if the position is a good fit or not, so if I were the interviewer and you came at me with “bad fit” I’d see right through it. I wouldn’t ordinarily lean so negative right off the bat in this situation, but your mention of the confirmation of how that satellite office is run, and presumably has been run for years with no signs of change in sight, aren’t reassuring. I’m also assuming that if management at that location is dysfunctional and promoting the difficult workplace culture you’ve heard about, that they’re likely dysfunctional in other areas as well, like holding it against you that they took the time to interview you only to have you subsequently either withdraw from consideration or say the job wasn’t a “good fit” especially after being with the company for years. I foresee either option potentially upsetting them and having negative consequences for you sooner or later.

    Best of luck in your decision!

  15. SusanIvanova

    “I’m sure you don’t want to freak out your current staff by having them hear that their jobs are likely to change dramatically.”

    But if their jobs are going to change dramatically, they really want to know sooner rather than later. Best Manager Ever earned that by, among many other things, coming out of a meeting and telling us “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but they want to take all of you off of your bleeding-edge tech R&D jobs, kill the project entirely, and put you on maintenance programming. I’ll help with your resumes.” Maintenance engineers are awesome and highly useful people but I could not stand their job for a single day – but then, they feel the same way about what I do.

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