open thread – August 11-12, 2017

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

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

{ 1,537 comments… read them below }

  1. Jimbo*

    Hello AAM community! A question about references when resigning. I plan on submitting my resignation next week and offer a two-month exit transition period to my boss where I will accomplish five or six key tasks and to give them lead time to find and hire a replacement.

    I am following Alison’s advice from a previous blog post that when doing an exit transition, to come to an agreement with my boss on specific things such as timing for leaving, that I will wrap up existing tasks and not take on new projects, creating documentation, etc. One big thing I want to come to an agreement with my boss are references. Specifically, that he will give me a positive reference if any prospective employers were to approach him about me.

    How do you propose approaching this question of references?

    I am worried a bit that he might not give me a good reference because despite stellar work I’ve done because we have issues with getting along and a clash of work and communication styles. The timing of my resignation also comes at a key time for the project and also I’ve only been in my position for about a year.

    I am leaving because the position and the way the job and project is structured is not a good fit. There are also serious issues with funding, disorganization, lack of clear communications, and weak leadership. In addition, the mismatch of styles between me and my boss has resulted in frequent clashes that are really stressing me out.

    Should I involve HR on the references (and the coming to an agreement) conversation? I know they will be more cognizant of laws and potential risk to lawsuits if an employer were to give inaccurate or malicious references.

    1. Channel Z*

      Can you wait until your final wrap up meeting close to the two month mark? Executing a smooth transition would increase the likelihood of a positive reference, since it is the last thing they will remember. On the flip side, if the transition doesn’t go well, that would work against you. If tension is likely to increase during your notice period, maybe it would be wise to shorten it by a month.

      1. Jimbo*

        Thanks! Yes, I am afraid of tensions increasing when I put in my notice. Perhaps I should consider a 4-week transition period rather than 8 weeks

        1. Artemesia*

          If you are in the US and there is no contractual transition period, I would give two weeks notice. You may end up losing your job that day; don’t risk two months. You can over the next two months be getting your job in order, documenting anything that would be helpful for transition etc without giving notice till you are ready to go.

    2. AdAgencyChick*

      If you don’t expect your boss to treat you well, why give two months’ notice? That only gives him the opportunity to push you out before you’re ready.

      1. Jimbo*

        Hi there, I was aiming to exit gracefully and to ruffle as few feathers as possible and to maintain a good professional relationship

        1. YeahNo*

          Your intentions are admirable, but your first priority should be protecting yourself. Especially given your contentious relationship, I would be very wary of providing more than 2 weeks’ notice in this case. 2 weeks is the professional standard and would not reflect poorly on you unless there were serious extenuating circumstances.

          1. Jimbo*

            Thanks for the feedback! This gives me something to seriously consider. I do have to factor in my emotional state and mental health and how my contentious relationship with my boss has been driving me crazy

                1. Happy Lurker*

                  I once gave 4 weeks notice. I thought I was helping the company by giving a months notice and tying things up. I was told to finish that day and be done.
                  I had an ok relationship with the boss, until the last month. I also had 3 people’s workload for 6 months. They wrote me up for not accomplishing more…but admitted I needed two more people to complete the tasks.

                  Jimbo, get yourself in a good place mentally and any other way you need and get out. The company will be fine. If your boss or your HR person is professional it will be fine.

              1. Jerry Vandesic*

                If the relationship is contentious, there’s probably nothing that you can do in the last month that would guarantee a good reference.

          2. only acting normal*

            Just an aside, for non-US readers, 2-weeks is not the professional standard everywhere. It’s contractually 4 weeks where I work (and in my last job), and 8 weeks for more senior roles. I’ve seen 3+ month contractual notice periods for very senior roles (though this sometimes ends up being “gardening leave” so you can’t poach clients / trade secrets). I’ve also worked at places where the notice was 1 day – but that was for temp workers in a call centre.

    3. JustaCPA*

      theoretically, business casual but the warehouse/manufacturing/engineers are all over the place from workout leggings and a tank top to jeans, sneakers and t shirts.

      The C suite folks myself included, dress more officially business casual and I would say since Im new to the office world after many years of self employment that I probably err on the side of formal due to my position.

    4. persimmon*

      It sounds like you’re planning to resign first and look for a job second. Just wondering why you can’t go the more typical path of looking for a job, and then resigning once you find one? If you do it in this order, everyone will understand that your current boss can’t be a reference so you won’t have this issue. You probably then won’t be able to give such a long notice period, but as others have said this is generally not necessary or reasonably expected.

      1. Jimbo*

        Some circumstances have occurred where I just can’t stand working with my boss anymore. The relationship is getting to be toxic. I would much rather get out of there gracefully than take the route of landing a job before I resign. Job hunting can take a long time and I’d like to make my exit sooner rather than later. Plus the job is really not a good fit anymore for me and I’d like to give them a chance to find a replacement that is a better fit sooner.

        1. persimmon*

          If it’s that bad, you definitely should not give 2 months notice. I would offer a standard 2 weeks, and ONLY if asked be willing to go up to 3 or maybe as a goodwill gesture (don’t bring it up preemptively).

          1. Jimbo*

            Thank you! I think you are right. I need to put myself and my well-being first here rather than the needs of my boss or colleagues

          2. Lily Rowan*


            I’d also say, there’s only so much you can do to guarantee a good reference, and doing good work is the main thing. I’ve only heard of that kind of thing being negotiated when someone is being pushed out for sketchy reasons, and the job agrees to something neutral.

        2. Chaordic One*

          I respect what you’re saying, Jimbo. If it is that bad, you’re really better off to quit. I tried to tough out a toxic job and I only became more burnt out and I ended up being fired (on the day before the profit-sharing bonuses were awarded).

          Keep looking. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find something before your last day.

        3. Artemesia*

          You really should not give more than 2 weeks notice in this case. This will not make them look favorably on you; it will jsut give him two weeks to abuse you more. Get out; expect him to fire you when you give your two weeks.

    5. YuliaC*

      I think that going to HR about the references issue would be a big mistake. There is no law that requires your boss to give you a positive reference, even if you have some sort of verbal agreement with him about that. The most that HR could do is to remind the boss that giving you a bad reference may open them to lawsuits, but I highly doubt that such a reminder would improve the boss’s desire to give you a good reference.

    6. persimmon*

      Another thought, for the reference issue: is there someone else at your job who oversees some of your work and would give a more reliable positive reference?

      1. Jimbo*

        I can try two bosses who are a level above my boss. They seem to be more reasonable people. However, as far as overseeing my work, it is my immediate boss and that is it

  2. Recruiting for Mini-Me*

    I have been thinking about it for awhile and I want to make an internal move soon. However, I’m in a weird spot where I’m the only technical person in my department and I cannot train any of my co-workers nor my boss to do my job on short notice. (I have coverage for the really basic reporting, but nothing else. My boss isn’t planning on hiring someone for me to train yet either.) I’ve heard some advice about looking for a replacement preemptively, and I’ve starting putting out feelers in my network, but it all feels like uncharted territory. (Surreptitiously hiring/searching, but with no guarantees and no real timeline?) I feel like my deliverable might be, “hey I want to leave but here is a set of resumes that I’ve done a first pass with (including screening chats and info interviews) that might help you out.”

    Has anyone done this before? What advice do you have for me? Is this even a good idea?

    1. kittymommy*

      At the office I’m currently at and the previous one (same employer) we have a “drop dead” book. Essentially, it is a hard copy and USB drive of how to do every procedure, every task in a step-by-step process. There are even screen shots of some steps. They took awhile to form, and I still need to update the one at my current job, but they are pretty useful.

      1. HR Assistant/HRIS Specialist*

        We call ours the “lotto guides”, as in, if X person won the lotto and quit to go live on a private island with all their new money, how do we do their work? But same principle.

      2. Old Cynic*

        I call these “hit by a bus” book. I had a manager once who wanted all our work at the end of the day to be easily picked up by an associate in case we were hit by a bus on the way home. She never mentioned being hit coming into work!

        1. Admin of Sys*

          We used to call ours that, and then someone at the university actually got hit by a bus, and it suddenly became insensitive (though very accurate). I like the ‘lotto guides’ Jadelyn mentioned…it puts a positive spin on the idea.

          1. Lala*

            Whereas I call mine that precisely because I once had a colleague who was hit by a bus (she was okay, but she was out for a couple of months and we had to figure out a lot of her job from scratch because we didn’t want to bother her). My current job didn’t have one until I got here, but the previous experience taught me that having one is essential, especially if no one else is cross-trained in what you do. The official label is just “Job Title Procedures & Info”, though.

      3. AKchic*

        I always called mine the Idiot’s Guide to the Kingdom. Which nobody ever looked at, because even if I was on vacation, or recovering from surgery, they’d just call or text me anyways. I had a copy on the server, a hard copy in my boss’s office, a hard copy on my desk, and a hard copy at the reception desk.
        Nobody ever bothered to read it. 8 years of meticulously organized facts, information, How-To’s and resources.
        I left a year ago and I still get phone calls and texts. I have literally gotten a call asking “do you remember when we moved to the new building? You remember helping X pack his office? Good. Can you remember Y contract? Do you remember the 2nd draft of that contract? Do you know where we would have put it?”

        1. Anonish*

          I just left a job like that! They didn’t replace me, and also didn’t read my extensive manuals, and are calling and emailing. Some questions really are stupid – my manager just emailed me with one about something that is super basic to his role, and also listed in our handbook. He could have googled it, even.

          1. only acting normal*

            I think this is what spam filters were really designed for. >;)
            Or maybe a selective auto-reply with “This email is no longer checked regularly. If your question is about oldjob contact ineptmanager.”

      4. Her Grace*

        Mine (two jobs ago) was also called the “hit by a bus” book. It started out as a guerrilla-wiki to document procedures and processes and general how-to’s. This was because the team to which I belonged were really clueless when it came to even basic computer stuff. Let them know this wiki existed, and if I wasn’t in and they had a small, easily-solved issue, they could find the solution there.

        Nobody ever used it. They simply waited until I was in next. One day, when they had a rather egregious issue they could have solved on their own, I pointed them to the wiki and asked why they didn’t look it up, they said they knew I was coming in, and I replied, “What happens if I get hit by a bus? This wiki is so you aren’t left in the lurch.”

        And that’s how it got its name.

        My current job has a wiki and we’ve got a well-structured team, so this isn’t so much of an issue. But yeah, I believe everyone should have some sort of operations manual for their job, so if they do get hit by a bus or win Powerball then whoever’s stepping in, whether it’s a co-worker or a new hire, can have a clue as to how the job functions. It’s no fun taking on a role when you have no idea how it’s supposed to work.

        I love “Idiot’s Guide to the Kingdom”. Nice.

    2. Rincat*

      I recently made an internal transfer at my large university. I had some skills and knowledge that no one else had in my department, at my level. However I gave my old boss 2 weeks notice and said I would help transition my duties during this time – but I didn’t offer anything else. I don’t think you need to. It really is the responsibility of the manager to ensure these kinds of things are planned for – whether that’s training a coworker, or farming it out to another department, or what.

      It’s kind of you to offer more than that, and I do certainly understand the reasoning to maintain a good relationship with your current boss, but you should do what’s best for you, and let him worry about coverage. Like many have said before – you could be hit by a bus, move across the country, or otherwise be unable to work suddenly for a variety of reasons, and your boss would have to figure out what to do then (or for any of your coworkers). So do that is best for you and your career. Let your boss figure out how to fill that gap.

      My advice is to be realistic about what you offer for a notice period; don’t let your boss or anyone else try to talk you into a protracted notice period; do what you can during your notice period for training, transition documents, etc. I don’t think you need to try to screen applicants for him, but it might be nice to say, hey I’ve got a few friends who are interested.

      Good luck!

      1. Kelsi*

        I was going to say the same. I’m making an internal transition (not a new position, just some of my job duties are changing). I’ve been putting it off for awhile–not because I don’t want the change, but because I’ve been worried about how the old duties were going to get handled and didn’t want to leave anyone in a bad position. My boss flat-out told me (nicely!) in this week’s meeting, “That’s not your job to solve. That’s my job and [other supervisor]’s. We are the ones responsible for figuring out how those duties get covered!”

    3. paul*

      I mean…that’s on them at this point. You even gave him warning and h didn’t hire someone early so…

      The way I’m approaching it with my boss is that we’ve discussed my departure (next spring) and they’ll either have to find a coworker who wants to try my position, or they’ll have to pay an outsider to come in and train my replacement. Because while I’m willing to give more than 2 weeks due to my situation (i.e I’ll have at least six weeks advance warning), I wouldn’t feel required to give more if it put me in a bad spot, and ultimately, with how long the turn around can be from advertising an opening to onboarding, well, even six weeks might not be enough if they have to go with an external candidate.

      1. Recruiting for Mini-Me*

        I’ve requested another technical hire, but haven’t made a pitch that we definitely for sure need two. I haven’t made it plain that I’m ready to go yet, as a new role could be months away. Thus, surreptitious recruiting.

    4. King Friday XIII*

      In my office it’s very common for internal transfers to be planned between the two departments (and my department gets hired from a lot) so the new boss comes to the old boss and says ‘hey we want to hire Fergus for Teapot Financing’ and the old boss says ‘well congrats it’ll be mid-September before we can get his replacement up and running in Spout Servicing, does that work for you?’ and it works out for both departments.

    5. AdAgencyChick*

      What are your company’s policies on internal transfers, and do you expect that your boss will be able to give you trouble about transitioning?

      Some companies require that you inform your manager before applying for internal transfers (and some managers are better than others about realizing that an employee needing to move upward or sideways is not a condemnation of them). Some places will make you go through an extended transition period in which you have to learn your new job while still doing a lot of your old one. If you work at a place like that, I’d be looking a lot at trying to find another job outside the organization, not just looking for internal transfers.

      I wouldn’t present resumes of potential candidates — that makes it seem like your leaving is a foregone conclusion, when in reality your manager probably has a lot of say over whether you are able to transfer. (Not to mention whether or not you’re chosen by the hiring manager.) Instead, I’d say something like, “I’m really interested in XYZ position that just opened up” and see where the conversation goes from there. A good manager will not freak out, and will work with you to figure out how to help make that happen. If your manager does freak out, then it’s definitely time to start looking outside the organization.

    6. The IT Manager*

      I don’t think you can do what you are proposing, but I may not understand your situation.

      Does your boss know you want to make an internal move? Have you been offered the new position and its start date yet? If you have and your boss knows and he’s not hiring that’s totally on him.

      However it doesn’t sound like you actually have a new position yet so there’s no reason for your boss to hire your replacement yet. In an internal move, once you are selected your new boss and your old boss will often negotiate a longer delay so that your old position can be filled. Or you may start your new job while still having to do some of your old duties because its for the overall good of the company.

      I don’t think you can or should collect resumes for a job that might not be open or might not filled. If hiring is not your responsibility, you shouldn’t conduct any kind of hiring search. You could recommend someone (but not a set of resumes) when you’re leaving, but it really doesn’t sound like you know that you’re leaving yet.

      IMO you should talk to your boss about moving, find out if its even a possibility, and then find out what you can do to help find your replacement.

      1. Recruiting for Mini-Me*

        Okay, this is fair. I wanted to cover my bases and offer something that may hasten the notice period, but I get this.

        I’ll hold off on the replacement search.

    7. Wolfram alpha*

      Another thing to keep in mind is that your departure may not result in your replacement. Oftentimes good managers will leverage a departing date to evaluate the need and see if something else will work better. Maybe instead of your department having one lone ts person it makes more sense to move that fte to ts etc. It is always nice toention that you are happy to refer folks once the role is posted but showing up with resumes is odd.

    8. Kiwi*

      As someone who hires people, I want to do my own screening. Delighted if people recommend people they know personally but no further than that. If someone in my team told me they’d held “screening chats and info interviews” with potential replacements and here’s a set of pre-screened resumes, I’d be annoyed rather than grateful.

  3. Pam Beasley*

    What is the dress code like at your place of work? At my office, our dress code is business casual M-Th, jeans/very casual on Fridays. Many people choose to wear tennis shoes/local sports team shirts on Fridays!

    1. EddieSherbert*

      No dress code!

      People are pretty good about appropriate-ness (no sweatpants and sweatshirt combos, thongs sticking out or whatever, haha).

      So my typical is jeans and a t-shirt with flats. Occasionally I’ll do shorts that are just above my knee (so “long” shorts for a woman) or yoga pants or something.

      I personally love it – I’m most comfortable in my jeans!

      1. Garland Not Andrews*

        Ours is like yours. Just wear decent clothing. I work for a federal agency and the field offices have uniforms, but on our campus the guy/gal in jeans and a flannel shirt might just be a CPA.
        Most people wear business casual with Friday’s being more casual than business.

      2. A Nonny Mouse*

        Me too!

        I wear long-sleeved tees and jeans pretty much the whole year. The only directive we got about clothing was to wear closed toed shoes — I work in a library and accidentally dropping a heavy book on your foot hurts.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        Yeah, I half felt like it was a test when they told me to dress casually for my interview… and then grandboss had gym shorts and a hoodie on! Haha.

    2. Tess*

      Same in my office. People generally tend to look relatively polished on Fridays but there are some people who wear sneakers (not allowed) or things that are low cut/revealing/ill fitting. Typically early 20s types that probably don’t know better. They send out the dress code when this happens but the offenders don’t take note. Lol

    3. Miso*

      Super casual, luckily. I wear jeans and sneakers everyday, and a nicer t-shirt with a cardigan or just a generally nicer top.
      Supposedly there is an official dress code somewhere that states things like only long trousers for men and so on, but no one ever showed it to me, I actually tried to find it and couldn’t and no one ever complained, so I guess I’m fine.

    4. Fabulous*

      I’ve been fortunate that the last couple places I’ve worked are casual – i.e. jeans are OK every day. You still have to look presentable, but there are definitely some people who wear sneakers and t-shirts every day.

      Lord help me if I ever have to go back to business wear – I have nothing that fits anymore!

    5. Red Reader*

      Officially: Mid-range business casual for people who aren’t in clinical roles. No denim (colored or otherwise, including jeans/pants, skirts, or any other piece), no capris (I think technically your pants have to be within a certain number of inches from your ankle bone :P ), no flip flop type sandals, no visible tattoos or unnaturally-colored hair. Clinical folks and some other roles have assigned uniforms or scrubs.
      My department allows jeans for non-patient-facing staff (which is not the same as non-clinical roles) on Fridays, and sometimes we have theme days (again, only for people who don’t interact with patients) like for local sports teams or holidays. I have no idea what they do for the patient-facing staff to make up for not letting them do jeans days.

      Unofficially, I’ve seen people farther up the org chart than me get away with capris and the occasional hair streak, and my executive director knows me as “the girl with the peacock hair” because of the one day I went to an on-site event with my hair down (the bottom six inches were dyed green and purple, it’s not visible when my hair is up) and nobody gets too bent out of shape if I shove a long sleeve up and my forearm tattoo is visible, so long as I can cover it in a pinch.

      1. Red Reader*

        I once worked at a nonprofit where the office manager told me that the dress code was, direct quote, “Cover your tits.” The fundraising manager did not like my fuzzy scarves and cargo pants. The two of them argued a lot. :P

    6. kittymommy*

      Business to business casual, depending on the day and what’s scheduled. No jeans, no shorts. I tend to wear suits, dress, or on casual days, slacks with a button down top and /or blazer or sleeveless top with blazer. For shoes it’s dress shoes/dress sandals, no flip flops or sneakers.

    7. Master Bean Counter*

      It used to be business casual and jeans on Fridays. Now jeans are okay everyday, but shirts still need to be in the business casual realm.

      1. LavaLamp*

        No one gives a care what you wear as long as your bits are covered, it’s not offensive and its safe for what your job is.

        My style is kind of a mix if gamer chick (today is jeans, tee shirt and converse) and corporate vampire/Abbie from NCIS.

    8. ThatGirl*

      My favorite: very casual. The dress code is basically “don’t wear shorts or anything you’d wear to the gym” – no sweats, running shoes, ratty t-shirts, etc. I can wear jeans all the time otherwise. (Some people do wear more “business casual” clothes and that’s fine.)

    9. Rat Racer*

      I work from home full time. Unusual for me to change out of my PJs. However, all client meetings are business formal. The only things I wear these days are Pajamas, workout clothes and suits.

    10. Rincat*

      Business casual with an emphasis on the casual. During the week, most people wear slacks, khakis, basic shirts, dark jeans, casual dresses. On fridays it gets more casual with plain t-shirts, more casual jeans and shoes. Pretty much everyone is in jeans on fridays. There’s one VP that wears a full suit no matter what, and I have no idea why. Our CIO doesn’t even wear suits unless he’s meeting with the university president or someone on that level. Also I’m in north Texas so we wear lots of sandals. Even in the winter. :)

    11. stitchinthyme*

      Totally casual. We’re a software development shop, so jeans and t-shirts are typical, and some people wear shorts and sandals in the summer. The only restrictions are the usual: no risque slogans or ripped clothing, that kind of thing.

    12. Kowalski! Options!*

      Technically, it’s business casual, but the Ministry is a rather large shop, so some sectors tend to be more formal than others. Most people who are in senior(-ish) positions go for more formal wear (two-piece suits for the gents, suits or dresses, with hose and dress shoes for the ladies). In our shop, it’s pretty laid-back, especially on Fridays (yours truly is wearing a Columbia mountaineering shirt – but it is button-down! – black capris, and black Sketchers). I think if you were dealing with suppliers and the public you’d want to be more formal, but I haven’t ever heard of anyone being sent home to change. There’s even a gal down in the IT department who comes to work dressed in full-on Goth gear (black lace fingerless gloves up to her elbows, knee-high Docs and black dresses), and no one is particularly bothered about it, from what I can tell.

    13. Naptime Enthusiast*

      In my department, jeans and polos are pretty standard and can be worn daily, but so are button downs, slacks, and dress shoes for men. I will wear either a polo and dress pants, or a nice top and skirt, with flats every day. I never know if I will be at my desk or visiting a manufacturer or talking to execs, so I dress decently but comfortably everyday. Your level of dress is pretty dependent on how customer-facing your role is, but unless you’re wearing something egregiously inappropriate, I’ve never seen a supervisor actually talk to someone about their clothing (there are some that wear t-shirts and new balance sneakers daily).

      Communications, on the other hand, has a strict dresscode since their employees are very customer-facing and representing the company at all times, so everything from footwear to skirt length to jackets is defined.

      1. JanetM*

        I really like your username. I have sometimes paraphrased Ben Franklin to say, “Naps are proof that the gods love us and want us to be happy.”

    14. Mrs. T. Potts*

      It’s business casual. I work in an academic library, and we want to look approachable to the younger students, so nobody really dresses up.

    15. CR*

      Casual business casual. The only people who dress up (suits, heels) are execs. I can get away with jeans any day of the week. It’s great.

    16. Emily S.*

      Business casual – no jeans or sneakers, ever. I often wear solid t-shirts under cardigans.
      I almost never wear button-downs like the guys in the office, who either wear polos or button-downs shirts.

    17. who?*

      Officially, my office is business casual. In practice I find it very casual. Fridays are jeans days (not “casual Friday”) but everyone treats it like casual Friday – jeans, tshirts, hoodies, sneakers, etc. Even during the rest of the week, many men wear sneakers with their khakis and polos/flannels. Yesterday a woman wore jeans, sneakers, and a college tshirt, which is pretty odd for a non-Friday. The higher ups tend to dress a bit more business-y, with slacks and button ups, sometimes polos. I am frequently the dressiest woman in the office, but I would still say I dress casually but try to look “polished.” I am able to cheat and wear colored jeans during the week, which I usually pair with nice blouses, cardigan or blazer, and dressy shoes. I don’t change much for Fridays except wearing regular jeans.

    18. Nervous Accountant*

      Business casual veering into super casual. We have people who are consistent (polo shirt & slacks or slaks & nice blouse). I wear everything–one day i’ll wear t shirt & leggings and flip flops, and heels & pencil skirt another day. Others are like that as well. During tax season, more of us will come in on the weekends wearing sweats/pjs lol. The only limit to the dress code is no ripped stuff and no shorts. Otherwise, everyone wears whatever.

      Funniest thing is that I wore a button down, pencil skirt & heels and a lot of ppl teased that I’m goin gon interview. (I wasn’t)

      1. Christmas Carol*

        I’ve said it before– if you maintain a reputation for dressing up on random days, it’s much easier to slip out of the office to testify before the grand jury, meet with the film crew from 60 Minutes, buy a Lamborghini, interview with the competition, or do anything else you don’t care explain

    19. Saviour Self*

      We are a fairly casual workplace as most of our employees are rarely, if ever, client-facing. Myself and a couple others do tend to dress a little more nicely (think skirt and nice top or a dress) but many wear jeans and a t-shirt.

    20. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

      We’re fairly casual. Jeans/tshirts for non-management. Management might wear jeans, but with a nicer shirt. No one is dressier than business casual and that includes the CEO/CFO unless there is a board meeting.

    21. Snark*

      Picture, basically, the loosest possible interpretation of business casual, heavy emphasis on the casual. No shorts, jeans only on Fridays, but hiking pants or very casual cotton pants are pretty common all throug the week. Guys tend polo shirts, ventilated fishing shirts, whatever. Shoes might be hiking boots or very casual leather sneakers. The women generally polish it up better than the guys.

      I wear chukka boots, chino-type pants, and short- or long-sleeve button downs, and I’m usually one of the most polished guys in the office.

    22. aebhel*

      On the very casual end of business casual–no blue jeans, flip flops, tank tops, or short shorts, but pretty much everything else is fine. Khakis and slightly-dressy knit tops are what most of the women wear; I have large, visible tattoos, and it’s not an issue.

    23. Adlib*

      Officially it’s business casual, but it varies by office because of the wide variety of work my company does in different divisions. In my local office, jeans and tshirts are typical as well as flip flops. People are good about being tasteful, and I think we’re all over the age of 30 (except for some field personnel). It’s very nice to be able to wear what I’m in the mood to wear sometimes.

      That said, I’m about to travel to Australia to train some offices on software, and their dress code is likely different (actual business casual) so that will take some getting used to. I may have to shop for new clothes too!

    24. Recruiting/Project Manager*

      Officially it’s on the relaxed side of business casual M-Th, jeans on Friday. Unofficially, as long as I don’t look like shit on days I’m meeting with applicants or clients, I can wear whatever.

    25. Nonprofit Program Manager*

      It’s a wide range, with a lot of stratification between different levels and departments.

      Admins dress VERY casually. Like, t-shirts, worn jeans, and Tevas.
      Non-management program staff dress business casual. “Nice” jeans, blouses, blazers, etc.
      Senior management dress for their day, but typically the high end of business casual to business formal.

    26. a girl has no name*

      We are business casual Monday-Friday-even in the summer. For the last quarter of the year, if we donate money back to our organization than we are rewarded with jeans on Friday.

    27. NPOQueen*

      Summer is the same as all other seasons here. No different dress code, no casual wear. We have two office locations, and I’m lucky enough to work at the business casual one (our other is business professional, but on Fridays the men don’t have to wear ties). I’ve honestly never worked anywhere with casual Fridays; we can only dress down for special occasions, like summer outings.

    28. Jadelyn*

      We’ve gone to casual for our California offices, business casual for the Chicago office (they just tend to be far more uptight in general, for whatever reason – they actually *didn’t want* to join us in moving to casual dress code). Jeans are fine all the time, but need to be paired with a nicer top – no tshirts – and shoes – no tennis shoes or flip flops. In practice, those of us in the back office can get away with jeans and tshirts if the tshirts are plain and fit well.

    29. Cordelia*

      This post inspired me to look up our dress code, because I’ve never seen it – apparently there is no official dress code, and informally it’s “wear clothes”. In my building (or at least in my area), this is interpreted very casually. Several of the men on my team wear basically a uniform of polo, jeans, and sneakers. Some tend to be more business casual with slacks and a button up, but more casual is the norm. I’ve even seen t-shirts fairly regularly, and a couple of times shorts and flip-flops (but not from my department, I think that would probably be the line here). I’ve never seen my manager in anything dressier than a polo and khakis, even for giving a presentation. For me personally, I draw the line before t-shirts and flip-flops. I usually wear either jeans/nicer top/flats or a casual-ish dress. Oh and for the record, this is a large but not primary office of a federal agency.

    30. JanetM*

      Mine is very, very casual (but it varies by college and department).

      The CIO wears a suit (except on football Fridays when he wears a polo in university colors with the logo).

      The Associate CIO wears dress slacks, a buttoned shirt, and a tie (except on football Fridays when he wears a polo in university colors with the logo).

      Most but not all of the managers wear business casual more or less.

      Most of the non-managerial men wear jeans or shorts and polos or t-shirts.

      Most of the non-managerial women wear jeans or casual skirts and casual shirts or blouses. I generally wear ankle-length skirts and long blouses, and flats but not sneakers.

      Other departments are more formal, especially the business and law colleges — in those, almost everyone, including students, wears suits or dress pants / skirts with a blazer and a dress shirt with a tie or a business professional blouse.

      Custodians, maintenance workers, groundskeepers, and campus police wear uniforms.

      1. JanetM*

        I should note — when I say shorts, I mean like cargo shorts that come to the knees, not jogging shorts.

    31. Mirth & Merry*

      I work at a refinery and we are probably as casual as it comes. Our operators and maintenance techs are of course wearing PPE that they have no choice in but I (engineer) wear jeans and a t-shirt every day. Some of the more business side people (logistics, accounting, etc.) can pull out some more “business casual” dress but as long as you aren’t running around naked and are wearing the correct PPE in the unit it’s pretty much just whatever. I feel like sweatpants would probably be the only thing that was “too” casual and I have never seen that.

    32. RL*

      I work in a non-headquarters office of large financial company. No dress code here; we have a pretty small group (about 40 people in our location) and it varies. I’m a skinny jeans/flannel/flats or maxi skirt/t-shirt/sandals kind of dresser, but I have some colleagues who really dress up, and a few who do yoga pants or sports team shirts. No one ever looks like they just rolled out of bed, no one dresses inappropriately, but it really ranges from casual to the dressier end of business casual. I generally skip the jeans when I visit our HQ office; even though I have colleagues there who are perfectly comfortable dressing casually, I tend to dress a little better than I do at home if there’s a chance I could run into some VIPs. (No VIPs in my own office!)

    33. AdAgencyChick*

      Casual unless the clients are in, then we bump it up to business casual…maybe. I’ve seen jeans worn to client meetings lately, which was a no-no when I first started working. These days it often seems like the clients like wearing jeans when they come to see us, since they’re not allowed to wear them in their own workplaces, and they might feel more comfortable when at least one agency person in the meeting is dressed like they are.

    34. KR*

      Business casual company wide except for execs and big bosses. People tend to dress a lot nicer in our big skyscraper offices but I’m in a remote location so I usually wear jeans, non denim skinny jeans, or khakis with an appropriate, neat looking shirt. When my coworkers are out I wear shorts and t shirts to work with not a care in the world.

    35. Joan Callamezzo*

      Same as yours. We started out as business dress–think one step below banking or other formal business attire–but over the years this has gradually softened to business casual. Things like facial piercings, very visible tattoos (neck or face, full-sleeve etc.), creative facial hair and blue or pink hair are still not allowed.

    36. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

      Business Casual (but no sneakers or jeans). If someone is caught dressed Super Casual (Jeans and/or sneakers etc) they have to buy lunch for the whole department (which has happened a few times. LOL)

    37. Cookie D'Oh*

      Super casual. I’m not even sure what the employee handbook says about dress codes, but our headquarters is in a different state so no one is checking on us. I see a lot of jeans, t-shirts and flip flops in the summer. My boss mainly wears khakis and button down shirts. I wear casual dresses all the time in the summer. In the winter, boot cut dress pants and dresses with knee high boots.

      There’s another company that occupies some floors of the same building. When there was a fire drill, you could easily see the difference between the two. The other company was business casual and most people were smartly dressed and fashion forward.

    38. Fenchurch*

      We can wear jeans on Fridays (usually dependent on our company reaching certain goals for our semi-annual charity fund raisers). My area hit our goal unusually fast so we also get to wear jeans on Mondays until Labor day. We are not client-facing so technically we can wear jeans every day (but that’s not widely broadcast to help our company meet their charitable goals).

      Usually I’ll wear dresses or pencil skirts if I’m not in jeans, but the style of dress drastically varies across my immediate area.

    39. SQL*

      The University dress code: Employees should demonstrate good grooming. Clothing should be clean, neat, and in good repair.

      That’s it.

      My department has a slightly stricter dress code, no graphic t-shirts, sleeveless shirts, shorts, or open toed shoes, and jeans only on Fridays.

      1. SQL Coder Cat*

        Ugh, the site cut off part of my comment and user name again.

        You can tell the professors, especially during summer- they’re the most casually dressed folks on campus.

    40. Lemon Zinger*

      I work in higher ed. During the summer, we don’t interact with students much. People tend to dress more casually, though our dress code is officially business casual. Casual Fridays are not a thing on my team. Yesterday we had a meeting to prepare for the fall and our director was very pointed about getting back to professional attire ASAP. Personally I know that my wardrobe needs updating– so that is one of my goals for this weekend! I am trying to move up in my office so I need to look polished and professional at all times.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Casual. As an academic department head, I skew towards more professional business especially for meetings outside my department or with outside entities. We have a written dress code for the department.
        No leggings as pants. Cover your a-.
        No tanks for any gender.
        No flip-flops.
        Shorts are okay if they are cargo length.

    41. mondegreen*

      Business casual when not public-facing; business semi-formal (suit separates or a dress and blazer) in hearings. Some technical staff wear jeans because that’s appropriate for their job duties, and some lawyers who’ve been there for a while have a slightly more relaxed personal style.

      This is the general counsel’s office at a government agency, by the way; I just finished a summer internship there, and I played it safe by following the lead of a couple women who dressed more conservatively than average.

      As I think I’ve mentioned before, I used to be a STEM grad student. The lab dress code is all about safety: closed-toe shoes, pants or a skirt below the knee, and no jewelry, hairdos, or sleeves that drape excessively. I’ve effectively changed wardrobes over the past two years, which means going to thrift stores. Right now, J. Crew/Ann Taylor type stores sell a lot of things that aren’t officewear; LK Bennett/Ted Baker type stores are nearly always out of my price range. But with patience and a lot of visits to Corporette, it’s possible.

    42. Lynn*

      Attorney for a large-ish Federal Agency in DC here. Officially, business attire everyday. Unofficially, we all find ways to make business a bit more casual and keep a blazer or suit on our offices in case of an impromptu meeting with Important People.

    43. MidwestRoads*

      Honestly, hard to say. One attorney wears golf shirts and khakis, one wears a suit and tie every day, one wears khakis and button-downs (no tie). The support staff (of which I am part of) tend to err on the dressier side of business casual.

    44. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

      Officially, we are business casual (sample text from handbook: “Acceptable: Casual Slacks, Pants, and Skirts; Unacceptable: Denim Blue Jeans, Cotton or Nylon Sweatpants, Athletic Attire, Shorts, Spandex or other Form-Fitting Pants”) with Casual Friday (“The dress code for Fridays may include well-kept jeans and athletic shoes. All clothing should be neat in appearance without tears or holes.”) In reality, we’ve gone a bit more casual, with well-kept jeans, some athleisure, well-kept t-shirts and some of the “unacceptable” footwear (hiking boots, casual sandals) appearing M-Th. There is a stated expectation of business attire for meetings with volunteers or external stakeholders, but an awful lot of those meetings have turned business casual, IME.

      Let’s just say that the documented dress code didn’t change when our new CEO (somebody my age instead of my dad’s) took over in 2014, but the atmosphere of the C-suite regarding what was and was not OK relaxed significantly.

    45. Canton*

      It’s supposed to be business casual Monday through Thursday, unless you’re meeting clients, in which case you dress professionally but most of the staff do not adhere to the policy, in which case our COO sends out emails saying you need to be dressing appropriately. Jeans on Fridays.

      I like to dress up (and will occasionally dress up on Fridays) but it’s still technically business casual because I’m not wearing suits.

    46. Louise*

      I’m currently sitting at work in yoga pants with my shoes off. Our dress code is “yes, please be dressed.”

    47. Accounting/HR*

      Dress code is all over the place…some people wear t-shirts and jeans, and other people dress up. We don’t really deal with the public that much. I usually dress up just because I have business casual attire. But I’ve seen one of our directors wearing sweat pants to work!

      When I worked for the feds it was business casual though jeans were permitted on Friday. I think that was just in my individual department, though. And we had several Public Health Service Commissioned Officers so they wore their uniforms every day, though they had various uniform types–some were more formal than others.

    48. PizzaDog*

      Business casual to casual casual – there’s no real dress code; on corporate visit days, we have to wear our brand, but that’s it.

    49. INeedANap*

      Staff in an academic department at a university:

      Summers, it’s casual-business-casual M-Thurs., Friday is a true causal-casual although no pajama bottoms or gym clothes. Although as long as you weren’t ratty looking, you could get away with jeans on a weekday if you had no meetings, no one really cares that much as long as you look neat and respectable.

      During the active school year, it’s true business-casual M-Thurs. (so a leeeetle bit more polished than the summer but still, no one is wearing a tie or anything like that (except that one guy who likes bow ties) or heels (unless you like them which I sometimes do for fun)). On Fridays you can wear jeans but it’s expected you wear a nice top or sweater and the jeans should not be distressed or oddly colored.

      Breaks during the school year (winter break, spring break) revert to summer rules.

    50. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Our dress policy is very much “whatever you want.” I have no problem with ratty tees or sweatpants… I usually wear some kind of dress or tunic, with or without leggings, sometimes with an open drapey cardigan over it. With ballet flats or sandals, depending on the weather (tho I do have a new pair of glitter platform sneakers that I’ve been wearing a lot!)

      I firmly believe that the way you dress has nothing to do with your abilities or skills. If you wanna be dressier, that’s fine! (we def have people who are voluntarily on the business-casual side just because that’s what they have and are used to/comfortable in.) I don’t believe there’s anything inherently unprofessional about short skirts, sweatpants, tshirts with teams on them, etc. I get if you can’t wear those because your work won’t let you, but I urge people to not think of people wearing, say, shorts as prima facie unprofessional.

    51. Quinalla*

      We just recently changed from Business casual with jeans on Friday, to jeans allowed all the time and dress to the same level as clients when meeting them. If a client is business casual, dress that way, if they are suit & tie, same deal, if you are going to a construction site, wear safe clothing you don’t mind getting dirty that is inoffensive. My last place changed the dress code to this too as the majority of employees are behind a computer most of the time with some client meetings and some site visits mixed in, so no need to dress up every day.

    52. Jubilance*

      My company went casual about 2yrs ago, we were business casual before that. I work for a retailer with an apparel component, so some depts are more fashionable than others. Most people wear jeans. I’ve seen a lot of cold shoulder tops on women this summer.

    53. Lala*

      Ours is what I call “student casual” b/c we’re peons at a university (no one sees us unless we’re just walking around on campus to go somewhere). Basically as long as it’s not pajamas and your bits are covered, you’re good to go. Shorts, cold shoulder cutouts, leggings (w/ butt covered) etc. are all fine. Exception being when higher-up admins are going to be around or if you’re on a hiring committee conducting in-person interviews in which case my boss often says “I hate telling people how to dress, but let’s go more business casual that day, please”, but that’s maybe 4 days out of the year. A lot of the time people dress up just because they feel like it on a given day (or in my case, because they woke up late and grabbing a dress is faster than finding a matching bottom/top).

    54. Administrative Assistant*

      Our dress code is super weird, lol. I am currently wearing a rather nice wrap dress and heels, and under my desk I have jeans, tee-shirts, steel-toed boots, and a hard hat. My boss wears jeans with polos or button ups unless he’s expecting to meet clients, and then he wears slacks and button ups. On Fridays he wears sports team shirts, but they aren’t tee shirts. Everyone else wears jeans and tee shirts which aren’t supposed to say anything unless it’s the company name, but no one follows that rule, and everyone wears reflective safety vests when on the job anyway, so no one can see their shirt. (We are not allowed to wear anything sleeveless, and near as I can tell that’s the only other rule)

      If I’m feeling particularly daring, on Fridays I wear my “Do these protons make my mass look big” shirt.

    55. Lora*

      We should have clothes on. If we work with chemicals or heavy things, we have to wear pants, lab coats, closed-toed shoes (preferably steel toes) and safety glasses.

      In practice most people wear jeans or khakis and some sort of non-tee-shirt top. Senior management will occasionally wear a blazer/sportcoat sort of thing, but more often not. A perpetually tired look on your face is mandatory, though.

      I’m sorta middle management so today’s ensemble is dark jeans with no holes, a nice blouse, a cardigan with ruffles on it. If I was wearing nice pants instead of jeans you’d call it Business Casual.

    56. Anon 12*

      I came from a tech company that devolved over the years to presentable so that even as an exec that could mean jeans and a shirt without wrinkles. Nobody ever batted an eye. Now I’m in a client facing company and it’s officially business wear with casual Friday (if you don’t have a client meeting) but no tennis shoes. I find it odd that somehow leggings are tolerated when my go to if I had a choice would be dressy jeans, heels and a nice blouse. That is not in the Mon – Thurs dress code but leggings get a pass?

    57. Cloud Nine Sandra*

      Business formal-ish? The men all wear suits, or suits minus the blazer, every day except the last friday of the month, when we can donate to the monthly cause and wear jeans.

      Women’s styles are more varied. No jeans or yoga pants, but a lot of slacks/trousers and a simple shirt (never t-shirts). One or two women wear dresses and heels every day, or a full suit with skirt or pants (one is a teapot maker, one is admin). Some of the admin wear dark pants and sweaters every day. Open toed sandals are okay. I generally wear pants, a tank top/patterned sleeveless shirt/nice short sleeved shirt (my bust won’t do button downs) + a cardigan since I have 6 tattoos on my arms.

      The guys have it really easy when it comes to getting dressed in the morning.

    58. Elizabeth West*

      OldExjob was business casual, which bugged people because nobody saw us unless corporate was visiting or we had guests, and we always had plenty of warning. Exjob was jeans and t-shirts–we weren’t supposed to wear graphic tees except for the company ones, but everybody did it anyway. I got spoiled. :) We had to dress up if clients were in the office, but most people just worked from home those days.

    59. Witty Nickname*

      My office is very casual. Jeans, shorts, flip flops, tank tops, cold shoulder tops, whatever. Some departments used to enforce a more strict dress code, but I don’t think any do anymore.

      We have people all over the place on their personal dress code though. It’s not out of place to see people in button-down shirts and slacks, dresses, etc. (Suits are rare, but do happen), as well as people in t-shirts, shorts & flip-flops. Nobody cares as long as good work is being done.

    60. rj*

      I am a professor, and I think part of the problem with professors is that we think “oh my ideas are so important no one cares what I wear.” At my previous place of work (small college, rural midwest), people sometimes wore clothes that were worn. For opening/closing ceremonies when we wore robes, people wore birkenstocks. (shakes head). Was on leave at a small college in central PA – the male profs wore suits, women wore dresses or dress pants, staff were business or business casual (button downs not polos, lots of dresses and dress pants for women) depending on the type of job. I now work in the southeast, and I’m trying to figure out what the culture is here. I have noticed no women (even assistants in dean’s office type of places) were pantyhose, so that’s a relief (the dean or provost might wear them). My personal code is dresses and cardigans, or tank top/jeans/cardigan on Fridays, with flats or decent sandals. If I give a talk of something I wear a nicer dress and a blazer. I have noticed people here wear heels more. I may up my shoe game to be more formal but heels are not my thing.

    61. Ramona Flowers*

      Non-profit. Casual but presentable.

      Fine: jeans, flip-flops, blue/green/pink/etc hair, piercings, visible tattoos.

      Not fine: anything sweary or overly revealing. And probably not sweatpants and hoodie, as that would be a touch too casual even for us.

      When I interviewed, one of the panel had purple hair and a leopard-print cardigan, and my grandboss was in jeans and a lumberjack shirt (not sure if that term translates – I mean the flannel check ones) while I had one of my tattoos showing.

      Some people choose to wear suits as I guess they like to? My go-to is skinny jeans, ballet pumps and a funky print blouse.

    62. excel_fangrrrl*

      i work at an IT company. the official company-wide policy is business for client-facing sales, business casual for everyone else. in my area and on my team, it’s no holes/rips, no tank tops, no shorts, no swear words on your shirt. tattoos, piercing, and/or crazy colored hair are damn near mandatory. my manager specifically forbids flip-slops. other than that? anything goes.

    63. Chaordic One*

      My current workplace is business casual. Most of us wear nice blouses and dressy pants. The men wear polos and dockers. A few of the younger admins wear tank tops (with bras on underneath) and capri-style pants in the summer. On Fridays people can wear bluejeans. Most of us wear nice ones, but there are always a few who wear really faded and ill-fitting things (too tight) that are not a bit appropriate (IMHO). The big boss ALWAYS wears suits.

    64. This Daydreamer*

      Fairly sure we have to keep the naughty bits covered and I don’t think we’d be allowed to wear anything advocating violence. I have an overnight shift and can even try to sleep through part of it, so we’re pretty much expected to be in pajamas at times. It’s nice. I actually wear a dress usually and always have jewelry on – I’m a bead freak and love showing off – but it’s nice to kick off my shoes and walk around barefoot.

    65. only acting normal*

      Not naked.
      (Maybe that’s what the stick-figure clip art “dress code” handout was trying to convey?)
      People dress the full gambit from 3-piece suits and high polish shoes to shorts, t-shirt and flipflops all in the same office. Most fall somewhere around business casual. I’m a knitted dress kind of girl, worn with boots or lace-up flats or mary-janes, never heels.

    66. JD*

      I banned capris in my office. There are about 2 women on the Planet with the body for them. I think they just are so tacky I won’t allow it. Our dress code is men in jeans and button downs usually, except my mechanics obviously and for women professional with a trendy emphasis. I wouldn’t be so cool with them wearing jeans like the men but in this industry the women are kind of supposed to look “pretty/hot” whatever you want to call it. I am sure that is not something that people like to hear but it is how the automotive industry is for women in general since the clients are almost all men. I mean we have flag girls. I don’t allow our flag girls to be dressed slutty though like many teams do. None of this spandex booty short business many other teams do. It would be out of place to be in a suit or something that professional. We can have some fun due to our industry. I like dressing up however and despise jeans. I find them so uncomfortable. I don’t know why people think they are so comfy. Baffles my mind haha.

  4. jebly*

    Crazy week! I have been in a job I’ve disliked the better part of a year. I knew day 1 it wasn’t going to work and have been casually job hunting. I was offered and accepted a job yesterday! I negotiated salary (a first!) and while they didn’t budge on the starting rate, I was able to work in two reevaluations at 3 and 6 months, something I was sure to get in writing! Thanks AAM community for allowing me to learn from your mistakes. This wouldn’t have been possible without you!

    The stress I’m having now is how I relayed the news to my boss, the office manager. I was trying to rush negotiations along for a couple of reasons. 1. My boss was leaving for a week long vacation, removing the possibilty of an in person resignation, 2. I needed to only give 1 week notice rather than 2 (this has to do with how much my PTO is accrued and granted. I need next Friday off for a wedding, putting me over what’s accrued, and I wouldn’t be able to earn back that time in another week. I didn’t want to owe my old company money, so it financially made more sense to only put in a week. Additionally, my new boss is leaving for maternity leave in about 2 months and they need me trained on ASAP).

    My boss ended up heading out about 10 minutes before I had my official start date but after I had in writing my signed formal acceptance. I had to tell her on her way out. It was rushed and messy and I feel guilty. This job has been awful, I’ve been constantly disrespected if not largely ignored and I really owe them nothing. They cannot give references, but I just feel like a jerk. I told her I’d update her via email with my official start date, but I couldn’t guarantee it would be a full 2 weeks of notice. Now, she’ll be out of the office while I wrap up and leave. As soon as I knew I sent her an email with my official resignation. I apologized about the timing and told her I’d be in touch with any loose ends throughout the week.

    So here’s my question: I don’t think I’ll be able to give an exit interview since she’ll be out, but there are some things I’d like to say about my time here. Most of them are focused on the disrespect and pettiness of her administrative staff, their obsession with how people conduct themselves in the bathroom (they time how long people spend washing their hands and bring it up in all staff meetings… seriously), her flippant use of the ‘R’ word when two of our attorneys have special needs children, my 5 minute annual review where she told me I had a couple typos on inconsequential, internal emails and said nothing else, the fact that I have been ignored and given NO WORK FOR 10 MONTHS. Is it worth it? Or is it petty? Should I just move on?

    1. NW Mossy*

      I’d say move on. It seems like much of what’s happening is in full view/known to your manager and she hasn’t taken action, the likelihood that an exit interview will be the catalyst for positive changes is small. At this point, you’ve got a new path to follow elsewhere, and that’s a darn good result. Take it and enjoy it!

    2. King Friday XIII*

      Those don’t seem like the sorts of things an exit interview will change, so I agree with the folks about. Call on your inner Elsa and let it go.

    3. SophieChotek*

      I agree with other, move on. It might be satisfying to say what you really think, but it sounds like they won’t be receptive and even though you do have another job lined up, you could still want this place as a reference down the road, so (especially if there is no formal exit interview in place that has a natural way for you to offer some feedback), offering your advice unsolicited could hurt the way they remember you on your way out.

    4. Bagpuss*

      I’d say move on. It sounds unlikely that mentioning those things would change things, and I think if you were to send a letter or e-mail it could very easily come over as quite petty. If your boss, or HR or boss’s boss ask you, then by all means let them know, but otherwise, I think it’s better to leave it.

    5. Lemon Zinger*

      Move on. You have nothing to gain by airing your grievances while you still work there. In a few months after you’ve had time to decompress, write a Glassdoor review and warn others away from this terrible place!

    6. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      Unless you can speak to specific times that your boss was
      -hostile (legal sense of not giving you work or excluding you from projects because of age, race, gender, religion or having different expectations because of same)
      -ineffective because you weren’t given software, hardware or instructions to do your work
      -unwilling to follow through on promises regarding raises, promotions or projects that you had in writing
      then you have to be careful just to protect yourself.
      You can say that your boss didn’t give you work and wouldn’t tell you why and that you were afraid of retaliation because historically, she would do X and Y to people who went to HR.
      You really can’t say that she let meeting drift into b!+ch sessions about pet peeves and it was annoying.

    7. jebly*

      This is all great. I felt myself growing frustrated because I had nothing to do and the people around here are insane and whiney, but legally nothing was awry. I just hated working here. I was erring on the side of letting it go and will follow everyone’s advice here. Nothing will change. I’ve been here less than a year, others have been here for decades (hence the dysfunction). I’m just going to slip away quietly.

      1. jebly*

        By the way, no one is surprised I’m leaving. I was overqualified for the role and they ended up not having enough work to give me anyway. I grew bored and resentful, so sometimes my emotions about it got the best of me. The added frustrations about the staff here compounded that. It’s a nice pipe dream to exit, middle fingers in the air, telling people what you really think, but ultimately it’s purposeless.

        Side note, they cannot give me a reference, so that really doesn’t make a difference to me. It was more of the relief of airing grievences. Ah well!

        1. Not a Morning Person*

          Can you share why they “can’t” give a reference? That sounds unusual, unless you mean they won’t reveal anything but confirmation of employment, or title and salary, or something like that.

          1. jebly*

            They can only confirm employment, title, salary. It’s in my employee handbook – no references. I thought it was odd too, but since I’ve done nothing impactful here and have plenty of other references, it’s really not a big deal.
            I have a friend who works more in depth in the industry and says it’s pretty typical.

      2. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        Since you are able to leave, in a very short time you will be able to look back and realize that some places just suck and those people are ridiculous. They will be funny stories you tell over drinks.

    8. Happy Lurker*

      Congratulations! and move on…you know they are not going to change, be happy you are escaping!

    9. Not So NewReader*

      Small consolation but if you tried to fix it, you’d find that you can’t fix it. On stuff like this I tell myself, “Check back in 20 years, they will still be doing the same thing and wondering why they don’t get different results.”
      It’s not fixable.

  5. Doug Judy*

    I’ve been in talks for several months with a boutique consulting firm about a potential position, and it seems like they will be looking to bring me on board soon. I participated in a two day event they held for potential clients this week, mainly as an observer, but also so they could see how I operate in that environment. I’m meeting with the owner for coffee in a few weeks, and while nothing is a given, I’m getting the feeling an offer is imminent.

    In the course of setting up this meeting, we discovered we are neighbors, as in living down the street from each other. It’s a small suburban area, so not like a large urban area where you have hundreds of neighbors. We actually met briefly at a party years ago and have walked past each others homes numerous times.

    Is it bad to live that close to your boss???

    1. Mirth & Merry*

      My first boss lived in the condo right above me for about 10 months (I bought a house and moved) It was a little awkward for me to run into him I think just because “omg my boss, act professional” and it was my first job so I was still learning about these kinds of things but he never seemed weird or tried to make power plays and truthfully we rarely crossed paths. A few times in the parking lot and sometimes we’d sit our decks at the same time but it did not affect my day to day life. Barring either of you throwing crazy drunken ragers, I think things will be fine!

    2. NW Mossy*

      I live just a couple of doors down from my husband’s boss – he’s actually the one that told us about the house when it came up for sale 6 years ago. It’s working out just fine – he’s very non-intrusive and in fact spends a good portion of his time visiting his elderly father out of state, so we’re not very much in each other’s business.

      It really depends a lot on the relationship you have with the boss and the boss’s personality. In our case, we’d known him for a few years before we moved in and felt quite assured that it wouldn’t be awkward. It’s a bit trickier in your case since you don’t have a pre-existing relationship to work from, but it certainly can work and be a non-issue.

      1. Doug Judy*

        I think it will be ok. We can’t see each other’s homes from ours and we haven’t really crossed paths before, so I think we can maintain some boundaries. It was just kinda weird to discover!

    3. Demon Llama*

      An old colleague of mine discovered during an internal move that her new manager lived on the same street, to the point where she realised that, technically, she could see into her manager’s front room from the street as she walked home and vice versa. That did freak her out a bit until we worked through situations where it could actually be an issue:
      1. If she were in the habit of lying about being sick / otherwise being at home when work expected her to be elsewhere
      2. If she would be tempted to snoop on her manager’s personal life
      3. If she felt her manager would be the kind of person to snoop on her personal life
      4. How she would cope if she ran into her manager on the weekend
      As she doesn’t do 1 or 2, didn’t get any red-flag vibes from her manager re: 3 and decided she could cope with 4, she decided it wouldn’t be an issue… and it wasn’t!

    4. Redundant Department of Redundancy*

      I live two doors down from my grandboss. He apparently knew it was me when I interviewed (I had no idea).
      I’ve been an amazing neighbor, which I imagine helped with me getting the job somewhat. As in I had a load of packages arrive, which were delivered to them as I wasn’t in. I got them a thank you card and some chocolates to thank them for signing them. As well as general other ‘good neighbour stuff’ I just happen to have only spoken to his wife and not him.

      We normally just make polite small talk if we see each other outside of work. In work we sometimes chat about our area (and our annoying mutual neighbour!)!

    5. Kat*

      I have been worrying about this as well. I just started a new job and found out that my boss’s boss lives just a couple of blocks from me and in fact I know her child from some volunteering I did at the neighborhood elementary school . Everyone seems great and I’m sure it will be fine but it just feels weird. We’ll definitely run into each other at events and I will have to be even more careful about what I post on NextDoor, etc. We moved a while back from a huge metro area to this medium-sized city and it’s still disconcerting how it sometimes feels like Mayberry!

    6. nonymous*

      I lived two blocks from my boss for 5 years and saw him once in all of that. Given we had two dogs and an unfenced yard at the time, I’m pretty sure I walked by his house ~3x/week and he possibly drove by daily on his way to work. We never talked about the neighborhood at work either.

  6. Elle*

    To continue the benefits question from yesterday’s post, are there any US readers who are able to “buy” additional vacation time? I’ve had a few employees inquire about it, so I wanted to see how prevalent it is. What limits do you have? (i.e. how much can you buy?) Any other guidelines attached to it?

    1. Triangle Pose*

      “Buy” vacation time? Do you mean than taking off unpaid or something different? I don’t think I’ve seen a “buy” vacation time system before. Interesting…

    2. NW Mossy*

      My company used to offer it – we had the option to buy up to 40 hours of additional PTO. I miss that program dearly! When it was active, they’d deduct a set amount from your paychecks (based on your salary) in the first 6 months of the year and then the week became available in the second 6. However, it went poof a few years back because of the administrative burden it put on HR/payroll to manage the program.

      1. Compliance*

        I’m confused on how this works… you pay in advance, then you have a paid day to use? Is it the equivalent of an unpaid day?

        1. NW Mossy*

          It nets out to an unpaid day in this case because that’s how the program was designed, but other companies might do it differently. In my company, unpaid days require additional approvals beyond what’s normally required for PTO and are only available in specific situations, so doing the buy-up of PTO would allow you to avoid the extra approval and give you the freedom to use the time for reasons that wouldn’t qualify for unpaid leave.

      2. TheCupcakeCounter*

        old job had the same thing – I did it my first year to get me up to the 2 full weeks PTO

    3. Anon-mama*

      My husband can. They allow for purchase of up to 40 hours; they figure out their hourly rate from their salary and charge per hour taken. So, it’s essentially like taking an extra time unpaid. They already have generous leave plus an end-of-December shutdown, so we don’t use it, but some of his colleagues like the option.

    4. Ms. Meow*

      I can purchase vacation in my current job. We can buy up to 40 hours a year (on top of our regular days), but it’s implemented in a weird way. If we buy vacation, those days can only be used after all other vacation (regular and carry-over) days have been used. And if we don’t use them, we lose them, and we can’t even carry over regular days that weren’t used. The other option is that we can sell back unused bought vacation days in November. You really have to plan out your vacation around Thanksgiving and Christmas carefully so you don’t come up short or have days you lose.

      So say I get 15 regular vacation days and buy 5 more. I can take all 20 days. Or I can take 18 days, but make sure to sell back 2 purchased days in November. Or I can take 14 days, sell back 5 purchased days, and have 1 carry over.

      Honestly, I buy the days for ~just in case~ situations. This year I’ll be able to sell the ones I bought back if things go as planned.

    5. LCL*

      I suppose that’s what comp time is. Government agencies are allowed to do comp, I believe it isn’t allowed for the rest of the US. Employees can choose to have 50 hours a year of OT changed to comp time, which they use later.

      1. Natalie*

        Comp time is perfectly allowable for any company – you just can’t offer it in lieu of overtime pay for non-exempt employees.

    6. vacay buy*

      I work for a very large company that does this. The prior year, there is an enrollment period (similar to benefits open enrollment). You can buy one additional week – no more, no less. You get a 2% pay reduction over the course of the year in which you get the extra vacation. Due to what I think are IRS rules, if you don’t use a portion of the additional week, whatever you didn’t use is cashed out at the end of the year. Your regular vacation time is used up prior to the “buy” days. It’s a very popular program and ultimately a cost savings for the company (since it’s not like we backfill or hire up for the additional time).

    7. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      We used to be able to buy up to an extra week at my old company (large financial services firm). The way it worked was you enrolled at annual insurance enrollment time to buy whatever amount of extra hours you wanted, up to 40 (this piece was appended to the annual enrollment form). The purchase was a 60% of normal rate, and they took that extra out of each paycheck. If you didn’t use all of your extra bought vacation above and beyond your standard, you were cut a check back (through payroll/direct deposit) sometime in December. I always bought it for “just in case” reasons and I pretty much always got a check back.

    8. Saviour Self*

      Those sorts of programs are ripe with issues from a management and anti-discrimination standpoint. If you’re going to do one, go forward carefully.

      1. vacay buy*

        Can you elaborate on this? Just curious what issues you’ve seen. At our company it’s open to all, and people have different amounts of vacation anyway due to different tenures with the company, so I don’t think it’s been an issue.

        1. LCL*

          Some work groups may not be allowed to accumulate comp time, it is at the managers’ discretion. If it is allowed for some people in one work group and not others in the group-big problems.

          Is comp time leave subject to the same vacation scheduling rules as regular vacation? What if Random has 40 hours of comp leave scheduled, but Brand just realized he is at use it or lose it with his vacation hours, and the workgroup can’t allow any more vacation that week? Can Brand bump Random out of his leave?

          What about the employee who is denied vacation, then tries to schedule it as comp and claims you have to allow comp time leave?

          If you are having trouble filling out your schedule, and denying leave because of personnel absences, how is adding 50 or 100 more additional hours leave to each employee helping? My company had to renegotiate comp time, the first iteration allowed too much accrual and was hurting some groups.

          1. Elle*

            I’m not talking about comp time though. What people are asking for is the ability to purchase an additional week of vacation.

            1. Saviour Self*

              What LCL said is still valid as far as concerns go, simply replace comp time with purchased vacation.

              If you leave it up to the individual managers to grant, you’ll want to monitor to make sure they aren’t discriminating (even unintentionally).

              Will workloads and coverage allow for people to be out the additional time?

              What if purchasing the additional time takes someone below minimum wage – are they not eligible to purchase at all? Does that make them a certain group of employees or a certain demographic?

              I’m not saying it isn’t doable. It definitely is but it requires a lot of training and monitoring and potentially exposes you to additional liability concerns.

    9. Over educated*

      No but I would absolutely do this if I had the option. At my last workplace you could request “leave without pay,” which I did occasionally because my manager was fine with it but other managers discouraged.

    10. Gaia*

      We are allowed to either buy or sell up to 7 days of vacation time a year. Selling is good because you can only roll over so much each year and buying is sort of a way to prepay yourself if you know you won’t have enough vacation time to take a trip you want to take (we don’t permit unpaid time off unless it is for leave, but we have generous PTO policies)

      1. Gaia*

        Ours seems very different than the above. You decide in August if you want extra time for the same year (to be used by December) and it is deducted, in full, a month later (late September). If you don’t use it, it rolls over just like other PTO.

    11. NacSacJack*

      Hi – I might just post in yesterday’s article for others to reference but I thought it was great to do that. I knew
      I worked for a company with great benefits, but comparatively, wow!! How great!!

      As for PTO, yes, we can buy up to 5 days vacation, prorated across our paychecks for the year. However, it comes with some strings. We must use up all our awarded vacation first, including any carryover, before we can use our purchased PTO. We can sell our purchased PTO back to the company, but we have to make that decision in early November during Benefits signup. If we chose not to sell back, then we must use up all our vacation including our purchased vacation by year-end, we cannot carry over any vacation if we have unused unsold purchased PTO. If we don’t use it up, we lose whatever is left. Note: We can carry over 5 days, but to do so, we cannot have any purchased PTO. Purchased PTO cannot be carried over and you have to use it or sell it before carrying any over and since you can’t use it until all your other days are gone, you have to sell it, if you want to carry any awarded days over. I got caught in a bind at year-end one year unable to use 3 days awarded PTO and 3 days purchased and lost 3 days. I didnt buy vacation for a couple years after that because of that incident..

    12. Annie Admin*

      We can “buy” 40 hours extra vacation each year. They deduct a set amount from each paycheck to cover and you can only use those hours after all regular vacation has been used. If you do not use all or some of those bought hours you get refunded the amount at the end of the year. A lot of people buy vacation as a savings of sorts and look at the unused payback as a bonus at the end of the year.

    13. Cookie D'Oh*

      Yes, my husband is able to buy vacation time. It’s an option when he signs up for benefits for the following year. He can buy up to 5 days. He used to do it so he would get 5 weeks total vacation. I don’t recall how much it costs, but it was worth it for us. I had 7 weeks and now have unlimited PTO so having around the same amount of vacation helps when we want to travel. With his last service anniversary he got 5 weeks vacation and now he’s not eligible to buy any more.

    14. Homes*

      Like others have said, we can sign up for the program during our annual benefits enrollment period. We can buy up to 48 hours (this ensures that folks who work 9/80s (44 hours one week and 36 hours the next) can take a full week off) in one-hour increments. It is taken from your paycheck in even increments over the entire year (I believe – I’ve never looked hard into that portion of it). All allotted and carryover vacation must be used before using the purchased time. We have to have all of our vacation for the entire year entered by the first week of December so HR/payroll can determine how much we should be reimbursed for unused purchased vacation. If, in those last 3 weeks you have to take more time off than you budgeted for (and if you have no allotted/carryover vacation left), that extra time off is unpaid and at the discretion of your manager. Not sure how it works if you leave mid-year but have already taken more purchased vacation than you’ve paid for via paycheck deductions. Maybe your last paycheck is garnished by the difference?

      I take advantage of it every year. When I was a newbie with just 2 weeks of vacation and living far from family, it was a god-send! Now that I have four weeks (and generally carryover four weeks) and the ability to work remotely, I never use it, but I like knowing I have it in case of emergencies. Plus it’s always nice to have an extra week’s worth of pay in my last paycheck for the year – helps cover the Christmas bills.

    15. ToodieCat*

      My employer has a favorite charity, and if we make X contribution we can get one extra day of PTO, and if we make Y contribution we can get two extra days. I always donate Y.

    16. Hermione Lovegood*

      We also have the option to “purchase” up to 40 hours of vacation during open enrollment. The hourly amount is deducted from each paycheck (twice-monthly). The standard vacation allotment is 120 hours up to 10 years of service. At 10 years, and every 5 after, you receive another 24 hours of vacation. In “5” years (5, 10, 15, etc.), you receive 40 hours of “recognition” vacation to honor your anniversary. In those “5” years, you may also purchase up to 80 hours of vacation instead of the standard 40.

      In addition, we are also given the option during open enrollment to “sell” up to 40 hours of vacation back to the company. They will use the same calculation for the “purchase,” but the sale money can only be applied toward benefits. If your benefits are not through the company, you get no additional cash in your check.

      Vacation time does not carry over, nor is it paid out at the end of the year. If you don’t use it, you lose it! Planning is critical! :)

    17. Jake*


      We can buy one week per year. If you buy any vacation you are not allowed to care any over to the following year. If you don’t buy any, you can carry up to one week over to the following year.

      I’ve also worked for a company that allowed you to buy a week and carry over as much as you want regardless of whether you bought any or not. This was a huge liability on their books because a lot of us would buy as much time off as allowable, and take almost none of it. Then, if we left the company, that time all got paid out when we left.

      I left that company after 2.5 years with 5.5 weeks of PTO they had to pay out.

      So, in terms of prominence, of the three companies I’ve worked for in the last 6 years, two allowed it, one with almost no restrictions, one with major restrictions.

    18. excel_fangrrrl*

      we can buy one additional week a year with our manager’s approval. it is vacation time, not sick time, so it will not roll over if you don’t use it. the entire 40 hours goes into your PTO bank immediately and then a small amount of money comes out of each check throughout the year.

    19. Gerenuk*

      This is a little different than buying vacation time, but my company has a program where you can take 80% of your salary for 4 years, and then take a year off with pay (still at 80%), with your job held for you when you come back. Basically you’re spreading four years of income over 5 years but I think its pretty cool that can take a year leave and know your job is waiting for you. I don’t actually know anyone who’s taken advantage of this program though.

  7. Elsa*

    For those who work ‘standard’ office hours, what’s your morning routine like? How long do you take getting ready in the morning? How early/late do you usually get up to fit in everything you need to get done before work?

    (I feel like I’d like be more efficient in the mornings…)

    1. Justme*

      I get myself and my kid ready. I wake up early to have some quiet time, but I don’t really get ready until after kid is awake. So 45 minutes?

    2. Kiki*

      I have a long morning routine. I wake up around 6 am but don’t leave the house till 8 am. I get in a quick run, shower, and do my hair and makeup. Then I make toast and coffee, have a quick breakfast with my husband, and read a chapter of whatever book I’m working on. After that, I get dressed and head out.

      1. who?*

        Where do you run? When I first got my dog I took her running every morning because she was high energy. We got her in the winter and then once spring came and all the trees started growing leaves, I didn’t feel comfortable running in the dark surrounded by lots of trees I could no longer see through/past. I really enjoyed that routine but I always freaked myself out running in the dark (I read/listen to/watch a lot of true crime stuff). Luckily she’s calmed down quite a bit and we can run in the evenings after work when it’s still light out.

        1. Kiki*

          I run on my street. I live right near a major intersection and it’s 1 mile from that intersection to the next major one, so I run between the two.

    3. Anonygoose*

      I usually wake up around 5:30 – 6:00 to start work at 8:00. I wake up, sometimes shower (usually I shower the night before), make coffee and oatmeal, and eat casually while reading or watching tv for 30-45 minutes. Then I get dressed quickly, throw on mascara, and it’s a 10-20 minute drive to work.

    4. NW Mossy*

      I get up at 5:25 and am normally out the door 25-30 minutes later to start work at 6:30am. My morning routine is very stripped down – shower, brush teeth and hair, dress, pack lunch, and I’m gone. I don’t like getting up early but my evenings go way better when I can leave the office at 3:30pm, so this is my compromise.

      1. Ally A*

        I’m about the same (wake up at 5:30, leave house by 6:15, at work by 6:30). I don’t do anything in the morning besides get ready (shower, get dressed, hair/makeup). I wake up, make my bed and immediately get in the shower and get ready. I know people who like to be up for an hour or two before they get ready, read the paper, watch the news, have breakfast, etc., and I just don’t understand it – I guess I want to sleep as long as possible. I do live alone however, with no pets, so I’m sure that helps.

      2. JustaCPA*

        this. I leave for work by 7 AM so I try to be up by 6:30-6:40. I shower or bathe the night before though.. so up, brush teeth, potty, dress, get lunch, grab breakfast to go (usually a yogurt or melon Ive balled the night before) I dont like to eat so early so that work for me…

        1. JustaCPA*

          oh and my husband handles morning kid duties. I’m home (usually ) by 5 so I take care of afternoon kid duties

    5. EddieSherbert*

      I’m awful. I literally get up 20-30 minutes before I have to be out the door. I’ve learned I have to do basically everything the night before because I will NOT get up earlier.

      So the evenings is when I shower, pick out my clothes, pack my lunch (and maybe breakfast…), and make sure whatever I need is packed and ready to go (usually my laptop/charger). I typically eat breakfast at work and have food to make or eat there (like a loaf of bread and jar of jam for toast… or sometimes just a package of granola bars… I usually a carton of juice in the work fridge…).

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        My routine is similar, except I take a walk with my neighbor in the morning, which takes 20-30 minutes. But I only have to get dressed in the morning and comb my hair. The rest is done the night before or, like you, eating breakfast at work.

        1. EddieSherbert*

          I got a dog awhile ago, and assumed he’d add morning exercise to the routine… he likes mornings even less than me! I have to force him to get up to eat/go relieve himself before I leave. He is not a morning critter at all (too perfect of a match…).

          1. A.N.O.N.*

            Awww that’s adorable! :)

            It seems my fiendish cats want nothing more in life than to lay on my chest and lick my nose an hour or two before I want to get up. I’ve tried everything to get them to let me sleep, but at this point I’ve just grown accustomed to waking up earlier and staying in bed with them.

            Oh the things we do for love…

          2. Elizabeth West*

            When I had Pig, the first thing I had to do was feed her. She could hear me go into the bathroom from outside (and we had a routine), and she would start meowing. I would put my contacts in and then go take care of her.

          3. Monsters of Men*

            Oh man. Getting my corgi out of bed is a trial and a half. First he has to stretch EVERY limb of his body, then he has to do a full body stretch, and then he needs some snuggles. Then he wants his teeth brushed (my mom did this to him) — THEN he goes pee, but he goes and sniffs each corner of the yard and fence before he does his business. Then more cuddles, then breakfast, and then he lounges around.

            He takes way longer than I do, but I work evenings.

    6. Cactus*

      29/yo Woman in IT field, no kids. It takes me maybe 15 minutes max to get ready in the morning if I’ve packed my lunch the night before. I wear black pants, black cardigan, and change out shirt every day so I don’t really need to think about my wardrobe. I also shower the night before so my hair product has a chance to calm my curls.

      1. Kvothe*

        Also a 29/yo woman with no kids (engineer) and it also takes me about 15 min to get ready, I usually have my coffee and eat breakfast at work while reading emails or reviewing drawings or such….I’m really not a morning person

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          Derail, apology, but: Love the user name. Patrick Rothfuss is driving me CRAZY. Kingkiller is my reason #3 why not to start a series until it’s finished.

    7. Fabulous*

      I’ve been giving myself about an hour in the morning. Shower at night, or if I do it in the morning I’ll try to give an extra 15-20 minutes. After letting the dog out, I generally lay back in bed for 30 minutes looking at articles or something to wake up more. Getting myself ready usually takes about 15 minutes. I’ll try to throw together a lunch if I didn’t the night before. I aim to give myself 30 minutes for my commute, but usually end up around 20-25 minutes and I get there right at 8:30 instead of a few mins early.

    8. Pam Beasley*

      I get up at 6:00 AM, and leave by 7:15 (have to be at the office at 7:30). I usually preset my coffee maker the night before (ninja coffee bar…it’s awesome!) to start brewing at 6:00 AM so it’s ready just after I get up. I usually turn on the news, eat a bowl of cereal, and have my coffee on the couch until about 6:20 AM. I feed the dog and take her potty some mornings depending on when my husband works. After breakfast, I do my makeup and hair (sometimes I straighten/curl my hair, sometimes I just go with an easy bun or ponytail). My makeup routine takes about 10-20 minutes, depending on how much I choose to wear that day. Lol. I usually get dressed after makeup & hair, pack my lunch, pack a granola bar as a morning snack, and head out the door. I’m usually rushing out the door right at 7:15, but always manage to make it to work on time!

    9. Teapot Librarian*

      When I had to get to work at 6am, I woke up at 4:30, fed the cats, took a shower, got dressed, made my lunch, and was out the door by 5:30. Now that I’m back to regular hours (day starts at 8:15), I get up at 5:45, feed the cats, go back to bed–this is where things fall off the rails–and then get out of bed at 7:30, take a shower, panic that I don’t have any clean clothes, get dressed, and leave for work *hopefully* before 8:15. Today I got to work at 9. (Oops. Also notice how “make lunch” isn’t included.) I stop for coffee on my way to work. I pass a 7-11, and sometimes Dunkin Donuts has deals, so I end up spending not much more on coffee than I would if I made it at home.

    10. Sadsack*

      I have a 45 minute commute one-way and work 7:30 to 4:30. I get up at 5:30 a.m., sometimes closer to 6 a.m. to get myself ready. That usually takes me about an hour from waking up to walking out the door, often times less. I usually try to get my breakfast and lunch for the next day together the night before, but sometimes I throw it together in the morning. I usually have an idea of what I’m going to wear the next day or as I’m waking up in the morning I check the weather forecast and think about it while I’m getting ready. I have a pretty regular routine from the moment I get up so I don’t waste much time in the a.m.

      1. Sadsack*

        Maybe I should add that I eat my breakfast at work, not at home. I have a cat to feed at home, and that’s it.

    11. ThatGirl*

      I get up shortly after 6, shower and dress right away. I generally have about 15-20 minutes to get everything together and eat a quick bite – but I do a lot of prep the night before, including getting things together to take for lunch, prepping breakfast if needed (overnight oats, putting travel mug out, etc) and making sure my phone is either by my purse or charging. So then I can sit for a few minutes and eat and read twitter before heading out the door shortly after 7 (I work 7:30-4 or so.)

    12. Murphy*

      If not for my daughter, I could be out of the house ~35 minutes after waking up. (Shower, get dressed, makeup, make and take coffee, quick breakfast…before my daughter, I’d probably read some news articles or morning AAM post while eating.) I usually set out clothes and pack a lunch the night before to make things quicker.

      With an infant, I need help from my husband, and another half hour or so.

    13. Alex*

      Get up at 5:45. Shower. Breakfast. Bathroom. Brush teeth. Get dressed. Grab bag/lunch. Leave by 7:00. Get to work around 7:30. Always the same every morning. No variety. Ever. I’m not rushed, but I’m not exactly lounging around savoring every moment.

    14. paul*

      make sure my slacks and polo shirt are clean, I know where my belt/shoes are the night before.

      10 minutes to wake up, bathroom, shower, brush teeth. Another 10-15 to dry off and dress.

      I don’t eat or drink in the AM generally so breakfast doesn’t factor in.

      If it’s my day to run the kids to daycare, add in 30 minutes to wake them up, get clothes on ’em, etc.

    15. CR*

      My morning routine is like…15 minutes. I shower at night (always have), make my lunch and lay out my clothes the night before. I’d rather sleep in the morning than spend time on that kind of stuff. I spend a few minutes reading my phone in bed, get dressed, brush my teeth, attempt to fix my hair, maybe put on a bit of makeup on a good day, and leave. I pick up breakfast on the way or eat at the office.

    16. Emily S.*

      I shower at night, which makes mornings way easier. My job is 8-5.

      I start getting ready for bed at 9pm, do my nightly routine, and get in bed around 9:45. I typically read for about half an hour before turning out the light.

      In the morning, I get up around seven, get ready and eat breakfast. I’m out the door before 7:30.

    17. Not a Real Giraffe*

      I have to be at work by 8:30am. I wake up at 6:45am, shower and get dressed/ready, and leave by 7:40am. I often wish I had time in the mornings to make breakfast and read, but even if I didn’t have to be at work at 8:30am, I am sure I would end up using that time to sleep longer!

    18. King Friday XIII*

      Before we switched to a daycare near our home, my commute to work was about one block and I set my alarm for forty five minutes before I needed to be there, hit snooze three times, and then would get dressed and out the door in about seven minutes.

      Now drop off is my responsibility so my morning routine is mostly toddler wrangling.

    19. Nervous Accountant*

      My workday technically begins at 9:30, but I usually get here around 8:30-8:45 (this is outside of the busy season).
      4:45-wake up
      5:00-leave home
      7:30-shower, get ready etc
      At work by 8:30-845, after getting bfast & coffee and depending how long I take to get ready (wheN I have to shower and do my hair, it’s easily 90 minutes, not counting makeup).

      When I’m done with work< I want to do as little of anything as possible. SO I come home and veg out and chill with my husband so I try to do as much as I can in the AM.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        On days that I’m not going to the gym, I’m out the door in 20 minutes. I do my make up wheN I get to the office, in the bathroom.

    20. July*

      I get up at 6:10 and shower or, if I went to the gym the night before, read in bed and drink coffee for fifteen minutes. It’s a lovely incentive to the gym, incidentally. I make a quick breakfast and eat that while reading the newspaper and fix lunch. That takes around fifteen minutes total. I do my hair and makeup for around ten minutes. I get dressed pretty much the last thing before leaving, otherwise I make myself with coffee spills on my blouse or other small disasters. I don’t generally lay out my clothes the night before, but I do try to mentally choose my clothes as I’m doing my hair/makeup. I get out the door by 7:10-7:15.

    21. Catalin*

      Wake up around 6:15, shower, dress etc, grab a protein bar while making tea, out the door by 6:40. DC Area traffic and a 25+ mile commute gets me to the office around 7:40 (average).
      Many people in my office don’t come in until 9 or 9:30, I just can’t do that. I leave around 4 to get home around 5.
      Early morning is the best for reading stuff; it’s still quiet and I can focus. By 2 I’m less than useful and by 3:30 I’m basically at minimal capacity. I don’t take a lunch, so it really is one long slog.

    22. matcha123*

      I work from 9am to 5:45pm. I wake up at 7:15am, start the washing machine and while my clothes wash, I was my face and do my hair. I hang my clothes, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, put on makeup and leave about 8:15am to walk to the train station.

      I’ve been trying to do some jumping jacks in the morning, since I need to get more exercise in. I started last week. I’ve done.. Like… 3 or 4 days…

      When I get home, I fold my clothes, do exercise in my place for 30 minutes to an hour, shower, make dinner, read or play on the computer and before I go to bed I lay out my clothes for the next day. I have to lay out my clothes and pack my backpack each night. I am not a morning person and doing the majority of work at night has made my mornings go so much more smoothly. Especially on days when I sleep in a little bit more.

    23. Garland Not Andrews*

      I try to be at work by 8:00 am. I usually get up by 4:30.
      My morning routine: Do yesterday’s dishes (the dishwasher is me), exercise 15 -20 minutes, go get shower, dressed, cook & eat breakfast, make to-go tea, pack lunch, brush teeth, comb hair, out the door by no later than 7:05 am.

    24. Jadelyn*

      I’m a lazyass, so my alarm goes off an hour before I need to leave (I leave at 8 for an 8:30 start time at work) only so that I have time to hit snooze a few times. I usually roll out of bed about half an hour before my departure time, stumble to the bathroom, do my thing (I shower at night, not in the morning, so this part doesn’t take long), throw on some clothes, slap on some basic makeup, try to make my hair look halfway presentable, take my meds, and head out. Usually with at least one break to play with the cats for a few minutes. If I had to shower and do my hair, I’d have to tack on another 45 minutes at least, which is why I do that at night and let my hair dry overnight. Otherwise it takes forever.

      If I’ve got time and am so inclined, I’ll heat water and make myself a couple packets of this amazing Vietnamese coffee (the G7 3-in-1) my partner’s coworker introduced him to. It helps me be less irritable while I’m getting ready.

    25. Ihmmy*

      I get up around 6:45, make a coffee, let the dogs out, putz on my computer. 7:20 I start getting ready (I often get ready quickly, especially if I’m skipping makeup that day, which means extra dog cuddles), 7:45 kennel dogs and leave the house for my bus, get to work at about 8:15 which gives me a few minutes to make another coffee, eat a yogurt for breakfast, sort my emails, etc before we officially start at 8:30.

    26. Emi.*

      I get up at 4:30 because I’m in a morning workout group, so my actual getting ready (including shower) starts around 6:45 or 7. I set out my clothes the night before; in theory I also prep my lunch but I often don’t until the morning (usually just leftovers so it’s fine). I leave at 8, so I have about an hour, and that’s enough time for me to be relaxed, enjoy my coffee, and chat with my husband. (I used to try to get up an hour before I had to leave, and I was much more rushed. This works for me because when my hour starts, I’m already fully awake.)

    27. Lemon Zinger*

      I arrive to work by 8:00 every morning. I usually wake up between 6:00 and 6:30 (due to my partner’s job, which starts earlier). I take about 20 minutes to get dressed, do makeup, etc. (I shower at night) 10-15 minutes to walk the dog. 5-10 minutes to pack a lunch (if I didn’t already do it the night before). 5 minutes to prepare my partner’s coffee. Commute is around 15 minutes, then I have a light breakfast and tea at my desk.

      I would love to be one of those people who works out in the morning, but I physically can’t do it. I need my sleep and prefer to work out after I get home from the office.

    28. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

      I usually wake up around 5:15am (4:30am when I want to squeeze an early morning workout in). I set aside about 15 minutes to check my emails and social media. I have the tv on to the morning news as I’m getting ready. I’m usually out the door by 6:30am.

    29. Fenchurch*

      It takes me a long time to boot up in the morning. I usually am up at 6:30 for my 8:30 shift (out the door at 8:05ish).

      I make coffee, take a shower, get dressed, and spend some time puttering around.

      Ideally I get in a quick workout before my shower, but let’s be honest I’ve been pretty lazy of late.

      1. Chicago Recruiter*

        I too am a putter-er. Up at 5:45, make coffee, feed dog, shower, puttering (usually checking email/social media), hair/makeup/get dressed, walk dog, out the door at 7:15 to be at work at 8. I wish I was the type of person who could just get up and go but I’m too high maintenance. :)

    30. Justin*

      I’m kind of a lunatic, but:

      Up around 5:45, tea/news/emails (but mostly “waking brain and body up” time), around 6:40 I go running (depending on the day, 5-7 miles), home around 7:25, shower, out the door at 7:45, at work just before 8:30.

    31. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I have a very consistent morning routine that takes a while, but I’ve done it for years. Helps me get my day started. I hate rushing and I hate being late, so this is what I’ve worked out:
      6:15: wake up, wash face, brush teeth, put in contacts
      6:25-ish: long morning walk with the dog, which can go between 30 minutes and 50 minutes, depending on how he’s feeling
      If I haven’t packed my lunch the night before, I pack it post-walk while feeding the dog.
      7:20 (at the latest): in the shower
      7:30: makeup, set hair in clips, put on bathrobe
      I have tea and a small breakfast in front of the TV/Internet. Sometimes I dawdle, but I never rush.
      8:10-ish: get dressed, spruce up hair, apply lipstick
      I’m usually out the door by 8:20, sometimes earlier, occasionally later if I have a wardrobe issue (usually something like, “Dammit, I planned to wear that sweater but it’s in the wash.”
      Depending on traffic, I get to my office between 8:35 and 8:50. My workday starts at 9.

      1. Information Security Analyst*

        I cannot–like almost physically cannot–take a shower less than 20 minutes. I have tried. I don’t know if it’s because I enjoy the water running down or if I’m just a slowpoke. And I have short hair so it doesn’t take long to shampoo.

        I think my record was 17 minutes.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I used to think I took reaalllllly long showers, but I just don’t. I’m kind of rigid in my routines, and I definitely have a shower one. Sometimes it’s an extra couple of minutes because I shave my legs, but nah, I’m a fast shower-er. I have long, thick, curly hair but I only wash it twice a week, so that kind of helps things.

        2. Monsters of Men*

          Funny, because I cannot take a shower longer than 15 minutes. When I had an ostomy bag I learned how to shower fast, and even after I got it reversed, I can’t break the habit.

    32. Cats of Katie Elder*

      Up at 5:05 am, coffee, reading, and cuddle time with my son until 6:00, shower, hair and makeup the breakfast and leave at 6:50 to start work at 7:30. I don’t get home until 6:30 or 7:00 pm and my son goes to bed at 7:30 so I like to have more family time in the morning.

    33. MidwestRoads*

      I get up at 6:45 to be at work by 8am. I eat breakfast, wash said breakfast dishes, and then do teeth-brushing and makeup, which is the longest part of my morning — at least 20 minutes. I get dressed, and then heat water for tea, which goes into a travel mug. I’m out the door by 7:50 and have a 5-minute commute, so I’m at my desk at 8am (as I’m expected to be). Cutting out eyeliner from my makeup routine has saved at least 10-15 minutes! :)

      Also, I shower at night and come home for lunch so I don’t need to pack food in the morning.

    34. The IT Manager*

      I’m “get up no earlier than I have to” person; although, I have recently gotten up earlier than I needed to and didn’t squeeze a workout routine and found it a lot nice starting work than feeling rushed.

      I work from home, but I always eat breakfast, get dressed in very casual clothes, put in contacts, wash my face, etc. so I need at least an half an hour. Shower is dependent on the night before and tha changes thetime I need to set my alarm for.

      I would like to get to bed earlier and get up earlier and maybe actually get a workout in some mornings (that’s an aspiration that rarely happens). But also I’m realizing instead of adding a work out and being rushed maybe a relaxing time before work might be better even if I means I have to work out in the evening.

    35. PizzaDog*

      I wake up an hour before I should leave the house – 20 minutes allotted for snooze button / Facebook, then I leave when I’m washed, dressed and made up. If I’m in the mood for breakfast, I’ll eat it when I get to work.

      1. Bibliovore*

        My routine has changed since dealing with chronic pain issues.
        5:30 wake up. Lay in bed and wish I could sleep later.
        6:00 Husband brings iced gel-packs to me in bed, then he does his PT and walks the dog.
        6:15 PT, shower and dress.
        6:45- meds, coffee, and a smoothie, newspaper
        7:00 to 8:00 work email and wait for meds to kick in.
        8:00-:15 pack lunch (usually leftovers) and leave for work.

        1. Bibliovore*

          old routine that I hope to get back to.
          Up at 5:30,
          Gym to swim by 6:00
          Swim 6:00 to 6:30
          Shower etc. 6:30 to 7:00
          Back home for smoothie and meds
          Out the door to work at 8:00 ish.

    36. Adlib*

      I try to get up an hour before I need to leave so I can do what I need to without rushing. That’s usually around 6:30. On days where I have spin class in the morning, I have to be up at 5, but that’s Wednesday & Friday only.

    37. Wolfram alpha*

      I wake up at 730 for 8am start. I make breakfast on the go get dressed brush hair and teeth and go. My commute is 2 min

    38. JeanB in NC*

      Up at 8:30, shower, dress, no makeup or blowing hair dry, make a bowl of instant oatmeal for breakfast, make coffee to bring with me, out of the door at 8:55, at work at 9:00!

    39. Anlyn*

      My start time is somewhat flexible, but still fairly consistent. I get up, go to the bathroom, then boot up my PC. While it’s doing that, I throw on some clothes, open the curtains, grab some water, fill dog’s water bowl if needed, and turn on the TV so I can bring up Pandora if I want. I scatter the rest of my routine throughout the morning. Showers are sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening.

      On days I do go into the office, it’s pretty much the same routine only I might use some dry shampoo if I haven’t had a shower in a day or so.

    40. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Up at 6.45 if I can manage it, otherwise its 6.20 when the cat stands on my bladder.

      Get up, shower, dress, go downstairs where I get my Aeropress going into my travel mug and in the meantime feed the cats, shovel the box and tidy their bathroom, and grab all my stuff for the day into my bag. Press my coffee and go back upstairs to dry hair. Out the door in 40 mins or so, while other half is just waking up and checking the news.

      But then I walk a half hour to work and am usually sweaty when I get there, so I have a half hour to cool down while I check email then I take my clean up bag to the bathroom and dry shampoo my hair, put on makeup, and tidy up a bit. Cant wait for winter when I can skip this step!

      Coming home its let the cats out into the yard, wash dishes, feed cats, shovel the box and tidy their bathroom, start dinner.

    41. ModernHypatia*

      Depends if it’s a swimming day or not. I swim 2-3 days a week, and my actual work day is 7:45am to 4:15pm.

      Swimming days: Get up at 5:25, take meds, get my brain going enough to drive (quick email check, etc.) Do any last minute lunch packing (I do most of it the night before). In the car at 6, at the pool by 6:20, swim 6:30-7, shower, change, go to work (usually there 5-10 minutes early).

      Non-swimming days: Get up at 6:20, meds, get dressed, do last minute lunch stuff, drive to work. If I leave my parking lot by 7:05, I’m pulling into the parking lot between 7:30 and 7:35. (If I’m much later than that, traffic gets a lot more unpredictable and annoying.) 6:20 is enough time I can have a quick bath in the morning if I need to.

      I am not naturally this much of a morning person (given free choice, I’d sleep something like midnight to 8, and go from there), but I find having less traffic is a really good incentive for me to get moving.

    42. Cloud Nine Sandra*

      Morning are my jam, so I generally get up two hours before I leave for work. I’m not responsible for anyone else so it’s basically my time to read the internet and watch reruns of SVU and the Mentalist. I eat before I shower, and between clothes and make up, it’s about 15 minutes for me to get ready. Because, as noted, I love to have some time in the morning to just be.

      When I lived in my old city, I would work out in the morning at my favorite studio so it would be get up, grab already packed backpack with work clothes and toiletries, go to studio for class, shower and get dressed there, and then on to work. Nowadays I can sometimes motivate myself to do a quick 10-15 minute online video to work out, if not, I do my rowing machine when I get home.

    43. YarnOwl*

      It takes me between 15 and 30 minutes to get ready in the morning (I have a very minimal makeup routine and usually shower and pick out my clothes the night before – I hate waking up early!) I also have to walk my dog and have a bit of a commute (a 15 minute drive followed by a 40 minute train ride and a 10 minute walk). I wake up by 6:15 at the latest so I can be to work by 8:00.

      I do a lot to make my morning quick, like doing meal prep for lunches on the weekend, packing my bag and laying clothes out the night before, showering the night before, going to bed early so I can get plenty of sleep, exercising at night instead of in the morning, and having a really short and simple makeup routine. It also helps that I have a shaved head and don’t ever have to do anything to my hair in the morning! It took me a couple of years to get my morning routine down to what I like and what works for me.

    44. Sabrina Spellman*

      It generally takes between 30 to 45 minutes to get to work. I’m up between 5:30 and 5:45 and try to be out the door by 6:45 (7:00 at the absolute latest!) I’m not very efficient with my time in the morning because I need to simply sit for a bit to wake up.

    45. Administrative Assistant*

      I am up at 5:30 (the cats have set that as their mandatory breakfast time, and I obey). I need to be at work at 7:30. I used to take my shower in the morning so it was quite rushed but I now do so at night and go to bed with wet hair; that saves about 30-35 minutes.

      When I get up I pull back the bed covers to let the bed air out, feed the cats, clean the litterbox, drink water, take my vitamins, use the bathroom a couple of times, put on the bacon, gather anything I might have failed to gather the night before, wash my face and teeth, finish making breakfast, eating it and washing all the dishes, make the bed, brush my teeth again, put on clothes, slip into shoes by the door and go. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it does take all that time. The only bad thing that happens–well okay, two bad things–is if the cats vomit, which adds another layer of fun, and if it is one of those rare mornings where I haven’t showered the night before. That’s rare, though, because I have to skip something else like breakfast to make up the time and I hate that.

    46. Kalamet*

      I’m not a morning person, but my schedule is pretty consistent:
      6:20 – alarm goes off
      6:20 – 6:30 – resent alarm for going off, pet cats
      6:30 – panic and get up
      6:30 – 7:00 – get dressed and straighten hair
      7:00 – 7:05 – pack lunch and leave house
      7:05 – 7:35 – drive to work

    47. Elizabeth West*

      Ima bookmark this thread — my morning routine could use some tweaking.

      I usually get up at 6 and it takes me an hour to drink my coffee and wake up. I read the news, etc. online while I de-zombify myself. Then I take a shower and get dressed. I try to leave the house with enough time to drive to work, but I have trouble judging how long stuff will take, so I run late some days. At Exjob, nobody really cared; if I were late-ish, I would just stay longer so my time would be even when I clocked out, or knock it off my lunch hour. It wasn’t a butt-in-seat job.

      But I might get one next time, so I want to make sure I do as much as possible the night before. Packing lunch, washing hair (on days I wash it) or conditioning, etc., and picking outfits.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Forgot to add–I try to go to bed at 11 if I’m getting up at 6. Otherwise, my natural inclination is to stay up until midnight and roll out of bed around 7 or 8.

    48. strawberries and raspberries*

      I’m the world’s worst procrastinator, so I usually end up getting up around 6 am (with my boyfriend, who has to be at work an hour earlier than I do), but while he’s in the bathroom I’m still in bed puttering around on my iPad until I can get in there for my shower (typically between 7-7:15). (Sometimes I shower and wash my hair when I get home to save time, but only if I’m home early enough that it can completely dry.) I can usually get myself showered, dressed, styled, and made up in between 20-40 minutes. I’ve found some good make-up hacks like tinted moisturizer and multi-sticks for eyes, lips, and cheeks, and blow-drying my hair is just a rough-dry without straightening or too much product. My commute is about 30 minutes by subway and I’m usually right on time for work at 9- once I actually left really early but then there was a train derailment and I didn’t get into the office until nearly 11 because of the back-up on my line. Since we’re thinking about having kids I do actually find myself wondering how I’m going to train myself out of rushing so much in the morning.

    49. Julianne*

      I take about 45-50 minutes, which includes showering, getting dressed, minimal hair/makeup, breakfast, packing up my lunch (I prepare it ahead of time, but pack the food/flatware/ice packs the morning of), and making coffee. My preference is to take a little longer, maybe read/watch/listen to the news while I eat breakfast, but I start work at 7 AM, have a 25 minute commute, and refuse to get up before 5 AM, so that limits me a little.

    50. Felicia*

      I wake up at 645 and leave the house at 730. Im a night showerer dont like makeup and make my lunch the night before which cuts down time and means i have time to be leisurely

    51. Stock Assessment Scientist (Marine Biologist)*

      I’m not a morning person, so I sleep as long as humanly possible before I’m late. Right now that looks like:

      4:45am: Alarm goes off, curse, snooze, and sleep for 10 more minutes (this is built into the schedule)
      4:55am: Alarm goes off again. This is actually when I need to be up. Curse, snooze, and sleep for 10 more minutes
      5:05am: 3rd Times the charge, drag myself out of bed, put on work clothes, and go downstairs
      5:10am-5:35am: Walk the dog. If I woke up earlier, she would get a longer walk, but I don’t.
      5:35am: Feed the dog
      5:40am: Makeup, contacts, hair brushing. Saying good morning to husband who has been up since 3
      5:50am: Make tea, lunch, and breakfast
      6:00am: Leave for work

      I can get delayed when I don’t get up at 5:05 like I should, and on mornings that I get rained on, because usually that means I’m soaked and I have to change my clothes. If I know its going to rain I’ll wear my pjs, but usually I don’t know so I get wet. I also shower in the evening because I usually go to the beach or for a run after work.

    52. Comms*

      I wake up at 7, spend forty minutes having breakfast (I like a cooked breakfast to start – most important meal of the day!), take twenty minutes getting ready and dressed, and out the door by 8.05 to catch the 8.10 train to walk in the door at work at 8.45.

      I could do what some of my colleagues do and make breakfast at work, but two slices of toast just doesn’t keep me going until lunch, I start getting hungry again by 10.30!

    53. Too embarrassed to come up with a clever name*

      On a good day I get up at 5:45 am, and on a bad one I sleep until 6:00 am. I make an effort to get out the door by 7:45 am so I can be punched-in at work by 8:00 am. (Luckily, I have a very short commute.) I have a light breakfast, read the morning newspaper, watch tv news while eating and reading and I usually take a shower before I leave for work. But…

      …a couple of weeks ago there was a discussion about people who have IBS and colitis and similar problems, and that’s a big part of the reason why I have a hard time getting out the door on time. It’s either one extreme or the other. I wish I could do better, but I really can’t. It’s a lot more difficult at my current job because they have a time clock and I really do have to be there by 8:00 am. (At my old job, one of the very few good things about it was that if I came in 5 minutes late they’d let me stay 5 minutes late, make up the time and they wouldn’t make a big deal out of it.)

    54. Windchime*

      I get up around 5:30. I have back and hip trouble, so I spent about 15-20 minutes stretching and trying to loosen up. I usually shower the night before, so I do a quick touch-up on my hair if necessary and a little bit of makeup. Then it’s downstairs to make a travel mug of tea and some toast. It’s a 10 minute drive to the bus/train station, so I eat my toast in the car. I have an hour bus or train ride (depends on how I feel), so I usually read my kindle or nap on the ride. I get to work at 7:30.

    55. Mimmy*

      My routine is pretty simple. Generally, I do all the typical things – make coffee, take a shower if needed, get dressed and groomed, eat, and get my stuff (bag, lunch if I bring it) together. I try to have my bag organized and my outfit selected the night before, so I can usually accomplish my morning routine in under an hour. Sometimes I have time to relax and watch the morning news with my husband, who almost always works from home.

  8. Cactus*

    Thoughts on how I can train my intern to stop being annoying and recognize professional norms?

    He sings in the hallways, whistles on the phone with customers, stands and tries to talk even when I tell him I’m busy and to leave…I’m at the point where I want to let him go but I don’t have the power to do so. My boss knows all of the issue but blames his upbringing. His work quality is mediocre at best and I have to remind him to complete his work in a timely manner and have provided him a checklist which he doesn’t seem to follow. He also whistles or hums or makes a noise to get my attention instead of saying “excuse me”.

    Some things I have tried: “John, I’m busy right now. You need to review the checklist and not walk in my office without instant messaging me first.” “John, do not sing in the hallway. It is disrupting other employees.” etc. Even turning my back on him and not responding or ignoring him when he comes in doesn’t work.

    1. TexanJudge*

      I just went through something similar. I decided to approach it as the next step for growth was to work on ‘professional behavior ‘. Basically lined out what is and isn’t appropriate. Seeing some improvement but I really think it depends on the person.

    2. Gwen Stefani-Shelton*

      It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to point out his missteps in the moment and being direct. If he still doesn’t get it, it’s unlikely that his behavior will change. You may just have to grit your teeth through the rest of his internship. Are you going to be able to give recommendations about whether he’s hired for a permanent position? If so, I would keep a list, mentally or otherwise, of all the things that make him a bad employee – mediocre work, inability to accept feedback, etc. When your boss shrugs and blames John’s upbringing you could try saying something like, “At some point we all have to overcome how we were raised and behave like professionals, but John won’t accept the feedback that would allow him to do so” or similar if you think that your boss might be receptive to that.

    3. Hellanon*

      Have you asked him specifically why he doesn’t take direction from you? It’s sounds like you have been very clear explaining to him what you need but that you could fruitfully explore the question of why he feels he doesn’t need to listen. Keep in mind that if he’s in college, his professors may couch similar directions as suggestions, with the implication that all he’s risking is his grade. Professors also tend to shrug a bit at excuses, having heard a million variations on “the dog ate my homework”… you need to address the choices he is making more explicitly, and frame them as choices, which college doesn’t necessarily do.

      1. INeedANap*

        I like this. Adapting AAM’s script could work:

        “John, I’ve told you that singing in the hallway in unprofessional and it needs to stop. Why is this still continuing?”

    4. EddieSherbert*

      Maybe try addressing it all to him in a meeting as a pattern if it isn’t working ‘in the moment’.

      Something like.. “I’ve mentioned X and Y to you several times as an issue. In fact, I’m actually noticing a pattern where every time I give you a direction you seem to take it as a ‘one time thing’. In the future, if I tell you something is inappropriate I need you to take it to heart and change your behavior.”

    5. CM*

      Maybe you can sit him down and explain that during his internship, he’s expected to learn about professional norms, and while you don’t expect him to be perfect on day one, you do expect him to listen to feedback and address it. You won’t be able to give him a good reference unless he improves. And here are the things that you need to see real progress on: [list top 3] You could also schedule a check-in with him in a week and tell him he needs to report back on his progress.

  9. Anon because this is a Doozy*

    In a recent thread, Engineer Girl posted links to studies about gender bias in performance reviews. I found them very interesting, as I am a woman working in engineering / IT industry.

    I had a review this week. It was a textbook example of the issues in the articles.

    – “You are ‘aggressive.'” Used three times. No context provided.

    – I need to “tone it down.” Exact quote. “It” was never specified.

    – I need to “present a positive image.” Whatever the hell that means.

    When discussing feedback from my customer (I work on a federal contract), my manager rephrased negatives as positives. “You have not received any negative comments from the customer.” My customer has frequently praised my work – in direct conversations with my manager, in emails, and in phone cons. Wonder why these positive reviews weren’t referenced.

    The one time I tried to discuss an area of my work, I was shut down. I sat with lips clamped in a grimace of a smile and nodded while he talked at me for a half hour. There was no conversation about work product. He only talked about personality.

    When we reviewed goals for the next quarter, he couldn’t provide anything specific other than reiterating the “positive image.” I said that’s rather nebulous. He grunted and said he would come up with something.

    Can’t wait to see the final writeup when it is sent to me.

    As far as my relationship with my manager, it is a little fraught. I’ve called him out on a questionable contract action, which did not endear me to him (but prevented a government audit). He’s had issues with other female employees (two have quit abruptly and three others have filed complaints), to the point that upper management counselled him extensively. His team is majority women, but he has promoted only men as supervisors. In fact, a look at my company’s org chart shows that every managerial position – executive, program manager, and supervisors – save one is held by a single demographic.

    Next moves? Not sure. I will wait for the written review and see what it says. I may just push for specific goals (I’ll draft them for him). I can’t fix him but the company is keeping him, so I have to find ways to work with him.

    1. Myrin*

      Oof, that sounds both annoying and disheartening; I’m really sorry. Might it help to directly say “If you don’t tell me what you mean by ‘aggressive’/’tone it down’/’be positive’/other gendered bullcrap, I won’t be able to change it!” or is he the type to brush off even such a direct approach? I’m really sorry you’re experiencing this.

      1. kbeers0su*

        This is how I’ve responded to previous similar feedback. When it comes up I ask 1) what exactly they want to see from me and 2) for specific examples of what I’m doing that’s not correct. And then I respond with what they just told me to make sure that they hear what they’re telling me. Because, honestly, when you repeat back to your supervisor “so whenever I see anyone in the hallway, regardless of what I’m doing, I’m supposed to smile and engage them in a conversation, no matter what else I’m doing, because that will make me seem friendlier?” the boss realizes how ridiculous it sounds. OR- even better- they can’t come up with any example that makes sense, which is clear when you repeat back to them “so your feedback is that I’m too aggressive, but you can’t give me any examples of times when I’ve been too aggressive?” they realize they have no weight to those remarks. Doing this has helped get a couple of my evals changed and has helped my boss(es) realize that just because someone gives them feedback about me being aggressive, if there is no basis for the feedback, there is no reason for it to go into my eval. AND, I would think if you do this and don’t reach the point with your boss where they realize that there is no weight to the comment, you then can take that up the chain- “during my eval I was given this feedback and when asked for specific examples of times this has been an issue or how to correct it, boss was unable to do so, so I’m here asking you what I should do with this.”

        1. A.N.O.N.*

          +1, and kudos for handling that ridiculous feedback so well!

          The “repeat back” method can be so, so effective.

      2. Snark*

        There’s nothing to change. This is 100% coded language for “you called me out and for that you shall die.”

    2. Master Bean Counter*

      I’d raise the issue above his head. Talk to upper management/HR let them know that your review didn’t focus at all on your work.

    3. Anon4This*

      Read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, I know lots of people hate it for a variety of reasons but when it comes to gender bias in tech it really is a fantastic resource.

      I was in your shoes a few years ago, male dominated industry, one of only a couple women from a STEM field at my company at all, with a male boss who fed right into that type of feedback. Eventually we had a massive blowout about it and I called him on the carpet for his gendered feedback to me. That seemed to eliminate the problem and make him much more aware of the fact I was on the lookout for this behavior wouldn’t tolerate it.

      I could tell he was resentful for a while and things between us were strained briefly but eventually got much much better. What really helped was that, while he was a new manager without much experience to come to these estimations of my being aggressive, etc. I was overwhelming adored by several executives because they knew I kicked butt at my job.

      So in reality his power to retaliate against me for our argument was really limited by upper management. This is important to keep in mind because there’s always a risk in bringing this sort of thing to your boss’s attention.

      1. Chaordic One*

        I’m glad you stood up for yourself, and even happier that eventually things got better. (That doesn’t always happen.) I’m thinking that because he was inexperienced he was “trainable.”

        Of course, having several executives who adored you and who recognized the value your brought the job certainly helped.

    4. Assertive, not bossy.*

      I would really love to see Alison do a full article on how to deal with gendered comments during reviews, like the examples you give. Maybe a list of these gendered comments with a short explanation of why they are gendered and show that women are judged on a different standard — I could print it out and sneak it under the executive’s doors some weekend.

      It can be really difficult to take any criticism (or even some compliments) during a review, let alone stop your manager and explain how traits that are praised in men are held against women.

    5. Andrea*

      Do you get similar feedback in other areas of your life? Is there a possibility that these are real issues that you are brushing off? Can you modify your approach to working with him so that you are working as a team?

      1. Jadelyn*

        So…I’m sure this is well-intentioned, but it’s really not helpful to a woman dealing with inappropriately gendered feedback from a male manager with a track record of sexist behavior to respond with, essentially, “Well maybe he has a point.” and “You need to be the one to change to enable his behavior.” Especially when the OP in question lists multiple examples that show it to be a systemic problem, not a specific personal problem.

        1. Camellia*

          Yeah, at one company, our manager always dinged a coworker on her “body language”. He couldn’t give her specific examples but just kept talking about her “bad body language”. The best reason we could come up with was that she was significantly taller than he was and he didn’t like that.

          1. kbeers0su*

            THIS IS MY LIFE. As a woman at 6′ tall I avoided wearing heels for years because I was always told that I come across as intimidating or aggressive or whatever. And then a year ago I decided that was crap and started wearing them anyways!

            1. Anlyn*

              I have a friend who is 6’4″ and she’ll wear 5 inch heels. She’s my hero. (I hate heels and refuse to wear them.)

            2. Chaordic One*

              When I was younger, as someone who is 5′ 12″, I was told that my height gave me presence and made men perceive as being more of an equal than petite women, but at this point in my life I really think that was B.S.

              1. Windchime*

                Yeah. I’m 5’11” and some men do not like it. At all. They are inclined to make snarky remarks and to imply that you are really even taller than you say. Yes, dude, I for sure know that I am 5’11”. Which most likely means that you are not (despite your claims), since I can see over the top of your head.

        2. Andrea*

          I don’t know if it is gendered feedback. I’ve worked with both men and women who didn’t get or care that they came across as negative and aggressive to coworkers and clients. Someone can be a jerk in general and still be giving your actual feedback. If she thinks that she can’t modify her own approach to work successfully with her boss then she needs to move to another position.

          1. Marketing LadyPA*

            I agree with you, and this was my first thought as well.

            I had a boss who was incredibly rude and outright offensive in her interactions with people at all levels. When she was spoken to about it, she blamed it on being gendered feedback and that she wasn’t “aggressive” , when in reality, her personality was a nightmare and I hated working for her. She was eventually let go because of this.

            1. Observer*

              Are you saying that when this woman asked for example, they could not come up with ONE example of her behavior? And that she’d gotten glowing response from clients and not a single complaint?

          2. The OG Anonsie*

            I think it’s pretty silly to say that a person who has a well established (and company recognized) track record of identical issues with female employees is giving classically gendered feedback to a female employee in a condescending way should be assumed to be genuine because it is generally possible for a manager to give feedback and for an employee to actually be aggressive.

            That’s hearing hooves at a horse ranch, assuming it’s an oryx, and telling anyone who thinks it’s a horse that they’re jumping to conclusions because oryxes exist and some ranches have them. Yeah, there are lots of oryx ranches with lots of oryxes, but this one keeps horses. Yes, sure, I guess an oryx could have escaped from another ranch and found its way in… Why are you so sure it’s not one of the horses we know lives here?

            I agree that moving on makes sense, though, since this sounds like a dramatically untenable situation.

          3. Queen of the File*

            I think the manager’s ability to give examples should help clarify this. If you’re actually being negative or aggressive, there should be some things to point to–negative feedback from clients or coworkers, times the boss has seen you respond to something in a specifically inappropriate way.

            If it’s more of a gendered thing those examples might be more negligible, like “you disagreed with a point during a meeting” even though you were professional and polite while you were doing it.

            1. Observer*

              The thing is that the boss can’t even come up with a single example. What does THAT tell you?

          4. Observer*

            Please. I suggest that you re-read what she wrote.

            She’s gotten glowing reviews from clients! That’s not someone who doesn’t care about how she comes off! The boss can’t come up with a single example of her misbehavior. That does NOT happen with people who don’t give a hoot about how they come off!

            We give posters the benefit of the doubt unless there is specific reason to do otherwise. In this case there is no reason whatsoever to doubt the OP’s description. What she describes is classic sexism.

      2. curmudgeon*

        I was once told in a review that I was wearing the same clothes everyday (I wasn’t)…I asked whether that was the week after my apartment burned down (yes it had burned down and he knew it). yeah, Unless they stink (which they didn’t) there’s no reason to comment on what I’m wearing.

      3. Observer*


        I’m sorry, the minute someone gives feedback this general, vague and unbacked with examples – even when explicitly asked for it – the assumption has to go in the other direction. When there is additional evidence of gender (or other) bias, you simply do NOT get to put the blame on the person who is getting the feedback. And, when there is actually evidence that the feedback is actually wrong – the clients actually LIKE HER! – sorry, even bringing up the possibility that the recipient is the “problem” and should figure out what she needs to change is offensive, damaging and just enables bigotry. The only thing that would help is changing her gender, and that’s not exactly something she can do.

    6. rubyrose*

      When you receive the written review, do you have the opportunity to give a response? What I’ve done in the past is to state that I would really appreciate it if my manager would point out the problems as they occur. And that no specific examples were given during the review. Since he is already under scrutiny, this might get the attention of others.

    7. Future Analyst*

      I worked with someone like this, and you’re right, you can’t fix him. However, you don’t have to just grit your teeth and bear it: I would suggest you point out the nebulous feedback each and every time it comes up, and ask follow up questions repeatedly. Granted, this will likely be seen as “aggressive,” but as long as you keep your tone curious, not angry, it could eventually get you some sort of answers, or at least highlight to him that the feedback he’s providing is not actionable. No promises that it will work, but I think it’ll be a lot less frustrating to you in the long run if you don’t constantly feel as though you have to ‘shut up and put up.’ And yes, raise it to whoever is above him: when you get the final write-up, you could request a meeting with him and his boss, and say that you’d just like clarification on actions you can take to address some of the noted issues. If he has to explain himself in front of someone else, he’ll either look like a tool, or he’ll be forced to give you actual answers. Good luck!!

    8. neverjaunty*

      Get a lawyer who can advise you on how to protect yourself and prepare. The backward-negative review is them “papering your file”, in other words, building a paper trail of pretextual reasons to fire you or deny you promotions/raises.

    9. Wolfram alpha*

      One thing I found helpful when I was in this scenario was to list the “problems” and come up with “solutions” sort of like my own pip but informal. I had my boss agree to meet weekly to discuss until such a time she felt I had improved. We met for about 6 weeks before she got tired and pronounced me cured. The most helpful part was when other leads would try to dismiss an issue I was experincing, like jingoism, by stating I was actually aggresive and that is why issue exists I could point back to this document to force the conversation back to the root discussion.

    10. Lora*

      He’s a jerk. He’s not going to change. The company has decided, apparently, that whatever he does is worth a potential lawsuit. You can ask for a transfer via going over his head, to a boss who doesn’t suck. That’s pretty much it. Also, I don’t necessarily agree that you should get a lawyer, but definitely start documenting your successes and interactions with him. Dude is sketchy as.

      Re: goals, yes draft your own. Chances are he will just “oh, okay” them. But don’t expect him to be fair or even understand anything you wrote. I was supposed to have a (male, sexist) peer collaborate with me on department goals. The guy didn’t even write anything up, just blathered on about a load of nonsense he had copy/pasted from the internet and when I said, “that’s completely inappropriate for our department, here is what I came up with” he just said, “oh, okay.”

      1. neverjaunty*

        Normally I would say try talking to boss and grandboss first, or perhaps HR, but the stuff they are doing to make good feedback look negative is exactly what companies do when they are trying to create a CYA paper trail. That is well beyond “boss make a sexist remark” – it’s setting someone up to get fired KNOWING they need a pretext for doing so. That calls for talking to a lawyer.

    11. Triplestep*

      This happens to me routinely. As much as I try to watch my “tone”, I do catch myself occasionally speaking in a way that would seem natural to my New York Jewish family, but might be off-putting to my New England colleagues. I definitely have a cultural communication style. But when I’m given feedback about “tone” in a review, I either don’t get examples, or I get recycled examples from previous quarters or years. I’ve been encouraged to check in with my co-workers and I have. They all express (or feign) surprise that I would have been given this feedback, and they have no issue with my communication style. They like that I am direct.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s just some combination of things about me that make my natural way of speaking seem unprofessional to some, and this gets back to whomever is managing me, who then brings it up in a review. But because it’s so intangible, examples can rarely be cited. Would would they say? “Considering your gender/age/weight, you need to watch your tone.”? I have to sit in meetings with people who routinely interrupt, or who react to what’s being shared by staring with their mouths wide open, or who say whatever they want in whatever tone suits them, on upspeak every.single. sentence. These are either men, or women who are young, attractive and slender. I’m not any of those things, and I get the “tone” feedback with no examples.

      Has this held me back professionally? Probably. But I have come to the conclusion some people will be put off by my communication style, while others will prefer it. My current manager gets similar feedback about his own style, so he’s in the second camp. My last manager started out in that second camp (I had asked her for feedback) but then gave me the “tone” feedback without examples during review, presumably after someone else went to her with it.

      Sorry I can’t offer any advice. Hopefully it is some consolation to know that you are not alone.

    12. Mephyle*

      There seem to be two issues here. They are intertwined, but it may be worth disentangling them when seeking solutions. One is the gendered feedback. The other, as Master Bean Counter mentioned, is a review that didn’t deal with your job performance at all, only your demeanor.

    13. Snark*

      So, this jumped out at me:

      “As far as my relationship with my manager, it is a little fraught. I’ve called him out on a questionable contract action, which did not endear me to him (but prevented a government audit)”

      What he’s telling you, when he says “You are ‘aggressive,” you need to “tone it down,” and you need to “present a positive image” is “You called me out and generally present a competent, professional image, and that makes me insecure, angry, and unsure of myself, so you need to be placid and compliant and never say anything that might reflect badly on me even to me.”

    14. Student*

      Why stay someplace where you know the deck is stacked against you? Jumping into the unknown with a job hunt is scary, but the odds you’ll get a somewhat fairer shake elsewhere is pretty decent.

  10. Arguing Against X*

    I was reading in another AAM thread about employees who argue with their managers and the phenomenon of circular arguing. Boss says you should do X, report says I disagree, boss tries to convince of X, etc.

    I had this experience recently with my manager where I disagreed vehemently with her. It wasn’t a case of I prefer to do Y, but manager wants me to do X which is somewhat different from Y. To me, it was a case of I am trying to do ABC and her suggesting X solution would solve zero of my issues with the project. It comes across as a complete misunderstanding of what my work actually is.

    If it were a matter of changing the way I perform a task, that’s one thing, but I couldn’t let it go because it just felt so out-of-touch.

    What do I do in this situation?

    1. Teapot Librarian*

      As a boss whose employee argues with me, I’d say that it really depends on your relationship with your manager in general. Do you work well with her generally, and this is just a one-off situation? Or do you regularly butt heads with her?

      1. Arguing Against X*

        So this is tough to answer. My boss is newly promoted from our internal team and new to managing as a whole. I haven’t figured out our dynamic yet, but as colleagues we worked well and disagreed constructively. Having a fruitless disagreement in this new context of boss and report has thoroughly frustrated me.

        1. Teapot Librarian*

          Since she’s new as a manager, is it possible that she legitimately doesn’t understand what your job is, and this could be an opportunity to explain it to her? I’d suggest going back to her and saying something along the lines of “I was really frustrated to have the disagreement we had the other day. When we were peers, we were able to disagree constructively; can we talk about this issue again and work it out together? The reason I was so vehement was because A, B, C…; does that change your view of the situation?”

    2. Jimbo*

      No advice. But I can commiserate that my boss is the same way. No solutions for me. I am giving my notice of resignation soon

    3. Tess*

      I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. My boss is very aggressive and direct in his approach so it kind of feels like you’re being attacked from the start. At first I’d try to explain myself logically, but it didn’t seem to work at all so I decided to test something out. The next time he did this, I said “thanks for the feedback, I’ll implement that.” He was still argumentative!!! Now I’ve just realized that’s his management style and he likes things his way, and will argue without pushback. Has anyone else ever dealt with this?

      1. Mephyle*

        I think it does happen to other people. I remember reading about this in a forum where people vent about crazy things at work.
        Boss: “You need to do X and you need to do it by XX method.”
        Employee: “You’re right; I agree. That’s the way I’m doing it.”
        Boss: “No, no, no. You’re not listening to me! Why are you so argumentative? You’re being insubordinate!”
        …and so on. According to poor Employee’s account, s/he tried different wordings but s/he could not get it into Boss’s head that s/he was doing exactly what she was telling Employee to do.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Me: “I’m on it boss. I am agreeing with you, I will do that. Boss? Boss? Please do not accuse me of insubordination I just said, “I agree and I am doing it the way you say.”
          If need be add, “Boss, I have not been insubordinate. Please don’t accuse me of that. You know that is not true.”

        2. Mephyle*

          I know, right? The LW in that case mentioned that they had said things that pretty much coincided with your suggested script (in a respectful, not argumentative tone of voice, according to LW) but the Boss just kept reading it as “won’t stop arguing with me.”

      2. nonymous*

        I do that sometimes. A good check for me is when people say “preaching to the choir!” or ” you don’t have to convince me! I already agreed!” (that latter one is courtesy of my husband). You can also try catching your boss in a non-confrontational moment and checking in whether his arguing is a reflection on your performance. If it’s his style, you may not be able to change it but at least it won’t bite you come performance time.

    4. kittymommy*

      Have you tried X? Even just to show her that it does not work as some people need to be shown the actual problem with it before they’re convinced? I mean at the end of the day, she’s the boss and if she wants X done, X needs to be done or you need to leave. In a previous job my boss wanted the job (the whole entire way of doing the job) performed a certain way. It was a bad, poorly executed way and produced very low results. But is was that way or get fired.

      1. Confused Teapot Maker*

        +1 In an ideal world, bosses would react to Quirk’s line of reasoning but there are still those out there who are determined that they are ALWAYS. RIGHT.

        My OldBoss had moments like this – you had to at least try it his way first even if you knew his way was doomed to fail. I would treat it like a box-ticking exercise or a formality – like ‘First I’ll do X, then I’ll feedback to Fergus, then I can do Y’. It’s obviously not ideal but it’s also the only why I’ve found to deal with bosses who won’t budge without going out of my mind.

    5. Rat Racer*

      Is it a case of cross-communications? She thinks you’re solving for X, but you’re actually solving for Y? I don’t think in that case that it’s really arguing, it’s clarifying the problem statement, and reframing the issue. If there’s an actual point of disagreement where both sides understand each other’s positions and the Boss things one thing will solve the problem and the employee disagrees then it’s appropriate to defer to authority. But – minus context – it sounds like you’re talking about miscommunication.

    6. Quirk*

      One approach I use is to seek immediate clarification of the requirements – that is, what is the outcome the manager hopes to achieve?

      Sometimes these confusing situations are caused by requirements shifting without everyone being kept in the loop. If the requirements, once reiterated, are the same as before, then some details of them that will not be addressed by solution X can be mentioned as a concern. My goal is to show respect and take the suggestion seriously, but also to outline the areas where I feel further work is necessary. Again, sometimes I may have neglected to consider some resource that makes the suggested solution feasible.

      If the manager has missed these issues when forming their opinion, or is feeling out of their depth, they can withdraw still feeling that they had a productive discussion that contributed through examining a nearly viable approach. If the manager does actually know better, they have the chance to correct any misconceptions. If the manager is actually ignorant but determined to brazen it out, having to bluster through questions laden with technical detail is hopefully uncomfortable enough to dissuade them from a repeat performance.

      1. Arguing Against X*

        You. I like you.

        Part of the reason this discussion derailed is because it came at the tailend of a poorly defined process with pent-up emotions and not enough time for me to process where everything went wrong. Differing communication styles also played into frustrating an already tenuous situation.

        I will take your advice to heart and see how I can apply it in future conversations.

      2. Garland Not Andrews*

        Exactly. Be respectful, but clarify the goal(s), and ask how X will accomplish them as opposed to Y. Your manager may see something you do not, or may be unclear on what you are trying to accomplish.

        Try to be as matter of fact as possible to avoid the “fight”.

      3. Anonish*

        This! I was working as a Spout Specialist, the only one in our location, with some input into Teapot Body work, as it relates to Spouts. I’m very specifically trained in spouts, and am well-regarded as a Spout Specialist among others in that speciality.
        New Boss disregarded the growth we’d made in improving spouts, and halted new projects in spout innovation. I had to go back to the starting gate and show him about spouts, how they work, why we need them.
        He finally responded with some exasperation and said essentially
        , “I don’t care about the mother f-ing spouts because handles are more important! You never bring me handle improvements! Go work on handles!” Which is a whole different field.
        He clearly had different requirements of me that weren’t communicated or actually in any way connected to my job, but felt that I was being difficult and insubordinate.

    7. Infinity Anon*

      I generally figure if my boss tell me to do X instead of Y I get one chance to explain why X does not solve the problem but Y would. After that, unless X will actually cause problems or cannot be done, I do X. Either my boss will see why X won’t work or I will get used to it.

    8. Jadelyn*

      I’ve had this happen a few times, and I usually do…argue isn’t quite the right word, but push back carefully. Have you explained to your manager *why* it is that doing X won’t actually help with what you’re doing? When this has happened to me, it’s usually literally because my manager doesn’t get a lot of the technical aspects of what I do (no shade on her – nobody I work with really gets the technical stuff I do tbh, it’s not just her), so I have to explain it to her in simplified, non-technical terms and be really super clear on exactly why her directive won’t fix the issue, or why it would cause worse issues elsewhere in my work. Most of the time that’s enough to convince her to go with my proposed solutions instead.

      The times that it hasn’t worked, I just shrug and do it her way until it creates the exact mess I originally predicted it would, then I bring the mess to her and politely note that the solution isn’t working, and why don’t we try Plan B to see if that helps? (Plan B being, of course, my original proposed solution.) I try to keep it from being a “told you so” moment as much as possible, because I don’t want to be a jerk about it, and it usually works out from there.

    9. Future Analyst*

      Is there a middle ground: can you implement X, and then return to her to show her that implementing X had no effect on resolving issues ABC? That way, you did as she asked, but the issues still remain, and you can then hopefully move to addressing those. I know it takes longer, and sucks up time you may not have, but it’s one of the only ways I’ve found to actually ‘teach’ a manager who doesn’t understand my job.

      1. Mephyle*

        Doesn’t that get you into trouble for failing to resolve ABC? Maybe not in your case, but for other people I can well picture it happening.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Sometimes the gap in understanding seems so big that there just is not enough time to bridge the gap.
      Put in the time. It will save you lots of hassles later.

      “Boss, of course, I am going to do what you tell me to do. However, I am not clear on how doing X instead of Y helps me with problems D, E and F*.”
      Boss: Well end item looks much nicer if you do X. [Insert other lame rationale here.]
      You: “Okay. Problems D, E and F will consume at least 16 hours of my time; doing X will chew up at least 5 hours of that and have no impact on the three main problems.”

      *Here it is good to have some way to identify your problems. D can be 5 teapots only fit into the shipping carton that is supposed to hold 6 teapots. So you call problem D, the undersized shipping carton problem. Problem E could be that there is something wrong with your machine that produces shipping labels. You can’t make shipping labels, and problem E becomes the shipping label problem. And so on.

      So you develop a very brief way to describe large problems. And your sentence looks like this:”Boss, of course, I am going to do what you tell me to do. However, I am not clear on how doing X instead of Y helps me with the undersized shipping carton problem and the shipping label machine problem.”
      If you have a thinking boss, the next thing out of her mouth will be, “What undersized carton and what label machine problem??!!”

      These conversations can get verrry interesting. I have seen good bosses say, “Wait. Why are you dealing with the carton problem. Where is Bob? That is HIS responsibility not yours.” And the conversation keeps going like this with the other two problems. That is when you find out you have a boss who peels the weight of the workload off of you.

    11. Chaordic One*

      When I was in similar situation I asked my supervisor for advice on establishing priorities and help with managing the extra tasks that had fallen into my lap over the years. She also had no understanding of my job and would make suggestions along the lines of, “Well, how about we eliminate steps C, D and E?” And then when I’d tell her that the account managers in the branch offices use the information from steps C, D and E when they deliver our products, I’d get crickets.

      After I was fired, I’m told that I became the scapegoat for all sorts of things (like steps C, D and E) that weren’t done AFTER I left. Go figure.

    12. DBG*

      Oh, thank goodness. I thought I was the only one out there like this and it was making me NUTS. Or when I report a problem (X), and boss picks up on a corellary problem (Y), and then gets so focused on solving (Y) that I can’t get an answer for what to do about (X) in the first place.

  11. HigherEdPerson*

    Not a question, but just a post in solidarity for all the Higher Ed folks that see move-in on the rapidly approaching horizon.

    May the odds be ever in your favor.

    1. EA in Partly Cloudy Florida*

      I used to be a student employee for my school’s IT support department. I actually loved the chaos of move-in. Plus it was the only time that management actually allowed us to work OT.

    2. LibbyG*

      I’m higher ed faculty, and it’s both crushing (long days of being able to read and think and plan!) and exciting (awww! look at them!). Life-changing moments on the way! It’s such a privilege to be an educator.

    3. kbeers0su*

      Bahahahaha. I run a conduct office and the first six weeks are my busiest. And I’m 7 months pregnant so all I want to do is take a nap. BUT INSTEAD I’m prepping, prepping, prepping cause I know it’s going to be like a gauntlet once it starts…

      1. Dankar*

        The start of the semester when the first-years and returning on-campus residents move into their dorms. It’s hectic (especially for Housing and Residence Life), but it is my FAVORITE part of the year. I get that clean-slate, starting fresh feeling in August that most everyone else does in January.

        Kudos to all my HRL folks, and to all the admins out there frantically copying syllabuses for the first week of classes!

    4. Elle*

      Ha! I’ll be one of the clueless parents moving their offspring in! 8/23 is the big day! I do appreciate all that you all do to make move-in day go smoothly. It’s a hard day for us first year parents, so it’s nice to see all of your smiling, helpful faces. I was an RA myself, so I completely get it on your end!

    5. ACS*

      I was going to post “yay for intern season being over” so I guess that’s just handing the baton to you guys!

  12. Colette*

    Two weeks ago I applied for two positions from the same company (different departments). About two days later I got a rejection for one of the positions (standard form letter. Stings, but at least they bothered).

    It appears whoever’s hiring for other position is taking a ‘ghosting’ approach to rejections though, since I haven’t heard from them at all. (I expect to be rejected from that one too since the specs were pretty similar).

    The frustrating thing is there’s still that annoying little bit of ‘hope’ that maybe they’re still shortlisting or something, but since I’d gotten the rejection from the first position so quickly I doubt it’s because of a slow process. It’s just frustrating they’d take the ‘easy’ way out with candidates and not just bother.

    (Yeah, I know I need to stop thinking about it, but I’m only human…)

    1. Teapot Librarian*

      Since it’s different departments, it really could be that the second department is still reviewing resumes (maybe they got a lot more?) or the manager is on vacation or they’re having trouble getting everyone involved at the same table. I 100% understand your anxiousness, but it’s only been 2 weeks, and 2 weeks is a LOT longer for someone looking for work than it is for the people doing the hiring. I hope you aren’t being ghosted and that you get an interview!

    2. Juli G.*

      I’m not sure I consider you ghosted yet. Some managers want to look at every resume the moment they come in and some say “Let’s give it a couple weeks and look at everyone then.”

      Certainly move forward with life but you might get a pleasant surprise!

    3. Ama*

      We have multiple departments hiring here (including mine). I moved fairly quickly because my department’s busy season starts right after Labor Day (and also I’m essentially a one-person department at the moment so I didn’t really have to coordinate with other people about interviews) — and even then I wound up with an unexpected three week break in my ability to bring people in because I had a sudden health issue and had to wait to make sure I would be able to return to regular work before I started up again.

      Our other department started hiring at the same time I did and still hasn’t brought people in for interviews yet because there are multiple people who need to be present and coordinating vacation this time of year has been difficult.

    4. Huddled over tea*

      I actually got an email from a candidate recently that said something similar. Something like ‘I received your rejection for position X, which I applied to last week but haven’t heard back about position Y, which I applied to a few weeks earlier; I’ll assume I’ve been rejected for position Y too, but it would have been nice to know’.

      My internal response was essentially ‘…?? Why would you assume that? The two hiring teams have nothing to do with each other…’ They hadn’t been rejected for Y at all – because the hiring manager for Y hadn’t got around to reading the CVs yet.

  13. BubsAnon*

    I posted this at the end of last week’s open thread, but I am not sure if it reached its intended audience.

    I know there are several commenters here who are librarians or librarians-to-be.

    Just saw this job opening where I work. I don’t know much about the library, but am open to any other questions about the school/city.

  14. RemotelyHere*

    Hey there, hive! I have a friend that is looking for a work from home/remote gig. Any ideas on where to look?

    1. Fabulous*

      If they’re good at building reports, Concur Support may be an option. They all work from home. Tried to recruit me ages ago because I picked up on the cognos reporting tool really quickly, but I was not in a position to work from home at the time.

      1. RemotelyHere*

        When I asked, she said she’d be willing to do anything that didn’t require being on the phone the whole time. Her background is in insurance and she was looking into transcription work, but didn’t really know where to start.

    2. Elle*

      I have a friend who works for Appen…she reviews website posts and rates them. She works completely from home/online. I believe she works about 20 hours a week, and has been doing so for a few years.

  15. Teapot Librarian*

    Favorite line you’ve seen in a resume? I’ve had a few resumes cross my desk this week and there were some great ones. One started with a summary of qualifications:
    *deep ability to [A]
    *uncommon ability to [B]
    *remarkable ability to [C]
    *great ability to [D]
    *demonstrated ability to [E]
    *profound ability to [F]

    Another included his “experience surfing the internet and downloading software.” Poor guy would have gotten an interview if he’d left that off.

    1. Larina*

      Yesterday I saw a resume where the woman listed her degree as a “Bachelorette of Graphic Design.” Is changing the gender of your degree type the hip new thing that college students are doing? Is this just a very silly misspelling? Has anyone else seen this?

      1. Squeeble*

        Hahah, that’s amazing. My guess is that she literally just thought that if you’re a woman with a BA, it has to be gendered?

      2. Anonygoose*

        Changing your degree to suit your gender is most definitely not a thing! Can you imagine? “I have a Mistress in Fine Arts”……

        It sounds like that woman was just very confused about her degree…

        1. Chaordic One*

          Or maybe she has a mistress (in fine arts), in addition to having a wife (in a STEM field).

      3. who?*

        omg… I hope that’s not a weird new trend. Maybe she had the Bachelorette on TV while she was writing her resume? lol

      4. Partly Cloudy*


        I’m not sure if it’s better for it to be auto-correct and the person didn’t catch & fix it or if it was on purpose.

      5. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

        I’m hoping she meant “baccalaureate” and made a typo or maybe has misheard it all these years and really thought that was the right word.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      I got a resume once with a colored block quote (the kind in a box dropped in a random place in giant letters while the regular text wraps around it) like:

      “Fergus is the finest teapot salesman I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with” – CEO of Teapot Enthusiasts

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        These sorts of quotes have been discussed on here before. Some people thought they were a good idea. I… was NOT one of them!

    3. Cody's Dad*

      I recently had a new grad apply and say in his cover letter three times how charasmatic he was!

      Another one was a cut and paste and couldn’t even be bothered to put the name of the position not company in the opening line.

      Someone else said they were relocating to be with their “beautiful fiance”… I wouldn’t have thought twice and accepted his reason for leaving his job but beautiful jumped out at me. I so wanted to email him. And ask for a picture to see if I would agree!

      But my all time favorite was the guy who put his name and a big picture of himself on the front cover with some tag line of saying “Let me walk you through my resume”. That one got a lot of attention bcse it was just absurd BUT the office vote was he was at least good looking!

      1. Cody's Dad*

        Oh and how could I forget the guy with “tightywhities69” as his email address!! Can u at least get a more appropriate email for your resume??!!

        1. Jadelyn*

          Ooh, that’s right up there with the guy I got once whose email was TRUCKNUTZ69 – yes, in all caps.

          1. Admin of Sys*

            I’m always fascinated by this, considering just how /easy/ it is to get email addresses. I mean, I get being attached to the weird address you came up with in college, and sure, use it as your primary, but why don’t people pick up a 2nd gmail account and just forward it / link it to their primary account?

            1. Jadelyn*

              Seriously. I have like…4 gmail addresses. My primary that I’ve had for a decade and am never changing, a professional one that uses a firstname.lastname structure (I got it early and have a very unique name, so it worked out), one for my erotica writing pseudonym, and one for my Etsy business. It takes like 2 seconds to make a new one, and another minute to set up the forwarding so you only have to check one of them. Why don’t people just do that?

        2. callietwo*

          I help people locate jobs for a state agency and one of my first clients had “ilike69doyoutoo” as an email.. she was 32 years old. I asked her how she thought that was working for her, and she said “I always get an interview”.

          Um.. then why are you here?

    4. Jadelyn*

      I liked the one that included a line:

      “i have great communication skills,”

      And that was the end of both sentence and paragraph. Capitalization and punctuation included from original.

      Then there was the one who listed one of her previous job titles as “Severely Emotionally Disturbed Teacher” – which I’m sure meant a teacher for special needs classes, but I thought the phrasing was hilarious.

      I also see a lot of people who have “costumer service experience”.

      1. Camellia*

        And maybe one day you will get lucky and see that for someone who worked for a Drama Department or volunteers for the local theater!

        I read a log of blogs where the blogger asks us to “bare with them” while they get to the point of the blog.

    5. Simone R*

      This is science specific, but I’ve seen a couple resumes that list lab skills so basic it would be like if someone had listed “writing with a pen” on their resume. Things like pipetting, centrifugation etc.

      1. nonymous*

        I feel like this would be okay for an entry level position where they are highlighting experience outside the classroom. Some people with science degrees should never work in a wet lab.

        Or they could be trying to optimize for keyword searches.

        1. Simone R*

          I dunno, if you have lab experience on your resume, I think it’s assumed. It makes them look a little naive about what is required for lab work. The people I’ve seen do this tend to be weak candidates anyways and also list higher up skills (PCR, gel extraction etc) which require pipetting and other functions to perform successfully. It doesn’t break a resume but I wouldn’t advise people to add it.

    6. Elle*

      My all-time favorite was a woman who had on her resume *three times* that she had experience caring for “elderly peppers.” I assume she meant people? Had it happened once, I would have chalked it up to a typo (still not good, but it happens). I’m still stumped about that one.

      1. Louise*

        That’s amazing I’m officially calling every old person an “elderly pepper” from now until forever.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I’m okay with “demonstrated ability to” especially if they have concrete examples. If they don’t, it seems a little like they’re puffing themselves up.

      1. Teapot Librarian*

        Definitely. It was the list of adjectives that struck me. That said, if you have a demonstrated ability to do something, I’ll expect to see that in your description of the job where you demonstrated that ability.

    8. Huddled over tea*

      Oh man. I have so many of these. Starting with the ‘I have outstanding academic grades’ and then listed a range of Bs – Ds and ending with, under the Skills section, ‘I created this CV by myself’.

    9. CrazyEngineerGirl*

      My most memorable was a cover letter with “I have an IQ of 141” in it. I mean, come on, what was this person thinking? It still cracks me up to this day.

  16. Lughnassadh*

    Wow. My coworker walked over to my desk, shoved his phone in my face with his bank account information up and said “My wife is awesome. Look how much she’s saved.”

    I found it really tactless and honestly he’s a braggart and I can’t stand him. I feel awful for saying that.

    1. jmm*

      Don’t feel awful for saying that! His actions were way out of line with professional norms — and even in a social situation, WHO DOES THIS?!?

    2. Mpls*

      I have so many questions.

      Why is his wife the one saving? Was it not a joint effort? What were her tactics? Why was it such an accomplishment? Does she also work, or is she a SAH and has been awesome at home management? Is it spite of his actions or in conjunction?

      Also, really weird.

      1. Anonygoose*

        I assume she probably just handles the finances in their house. But yes, this is a really weird thing to do!

    3. Liane*

      If it happens again, I suggest responding with either jmm’s “WHO DOES THIS?!?” or a barrage of Mpls’ questions, also at the top of your lungs.
      …On second thought, that wouldn’t be professional.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      Oh jeez, I guess it’s just one of those things where he felt the need to blurt and over-share.
      Weird, but take it with a grain of salt, say something like “How nice for you,” and ignore.

    5. Anlyn*

      Oof. The suave, witty part of me would have said something like “does your wife know you’re sharing her personal banking information with me?”. In reality, I’d be gaping going “huh…uh…um….”.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Okay, maybe feel awful for a minute, then let it go.

      He’s tactless and clueless.
      His personal security habits leave something to be desired.
      He does not feel awful about these things.

      Next time he does this, put your hand up in front of the phone and say “TMI, TMI!” And don’t feel awful for even a second.

  17. all aboard the anon train*

    A student from my alma mater asked for an informational interview, and we have a call next week. As the one being asked questions, is there anything I should know? I’ve never given someone an informational interview before, and never did one when I was looking for a job.

    1. HigherEdPerson*

      I would just be prepared to talk about your job, your field and even your organization. And be prepared to ask him/her “So what can I talk about that would be helpful to you?”

    2. Jillociraptor*

      If it’s a current undergrad, you might also prepare to guide a little bit of the conversation. Because many undergrads are newer to professional settings, it might be hard for them to even know what to ask you. So, you might think through some points that you wish you had known when you started in your field, the things that have surprised you, stuff like that.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        She graduated in 2014, but hasn’t been working in the industry, but those are good things for me to keep in mind!

    3. apparently i have A Career*

      Oh man, thank you for asking this! I was just asked by my alma mater to come next month and do a series of informational interviews through their career center. I agreed, but my first thought was “I’m making everything up as I go along, I don’t know what to tell them!” It doesn’t help that I’m in the arts–both management and creation/performance, and everything in this field is very loose and driven by the individual–and that I only graduated in 2014. “I haven’t sunk into crippling debt and/or moved back in with my parents like people working in the arts are supposed to do, but there’s still time!”

    4. Chaordic One*

      I would think you might be prepare to tell the interviewer how your education helped you (and didn’t help you) in your job. Tell her what parts of your education you actually use, and what you had to learn on your own after you started your current job. Then get into how you actually got your job and what unique experiences you had that made you an attractive candidate for it.

  18. Carley*

    I’ve come to realise I may not take criticism very well.

    Context: I’ve recently started a new job, but have been working for over 5 years before this, so naturally there are some habits I’ve carried over in terms of work process or writing styles.

    Earlier this week I got some comments back regarding some work I submitted to my boss, it was along the lines of ‘need more attention to detail, x, y and z should be formatted this way’. Also some critique on parts that need to be improved.

    These were all valid points, and this was a new subject area so of course I /needed/ to be told some of this stuff. But my knee-jerk reaction was to get angry/annoyed (doesn’t help that my boss has a tendency to come across as a bit passive-aggressive in writing) and defensive (‘well how was I meant to know that’s how you want it?’).

    Of course I keep these thoughts to myself, and do as I’m asked. But I do worry that some of my attitude would show in the heat of the moment before I’ve had a chance to get over it. Plus it’s not exactly enjoyable to be feeling angry over everything!

    So…any advice on re-shaping my thinking patterns and…basically get some zen?

    1. Elfie*

      Ooh, that’s a good one! Tbh, I’m a little bit the same myself, especially if it’s in an area where I consider myself an expert. I keep telling myself that if it’s format or something, then it’s not really a criticism of me (unless I’ve been making the same mistake again and again), it’s just preference/new style guide/etc – and that’s helped. It also depends on how much I like/respect the person giving the feedback – when my OldBoss would give me feedback like that, I pretty much ignored him, because I really didn’t like and/or respect him. But my NewBoss is great, and I really respect her, so if she gives me feedback, I’d be much more inclined to take it in/not get upset. So maybe it’s not the feedback per se, but who’s giving it for you too? Other than that, just constantly reminding myself that nobody’s perfect, and sometimes other people do know better than me! Good luck!

    2. Dr. KMnO4*

      Have you heard of the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck? It’s all about our patterns of thinking, especially when we make mistakes or fail at things. I would really suggest reading it because it changed how I think about things like criticism.

    3. Lolli*

      When you are receiving a critique, remember they are just telling you how they want it done. They aren’t saying you should have already known this. It doesn’t really matter what their tone is or even if they really think you should already know this. There is no way for you to read their mind about what the end product should look like. So this is new information you want them to share with you so you can eventually both be on the same page. This is just more knowledge for your career and it will only benefit you to have this information as you move forward in your career. I’ve been around for a long time and I have learned a lot from even bad managers. Don’t forget to take deep breaths and keep your body relaxed and open to the critique. And reframe it in your head. It is a critique or new information about how they want it done. It is not a criticism of you.

    4. CM*

      I think the most valuable advice I’ve gotten about criticism is that it is a gift. If somebody cares enough to take the time to tell you how to improve, you should say thank you. If they don’t care, they will not bother. You’re already doing well by keeping your defensive thoughts to yourself. Saying “Thank you, I’ll remember that for next time” (even if it’s not what you feel like saying at the moment) will help too.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Did you ever notice that if you start by saying “thank you” you can feel shifts inside your body, like muscles unclench and so on?
        When I started doing this I was totally surprised by what a release it was, I felt like I was rising above the problem. I never expected that feeling.

    5. Jadelyn*

      I’m not good at taking feedback either. I tend to get defensive. The best way I’ve worked against that is to remind myself that I’d rather get feedback than get fired. The last job I had before this one, I got let go for mistakes I hadn’t even known I was making, because nobody took the time to talk to me about it until they were ready to fire me for them. So I remind myself that every time I get feedback, they’re giving me a chance to improve and fix things.

      Also, it might be useful to work on disentangling your sense of self-worth and identity from your work product. I know that for me, a huge part of my issues with accepting criticism comes from the fact that I over-identify with my work, so criticism of the work feels very personal to me, triggering my defensive response. So I have to remind myself, it’s not about me, it’s about the tasks I’ve done. It’s about the product, not the person.

    6. Not a Morning Person*

      It is hard to take and accept criticism when so many of us identify with our work product. Something that has worked for me is to remind myself that I am “new at this.” I know how to do the tasks the way we did them at “old job” but when new to an organization, then of course I don’t know how they like for things to be done. Maybe it can help to think of yourself as the newbie who is still learning the ropes. The people giving you feedback/criticism are most likely not thinking that they are giving you hard criticism, but feedback that will make it more likely that you’ll meet expectations. It’s hard to learn every style preference or culture expectation. Lots of managers/peers don’t know what they need to tell someone because often they know it so well that it’s not even in their conscious that not everyone knows all about “the way we do it here.” Remind yourself that it’s okay not to know everything right at the start and try to respond with a “Wow! Thanks for letting me know!” vs. “Wow! Why didn’t you just tell me that already!!@!??!@!@!” Good luck!

    7. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Oh I can empathize so much! I recommend the book “thanks for the feedback” which gave me a few tools to be more open to feedback and receive it with less emotion.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Oddly, I have found promising myself never to make the same mistake twice, reeeally helped me to keep a sense of proportion.
      I have kept samples of Correct Item so when I have to do it again, I get it right. I also make notes on the samples, “watch out for this, check that, etc” Date the sample. Stuff changes. When you look back at your sample you will want to know how old it is and if you should look at a more current sample or double check something.

      Know that this gets easier. You might catch yourself thinking, “Oh is Current Mistake the worst ever? Noooo. Three mistakes ago was The Worst Ever. And I lived through it, so I will live through this, too.”
      Don’t be afraid to take preemptive steps. “Hey, Boss I am doing the Quarterly Report for Teapots. Do you have a sample I should refer to? [OR Did you want changes to that report in formatting or info?]”

    9. This Daydreamer*

      Try focusing on the feedback not as criticism, but as your boss telling you what is different about your new job and what she wants you to do. You’re not doing anything wrong so much as adapting to a new workplace.

    10. smokey*

      If you can look for opportunities to learn constantly, criticism becomes the most welcome thing in the world because it’s the most straightforward way to get someone to teach you something.

  19. Secret Agent (Wo)man*

    Looking for advice/stories about raises when changing jobs and Cost of Living is a factor.
    (and maybe a reality check for my expectations?)

    My current job is in a pretty low COL location and am looking in a couple “regular” COL area (like not NYC, Seattle, DC etc.) but from several (maybe reliable) online calculators the cost of living difference is about 15%-20% higher (can for sure confirm that housing and taxes are more in these cities/states). Normally I would consider moving for a min of 15%ish raise but this would essentially just be scaling my salary to the new cities. Is asking for a 30% raise ridiculous? The markets do seem to be offering these salaries but sometimes it is hard to tell*. So far I haven’t be coerced into sharing my salary, but I have gotten a couple of offers that have been like the COL difference + like 2-5% which was not worth it to me at the time but now…maybe? (And I didn’t even negotiation because I’m a big weenie, my bad) All these cities are much larger than where I am now so I feel like they’ll just move on to the next candidate if I ask for too much. So what do you all think, should I be negotiating better, are my expectations just out of line, have I just not found the right job yet?

    *Titles at a lot of the companies I’m looking at are Engineer, maybe a Sr. Engineer and of course an Engineering Manager, so a new grad and someone with 15 years of experience could have the same title but obviously not get paid the same so ranges are huge and who knows what’s going on in between.

    Extra context: I like my job but the company is not very stable and I don’t like the location, so while I definitely want to leave, I’m not in a huge rush and can wait for the right job. I’m a Teapot Engineer and want to move into an Iced Teapot Engineer role, I have 4 years of experience and even though the company has frozen wages for the last 2 years they have given me a 10% and a 5% raise for those years (now I feel guilty for looking) so I am getting close to possibly being a smidge overpaid.

    1. ThatGirl*

      This may be helpful – hopefully!

      When I was a few years into my career I moved from small-town Kentucky (very low COL) to the Chicago suburbs (considerably higher COL). I had been looking at apartments and what was available, how much it cost, etc – so I basically ran a new budget with the higher rent costs and my other expenses (and tacked on more per month for gas and groceries) and then extrapolated from there – how much would I need to make to afford that within my comfort zone? Even for my relatively low-paying industry the norm was a good $10k more per year because of the higher COL.

      It proved really helpful when I got the offer, although I wouldn’t recommend the wording I used I was able to negotiate a higher pay rate based on that. You of course also have to factor in what the jobs in that area pay in general, and what you’re worth – but higher COL areas know they are, generally, and should be willing to pay accordingly.

    2. Kathenus*

      I’ve moved several times with COL changes, here’s what I did in case at all helpful. First, great that you’re looking at numerous salary/cost of living calculators – sometimes they are really varied in their numbers, which is really challenging; but when they’re pretty well in line with each other it gives you more confidence in the numbers and what you need to make to have a comparable quality of life. Second, using those, decide what the minimum salary is that you’d be willing to accept to move to that location. Knowing hard and fast, internally, that the salary must be $xx or above is a really helpful baseline to keep in mind for the evaluation of opportunities.

      Third, change your thinking from asking for a raise to that level or above, to needing that level or above to consider the position – they’re not giving you a raise, they’re offering you a salary for the position and negotiating (or not) within their internal salary range. Finally, realize that presenting your salary needs is a normal part of the interviewing/offering/hiring process, don’t think of it as you asking for something unusual or unreasonable. If you have your baseline minimum acceptable salary as your guide, then it’s pretty straightforward for you – 1) does it meet my minimum, no – decline, yes – decide if you want to accept or negotiate further. The fact that you’re not in a rush is great, you can take your time and wait for the right opportunity and not feel pressured to take something that doesn’t work for you. Good luck.

      1. CM*

        Exactly. It’s not a raise. Research the market for that area and ask for a salary based on that. You should only compare it to your current salary for purposes of calculating your COL increase and how the new job will affect your finances.

    3. Sibley*

      Also, when someone asks how much you currently make, you can respond with something like “due to the location and differences in overall COL, my current salary is not comparable with expected salaries for this role and location”. Prior salary shouldn’t matter anyway, but in this case it REALLY doesn’t matter.

    4. Lora*

      Depends on what kind of engineer. Mechanical & Civil typically make less, Electrical usually in the middle, Chemical pays highest, Software can be all over the place. The PE doesn’t really add much salary-wise I’m told.

      Here’s what pharma ChemEng gets an engineer/senior eng:
      Cleveland, OH: $55-75k
      Boston MA: $100-140k
      really middle of nowhere: $50-60k

      If you do ChemEng energy:
      Middle of nowhere: $150-200k
      Houston TX: >$250k, not completely sure, maybe $300k

      Cleveland OH: $50-75k
      Boston MA: $80-95k

      not sure about other fields.

  20. Robert*

    My new job (9-5 office job) just asked me to free up my evening hours so I can be available more. This is a big deal because I am an only child and help take care of my parents, who are getting older and have a few health issues. A lot of the time they need me on a short notice (doctor visits scheduled a day or two in advance), and I am looking for the best way to broach this with my bosses that’s both firm but not overly aggressive or confrontational. Also, when I interviewed I asked about the work life balance, and they told me it’s very laid back 9-5 job.

    This is not negotiable to me: if it’s between working late and helping my dad get to/from a doctor’s appointment, I don’t care how much overtime I get, I’m going to be with Dad. I’ve said that gently but firmly to previous bosses (something like “Boss, I need to take tomorrow morning off. I know it’s short notice, but it’s a family thing. I’m okay with rearranging the rest of my schedule to make up the time.”) and they’ve been okay with it. My old boss’ father had the same health conditions my dad does — we actually bonded over that a bit, as weird as it may sound.

    I’m considering going in and telling my boss this isn’t negotiable, but I’m unsure of my ability to phrase that well. I was thinking something like, “Joe, regarding working evenings, I help take care of my parents, and I sometimes they need me to drive them somewhere, like a doctor appointment. I’m an only child and not being there for them isn’t an option. What kind of backup plans can we make for this?” But that doesn’t address my boss telling me that it’s a purely 9-5 job back in the interview.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I would say something like “I accepted this position with the understanding that it was a 9-5 position. I have obligations in the evening that I cannot change and thus cannot ‘free up my evenings’ for work on a regular basis. Is this a new requirement for the position?” I wouldn’t get into the specifics of what those obligations are.

      1. Robert*

        I like this. To the point and calls him out.

        I tried a less firm version and got pushed back upon. Here’s the conversation (I related it to a friend immediately after hearing it because it sounded so nuts to me).

        Boss: So for the chocolate teapot repair project, we’ll need you on hand in the evenings sometimes.
        Me: I can do that, but sometimes I need to do things for my parents in the evening.
        Boss: I’m going to have to ask you to reschedule then, because we are all going to be working. None of us get to see our families much. Isn’t that right, Wakeen?
        Wakeen (sitting right by): Yeah. I’m really stressed out right now.
        Boss: Seriously, this comes first.

        A firm, matter of fact “no, and also explain why this changed between the interview and now” may work better.

          1. Robert*

            Don’t think I don’t know how ridiculous it sounds. Being in one of the largest cities in the USA, there’s plenty of people who have a mentality that since they sacrificed a lot to get to the big city, everyone else needs to too. Personally, I work to live — I work my ass off, but there’s limits.

        1. who?*

          I would definitely follow up with your boss and say something along the lines of, “I think I gave you the wrong impression the other day when we spoke about evening hours. When I said I need to do things for my parents in the evenings, what I meant is that I am their sole caregiver and sometimes need to be available to take them to their doctors appointments and other health-related commitments. This is not a matter of simply wanting to see my family more often.” And then ask for more information about how often you’d be working in the evenings, how flexible the schedule is, etc. Detective Amy Santiago’s wording above is really good.

          I know you mention below that you are not actually a sole caregiver because your parents are still self-sufficient, but unfortunately I don’t think your boss will take your request seriously unless you use this term. I think others are correct in that saying you’re the only child doesn’t really convey the message you’re trying to get across, and I would say the same of your wording above.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Yeah, I don’t think he understood what you were trying to say. Of course being more specific about the situation may not change his mind, but maybe if there are ways to work around it, like coming in earlier than 9, he might be open to that.

            1. Robert*

              I’m open to altering my hours when I have to drive mom or dad somewhere. Gonna say that.

              I’m not open to skipping it entirely. If my boss gave me a hard “no” I’d put in my resignation effective immediately.

              Given that he’s said stuff like “by working here, you have to give up some things” I expect that hardline “no” from him. But we’ll see.

        2. nonymous*

          you need to communicate somehow that the commitments in the evenings are stuff that you would use FMLA/sick leave for if they were scheduled for during regular hours.

          Also the phrase that you may be looking for is “I am a caregiver for my elderly parents”. My boss pushes back on that one, though.

          Temper this by offering to work during times that your coworkers with kids resist. I’ve had good luck in the past by offering to cover Sat/Sun AM shifts or AM shifts in general. Reasonable Wakeens are aware that they can’t have both before/after-school freedom and family weekends in a company with mandatory OT.

          1. Robert*

            Also the phrase that you may be looking for is “I am a caregiver for my elderly parents”. My boss pushes back on that one, though.

            Isn’t caregiver a term with some legal implications? My reticence toward using that one is because this is a very large, very bureaucratic company. My boss may actually challenge me to formally prove it somehow, and that would backfire. I will talk to him Monday, but that phrase would be my fallback.

            And I’m open to hearing what he will say on it (again I’m fine with coming early or staying late to make up the time) before I make any judgments, though I’m not happy about him giving me a completely different story during the interview. My dad’s had multiple strokes and heart attacks, and I don’t know how much more time I have with him. If my boss says “no, we can’t rearrange things” to this, I’m job hunting again.

    2. T3k*

      I wouldn’t know how to word it exactly, but I’d use something like “sole caregiver” instead of “only child” because in my head, saying the latter would spring up the follow-up question “are there any other relatives that can help?”

      1. Friday*

        +1 on “sole caregiver,” and state that you have daily responsibilities for caregiving in the evenings as it sounds like it’s frequent enough that you wouldn’t want to plan on setting Tuesdays for working late, or committing to a random day or two a week for late work, etc. Your life right now is such that you need to be available to your parents every evening, regardless of whether they have a doctor’s appointment or not.

        One thing though – for morning last-minute doc appointments, you say you always committed to making up the time. How have you made that time up in the past? Was it with evening work? Going forward, would those appointments be something you can handle with whatever your new regular PTO structure is or on those occasions, will you be committing to evening work? Make sure it’s all as clear as possible with your new boss how you usually handle those situations and how you will be able to handle them going forward. Best of luck to you and your parents.

        1. Robert*

          Yeah. The thing is that they’re largely self sufficient still. So I’ve shied away from describing myself as “sole caregiver,” but I’m the only relative or friendly neighbor in the area under 60. Mostly what I do is drive them when it’s dark out.

          In my entire working career (only five years long, but still) I’ve only had to leave during the workday for a health emergency once. And in that case any boss who isn’t completely heartless will understand “I have to leave. I just got a call from the ER, my dad’s there.” If they don’t, easiest explanation for why you left a job ever, and I have savings. I’m not worried about that.

          On morning appointments: I’ve never been told same day. So I would grab my boss at some point and explain. Then I’d work late the next day or two; say 11-7.

          1. K*

            If you do end up staying late at work for an emergency project and your parents are competent but uncomfortable driving at night, call them a taxi/Uber/Lyft or medical transportation service. As someone in close proximity to caregiving (I’m an elder law attorney), I see a lot of kids feeling like they’re the only ones able to provide a service to their parents. That’s frequently not the case.

            1. nonymous*

              Do you have any advice for adult kids who have parents willing to neglect self without child around? My mom refused to go to the Dr for 7 years because I wasn’t there to go in with her. She’s not elderly, just coddled and stubborn.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Is there an urgent reason she needs to go? Sincere question, I do a chose your battles thing. If there is no pressing reason, then it’s not the hill to die on. {FWIW, only child and had two stubborn parents. I had to wait for the sky to fall down before things changed. Sometimes that is the only answer.)

              2. K*

                If you feel like you have to take her for your own peace of mind, then schedule ALL appointments on 1 day with enough time in-between for the docs to be running late. Fear can be hard to overcome.

            2. Not So NewReader*

              Here we have free medical rides for seniors. They can make a donation if they chose or not.

    3. TexanJudge*

      I think it is fair to ask for realistic expectations before giving them an ultimatum. Before putting my job on the line I would want to know if we were talking 2 hours or 6, in the office or remote,etc.

      1. Robert*

        Makes sense. I’ll pull him aside next week.

        I’m not going to give any ultimatums, but “work comes first” (what he said, word for word) is not an acceptable answer for me.

        Seeing your own dad have a stroke leaves a strong impression on you.

    4. Saviour Self*

      If you’re an FMLA eligible company, you could also go down that road, but I would start by being explicitly clear that you have unmoving evening commitments as a sole caregiver to aging parents. Detective Amy Santiago’s wording is good for that.

        1. Robert*

          Yup. Some companies are okay with off the books arrangements but some aren’t. My old job was at a startup, and they we’re okay with giving me the time off without me putting it in and depleting my PTO balance: so I’d bring Dad to an appointment and back, and reach the office at 11. I’d work until 7, and we’d consider that even. Don’t think this company is that loose.

          Also, I know of intermittent FMLA, but does that apply for taking care of parents?

          1. Jadelyn*

            FMLA is FMLA, regardless of whether it’s taken block or intermittent, and always has the same requirements regardless of how you’re planning to structure the time off. So the question would be if you meet the criteria for FMLA in general (caring for a family member who has a serious health condition, both terms “family member” and “serious health condition” as defined by FMLA standards), and then if you do, you can elect to take it intermittently.

          2. fposte*

            Yes, it absolutely can. DOL explicitly mentions transporting people to the doctor, in fact. So FMLA is definitely something worth discussing when you hit your year mark

            1. Asile*

              Very definite. I started intermittent FMLA earlier this year to accompany my mom to doctor appointments so I could take notes and actually KNOW what was going on, because she didn’t seem able to give me all the details after the appointment. At that time, she was able to drive herself, which was great because I lived/worked on one side of town, she lived on the other side, and her doctor was in the middle. She then had an incident that put a restriction on her driving, so I’ve also been driving her to and from most appointments (sometimes she got a ride from someone else to lessen my time away from work).

              Besides having worked for your employer for at least 1 year and your employer being covered under FMLA (have to have at least 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius), your parent has to have a “serious medical condition” and be under continuous medical care. If your parents are just going for routine appointments, you probably won’t be eligible for leave under FMLA. But if it’s a case like my mother – an existing condition got worse and we couldn’t figure out why or how to get it back under control – then the doctors will probably be able to certify it.

              Check with your HR Department for the forms you’ll need to have your parents’ doctor(s) complete, or you can view the sample certification forms on the Department of Labor website.

              1. Robert*

                My dad has some serious medical conditions which would definitely qualify, which is why I’m not willing to put him on an Uber. I need to talk to his doctors so I get the full story. Also, Access-A-Ride has been awful here. My wheelchair-bound grandma used it once, and that time the driver just drove home and left the bus there for like 2 hours.

  21. Fabulous*

    One of our newer sales reps resigned last night stating that today would be his last day… except he showed up this morning in shorts and flip flops – which is too much even for our super casual office – and they sent him home.

    Btw, the email subject he sent was ” Letter of Recognition” instead of Resignation.

    I’m betting he doesn’t come back, LOL.

    1. SophieChotek*

      Recognition – Ha! Thanks for sharing!
      (I guess he got recognized by higher-ups for coming in dressed too casually…)

    2. Liane*

      “I am resigning my position effective [date], in recognition of the fact that this company is not a cultural fit for me. I have learned a lot here, and wish Company and its employees the best.”

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        This is basically what I said to my manager when resigning from a sales job at a “cool” and “trendy” company! I was immediately escorted out.

    3. AMPG*

      Laughing at the “Letter of Recognition.” One of my former direct reports resigned via a form letter that began, “Dear [Insert name].” This was in keeping with our time working together.

    4. Not a Morning Person*

      Yes, and he probably thought, what’s the worst that can happen? I’ve already resigned!
      I know someone who did something similar as far as dress. He knew that layoffs were coming and he knew he was on the list and the date he’d be notified. (I know how he knew, but it’s not relevant for the anecdote.) For two weeks leading up to his notification date, he wore a suit and tie, occasionally that was expected, but not necessarily required. On the day of his notification/layoff date, he wore t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers, not the normal attire for his office! And he spent the day going around and talking to the folks who were also on “the list”. He’s an awesome guy.

    5. JennyFair*

      I had someone call me and say, “thanks for all your help the last two years, please tell the boss today’s my last day.”

      We knew he was leaving, because his new employer had called us, but, well, let’s just hope one day he wants a reference, lol.

    6. Fabulous*


      1. KatiePie*

        I’m surprised the directive was, “Go home and change and come back.” We have a casual dress code here, but if someone pulled something of related significance here on their last day, it would be, “Here’s your check. Happy trails.”

  22. Seven If You Count Bad John*

    Interview advice: You’re filling out an application and they ask supplemental questions asking you to detail experience in XYZ (in this case, “describe how you dealt with a difficult interpersonal situation with a coworker/client, how did you resolve the conflict?”) You put in your difficult-coworker story and get an interview. In the interview they ask the same question in person. Do you tell the same story again, or do you come up with a different experience to talk about?

    1. Fabulous*

      I’d maybe start off with an abbreviated version of that story, but maybe have a backup situation available if they ask.

      1. CM*

        I think you could delve into the original story more than you did in the application. But I agree with having a backup.

        1. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

          I’ve often wondered about this question. How should you answer it if you’ve never really had a clash with a co-worker?

          1. CM*

            I also think that you can take a few liberties with the question. If you don’t have a situation that’s directly on point, you can try telling a story about a time that you disagreed about something work-related with a coworker, or a time that you were in a difficult position at a volunteer job, or a time that a customer yelled at you. If you really can’t think of a single example of a time when you had a conflict with another person and had to resolve it somehow, maybe sit down with a friend and brainstorm so they can help you draw out some stories.

        2. DBG*

          Yes, I’ve done that.
          I think the key is to accurately discuss the issues – so if you mishandled it, say so and explain what you’d do differently. They’re not going to be impressed if you talk about how Wakeen was a terrible person for ten minutes.

    2. Nonprofit manager*

      I would share the same story, but preface it by stating that you wrote about in your supplemental application questions. The reason I suggest this is because we use supplemental questions as an initial screening tool and often only HR reviews those. So if it’s a good story, you want subsequent interviewers to hear it. Have a back-up ready in case everyone interviewing you is familiar with it.

      1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

        That was my feeling too. (My spouse is the one who had the interview, for a job with the city.)

    3. Fretful Accountant*

      In a government setting the people who review the supplemental questions are separate from the people interviewing, so you could get away with using the same story.

  23. Nervous Accountant*

    It’s been an emotionally and physically draining week.

    1. I have a recruiter that’s helped a few of my coworkers move on or start a new process. I’m feeling put out bc he helped them but ghosted on me. What’s the nicest way to convey this message without burning a bridge?
    “I’ve referred several of my colleagues to you and you’ve been helpful to all of theml. However, I haven’t heard from you since our last call on 7/17. Is there something missing in my application that can move along the process? Or is there another recruiter I can work with?” I *know* this is harsh and abrasive, but I am a little annoyed that he’s benefiting from my help–and yes I know I was warned about this a few weeks back when I posted but I referred these people before then.

    2. Not a lot happened but a lot did if that makes sense. Good things happened for me but I also got a taste of some not so nice things. I’m also extremely, maybe irrationally pissed at something my boss said about my mgr, knowing it would get back to him but he can’t say anything back. It just seems so passive aggressive and deliberate..ugh.

    3. #1 with a few past incidents, makes me feel like I’m being used. Helping someone get a job, passing this contact along, passing along a really good opportunity to someone else who resigned last week…I’m kicking myself for all of that now.

    1. Fabulous*

      Maybe reach out to the recruiter and say, “I am checking in since I haven’t heard from your since our last call over three weeks ago on 7/17. Do you need anything else from me to get this process started? I’d really like to move on from my position as soon as possible. What can I do to help move things along? Or is another recruiter available who may be able to assist me instead? Thanks in advance for your reply.”

      I think that’s a little less harsh but still firm in your expectations.

    2. Mephyle*

      Seconding what Lily said. I think it’s honest and productive and it doesn’t sound harsh or abrasive to me.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      On #3, remember the person who ignored you is NOT the same person as those you helped. Yes, he got money in his pocket from placing people. But there is more to the story, you helped other people move along in their careers. This is an investment in your career and your life. It will come back to you. Not because of this mysterious thing called karma, but because in reality people remember who did right by them. And they do not forget it.
      No regrets, okay? Use it to strengthen your sense that something will fall together for you, too. It just will. Keep being a good person.

  24. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Favorite podcasts or free audiobooks (most classic literature is in the public domain and thus free audio on YouTube?)

    No joke, I am OUT of podcasts and books!

    1. jmm*

      My favorite podcasts: Fresh Air, This American Life, Ask a Clean Person, Here’s the Thing, Awesome Etiquette, The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, How to do Everything
      (I also need to listen to all the things, so I don’t have to listen to co-workers’ phone conversations)

      1. Windchime*

        How I Built This
        How to Be Amazing
        Fresh Air
        This American Life
        Seth Meyers (it usually contains the “Closer Look” and an interview from his normal show)

        I’m trying to take a break from political or upsetting podcasts right now, but when I’m in the mood I like Pod Save America.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      This may get shut down and encouraged to be moved to the weekend free-for-all, but I guess it’s tangentially work-related?

      A few off-the-beaten-path ones I’d recommend are:
      The Sauce
      Shut Up and Listen with Heather Matarazzo
      Hidden Messages Podcast
      Talkhouse Film

    3. LawBee*

      My Brother My Brother and Me (NSFW, so headphones are a must)
      Sawbones (and many of the McElroy family of podcasts –
      You Must Remember This

    4. CatCat*

      Podcast: The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio (my favorite are the “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” mysteries).

    5. Emily S.*

      Ooh, I have a list for you.

      -Storycorps podcast (SO good, heartwarming stories!)
      -How I Built This (interviews with entrepreneurs, very interesting)
      -The Kitchen Sisters Present (good stories, some food-related)
      -Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin (long interviews with interesting people)

    6. Alex*

      I hate recommending podcasts to other people, because you never know what they’re into or what kind sense of humor they have (or don’t). When I’m at work I like to listen to fun/funny shows such as 2 Dope Queens, Another Round, Black Ass Podcast, Fake the Nation, Friends Like Us, Half Hour Intern, Happier With Gretchen Rubin, I Seem Fun The Diary of Jen Kirkman, Gettin’ Grown, Lexicon Valley, The Sporkful, WTF with Marc Maron. I also do listening to news-y ones too and niche interests that probably no one else is interested in. Podcasts are so great.

    7. sometimeswhy*

      I use Overdrive and my local public library for audio books! And my mum does too and she lives in the sticks.

      1. Nanc*

        Thumbs up to the library and Overdrive! If your library subscribes to Hoopla that’s another great resource for audio books.

    8. SophieChotek*

      Second Library audio-books. My library is pretty good about that.

      If you are into “geeky” things some of my friends like the pod-cast “Good Nerd, Bad Nerd”…

      If you are interested in deeper thinking, etc. two friends of mine mentioned a blog/podcast by Dr. Greg Boyd, called ReKnew. (He is a somewhat controversial Protestant theologian.)

    9. Paige Turner*

      The Best Show! (Not technically a podcast but a live show with years and years of archives) I also like Beautiful/Anonymous, and Bandcamp for albums/live recordings from comedians like Hari Kondabolu and Rhea Butcher and also audiobooks. All good for work and for commuting.

    10. The OG Anonsie*

      The ones I have on my phone:

      My Bother, My Brother, And Me (this one is classed as an “advice” podcast but it’s really just goofy and funny, it’s hard to even explain why.)

      The Adventure Zone (made by the same guys as MBMBAM, it’s D&D games that are also goofy and funny and still interesting even if you’re not into D&D)

      The Code Switch (American race and culture specifically as it applies to cross-cultural understanding and communication. From NPR)

      Bad With Money (Gaby Dunn’s financial advice podcast which could be classed as “finance for the rest of us.” This isn’t how to open an IRA, it’s dealing with the messy bits and the desperation.)

      Pop Culture Happy Hour (also from NPR, general pop culture discussion including Linda Holmes. She’s from Television Without Pity and if you liked TWP, you’ll probably like PCHH)

      The Read (another pop culture one, this one more angled towards hip hop gossip)

    11. Strategic Analyst*

      Rhe Joe Rogan experience bas interesting guests from time to time. They cover a reallyy broad spectrum from fitness and nutrition to spirituality to politics.
      My favorite was them talking to a guy who talked about evidence for a comet hitting Earth about 12-13,000 years ago, the relation to the Atlantis myth, and the inplications for our understanding of human civilization.

    12. Lady Alys*

      BBC’s “In Our Time” podcast – to say that the range of topics is vast is a sad sad understatement.
      “History of English” podcast – starts back with the Indo-European language tree and now, 96 episodes later, he’s made it to England.
      “Make me Smart with Kai and Molly” and “Planet Money,” both from NPR, both quirky in a good way, and generally short.
      “Good Food” from KCRW in Los Angeles – cooking, food, ag policy, culture, so interesting.
      Tim Ferriss Show – I’m the first to admit that he’s a bit self-absorbed but he’s pretty relentlessly positive and I like that sometimes.

    13. Southern Ladybug*

      I don’t think this has been mentioned yet. If you enjoyed The West Wing, The West Wing Weekly podcast is amazingly awesome.

    14. TheCupcakeCounter*

      Real Crime Profile
      Hollywood and Crime
      Locked Up Abroad
      Cold Case Files
      Surprisingly Awesome

      And since I am a Bravo junkie:
      Juicy Scoop with Heather McDonald (NSFW)
      Heather Dubrow’s World
      Bitch Sesh
      Reality Life with Kate Casey

      1. Damn it, Hardison!*

        I like “You Must Remember This” which deals with Hollywood history in the 20the century. There is a theme to each season. My favorite so far is the series on the Blacklist in Hollywood, and I also loved the Manson Family season. It really brings out interesting perspectives and lesser known episodes.

    15. veggiewolf*

      On my iPod: This American Life; Fresh Air; Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me; Code Switch; Planet Money; Welcome to Night Vale; Radiolab; NPR Politics Podcast; Amateur Traveler; Join Us in France; You Bet Your Garden; Sunday School Dropouts; Polyamory Weekly; Orange Lounge Radio; The Bobby Blackwolf Show; Serial; Invisibilia.

      Oh, and The Sporkful. And Dear Prudence. I have a bit of a podcast habit.

      1. veggiewolf*

        Forgot two: Beautiful/Anonymous and Game Buoy. The former is definitely worth adding to your list.

    16. Her Grace*

      Like short stories? Try the Escape Artists podcasts: Escape Pod, PodCastle and PseudoPod (SF, F and H)

  25. Two months in*

    Two months in and my new job is not as advertised. How long do I give it for things to calm down or bail?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      It may not need to be a choice you need to make right now. I would probably start non-aggressively applying to other jobs. You don’t have to defnitely plan on quitting, but you can see what else is out there. So if a job comes up that gives you the opportunity to leave, you can leave. And if not, you can see whether things will, in fact, “calm down.”

      1. Two months in*

        Yeah, I just hate the idea of going back through the job search process so soon but I think that’s the only way I can feel any sense of control over this situation.

      1. Two months in*

        The manager hired me with the intention of shifting the role from program coordinator to project manager, but there is no buy in from other management or the staff as a whole, they want me to do things the way my predecesor did. I spend most of my time copy editing and chasing down correspondence instead. Too much time is spend putting out fires. Most of the staff members are either new to the organization or new to their roles due to internal reorganization and it’s been complete chaos. It has become apparent after several conversations that my manager does not actually have any control or influence to make the intended change to my role.

        I intended to write more in my original question but got interrupted in the middle of it and had no idea how long it would be until I could continue.

        1. Two months in*

          Sorry, above second sentence should say “instead of coordinating or managing anything.”

    2. Master Bean Counter*

      It’s not as advertised, but is it something you can do and work with? I’d give it another month or two. But I’d also keep my eye on the jobs boards.

      1. Two months in*

        I would not have taken this job if it had been described accurately in the position description and interviews. The job as it is right now is a step backwards on my career path.

        I have had longer tenures at previous jobs so I’m not worried about looking like a job hopper but I am concerned that if I have to justify it (can’t pretend it didn’t happen if I apply for another government job), I’ve allowed sufficient time to make a judgment about poor fit.

  26. CDN HR*

    What is your opinion on candidates who select a time for a phone interview and then are driving throughout the interview?

    I would like to make clear that they select the time. I provide them with a list of times that I am available, they can select whichever one they want (Doodle) and I say in the e-mail that if they are unavailable at any of those times to let me know.

    Frankly, I become frustrated with it. I feel as though if they wanted the job they would give the phone interview their full attention. Not to mention that I consider it a safety hazard and they usually provide worse answers. T

    1. Saviour Self*

      Yeah, this would really irk me as well. I’ve not had it happen but I’m sure it will at some point. Are you sure that they’re actually driving and not just sitting in their car? When I was job hunting, if I couldn’t get away for the afternoon I would take phone screens in my car in the parking lot so as to not alert my employer.

      I don’t know that there’s anything you can do about it.

      1. fposte*

        Yup. I’d do it politely, because if it’s hands-free it’s technically legal in my state, but you know, so was drunk driving once upon a time.

        1. Jadelyn*

          I have to ask – this is something that always gets me in these kinds of discussions, I’m not trying to be a jerk, promise – if it’s hands-free, then how is it any different than having a conversation with a passenger riding in the car with you? Taking your attention off the road long enough to make or answer a call could be problematic, but the talking itself, if it’s hands-free, is exactly the same as having someone in the car with you and talking to them, as far as I’ve ever been able to tell. Especially if you’ve got a car that does bluetooth with your phone and runs it through the car speakers, and has call answer buttons on the steering wheel like some do. Actually I’d think it would be *less* distracting since you don’t have the urge to pay attention to any of the somatic cues that usually go along with in-person conversations – you’re not gesturing or turning your head to glance at them.

          That said, I’d never recommend doing that for an interview, since you want to be able to really focus on the conversation in that case, but for casual talking, I just don’t get the difference between “talking to someone via hands-free” and “talking to the person in the passenger seat”.

          1. fposte*

            It’s not completely different (hence restrictions about young drivers carrying passengers in some states) but it’s got some significant differences. For one thing, talking on the phone is cognitively different than speaking to people face to face; the problem isn’t the hands but the conversation. For another, people in your car are likelier to be aware of the traffic situation than somebody on the phone and to shut up or alert the driver, and people are more willing to stop talking to a person present than to end a phone call. (There’s also the societal question of the impact on the roads if passenger carrying were outlawed, since there’d likely be a considerable uptick in vehicles on the road.)

            I’d also say that you don’t have to outlaw everything that’s a problem to outlaw anything that’s a problem. I recall protests that passenger distraction was an issue too being brought up in pushback against tighter drunk driving laws. And it is, but I don’t think that’s a reason for loose drunk driving laws.

            It’ll probably be a moot point in not too many years from now as we all telephone each other drunkenly in our self-driving cars.

            1. Jadelyn*

              Is there research showing that it’s truly that different cognitively between talking in person vs on the phone? I’ll definitely grant you re passengers realizing when to shut up for a minute vs people being willing to either let there be dead air, or get off the phone, though.

              I’m not quite “on” with the comparisons to drunk driving laws, though. Not sure why. I guess I still just don’t think there’s enough of a qualitative difference between conversations in different media to justify banning one if not the other.

              But as you say, once the cars are smarter than we are, it won’t really matter anymore, will it?

          2. Ramona Flowers*

            It’s not a normal chat though, it’s a job interview. Would you feel able to focus on a job interview while also concentrating on driving the interviewers around in your car?

            1. Jadelyn*

              I very specifically said “I’d never recommend doing that for an interview, since you want to be able to really focus on the conversation in that case” and made a distinction between conversing hands-free in the car versus trying to do an interview while driving.

      2. Kathenus*

        I’d definitely end the interview, be clear that it’s for safety reasons and because I’d like to have their full attention for the interview, and offer to set up an alternative time when they can be available. I wouldn’t take them out of the running if they’re willing to reschedule in a timely manner, but it would be a yellow flag to their judgment.

      3. Lemon Zinger*

        In my state, talking on the phone while driving is not illegal. However, doing so while driving a university vehicle (a frequent occurrence in my role) is against university policy. I imagine that we would end a phone interview if a candidate was driving while on the call.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I wouldn’t necessarily take them out of the running, but I do think that’s strange (and, frankly, dangerous—distracted drivers are far more likely to get into an accident). I have taken phone interviews in my (non-moving) car before—even those were times picked by the interviewer and not by me.

      1. SophieChotek*

        I would be worried about the drivers and others’ safety — how can the candidate concentrate well on the interview and drive? But I’m not sure if I would totally take the candidate out of the running, especially if the candidate does a good job. On the other hand, if the job requires a lot of driving…(for the company) that would definitely make a difference….

    3. Jadelyn*

      I’ve been on hand for a phone screen when my manager was doing one and the candidate answered while driving. My manager simply said “I’m going to let you go, then, please call me when you get to your destination so we can reschedule.” and hung up.

      This person did not, as I recall, get moved forward in the process.

      1. Lana Kane*

        It might be kind of a hardass thing to do, but I agree with your manager. Aside from safety issues, to me it just shows poor judgment. Even if you’re just a passenger, road noise comes through and can make the call harder. Why would you do that when you’re trying to put your best foot forward? Not to mention, it means you’re not alone in the car and others can listen in.

    4. CDN HR*

      Very interesting responses thank you! The have all been blue tooth/hands free as far as I can tell. It is illegal to drive while operating a handheld device in Ontario

    5. The OG Anonsie*

      This would drive me crazy, but I have found there is a certain kind of person who finds that driving is the best time to handle phone calls since they can’t do anything else. They’re not driving because they weren’t free, they are probably scheduling that time specifically so they can handle it when they know they’ll be driving.

      Which I personally hate, but just giving them flexibility isn’t going to eliminate it.

      1. Asile*

        What are the thoughts of just being IN the car, but not driving? I’m going to have to be in this position, just to be able to do the interview without making the recruiter wait until crazy late in the evening. I just don’t think the nearby Panera or Starbucks will be quiet enough for the call.

        1. Windchime*

          I’ve done several interviews this way. I make sure the car is turned off (or at least there isn’t noisy AC blasting) and used my hand-held rather than the Bluetooth. The interviewer didn’t know I was in the car and it was very quiet and private.

        2. CDN HR*

          yeah, even if it’s Bluetooth I think that’s totally fine! You can definitely tell when people are driving vs. sitting in the car but not moving. If you are using your Bluetooth you can even say “I’m just using the Bluetooth in my car, let me know if causes too much ambient noise.”

    6. This Daydreamer*

      Somehow I am reminded of an NPR interview that ended with a loud “KLUNK”.

      Yeah, I would ask them to reschedule for a time when they are able to devote their full attention to the interview. Multitasking while interviewing in general seems like a bad combination to me and disrespectful to the person giving the interview. Why would this be fine when texting or playing a game on your phone at an in-person interview be seen as a MASSIVE red flag? When you’re in an in-person interview, you aren’t going to potentially kill someone because you’re distracted.

    7. ExcitedAndTerrified*

      So, one question I’d ask: Are you absolutely certain they’re driving? Because I know that when I lived with roommates who were, shall we say, less than understanding about the need for a quiet environment during a phone interview, I would go out to my car to take the call. It had the added benefit of actually having AC during our summer heatwaves, meaning I was more comfortable than in our blisteringly hot apartment.

      I did a similar thing when taking a phone interview during my lunch break as well.

      Now, if you are certain they’re driving, I’d probably put them at the bottom of my candidate list, for all the reasons you and others have said.

    8. nonegiven*

      My son did a technical interview on the phone, it turned out the interviewer was driving the whole time.

  27. minhag*

    When should a graduating student start applying for jobs? I’m (hopefully) graduating from MBA program in May 2018. Outside of consulting tracks that have their own timeline, when should I apply for regular jobs? Normally, I would apply 2 or 3 months before I would want to start a job. But I don’t want to wait until March to start applying and spend fall and spring all anxious. If I saw a good job posting pop up in November, would it be weird to apply and mention in my cover letter that I’m graduating in May?

    1. EddieSherbert*

      It probably depends on what you’re trying to get into.

      For example, many of my engineering friends had jobs set up close to a year before graduating, but in my (communications/marketing) field… we pretty much all had to wait until March! The one exception in my group was a (communications) friend who was hired on full-time at the place she interned, and she knew that about 6 months before graduation (and that’s what she wanted, so it worked out!).

    2. Fabulous*

      When I was in my Master’s Program I think I started applying the fall before graduation, so I basically had two semesters to get everything in order.

    3. Lily Rowan*

      Normal jobs (ie, not like consulting where they are planning for a class of graduates) want someone who can start ASAP, so even if my process ends up taking 6 months, when I post the job in November, I’m really looking for someone to start in January.

    4. Huddled over tea*

      Depends on industry completely, of course.

      Our ATS (clunky and horrible as it is) asks people their availability/notice period, and a lot of graduate students have been putting ‘available September 2017’ (I’m in the UK, that’s when their dissertations/theses/etc are due) and I’ve only just stopped screening them out.

      Generally, I’m not looking for candidates who will be unavailable for more than 6 weeks from when I post an advert. (Minimum recruitment time, assuming all goes very smoothly: advert open for two weeks, initial screenings one week, interviews two weeks, entry-level candidate with one-two weeks notice if they’re working part-time or need to relocate.)

    5. Jules the 3rd*

      In my MBA program, we had the first job fair in October. I missed that one, but a few of the students who went to it had offer letters in January for jobs starting in May. I went to the January one, got offer letters in March for jobs starting in May. That was the most common path for people in my class. We were in the middle of a small recession, though, so the earlier job fair might be more productive now.

      Certainly companies coming to your school will understand that you’re not available until May. Jobs you find through other sources would have shorter timelines.

  28. T3k*

    I don’t know if I shot myself in the foot with this or not.

    Last week I applied for what’s basically known as one of the entry jobs into an industry that’s very hard to get into, so it’s pretty well known that this and customer support are “foot in the door” jobs to get into it. So when I was asked, I did explain part of the reason I wanted this job was because I wanted to make a career within the industry and when asked to explain, I further said I wanted to go into something art related within the field (and would utilize more of my skills) and was asked a bit about my skills there, but nothing else and I didn’t bring it up again.

    Though one of the interviewers explained he’s big on promoting internally, now I’m afraid it makes it look like I want to move too quickly from the entry one to another, when I’m not: I know I have to put in my dues before getting there and I’m willing to stay within the job for at least a year to get there. Besides of course desperately needing a job, this is one of the few I REALLY want.

    1. extra anon today*

      I don’t think you need to worry about it. I was just reading an article yesterday about the new head of development at my husband’s hobby-focused company. He started as a customer service rep only 14 years ago, quickly moved into the art department, then to project management and he’s now head of all game development. I think it is perfectly normal.

      1. T3k*

        Thanks. Yeah, one interviewer explained how he started in customer support many years ago and is now one of the VPs, and the other interviewer held the same job I was applying for before (with no experience) and is now in charge of that group.

    2. The Queen of Cans & Jars*

      Seconding not worrying about it. Personally, I have no issue with people who take jobs at my company because they want to work their way up. Some of our best employees are ones that have done that because they have a deeper knowledge of how the company works and what we do than someone coming in completely from the outside. And I always like to hear that a candidate has aspirations for advancement.

    3. Eve*

      I agree with everyone else that this sounds fine. If you are already looking towards advancement they know you are motivated to do well at this entry level position. They seemed to want to tell their own or coworker’s success stories with this as well so that is a good sign.

  29. Candi*

    My son has a friend who told this story about something the friend’s uncle Fergus did when job hunting.

    Note: The kids are in high school, Fergus is the older brother to the friend’s parent, and we are in the US.

    This is all the information I have. Llama wool pillows are over there by the teapots.

    About 2 1/2 years ago, Fergus was job hunting. His materials can’t have been too bad, because he was getting interviews.

    Apparently, at some point between initial interview and possible offer, Fergus would pull out a chunk of cash and offer it to the manager, offering to pay the manager to hire him. When the manager, being a sensible human being, would refuse, Fergus would say, “Good. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere where people aren’t ethical.”

    For some reason, Fergus had a terrible time finding a job until his savings fell too low to pull this stunt.

    Besides the Giant NEON Sign flashing “GIMMICK, I’m pretty sure there are fields/industries/jurisdictions where this would mean Big Trouble of some variety. Besides being completely bananas.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Oh my god.

      I. I really don’t have words beside that. My jaw is on my desk and I can’t quite decide if I’m laughing or just dumbstruck.

    2. The OG Anonsie*

      You know, I just rewatched the episode of Vikings where the earl offers his advisor the chance to sleep with his wife by swearing he gives his permission and that the wife wants to sleep with him, then murders the guy for being untrustworthy when he accepts. Sprung to mind here.

  30. Master Bean Counter*

    You like the company and think it’s an interesting place and you can see yourself growing with it.
    But your manager has a style of doing things that are so vastly different from you that it actually causes stress and drives you bonkers some days.
    A new CEO gives you hope that things can change, but you don’t know if you’re up for the fight.
    Stay and see if you can ride out the bumpy or look for something else?

    1. volunteer coordinator in NoVA*

      I can totally relate to that situation as I’m dealing with something similar. Obviously your happiness at work and ability to get your job done are super important so if it gets bad enough that that starts to slip, that I would say start looking. For myself, I’m holding out because I think there is lots of great stuff happening but have also given myself a timeline as I can’t live on the idea of change happening forever.

      1. Master Bean Counter*

        My ability to get my job has slipped, but I also have no qualms about letting people know exactly where it has slipped. I leave out the why, because I’m not looking to kill my job just yet.

    2. Mirth & Merry*

      Start looking and see what’s out there and that might change your perspective. You could find a place that is even better than your current company. Or once you open yourself up to new options it could be really freeing knowing you *could* leave and the bumpiness looks different from that angle.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. Start searching and know you have the luxury of being a little choosey. When you see what is out there you will get a better idea of what your tolerance load is for Current Job.

    3. Lemon Zinger*

      If you can, try to stay a while and see if the new CEO actually does change things. If he/she doesn’t have action items and solid goals for change, start looking for a new job.

  31. Kowalski! Options!*

    Interesting occurrence this past Tuesday morning here at the Ministry of Teapots…
    About a year ago, when my team leader and I were completing our respective M.A.s, I sent her a .JPG of a joke relating to how stressful the creative process can be. Team Leader printed it out and stuck it in her cubicle, by the entrance of her cubicle. You would have had to have been inside the cubicle to see it. It wasn’t sexist or rude or anything, but it did have “f*** off” as part of the joke.
    Earlier this week, team leader’s grand-grand-grand-boss (GGGB), a senior person here at the Ministry, came up to our section because of confusion with the cancellation of a training session (one that our section didn’t organize – we just lent the training room to another group.) In a huff, GGGB stormed into my team leader’s cubicle, demanding to know what was going on. Team Leader calmly explained that we’d only lent the training room – we had no hand in cancelling the training at the last minute. GGGB saw the printout of the .JPG, pointed to it, and snapped to Team Leader, “You take that down RIGHT NOW.” (My team leader isn’t a junior person – she’s a professional with 20 years in the Ministry.)
    We’re all a little surprised by what happened, especially since our shop is, generally, pretty laid back. GGGB has only been with the Ministry for six months and doesn’t really know much about our team or what we do, or what we’re like when we’re working. Now, being a senior person, GGGB can definitely determine what she does or doesn’t want to see in peoples’ cubicles…but she’s the only person in well over a year to comment on the joke…. Thoughts?

    1. Grayson*

      I think a combination of GGGB’ annoyance at the cancellation combined with what would normally be mild displeasure at an expletive. Then *boom* perfect storm of snapping.

      1. Kowalski! Options!*

        Oh, no doubt. And FWIW, the joke is back up (this time, it’s better hidden behind Team Leader’s monitor).

    2. Sadsack*

      Was the actual F word written on the sign? If so, that would definitely not be acceptable where I work. At all. GGGB shouldn’t have addressed it that way. Still, I wouldn’t have put that sign up anywhere in my cubicle.

      1. Kowalski! Options!*

        It was, but it wasn’t completely clear (kind of pixilated because it had been blown up from a small .JPG, and in small type, so it’s not something that would have registered unless you were really looking at it and reading it).
        As an addendum: one of the other grand-bosses on our floor (not in our immediate bunch) just approached us in the elevator and asked what had happened. We told him. His reaction: Well, she’d better not hang out in my office, or else she’s going to get an earful of f-bombs whether she likes it or not. So the word is out.

        1. Kowalski! Options!*

          And in fairness to Team Leader, she’s no anarcho-cowboy; rather, she’s a meticulous I-dotter and T-crosser who works hard to have good relationships with everyone she encounters in the Ministry.

    3. Kathenus*

      It probably wasn’t noticed before, and the combination of actually seeing it and the frustration of the situation resulted in the directive to remove it. We had a somewhat inappropriate poster hung in the staff workspace (not easily seen by others) in one of my work areas – relating to a specific past manager. It was tolerated for awhile, but before the head honcho was going to visit the area, the team was told to remove it in case they were back in that area for any reason, such as using a phone. It never went back up, probably a good thing.

    4. Simone R*

      I’ve worked in places that are laid back but get straightened up when higher ups (like board members or other fancy people) come by. It wouldn’t seem unusual to me to have to take down some stuff ahead of time and then put it back up when they leave. Maybe not the most reasonable thing but the way it was.

    5. Not a Morning Person*

      Agree with the folks who are saying that the emotion behind the order to remove the poster was most likely due to the concern about the cancellation of the training…however, and it’s a BIG HOWEVER, a poster with the word spelled out or even just alluded to with “F…” would not fly at any place I’ve ever worked and might even be cause for a PIP or termination. It’s a BIG NO in my experience.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Ditto from me. It just is not done in any place I worked.

        I think putting it back up was very unwise of her given her setting.

      2. arjumand*

        Absolutely. It wouldn’t even occur to me to put something like that up in the workplace – sure, I can turn the air blue around me anytime I like (with my colleagues, not with the boss, either), but something in print? On display?
        That would not fly, at all.

  32. Saviour Self*

    I am trying to decide if I’m being too critical of a candidate and would like feedback from the AAM community.

    We are hiring for an entry-level engineering position, an office desk job. When I posted the job, I was expecting candidates to be a bit rough around the edges and to not know professional norms as they’re likely fresh out of school. One candidate in particular seems to be more than just not knowing norms however.

    He sent in his resume, absent the requested cover letter but that’s normal for engineers, and I was interested in doing a phone screen with him. I sent an email on a Monday asking for his availability for a “brief phone interview” sometime that week or the following. He responded around 4pm saying he would be available that evening at 8:30pm. I asked for other options between 8am and 6pm and included that it would likely be about a 15-20 minute conversation. As an aside, our normal business hours are 9am-5pm but I try to make exceptions for candidates outside those hours as they may be working. He responded saying he is only available after 8:30pm or on weekends. At this point, I thanked him again for his interest, let him know I had other phone screens scheduled and would reach out to him about scheduling following those if I was still interested and that it would likely be several weeks. He then sent me an email a week later saying he’s ready for his interview the previous evening and why hadn’t I called. An interview I’d neither scheduled nor confirmed.

    Am I wrong in thinking that, if you’re looking for a job you should plan on making yourself sometime near normal business hours? Would you expect someone to interview you for a normal business hours job after 8:30pm or on weekends? If he’d referenced crunching on a big project or being on a tight deadline and being available a week later, I would have understood and would have offered to schedule a little further out.

    Based on his responses and the fact that he was middle of the pack for this recruitment drive, I don’t plan on pursuing him but I do want to make sure I’m not dismissing him out of hand.

    1. Blue Anne*

      No, you’re not being too critical. That’s pretty bad.

      Since it’s bothering you enough to wonder about it, it might be worth giving him that feedback.

    2. LawBee*

      After 8:30pm or the weekends is really restrictive. I find it hard to believe he doesn’t get a 20 minute lunch or dinner break, or can’t fake a doctor’s appointment if needed. You’re not being unreasonable.

      1. Sadsack*

        Yeah, the time issue aside, he should have re-read your messages before contacting that you again and realized that you didn’t actually have an interview scheduled at all. Sounds like a flake. You might tell him that he is mistaken and good luck in his search.

    3. CodeWench*

      It makes me think that he may have a retail or food service job (or multiple jobs) and not be able to leave to take a call. We were always supposed to have a 30 minute lunch, but when that actually did happen, the timing of it was completely unpredictable. I didn’t get vacation time so I had to know 2 weeks in advance that I needed a day off, otherwise it was unplanned and I could be fired if it happened more than 3 times. Of course, I would lose pay for the day I took off on the rare case that I was able to schedule time off in advance and I was only able to do that 10 times a year or I’d be fired. Since there was no guarantee that one of the first three employers I interviewed with would hire me, I ended up having to quit my job, move back in with my family and take temp jobs so I was able to interview at all. People from poorer backgrounds are not able to do that at all. If it’s a situation where the guy doesn’t have a car and is relying on a bus or something, he could easily be in a situation where he’s either at a job or on his commute at every point during regular business hours and he may not be able to risk his job on the off chance that someone might hire him for a better job.

      1. This Daydreamer*

        You have a point, but this guy A) didn’t follow the directions in the job listing and B) assumed that the interview would take place when he was available without scheduling the interview first and then complained when he didn’t get the call.

        I’ve worked retail. I get the fact that it can make scheduling interviews a pain in the everything, but this guy apparently wanted the interviewer to read his mind. It would have been great, and fair, to be willing to schedule around when he had to work, but he was the one who was being more unreasonable.

        Yeah, skip him.

    4. Academia Escapee*

      If he’s this demanding about a phone screen, I can’t imagine what it would be like to actually work with him. “Sorry, I can’t go to that mandatory meeting at 10:00am on Monday – I only do meetings at 3:55pm on Wednesdays.”

    5. rubyrose*

      I think your expectations as to how the process should work are accurate, and that you dodged a bullet. Getting an email saying he was ready for his interview the previous evening and why didn’t you call? He has some lessons to learn.

      If he really could not do something within the time frames you specified, it was on him to explain why not and sincerely ask for an exception. Which you could grant or not.

    6. voluptuousfire*

      No, you’re correct. I handle recruitment admin in the tech space myself and will get requests from candidates who ask for interviews outside business hours– late night or weekend. I reconfirm we can only interviews during business hours and we can schedule it a bit further out if needed and that resets the expectations. I think sometimes candidates assume we’re recruiters who work extra hours outside regular business hours, but my company is very adamant about work life balance, so we don’t promote outlier interview times.

      You weren’t dismissing out of hand. If the candidate is average at best and expects an outlier interview with no explanation as to why, I don’t think it’s incorrect on sending him on his way.

    7. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

      No, you are not wrong. Since he’s the “begger” in this case, he should be accommodating to your schedule. And if he’s this way about an interview, how do you think he’d be on the job when asked to do something? I wouldn’t move further with him. Bullet dodged.

    8. The OG Anonsie*

      I’m very generous in what I would ignore for candidates, and I would definitely have written this dude off.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      The whole thing about an interview the previous evening tells you everything you need to know here.

  33. LavaLamp*

    I have an is it legal question that I’ve googled yet not found an answer to.

    My boss told us yesterday that its now illegal in Colorado to discuss wages at work. I’m thinking she’s wrong about this as I haven’t found anything online.

    1. Teapot Librarian*

      That’s the opposite of the trend in salary-related legislation, so I suspect she’s wrong too.

      1. LavaLamp*

        I thought she was incorrectly referring to the law that’s being passed about not being able to use salary history in negotiations.

    2. paul*

      Your boss’s statement is idiotic. Illegal? Is she on the good drugs? Does she think the cops are going to arrest someone for saying they make XYZ/hour?

    3. Saviour Self*

      The NLRB would have a lot to say about that. You cannot restrict workers from discussing wages, you can discipline if they aren’t getting their work done because they’re discussing wages but then you would be disciplining for performance issues, not because they were discussing wages.

      1. Argh!*

        I have also been illegal told not to discuss wages or performance evaluations at work. Do they have some secret network where they give each other tips on how to skirt the law?

    4. Almost A Retiree*

      Your boss is absolutely wrong. The National Labor Relations Act guarantees employees the right to discuss salary and compensation. And in 2008, Colorado enacted a law that prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who does talk about pay issues and specified that compensation can not be made part of a nondisclosure agreement.

    5. Dankar*

      Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s actually illegal for employers to PREVENT discussion of wages at work.

    6. neverjaunty*

      Your boss is either a liar or passing on information from someone who is, and either way I’d be pretty concerned.

      1. LavaLamp*

        I knew I was right. She said this in a meeting with my entire team mind you, so I didn’t want to open a can of worms arguing it out. Should I bring it up with her that what shes telling us is false?

        1. JustaCPA*

          find this stuff online: The National Labor Relations Act guarantees employees the right to discuss salary and compensation. And in 2008, Colorado enacted a law that prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who does talk about pay issues and specified that compensation can not be made part of a nondisclosure agreement.

          and send her a link with the relevant parts summarized in the email.

          phrase it something like…

          the other day when salary discussions came up in our meeting, I was confused by what you said since it didnt gibe with my recollections. I did a lilttle research and this is what I found. Can you let me know which law/act you’re referencing that states otherwise?

    7. TreeGeek*

      Worked at 5 different places in the 20+ years I lived in Colorado and heard a variation of “discussing salary is illegal/against the rules” at 3 of them. (Interestingly, those 3 were the white-collar jobs – in the 2 blue-collar jobs it never came up.)

      Wonder if it’s something in the water in Colorado?

  34. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

    I’m on the Board of Directors for a VERY small non-profit. All board members are volunteers, except for the Executive Director. We have been really struggling in the last few years to provide services to our members (pretty basic things: updating the website regularly, having an active social media presence, communicating frequently with members via email, etc.), and I don’t know how to address it. The problem is that most of us are not getting paid to do this, so it’s difficult to devote time and energy to these tasks while also balancing other responsibilities (families, school, full time jobs, full time jobs AND part time jobs, etc.). How can I bring this up to the Board? I don’t want to sound accusatory, but we have all dropped the ball on this, and our members know it. Something needs to change or the few remaining members we have will leave. Any advice?

    1. Jillociraptor*

      I’m in a very similar situation. The ED and the Board President have addressed it by performing extended guilt monologues at board meetings, which obviously has not been helpful.

      As for how you bring it up to the board, my guess is that everyone knows that things aren’t getting done, so I would think of it less as naming the issue and more as re-centering on the commitments you want to make as board members. Maybe you could start with a conversation about why each member joined the board and believes in the organization, or spend some time talking about what you hope for for the organization. Are there events or programs your organization puts on? Attending those together as a board can be a great way to help jog the memory of what inspired you in the first place to commit to the board.

      Taking the time to re-center in your commitments can then set the stage for talking about how to move forward. I think you can just name that there are limited resources, including time and capacity. Go through the exercise of listing all the things you wish the organization was doing, and then prioritize them. Placing them on a grid with axes of potential impact and resources needed can be helpful for that.

      What is your board structure like? Are there clear roles and responsibilities or are you all kind of responsible for everything? If the latter, it could help to create some structure and accountability.

      This is already answering waaay more than you asked, but it sounds like you’re running a membership organization. You might also look into network models of community building. One of the key principles is the diffusion of responsibility for things like the tasks you mentioned (and overall governance, for that matter) to the network of members. It’s a big shift from the member services model (my organization is in the process of making it, so I can tell you firsthand!) but it’s much nimbler and resource-efficient, and can be really empowering for members. Check out the consulting group Network Impact and their book Connecting to Change the World for a taste of the approach.

      1. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

        Thank you for your advice and the book rec! I will definitely look into it.

    2. EddieSherbert*

      I totally feel this. Also on board for small nonprofit that’s awesome but super niche area and half the time the explanation for why we matter makes people’s eyes glaze over.

      This is all seems to be kind of “marketing stuff”, so I’m going to treat it like that :)

      So my first thought is – if the Board is supposed to be managing marketing and isn’t, it’s time to get someone else. And it doesn’t have to sound accusatory to bring it up.. just hey, I think we need to change how we’re doing something so it can give it more attention. Maybe we’re all spread a little too thin for us to maintain it?


      Can you get an unpaid intern from a local college? I was required to have internship hours during school and 3 out of my 4 were unpaid (and only like 10 hours a week). We currently have an intern that covers Facebook and email campaigns (among other things).

      Otherwise, can you put out a call for a volunteer to do this work? We have a volunteer that runs our Instagram. If a current volunteer isn’t able to help, maybe try a site like Specifically if the work can be done remotely… I used volunteer match during my first job out of school, which wasn’t in the area I wanted to work, to get more experience in marketing and graphic design.

      Also, planning posts and stuff out a head of time can be helpful – here’s a calendar of what we should do shout outs for, here’s a bunch of random stuff we can post whenever, etc. Then it’s all done and someone just has to copy and paste it into whatever medium.

      1. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

        Thanks! I think making the “marketing tasks” one person’s responsibility (instead of everyone and no one on the board) would help. I’ll float VolunteerMatch to the rest of the board and see what they say!

        1. EddieSherbert*

          Good luck!

          Remote can be a tough sell for volunteer positions, but you’d be surprised. I spent a couple years as a newsletter editor for a nonprofit in CA and I’m in WI. The other editor at the time was in South Korea!

          Our contact in CA usually just sent us a bunch of pictures, their event flyers/any newspaper articles, and contact information (we did volunteer interviews regularly). They were focused on certain issues related to animals, so we also did “animal news”, which I just found on my own and they approved.

    3. Anon attorney*

      Not to be confrontational, but if the board isn’t able to prioritize the organization (and I understand that, because I’m on a nonprofit board myself and I haven’t been pulling my weight lately) and you have a dwindling membership, is the option of winding up the organization on the table? You don’t have to go on forever if it isn’t working. Just a devils advocate point.

      1. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

        Actually, yes that is an option. There’s even a rival organization that does what we do (but better) that we’ve been reaching out to for help. I’m all for calling it quits and suggesting to our members that they join this other org, but some of the older board members are very opposed to that idea. They’ve been involved in our non-profit for longer than I’ve been alive, and it’s hard for them to let go.

    4. CM*

      I’ve been in this situation. Is there a reason you feel like you can’t bring this up to the Board without sounding accusatory? In a functional organization, you should be able to openly talk about things like this. Are you concerned that you will be pointing the finger at the ED, who is the only paid employee? I might approach this by first having private conversations with both the ED and, individually, with a few other board members who would care about this issue, presenting it as, “I’m concerned about these problems, and would like to talk about this as a group but first I wanted to see if you share my concerns or have any ideas.” Then you could ask for this discussion to be the focus of an upcoming board meeting, and by then you may have collected some ideas from the people you talked to.

      1. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

        You’re correct that I’m worried about placing blame on the ED. She is lovely, but also very busy with life-things, and she can’t seem to keep up with her own responsibilities to the org, much less keeping everyone else on task and holding people accountable. I’ll probably have to speak with her first.

    5. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      Do you have actual new information to update your website, put on social media, or send in an email, or do you just think you SHOULD be doing those things in order to get attention, but you don’t really have any new content? If you approach the board with specific ideas of what needs to be done… “We should post on Facebook our upcoming event schedule every Monday before noon; can someone be in charge of that? And the website needs to have an updated photo of the previous event each month. Can someone be in charge of uploading the photo on the first of the month?” When you break it into small tasks that can be accomplished in a matter of minutes, you may get a better response than, “We need to update our website and post more frequently,” which sounds overwhelming and time consuming and no one person wants to do it. I recommend that you start with Content First and then plan out the method and frequency.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      The way I would address it is point out what you all have in common.

      “We all have families, jobs, and schooling going on. We are all in the same boat, we just don’t have the time needed to answer emails keep up social media and update the website. But, yet, these things need to be done. I would like us to talk about what options we have here to do things differently.”

      1) You can pay someone (probably your best choice).
      2) You can find an intern, then another one, then another one….
      3) You can divide up the work, once person take the website, one person take social media and one person take email.

      Throw these basic ideas on the table and let the group bounce them around. It’s amazing what groups can come up with.

      One board I belong to I am paid a small amount of money. The secretary/treasurer makes a lot more money than I do. She works non-stop at various board matters.
      Another board I belong to brought in a person who is very interested in doing this type of work. She has no problem doing the board meetings and relaying that info in different ways. So this would be another option to consider, bring in a new board member whose task it is to cover this stuff, but don’t count on them to help you with anything else because BUSY!

    7. This Daydreamer*

      Internship? It would obviously be a temporary fix but it’s better than media silence, and I’m sure you could find a social media savvy college student willing to help out in exchange for adding to their resume.

  35. DecorativeCacti*

    I was reading this old post ( ) brought to me by “Surprise Me” and came across someone who got in trouble for farting at work. This reminded me of the story of someone at my job who got in trouble for farting in their manager’s office. I think they were getting talked to about something else, and the accusation was that it was retaliatory. They got written up, the union got involved, it was A Thing. So think twice before having that burrito for lunch!

    1. LibbyG*

      Well, you see, if you let one go in the office, then you don’t have plausible deniability, you need to save it for when you’re walking by the target(s) (with sufficient other foot traffic). This tactic, I believe, is called “crop-dusting”. Supposedly flight attendants are masters at this.

  36. Blue Anne*

    Yesterday I closed on a duplex, a pure investment property, five minutes walk from me. That brings me up to my goal of purchasing my first 5 rental units in 2017. I’m actually also looking at another duplex this afternoon.

    I’m pretty excited, and also posting about it on this thread because I’m trying to start thinking of it as a real side job. I woke up the other morning with the thought “You’re not running it like a business! Shape up!” in my head. Time to get my books in order, and look into property management software…

    The thing that bugs me is… this is something I’ve been wanting to do for years, I’ve been educating myself and saving up and getting ready, and it’s really taking off. My plans are actually working and I’m really building up a side business. And my friends are already making comments about “Anne the Slumlord” and “Are you addicted to buying properties? When are you stopping? Do we need an intervention?” No… I’m not addicted… I’m building a business and it’s a lot of work. Argh.

    Any other real estate investors around? How do you handle this stuff?

    1. a wording question*

      I’m not in real estate, but am inthe business world. I think you are doing fine. This isn’t something you woke up and said I’m going to spend thousands of dollars on, you have been planning for years. I personally think it might be some slight jealously from friends – your working on properties 2 (maybe 3) while they are still , I’m assuming working on renting or purchasing house 1. Your dreams are becoming a reality. You should be proud ofy ourself not anxious over some ribbing from friends.

    2. FormerOP*

      I haven’t invested in an income property yet (but I am thinking about it for the future) but I have noticed that in life when I’ve made different decisions to my friends, I’ve gotten similar responses. I believe that people don’t like being confronted with something different to their own choices, whether it is moving to an ashram for a year or diversifying income. So good for you for investing and creating another income stream for yourself. Ignore the unnecessary comments.

    3. CM*

      That’s great, congratulations!

      I think like anything else that attracts unwanted commentary, you can handle it by being matter-of-fact and positive about it, and pretending to be oblivious to the judgment/nastiness of the comments. Like when they call you a “slumlord,” “Why do you think I would run a slum? That reminds me, I repaired a sink today! I’m learning so much through this business.” Or “When are you stopping?” “I’m not stopping. I’ve been planning to build a real estate business for years and it’s going well.” (Better yet, just “I’m not stopping.”) I don’t get why they would make comments like that, but maybe it’s like Former OP said — you’re making choices that your friends wouldn’t expect, so they’re attacking you for it. Think of it this way, CEOs of companies don’t defend why they have a company, they would just be baffled if somebody suggested that there was something weird about them running a business.

    4. Manders*

      Congrats, that’s awesome! I’m hoping to do something similar someday–I just bought my first condo, and since the building doesn’t have a rental cap, I can keep it and rent it out when I’m ready for a biggest space.

      Something I realized while I was going through the process of looking for places is that buying property, even if it’s just a home for you to live in, can bring up a lot of weird feelings in some people. It’s even weirder when you start talking about a home as an investment instead of a place to live. Housing costs are a major source of stress in many people’s lives and sometimes that stress comes out in the form of snarky comments.

    5. small biz owner*

      I am interested in doing this– but I’m confused how you can actually make money! Is it all bc of if depreciating the property as well as leveraging with a mortgage?

      Is there a way to make good $ buying properties in cash outright? (Sorry to threadjack, just so curious.)

      1. Manders*

        From the slumlord jokes, I think she’s buying properties and renting them out. In some areas, you can charge more in rent per month than what you’re paying into a mortgage, so most of what your tenants pay goes to the mortgage and then you’ve also got a bit left over for fixing and improving the building, making a small monthly income, etc. Do that for long enough, and even if you don’t get a ton of cash month to month, you can end up with some valuable properties.

        There are also areas where home prices are going up so ridiculously fast that you can just buy a property, sit on it for a few years, and then sell it to a new investor or a developer once it’s become even more valuable. In my area that’s happening all over the place–sometimes the land, not the building, is what’s in demand, especially if zoning laws change to allow developers to demolish a small old building and build a larger one. I don’t think many individuals are doing that unless they’re already wealthy.

        1. Blue Anne*

          Yep! I’m a landlady.

          Whether it makes sense to buy and rent out properties depends very much on the prices in your area. I’m in a solid blue-collar suburb of Cleveland. For me, charging fair market rents, I make about $150-$200 cashflow a month per unit after all expenses.

          I don’t buy properties hoping that their value will go up. All of my calculations assume that the value of my houses will stay the same. But still, I’m only buying good deals and someone else is paying off the loan for me. So for the duplex I just bought, in 30 years I’ll own a $90k building outright having put in $20k of my own money. And all that time it will have been throwing off cash.

          1. Manders*

            Wow! I wish I lived somewhere with Cleveland prices. It costs waaaaaay more money to invest in property in Seattle, but rents are incredibly high too, so it’s still possible to make a profit.

            Are you on call when things break, or do you work with a management company?

            1. Blue Anne*

              Right now, I’m on call when things break, but I always figure a 10% buffer into my numbers so that I can hire a property manager later if I want to. So far (I mean, only like 3 months) it hasn’t been bad at all, just helping someone who locked himself out and re-lighting the pilot light on a stove. Everything I’m buying is in pretty good shape and I have money set aside for immediate replacement of a couple things that are really old and liable to break soon.

      2. nonegiven*

        You have to make a judgement about how much are the carrying costs and will the going rent for the type of property in the location give you positive cash flow, even if you aren’t 100% fully leased all the time. Also, as you pay down the mortgage, you are building equity.

        My husband and I each had friends, when we were kids, whose parent did this for a living. One of my husband’s friends has done it for years alongside his contracting business, until recently, (his health has been in decline.)

    6. Not really a lurker anymore*

      I hang out on a chat board at Proboards called Your Money and More. We have people that do real estate, in fact, there’s a long running thread about being a landlord.

      We’re the old MSN Money forum that reformed 5-6 years ago when they shut down their forums.

    7. Lady Alys*

      No property management experience, just saying “congratulations!” And you might look at the MrMoneyMustache forums – there’s a permanent thread on property ownership and management.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      You can turn the tables on the person asking. Instead of struggling for a reasonable answer to a stupid question why not just ask them, “So when are you going to get your game going? Tick-tock. One day we will wake up and we will be retiring. Time flies. Make a plan now.”

    9. Zathras*

      Congrats on making your plans into reality. I would like to do something similar eventually but it’s going to take some serious saving – real estate here in Boston is insane.

      Your friends’ slumlord/intervention comments are probably meant as a gentle joke, possibly rooted in mild envy at the fact that you are in a position to own property. I have ribbed a friend of mine I rented a room from similarly (but he thought it was funny and started signing his emails as “the slumlord”). But you are 100% justified to ask them directly to just cut it the hell out – “Hey, I know you’re joking, but I’ve actually put a ton of work into making this happen and being a good landlord, and the snark really rubs me the wrong way. Can you not make that joke anymore?” Real friends understand and honor this kind of request.

      In terms of getting your stuff together, you didn’t ask but I have 2 suggestions based on personal experience as a renter:

      1) Put some thought into how you will manage simultaneous competing needs at your different properties. There are issues that can easily happen at multiple properties all at the same time – think burst pipes, gutter damage, roof damage due to snow, heat doesn’t work the first time you turn it on, etc.

      2) If you ever get a property manager, give your tenants a separate non-emergency contact method that goes only to you, such as an email account that you check once a month. Our property manager is useless, he often ignores our emails/phone calls and has let issues (even health-and-safety type ones) linger for weeks/months after scheduling a repair and then no-showing. But I have no way to tell the landlord that he’s wasting his money on this guy.

      Best of luck!

  37. Mazzy*

    Has anyone else ever heard of Kaplan University? I don’t want to start a whole thread on for-profit schools, I just need help with the decision of whether to interview a candidate or not.

    A candidate went to this school, or logged in online, to be exact. Does anyone know anything about it, how rigorous it is, if it’s as good as a regular school?

    This is a candidate who unknowingly wrote the best cover letter and customized resume for a niche position, I feel like it would be a shame to overlook someone who speaks the language of this opening so well just because of their school. Does anyone have an opinion?

    1. Random CPA*

      I can’t speak to the school, but I think too much weight is placed on college in general. I know so many idiots with college degrees. I have a master’s myself, but got mine grudgingly just so I could sit for the CPA is exam (lots of idiots with CPAs, too, btw). Anyway, I think you should interview the candidate and give them a shot based on the effort you were able to see from the cover letter and tailored resume.

      1. KatiePie*

        You are a stronger person than I. I can’t bring myself to get my Masters just so I can become a CPA. I’m happy working in industry in jobs that don’t require a CPA. (I do have my CMA.)

        1. Random CPA*

          The company I was working for at the time paid for my master’s, so that incentivized me. But it was harder than getting my bachelor’s, mostly because I knew that most of what I was learning was not helping me do better at my job, or even helping me prepare for the CPA exam. I went the audit path in public accounting, but I thought the most practical class I took in the master’s program was the tax class. We had to prepare mock tax returns, which really helped my understanding of the subject. And like I said, it was very practical.

    2. This is me*

      If you removed the degree, would the candidate still be qualified? When I worked in academia, and I was the hiring director’s right hand, we couldn’t count the for profit degree as if it was what met the minimum standard. So for example, all instructors had to have at least a master’s degree… if their only master’s degree was from the non profit it didn’t count. But if they had a master’s from an accredited school plus the non-profit it was okay and they made it through the first screening. (sadly I would usually purge 80% of applicants on the non accredited school degree right off the bat.)

      If everything else being equal and its not academia then I would proceed.

      1. Camellia*

        “If you removed the degree, would the candidate still be qualified?”

        This is an excellent approach!

    3. Bertha*

      Some “regular schools” aren’t so great! For what it’s worth, Purdue University recently purchased Kaplan.. surely that says something about them.

      Does this person have work experience since the program (or during it)? Is the degree completely necessary for the work? If you are in a field that offers accreditation to universities for the field, is the specific program accredited (for example, Kaplan’s nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which seems to be the standard).

      For what it’s worth, I went online in a not-that-rigorous masters program, although the brick-and-mortar portion has been around since the 1800s. Some of my classes were very easy, but others were not, and when they WERE easy, I would try to learn and apply everything possible and basically suck as much learning as I could out of the degree. If someone was looking at my resume and cover letter and thought I had great experience but looked down on my universities (which admittedly are both mediocre state schools), I would be bummed.

    4. Apollo Warbucks*

      I’ve studied with them and found then very good, but I was working towards an officially accredited accounting qualification so the syllabus wasn’t set by them and the qualification stood on its own merit.

      I would be tempted to interview the candidate if they presented themselves well so far and see what more you can find out about their education.

      I’m also wondering if they’re a fresh grad? If not then I’d argue their education is less important than any work experience they might have.

    5. CM*

      While I’m skeptical for-profit schools, I don’t think the school that someone attends should be a dealbreaker. Besides, plenty of people attend excellent schools but skate by. If this candidate has the best cover and resume, you should interview them.

    6. Fabulous*

      I was life/health insurance producer licensed through Kaplan, so I think they’re a pretty reputable place. At least in the insurance/investment world!

    7. Princess Carolyn*

      If her resume and cover letter make her sound competent, bring her in. If it’s a position where knowing the subject matter of your degree is essential (say, a history teacher or chemical engineer), I’d be a little wary. If it’s a position where the most important thing is skills, I wouldn’t worry about the degree at all. Ask good questions and you’ll find out if she’s got the knowledge and experience you’re looking for.

  38. Random CPA*

    I’ve always felt bad when I’ve referred someone to a job at my company, they send me their resume and cover letter, and they don’t even get interviewed. Now I realize that I’m not guaranteeing them an interview, but I am guaranteeing that their resume will at least be evaluated by the hiring manager I pass it along to. Which is kind of nice to know that it’s not going into some resume black hole.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      And nothing wrong with stating that clearly. “I am not saying you will get an interview because I do not have that kind of clout and our company does not work that way. All I am saying is I will ask the HM to read it and consider calling you.”

      Never be afraid to speak very clearly like this. People are really great. Most of the time the person will probably accept your message and say “thank you so much”. I marvel at the numbers of times I have told people the limits of what I will or can do and they have reacted with nothing but gratitude. It’s impressive to see.

  39. Anonfornow*

    So I have a couple of job-hunt-related issues..

    1. I applied for a job earlier this summer and interviewed and was told even at the time that they were considering hiring two people. I was not chosen at that time, and I see that they ended up going with someone very entry level (compared to my 8 years of experience–although her four months of experience was a little bit more specific to that field). The recruiter told me that they had gone with another candidate at the time, but said that they’d keep me on file because they might be adding the second position. I saw earlier this week that the second position was posted, and I wrote the recruiter and reiterated my interest in the position. No response, which wasn’t entirely surprising. But should I “apply” to the newly listed position? Half of me thinks that if they liked me, they would have already contacted me. I found an AAM column where she says “Doesn’t hurt to email!” so I emailed, but now I’m not sure what to do.

    2. I have a phone interview next week, and when I wrote the hiring manager to confirm the time, she said she thought for sure she’d sent me a response and wondered if it had been blocked because of Gmail. That made me think of a phone interview I had a month or so ago where, at the end of the call, the hiring manager told me that “by the end of the day” she’d send me a contact at the company I could speak with who would be lateral to me and could answer questions about the position, but she never did. I guess I just assumed that she wasn’t actually interested, but now I’m wondering if something similar happened where she THOUGHT she replied but it had gotten “lost” or something like that.

    TL;DR I feel like most of the advice on AAM says “If they like you, they’ll contact you” and truth be told, when I actually *do* follow up it’s of course rejection. But now I’m wondering if it’s likely my emails have gotten lost in the ether. Is that something that ever happens?! Or am I getting the rare employers who actually WANT you to follow up? I just don’t know what to do.

    1. Ama*

      If you use Gmail, are you checking those weird “Forums” and “Promotions” tabs they have? Because periodically they seem to adjust their algorithms and suddenly messages that are directly to me start getting sorted into those tabs. (This may especially be true if you are applying to employers that send out advertising emails.)

      1. Anonfornow*

        I assumed that the one interviewer meant that maybe her *outgoing* email had been blocked by her company’s system. I check my spam mail on a daily basis, nothing in there. And I no longer have the tabs in Gmail; I don’t remember what I did to get rid of them, but everything goes to my inbox. I used to have a program that would take the “junk” emails and roll them all together, but I noticed I missed a couple of important emails so I got rid of that as well.

        In the cases I’m talking about, the interviewer contacted me first. So when I replied, there was already a conversation going — and I don’t think I’ve ever had an email attached to an existing conversation go to junk mail. Honestly, I suspect the one person who said her response may have been “blocked” just forgot to reply, or didn’t hit send (I’ve totally done that!) because it seems stranger that either side of the system would allow her to send a message, receive one back from me, and then block a return message.

  40. Scientista*

    I’ve had a job drop in my lap, which sounds great in theory, but hasn’t been great in practice. Basically, I wasn’t seriously looking (at that point) for a job, but a colleague at a company that I have always wanted to work for asked if I wanted a job and passed my affirmative answer to his boss who was also a colleague of mine (through professional committees). They created a position for me, put the job ad out, interviewed me, got my application paperwork filled out, and now…I wait.

    My question is: how long would you wait for an opportunity like this to come to fruition? It’s now been 9-1/2 months since the initial offer to create a job for me. It’s been 8 months since I applied for the job (that is so specifically written that I would surprised if any one else applied). It’s been 2 months since I interviewed. When I followed up with the hiring manager (once, 6 weeks after the interview and 2 weeks after they said I’d hear something), he basically begged and admonished me to “please be patient!” I feel like I have been patient and that this is now a red flag for this company.

    Just some additional information, this would be a huge transition for me with a 50%+ increase in salary, a 2000 mile relocation, and a job tailored to my skills. They’re also planning to offer my partner a job in a different department because the location is remote. My current employment is incredibly dysfunctional and becoming unbearable. I am worried about burning a bridge with this company though if I find another job now after they’ve worked for almost 10 months to bring me in…

    1. CatCat*

      You’ve got nothing to lose by looking for another job. If you get an offer, but you are still interested in the original company, contact them and let them know. That may entice them to speed things up, but maybe not.

      Alison wrote an article about this once. Link in reply to this message.

    2. CM*

      First of all, I would bet that they are counting from the interview, rather than your application. So for them it’s been 2 months, which isn’t outrageous. I would not call that a red flag, unless you have very low tolerance for bureaucracy.

      Still, if you want to job search, I would get in touch with your contact at the company first. You could tell them that, while you are still hoping to be hired for the position, you have been ready for some time to move on from your current job, and you plan to start applying elsewhere. You can say that you will let them know before you accept a job somewhere else, and ask them to update you when they have a better sense of their timeline.

      1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

        Along the same line of thought — I imagine since they are creating a new position that this needs to go through a budgeting approval process for the next fiscal year. So, they created the job description 8 months ago for you to apply but the current fiscal year may not have a budget for you (and your partner, since they promised 2 positions). Do you know their fiscal year (is it the same as a calendar year?) I’d wait until the new fiscal year begins for something created specifically for you. But if you can’t, then let them know and move on at your convenience.

    3. Jules the First*

      Almost every job I’ve had has been custom-designed for me from scratch. (Yes, I am a purple unicorn and proud of it!) The first one took five months to put together (counting from the “lets do this” conversation to the actual offer paperwork), the second one took 9 months, the third (current) one took 8 months…and these are all organisations that hire purple unicorns all the time and so are familiar with everything they need to do to create a brand new unique position. Trust me when I say you don’t want to rush this process, especially if you are moving 2,000 miles and placing your financial future and your husband’s with them. If you rush them, you run the risk of making the move and having the job fall apart after a few months because not everyone at your new job was on board with the idea. Also bear in mind that while your hiring manager has been working on this for 9 months, it will have been on the table with his bosses for considerably less time.

      If I were you, I’d set up a call with the hiring manager and ask him to be upfront with you about his expected timeline. Explain that your current job is something you want to leave before X date, and talk about how you could make that work to leave for them.

  41. AlwaysSunny*

    I have been at my company for about 8 months and consider quitting in about a month around the upcoming holidays. This has been a difficult job with zero training and the manager blaming the employees for any mistake in a very rude and unprofessional manner. I would like to quit a couple days after labor day. So Monday the office will be closed and I have requested PTO for Tuesday and Wednesday and then considered calling my manager and telling him I quit Thursday. My question is can I do that and still get paid for the holiday and the PTO days if I don’t physically show up to quit the next day?

      1. AlwaysSunny*

        Yes I don’t plan to give a two week notice and plan to take off two weeks to travel before starting a new job.

    1. SophieChotek*

      Whether you can get paid for the PTO might depend on how their payroll is done – like does the manager input the approved PTO before hand or after? (At my coffee shop job, for instance, payroll is approved after the week is worked; whereas at my day job, I request to use my PTO in advance, and it is approved and input ahead of time.)

      Either way, though, Like Not a Real Giraffe asked, so you are planning on quitting without notice? Basically calling in and not quitting and not showing up again?

      Not trying to pile on, and while some jobs (like food service, retail) are notorious for people doing that, I would never put this job on my resume. At 8 months, if you can leave it off, I guess it’s your call — but why not try to stick it out for two weeks, or even 1 week might be helpful.

      1. Not a Real Giraffe*

        I think it also depends on the company’s PTO payout policy. In my company, I would be entitled to that PTO regardless because it’s time I’ve already accrued and our policy is to payout any unused PTO. So, in AlwaysSunny’s case, Tuesday and Wednesday would be paid regardless, though the holiday is what’s up in the air to me.

        Regardless, I do not recommend calling in to quit day-of. I get that the company has treated you well, and perhaps this is a bridge you do not care about burning, but you never know when you’ll encounter people from this company again and I personally would not want to leave on this kind of note.

      2. AlwaysSunny*

        It is a corporate job, so the PTO is input ahead of time and approved as soon it is put into the system. I don’t want to give a two weeks notice, as I will have to move to another state for a new job, so I want to minimize the time lost without pay and still get a couple days to rest between jobs.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Another question: is PTO use-it-or-lose-it, or do they pay out? If it’s the latter, and your PTO is front-loaded, then I would recommend giving two weeks’ notice. You’ll get the money and the break that way.

        2. Jack*

          So why don’t you give your two weeks notice two weeks before the last day you want to work? What you’re trying to do is pretty crappy, IMO.

    2. ..Kat..*

      I think you probably need to show up and ‘clock in’ on Thursday, and maybe put in an hour of work before talking with your boss.

    3. nonegiven*

      One place I worked you had to be there the day after the holiday to get paid for the holiday.

  42. associate atty (idk why I'm going anon but I am)*

    Hello, best comment group on the internet!

    So last Friday I talked to my boss about revisiting my salary. He and I work in different offices, and I do a lot that he isn’t aware of. He was really receptive, took great notes, didn’t push back or say “Well, you realize….” – he seemed to be, if not immediately on board, definitely open to discussing it with the other partners. He said he’d get back to me this week.

    It’s Friday! I haven’t heard anything. I want to follow up with him – would sending an email along the lines of “Hey boss, I just wanted to follow up with you about our meeting last week. I know you needed to talk to the other partners about our discussion about my salary, and was wondering if you had an update” be appropriate?

    Note: a) I am super proud of myself for taking this step, regardless of the outcome. I’ve historically been terrible at negotiating or advocating for myself, so this was a huge step for me.
    b) I told boss that if the answer is not yet, I want to set out a plan with him when we meet next month that will get me where I want to be, pay-wise. He agreed to that as well.

    So, if I get it, YAY. If I don’t, that’s fine because he knows what I want, he knows now what all I do, and he knows I want to do whatever it takes to get there.


    1. Las Llaman*

      I’m sure your boss just forgot! I would wait until next week. Maybe his partners never got back to him. I don’t see any harm in just sending a “nudge” email to remind him next week.

    2. neverjaunty*

      Lawyers are often notoriously bad at managing. I’d give it another week and then definitely follow up per your plan.

    3. CM*

      I’m proud of you for taking this step too! I think sending an email today would be fine. Waiting until next week would work too.

  43. stitchinthyme*

    Hopefully fun topic: your most mortifying interview?

    Here’s mine: I forgot to charge my cell phone before leaving for the interview, so I left it at home. This was in the days before GPS’s were common, so although I thought I knew where the place was, I got lost and arrived 15 minutes late, ran in (so I was out of breath and a bit sweaty as it was summertime), and apologized profusely. The company owner was pretty gracious about it and the interview proceeded.

    We had started pretty late in the day and the company owner was a very talkative guy, so by around 7pm I was still there. Meanwhile, my husband had started to get worried — he had gotten home and seen my cell phone, so he knew he couldn’t call me, and he was worried I’d gotten into an accident or something. I’d left the info about where I was going up on my computer screen, so he called the company’s number, not realizing that it was a very small company and that, as no one else was around at that hour, the company owner himself would answer the call.

    So I’m sitting there in the owner’s office, the phone rings, he answers it, and he looks a little bemused as he says, “It’s for you.” I got pretty irritated with my husband (although I do understand why he was worried) and ended the call pretty quickly.

    I did still get the job offer, and my boss laughed about it to me afterward. But oh, I really wanted to sink through the floor, with that on top of having been late for the interview in the first place!

    1. Kowalski! Options!*

      It’s probably not worth getting into the nitty-gritty (it happened 25 years ago), but I once got an invitation to interview at a temp agency that specialized in financial services. I’d done some temp work for some financial services companies in England as a working vacationer, so I figured, what the hell. The interviewer made me wait 55 minutes, invited me in, asked me an obscure question about bond trading, and when I couldn’t come up with an answer, said, “Why did you bother applying here if you are so clearly unqualified?” To this day, I wonder why they didn’t just send me a “thanks but no thanks” letter.

      1. stitchinthyme*

        Reminds me a bit of the time I had a technical interview where I couldn’t answer probably 75% of the questions. For some reason they still made me a job offer, but I declined it because I didn’t feel like I had the knowledge they were looking for. Like, why would you want to hire someone who didn’t know most of the tech answers you wanted?

        1. The New Wanderer*

          I had an interview like that – I didn’t realize the position was effectively a management job, which I didn’t want and wasn’t qualified for. So most of the interview questions were geared toward my non-existent management experience, and other than offering some limited examples of project team leadership, I had nothing. Did not get that one.

          However, on another job interview I was asked a very obscure statistics question. Since I didn’t know, I said as much and asked the interviewer what the answer was. He had to bring out a book and look it up himself because he didn’t know either. He explained that he never expected anyone to be able to answer it, but he asked that kind of question to see what applicants would do – bluff, get upset or irritated, or be straightforward about not knowing with bonus points for curious about the answer. I did get that offer.

        2. Pen and Ink*

          I applied for a writing job, and the first question was asking me to explain a complicated trigonometry concept. I was totally befuddled, and the interviewer was irritated that I had no idea. I honestly wondered if I was being pranked.

        3. nonegiven*

          In a technical interview, they aren’t always expecting you to answer all the questions. Sometimes they just want to explore the depth of your knowledge of the whole subject. If they offered you the job it was probably because you had enough knowledge to do the duties of the job or at least be close enough to pick it up.

      2. Mononymous*

        That reminds me of when I was a brand new developer… I applied for a role with a really vague but seemingly relevant-to-my-limited-experience description and was called in for an interview with a recruiter/headhunter. They kept me waiting a while, alone in a giant meeting room. When the guy finally deigned to come in, he slumped into a chair across from me, literally put his feet up on the table, crossed his arms, and told me that the job required 5+ years of experience so why was I there? Um, one, your listing didn’t say how much experience wasn’t required and I wouldn’t have applied for it if it had, and two, did you even read my resume?! Why even call me in to interview if it was clear I didn’t have the minimum required experience? (My resume was accurate and did not exaggerate my job history, for the record.)

      3. The IT Manager*

        Reminds me of a time, I arrange a telephone call about a job advertisement. I had sent her my resume and she agreed to the call. I was unqualified, and I really got a why are you wasting my time vibe and she even said something like that. I called, though, because it was at least somewhat unclear; although, I was probably still believing the “you have an active security clearance, you will be snapped up” lie too.

    2. Seal*

      When I was fresh out of library school, I had a day-long interview for an academic librarian position. Having worked as a library paraprofessional in a large academic library for many years prior to getting my degree, I had a good idea of the expectations of entry level librarians as well as the type of support libraries provide to ensure their success. So when I met with the search committee and was asked if I had any questions, I wanted to ask if they had a mentoring program for new librarians. Except in the stress of the moment, I couldn’t come up with the word “mentor” and instead asked what type of support they offered for new librarians. The search committee pretty much let out a muted yet horrified gasp, because apparently I had worded my question in such a was that they thought I was asking whether they covered moving expenses and the like, which is something you absolutely do. not. mention. in that situation. One of the search committee members rather tersely told me I should take that up with HR, which left me fumbling to explain what I was actually trying to ask. The tone of the interview was noticeably cooler after that; needless to say, I didn’t get the job. On the bright side, I will never forget the word “mentor” in an interview situation again.

    3. The Green Lawintern*

      I interviewed for a position which was ostensibly helping professionals from X country settle in. I spoke X language well conversationally, and the very nice, very Midwestern HR lady I had been swapping emails with never indicated that it was a requirement, only a plus. I went to the office for the interview, and the first thing they asked me was “can you do the entire interview in X language since the VP, who will be sitting in, doesn’t really speak English?” Turns out the job was on-site translation at a factory.

      I panicked so hard I blanked on parts of the alphabet – needless to say, I did not get the job.

      1. Julianne*

        I have a (probably irrational) fear of this happening to me. There are two languages that are very useful in my workplace; definitely not required, but knowing one or both makes some day to day tasks easier. I know both well enough for the day to day stuff, but I try to fly under the radar because I worry that my boss (who is very nice, but has very limited cross-cultural/foreign language experience) will be like, “Oh cool, we need someone to translate this meeting, let’s get Julianne in here.”

        I say that my fear is probably irrational because I don’t list either on my resume.

    4. Bigglesworth*

      When I interviewed for my first office job out of college, I decided to wear a pair of gray, pinstriped slacks with a cuff on the bottom. They were a bit too long on me, but looked great when I wore heels. As I was walking up the stairs to the office where I’d be interviewing, one of my heels hooked onto the cuff I pretty much went down in front of the office window/glass wall. The woman at the front-desk who saw me go down ended up being the person I needed to check in with before the interview. I was so mortified!

      I ended up getting the job, but didn’t wear those pants again for a very long time!

    5. Dankar*

      I interviewed at a Very Prestigious Private University, while still working a part-time position with a public university that specialized in working with non-traditional, lower-income students. Throughout the course of the interview, I was continually shocked by the costs associated with the private university’s programs ($3,000 administrative fee?! Our public school’s was $150). I think I might have audibly gasped at one point.

      I also thought the interviewers were joking when they stated that part of the job was providing concierge-like service to students who came to their department. My chuckling wasn’t appreciated.

      Needless to say, I never even got a polite “thanks but no thanks” email after. I do, however, currently work at a private college, so I must have learned something from that cringeworthy experience.

      1. INeedANap*

        My past experience was moving from one temp position to another in a public, state university and I finally made the transition from that to a stable, full-time permanent position at a Prestigious Private University. One of the biggest cultural difference was the service factor! The private university really stresses the fact that we’re here to serve the students , and it’s expected that you’ll not just go the extra mile in helping them out and doing everything possible to make their experience here great, but that you do it with a smile. That’s not to slight the public university – they were great – but just to emphasize how Very Important that aspect of the job is at Private University.

        1. Dankar*

          I was horrifyingly unqualified for that job at that point, so it’s good that they turned me down! Now that I’m with a small, private university, I’m really happy with the level of service we’re expected to provide our students with. We have a tiny cohort to support, so I can give them very individualized attention without feeling stretched too thin. (It would have been way too difficult of a transition to Very Prestigious Private University for me.)

          I’m also lucky to have landed at a school that heavily subsidizes the same low-income, non-traditional populations I had been working with, which was part of what I loved about my public university!

    6. Purple snowdrop*

      I went for a job in the social work department of my local council. The first question was “what is social work”. I know what social work us but my mind went utterly blank and I had to say I didn’t know.

      They were very nice about it. But I was mortified for the rest of the interview.

      I didn’t get the job.

    7. CM*

      I had a bizarre interview with somebody who I had been friendly with at school. She graduated and returned to do on-campus interviews for the tech company where she worked. I thought the interview would be relaxed, since we knew each other and had hung out before (but I was still prepared). She went into attack mode, asking me questions and then berating me even when I gave her correct answers. She would ask me something extremely technical wear a full explanation would take about an hour, so I would offer an abbreviated explanation and then she would yell at me for not including all the details and say I obviously didn’t understand. At one point she flat-out said, “No. You’re wrong,” and I said, “You may be thinking of Scenario B, but in Scenario A, this is correct,” and she started saying that I didn’t know what I was talking about and I was clueless. I actually pulled a book out of my backpack and said, “I can show you in this book where it says that,” and she got even more angry and told me to put it away. When I left, I was completely confused and wished that I had walked out in the middle of the interview. I still wondered what I had done to deserve that, but then when I talked to a couple of other women who had interviewed with her, they had a similar experience and one of them said that she had cried during the interview. So weird. I never talked to her again after that.

    8. voluptuousfire*

      I applied for a job and mixed up the days of the interview. (!) The only reason I found out was because I followed up with the interviewer by sending them an updated copy of my resume the day before I thought I was scheduled. Turns out I was set for that afternoon and missed it completely! I apologized, admitted I was mortified by my mistake and asked if they were willing, would they reschedule? I was told they would have to look at their calendar and I never heard anything from them again. At the time, I had been just laid off from a previous role, had gone on vacation to Prague. I was still processing the layoff/jetlagged and juggling 3 other interviews.

      A similar job popped up two years later, same company, and I applied. I was offered the role and have been here for two years this September. :) I think I wasn’t meant for the other role. Turns out the person in the role was only there until the end of the year. This role is essentially identical, only difference is a different title and working with a centralized team at our HQ vs. concentrated on the office I’m in now.

    9. Applesauced*

      Just out of school, I interviewed for a position at an architecture firm that did a lot of facade restoration.
      They asked if I was afraid of heights. Not understanding the connection between architect-facade-scaffolding-heights…. I said “Only if the fall would kill me!”
      It did not go over wall.

    10. Fabulous*

      I have two, and they happened around the same time. I swear I’m a good interviewer, I just had a momentary lapse during my last job search!!

      #1 – I accidentally said the word “bitch” in an interview:

      It was in the context of telling them about a time when I worked with a difficult person. A prior boss was an extreme micromanager and working for him afforded me the ability to work with anyone. There was one woman in the office I was working in at the time who was known as the “Office Bitch” but I got along with her great because she operated similarly to my former boss and I knew what she expected – except I said it exactly like that. I realized what I was saying as it came out of my mouth. Holy crap the interviewers just went dead silent when I said The Word. They addressed it and said it was OK that I had said it, but man that was awkward! I didn’t get that job.

      #2 – Shortly after that interview, maybe the same week, I had another one that was two-fold bad:

      First, this interview was at a majority-black college and I am very white. Another situational question that I had never been asked, about a time I had a disagreement with a coworker. Well, I never have, but I was immediately reminded of the time a girl once nearly attacked me out of nowhere at work. She blocked me in my cubicle and looked like she might physically attack me, and I couldn’t move until the supervisor came to get her. Telling that story, I realized I couldn’t fully explain the situation… because it had to do with race… That job was kind of, for lack of a better word, ghetto. It attracted people with low education and low ambition. Didn’t help that the majority of them were black or Latino and was located in a poorer area. I ended up making more per hour than everyone in the dept within a year ($13/hr, if that tells you anything) and I’m sure all of that factored into that altercation. But of course as I started talking about this experience, I realized I couldn’t give the backstory without sounding horribly racist, especially since the office I was interviewing in was of the same racial mix. Awkward back-peddling commenced.

      Secondly, the interview was for a travel specialist position, which I was just coming from doing. I had printed out all the reports I’ve created for the company I was working for as well as all the training materials I created from scratch for them. I was in a hurry that day and forgot to delete all the names of people in the reports, so when I presented the materials, everyone’s company spending information was all there in blazing, branded glory. As I left, they asked if I wanted to take the materials with me but I said no they could keep it. After leaving, I realized what I had done. Didn’t get that job either…

    11. Coalea*

      I got horribly, horribly lost on the way to an interview. I tried calling my contacts at the company to explain the situation – and ask for directions! – but I couldn’t get through to a human. I finally realized that I was headed in the wrong direction, so I hopped into the left lane waited for an opportunity to make a U-turn, not realizing that in New Jersey (where the company was located), they make “jug handles” from the right lane rather than U-turns from the left. I can’t tell you how long I drove along waiting for an opportunity that never came. I ended up being almost 3 hours late to the interview. I was sure that I came off as the dumbest person to walk the face of the earth, but somehow I got the job!

    12. Coalea*

      I got horribly, horribly lost on the way to an interview. I tried calling my contacts at the company to explain the situation – and ask for directions! – but I couldn’t get through to a human. I finally realized that I was headed in the wrong direction, so I hopped into the left lane waited for an opportunity to make a U-turn, not realizing that in New Jersey (where the company was located), they make “jug handles” from the right lane rather than U-turns from the left. I can’t tell you how long I drove along waiting for an opportunity that never came. I ended up being over 2 hours late to the interview. I was sure that I came off as the dumbest person to walk the face of the earth, but somehow I got the job!

    13. Lora*

      It was actually a grad school interview for a PhD program.

      One of the professors (tenured full prof, had been there multiple decades) contacted me asking if I could come visit for two days: during one day they had a poster session for the department and a seminar, the next day he would like me to interview and meet other professors in the department. This is very normal, it was the #3 program in the country for that particular field, so of course I said I’d be delighted to. He said great, the department secretary will make the arrangements.

      Except, nobody contacted me. At all. This was the first in a series of interviews at various universities, so I sorta-kinda knew what to expect but not in full detail. The university was certainly within driving distance, and hotels there were cheap enough, so I told work I wouldn’t be in for a few days and road-tripped it. When I walked into the department main office, nobody was expecting me. At all. And the professor in question had taken off on vacation the week before and wasn’t expected back for three weeks. The secretary, very flustered, gave me a brochure about the seminar/poster thingy and said I was certainly welcome to come to the poster session and seminar and walk around and meet the other professors and students. Uh, OK. So I went to the seminar and listened to people give their talks and walked around and talked to the other professors at the poster session. They told me yeah, that professor is notoriously flaky – he does this to us, too! Calls meetings for his PhD students and then doesn’t show. Oh, wonderful.

      He sent me an apologetic email and an acceptance letter, but I didn’t go because…yeah. Not cool.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        This happened when I was 19. I’d handle it with more maturity now.

        I turned up for an interview only to be told it had been rescheduled as someone was ill, or something like that. I was surprised nobody had called me, but okay.

        So I turned up for the rescheduled interview and the same thing happened a second time! It had been moved and nobody had told me.

        It was third time lucky in terms of turning up for an interview. They offered me the job. I asked what the salary was (I hadn’t been told/it wasn’t in the ad) then explained that in the time they’d spent messing me around I’d already got another job that paid more, so no thanks.

        I had decided to waste their time like they’d wasted mine. Like I said: 19! These days I’d handle it differently.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      I interviewed for a city job once, some kind of admin thing, I remember. The day of the interview, my allergies were kicking up pretty badly. I got in there with the two interviewers, they asked me a question, and I immediately choked on post-nasal drip. Coughing, sputtering, red-faced, tears, the entire bit. I had to ask them for a drink of water. One of them took me into the small break area and poured me a paper cup of water, which I drank, and then we continued with the interview. The other one asked if I was okay, but she looked at me like I was a disgusting bug.

      Needless to say, I did not get the job. And I never EVER went into an interview again without a water bottle.

    15. Not So NewReader*

      OP, I hope this story makes you feel a bit better. My husband had scheduled an interview for after work around 6 pm and 50 miles from home. It got later and later. Cells weren’t popular back then. All I could do was wait. At quarter to nine the phone rang. My husband explained that the interviewer told him that he MUST call me to let me know he is okay and heading home.
      Good bosses understand.

    16. Not So NewReader*

      Mine is not really mortifying but it’s more like “what are they thinking?” A position at a local company opened and I applied. The process dragged on and on with so much hemming and hawing that I knew I did not want to work there. A couple months into the process the person I would be replacing said, “I can’t do the travel. I have an old dog.”
      My heart sank down to my toes. At that point I had recently lost my husband and I, too, had an old dog… an old and grieving dog. (Yes, he visibly grieved for my husband. NOT FUN to watch this stuff.) With that comment from the employee I knew a) there was more travel than what they were telling me, they had lied and 2) I knew I had to stay closer to home for my old dog. I withdrew my application.
      I don’t usually have such a strong negative reaction to jobs. When I withdrew, I physically felt better. My constant stomach ache went away.
      I was embarrassed by that whole thing for a while as I felt I should have taken control over the situation sooner.

    17. Zathras*

      I once went to an interview that was supposed to be for office work for a youth nonprofit I had done a program with when I was in that age group. The office was located in the middle of nowhere, but about 25 minutes from Smallish Town X, where I happened to have lived/worked a few years before. At the time of the interview I lived 1.5 hours away in City Y. Pretty much the first thing the interviewer said to me was “Well, at least you only had to drive from Town X!” I said, “What? I came from City Y.” (I had a City Y address at the top of my resume and had lived/worked in City Z *on the opposite side of the country* in between.)

      She looked uncomfortable and started asking me some relatively general questions while giving off really awkward, dismissive body language. It became clear from her questions that the position was 90% coaching/mentoring program graduates. I would not have applied to such a position – the ad I responded to described basic office tasks like filing, organization, answering the phone, etc.

      She ended the interview after 15 minutes and said she’d call to follow up. (Spoiler: I never heard from them again.) I never figured out whether they had just picked me to fill a quota because they thought I was close by, or whether they had accidentally called me for a totally different position instead of another applicant who really did live in Town X.

      I was really inexperienced at interviewing, and I left it feeling like I had done something horribly wrong to cause this woman to hate me – it was only much later that I realized that my answers had been a little inexperienced but not that bad, and the awkwardness was not of my making.

    18. Hare*

      Forgot my umbrella. Turned up completely soaked, clutching the pasty I’d bought for breakfast and hadn’t yet managed to eat.

  44. AKG*

    My husband is graduating law school this Dec and starting to look for jobs. He has gotten advice from a professor that is very foreign to me. I’m not from this industry at all and just wanted to verify with others that this isn’t off-base for a conservative industry like law. His professor is advising mailing a letter of interest to various law firms in the area to see if they have any openings. Not including a cover letter, resume, etc. Is this still done? I understand contacting places that don’t necessarily have jobs listed publicly, but I’ve never heard of a letter of interest before and not including a resume seems like an odd move. Any thoughts or similar experiences? I’d love to know if anyone has tried this and had it work!

    1. Bigglesworth*

      I’m following this. I just started law school and I’ve already heard this from a professor (along with always write hand-written thank you notes instead of emails and walking in to drop off a resume is how it’s just done in law).

      1. LawBee*

        Walking in to drop off a resume = resume never makes it past the gatekeeper. No one does this in my experience. I’ve never heard of writing a letter before applying, but I guess it could work?

        I wouldn’t take any kind of career advice from law professors or law school in general. They just don’t know. My advice is to get a law student membership with your local ABA or Trial Lawyer’s Association (if you’re planning to do plaintiff’s law) and start networking. It sucks, it’s awkward, but maybe you can go in with a friend?

        1. Chaordic One*

          When I worked as an Administrative Assistant in HR, it wasn’t that it would never make it past the gatekeeper. We didn’t really have a gatekeeper. I kept everything that came in and no one with the ability to make a hiring decision ever asked for or ever looked at any unsolicited resume. Ever.

          The only people who ever got interviews were those who applied for specific open positions.

    2. LawBee*

      Congrats to your husband! Good luck on the bar in February – for both of you. Bar review sucks.

    3. Las Llaman*

      Your husband should definitely not do this. I’ve worked at law firms in the past and no matter the industry, no one in their HR/recruiting department is going to take a “letter of interest” seriously. Even when I received resumes via mail vs our online system, I would immediately put them in the trash unless their resume was outstanding. It shows that your out of touch and probably received bad advice from someone. If the firms have job openings they will be on the website.

      If anything, your husband can EMAIL law firms (not the attorneys, the office manager) and ask about openings.

      1. Naruto*

        I really don’t think it’s true that “if the firms have job openings they will be on the website.” In my experience that is true for some law firms, but not most.

        That said, your odds are certainly better pursuing posted positions because there you know there is in fact a hiring need.

      2. CM*

        I think emailing firms WITH your resume and a brief cover email explaining your experience and what you’re looking for can work for laterals. For law students, I wouldn’t advise that for mid-size to large firms, but for small firms that don’t recruit it could be OK.

    4. CatCat*

      I’ve heard a few older lawyers (like nearing retirement) tell me they did stuff like this, but I have never otherwise heard of anyone doing this modernly. Your husband is better off going to local bar events, imo. (Not to ask people for a job, but to meet people in the legal community who can give advice on starting out as a new lawyer.)

    5. neverjaunty*

      No. This is the law equivalent of grandpa telling you to show some gumption.

      The best way for your husband to find a law job is networking. Is he a member of professional organizations in his preferred area of practice, and is state and county bar groups? (Typically they offer free or nearly free membership to law students.) Does he have volunteer experience with legal aid clinics or volunteer days?

      1. AKG*

        That’s exactly what I was worried about. It all seems terribly old-fashioned. I’ll ask him about joining professional orgs and recommend he do so. He doesn’t have volunteer experience but did just complete an internship at a small firm this summer which unfortunately does not have space to hire anyone else anytime soon.

    6. Naruto*

      I did something like this in law school. I sent letters (or emails) to firms in my home state that weren’t applying, saying essentially “I don’t know if you’re hiring but if so I’d be interested in talking.” (I got some interviews, FWIW.) Those were essentially cover letters, AND I did include my resume. It’s really weird to me to do this without including a resume or cover letter!

    7. Lady Bug*

      No, this isn’t a normal thing in law. He’s better off network, going through OCI and applying for jobs that are advertised. I found many of the older generation of law professers to be stuck in the traditional ways of doing things. Law is very (obnoxiously) traditional in general, but big firms have stringent hiring practices and will advertise jobs on their websites. The only jobs this might work for are small firms that want to pay you $30k/year.

    8. Valkyrie*

      I am “the gate keeper” at a boutique law firm (read: pretty small) if a recent grad reaches out with a letter like this my boss (the principal/firm owner) will usually say we’re not hiring (we rarely are) but offer to do an informational interview. My boss is a super cool, under-40 attorney though.

      When we ARE hiring, we usually hire via networking with the occasional job board posting.

  45. blog advice*

    A bit of a long story…

    I am in the process of starting my own small business combining a much loved hobby and other areas in my life. I’m starting as a hobbiest locally to build up my reputation and get my product known. As my hobby business grows over time I want to move from enthusiastic hobbyier to a professional business. I am happy that 18 months in I am right on track to success! Whether hobbiest or professional I don’t to be viewed as untouchable or stern; rather have a reputation that is professional, approachable and warm.

    I was thinking of starting a blog to promote my business. I think a blog would be a great way to bring everything together. Are there any other bloggers out there that have done things this way?

    I would like this blog to have a personal aspect to it. Let’s say this is a lifestyle blog where 75% of blog posts would be related to the hobby. The other 25% would be lifestyle and social opinion posts on every day issues. 100% of these posts relates to my business plan overall. I would also like to have a comment section.

    My main hesitation, is there any “rule” when blogging to mention a news event, website, company or product? I’ve been searching the internet for answers with conflicting results. For example, will I get sued if I say today’s post is coming from my favorite diner where I am having a Diet Coke and cheeseburger. I have no business affiliation with CocaCola. Of course I plan on getting official approval from a company, product, etc and siting the original source. In other words these posts are not a paid advertisement or barter.

    On the blog, I would like to cover areas like:
    -when working on hobby I suggest using ABC product
    -what’s your opinion of this court case
    -do you think this social scenario in the news was ethically correct
    -I admire how Company DEF is working in the community
    -I prefer to donate profits to charity GHI
    -book KJL was a great hobby reference for me
    -I loved this TV show check it out

    The product / company references would not be the main focus; just used as support for my post. I’m not looking to do something malice, hence if there was any question regarding a post, I would have no problem taking it down, rephrasing or restating a post without the specific (ABC, DEF, GHI, KJL) mentioned. In other words I will do everything to be respectful and professional.

    Officially and legally right now I am just a passionate hobbiest. I belong to a lot of networking groups and would like to use the blog as a website to refer people to; an online presence.

    I realize a hobby blog is an expression of opinion, a diary of sorts. Eventually I need to contact a lawyer (now?) as my business crosses the bridge to a more legal status. I’m not expecting to leave the hobby world for another 3-5 years. I’ve helped people on blogs before, but my clients have taken care of the legal aspects. I’ve never started one from scratch.

    Any suggestions for resources that may give me a better idea as to what I can legally post for a personal blog? Any blog sources in general?

    1. SophieChotek*

      I don’t know about legal post for a blog but a blog I follow that talks a lot about content marketing (which is what a blog is about) is Spin Sucks by Gini Dietrich. She often has good tips and ideas and discusses how blogs can be used to increase traffic to a business.

      Dvid Mmeriman Scott’s book New Rules of PR talks a lot about blogs too.

    2. CM*

      You’re totally fine. Everything you mentioned is OK. Obviously, don’t pretend you are from the company or are speaking on behalf of the company, and don’t lie about the company (or book, etc.) But you can refer to, comment on, and criticize companies (books, etc.) all you want.

      Search for “copyright law for bloggers” and you’ll find lots of resources.

    3. small biz owner*

      Some of your topixs seem very political (social posts, charity, court cases). Depending on your product, that could turn me off if we had dramatically different views. You wouldn’t want to cut down your audience/potential customers unless it’s a deliberate choice to pursue a niche that lines up with your political views. Which is fine, but do it intentionally.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed. I would skip the personal stuff entirely. Be aware of people’s time. Give them stuff they can quickly read and put to use.
        I see your goal is to soften how you come across. There are many ways you can do this just in the course of discussing the hobby. For example, most people feel some connection if a person talks about a mistake or misconception they had when the first started doing the hobby or job. People can relate.

        Very clear explanations is another way of saying “I am approachable, I am even friendly.” People who can write good explanations that most other people can follow signal that they are not rude or elitist people. For confirmation, look at Alison. People flock to AAM. Why. Clear, respectful explanations. Alison is a very smart and very knowledgeable person, she could act elitist but instead she chooses to help people. Keep an attitude of service in your writing.

  46. Mirth & Merry*

    Wrote the best cover letter I have ever written last night and the job portal only had a place to upload a resume, I was just going to add the cover letter to the resume but I couldn’t go back and upload a new document. Such a bummer!

    Also, any hiring managers out there want to comment on the combining the resume and cover letter into one document when only a resume is requested? Would that me annoying or have any effect on your thoughts towards an applicant?

    1. Saviour Self*

      It is what I do when I’m applying to jobs and they only allow 1 document to be uploaded.

      Similarly, if a candidate sends me one, I am never upset about it. I wish more would take the time and consideration to write one.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I do the same thing when application systems won’t let me upload two documents. Since I don’t have Adobe Acrobat, I simply write the cover letter and then paste my resume below it in Word. Then I use Cute PDF to make a pdf file of the whole thing and attach that.

    2. Liane*

      A big employer in my area has an ATS with a resume upload page that says to make your cover letter, if any, the first page of your resume. I started getting interview with them (company encourages people to reapply/apply to multiple similar positions) when I did so.
      So go for it.

    3. Cloud Nine Sandra*

      Whenever I’ve screened resumes for entry level positions for my supervisor, anyone with a cover letter gets extra attention. I’m not a hiring manager at all, but as someone who’s done the screening part? Yay cover letter!

    4. The New Wanderer*

      Ergh, I ran into this recently with two different online applications – only one document upload option labeled “Resume.” One specifically says don’t bother with a cover letter in their FAQ on applying, so okay. But the other doesn’t mention cover letters at all… I tailored my resume to each but did not attach a cover letter. I gather that it would have been better to do so in the second case, but might not be chance-killing that I didn’t?

  47. FormerOP*

    I am not actively job searching, but I threw my hat into the ring for a position I came across recently. Based on the circumstances (I think the details might derail the question so I won’t include them) I was pretty certain that the organization was a bit desperate to find qualified candidates. I did the phone screen with their internal recruiter, and she only asked one question, “what are your salary requirements?” I’ve never heard this question so early in the process, and my honest answer is that work environment, etc. is more important to my decision than salary (again I don’t want to derail the Q, but there are some industry-specific things that are genuinely more important to me). I ended up saying “market rate” for my salary requirements. I haven’t heard back from this organization. Any advice on handling that question in the future if my real answer genuinely is that the actual salary number is much less important to me that the full picture of the job?

    1. Lily Rowan*

      Coming from a smaller nonprofit background, I would really want to hear a number, because it’s likely that we’re offering half of what you could get elsewhere. That said, as the interviewer, I would always share the range, because it is budgeted and we aren’t that flexible!

      But even if your range is large, I bet it does exist, so I’d be ready with a more specific answer.

    2. CM*

      I think you can say the thing about the full picture. It’s worked out for me in the past to give my absolute low number, like, “I’d like to consider the full picture of the job, but I won’t consider a base salary lower than $X.”

  48. VogonPoetry*

    There was a truly repugnant article on Business Insider this week titled “Elon Musk firing his assistant is a good career and salary lesson.” It’s been revised since it first dropped, so you can’t see the original text, but initially the gist was this:

    Musk had an assistant who had worked for him for over a decade. When she asked for a raise, he suggested she take two weeks off so he could see how valuable her work was to him. When she got back, he let her know that SpaceX had not crumbled in those two weeks and so her current position was no longer needed.

    Now, since then, some other details have been brought to light muddling the story (Musk claims he offered her a job in another area, gave her a year’s worth of salary as severance when she left, etc). However! That does not change the fact that the BI article, as originally written, was basically on the side of “You better know your worth in your company, because if you ask for a raise after 12 years of work, you might find out that you’re worthless and out of a job!” They painted Musk’s supposed actions as “a good lesson” in how management works. What’s the lesson here? Even if I’m a sociopath and deem this secretary as worthless, it still seems like bad management to let every one of your ‘valuable’ employees know the direction that loyalty flows in your organization.

    Anyways, a hearty WTF for Business Insider this week.

    1. Princess Carolyn*

      I saw that! “Know what you’re worth before asking for a raise” is good advice. But it’s not the moral of the story in question. Plus, I would bet good money that this assistance absence was sorely noticed after three months. I doubt Elon Musk just took on all that admin work without any problems.

      1. paul*

        Of course not. He foisted it off on half a dozen people that were already overloaded while insulating himself from the fallout.

        1. Lora*


          “Won’t collapse” isn’t the same as “still producing the same quality long term”. I say that as both a “get me the heck out of here, Mr Headhunter!” and a “my fee to fix your screw-up will be $200/hour, minimum 4 hours/day” person.

          Technically I don’t need to eat fresh vegetables and fruit and yogurt and baked fish. I don’t need to exercise or shower or wear anything other than a blanket. I don’t need to leave the house, I can be a hermit. I can survive on ramen, Tastykakes, and a steady stream of TV. People do, all the time. But don’t tell me it’s just as good as thriving on a healthy diet, riding my bike, having showers and spending time with friends and loved ones.

          Elon Musk doesn’t need to drive a fancy car. He can drive around a 1992 Ford Fiesta. Those suckers get good mileage. He doesn’t need to date Amber Heard, he can hire a craigslist prostitute. He doesn’t have to live in a nice house, his work is in Palo Alto where it’s always nice weather, he could live in a tent on the beach or something. Oh, your quality of life wouldn’t be as good? But you wouldn’t actually be dead! So what’s the problem?


        2. Chaordic One*

          Even though no one noticed the assistant’s being gone, since then the email lists haven’t been updated, the filing hasn’t been done, no one has ordered any supplies for the kitchen, and there’s never any paper in any of the fax machines, copiers or printers and no one told the supply room to order more paper or to order more toner, so we don’t have any.

          Those are the kinds of things that no one notices and that then get dumped on those half dozen already other people.

      2. VogonPoetry*

        “Know what you’re worth” is definitely not bad advice. But even so, the way they suggest applying it doesn’t sit well with me. “Make yourself indispensable,” in this case, means “make sure your organization would collapse when you leave.” In other words, don’t strengthen your company’s resilience, cripple it. Give files unclear names and don’t leave a paper trail so they really feel the pain when you’re on vacation! Who could afford to lose an employee like that?

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      This is a cached version of the article:

      The whole premise is ridiculous, anyway. Many people get at least two weeks of vacation a year (if not more). Your worth to a company is not tied to whether the company or its projects collapse in the time you’re away. Now, if you’re gone for two years and the company’s fine without you, that’s a totally different story.

      1. Purple snowdrop*

        My maternity leave of 11 months wasn’t covered, the work was spilt between the other staff. I have to say, it didn’t make me feel like my job was valuable :(

        1. VogonPoetry*

          We’re understaffed right now and we *can* function. That doesn’t mean that the absences aren’t felt or that you wouldn’t be of value, though.

    3. Over educated*

      Not only does it make him sound like a jerk, I think he and the writer are both ignoring the massive, massive difference between covering for someone for two weeks and not having them around to help EVER. I wonder how long he got on before hiring a new assistant, or if he just redistributed her work to other employees who then found it increasing their job duties in difficult ways.

      1. VogonPoetry*

        Musk’s clarifying tweets make it sound like your last bit is exactly what happened; he found that her role was more appropriate to distribute among “several specialists vs one generalist.”

    4. Mike C.*

      I am so sick and tired of hearing stories of normal people doing reasonable things, having those things blow up in their face and then being surrounded with scolds chanting “I hope you learned your lesson!”.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I am hoping to read an article that says she got ten job offers in her first three days of unemployment.

    6. This Daydreamer*

      If the workplace is going to fall apart when someone takes a two week vacation, something is very, very wrong. What if she had a major health issue? Would he try to fire her for taking leave under the FMLA? What if she just up and quit? Well, I guess he’s going to have to deal with the fallout from that kind of scenario now. Her coworkers must be *so happy* about having to cover for her for the foreseeable future. He obviously doesn’t appreciate what they do for him or give a damn about them as people.

      He’s the one who has a lesson to learn, and I really hope it’s going to bite him in the ass one day soon. What a horrible way to manage people. I hope she finds a fantastic job that pays twice as much. She’s earned it.

  49. Laura*

    Contact question

    I’m seeking a transfer to another location of a teapot retailer that’s opening in my town. I’ll still have to go through applying, and the interview.

    My question is this.

    I know a manager has been hired (because the way postings are posted in heirarchical order). Would it be too much to reach out and introduce myself, say that I work at store x but am looking to transfer to store y and to expect my application materials when the posting for my category is on the site?

    (It would be super beneficial for me but I’m not going to go into specifics, I know that would be a major put off)

    1. Kathenus*

      I’ve done lots of hiring. Personally, I like it when people take the initiative to email and let me know they’ve applied for a position. It’s important that they mention that they are already/have already applied through the normal process, but are just reaching out to me to express their interest. For some people they may not like this, but I always have. Caveat, though, it’s only positive when it’s a one-time contact. My perspective changes if they continue to email me for updates, with questions, etc. before or as the process is playing out. YMMV though.

  50. Amber Rose*

    I’m trying to create a WHMIS course for staff instead of paying for the external one (which is pricey at $20 a head), but man is it hard to find a lot of definitive information. Moreover, I have to give people a