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*

            Agreed.

            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*

      Yep.

      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
      6:20-gym
      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*

        Seriously?!

        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.

    https://jobs.tbr.edu/postings/19886

  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*

        Autocorrect?

        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

      MechEng:
      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*

      UPDATE: I JUST FOUND OUT HE ACTUALLY CAME BACK TO THE OFFICE IN PANTS AND IS WORKING HIS LAST DAY!

      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
      Nancy
      Hidden Messages Podcast
      Talkhouse Film

    3. LawBee*

      Podcasts:
      My Brother My Brother and Me (NSFW, so headphones are a must)
      Sawbones (and many of the McElroy family of podcasts – mcelroyshows.com)
      99pi.org
      Criminal
      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
      S-town
      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*

    WWYD:
    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*

      Both?
      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.