my office doesn’t give us computers, my coworker gets paranoid when I talk to his staff, and more

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

1. My office doesn’t give us computers — we have to use our own

I recently started a new job, and so far, so good. I’m really happy and its a great career move, the work seems challenging in the best way, and I really like all of my coworkers.

I was shocked when I came in on my first day and found that I don’t have a computer. I was expected to bring my own tech, yet no one told me in the interview, offer, or before I showed up for my first day. This isn’t a “call the internet provider on your cell phone because the office line went down” type of usage. This is a “company couldn’t function without everyone being constantly connected to the internet” thing. It definitely wasn’t just an “oops, forgot to tell you thing,” as another new hire just started and they did the same thing to her. She even ended up buying a new computer out of pocket because her old one was too slow to work effectively on!

Everything is internet based so no licensing issues, but they expect me to have a Mac (thankfully I do), and to have the full Office suite (I didn’t have the newest edition because I’m broke, had to illegally download the newest edition of Powerpoint to be able to do a part of my job). Who knows, maybe something else that I NEED will pop up eventually too. The reason this gives me such pause is (a) this is such an immense cost to the employees it’s unbelievable, (b) I worry about mixing my personal and work, in terms of who owns what, and (c) this was my personal computer long before it was my work computer — what ability/right do they have to see what I’m doing on it outside of work time? I really want to think that this isn’t normal. Is it?

It’s not unheard of, unfortunately. It’s a thing some companies are doing. But it’s really, really bad practice for all the reasons you mentioned. It’s shifting the cost of doing business to employees, it’s going to sometimes mean employees have to buy equipment they wouldn’t otherwise have, and there are huge privacy implications, especially if your employer requires you to install software that gives them wider access to your computer. (And when this happens with phones, some companies will even remotely wipe the entire phone, including your personal stuff, when your employment ends.) It’s also super weird that they didn’t tell you this until your first day, just for logistical reasons (like so you’d know to bring it, or so you could raise the issue if you didn’t have one).

If you otherwise love the job and feel good about the employer, it’s not necessarily something to leave the job over. But at a minimum, you should insist that they pay for whatever software you need to have; that should be reimbursed as a normal business expense. And ideally the larger issue is something that a group of employees should push back on.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. Every time I talk to my coworker’s employees, he asks them what we talked about

I work with someone who is my colleague now (equal title) who used to be my supervisor. He manages one floor, and I manage a team on a different floor. I still have a great relationship with people on his floor, although I have grown to dislike him intensely. And we share an office. But that’s another story…

What has started to happen over the last several weeks is that he’ll see me speaking to someone on his floor, and then after I leave, apparently he goes back and asks that person what we were talking about. I hear back about this from his staff, who are really uncomfortable with him demanding to know about our conversation. Sometimes I’m talking about work with these people, but sometimes I’m just asking how they are or asking about their family. Either way, it’s none of his business. And when I found out today that it happened again, I was livid. Am I overreacting here? I just think it’s out of line that every time he sees me speaking to people on “his” floor, he interrogates them. He never says anything to me, of course. I want to go to our manager and say something, but I have a feeling that she’ll just blow this off. But this is just one thing in a pattern of behavior that makes his team uncomfortable. If I confront him, I’m afraid he’ll blow up at me. Thoughts? Advice? Help!

Yeah, you can’t really take this to your manager without having tried to address it directly yourself first. Your manager’s first question is likely to be whether you’ve talked to him anyway.

That means that your choices are to talk to him about it and risk a bad reaction, or say nothing and stay livid, or let it go. You’re the best judge of which of those you can best live with. But I’m not a fan of avoiding a conversation just because the other person might react inappropriately; if he does, that’s on him, not you. So I’d say something like this: “Hey, I’ve noticed that when I talked to people on your floor, you tend to check back with them to find out what we talked about. Is there something you want me doing differently when I need to talk to your staff?” That’s pretty non-confrontational, and it might actually lead to some insight about what he’s doing. (Who knows, maybe he’s had problems with his staff not looping into things he needs to know about. So be open about hearing what he has to say.)

At some point in that conversation you might also need to say, “Often I’m just asking people how they’re doing. I think we’re creating a difficult environment if people feel like they’ll be checked up on every time you see them talking to me, and I’d like to feel I can talk to them without you needing to investigate. Can we agree that if it’s about something important, I’ll make sure you’re looped in but that otherwise it’s fine for me to talk with people on my own?”

3. Candidate didn’t know what’s on his resume

For several years now, my company has outsourced a certain function in my department. We have had contractors doing this function using a well-known model, which I’ll call Model A. I oversee these contractors so have some level of familiarity with Model A, which involves five “pillars.” We recently decided that we want to bring this function in-house, so we are looking to hire someone. We have not gotten many good candidates, but luckily the company we currently use is willing to work with us until we hire someone (though we’re not happy with their services, so we don’t want to wait too long).

We received one candidate whose resume stated explicitly that he currently uses Model A at another company. (Even though that isn’t a requirement and wasn’t part of our job post, it was definitely part of the reason he made it to the interview round.) During our interview, I asked him about his daily responsibilities, telling him that I was familiar with Model A. He told me that he didn’t know what Model A was. I pointed out that it was on his resume, but he insisted he didn’t know that term. He didn’t seem particularly embarrassed or concerned about the fact that he didn’t have a firm command of his own resume, but did seem somewhat surprised that the term was included in his resume. He was well-versed with the five pillars and had good answers to all of the questions about his experience using Model A, so he clearly does know it, even though he does not know that it’s called that.

How much should I care that he probably just copied and pasted his current job description onto his resume without actually reviewing or fully understanding the content? I am legitimately considering not hiring him because of this, along with an associated vague feeling that he may be a good talker and a less good performer, but I can’t decide if it’s really that big a deal.

I’d explore that vague feeling more. Are there other things that are making you think he might be more of a talker than a performer, or is it just this? If it’s more than this, dig in there — that’s not something you should ignore.

But if it’s just this … I wouldn’t be thrilled either, but a lot of people do get help with their resumes or pull from their job descriptions. It doesn’t reflect well on them if they’re doing that mindlessly, but I’d weigh that against what’s important for this particular job. If it’s a job where written communication is really important, it’s a bigger deal than one that barely involves the written word at all.

Ideally you would have just named the weirdness and asked about it in the moment, during the interview: “You seem surprised that this term is on your resume. How’d it end up there?” (You don’t say that in an accusatorial tone, just in a curious one.) If you’re doing a second interview with him — and I would, if you otherwise thought he was strong — you could ask that then and see what additional insight you get from that. But if it turns out that he just got some help with his resume or pulled from his old job description, I wouldn’t let that alone stop you from hiring him if the job isn’t writing-heavy. (Make sure you do some actual skills testing, though — for everyone, but especially here.)

4. Ethics of recruiting an employee from my previous job

I work in the nonprofit sector and started with a new and larger nonprofit less than a month ago. I was involved with hiring a new staff member at my previous association; this new staff member had been on with us less than six months when I left. We have an opening at my new association that this person would qualify and potentially be an excellent fit for, not to mention that the pay and benefits and opportunities for career growth, networking, etc. are significantly better.

What are the ethics regarding recruiting this employee at my previous association? I fear the optics would be very poor. Would it be ethical to share her name with my boss (who is hiring for this position)? I can’t imagine that my connection would go unnoticed either way.

You can do that. Your previous organization doesn’t own her. That said, they likely won’t be thrilled if she leaves after six months, and if they hear you actively recruited her away from them, they likely won’t be thrilled with you either. Given that, if you do make the connection, I’d stay out of it after that — make her aware of the position but don’t actively lobby her to take it. (Also, if her role with your old employer was a really hard one to fill and they know that you know that, you may burn your bridge with them if you encourage her to leave so soon. So factor that into your thinking as well.)

5. Asking for a bonus after a long period without leadership

I work in the marketing department for a nonprofit performing arts organization. Our department director announced in mid February that she would be leaving the job at the end of March for a better opportunity. We anticipated and planned for about a month without leadership — we’re closing in on four months. Another key staff member in our department is on personal leave. In the meantime, my coworker and I have been saddled with an enormous amount of responsibility.

We’d like to approach senior management about a kick-back for the additional work we’ve been doing, but aren’t sure how to time the request or structure the ask.

Definitely don’t call it a kick-back! That usually means you’re getting a bribe for using a particular vendor.

But you could say something like this: “I was happy to pitch in and help out when it looked Jane’s position would be open for about a month. But at this point it’s been four months and might be longer, and Lucinda and I are covering for Fergus too. I’ve taken on a significant amount of new responsibility, which has resulted in longer hours and much more work. Can we talk about revisiting my compensation to account for this increased work?” You can make it clear you’re talking about a one-time bonus, not a permanent raise.

You two should each have this conversation separately, not together. But since it’s going to be obvious that you coordinated — and a little weird if you pretend you didn’t — the first person to have the conversation could say something like “I think Lucinda is going to ask you about this as well, but we wanted to talk with you independently of each other.”

{ 304 comments… read them below }

  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#2, livid seems a bit… strong in light of undoubtedly annoying behavior on the part of your coworker. Is it possible that your intense dislike of him might be coloring how you’re seeing his behavior? To be sure, interrogating people every time you speak to them is Not Cool, and it’s likely having exactly the paranoid and chilling effect you’ve noticed.

    But avoiding confronting him and becoming extremely angered by it don’t seem sustainable for you (burn out) or proportionate absent other information. I trust your perception of how insane/frustrating his behavior is—I just want to flag that if your manager is unaware of this broader context of frustration (or does not view it as being as annoying as you do), and if you haven’t first addressed your concerns with your colleague, escalating your complaint may seem unwarranted (at this stage) to your manager. So I would proceed as Alison suggests, and if your coworker blows up or behaves inappropriately, escalate away.

    1. Jen S. 2.0*

      In addition, “I’m afraid s/he might blow up” is not a reason to avoid what should and could be a neutral workplace conversation. “I noticed X happening. Is something going on there that I should know about?” is a perfectly reasonable question between workplace equals that should not invite drama between decent people. OP 2 hasn’t said the person is volatile or unstable or wildly moody; just that OP does not like him, and he’s got this quirk. Has there been evidence that this is a person who blows up at work? Don’t assume “the other person might not be 100% comfortable with what I have to say” = “there will be a big fight.”

      If the colleague blows up — at work, toward an equal, because she asked a reasonable question — they’re the one with the problem. (And if a crazy blowup comes, let it happen, and stand back and look puzzled. You look sane, and they look nuts.)

      Agree that OP 2’s dislike for the colleague has made this into a much larger thing than it otherwise would be. The habits of people we don’t like are way more irritating than the habits of people we like.

      1. Important Moi*

        I like Alison’s response. OP should use the script provided. Having said that…

        I feel like there’s minimizing of another person always asking for the contents of a conversation they weren’t a party to.

        1. fposte*

          I think it’s more that this isn’t automatically a rage-worthy practice; it’s merely an annoying one, and the OP specifically asks if she’s overreacting.

      2. Lora*

        Yeah…I’m going to give the co-worker the benefit of the doubt for a minute (just a minute): has anyone done multiple end-runs or assigned his employees work that they didn’t ask him about? Is that a thing where you work?

        Reason I ask is, I have one co-worker (just one, the rest are great, but it’s like…there’s one in every workplace) who habitually goes to my employees and gives them things to do which are waaaaayyyy lower in priority than the things I have given them to do, or tells them to do a thing which was already done by someone else a long time ago, or tells them to do a wrong thing. He has his own employees to do this work, he even got permission to hire one or two more if he needs them so as not to pester my people. He is fully aware of the priorities, and so it irks me to no end when he does this sort of thing ANYWAY. Worse than that, he completely screws up our business processes by running in and telling them (not asking but telling) that there has been an urgent last minute change and they need to do something differently – none of this is documented, none of it is discussed with me or anyone else involved in the business process, and my people assume that this has been discussed when it hasn’t. Then I find out after the fact that he gave them totally wrong instructions and screwed up everything. So I’m all up their tree about “oh no what did he say this time?!?” because it’s always something that’ll be a pain in the rear for me to fix. They’ve gotten better about checking with me before doing anything, but it’s a slow learning process because he used to be their boss before he was transferred.

        I’m sure he is super annoyed that I do this, but until the glorious day when the head honcho actually tells him to get the heck out, he’s gonna have to deal with it. I’m not going to blow up at him despite being very frustrated with him, but I’ve already gone to the head honcho several times about it and I would be much more firm in expressing my displeasure than the previous three times I’ve said something.

        1. Important Moi*

          To me this is different, your co-worker has actually screwed things up.

          Asking your subordinates about what direction your co-worker gave them is very specific. I’m certain you wouldn’t ask in such a fashion that your subordinates would feel like their being interrogated about personal conversations. Did you inform your subordinates that your co-worker is screwing the process or did you just say tell what I ask and don’t ask me anything?

          1. Important Moi*

            I do know the difference between “they’re” and “their” and “there.”

            It’s early for me, I need coffee.

          2. Lora*

            Yeah, they know, they just feel REALLY uncomfortable telling him No because he was their boss and they also know that there’s no “Lora and Exboss will have a nice talk,” it’ll be “Lora and Exboss will attempt to have a chat which will escalate to Head Honcho AGAIN and be a big deal” and to them it’s like watching their parents going through a nasty divorce. They know that even though nobody will yell at them, Dad and I will be mad at each other behind closed doors while Head Honcho has to play Family Court judge. At the moment Head Honcho is still hoping we can reconcile even though Lab Dad and I both know that won’t happen and the best we can do is chilly politeness.

            Personal conversations is indeed a weird thing to ask about. Agree w/ Jen S., definitely be like “I noticed this, what’s up with that?” and if he loses it, it’s his own problem.

            1. Sue Wilson*

              I mean, no offense, but maybe someone should “yell at ” (i.e. talk about consequences for) them. It’s understandable that they feel uncomfortable telling him no, but if they don’t do what you told them (tell him they need to speak with you first, which is NOT a “no” and should feel more comfortable for them) then they are being insubordinate to you to appease him. That’s their own behavior, that’s not his, and that’s should be something you could address without going to the head honcho.

        2. JB (not in Houston)*

          Your situation is unfortunate, but from the OP’s letter, that’s not what’s going on here.

          1. MyInnerDemonNeedsCoffee*

            So, this was my question. Yes, my dislike for my colleague colors my view of him. However, when I have asked him very neutral questions before (like, “how are things going,” which is a pretty neutral, how’s-your-day kind of question), he has started off on a highly charged rant about our boss, our administration, etc. So, I have been hesitant to actually ask him about this particular situation because if he goes off on a rant when it’s a really neutral question, I don’t know what he’ll do if I approach him about this issue. He did once blow up at me and yell and shake his finger in my face — and I worked that out with him myself, letting my manager know only some vague details, because I wanted to try to resolve the situation myself. So, it’s not like I haven’t tried to work with him and have conversations about other issues — but with this issue, I asked Alison because I wanted her perspective, and the insights I often find from people’s comments here.

            Yes, this is a situation of hearsay. If it was one person telling me, I would have blown it off. When it’s four different people at several different times, that’s different. In all but one of the situations (4 people, more than 4 times), my conversations with them have been about their weekend/kids/general stuff and not about their work. In the other situation, I was asked to train one of his staff; he walked by and saw me sitting with her, and then came back and wanted to know what we were talking about — and then apparently didn’t believe it was just the simple thing I was training her on, and repeatedly kept asking her what else I talked to her about.

            Reflecting back, I should not have used the word “livid,” although I can see where my personal dislike of him colored my reaction. I just felt so frustrated. I did not speak to my manager about this and I won’t bother saying anything to him. . . it’s just not worth it to let this bother me. I have learned, though, talking to one of my other colleagues, that she has also tried to have neutral conversations with this person and he has ranted to her and gotten upset (which made her less inclined to talk to him also). Understanding this has made me take his reactions to things less personally. If the situation comes up again, I’ll use Alison’s advice (very much appreciated, thank you!).

            1. Lora*

              Whoa. This dude sounds like he has all manner of things going on in his life that even if they do have anything to do with you personally – it’s better to assume from a conflict resolution standpoint that it has nothing to do with you. The rant about the boss/management thing sounds like he has some issues to work out that even if you say, “hey, is everything OK? Boss asked me to train Lucinda on Some Procedure, is there something going on I don’t know about?” Maybe he reckons the boss has it out for him and they are using you as their nefarious minion/accomplice in his downfall?

              And now this scene from Der Untergang is what I’m visualizing: Hitler screaming, “The generals are the scum of the German people! (flings a pencil onto the table) NO SENSE OF HONOUR! You call yourself general because you spent years at the academy, where you only learned how to use a knife and fork! For years, the military obstructed me. All you ever did is thwart me. What I should have done, is had all the high officers executed, like Stalin did! (pauses) I never went to the academy. But I conquered all of Europe on my own. Traitors! I’ve been betrayed and deceived from the start. Such enormous betrayal of the German people. But all these traitors will pay. They will pay with their own blood! They will drown in their blood!”

              I’m thinking the best route with this dude is to put on your best Would You Like Fries With That smile and just say what you have to say and if he wants to have a meltdown, he can make a fool of himself all he wants, bless his heart.

            2. mrs__peel*

              If he’s having anger management issues to the point of yelling and finger-shaking in people’s faces, it may be worth looping in his boss or HR rather than trying to manage it yourself. For me, that would cross a line where I would begin to worry for the safety of myself and other employees. That kind of behavior can escalate rapidly (and if he’s paranoid as well, that doesn’t seem like a good sign).

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#1, issues (b) and (c) usually depend on your home country, and if you’re in the U.S., on your State (California is a massive exception, but I suspect you’re not in CA). But in many (most?) states, using your personal computer for work can open you up to having your laptop scanned by your employer and having to stop using it in order to preserve a disk image if your company gets pulled into litigation and your files are discoverable. And that’s before we even get to the misery of data security.

    I’ve seen companies increasingly rely on BYOD in the computer context, but I think it’s really weird that they didn’t tell you ahead of time or provide you with a written policy… but then again, I suspect an organization that has a practice of doing this is probably not up to speed on the potential impacts (beyond financial ones) on employees. I generally advise folks not to do anything they’d be embarrassed to see come out if their laptop is confiscated or their hard drive scanned… but I know that’s a tall order when all you have is a personal laptop :(

    1. H.C.*

      Yes to the “misery of data security” – heaven forbid if one of you gets hacked/phished (or even lose a computer) and your employer’s whole network is compromised as a result.

      1. Kerr*

        And if their employees are resorting to things like illegal downloads of Office because they won’t cover basic costs of doing business, that’s more of a “when” than an “if”.

        BYOD is problematic, but not paying for required software is really, really problematic. How reputable is this company, otherwise? I’d be concerned my employer would cheap out on other things (fund your own travel?), or that the owners had no business sense or awareness of business norms.

        1. OP #1*

          Business owner definitely is young and doesn’t have a sense of business norms, its a “you have a to pull pay your dues” until you drop type of thing. There is constant turnover, but I think the people that stay, stay because of the perks like travel (which is covered, I book it) and other glam industry perks

          1. OP #1*

            Oops typo….. (Trying to reply to everyone before I head into this job on my one and only computer)

            What I meant to say was “you have to pay your dues”

            1. Candi*

              Hey, OP, bit late, commenting before I have to go offline…

              If you’re still reading, try LibreOffice. It’s generally compatible with Microsoft Office -it just doesn’t have all their proprietary goodies like special fonts. It includes a Powerpoint-type function called Impress. (LibreOffice is free for personal and business use, it says here on their forums, but they would appreciate a donation.) This should help guard against viruses and other issues you often get with illegal downloads.

              (My son does admit that LO to MO Word docs he made needed tweaking -but that was partially because he made them in MO at school, with the copyrighted stuff that MO owns, and then had to replace it. Then MO at school had a fit about it.)

          2. eplawyer*

            Maybe they should cut back on the “glam industry perks” and pay for some basic office equipment — like computers and software.

            I’m guessing this is a start up with the attitude of “sacrifice now and you will be rewarded when the IPO happens.”

            1. OP #1*

              Nope, the perks don’t cost them a thing, but it definitely attracts lots of people to the industry. Think devil wears prada

          3. Observer*

            Well, he also needs to pay his dues – and part of paying your dues is that if you want to have control of the equipment people use, you need to own it. It’s actually not entirely true that an employer can just decide to look at everything on your computer and wipe as they decide. It’s waaay more complicated than that. Which is one of the reasons we don’t allow people to use their own computers for work – any time people are working remotely / using their own computer they have to be logged into our VPN and working on our server, so I don’t have to worry about what’s on their computers. For one thing, I don’t want to know and for another I don’t ever want to have to deal with the issue of evidence discovery, and for yet another, I don’t want to have to worry about what stupid stuff they may have done to endanger their computer.

            Also, part of paying his dues is making sure that you actually own the software your staff uses. If the BSA does an audit of the computers at work, they are going to go after him. You too, probably, but they will most definitely go after him because it’s business use the software and he’s requiring it.

          4. anyone out there but me*

            Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I would think twice before working for a company that possibly cannot afford to furnish its employees with standard equipment needed to do the job. I would be worried that there could come a time when they can’t afford to make payroll, too.

            1. OP #1*

              Yes, it is much more luxurious than most industries’ travel though, definitely lots of work, but lots of trips to fun places for fun events. And industry specific perks for sure

          5. Anon to me*

            I’m assuming that with turnover the people who stay haven’t been there that long. Because generally business travel isn’t much of a perk, especially over the long haul.

            Providing basic equipment for employee’s to function makes the owner look like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Although I’ve never asked if a computer and basic equipment for the job are provided, it’s definitely going to be a question that I ask before accepting a position from this point forward.

          6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Yeah, he needs to understand that part of running a business is paying for essential business supplies, like computers with the appropriate OS and software. It’s wildly abusive and inappropriate for him to frame forcing employees to BYOD and buy their own software as “paying their dues.” (!)

            1. Jadelyn*

              Seriously – “paying one’s dues” refers to taking low-level jobs, working on unglamorous projects, doing the grunt work that supports the fancy and glamorous high-level stuff, and working one’s way up to the fun and fancy stuff rather than expecting to jump right into that stuff. It’s not supposed to refer to actually spending one’s own money on covering business expenses so that the business doesn’t have to – the dues are supposed to be metaphorical, not literal. He has a serious misunderstanding of what that term means (or is just abusing it to save himself some cash, which I think is more likely).

      2. Hey Nonnie*

        I’d bring it up as an OSHA issue too (in the US, or any equivalent laws elsewhere). Working on a laptop 8 hours a day isn’t just deeply uncomfortable, it’s non-ergonomic and is likely to cause repetitive stress injury sooner or later. They would at least need to provide a docking station, full-size monitor, keyboard, and mouse; by that point they might as well just buy desktops.

        I’d ALSO mention the other issues — privacy, cost burden, security — but letting them know they’re violating the law might light a fire under them.

        1. OP #1*

          Once you get to a certain level you get a stand and keyboard as a perk. I tried building one out of books but was told I’m not allowed that much clutter on my desk as it looks unprofessional to clients

          1. Jaydee*

            A laptop stand and keyboard are “perks” afforded only to certain, higher-level employees? What the actual heck?!

    2. Agatha31*

      The idea of just making the employee provide office equipment raises so many so very red flags in me that unless I was desperate for any job whatsoever I done think I could help just getting the hell out asap. I mean, they either can’t or won’t properly equip their own business’ *core requirements *. If they are so little invested in their own company’s success – heck not even that, just its basic ability to function! – why should you be? Worse, how much less are they going to care about your success or failure to success, your ability to function? What kind of career development a abilities can you possibly expect? What else might they cheap or on that personally affects you… Benefit plans? Those you at least know about. How about the upkeep or even existence of office safety equipment? Expired or missing first aid supplies? Malfunctioning or non – existent fire prevention equipment or plans?

      1. OF #1*

        OP here. Honestly, me too. But I didn’t know about this until my first day so I’m trying to tough it out for awhile….. I’m on a six month contract so zero benefits, they definitely cheap out on some weird stuff, and pay for some ridiculously expensive stuff. So weird, I’m glad my suspicions have been justified

        1. Anonomouse*

          One other thing to consider using your personal hardware is IF they are pulled into court or legislation they may be able to confiscate your personal computer as evidence and if that happens- who knows when you would get your stuff back. Since it sounds like this is a 6 month contract with no benefits- You should start looking for your next role- It’s actually the perfect time b/c if anyone asks why you are looking you can honestly tell them that you have a short term contract and are looking for something longer term/perm. Good Luck and now you know what to ask for your next role and eventually it will become a fun conversation starter for you. Good Luck!

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            Oh God. I could never be without my personal computer for a long period of time. I’d buy a cheap and preferably used laptop, on credit if necessary regardless of my budget, to avoid this (and this invasion of privacy). A laptop that’s a few years old often is still seeviceable for basic office stuff if it hasn’t been used hard.

            1. Kat M.*

              You can definitely get cheap refurbished laptops at Goodwill that will do most jobs for under $200. But it sounds like they’re requiring employees to buy a Mac?

            2. Koko*

              Not that it’s “cheap,” but nowadays you can buy a lightweight netbook for around $300. They have no internal storage or media drives and can only run web-based SaaS/apps. But a person who primarily uses their personal computer for web browsing, word processing, email, and maybe listening to music, they get the job done as long as you have a good internet connection.

              1. krysb*

                OP said they are required to have Macs, which are stupidly (literally and pointlessly) expensive, even used.

                1. MCMonkeyBean*

                  I think they were suggesting that for a new personal computer, and then start using the Mac for work only.

          2. Case of the Mondays*

            In most places, the device is “ghosted” by your legal team, meaning an exact copy of the hard drive as of that day is created and then you are free to continue using your device. The only exception is a criminal investigation. I have never seen a civil case where everyone is prohibited from using their devices for more than a day or two.

            1. Observer*

              What legal team? This boss will be quite happy to just take the computer, and is not going to want to pay for someone to make an acceptable image. After all HE is not going to be the one paying for a second computer – the OP is!

              Clearly he doesn’t have a legal adviser, much less a team, or he would realize the issues he’s facing.

          3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            A big hell yes to this—this is what I was referring to when I talked about the risk of litigation. Although typically they don’t pull your entire laptop; they make a disk image of your HD (and sometimes they do this continually so it’s up-to-date as of a specific day/time).

            But I, too, would not work someplace like this for a 6 months no benefit contract, no matter how nice the “glam” industry perks. This is shady as all get out.

        2. blackcat*

          Are they calling you a 1099 contractor? If so, they may think that means it’s okay to require you to use your own stuff.

          BUT it doesn’t sound like your job is actually a contractor job. The employer sets when you work and how you work, right?

          1. OP #1*

            Not US, but it’s not really a contractor job, you’re right. My hours are 3000% dictated by my employer

      2. Amelia*

        I work for a Fortune 500 company and we just switched from company provided cell phones to BYOD. They say they did an analysis of similar companies and expect BYOD to be standard within the next 2 years. At first, I was deeply annoyed but now I think it makes sense. They gave us our existing phones, we added them to our own plans and receive a $50 a month phone stipend. By adding a line to my current plan, it’s a cost savings (an extra line is only $28) and I have more control.
        In terms of computers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see BYOD become more common as well. I loathe my heavy company-provided Dell so I use my Mac Book Pro. It would be strange if I were in an office every day like this LW but in a more mobile environment (I travel a lot and am only in the office 1 day per week), it’s not uncommon to use personal devices.

        1. Mabel*

          This kind of thing really irritates me. I’m a contractor, and my company decided I don’t need a mobile phone to do my job, and my boss couldn’t convince them they were wrong, so they cut it off. Fortunately, a client at the company I consult for offered me an old iPhone to use to send/receive email and view my calendar. It doesn’t have a phone number (because my company would have to pay for the service), so it is useless without Wi-Fi, but in a pinch, I have used my personal phone as a hot spot. I don’t like having to do that because it can end up costing me money, but I actually do need a phone to do my job. It’s gotten so that my manager at the client company texts me on my personal mobile phone when she really needs to reach me (this doesn’t bother me at all because she only does it when it’s really necessary).

        2. Violet Fox*

          For phones this might also be because they are looking at switching to softphones (which is, I think, going to become more of the norm), that is your work phone is an app that you run on your own mobile phone. A lot of them can also work on IP-telephones, as well as a desktop application for laptops and stationary computers. For some of the soft-phones it is possible to even set things so that your “work phone” only rings durning work hours.

          The only way I can see BYOD making sense is if the companies switch pretty much exclusively to VDI. Personally (*nix sysadmin here), I really really like VDI, and in so many ways it is the way of the future, but at the same time I still think that work places should provide the physical hardware to run the VDI instances on (laptops, stationary computers etc), and do a best of both worlds thing where they provide the device but the individual user gets a lot more freedom as to what the device is (within reason of course).

        3. Observer*

          The thing here is that they are PAYING you for your usage. It’s not an ideal set up for many people, but at least there is some reasonable recompense.

        4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          If you’re outside of CA, just note that despite paying a stipend for your phone, they basically own it. So they can wipe it remotely, revoke it at any time, scan your files, etc.

          1. Amelia*

            Yes. We all signed stating we understand they can remotely wipe the company apps and company data on our phone. On the other hand, they cannot wipe our backed up iCloud data, which most of us keep updated since it’s our client contacts. The device itself belongs to the employee and it will not be returned to the company. In some ways, I think it does benefit the employee – I feel a bit more empowered as an independent operator and could easily see how I could go it on my own with clients (I don’t have a non-compete.) I suppose they considered this but ultimately decided the cost savings were worth it.

          2. Someone else*

            Could you elaborate on the difference if you are in CA, in the context you’re alluding to? Thanks.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              California law re: BYOD requires an explicit agreement with terms explaining the scope of revocation, remote wiping, etc., before a company can try to get access to a personal device used for business reasons. Both the employee and employer have to sign the agreement for the company to try to later scan or seize the device. California law won’t insulate you from litigation discovery, but it has some of the highest privacy protections for employee BYOD across states (with the caveat that it lets you contract out of those protections).

              California also requires that employers pay for your necessary business expenses, so if they make you use your phone, they have to offset its cost (similarly, they can’t expropriate the cost of your laptop—if you need a laptop for work, they need to pay for it and essential software or they need to compensate you for your cost of procuring those items).

        5. Mme Marie*

          That seems so odd to me! I’m also at a Fortune 500 (at a financial firm), I’ve seen what they charge my business line for service (it’s less than $20 a month) and they get the (current model) iPhones for super cheap. Obviously they worked out some sweet deal with the carrier. (That doesn’t really account for any costs to manage the program, but it’s all centralized so it can’t be too much.)

          We do have a BYOD option, but I’d much rather carry 2 phones than risk my personal information or having to deal with restrictions about when I can update my OS. They’d *never* allow personal laptops or computers on our networks though, our Information Security is very tightly managed.

    3. Open Ocean*

      But in many (most?) states, using your personal computer for work can open you up to having your laptop scanned by your employer and having to stop using it in order to preserve a disk image if your company gets pulled into litigation and your files are discoverable. And that’s before we even get to the misery of data security.

      Very good points. In their own interest, OP’s company should provide the IT infrastructure!

    4. OP #1*

      Not in the US, but thank you. Going to try to do some investigating, because there definitely isn’t anything illegal on my computer, there’s just NSFW stuff…. Like me commenting on this post ahahah!

      1. OP #1*

        ALSO… no written policy whatsoever. I didn’t sign anything regarding devices, and they have no access to my computer, I just connect to their internet, that’s all.

        1. Violet Fox*

          You should check the legalities about what they can do wherever you are, and what the legalities are for having to essentially pay for work equipment.

          1. Liane*

            Since OP isn’t in the US and I know from commenters here that a lot of countries, have much stronger personal data protection rules than here, should OP be concerned about this as well?

            1. Violet Fox*

              Of course. This is something that varries so much from country to country, that it is best for OP1 to look this up where they live, and to see if where they live has a government agency dedicated to such things. Where I live does, and it even has phone lines that anyone can call to get basic answers to such questions.

                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  OP, I’m not familiar enough with Canadian law to opine, but here’s what Google provides in terms of the background legal issues/framework:

                  Office of the Privacy Commissioner, “Is BYOD Right for Your Organization?”
                  Canadian Lawyer, “The Risks of BYOD Culture” [employer perspective]
                  BYOD: Benefits, issues and risk-management tips
                  [employer perspective, but it covers the distinction between personal and company data/files]
                  Joining the BYOD Party? Have Fun but be Safe [a law firm write-up on what a BYOD policy should include under Canadian law]

                2. Chinook*

                  If you are in Canada, google for your provincial labour board and call them for advice. If you are in a federally regulated industry (something that crosses provincial boundaries), then you fall under federal labour laws.

                  I know that BYOD is acceptable here but I don’t see using personal computers at work as being the norm and I have worked in many industries.

                  As for illegally downloading a copy of a Microsoft program – this is leaving your company, and you, open for litigation or worse – MS could brick any version that you are using due to breaking their terms of use. They may not search out individuals (not worth the time/effort) but I can definitely see them targeting a business who is essentially stealing their programs to run their business. It, in my mind, is the same as throwing an extension cord over the fence and wiring it into the main municipal line. True – it doesn’t like it is costing the provider any extra money but it is losing them revenue that they have a legitimate right to. It is theft, pure and simple, which is benefitting a business directly.

                3. Chinook*

                  OP #1 – you also mentioned that you are not getting any benefits at your current job. Please tell me you mean nothing beyond the legally required ones because you still should be getting vacation pay (at least accumulated) and paid stat holidays after a certain period. And travel expenses are required to be covered, so it is not a benefit.

                  Also, check to see if they are viewing you as a contractor vs. a temp employee. If you are a temp, then they are still collecting payroll taxes and covering expenses like CPP and EI insurance (employer’s side). If you are a contractor, they are not and you are either going to get hit with a bill at tax time or, worse, not be considered covered under EI for things like parental leave and long term illness. You can see what they are deducting and possibly covering on your paystub (which should eventually match your T4, which you don’t get if you are listed as a contractor).

                  If you suspect they are playing fast and loose with any of this, at least call your labour board if not outright report them (which you can do anonymously). Even if they end up following the letter of the law (because BYOD isn’t illegal), they definitely aren’t following the spirit of it.

                  And, if it turns out you are a contractor, it is super simple to set yourself up as a sole proprietor and get your own GST/Business number at no cost to you with Revenue Canada. At least then you can deduct the expenses that working for this company is costing you (plus a rebate on the GST you have to pay on any of those expenses).

                4. OP #1*

                  @Princess Consuela Banana Hammock – thank you! Will read tonight

                  @Chinook – Thanks for this, and its not a federally regulated industry for sure. I couldn’t find anything that worked (can’t even illegally download a copy of powerpoint ahahah), so I’m back to my legally purchased 2008 office. I am on contract for six months as a probation, then full time offer. Good to know re Revenue Canada, this is so helpful! And I have been putting $ aside for taxes, I was aware of that thankfully. Thanks so much.

          2. SarahKay*

            And also think about taking a back-up of all your personal data to a separate drive or USB stick. You don’t want your company remote wiping your computer of everything ‘to be on the safe side’ if for some reason they thought they needed to.

            1. OP #1*

              Thanks, I already do- had my last computer die and lose everything until Best Buy fixed it, so I learned my lesson!

          1. OP #1*

            Just their internet….. That’s literally all, besides logging into company accounts online. Should I be super concerned?

        2. Matilda Jefferies*

          Honestly, this concerns me more than the fact that you had to bring your own computer. BYOD is a thing, and I don’t love it for lots of reasons, but it’s possible to do it with enough planning and oversight and governance. Just telling employees on their first day “By the way, you need to bring in your own computer and buy your own software” isn’t a good sign. And the fact that there is no documentation around it is more than “not a good sign” – it’s a giant red flag that the company doesn’t know what they’re doing here.

          Make sure you do some good research on the legalities of BYOD in your jurisdiction, as well as the risks to both you and the company. You may even want to draw up a contract yourself, and explain to them that it’s for your mutual protection. This last may not work, especially if you’re on a short-term contract, but it might at least highlight to them that it’s an issue. Whatever you do, be careful!

      2. Elemeno P.*

        That is…not where my mind would go for “NSFW stuff,” which is something that your personal computer should usually be free for!

    5. Backroads*

      My school has a BYOD option. We are transitioning from Apple to Google and that takes time and money. While there is enough technology still to go around, the BYOD option was sonething of a blessing for those who hate their assigned device.

      I could not imagine relying on requiring this.

    6. JB*

      I’ve never seen or heard of this before for computers. I’m genuinely asking, is this really becoming a thing? It shocks me for the reasons you indicate.

      My company has a BYOD for cell phones to access email, but would never do this the primary work computer. We do use our own computer if we’re working from home part of the time (flex schedule). If someone is a full time WFH, then they are provided a PC. However, we’re opening a web browser and logging into a VPN session. With the cell phones, we use an app that contains all the data. If there are any issues, they can extract data from the server and disable the user’s account for the app.

  3. LS*

    OP4, make sure you aren’t prohibited from doing this by your contract with OldJob, if you had one. I am, for the first year after leaving OldJob.

    1. MillersSpring*

      My thought exactly. Make sure that you didn’t sign any kind of agreement with your previous organization about not soliciting its employees after you move on. Some employers limit non-solicitation to customers, but others include employees, maybe even key vendors.

      “Poaching” is a big no-no in many industries and new hire paperwork often explicitly prohibits it.

    2. GreatLakesGal*

      My company still talks about the manager who left and then hired away everyone from his worksite.

      Technically, nothing illegal about it.

      On a practical level: that’s a big bridge to burn, especially in my industry.

      Everyone knows his name, but trust me, not in a good way.

      1. Lollygagging*

        Would it be any different if OP just let the person know about the opening without passing her info along to his boss?

        1. Conflicted*

          Hi, Lollygagging. OP#4 here. That’s essentially my dilemma. But even if I do not say anything, there’s the possibility of the appearance that I courted her. This is about both the ethics (if I do it, how should I do it) and optics (how will my former association see it) imo.

      2. blackcat*

        My friend’s dad (who has worked with my dad in the past) left his law firm and brought 3 partners and 2 associates with him. 6 months later, a total of FIFTEEN lawyers have jumped ship from old firm to new firm.

        According to my dad, my friend’s dad’s name is only spoken with extreme bitterness by people at original firm.

        (My dad’s attitude, having known this guy for 30 or so years–that’s how I met my friend!–is that the original firm was consistently undervaluing people. So as soon as some folks jumped ship for better pay/fewer hours, other people started asking if they could join up. So my dad blames the original firm–which he does not work for, thankfully.)

        1. Conflicted*

          That’s the other angle to this, @blackcat. (OP#4 here.) The new association and position come with much better benefits and long-term opportunities. I know that this person has no particular affinity for the niche of her current (my former) association, so the move would seem to be really sensible. Even so, my gut says it is too early to say anything.

          1. blackcat*

            Yeah, my sense, having heard about this situation, is that there is more bitterness over the first five lawyers leaving than the next ten. That’s because the first five were actively recruited to leave and join the new firm as a team. The next ten approached their friends and basically asked for a new job, and they weren’t all on the same team before or after the move.

            If this person approaches *you,* I think it’s safer than you approaching them. And one person is a lot different than basically poaching an entire group for team. I also think it depends on where you are in your career. My dad & his friend are in their 60s and the friend has a lot of political capital in their field. He might have burned A LOT of it, but he had it to spare. He’s also close to retirement if he wants to be (which is the only reason why my dad thinks the guy is kinda ridiculous for doing this), making it lower stakes to burn bridges.

            When I discussed this guy’s actions with my friend, his daughter, she laughed and said “He didn’t burn that bridge. He nuked it.”

            Your situation sounds more like burning a bridge, rather than nuking it.

      1. MechE31*

        I’d carefully look at anything you signed. Every industry and company is different. Most companies will have you sign something about non-disclosure of proprietary information.

        A government contractor I worked for is in a lawsuit with a former employee for this reason. You sign a paper that says you won’t actively recruit people from the company for 1 year. The lawsuit is against someone who started their own company which will be in competition with large company for a few smaller contracts. They recruited people away immediately.

        The company more or less turned a blind eye towards those who recruit onesie twosie away.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Mine not only said I wouldn’t recruit people, it said I wouldn’t “help them” leave. Conceivably that could have included providing positive references or letting them know about job openings. In practice, I figure they were unlikely to pull it unless I actively recruited at least one person, and probably more.

  4. Mr Terrific*

    #1 – In terms of not having Office, depending on the PowerPoints you’re working with you might be able to get away with using LibreOffice ( which is free and generally compatible with Office. There are occasional formatting issues, but that might not necessarily be an issue.

    Also if you do end up having to buy your own copy of Office, make sure you get a “Business” edition, as you’re not supposed to use any of the Home/Student versions for commercial purposes.

    1. Five after Midnight*

      The other option in Office 365 subscription payable monthly – no up-front cash outlay and you can stop it when (not if) you leave this miserable place.
      IME, OpenOffice and LibreOffice have too many formatting issue when converting to/from Office and lack too many intermediate/advanced features compared to Office; so much so they are not worth the hassle for heavy business use.
      But that’s really turning lemons into lemonade – this situation is absolutely ridiculous!

      1. Mr Terrific*

        365 is an option. I didn’t suggest it since OP said they were broke, and even month to month that can be a bit of an ask.

        1. Ego Chamber*

          Seriously. I’m a broke college student and one of my classes ended up requiring the Office suite but hadn’t listed it as required software because they just assumed everyone had it already. The stripped-down version that came installed on my computer wasn’t the full suite (and I use Libre Open Office personally, because I don’t notice a difference for lite use), so I scraped by on the 1-month trial Microsoft gives with a download to a new machine, but then cancelled after the class was over.

          Any time I’ve needed Office professionally, it was provided by the company—but so was the computer. O_o

          1. Stephanie*

            Depending on your school, your fees may cover a license to Office 365. (This is what I use now at school.) Even when I was a non-degree student at my local state school, my fess covered Office 365 for the year.

              1. Small but Fierce*

                I’ve graduated, and I’m still able to download and use Office 365 on multiple devices through my school email. Definitely worth looking into.

        2. OP #1*

          Thank you for your suggestions…. I rebooted it and have made my old 2008 powerpoint work for now, but who knows…. They definitely wouldn’t reimburse anything tech related though

          1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

            Using old or pirated software would worry me because of security flaws. 6 months on a contract and you end up being the source of a company hack or get turned into a bot-net node won’t do much for your reference (if hack) or your computer (if hijacked). Being too frugal now could lead to having to buy a new computer or worse.

            1. Mr Terrific*

              Depends what they did. There are plenty of keys floating around that will activate fine with a legitimate version.

          2. Violet Fox*

            If everyone there has to have a Mac.. why not just have everyone use Keynote, Pages, etc that come with Macs these days… Far simpler of a solution.

                1. OP #1*

                  No, we have a company google account and use google docs, just powerpoint is the one they insist on. But old 2008 seems to be working for now

          3. Mr Terrific*

            For what it’s worth, Office 2007 onwards uses the same filetypes, so with the exception of missing fonts, anything you share or receive *should* be more or less compatible with everyone else.

    2. Nye*

      LibeOffice may not be the answer if you have to share documents with anyone who has Office, unfortunately. I use LibreOffice for everything, and am going to have to break down and get a second laptop with Office. Compatibility seems to have gotten worse and worse over the past few years, particularly where Macs are concerned. I’m given to understand that this is a Mac issue, but if you’re sharing documents with colleagues who have Macs with Office, it *looks* like the sloppy, messed-up formatting is your fault.

      If you don’t share docs (or only share PDFs), LibreOffice might be a great solution. It works pretty well, just doesn’t play well with others. (Disclaimer is that I use it with Ubuntu, not sure if it would behave better on a Mac.)

  5. INTP*

    Is it paranoid of me to suspect that OP1’s company is not warning the employees as part of a deliberate bait and switch? This is something that would be a big red flag for me and I would turn down the job. (Granted, I started my career in California so I might be excessively horrified by passing business expenses onto employees. But I would fear that the company also makes employees cover other basic business costs. The first day it’s computers, then it’s travel costs or mandatory expensive lunches.)

    Presumably they want people to be prepared for the first day/week, and most people aren’t showing up with their personal computers. Some people don’t even own laptops and might not be able to purchase one in the first days of employment. Since it seems to be standard for them not to warn people about this I’m wondering if they’re deliberately hiding the info until people start because they had others back out over it.

      1. OP #1*

        Doing so would be very identifiable, as its a small company. There are some bad reviews there, but they’re whining about silly things, like come on and tell me the real problems

    1. Stellaaaaa*

      I was wondering if it’s the sort of job that people want to get into but can have a hard time landing, like social media/digital marketing. Maybe a startup blog/magazine. There are a lot of people who would put up with objectively unreasonable crap to say they work in digital marketing or media, and those are fields where it doesn’t always seem initially weird to expect employees to have their own tech.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        Even then, while I can see the BYOC I cannot see the expectation of bringing all of the MS Office software, or other software. For example, Adobe Creative Suite is very expensive. So, unless you’re a contractor/freelancer the company needs to provide this software or reimburse the cloud subscription.
        Plus, I’d think there would be so many versions of it if left to employees. I myself use a really old (2008) version of Office on my Mac because I don’t use it much outside of Word. It’s getting so old now, it won’t always open newer versions of Excel, or there are massive formatting issues.

    2. OP #1*

      Honestly, I had another option I turned down right after I got this job, at a company that has much more established policies and functions like a more normal office/company despite also being tiny. I didn’t even think of this idea, and honestly ergh….. I wouldn’t be surprised

      1. ten-four*

        Hey OP#1, you describe yourself as an employee in the letter, but in a follow-up you specify that you are a contractor. It is enormously common practice that contractors bring their own hardware and software! In fact, it’s one of the key differentiators between employees and contractors – the benefit to you is that you can choose your working suite and the benefit to the employer is that you come to the table fully equipped and ready to roll. I think they should have specified, but this is actually pretty normal.

        1. Lora*

          But they don’t typically specify *what* computer you have to have in that case. When I was consulting, yeah I used my own computer and software that I’d paid for – and if they’d said “oh and it has to be a Mac” I’d have laughed at them.

        2. Risha*

          It’s normal-ish these days to be asked to bring your own computer, though it’s a terrible idea and I hated doing it for all the reasons listed further up – but providing your own software is a new one on me! That might be because I specialize in a product with an enormous license fee and that is of no practical use for an individual, I suppose.

          Also, the one time I had to provide my own laptop, they specifically asked during the interview if I could do that. The bait and switch is by far the most worrisome part of all this.

          (This was Current Job, who ended up ordering me a company laptop a few months later anyway when I started to run low on memory and so that I was better integrated with everyone else, and with whom I am now full time permanent.)

        3. OP #1*

          First- this is important to note, I’m not in the US. I’m on a probational 6 month contract, before being offered full time employment (if I last that long/they want to hire me), but I do not control my work hours and do the exact same tasks as proper employees (all of whom bring their own devices as well)

    3. Gazebo Slayer*

      Bingo. Bait and switch. And the owner is, as you stated above, young and not too savvy about business norms and really into “paying your dues.” Though I, being cynical like Gee Gee, am inclined to think it’s not a lack of knowledge of business norms but a deliberate flouting of them for his own benefit.

  6. Artemesia*

    For #3 I don’t know the process A you are talking about but one thing I would want to make part of the interview process would be demonstrating mastery with this — i.e. a skills challenge. Any time there is a fear that it is all talk, you need performance as part of the screening.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I think the concern is less about whether he knows this process and more about his lack of familiarity with his own resume!

      1. ElenaS*

        I can say that in many forms of programming the technobabble gets pretty ridiculous. I recall one job interview where I was asked if I did recursive reentrant programming. I had to say I didn’t know what that term was, but that I would code module in a fashion that did all of the work required at the moment, and then return the screen to the user. On reentry it would pick up where it had left off and I detailed the kinds of changes in might have to deal with in the following steps. At that point the interviewer declared “That’s recursive reentrant programming!”

        So my own inclination is to completely ignore all the spiffy buzzwords. Instead I would focus on whether or not they have the concepts that you require, and can whiteboard the code that you are expecting.

        1. Happy Lurker*

          I had a very similar experience, some 20+ years ago. I was using a specialized database (back in windows 3.1 days) and the job I was interviewing for wanted “Access” experience. I stated I could use databases, but had no specific history with MS Access. Thankfully my interviewer had no experience either.
          First day on the job, I realized the specialized database was a customized Access. I felt like a ninny.

        1. J*

          This is a good thought– I applied to my current job through a recruiter, and was surprised when I interviewed and saw that my resume was different than the one I had submitted. (They removed my maiden name, which I had on there bc most of my work experience, and a few of my references, knew me by that name). They might have made other changes too, but that one was super noticeable because it was across the top of the resume.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            Recruiters typically remove contact information, and sometimes even names, when they submit resumes to prevent the employer from reaching out to the candidate directly.

        2. CodeWench*

          I was thinking this too. It reminded me of when I used to work as a consultant and our account managers used to “tweak” our resume when submitting it to the client.

        3. Sunshine on a cloudy day*

          This was my thought too – at least just worth consideration if the candidate did come from a recruiter. I have had recruiters make changes to my resume (aside from stripping personal contact info). The good recruiters always ran it by my first (probably to avoid this exact situation!)

          However! I did have one recruiter that was pushing me into interviewing for roles a step down from my current role/the level of role I was seeking. I went on one interview set up by them (it was only a half step down from my current role so I figured it could be worth going and thought if I aced the interview they’d have more confidence in me and put me forward for the type of roles I was really seeking). At the interview I saw that they altered my resume pretty substantially! At my current company I was in the level down role for a year, then promoted into the one step up role. I had the two roles separated out on my resume (to show the promotion and the difference in responsibilities), though under the same company. The recruiter combined the responsibilities of both roles into one entry and used step down title in my resume. The step down title was more similar (in title and responsibilities) than the step up role. I was livid, but also completely caught off guard so I just proceeded with the interview without mentioning anything. Just spoke about the step down role mainly. I left the interview and never spoke to that recruiting firm again. In hindsight I absolutely should have said something (if just to alert the company not to use this shady recruiter), but I was so dumbstruck and had a lot going on with other interviews/recruiters.

        4. Elsie 432*

          Yeah… this happened to me many years ago, and I was too young and naive to say anything about it to the recruiter. He altered my resume to make it appear that I was a Jedi Master in shell scripting. In reality, I’d done a little shell scripting in previous positions, but I would not call myself proficient. I looked like a total fool at the interview.

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            Oh hell no. I recently had an experience with a recruiter dishonestly editing my resume and I told her I’d been falsely accused of lying to an interviewer once and do NOT want that experience again. You do NOT make your candidates look like liars.

        5. OP3*

          He submitted his own resume-we didn’t get him through a recruiter. My best guess, based in the content/phrasing, is that he chipped his current job description.

          1. Steve*

            That’s really weird. It’s common for a recruiter to edit the resume, it’s not unheard of (but strange) for a spouse to have written a candidate’s resume. But for a candidate who claims to have written his own resume, not to know what’s on it? Even if they copied it from, wouldn’t they have read it before submitting it anywhere? That’s really weird and worth asking about.

            Why do you have to guess? Just ask the candidate directly (you can do it over the phone).

      2. Cautionary tail*

        Ramona and OP #3, I had the same issue. I was contacted by a recruiter who “passed” my resume to a company and I then went in for an interview. They asked me about certain terms on my resume and I gave them confused looks saying I didn’t put those on my resume. I pulled out a paper copy of the resume I sent the recruiter and we compared it to the on they had. The recruiter had changed and added items. This comparison cleared up the confusion and we were able to proceed once they photocopied my real resume for everybody.

      3. Artemesia*

        Why should anyone care? Maybe his wife did his resume. If it is accurate, who cares? I would be concerned that he can’t do what you want him to do.

    2. OP3*

      So the process actually requires contact with our customers. To keep things generic, consider it training for our customers to make sure they can use our product independently. There is really one industry model for how to do this training, at least only one with an actual name, and that’s Model A. He listed off all the “pillars” (make sure the customer understands x, y, z), but just didn’t know that x+y+z=A, so to speak. As Ramona Flowers says, it is more about not knowing the term he voluntarily included. I’m pretty confident he can teach x, y, and z, which is good because I can’t figure out a true skills test for this scenario.

        1. OP3*

          Sure, we did some role playing and he was fine. For someone with the degree that he has, the skills are pretty basic.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Similar to ElenaS, my thought was that he thinks of A as an industry buzzword rather than the formal name of the 5 pillars. Like “actualize.” And maybe put it in the resume because of the advice to get through auto-screens with as many phrases copied from his and the target job description as possible.

      2. CM*

        I’ve had it happen before where an interviewer uses a name I’m unfamiliar with for a concept or process that I know very well. I’d ask about the resume thing in a followup interview, though.

      3. Lynn Whitehat*

        Based on what you’ve said, my best guess is he has worked with it, didn’t know its formal name, a recruiter inserted it “for clarity”, and he doesn’t realize that was an overstep on the recruiter’s part. Ugh, recruiters. I could write a book.

        I mean, verify that, of course. But it’s hard for me to imagine someone being able to talk at length about all the pillars without having worked with it.

        In my line of work, the equivalent would be Scrum. I could imagine someone (especially someone junior) working in that paradigm, and then describing it as “planning work in two-week increments, with daily stand-ups”, etc. Never realizing that Scrum is the formal name of that structure and not an inside joke in their department.

  7. Janelle*

    I am baffled by this bring your own computer concept. I have never experienced anything like this. I can not even comprehend this outside of perhaps a sales person. Our commissioned sales people provide their own equipment but they also do not just work for us. Most have a few companies they sell for. And what if she didn’t have a Mac? You’re fired unless you go drop $1500 tonight?? I just. My brain cannot comprehend this even a little bit. I cannot believe companies are doing this.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I would have to say no, I can’t afford it. It’s unfortunate that many people don’t feel able to and are doing things like buying new Macs as they feel so pressurised. I think I would be jobhunting, because however much you like the work what stunt are they going to pull next?

    2. Five after Midnight*

      This. Does. Not. Compute. As Chocolate Teapot says below: if the company needs you to have a piece of equipment to fulfil your role, then they should pay for it.
      I have never encountered BYOD concept when it comes to laptops/PCs/Macs, and so my first reaction was WTF?! There is so many security, privacy, and ownership issues here that I don’t even know where to begin. Granted, we are doing BYOD with the phones, but it is mostly (or so I believe) for the convenience of the employee not the employer; even then, there are issues when it comes to number portability, data and software ownership, privacy, etc. I only a/ use a dedicated app to check corporate email, and b/ receive an occasional after-hours call from Boss or Big Boss, and have no problem with using my own phone for this so I don’t have to carry two bricks everywhere I go. But if MyJob required anything more than that, I’d be asking for a separate device and number all paid by MyJob. Oh, but you say you that’s not in the budget? Well, then I can’t help you; perhaps it’s not THAT important after all…

      1. SusanIvanova*

        I’m pretty sure BYOD is for the convenience of the employer; I’ve never heard anyone say they liked mixing work and business, or risking their own data for their company’s data security.

        1. BYOD fan*

          We have a BYOD policy at our workplace, and people like it, because Mac people can use Macs, Dell people can use Dells, Lenovo people can use junk, etc. If you don’t want to bring your own device, we do have some old PCs people can use. I have no problem with it. They will generally reimburse most software purchases.

          1. Clewgarnet*

            With so many different devices running so many different versions of so many different operating systems, how on earth do they keep track of security and anti-virus?

            From a security standpoint, I actually feel kind of sick at the thought.

          2. TL -*

            My last lab just gave you a computer budget if you couldn’t use anything on hand. It went through IT and then came to you secured.

      2. ten-four*

        I disagree! In a follow-up comment OP1 specified that she is a contractor, not an employee. It is hugely common for contractors to be responsible for their own hardware/software. If she was an employee then I would absolutely agree that it’s the company’s responsibility to provide her with hardware/software, but expecting a contractor to come in equipped is pretty standard. They should have discussed it upfront, but the expectation isn’t out of line.

    3. Crystal*

      As someone else mentioned, it MUST be a high demand field that lots of people are dying to get into for them to pull this. Let’s say it’s social media for a big brand. They can get away with it because if this person quits they’ve got 8,000 people behind her and zero incentive not to do it.

      1. Mary*

        I can see it in fields like social media, graphic design, layout, etc where there’s a fairly porous line between freelancing, exclusive contracting and employment. If people tend to move fairly swiftly and easily between the different statuses, then the chances that people will have their own hardware and software and may even prefer to use their own tablets, styluses etc, or have their software shortcuts all set up just so. But if it was a field where that was normal, I guess it wouldn’t have surprised the OP so much!

        1. OP #1*

          Yeah- lets just say its definitely one of those glam industries that lots of people are trying to get into, but nothing tech-y. I don’t use much besides word, powerpoint and chrome at work

          1. Yorick*

            Then why do they require you to use a Mac??

            This would suck for me because I only have a Chromebook. But it sounds like that would work since you can use the Google version of Office products.

            1. OP #1*

              I really wish I knew…. The only benefits I can see is that we air drop stuff to each other to avoid emailing 50 million things back and forth

              1. Naruto*

                Yeah, but you can accomplish the same thing with Dropbox, Google Drive, or a variety of other features that work on both Macs and PCs.

                1. Violet Fox*

                  Again, using dropbox, google drive etc private accounts for work products is a really bad idea. Anything stored in things like DropBox should essentially be considered public files.

          2. Stephanie*

            Yeah, that’s what confuses me. I’d get a Mac if you did something requiring lots of graphics, but just for normal word processing and internet use…you could probably even use a netbook.

            1. krysb*

              I wouldn’t even do that now. PCs now far surpass Mac specs. My 2-year-old PC has better features, specs, and capabilities than newly-dropped Macs.

      2. OP #1*

        Definitely a job that lots of people are dying to get into, and has been very glamourized by the media. I’ve worked elsewhere in this industry though, and they behaved much more like a regular office. AND PROVIDED COMPUTERS…..

    4. Violet Fox*

      My work laptop is a top spec MacBook Pro, which is less like $1500 and more like $3000, but the big difference is that my work paid for it.

      1. blackcat*

        Yeah, one of my friends is toting around a $3700 mac laptop. He did not buy it.

        I, on the other hand, am still happily using the machine that my parents bought me as a college graduation present…. more than 8 years ago. It is genuinely impossible to install the newest OS on this machine–it’s simply too old. I go through a lot of hoops to keep it working as well as it does, including doing my own physical repairs (damn you Apple, and the ridiculous super glue you use to attach the battery to the case). Given that I have spent maybe $200 on parts for repairs, it’s saved me a ton of money compared to buying a new (or even refurbished) mac. They are not cheap.

        1. Anxa*

          My 9 year old MacBook is stuck, too, in that I physically cannot update the OS. I’m 99% percent sure that’s what the big issue with how slow it’s gotten is.

          1. blackcat*

            No, it shouldn’t be! Odds are your hard disks are too full/you have accumulated too much software or that your computer is just super dirty. I have no idea why, but I have frequently seen Macbooks speed up once they have been opened and throughly cleaned with compressed air. Mine got WAY faster after the battery replacement, and the only possible reason for that was that I removed 6 or so years of dust and crap (the battery is at the bottom of my model, so removing it involves removing A LOT of components).

            So step 1: open it up and clean it! you have no warrantee anyway, so there’s nothing to lose. If all you do is remove the back and shoot it with compressed air, you won’t break anything. As a warning, you might have to pull HARD on the back panel to get it to come off if you computer has never been opened before. I was super nervous I was going to break something the first time I did it, but everything was totally fine.
            Step 2: delete all unnecessary files and make sure to cut out any programs that might be running in the background.

            An extreme version of step 2 that helped my machine ~1 year ago was a hard wipe + reinstall only the software I currently use. I wiped and reinstalled the (old) OS. This is tedious, but entirely doable with online tutorials. There are also online guides for checking what programs are running and disabling the ones you don’t need/want.

            My computer runs just as well as it did when I got it. It just can’t run some newer stuff that requires newer OS.

  8. PollyQ*

    OP #1: You know, it’s easy for me to read these questions and be so sure I’d know what to say or do, and I’m usually wrong, but in this case, I’m pretty sure I would have said something like, “I wish you had told me sooner, because this isn’t going to work for me,” and I’d probably have a really hard time keeping the “Are you ****-ing kidding me?” out of my tone of voice.

    In fact, I don’t own a Mac, and the Windows laptop I do own is aged & decrepit. This is indeed a bad idea for the employees (and maybe illegal in my home state of California). I’d also be wondering what other weasely cost-cutting is going on within the company, and be concerned about what other boundaries the company would be trampling over.

    If you’re in the US, the July unemployment rate was 4.3%, a 10-year low. I have to think there are better options for you.

    1. MK*

      Eh, your last sentence doesn’t actually follow. A general, national statistic, even if true, doesn’t necessarily mean the OP can find a comparable job easily.

    2. OP #1*

      I’m not in the US. And I read this, thinking I would have made a better call on the first day too, but I just texted my mom WTF. I think I’m going to finish my contract, as the industry is relatively small and I don’t want to burn bridges, while job hunting and trying to find somewhere better….

      1. Steve*

        What did you do for a computer?

        Personally, I don’t even own a computer I could bring into the office. I don’t own a laptop and I’m not bringing my personal desktop in because I (and my family) need it at home. So any company that pulled this would have a non-productive employee.

  9. GermanGirl*

    #1 I’ve heard that bring your own device is increasingly popular in the software industry in the US these days, and for a software developer it’s not such a hardship. We’re talking six figure salaries, usually a generous budget for buying the device and the software and people who would enjoy shopping for a really nice computer and configuring it the way they like. The computer is such an integral part of a software developer’s job that I’d compare it to a bike courier who’d rather ride his own bike that really fits him then use a company issued bike that doesn’t.
    But for most other positions bring your own computer is BS.

    That said many employers think it’s a bad idea even for software developers because of the reasons you mentioned and also because when you do teamwork, having the same computers and software setup can really help. Otherwise you’ll loose productivity getting used to the different setup every time you do something at your colleague’s computer.

    1. Chriama*

      Well an allowance for buying the device means the company is paying for it, not you. I can imagine a scenario where the company says we’ll reimburse a computer purchase up to $c (the cost of a midrange device) but if you want something really fancy you’ll have to cover the difference yourself. That doesn’t sound like what’s happening here.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      No. Sorry. If you need it for your job, your job should pay. Not just because of issues around software licensing, intellectual property and insurance but because it is part of the cost of doing business. You should not have to put money from your taxable salary towards equipment you need for a job.

      It’s one thing if you are working from home. My employer lets you use Remote Desktop on your own device or check out a laptop – they won’t buy you a computer. But at the office they provide them, because they need to.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        What I mean is: you can check out a laptop from work and take it home if you telework sporadically. They won’t buy a new one just for you to keep at home. Not at my level anyway. But full time remote employees do get money towards equipment.

    3. Never have a good name picked out*

      Software developers absolutely should be using company issued equipment! If the company is in business because of the software it makes, then the source code on those computers is the lifeblood. Frankly it seems to make even less sense than all the other cases. Six figure salaries and they won’t pay 2k for a laptop?

    4. SusanIvanova*

      Not really. I have a nice MacPro at home; I had an *awesome* MacPro at work, along with 3 other computers and a total of 6 monitors. I tweaked them all the same way so they fit me like that custom bike would.

      1. Matt*

        I guess even the bike courier, if his bike would happen to break during his shift, wants to be able to fetch a replacement one from his headquarters instead of having to go and buy a new one on his own expense …

    5. Matt*

      No. Just no. I’m a software developer, I guess I should move to Germany (what’s about this six figure salaries), my computer at home is a simple laptop which I use for some private googling and Facebook, and sometimes for on-call purposes remote access to my virtual machine at work. At work I have two big screens, a lot of development software which would be quite expensive for me to buy privately (the latest MS Visual Studio, Oracle SQL Developer, and so on …) and a virtual machine that is maintained by a professional department of my company, and if something breaks down I call our help desk and things get fixed. They have ready-to-use images of those virtual machines which everything installed and ready to go in about 15 minutes. I couldn’t imagine what to do if my private PC would break down during some important crunch, release, go-live or whatever, then it would be my responsibility to immediately buy a replacement, set it up, configure it, install everything … certainly no.

    6. OP #1*

      LOL. This is a barely above minimum wage, glamorous industry that a million people would kill to get into. This is definitely not tech requirements

    7. Bowels of Temp Hell*

      AYFKM? There is nothing nice or cushy about working in the IT industry nowadays. Here in south FL it’s practically impossible to find a JOB… most of what is available is this temping bullsh*t designed to destroy your resume. I mean, the money is good but on the back end it’s an additional part-time job constantly searching for your next short-term, no-benefits assignment and praying you don’t develop a serious illness. Step out of line for one second (refuse to work unpaid overtime) and your corporate overlords (many of whom think your name is Temp) threaten to replace you with an H1B who works for 50 cents an hour.
      Only an idiot would spend a lot of money on a fancy computer under those circumstances.

    8. Kalamet*

      I’m in software, and the only company I’ve seen with BYOD is a small consulting company where everyone works from home. They still cover the cost of the machine.

    9. Kyrielle*

      At one point at a previous job, we had the option to purchase a personal/work device. It had to be Windows, but it was otherwise our choice, and the company would cover 1/2 the cost.

      So after I requested a new company laptop because I was running out of disk space rapidly, and they increased the disk space by like 20% over the previous laptop (and I’d given them the numbers – this was going to work for maybe a year before I was doing intensive disk management of all the projects again), I went ahead and got a top-of-the-line beast with tons of disk for myself under that policy.

      Several years later and a change in policy meant I had to put it on the company domain or stop using it. Fortunately for me, I had cheaped on the OS and gotten the home version…couldn’t put it on the company domain. Back to a company-issued computer. Which had enough disk for a while, at least. :)

    10. Skunklet*

      I am a contractor for a Fortune 10 company – and I have a company provided laptop (provided by the company I’m ‘loaned’ to). Also, my actual company that pays me provides all of us with cell phones. And vacation/sick, health insurance and 401ks, too. I would not do this job if I had to bring my own laptop.

      1. Skunklet*

        AND, this kind of BYOD thing makes me fervently believe that there are business owners in this world that have zero business being business owners…

  10. Jen RO*

    OP #1, I am appalled on your behalf. A BYOD policy would make me turn down a job offer – I have a gaming PC and I don’t even want a Windows laptop, let alone a Mac! But not even *telling* you is… no, just no. And on top of that, they also want you to shell out hundreds of your own dollars on Office?! This is beyond ridiculous and I would consider it a bait-and-switch. The company is either ill-intentioned or has bad judgment, and either of them would make me run to the hills.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      I dislike the idea of Bring your own Device. Partly since I belong to the pre-social media generation, partly because if the company needs you to have a piece of equipment to fulfil your role, then they should pay for it.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      A BYOD policy would make me turn down a job offer.

      I’m with those upthread who think this is why they don’t tell anyone until after the new employee has accepted the offer, turned down other offers, and showed up on their first day. Even with a hot in-demand job, I’m betting they’d lose a lot of desirable employees if they were upfront about the substantial financial investment in hardware and software that they expected you to make without reimbursement.

  11. Chriama*

    Quite frankly I would not spend my own money to buy a Mac. So a company who did this to me would present themselves in a very negative light. And to make matters worse, they have to know that what they’re doing is unusual. Is this a small business?

    Depending on how strongly I needed this job I would probably go back and say “this is a pretty unusual requirement. I don’t own a Mac and wouldn’t ever personally choose to buy one, so I’m not comfortable covering this business expense out of my own pocket.” If I needed this job then I’d be quiet but resentful and probably make plans to leave as soon as possible.

    1. OP #1*

      Yeah its a small business, and I need the job. They view it as a “you are so lucky to get a job here” type of thing, and that you should suck it up…… Honestly typing all of these responses has made me realize I should job hunt

      1. Lady Phoenix*

        Yup, you should.

        Any employment that Doesn’t mands that YOU should be grateful for your job and not the other eay around (ESPECIALLY for a new company to say this) is not gonna be on your side.

        Once you got a job, I would burn you this bridge with a glass door review. I highly doubt this business bas a good footing on the networking.

      2. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

        Definitely. Even if the boss is simply clueless about computers, it raises the question of what else they’re clueless about. Good luck job hunting, sending you all the good thoughts!

      3. Violet Fox*

        Yes you should job hunt. This is one of those it’s about the computer, but it isn’t thing. It’s showing that there is something fundamentally wrong with where you work.

      4. Falling Diphthong*

        Fifthing on the job hunt. I do think this is a deliberate bait and switch–that if they’re upfront about it, they lose anyone with options (which you said upthread you were, turning down another offer from a more traditional firm) and so that’s why they forget to mention it until you’ve closed off those other options.

        I suspect that a year from now you’ll look at this as the first warning sign, not the weird little quirk that was belied by everything else about the job.

    2. Antilles*

      Quite frankly I would not spend my own money to buy a Mac…If I needed this job then I’d be quiet but resentful and probably make plans to leave as soon as possible.
      Same. I already own a nice PC since I use it for gaming. So if they pushed back and told me I had to purchase a Mac, I would be grabbing whatever dirt-cheap one I could find on sale, Amazon, or borrowed from a family member.
      Which, uh, doesn’t exactly seem like the company’s goal here, given that crummy computers like that are likely loaded with bloatware, spyware, full-blown viruses, and/or who knows what else.

  12. GermanGirl*

    #3 One possible explanation is that at his workplace they call that process Abracadabra and he didn’t know that it’s called model A elsewhere. So when he applied for the job, he googled model A and found out that it’s just another name for Abracadabra, so he put model A on his resume instead of Abracadabra and forgot about it. That’s the best case, but he should have remembered that when he looked over the resume and job description in preparation for the interview.

    It could also be that someone else (his proof reader, the recruiter) told him to write model A instead of Abracadabra or they even made that change to his resume. But again he should have noticed that in his preparation for the interview, unless there was a really clueless external recruiter who made the change without communicating it back to him.

    All in all, ask him to do some small tasks related to model A in the next round and see how he does.

    1. Fish Microwaver*

      Yeah that’s what I thought too. It sounds like some tweaks were made to his resume without his knowledge or perhaps comprehension. I don’t think I would worry about it too much if he seemed to be proficient with Model A/Abracadabra but would have asked about it in the moment.

    2. EE*

      Yes, this! I have been in two jobs as an accountant using the same software. Everyone called it TechnologyOne or T1 at the first job and FinanceOne at the second.

    3. OP3*

      I am not aware of any other name for Model A, and it’s not like he said, “Oh, I actually call it Abracadabra.” He just knew the pillars and didn’t seem to have a name for them as a group. But, honestly, if he’d said “I do x, y, and z and we call it Abracadabra,” that would have been fine. But “Model A” was written on his resume and he had no idea what it was.

      I am pretty sure he can do x, y, and z, so really the issue is the lack of familiarity with what is written on his resume and his vagueness when I said “Model A is written on your resume.” As is also raised as a potential below, he was not coming to me through a recruiter.

      1. WellRed*

        I can’t think of any scenario where it’s OK to not know what is on one’s own resume. I mean, at least review it before the interview.

      2. Snarky*

        It sounds like a case of copying and pasting from the job description. It may be that he didn’t feel the need to study exactly what was written in it figuring he knew the job so of course he knew the items listed in it. You may want to vet him for attention to detail if that is pertinent in this job and ask the candidate about it as Alison suggested. The resume thing in and of itself wouldn’t cause me to discount the candidate especially since he seems to have the actual skills, but I think asking the candidate about it will help you to either rule in or rule out the applicant.

  13. DataChick*

    For OP3- was this a direct application? Could it have been an external recruiter who changed the resume before sending to the company? It’s poor practice but I’ve had this happen to me years and years ago when I was looking for a job. They asked for a word doc, not PDF, and I noticed they rephrased, removed, and added things without asking me.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      I attended an interview via an external recruiter and noticed the interviewers had copies of my CV in a different “Recruitment Company” format. I can understand wanting the candidates to all look identical on paper (i.e. no pink-scented Comic sans) , however I am used to where things are on my CV!

    2. Five after Midnight*

      This was my first thought, but then OP specifically says: Even though that isn’t a requirement and wasn’t part of our job post. So not in the job description and no external recruiter (or, so it seems).
      My second thought was that someone (say, Fergus) helped the candidate with the resume either by writing or reviewing/revising it. Fergus knew from his industry experience that the “five pillars” with which the candidate was familiar essentially equaled Model A (which OP says is a well-known model, and used that specific key word in the resume to increase the chances of it passing through the ATS.
      It is still on the candidate to know his resume, though, and there is no excuse for not being aware of the terminology included in it.

      1. Lars the Real Girl*

        It doesn’t necessarily follow that because it wasn’t in the JD that there wasn’t a recruiter involved.

        The recruiter angle was my thinking too – they saw that x, y, z skills were listed but not the industry term Model A, so they added it. The candidate maybe doesn’t know this term but really does know everything about it.

        The specifics would drive the thinking here (i.e. if a car mechanic said “I don’t know what a Ford is but I know how to fix them” vs, “I don’t know what a SAAS ERP is but I know how to run a cloud and service based database”). The prevalence of the term and its use can change a lot here.

    3. Clewgarnet*

      I showed up to one interview to discover the recruiter had changed my CV to say I was an expert in a particular, complicated network monitoring system. I very much wasn’t, and had told the recruiter that. It completely blew any chance I had at that company.

    4. OP3*

      Hi DataChick – it was a direct application. No recruiter, though certainly he could have had someone else polish things up for him. I don’t have a problem with assistance, but Five after Midnight is right that he should have known what was added.

      1. Myrin*

        Absolutely! Because if this was a direct application, even if he had a friend or coworker look over his resume and change stuff (which, just as an aside, is that something people do? Like, not make an annotation or similar but actively change what is written?), he absolutely should’ve looked it over before sending it to you! Very curious!

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        It’s definitely weird, but with him being well-versed in the actual details of Model A I would put it down to a bit of vocabulary weirdness. e.g. He took his friend Wakeen’s advice about adding some specific buzzwords to get through screens, but he’s just never registered the narrow use “Model A = xyz” rather than his broad “Model A = I actualize actualities using the latest models, which might include for example xyz and also uvw or abc.”

        1. Stop That Goat*

          That’s where I fall. He answered your questions about the model largely without any issues.

  14. Ramona Flowers*

    #4 Please ask her before you share her name with anyone. I had a friend recommend me to someone I didn’t want to work for and it was very awkward.

    1. Conflicted*

      OP#4 here, yes, definitely. That’s particularly what I’m conflicted about. Do I say something to her? And, frankly, would she want me to? Would it put her in an awkward position? (I think that’s a decision she would need to make.) But, yes, I would ask her before divulging any details to anyone else, especially the hiring manager.

      1. CM*

        I wouldn’t attempt to poach her at all if you want to preserve relationships at your old organization. But if you must, I would just send the job listing to her and say, “This is something you might be interested in,” and leave it at that.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        You know, one way to do it is to tell her about the job and say “we’re really looking for someone like you — do you know anyone with similar skills to you who we should approach?” Then if she’s interested herself, she can say so, but you’re not directly trying to hire her away.

  15. JKP*

    I had 2 different jobs in the past that required me to use my own laptop. One thing to keep in mind is that toting the computer back and forth to the office each day definitely shortened the life of my computer vs past experience when I used computers solely for personal use (probably also because of the extra 40+ hours of usage each week).

    At the 2nd job, my computer died and I literally could not afford to replace it right away. The company was not willing to replace it nor loan me the money to replace it myself. So for a good 6 months, I just didn’t have a computer, and the company had to deal with the fact that I could only work with customers face-to-face and couldn’t do any of the computer tasks I had been doing in the past. Really, they lost a lot more money than if they had just paid for a computer for me.

    1. OP #1*

      I’m worried about this! My computer is new, and I don’t want to kill it by spending an additional 45+ hours of use on it a day

      1. KellyK*

        It’s a six-month contract, and it’s really unusual for a computer to die after six months of regular use. I mean, most businesses don’t replace computers until they’re a couple years old, or more.

        That said, if you’re going to be SOL if your computer has issues, it might be worth setting aside however much money you can afford each pay for repair or replacement, just in case. Your company is playing the “You’re so lucky to work here; suck it up and do whatever ridiculous thing we demand of you,” card pretty heavily. So, let’s say your computer breaks. I would not be remotely surprised if, in addition to not paying for repair, they require you to take unpaid time off until it’s fixed (since you need it to work), or just fire you if it’s not fixed fast enough to suit them.

        It’s not a *likely* scenario, but if it gives you peace of mind and you can afford to save some, it’s probably worth doing.

        *ALSO,* it’s a good idea to make sure you back up all your work files.

        1. Lora*

          “That said, if you’re going to be SOL if your computer has issues, it might be worth setting aside however much money you can afford each pay for repair or replacement, just in case.”

          This is why they should not ask for Macs. When Macs work, they work great. When they break, fixing them is not quite impossible, but it’s pretty close, and for as much as they cost to repair you might as well buy a new one. Whereas when regular computers break, you just buy a new $200 hard drive, connect it to the motherboard and you’re back in business. No warranty or jailbreaking or any of that foolishness to worry about.

          Also the cost, holy crap. You can buy a fast fast fast gaming laptop that’ll handle much more than a top of the line Mac for $1000, refurbished from NewEgg. I paid $225 for my last laptop and it does WAY more than run MS Office, and I can mod it out or expand it as I need to. It hasn’t had any problems working with my mother’s Mac things. Definitely look for a new job!

  16. MommyMD*

    Livid seems a bit of an overreaction. I think other manager is worried in some way about your contact with his employees. Does he have any basis?

    1. Runner*

      I wondered whether OP is or would be fine with the supervisor doing the same thing on his floor, with his employees? Getting promoted to the same level as your former boss is in itself sometimes a tricky new work dynamic to manage on its own — never mind the complication of sharing an office with that person. To then is having a lot of conversations with workers who report to him, and are on his floor, not the OP’s — would OP really be okay with this person doing the same with OP’s workers, on OP’s floor? To be livid on top of all of this seems unnecessarily escalating. I really think the root issue is the new working relationship with a former boss.

      1. hbc*

        Yeah, and some of the conversations *are* about work, not just social. A lot of his reaction probably comes from his own issues, but having a (better-liked) former employee chatting up your employees regularly could leave a lot of managers feeling uncomfortable.

        OP, I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong, but you might want to take a look at unintended effects or optics of these conversations, even if it’s just taking work time away from another group or showing how unliked this guy is by comparison on a daily basis.

        1. MyInnerDemonLikesCookies*

          Hi Runner and hbc — I actually replied to the original thread about this and gave more info. This was my question to Alison and I explained that yes, I was frustrated (and livid wasn’t quite the right word). The conversations with people were all about their weekend/kids/etc and one conversation was when I was training a staff member. All of these conversations were about 5-10 minutes, usually before our organization formally opened for the day (so, not taking up valuable work time — I’m busy, too). So, again, “livid” wasn’t quite the word, but I was getting pretty frustrated and figured that Alison and people who leave comments here might help give me some perspective (which they have!).

        2. Important Moi*

          It’s late in the day but this comment has rubbed me wrong all day.

          “OP, I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong, but you might want to take a look at unintended effects or optics of these conversations, even if it’s just taking work time away from another group or showing how unliked this guy is by comparison on a daily basis.”

          Optics for whom? So if my manager feels uncomfortable around or about another manager, I don’t get to speak to that person my manager unless my managers say it’s OK or I provide what was talked about? I think not. There are unintended effects or optics, but I don’t think you and I are thinking of the same ones.

        3. Important Moi*

          It’s late in the day but this comment has rubbed me wrong all day. I was so upset I typed this wrong.

          “OP, I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong, but you might want to take a look at unintended effects or optics of these conversations, even if it’s just taking work time away from another group or showing how unliked this guy is by comparison on a daily basis.”

          Optics for whom? So if my manager feels uncomfortable around or about another Manager B, I don’t get to speak to Manager B unless my manager says it’s OK or I provide what was talked about? I think not. There are indeed unintended effects or optics, but I don’t think you and I are thinking of the same ones. I want to say more but I want to abide by the commenting rules.

  17. MommyMD*

    You also state you don’t like him and he probably knows it. Sometimes when we don’t like someone, everything they do gets on our nerves.

  18. AmyGH*


    BYOD is becoming so common, that I make it a point to ask about it during the interview process. I don’t like it at all.

    1. Katniss*

      It depresses me that this is becoming common. If a business can’t afford the very basics of doing business, they just don’t get to exist. They shouldn’t be passing the cost on to employees.

      1. Purplesaurus*

        Even though I temporarily dealt with BYOD at a former workplace, I didn’t realize it was so common until today’s post. (The computer I was supposed to receive was delayed a week, so it wasn’t supposed to be a BYOD gig.)

    2. Shadow*

      Common where or in which industries? I’ve only heard of it being optional, but I don’t frequent smaller businesses or non profits either.

      It doesn’t really say much for the company when you think about it. It’s like working for a call center that doesn’t have phones.

  19. Not Today Satan*

    I sympathize with #3 because employers can be so hung up on specific softwares and ways of doing things. I once didn’t make it past a phone screen because of my limited experience in Access–even though I use Microsoft SQL Server (a *more* complex database program) every day and know I could pick up Access quickly. So I spent an hour going over Access with a coworker and now put Access proficiency on my resume since it’s such a common program. I don’t feel great about it but it is what it is.

  20. Sara, A Lurker*

    Good luck, OP #5! I hope your nonprofit’s structure has room to accommodate the bonus. When I worked for a small division of an extremely large nonprofit, I had a similar circumstance–planned to cover two vacant positions in my department for two months, ended up covering them both for four–and the nonprofit refused my manager’s request to offer me a bonus for the long period of extra responsibility. However, because of the timing, they told her to offer me a higher-than-usual annual raise. (This in fact wasn’t a compromise on the part of our employer; they annually allotted my manager x% departmental salary increases to divide amongst the department, and when there were two vacant positions, of course there was a higher percentage available to me.) That would have been cool if I hadn’t already been planning on leaving.

  21. cncx*

    Re OP4, the OP should also be prepared that the person doesn’t want to leave their position after six months. This happened with a coworker of mine- his boss moved to a place, had a position that would have been a great fit, but the coworker said no because they didn’t want to job hop. The position came back open like two years later, so they were asked again, and this time they were ready to change positions. So my second point would be, keep this person in mind a couple years down the road if they say no now.

    1. Conflicted*

      Thanks, @cncx. I just learned that the position open at my new association stays filled for only 6-18 months. People rotate through that position a bit, usually because they are promoted internally. I’m leaning toward keeping my mouth shut and waiting until it opens the next time.

  22. Trout 'Waver*

    Op#2, I’ve got a different take on what’s going on. Based on your letter, either the other manager’s team is coming to you with feedback about their manager, or you’re pulling it from them. Neither is appropriate. I’m sure your intentions are on the up-and-up, but the optics of what you’re doing is not the best.

    If you flipped the situation around, how would it look? Let’s say someone who actively disliked you was having hushed conversations with your team. In those conversations, they were complaining about your behavior. What would you think?

    1. Important Moi*

      Talking about work, which OP stated in their letter, does not equal complaining about behavior.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        From the letter: “I hear back about this from his staff, who are really uncomfortable with him demanding to know about our conversation.”

        1. serenity*

          That is different. They’re not fans on being grilled about their conversations with OP by their manager after the fact. That does not mean that those conversations are complaints, criticisms, or harangues about their boss to the OP. You are reaching.

          1. Trout 'Waver*

            We’re going to have to disagree then. Telling people you’re uncomfortable with your manager’s behavior is give feedback about your manager.

                1. serenity*

                  It wasn’t adversarial at all, and I’m not sure why you would leap to that. The OP wrote a comment in response to someone upthread, and it sheds a lot of light on the situation. I recommended that you read it. How is that adversarial?

    2. serenity*

      This is reading things into the letter that aren’t there, frankly.

      I see a lot of comments pushing back on OP describing her reaction as being “livid”, but it was clear from what she wrote that there were other problematic things about this former manager and for the sake of the letter she did not include them.

      Her reaction may be more heated than is warranted. But objectively speaking….what OP’s former manager is doing is not normal.

      1. Important Moi*

        You and I are in the minority today. At one point I was the employee whose boss wanted to know the contents of conversations. It was awkward and uncomfortable as my conversations were described as “close door meetings” and if only I would provided the exact contents all would be right with the world. The implication was that if I wouldn’t tell my boss the contents, I must have been talking about discontentment my boss, because what else there to talk about? My boss was out of line. I was frustrated and angry because I had no recourse.

    3. ZVA*

      Based on your letter, either the other manager’s team is coming to you with feedback about their manager, or you’re pulling it from them.

      Where are you seeing this in the letter? It seems like a pretty big leap to me. Maybe this is what the other manager is thinking, but there’s no way for us to know for sure… (And if it is what he’s thinking, Alison’s advice still applies, IMO.)

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        The other manager’s team is telling the OP and they’re uncomfortable with their manager’s behavior. You don’t see the issue there?

        1. serenity*

          Sorry, no, you are reading things that are not in the letter. We don’t know that the other team is bringing grievances or complaints about their manager to the OP, and it’s generally good practice on this site to not embellish or mischaracterize details in letters.

          1. Trout 'Waver*

            Those are literally the words the OP used. That their manager is making them uncomfortable is a grievance by itself.

    4. MyInnerDemonLikesCookies*

      Hi everyone,
      I left a response on the first thread commenting on OP #2, which was my question to Alison. Hopefully, this clears up a little about the situation. I have commented that “livid” probably wasn’t the right word — but I was really frustrated. The other person’s team was yes, coming to me with feedback about their manager — to tell me that even though I was asking them about their weekend/kids/etc (and not on work time), and not in a hushed conversation, they were then being grilled about what I was talking to them about. I have the same conversations, in the open, with people on other teams — the kind of Monday morning, how-you-doing kind of conversations a lot of people have. And, once these told me that they had been grilled about our conversations, all I did was thank them for letting me know, and apologize for putting them in that position. I didn’t discuss the other manager.
      I appreciate the feedback — and just feel that it might help if I leave a bit of clarification in comments, too.

      1. Important Moi*

        Thank you for responding and providing clarification. You verified I everything suspected.

        I stand by my assertion that your co-worker is out of line as a supervisor. Asking parties for the contents of personal conversation is not appropriate. There’s something very chattel like about that expectation.

        Your co-worker was also out of line for not approaching you directly, which I felt several commenters glossed over.

  23. heismanpat*

    #1 – most byod companies I’ve encountered will at least give you a stipend to purchase your own hardware and they’re generally very open about this. I’ve never encountered a company that required you to buy your own software…that’s absurd.

    This is not normal, but what’s worse is that they withheld information from you during interviews/negotiation. I’d be pissed and personally, it is something I’d leave a job over. That’s shady as hell.

  24. Hmmmmm*

    If the candidate in LW#1 seemed to know the answer after all, is it possible he had a brain fart and tried to play it off? I know that my biggest hurdle in job interviews is that my nerves can make me blank on questions I absolutely know the answer to.

      1. OP3*

        I guess that’s possible, but his response when I said “it’s written in your resume” was sort of surprised, like, huh, I wonder how that got there… I would have been totally fine if he has a better explanation like “oh, yeah, Model A. I know that’s what most people call it, but I usually call it Abracadabra so Model A didn’t ring a bell with me right away.”

  25. Tim C.*

    #5 – Been through this more than once. I was never compensated and learned as long as work is being finished, there is no incentive for management to hire a replacement. I am guessing you also are considered exempt and do not get overtime. What this amounts to is you are now working for free. In my situation, I should have pushed back from the start and let them know there are limits to my generosity. That dose not help you now. My best advice is to ask for the compensation as the job has changed. If this is not honored, let them know you will be searching elsewhere for more equitable work. But put a timeline on it and stick to it. If they will not pay you for your work, it lets you know how much they value it.

  26. Sled Dog Mama*

    Regarding #1- I am suddenly very, very glad I work in healthcare in the US. BYOD would never fly here because of all the privacy laws surrounding health information.

    1. TiffIf*

      Yeah I work in web applications used by the insurance industry–there are a LOT of data security things that are taken into account; no way would my company ever think of doing BYOD for computers. They do have an optional BYOD for phones.

  27. rory*

    #1: I’m guessing that the reason they didn’t tell you in advance is because they’ve lost people when they suddenly told them that at the interview or offer stage. So they wanted to “lock you in” first. So they know it’s bad, they know it’s something employees don’t want, and they’re doing it anyway. I’d be curious to know what other things they know are deal-breakers and not things employees want, that they shove onto them when it’s too late for you to make an informed decision.

  28. Lisa LongLastName*

    Regarding #3 — It’s been my experience that recruiters will change the candidates’ resume to be more specific to the job posting they are hoping to fill, such as adding keywords or copy-pasting requirements from the posting. Oh boy was I furious when I first discovered this, particularly since it was MY resume they had changed!

    I unfortunately do not have control over how we receive the resumes or over the recruiter’s initial screenings. I do have control over the questions I ask in the interview. I love asking competency-based questions, I’m intimately familiar with the skillsets required and can tell if someone is b-s’ing, and I like to end the interview with a boring “rate your skill level” matrix of programs/languages/skillsets. I’ll compare how they rate themselves to what I would rate them from their response to earlier questions.

    1. OP3*

      I’m sure that does happen, but he didn’t come to us through a recruiter. We did ask him about applications of the model/did role-playing and he performed well. Just an issue of not knowing the resume that he submitted!

  29. Shadow*

    #1. I’m guessing this company pays really low and has crap benefits too bc any company that can’t afford to provide you the basic tools to do your job has little regard for its employees.
    And any boss that fails to mention it in the interview probably did it intentionally bc so few people want to work for this type of company when given the choice

  30. Red lines with wine*

    #3 – I interviewed a guy who had no idea what was on his resume, and when asked, he could only answer, “I don’t know, that was so long ago.” The kicker for me was when he GRABBED a copy of his resume out of one of the other interviewer’s hands to look at it. I mean, whoa. Obviously we did not hire him.

    1. Amber Rose*


      I literally can’t comprehend this. I mean, for low level retail type jobs, maybe. I don’t think a single one of my managers when I was a teenager looked past the part of my resume with my name on it, if they even looked at it at all. But for skilled work, you have to assume they’re not just looking, but taking notes and thinking up questions.

  31. JustaCPA*

    OP1 Frankly, laptops are cheap enough at this point that I would just buy a “work” one. No way I would want my personal stuff on a work computer. Same thing for phones. If the company wanted me to have a phone, I would buy the cheapest flip phone and the cheapest plan. If they want me to have something nicer/ with more bells and whistles, they can pay for it.

    1. Morning Glory*

      The OP specified that the office requires Macs, not just any computer, as well as up to date Microsoft Suite. It’s only a 6 month contract, and from what the OP said in the comments, does not pay particularly well. I would personally not wish to spend $1,500 minimum out of pocket for something that ought to be a business expense.

    2. Naruto*

      Yeah, the problem is that they are requiring “something nicer/with more bells and whistles,” but they are not paying for it.

  32. ArtK*

    OP1 Since you are a contractor, I will disagree with Alison that this is a bad thing. My company was advised to do this with contractors since providing equipment had some employment implications. Since we were pre-IPO at the time, there was concern that the contractors would have some claim if/when there was money. I don’t know if our lawyers were just paranoid or this was good advice, but there it is.

    OP4 Alison is correct, provided you didn’t sign any kind of “no poaching” agreement when you left (or when you started, for that matter.) I’ve been subject to those restrictions before.

        1. OP #1*

          Yes, I am on a 6 month contract, as a probation type of thing. They told me this is done for all employees to test them out, then its a full time job offer if you don’t screw up enough…. I’m not doing anything specialized, its the same as everyone else my level

    1. Risha*

      This seems pretty paranoid of your lawyers. It is absolutely normal still for a company to provide everything a contractor needs to do their work. I’ve had 4 previous long term contracting jobs, in three different industries, two of which were companies with tens of thousands to a few hundred thousand employees. And all three provided all of the software and non-computer equipment I needed, and all but the last provided a desktop or laptop. And that one that was BYOC ended up giving me a company laptop anyway, four months in.

      (Or could it be that your company is shading the difference between employee and contractor a little too finely, so the equipment thing is just an attempt to push them into one category versus the other?)

      1. OP #1*

        Everyone, employees and those of us on contracts has to bring their own device. Definitely not a contractor in the true sense of the word. But unfortunately this is very very common in most industries where I live, almost everyone I know has gone through short/long term contracts instead of proper employment, as a means of avoiding paying benefits. I’m not in the US which is important

  33. Safely Retired*

    For #3, I have had the misfortune of having a headhunter change my resume before passing it along to the hiring company. If it happened to me, it could have happened to them.

    (No, I did not take it well, and I did not continue with that particular $#%*&# headhunter.)

  34. Noah*

    If you can’t afford Office Suite. Leave the job. Never keep a job that requires you to commit crimes to keep the job.

    Also: these expenses are tax deductible. I think it’s even a below the line deduction.

  35. Princess Cimorene*

    #1 – I have a feeling they “failed” to mention the computer issue until after you’ve accepted the offer and started your first day because they’ve rightfully so had others decline to accept the offer based on that information. They’ve since decided to stop telling people and let them show up (perhaps after leaving a prior job) and have to figure it out.

    I’m sorry, but personally, I would NOT be working at a place that I have to use my personal computer for work. I don’t even know if I would use my personal cell phone. It’s just not happening. It makes me question the financials of the company or how in-tune with whats acceptable in a work environment.

    You’re putting additional wear and tear on your computer and it doesn’t seem they plan to reimburse you for it. As a business they should have licenses to the software needed to conduct your job and the machines to do the work on.

    Because they don’t, that gives me pause. What is going to happen next? Your checks might not show up on time.

    This is crazy to me. I would consider looking into your options as far as leaving goes.

    1. OP #1*

      I’m definitely looking casually, but I am contracted until the end of the year. I’m also broke and in need of a job, and am newish to the workforce at a time when entry level jobs require 2+ years of experience, and this is a small, uber competitive industry. ERGH :( thank you though!

  36. Princess Cimorene*

    #3 – I wonder if the recruiter or someone changed their resume in order to get some people interviewed. It might not have been the candidates doing or to their knowledge that their resume was edited.

  37. Lady Tech*

    RE: OP #1 — this is such a bad business call for so many reasons that it’s baffling to me. The OP and Allison covered most of them, but I’d also mention that if your company works with people’s financial information or SSNs at all, or any information they expect to keep confidential for that matter, having employees use personal machines that are not managed by the company is a huge security risk. Decent computers are just not that huge of an expense for companies to justify all the downfalls of this policy. Most computer manufacturers have great discounts for enterprise purchasing and offer ways to help support offices with minimal IT staff when they experience technical issues. And the fact that they expect you to cover the expense of a Mac when you need the machine for web-based work and word processing is ridiculous.

    I hope they at least cover the cost of repairs if something happens to your personal (and now work) computer, but if they are willing to enforce such a crappy policy in the first place I sort of doubt it.

  38. Tech guy asking for OP1*


    There is much that is deeply concerning about your post and much that goes beyond red flags into serious fireworks in the sky:

    1. Not being told to bring your own device (BYOD) before first day of work.
    2. Being told it has to be a Mac.
    3. “Everything is internet based so no licensing issues, but they expect me to have a Mac (thankfully I do), and to have the full Office suite (I didn’t have the newest edition because I’m broke, had to illegally download the newest edition of Powerpoint to be able to do a part of my job). ”
    4. I believe you said you are entry level?
    5. Your job only requires you to do everything in the cloud, with the exception of Powerpoint?
    6. You cannot afford Powerpoint via Ofice 360, which is a monthly subscription? They cannot pay the small monthly fee?

    FLAG! “I was shocked when I came in on my first day and found that I don’t have a computer. I was expected to bring my own tech, yet no one told me in the interview, offer, or before I showed up for my first day.”

    FLAG! There are comments going back and forth in the comments as you mentioned you were contract, but you are actually on probation. The way you worded it is seriously concerning. “Yes, I am on a 6 month contract, as a probation type of thing.” That is an easy way for them to get rid of you. Your company is forcing you to put all of their faith in them without them doing the same for you.

    FLAG! Who is responsible for servicing your computer if there is an issue? If you are required to use it for work, does your company provide IT support?

    FLAG! While it is not exactly easy, your Mac can be wiped remotely. If they don’t want to go that far they can just keep rebooting it to make it essentially impossible for you to use until you take it off their network.

    FLAG! “Yeah- lets just say its definitely one of those glam industries that lots of people are trying to get into, but nothing tech-y. I don’t use much besides word, powerpoint and chrome at work.” None of these would require a Mac. In fact, all would work better on a Windows box. Word and .ppt and .pptx always seem to work better there. Chrome is OS-agnostic, as best as anything can be OS-agnostic.

    FLAG! You say none of these would require a Mac. Be very cautious about any boss that ties you to a specific application or OS when other and/or better options are available. I am leaning towards your boss being a “Macboi” and everyone has to fall in line. Interoperability between many operating systems is a thing. A good chunk of the internet runs on unix/linux.

    FLAG! You can also run a virtual instance of Macintosh virtually via Virtual Box or some such. There is *NO* need to pay extra for the hardware.

    I would run… as fast as I can.

    (disclaimer: I am a tech guy. I am not your tech guy. We are a Windows shop, so things will be completely different.)

    1. OP #1*

      Helpful yet very frightening. Thank you.

      I didn’t end up having to pirate powerpoint (not even tech savvy enough to do that lol), I was able to make my old (legally purchased) version of powerpoint work. Tiny company, no IT whatsoever, no clue what would happen, pretty sure it would be my problem to fix/pay for and make up for the time I missed while fixing it

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