I get cut out of the loop after introducing people, employers that want high school transcripts, and more

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

1. When I introduce my clients to my contacts, I get cut out of the loop

I have a client and it is my remit to make important introductions to him from my own personal and business network in order to help the success of the business we are both contracted to. I am paid by the business, not him, but I was hired directly by him.

What is annoying me is this: I make the introduction of my long-term friend and/or business contact, and they develop a close friendship/relationship which cuts me completely out of the picture and I am not included in any further socializing or business interactions after I have made the introduction.

I have repeatedly asked my client to at least include me in the email loop, but he refuses — almost to the point that I feel he is deliberately trying to annoy/upset me. I have also asked my own contacts to keep me in the loop, but they seem to one by one be turning against me as they develop their independent relationship with the client. This means I am left out in the cold by both parties, don’t know what is evolving from the introductions, and basically feel used and confused.

The closest simile I can make is it’s like I initiate a game of beachball, get together a group of friends, they all pass the ball to one another, but leave me out of the game and never pass to me. It’s infuriating and has literally made me feel ill … something that rarely ever happens to me.

The latest is that I have put into operation an exhibition with one of my contacts, at the request of my client, and (literally) within 10 minutes of everything being confirmed my client has said the business can’t afford to keep me on so my contract is finished. Basically, he has got as much as he thinks he can get from me, or the business can afford, so I am out. To say I am shocked is an understatement, and the scenario has led me to be angry with the client and also angry with my friends who have all gone completely over my head as (short term) it is more to their benefit to be friends with my client. They have all continued seeing him, socializing and organising events, while I am again left stranded as the boat sails off into the sunset without me. I am finding this all very hard to accept and of course never want for it to happen again. What do you suggest, other than to go away and do an even better job for a more considerate client elsewhere?

Well, the thing about making introductions is that people may hit it off and develop their own relationships totally separate from the ones they have with you. You can’t really insist, or even expect, that people will keep you forever looped into the conversations they have after you’ve introduced them. You don’t have dibs on the relationships in that way.

So I think the problem here is with the way you’re setting this up and expecting it to work. It’s not clear to me exactly what you’ve been hired to do, but if part of the job is making introductions, you probably need to accept that those relationships will function independently of you once they’re established. It might be that you want to charge more because of that, or even that you want to do less of it overall — but I’d work from the assumption that it’s going to happen if you connect people.

2. Employers who want high school transcripts

I recently applied for a job. I was employed for 31 years and retired at a high level in 2008. Received a political appointment that I worked until 2013. I received a bachelors with honors in 2004 and masters with honors in 2005 from Johns Hopkins University. Why are employers insisting on high school transcripts from more than 40 years ago, when an advanced degree is in evidence?

Lunacy.

You can try pushing back on it, saying something like, “My high school transcripts were from decades ago and I no longer have any way to access them. However, I have a bachelors and masters, both with honors, and a 31-year record of employment, which I hope can substitute.”

3. My employer wants to increase my work travel by 600%

I have been at my company for two years now. I have a good track record at this company and have received nothing but great feedback for my work. I try to always be a team player and have taken over duties for coworkers who have been on FMLA.

I am due to give birth to my first child soon and will be out on maternity leave for three months. My company is usually very family friendly (paid parental leave and everything). However, I’ve been thrown for a loop by my new boss. He’s actually my boss’ boss, and he has decided that all of a sudden I need to increase my travel by 600% after I get back from leave. When I started, it was with the understanding I’d be making one or two trips per year.

I do not want to be put in the position of leaving my infant daughter, but I don’t want to be considered a bad employee. I would be willing to do a couple trips after she’s at least six months old, and I have come up with some good alternatives to travel for some of the other trips. My question is, can I say no to the rest of the trips? If so, how do I go about doing that? I don’t want to worry about this during my entire leave, but it’s really stressing me out.

You can definitely try! You could say something like this: “This is a 600% increase in travel, which is significantly more than the one to two trips I signed on for when I took the job. I can do a couple of trips once my daughter is six months old, but I can’t travel before that — and I’m concerned about the proposed increase afterwards. Can we take another look at this and find an alternative?”

(Also, if there’s any reason to think that your travel load was increased because you had a child, it would be smart to talk to a lawyer for help, since you might be looking at illegal discrimination. I say “might” only because parental status isn’t a protected class at the federal level, but this type of thing can often be argued against as sex discrimination.)

4. Can I ask my manager to keep my resignation a secret until I’m gone?

I am very introverted. I hate, hate, HATE having attention focused on me. It makes me very self-conscious, I sweat, blush, stammer, etc. In a couple of instances I have even broken out in hives after the fact.

I have been with my current employer for a little over five years. When I started, the team was four people. Now, due to company growth, the team now numbers 14 people and it’s getting a bit much for me. The manager, Sansa, is not the one I originally started with, but she is overall a good manager and we get along well. She knows (as does the entire team) that I am very shy.

I have been job-hunting for a while and have been invited for a second interview with a position I am quite excited about. When people usually move on from the team, there’s a little “leaving do” where there’s a card, a cake, and a team-bought gift and the leaving person is expected to give a little speech about their time at the company and what they are moving on to, etc.

My issue is that I don’t want the leaving do. Ideally, I’d just like to avoid the whole thing, keep the fact I am leaving a secret and just not be there after I have seen out my termination period. Could you recommend how I can ask my manager to keep my leaving a secret so that I don’t have to deal with the whole leaving do situation?

(I would like to say that I have been recognised by my manager as a good worker, and I know I am well-liked within the team. The issue is not the team; it’s all me.)

It’s not really reasonable to ask that they keep your leaving a secret, because they need to be able to talk to people about plans for covering your work after you’re gone, transitioning your projects, people may need to get information from you before you go, and so forth. But you can definitely say that you’d prefer to skip the goodbye party. Try saying something like this to your manager: “I know we normally do a small party for people who are leaving, with cake a gift and so forth. I’d like to skip that in my case, since I really hate having attention focused on me. I hope that’s okay, and I’ll just say goodbye to people one on one.”

5. Listing a 20-day job on a resume

Should I list a short stint on my resume just to have that company listed?

To give background, I parted ways with Company A without a job lined up. Company B hired me for a temporary assignment. Then Company C offered me a permanent job.

Should I list Company B on my resume? I was only there for 20 days. I want to list it to show they gave me an opportunity and to lessen the gap on my resume from when I originally left Company A. But admittedly, I can’t speak to it very well and didn’t have a chance to do much.

Nope, skip Company B. The fact that they gave you an opportunity doesn’t really mean much as far as making you a stronger candidate to other employers, and it’s going to look odd that you’re listing a job you were only at for 20 days and, as you note, you didn’t have the chance to do much there so there’s nothing to list as far as accomplishments there.

{ 734 comments… read them below }

  1. AnonAndOn

    4. Keeping your resignation a secret isn’t possible. People will have to find out and are going to find out. It sounds like your issue is more about the going away party and less about letting people know when you leave. Follow Alison’s advice and ask your job not to throw you one. I’m introverted too and when I resigned from a job years ago I told them not to throw me a party. They respected my wishes.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Yeah, very much agreed. It’s also going to seem odd to people to try to keep a resignation secret, and it could unnecessarily create weird rumors / burn goodwill. I think emphasizing that you don’t want a big deal, yes you really mean you don’t want it, and you prefer speaking with people one-on-one, should hopefully be enough.

      1. Circus peanuts

        I agree. You wouldn’t want people to think that you were fired. Just ask for them to not give you a party. Best wishes for your new job.

      2. MK

        Apart from the fact that it would look suspicious, I would be hurt and insulted if a coworker of five years disappeared one day without saying goodbuy (or even sent a goodbuy email after the fact). And I would be slightly offened if a coworker of a few months had done it too. It feels like the workplace version of the 19th-century cut-direct, like refusing to acknowledge a professional relationship and its changing from coworkers to ex-coworkers/members of your network.

        OP, even if your manager agrees to your prefered method of leaving, take into account that behaving that way might change your coworkers’ perception of you. Not in a “This is a horrible person, I never want to work with her again” way, but in a “What on earth happened there” or “This person doesn’t value our professional relationship at all” way.

        1. Legal Beagle

          Yes, this is really important. I understand where the OP is coming from, but it will be damaging to professional relationships if she disappears without saying goodbye to coworkers.

          Don’t “ghost” your coworkers, OP! Say your individual goodbyes, let people wish you well, and (if appropriate for your work culture) send a brief, friendly update email to your former boss/coworkers once you’re settled in your new job.

        2. DivineMissL

          I agree with you, MK – part of the goodbye festivities is for the person leaving, and part is for those who are remaining. I have a hard time saying goodbye to people, not because I’m an introvert but because I cry at the drop of a hat; so I usually send a short email explaining that I’m a crier, and then say my goodbyes that way.

          OP, I’d suggest that you could send either individual or one general email, explaining that you are not good at goodbyes, prefer there to be no fuss, you’ve enjoyed working with them, yada yada yada – I would hope that they would respect your wishes.

    2. Ramona Flowers

      If it makes the OP this anxious, to the point of breaking out in hives, I’m not sure it’s introversion. It also sounds like they don’t actually have a job offer yet and are worrying about it before the fact. (Good luck on getting that offer.)

      1. Ramona Flowers

        PS that was a genuine good luck wish – bit worried it sounded sarcastic which it wasn’t meant to. I wish you the best of luck!

      2. Observer

        Yes, this sounds a lot more like social anxiety or something like that, than introversion.

        OP, I don’t want to diagnose since all we have is the one short message, and I’m not a professional anyway. But, please do consider that your reaction is so far out of the norm of “typical” introversion that if you haven’t done so, it might pay to talk to a mental health professional about it.

        1. Casual Reader

          Agreed, it seems to me from reading that you are leaving in part because the team # of 14 is too large to handle. This definitely sounds more like an anxiety disorder than shyness. I am an introvert, but it is different once I get to know other people. I am curious how Letter Writer would be if this 2nd interview is with a panel or group. If you cannot get through something such as this, I would suggest as the person above does to discuss this with a mental health professional.

    3. Ron McDon

      Funnily enough, this is something I’ve been thinking about recently.

      I feel it’s time to move on from my job, but one of the management team is a real extrovert, loves being the centre of attention, and cannot believe that anyone else genuinely doesn’t feel the same way (i.e. People ‘say’ that, but they must just be being self-deprecating and not saying what they ‘really’ want).

      My immediate boss left in November; she said she didn’t want any fuss, doesn’t like being the centre of attention, etc etc. This manager said ‘oh, I know she said that but she’s been here x years, we can’t let her go without a fuss’. I kept saying ‘we can, because that’s what she’s said she wants’ but no – we had a staff lunch party, and then a ‘surprise!’ meet up a few weeks later.

      So this made me think I’d like to leave ‘secretly’ and have it announced on the day I was leaving or something. I know this is not something employers are able to do, but I wish it were an option!

      I know I am very well-liked at work, and have been there about 8 years, so I am sure people would want to do something for me, but I would absolutely hate to be the focus of attention in that way. I just know that this manager would ride roughshod over my wishes because it doesn’t gel with her opinion of what she’d like in the same circumstances, which makes me very annoyed and anxious.

      I also thank MK for their comment, it had never occurred to me that it would be hurtful to me co-workers if I left without giving them a chance to say goodbye; it has made me realise it would be unkind, even though that’s not how it would be intended.

      So, no advice for OP I’m afraid, but lots and lots of sympathy.

        1. neverjaunty

          That’s not an extrovert, that’s just a jerk. “Other people have feelings different from mine? Why, that would make me less the center of the universe!”

        2. Detective Amy Santiago

          Part of being an adult is doing things you don’t necessary want to do or that make you uncomfortable.

          Like, who *wants* to go to a funeral? No one, but we all do it because it’s expected. The people in the comments are pointing out that simply disappearing from a job that you’re leaving on good terms is unusual and that it’s not a feasible solution to the LW’s problem.

      1. myswtghst

        For both you and the OP, I’d suggest enlisting coworkers, if at all possible, to try to help dissuade the boss (or any other party planners!). It might not work if they’re so completely lacking in awareness, but it could be helpful to have more than one person saying “hey, maybe let’s not?” and offering alternatives (cake on the desk, a card, etc…).

        When I left my last job (same company for 11 years, same boss/team for about 8 years), I was really proactive about letting people know in smaller meetings or one-on-one, and then quickly transitioning the conversation to “and here’s what I need to make sure you have before I leave…” so we could put the focus back on work (and off of me!). We had food in the area where my team sat during my last week so people could stop in at their convenience, and I got a card from my team, plus some really great emails from business partners, but no big party because they knew it wasn’t my style (I got married at the courthouse on a Monday and we didn’t tell anyone but our immediate family until afterwards, to give some context). I think it helped that I was really up front about my leaving, because it let me set the tone and leave the way I wanted to.

    4. Anonymous Pixie

      Agreed, they ought to be reasonable about this. Personal anecdote time! I was at a job for about five years, and by then my direct manager knew that I hated parties; when I left, they passed around a card, there was cake made available, but it wasn’t a “do” — that would have been as bad for me as it was for you. Suggest it, if your boss looks blank when you ask for no party? Sometimes having an alternate suggestion can help.

      1. Michaela T

        I had a coworker do similar years ago. Instead of the gathering part, she got a card placed on her desk, a cake placed in the communal area, and she sent out an email to say goodbye rather than standing in front of the group. I wasn’t privy to the conversation she had with the manager to set it up, but it did make her teammates feel like they were acknowledging her leaving without making her feel like the center of attention.

        1. Falling Diphthong

          Someone downthread suggested OP have a concrete plan for what people could do (e.g. a card and cake but no speech or gathering), and this is a good example of that.

        2. Anna

          It’s called the “cake and stare” at my last position (I’m with the same employer, but at a different office). Nobody really likes the stare part, but everyone is on board for the cake. It might not be as much of a torture for the other people attending, but it’s frequently not a favorite activity.

    5. Muriel Heslop

      We had an introvert leave just before the holiday and he came around to each of us to say good-bye and let us know that he didn’t want a party or ceremony. Everyone understood and we appreciated the chance to say good-bye. Unless you think your coworkers will be unreasonably weird about not giving you a party, I encourage you to be straightforward. Good luck!

    6. New Window

      OP 4, I can see how you’d be thinking about the what-ifs of when you leave Current Job, but in your letter you said that you’ve been invited to a second interview. It’s still uncertain whether you’ll be given an offer, and then whether the offer and benefits and all of that will be good enough to take. So, my main good wishes are that all of that goes well.

      I understand not wanting the big hullaballo around leaving, though, and when that time eventually comes I hope they respect your wishes. I can’t help but wonder, too, what strategies there might be to work on that dislike of attention so that at least you won’t break out in hives. That’s a pretty strong and pretty uncomfortable reaction to something that’s bound to happen in everyone’s life.

      1. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks

        @OP #4–Like everyone has said, keeping your resignation a secret is out of the question. When you get your new job, definitely notify your manager face to face. Then what you could do is send out an email to your team letting them know that you are leaving (and when) and also in the email, let them all know that you do not want a going away party. You said that your team knows that you are shy, so you could even put that in the email. It sounds like your manager and team would respect your wishes. (but do be prepared for the cake and card–that’s usually par for the course. LOL)

    7. AnotherJill

      I retired last May and specified that there be no celebrations. Previous resignations had resulted in long parties with bags of gifts, cakes, potlucks and much hullabaloo. I was asked several times if a party could be thrown and was polite and firm. At the last department meeting there was a cake with my name in the corner in tiny writing which was fine and everyone wished everyone else well.

      Just be clear that you want no party, perhaps bring in some treats on your last day, and hope that there aren’t any social oversteppers.

    8. Cassie the First

      In my dept of ~25 staff and 50 faculty, we just got an email in the morning that it was a staffer’s last day and there would be a brief farewell party in the afternoon. The staffer had worked in our dept for about 6 years and it’s quite possible she wanted to keep it low-key, avoid people stopping by to say goodbye, etc. However, management painted it as “yet another terrible staff member who resigned without giving 2 weeks’ notice”.

      I overheard one coworker asking her about the move about a week before, so I assume the staffer did give some notice. It would have been courteous for the dept to inform people ahead of time (in case there were any pending items), and if I were her, I probably would have sent my own email to everyone seeing that the dept wasn’t going to do it.

    9. Another idea

      I tend to deflect with humor so in this case I may say that I definitely do not want a party but if they so wish they can throw one once I am gone, whether in celebration or honor, their choice :P That makes it clear that you don’t want one but it’s not because of it being a party so much as you don’t the attention

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#1, it sounds like there’s all sorts of relationships falling onto each other, and your clients/friends see these relationships really differently than you do. I think it may make sense to significantly readjust your lens.

    I don’t think this is like you initiating a game of beachball and then no one passing you the ball. This is like you inviting a group of people to happy hour, and then after happy hour some of them grab coffee together or go to yoga together. Can you see how it could come across as controlling or strange to insist that people loop you in every time they decide to get together?

    For example, I routinely introduce friends to clients and vice-versa, but I have no expectation that they’ll keep me in the loop if they develop a business or social relationship. I’m happy to hang out socially if appropriate, but I certainly don’t demand that they cc me on their communications or planning. And unless someone really burns a bridge with me, I don’t take it personally if our professional relationship ends but they maintain social relationships with people they met through me. And of course, those relationships aren’t all equal to each other—even among my social/professional friends, those relationships ebb and flow in terms of “closeness.”

    I suspect that if you reframe how you’re interpreting this, you’ll be able to let go a little bit, your friends will stop pulling away from you, and you may find yourself included more often. But even if the last thing doesn’t happen, I think you’ll be happier if you initiate hang-outs with your friends and try not to be offended if they/clients don’t include you when they hang out without you.

    1. MerciMe

      I’m confused by the concept of this as a business model anyway. Is it’s a referral service or placement service, that seems like a one-time deal. If they think they have some additional value to add on an ongoing basis, what is it? Are they a wedding planner? Like, I’m struggling to understand why, having provided a solution, they feel there should be any ongoing relationship. Are there industries where this is a necessary role?

      1. Ramona Flowers

        I’m also really confused as you both work for the business but he’s also your client – is he paying you independently or is he your internal client?

        If you need to profit from introducing person A to business B then normally you’d either have them communicate through you or take a cut (like with recruitment). I really don’t get what’s happening here.

      2. Falling Diphthong

        Also confused on the business model. The social side sounds like a frequent problem people deal with–introducing two friends who hit it off and the introducer feels they should be included in everything. Adding the business model to it is perplexing.

      3. Turquoisecow

        This letter reminds me of a complaint of a relative of mine. He works as a broker, and in the past his clients would work with him in a long term relationship. A client who was selling a product would work through my relative to find a buyer, and all subsequent transactions would be filtered through the broker. Nowadays, the seller and buyer choose to work together without involving my relative, thus depriving him of money, but it makes perfect sense from the point of view of his clients, since why would they continue to pay a broker when they can buy directly from the seller?

        I don’t know if this is what the OP is talking about, but it would explain why there’s a confusion between OP and clients – OP is expecting a longer term relationship, and the clients are just expecting an introduction, after which they don’t need OP anymore.

        1. Bea

          I was so confused but now that you mention brokers it clicked. We had this issue in the lumber industry. Mills work through brokers and cutting them out lead to a huge meltdown. This sounds kind of the same only our brokers only ever accompanied their contacts, they’d lose their minds if someone got around them. We had brokers threatening each other at one point.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            If that’s the case, then OP is rightly upset to be cut out of the process. But the way OP is conceptualizing and describing the problem (e.g., “friend-stealing”) really obscures the underlying problem and makes it sound less serious than it is.

            Take the friendship out of it. Someone hired you to mine your book of business, you made introductions, then they tried to cut you out by working around you. The appropriate response is to treat the offending former client with the coldness of impeccable manners and to blackball/blacklist them from your future work. And it’s to tighten up your agreements and processes so that there are penalties for someone who tries to cut you out of future deals made by trading on your introduction.

            The whole “friend-stealing,” etc., makes OP’s problem seem petty, when what’s really going on is a huge breach of business/professional norms and etiquette. So give it a very specific and adult name—the client tried to steal OP’s book of business and then tried to cut OP out to avoid paying OP’s commission. I can understand why OP feels betrayed and hurt by the former client and by friends willing to conduct business with that person. But I think OP has to dial the emotion back and view the scenario with dispassionate ruthlessness.

            1. Turquoisecow

              Yeah, in the case of my relative I think it’s less a breach of etiquette and more of changing business norms. He admits that changing technologies (specifically communication related like email and such) are throwing him for a loop. It’s not simply one client that’s done this – it happens often. I’m not sure if there’s any sort of recourse for him as far as getting the clients to keep him involved. He’s a small business, and he doesn’t have any way to enforce penalties on clients for not keeping him around…especially if they’re not keeping him around.

              I obviously don’t know if this sort of thing applies to the OP, but I agree that getting emotion and “friendship” (whether or not that’s the right term) involved is obscuring the issue.

            2. Snark

              And, as part of that dispassionate ruthlessness, I think MNP needs to evalaute how much value they bring to the transaction beyond their contact list.

          2. Turquoisecow

            From what I understand from this relative, it’s a case of changing business norms – less companies, especially larger businesses, don’t see the point of keeping a broker involved, especially when he’s a small business and they can easily avoid paying him and deal directly – dealing direct is cheaper and more efficient.

            In my industry (retail merchandising), there are a number of smaller business who deal through brokers, because it’s easier for them than selling on their own. One broker may represent a number of small brands, which is easier for the merchandiser than having numerous representatives make sales calls with him.

            In my relative’s industry (commodities), it’s easier for large buyers to deal with large sellers or even smaller sellers directly and not bothering with brokers. I only have his perspective, obviously, but it seems like this is a changing industry norm in general.

            1. Lison

              In my industry it is pretty normal (I think) to have a non-compete arrangement with the broker. So the broker does the introduction and the supplier and the consumer can communicate directly if required but if any direct business deal is done cutting out the broker there are severe financial penalties for both to the broker to make up for them being bypassed.

        2. Thlayli

          I think the internet is cutting out the need for most broker type roles. Like with travel agents. If a significant amount of what you do can be replaced by sellers having a cheap website and buyers having google, your job is at risk.

      4. CAA

        It sounds like maybe some kind of arts group or non-profit that requires wealthy patrons/donors. Organization contracts with an “event planner” whose role is to setup events and cultivate connections between the org and the people who attend and sponsor the events. OP is hired by the org itself, but the person there who hired and managed his activities is the one he calls the client.

      5. LBK

        Count me in as another confused person. If the OP is basically a professional networker who makes introductions between (presumably important) contacts, why would you expect to continue to be involved in those relationships? Your role is establishing the connection, that’s what you’re being paid for. You’re not being paid to continue to be friends with them. A matchmaker doesn’t go on the dates with the people they set up, they’re just there to make the match.

        1. Specialk9

          That was my take as well. I think the friendships are suffering because OP has unusual expectations – going on dates with people they set up – and then is trying to enforce those unusual expectations in a deeply emotional way. OP, you don’t own anyone, but you’re acting like you do.

          After an introduction, I would expect to be on one mutual email – just enough to know both had read and responded – and then not be involved in any way.

          OP, if making intros is this fraught for you, it doesn’t sound like a good career path for you.

          1. MNP

            As I mentioned in another post, I have had the same career for many, many years and this is the first time the situation has reared it’s head – which is why I posted on this forum. All previous clients have understood, without it being pointed out, that after a high-level introduction – from which all parties will benefit – all involved parties should be kept in the email loop initially from both a courtesy and information point of view. We are not talking about ‘coffees after yoga’ or ‘drinks after work’, we are talking about major business and social introductions with a financial and social implication. As I wrote before, these introductions are only a part of my remit and I did not expect my address book to be hijacked by my client. Again, I did not write my friends ‘abandoned’ me or froze me out, I was writing that they were unaware that I was not being included by the client (see another post) and was being sidelined. I am not ‘needy’ and I am not known to be ‘abrasive’, otherwise, I would not be successful in my field. The responses I am getting here seem to be taking anything I write a little too ‘literally’… I have written LOL a couple of times as the responses themselves have been (perhaps unintentionally) hilarious…I am not intending to give more detail on what I do exactly but I can guarantee I am not in the mafia, a madam, an escort provider (again, LOL) or a caterer; these suggestions, and the rather passive/aggressive tone of some of the responses both to me (and also other queries in the original post), actually give more of an indication of the level of thinking of the responders – so this forum is clearly not my arena, therefore, finally: ‘Byeee!! Nice ‘meeting’ you all (and LOLLLL!!!) :-))

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              OP, I think you’re not getting the level of response you’re seeking because the original letter was not sufficiently clear for most readers (self included) to understand the nature of the relationships at play. You’ve written several long follow-ups that don’t add clarity about those relationships; you’re mostly repeating the same vague pronouncements in the original letter.

              People are asking questions because they’re trying to give you better feedback, but it seems like you’re reading those questions as passive aggressive or attacking. That’s truly not the culture at this site. Responding with “LOL” or other dismissive or rude responses is not going to improve the quality of responses to your situation.

              The commenters who have been able to identify the issue you’re concerned about (i.e., this is about a book of business or a broker-like relationship) are engendering thoughtful and helpful feedback for you. Perhaps you’ll be able to gather better feedback if you follow their lead.

              1. MNP

                Precisely…rather than get mortally offended at the suggestion I am operating in the mafia or the escort industry, I would rather respond with a lighthearted LOL (laugh out loud, which is what I actually did). I have already thanked those who have given thoughtful and considerate responses to a unique client situation without me having to add any more factual detail of the actual nature of my business. To these responders, I am grateful as it confirms in my mind that I am right to feel aggrieved about the situation and they have also given me excellent ideas on how to prevent a client taking advantage in the future…

                1. Courageous cat

                  LOLs don’t come off as lighthearted though in many situations, particularly in the comments you’re responding to. It comes off as sarcastic and sometimes aggressive. This is a very common aspect of tone on the internet.

                2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  I feel like you’re not hearing what I’m saying. But I’m not sure that it makes sense to continue, because it also sounds like you’re firmly committed to your position.

                3. Detective Amy Santiago

                  When multiple people misunderstand or misinterpret what you’re trying to say, it means you are not communicating very clearly. Perhaps this is part of the issue with your current professional situation.

            2. Candy

              “All previous clients have understood, without it being pointed out, that after a high-level introduction – from which all parties will benefit – all involved parties should be kept in the email loop initially from both a courtesy and information point of view.”

              Well, there’s your problem right there: “without it being pointed out”. The solution seems to be simple: Going forward you should point it out that all involved parties should be kept in the email loop initially and ensure it’s in writing so that all clients understand

              1. MNP

                Yes, and as I wrote in my original post, it was immediately pointed out to the client that he should copy me in just as soon as I realised I wasn’t being included, but he carried on neglecting to do so…

    2. PrincessPineapple

      I think we may be missing something here. It sounds like after OP makes the introduction to the client and the client and her friends develop a relationship – her friends stop speaking with her. She believes that the client is telling her friends things about her and now they longer want to be her friend OR business partner. OP?
      I worked with someone like this. She and I were friends but when I was moved to another office coworkers that had held me in high regard and didn’t know her suddenly stopped speaking to me. She did not get along with these people before I left and had never spoken to them. When I was reassigned back to her office, I noticed they were now extremely good friends and there seemed to be animosity towards me from those coworkers. My “friend” acted as if nothing was wrong. It didn’t affect my work – but I felt weird – like she told them bad things about me. One of the coworkers retired and I happened to run into them and decided to ask. My so called friend had told this person things that she and I had both said about them- but she made it seem like I was the only one saying it and in a negative way. I worked up the nerve to ask the other coworker and they indicated the same thing. This coworker was hesitant to believe her – but also hesitant to discuss with me. So maybe the OP is correct to be paranoid.

      1. Specialk9

        I suspected that the relationship got strained because the OP kept trying to insert themselves into, and control, the new relationships. And all with a highly charged emotional vibe leaking through (because it be always leaks through). I’d find that straining too.

        1. Hmmmmmm

          Someone upthread mentioned the role might be a type of broker or the OP is modelling their expectations on being a “middle-man” in an industry that no longer needs middle-men. I once worked for a very old institution and was basically stalked by third-party sales reps that I did not need at all for anything. I’m sure there is at least one dude out there who sees me as someone who “ruined their relationships” and cut them out of a business when in reality there was no contract and the extent of the relationship was a vague notion of him being a person you call to get things that was passed down as procedure until it didn’t make sense anymore.

        2. MNP

          The relationship with my client got strained as HE was the one trying to control and insert himself into my already very well established relationships and cut me out of the picture. Some rather more perceptive posters have recognised that from my original query and have responded with excellent suggestions on how to deal with the situation…

            1. MNP

              Rude…? I repeat, some responses have given me great advice and didn’t require additional information to do so. They are clearly intelligent and perceptive and clarifying that is not being rude.

              1. LBK

                Oh come on, this comment is blatantly rude since it implies people who couldn’t understand you are not intelligent or perceptive. Maybe you’re not as wonderful at communicating as you think you are if you don’t understand the implications of what you’re say – or, more likely, you understand perfectly what you’re saying and you’re feigning ignorance of it. We may be stupid but we still know how to read between the lines. It sounds like you’re in a Real Housewives world that’s obsessed with social status, knowing unspoken rules and substituting fake politeness for genuine respect, so that kind of plausibly deniable insult doesn’t surprise me coming from you.

                You’ve said over and over that you got your advice, so maybe it is time for you to follow through on your promise to stop commenting since the things you’re saying are really not in line with how we talk around here – it’s really annoying when people don’t understand the norms of a culture, as I’m sure you can appreciate.

                1. Specialk9

                  It is all very reminiscent of a toxic former friend who was deliberately vicious but careful about exact wording so she could have playtime deniability (what? All I SAID was…), and the only thing that ever worked was to cut her out of my life.

                  Oh, and my gaslighting ex.

                  Good company, here.

              2. PiggyStardust

                I’ve been in a similar situation, MNP. I worked for a yearly niche event (think ComicCon-esque), and there was going to be a very similar, much larger event in the same town at the same time. I had a friend over at the other event, so I used my connection there to negotiate some benefits for us. We were the smaller show, and we were able to get some free advertising and other cross-promotion.

                The shitty side of it is that after my “use” was finished, I was excluded from future activities related to it. There were networking lunches and other things that I wasn’t invited to, and I thought it sucked because I wasn’t able to make those new connections or have any further input. I worked magic and charmed the pants off our competitor, but I felt like I got screwed in the end.

              3. Katherine

                Anyone who doesn’t understand your very vague and unwieldy letter is automatically neither intelligent nor perceptive…. you think it’s more likely that ALL these commenters plus Alison are stupid than that you are a poor communicator….. Yeah, MNP, it truly is a mystery why you struggle to keep friends.

            2. Hmmmmm

              These comments also remind me a lot of older brokers who lose their minds because “the rules” of sales and relationship management have changed to the point that they require a completely different skillset.

          1. PiggyStardust

            I’ve worked in entertainment and it sounds like you’re in a similar field, since the original letter mentioned an exhibition.

            Example: If your client is an artist, and your friend is an expert framer. You connect your artist client to your friend to get his artwork framed. Now your client is going to use your friend to get all his artwork framed, and they have developed a social/professional relationship. Your client ended your contract with him, but now your friend gets to go to his big gallery opening and you weren’t invited. It sucks for you, because there are going to be other artists there that could be beneficial for you to meet, but you’re losing the opportunity. It also sucks because now your friend gets to go to all of these exclusive events, and you’re left out.

            IF that’s the case, I can see why it sucks for you. I’m not sure if your entire industry is cutthroat, but it may benefit you in the future to include a clause in your business contracts. I’d also reconsider who you consider “friends” among your business contacts — your “friend” should understand how your business works and I’m surprised they didn’t advocate for you to be included in things. It’s not just your client that is at fault, but your contact who ultimately jumped ship when they found something more appealing.

            1. LBK

              I totally agree with that last paragraph. You can write off this client as just being a jerk, but I’m side-eyeing your long-time contacts a lot more who just happily played along with him excluding you if they knew that wasn’t normal.

            2. nonegiven

              Sounds like they’re cutting OP out of a commission or something. Maybe contracts with the contacts and the contract for the client needs to be rewritten.

      2. MNP

        I don’t think my client is badmouthing me to my friends and contacts…they wouldn’t accept it as they have all known me for years. I just think he’s trying to cultivate them for himself at my exclusion…which is absolutely contrary to the unwritten guidelines of what I do/courtesy/protocol

        1. ClownBaby

          Well there’s your problem. “Unwritten.” Write down your guidelines next time and blacklist any clients who don’t follow them.

          1. MNP

            I shall…to this point in my long and successful career I haven’t had to as there is normally a complete understanding of the ‘unwritten’ rules of business and socialising. This client has basically trodden all over them in hob nailed boots.

            1. The Consultant

              I mean this in the most constructive way possible, but I have encountered many people in my (long and successful, but I would not bring that up over and over again in regular conversation) career who come across as abrasive and arrogant like you come across here. I also know that people intentionally avoid those people and leave them out of things unless they’re absolutely necessary. This may seem harsh but you might want to reevaluate how you may be perceived. It’s much easier to make people want to include you than to try to force them to include you.

          2. eplawyer

            This is excellent advice. As noted elsewhere, make your expectations clear in the original contract. This is good advice for ANYONE in a freelance/contract position. Get a good contract upfront. Hire a lawyer to do it. It’s worth the expense.

    3. Hmmmmmm

      I’m curious if this person is a recruiter or in a similar role and was trying to talk around it. The best I can parse is that there is a business. OP was hired into a temporary contract based role. The person he is calling his client was a permanent employee of the business who was OP’s primary contact. OP was either hired to recruit new employees or to bring in investors/potential clients. OP completed the task they were hired for but is disappointed that the role was not expanded. The reason I thought recruiter is that I definitely had recruiters who got weirdly possessive in the past. Particularly when it comes not interacting with the company directly, particularly when the recruiter was hired for a limited capacity (like just doing an initial headhunting search) but convinced themselves it is a bigger opportunity than it was.

      1. Specialk9

        I thought you were making a gendered comment in an ube-polite way, then realized you meant the profession.

        1. SpaceySteph

          Hah! I almost wrote pimp, but that wouldn’t be in keeping with the referencing to LW’s as women unless specified.

          1. MNP

            Rude…I am wondering about the type of person who normally posts on this site. Is sex work always the natural conclusion? What I do is highly specialised consultancy but I’m not going to be baited into giving more detail for privacy reasons and because I have now received valuable advice from others here who work in a professional capacity ie law

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              Those comments seem pretty clearly meant to be humorous to me. (And there’s no need to shame sex workers, for that matter.)

              I’ve asked you to stop posting here because you’ve been repeatedly rude to people and you’ve ignored that (despite you saying repeatedly that you were done here), so I’m now blocking you from further comments.

              1. Louise

                Alison, thank you for everything you do to keep this community kind and non-judgmental, even when you’re on vacation!

              2. Esme Squalor

                Thanks, Alison! I was really surprised to come to the comments and see how combative this OP was being. Between the extreme vagueness of the original letter and the tone of the OP’s comments here, it certainly paints a picture of how miscommunication issues could be popping up in her professional life.

                1. Esme Squalor

                  You’re probably right! I tend to follow AMA’s convention of assuming femaleness unless indicated otherwise, but the OP could certainly be a guy. Not to gender stereotype here, but the thinned-skinned responses do remind me of specific men I’ve known.

      2. MNP

        Lol!!! Insulting and inaccurate. Others have already correctly diagnosed the issue from the original query and given worthy advice.

        1. SpaceySteph

          I’m sorry you found it to be insulting. It was meant as a lighthearted joke. We are only strangers on the internet, after all.

          1. Louise

            Also sex work is not insulting or embarrassing. I think if someone who worked as a madam came to this site asking for advice, we would all happily provide it without judgment.

            1. Specialk9

              Some of my favorite people have been sex workers at some point. It’s a larger field than people acknowledge, and to succeed in it one often needs brains, imagination, and people skills. Nuts to anyone trying to imply sex workers don’t deserve respect.

            2. FD

              Remember that fascinating interview with the person who was the receptionist for the brothel? All the interviews have been great but that one was amazing.

  3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#3, also parental status is protected in some states. I think it’s also fair to ask if he expects you to bring your infant child with you, just because it will highlight the lunacy of the proposal. Hopefully he’s just being absent-minded and not deliberately punitive.

    1. JamieS

      In what way is the request lunacy? It’s not ludicrous for the level of expected travel to change as long as it’s actually the result of the evolution of the job and they aren’t just sending her on bogus business trips out of spite. An employee who’s back from parental leave is 100% back and should be held to the same expectations as anyone else in that position would be. If the position has evolved to include more travel then if that’s an issue an alternate solution may be found in the short term but if the change is permanent then sounds like OP may need to consider if this is still a good fit since going from a trip every 6 months to every month is quite the leap.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I think it’s pretty insane to increase a position’s travel expectation from 1-2 trips per year to 10-12 trips/year without any explanation. Expecting even half of that travel to occur within the first 6 months of the birth of the employee’s child is not reasonable.

        A person can be 100% back at work without being expected to travel that extensively; indeed, that’s what OP’s job was like before she took leave. But it doesn’t sound like OP is being asked to be 100% back to the position she left—she’s coming back to a position that has new and burdensome expectations that were imposed during her leave.

        1. TravelMama

          The exaggerated framing of “600% increase” for 2 trips to 12 has me rolling my eyes a bit. That does seem like it could be a natural evolution in a role given projects or business conditions versus a major change in the role. I agree that OP is going to need to decide if that role will still work with her new lifestyle.

          That said, I was traveling regularly after I came back from maternity leave and it is totally possible with an involved partner.

          1. neverjaunty

            Going from 1-2 trips a year to a trip every month is a pretty big shift. And it doesn’t appear that the OP has been given an explanation as to why the sudden change which just so happens to coincide with family leave.

            1. Anony

              We don’t even know the length of the trips. An increase from 1-2 to 12 days may seem trivial, but what if each trip takes a week? Then we would be taking 7-14 going to 84. Regardless, her job is evolving in a way that she is not ok with and finds extra burdensome as a new parent. Describing it as a 600% increase, if that is an accurate reflection, is not really an exaggeration.

              1. Fiennes

                +1

                We also don’t know the distances involved. 12 trips to a city that’s an hour’s flight away =/= 12 overseas trips.

            2. Specialk9

              Yeah, it’s legit context, and be a big jump. Many of us, especially those with young kids, arrange our lives to not have a lot of travel. I’m giving this job side-eye.

              1. Samata

                Heck I don’t have kids and I don’t want to do a lot of travel for work.

                I had one job that sent me out on about 10-12 trips per year for an overnight. If they had increased it to same number of trips but 3 nights each I probably would have done it but not been thrilled at going from 10-12 nights a year to 30-36.

                I also had a job that only required overnight travel 2 times a year….but for 10 days at a time…well if they had told me they were upping me from 20 days to 90 per year I’d have said hell to the no. Even if it were a legit business reason.

                It’s the same % increase…context matters. And kids or no kids if the OP didn’t sign up for it I don’t know that the “suck it up” I keep seeing is appropriate advice.

            1. Brock

              Well, actually 2 -> 12 is a 500% increase, so 600% is a slight exaggeration (or, more likely, just a common mistake in this context).

              1. Mookie

                The LW is the first person to characterize it as a 600% increase. She said she’s used to 1 or 2 trips per year. A 500% increase of 1 trip would be 6 trips total, 600% is 7; a 500% increase of 2 trips would be 12, 600% is 14.

              2. Falling Diphthong

                A 600% increase on 1.5 trips per year is 9 new trips. Or, going from once or twice a year to almost monthly.

                The math is accurate, and these complaints that actual accurate numbers are Bad Things That Sound Big is really, really bizarre.

                1. Snark

                  I kind of get it. It doesn’t matter to me, particularly, but it does give the impression that she’s using the Big Numbers to Make Bad Things Seem Bigger. It feels like a framing that encourages a particular aghast and sympathetic response.

            2. Kate

              Maybe 5x-6x? “More than quadrupled”? I agree that a “600% increase” somehow evokes in my mind needing to be on the road weekly.

              It’s accurate, it just somehow seems extra dramatic.

              1. Susanne

                I agree – it’s dramatic. You could go from 1 trip to 2 and “they doubled my travel.” Anyway, I’m in a world where working mothers travel just like working fathers because that’s life.

                1. Millennial Lawyer

                  “That’s life” doesn’t cover the situation here. First, her boss might be hiking up the travel as a way to force her out for having a child – that IS possible, we don’t have all the facts to know for sure. Second, we do not know OP’s family or monetary situation. Not everyone can afford child care, and not everyone has a partner or parent available to babysit. Plus, not everyone wants to leave a baby under 6 months old for frequent work trips – older than 6 months is more understandable. It’s easier for some people to say “well that’s life!” than others.

                2. Mike C.

                  It’s a massive increase in travel. It’s the difference between “rare” to “regular”. If you didn’t sign up for that then it’s bullsh!t to have it thrown at you as a surprise.

              2. Grits McGee

                I feel like this is getting dangerously close to violating the “no nitpicking language” rule. It accurately describes OP’s situation, this isn’t the language that she’s using to make a case to her employer, and it reflects the increased burden these new travel requirements entail. Does it substantively change the advice or the situation to use percentages instead of figures? Does OP’s language choice in this instance really, actually matter?

                1. Kate

                  I pointed it out because i thought it was relevant in how the LW brings it up to her boss. Presenting it as “600%” Vs 5-6x or “more than quadrupled” or “dramatically increased” would go over better, in my opinion as a manager who manages many high-travel individuals.

                  It isn’t how the LW is presenting it to us- that’s up to her. But I’d recommend different language when bringing it up to her boss.

                2. Liane

                  Agreed, the nitpicking is getting out of hand and I’ve only read this far. What’s next? Someone calls out Alison for using “lunacy” because it might be hyperbole, and maybe even for violating her own No Internet Diagnoses rule?

                3. myswtghst

                  Thank you for this. One comment mentioning that OP might not want to use that language when discussing with the boss would be fine. This many comments nitpicking that it “feels dramatic” just seems way too close to calling a woman “hysterical” for my taste.

              3. Falling Diphthong

                I feel like “Your math is accurate, but you shouldn’t use accurate math because then the numbers feel big somehow” is some sort of bizarre extreme in nitpicking phrasing.

                1. Academic Addie

                  I wonder if people would be nitpicking someone who wasn’t a) a woman and b) an expectant mother this much. I noticed that the faith people had in my quantitative skills dropped off massively when I was hugely pregnant, and I’m a mathematical modeler by trade.

                  Something to consider ….

                2. LBK

                  FWIW, there is a psychological element to how you give a statistic. “50%,” “one out of every two” and “half” are all mathematically equivalent but can evoke different reactions. Ask anyone who’s ever had to write any kind of ad copy or other persuasive argument that involved numbers whether it matters how you phrase them. There’s a reason for that old saying, “There’s three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

                3. Falling Diphthong

                  LBK–If the advice were phrased strictly as “When you talk to your boss, use this phrasing–XX is accurate but it’s also going to evoke an emotional response that moves things the wrong way,” I’d get it. But the complaint is to how she phrased it in this letter, when it’s MATH. The numbers are a quantitative (and accurate) description of the proposed change.

                  It’s like someone wrote in that they’re being asked to take a pay cut of almost a third, and people called them a drama llama who should just say “30%” because “almost a third is so dramatic and exaggerating” when it is actual and literal.

                4. LBK

                  That’s what I’m saying though – the math is perfectly accurate either way, but that doesn’t stop people from perceiving it differently depending on you phrase it. Saying “600% more travel” does sound a little more dramatic than “travelling 14 times a year instead of 2” – in part because only giving a percent doesn’t give you an indication of what it’s 600% *of*, so it might be big in relative terms but in quantitative terms it’s not actually that big of a difference. You see this in reverse with food all the time – something advertised as “50% fewer calories!” when the original calorie count was already an entire day’s worth of calories, so 50% of that still isn’t exactly healthy. It’s not incorrect math but it is misleading.

                  All that being said, I do think travelling 12 times a year instead of 2 is a big deal, so in this case I’m not sure the phrasing matters. But I don’t agree with saying in general that it doesn’t matter how you phrase a statistic because it’s just math.

          2. Ramona Flowers

            Also, you don’t just need an involved partner. You also need:
            – a partner who doesn’t also need to travel for work
            – no other people who rely on you for help or care (eg a sick parent)
            – no medical commitments you’d struggle to miss out on that frequently
            – no medical problems that make travel difficult or expensive

            It’s a bit normative to assume everyone can do this no problem.

            1. Susanne

              That’s so not true. Plenty of dual career couples where both travel (or have commitments outside a typical 9-5, such as a doctor on call or a news reporter or a realtor). This is 2017, almost 2018. This is commonplace in professional circles. Let’s not act like being a working mother is some kind of crazy amazing feat.

              1. Kat M2

                Those dual career couples usually plan it that way though. I mean, if you do something like international relations, journalism, medicine, etc., you go into the field knowing that it’s going to involve X amount of travel, extra time commitments, etc. and you plan for that. Maybe you try to live close to your support systems, you put yourself in a place where you can hire a nanny, you have back up options, etc. Some actually might have one of the couple step back temporarily so they can be home more, then increase their workload when their child is older.

                That is a world of difference away from getting back from leave, potentially breastfeeding, and finding out that your work life is taking a drastic change that you would not have chosen and that would not only impact your home life but potentially your ability to arrange care for your child on short notice. And, I can’t say I blame parents for not wanting to miss out on their child’s life entirely.

                Yes, you’re right, it can be common in professional circles…….and yet, in those same circles, I saw a lot of my parenting and caregiving colleagues struggle with this quite a bit. Further, there are plenty of folks who end up having to turn down opportunities because of this. Yes, it may benefit them professionally in the long run, but if it’s not at all doable in the short term, then the long term doesn’t matter.

                1. Anony

                  I think that the planning is the key part here. Many couples make it work, but they generally make a conscious decision that one or both will travel for work and figure out how to make sure that any kids are taken care of before having kids or taking that job. The OP wasn’t given that choice so it makes perfect sense that she would be stressed out at the sudden, unexpected logistical challenge. Especially since it is coming at a high stress time.

                2. blackcat

                  Right, Anony. Two of my friends both have travel-heavy jobs. They have two kiddos. They manage because both jobs are relatively flexible with hours and allow some work to be done from home (both often work after kiddos are asleep). Also, the wife has a job where she generally knows about travel 4-6 months ahead of time (sometimes as much as a year), so it is easy for the husband to put in blackout dates on travel when his wife will also be gone.

                  And you know what? BOTH of them refused to travel at all in the 4-6 months following the births of their kids. AND IT WASN’T A BIG DEAL. Because both of them have (mostly) reasonable bosses.

                  Yes, there are couples that make it work, but it takes a lot of planning and coordinating. And, for those couples, a sudden change in job requirements re: travel (such as my female friend having to do short notice trips or the male friend not having his blackout dates respected) would force them to quit their jobs.

              2. Ramona Flowers

                I can’t have children, but I am from a couple where both of us need to travel for work (him more than me) and for various reasons it’s hard enough as it is. Some things aren’t easy for everyone – and that won’t change just because you say so.

              3. Observer

                No one is claiming that being part of a dual working couple is a big feat. But that’s a far cry from both doing a lot of traveling. And those that DO do that, generally plan for that in a lot of different ways.

                And, let’s be real. It’s 2018, just about, but that still doesn’t change the basic reality that there are some significant specific downsides for a woman to travel away from her child in the first 6 months to a year.

              4. Academic Addie

                > Let’s not act like being a working mother is some kind of crazy amazing feat.

                No one is. But as a working mother of young children in OP’s higher side of work travel, it’s not without challenges. Especially if she plans to breastfeed. It’s not just the issues that Ramona brings up – I typically do day care pick up because day care is right by my work, and my husband might be officing out of anywhere in a one-hour radius of our home. He has to do significant shuffling whenever I’m away.

                You’re right that this is commonplace. It’s also completely fair to have serious reservations about how this will work for you, and if it even can. If I were OP, I’d be asking seriously if this action is punitive because it’s such a huge change that will occur in a really chaotic time.

            2. CMFDF

              My husband doesn’t love my job (I make decent money, but it’s for a school district, so I’m only paid 10 months of the year), but I have a job with fair leave and very specific hours. So when he shows up at work and they tell him they’ve booked him on a flight in 3 hours and he’ll be back tomorrow morning, it doesn’t completely destroy our family trying to figure out who will pick up our baby from daycare, etc. (Also, his job sucks and shouldn’t require no-notice travel, it is literally never an emergency, but it pays the bills, so for now we will continue to make it work.) But the job he has right now, he couldn’t possibly do if I worked a second job or had longer hours.

            3. Observer

              Actually, it’s actually not normative to assume that people can do this, because it’s NOT a “norm” that everyone but single parents of a newborn can do this. Also, “doable” and SHOULD be done are not the same.

              Now, if the OP had taken the job knowing about this kind of travel requirement, that would be a moot point to some extent. But this is change from even a few months ago, not even from when she took the job.

              1. Falling Diphthong

                Yes. It’s required for some jobs. But it’s really, really normal for parents of pre-driving children to work out their jobs so they don’t both have last minute business travel, or non-negotiable business travel.

              2. ainomiaka

                yeah, the sudden change is what’s really throwing me here. It’d be one thing if this had been advertised as a travel heavy job.

            4. ket

              You also need no mastitis! I have travelled with baby and partner, no problem, for work, for weeks at a time, at 2 months and at 4 months. I took one short trip without baby at 4 months and ended up sobbing in the security line on the way back, with a fever and breast pain, because pumping just wasn’t clearing things the same way as baby. There are physical ramifications to travel immediately birth that there just aren’t at other times, and they’ll be different for every woman.

              1. Specialk9

                Oh gosh yes. (Mastitis is when the milk ducts get clogged, for anyone who doesn’t know.) And it’s not just excruciating pain, but also fever and chills.

                1. A Non E. Mouse

                  And MUST be treated properly, immediately. It’s not something you could wait out if you noticed it your first day of a seven-day business trip – my doctor had me come in mere *hours* into my symptoms starting, and a nurse called precisely 24 hours later to make sure it hadn’t gotten worse, that I’d filled and was taking the medicine, that I’d been seen by the lactation consultant – and I didn’t get it until I had my third kid!

                  6 to 8 weeks maternity leave really only covers the immediate physical recovery needs of a new mother…things are wonky as shit for a year or so.

          3. Mookie

            That does seem like it could be a natural evolution in a role given projects or business conditions versus a major change in the role.

            The LW is in the best position to evaluate that as a possibility, and she appears to think this is an unexpected, not inevitable, change.

            That said, I was traveling regularly after I came back from maternity leave and it is totally possible with an involved partner.

            It’s not possible or desirable for the LW at this time.

            1. Liane

              The fact that this is coming from a *new boss*, boss’s boss rather, per OP, makes Mookie’s first point very likely to be spot-on.

            2. myswtghst

              Yes, thank you. In my last job, the travel did evolve from occasional trips to one location, to much more frequent travel to many more locations, including abroad. But it evolved incrementally over time, and it was something my boss and I discussed frequently along the way to ensure it was the right thing to do. There were absolutely times when we reviewed my travel schedule and the business needs to determine that a trip was unnecessary, as well.

              It’s certainly possible that it does make sense for the business, but it is a big ask of any employee, especially one coming back from any sort of leave, to increase their travel that much that quickly, and it’s reasonable for an employee to push back.

          4. Czhorat

            My wife and I are both involved parents. She works mostly in the evening, I have a more traditional schedule. When I was commuting she’d get the kids off to school, I’d feed them dinner. One of us traveling would be a serious disruption requiring either that the other either take time off or an expense in child care.

            It might work for your life. That isn’t everyone. I’m kind of shocked by the number of commenters thinking that the OP shouldn’t care about this.

            1. JamieS

              So then you’ll need to hire childcare if an alternate solution can’t be found. That’s part of the cost of having a child.

              1. Czhorat

                What’s your point?

                I don’t know about you, but when I take a job it’s with expectations as to the duties, pay, work hours, and working conditions. If they make a change which makes life worse that isn’t OK with me.

                If newly added regular travel requires hiring child care that is, in addition to the loss of family time, the equivalent of a pay cut.

                1. JamieS

                  My point is difficulty isn’t a be all end all excuse for not performing expected job duties even if the duties are new. If alternate solutions aren’t possible then sacrifices (such as paying for child care) may occasionally be necessary. We can’t just take the position if ‘oh this is inconvenient so I should be excused from doing it regardless if feasibility.

                  Expecting your job to be forever static with no changes isn’t realistic.

              2. Colette

                So if you were hired for a job that didn’t require a car, and then a year in they announced you needed to buy a car to keep your job, would that be OK?

                What about if they announced they were giving you a 10% pay cut? Would that be OK?

                1. JamieS

                  Not equivalent. That would require a massive expenditure on my part that’s not reasonable. Expecting a parent to occasionally pay for child care isn’t unreasonable but expecting someone to spend thousands on a car is not.

                  However, yes if the role has legitimately changed so a car is now necessary then I’d consider whether the job is still a good fit for me and move on if not.

                  This isn’t a pay cut. Personal changes in your life that come with additional expenses isn’t your employers problem. The only concern is whether it not their expectations are reasonable and yes job travel and expecting parents to make arrangements for their child is reasonable.

                2. Colette

                  But she’s not complaining about needing childcare for the job she accepted – the job has changed in a way that makes it much more expensive to do (if her only objection is the cost, which it may not be).

              3. always in email jail

                Childcare is very expensive. I use daycare (so no in-home help that could help with travel arrangements) and spend $12K a year, for a child in public school (so this is just before/after school care and summer care).
                An infant in my area would run $17K/year.
                So, say they already spend $20K-$30K a year in child care and are now expected to add in a nanny or overnight help, that may be a decision where it makes sense for OP to have to leave her job. And maybe before leaving her job OP wants to talk it over with the company to see if there’s another solution. Makes sense to me and is completely reasonable.

                1. JamieS

                  Yes it’s expensive. Nobody’s denying that. However those expenses are also part of choosing to have a child.

              4. Millennial Lawyer

                That is not an affordable option for most working people. And not everyone has a parent or close relative able to babysit.

                1. JamieS

                  If occasionally paying for a babysitter isn’t feasible then it’s probably not feasible to have a child in the first place but that’s not really my concern. Regardless that’s not anyone else’s problem but the parents. Expecting employees to make arrangements for their child isn’t some crazy unreasonable expectation.

                2. Millennial Lawyer

                  JamieS – from the sounds of OP’s comments, “occasionally” would not be a problem, she’s asked to travel very frequently. I am assuming you do not live in a high cost area of living where child care is extremely expensive, even for upper middle class working parents. Surely you do not mean to suggest that only the wealthy should have children?

                3. JamieS

                  Millennial Lawyer, by OP’s letter she’s now travelling once or twice a year and that’ll be increased 6 times (well I think technically 5 times but we know what she means) making it once every month or two on average. Considering the frequency a baby needs to be cared for (24/7), if hired childcare is necessary during those times, I’d consider once every month or two to be occasional.

                  No I’m not implying only the wealthy should have children. If that’s what I meant I would have just blatantly said it since I don’t really imply things I just say them. My point was that the cost of the child as a result of the additional travel, to be clear I’m only talking about the code as a result of that not the entire cost of childcare, is minimal compared to the overall cost of having a child so saying it’s not an affordable option is moot because if it’s not then that person is in a general position of child related expenses not being affordable.

                  As to your question about childcare cost in my area, I assume it’s lower than childcare in let’s say NYC but the average wage is also lower so the percentage of income going to childcare is probably pretty close on average. That’s just my guess though since I don’t have kids and the only person who’s told me what they spend said it cost them $300/week but I think that’s on the pretty high end of the scale.

              5. Turtle Candle

                Or negotiate. Or find another job. There are plenty of jobs that don’t require monthly travel, and I find the suggestion that the LW should just suck it up and assume this is necessary/universal a bit odd.

              1. Mike C.

                Many comment have been incredibly dismissive at the external costs of having to travel for work. Not to mention the nitpicking over “600%”.

                1. just another day

                  I don’t think the “suck it up” comments mean to say that OP shouldn’t care about the change. Of course the change sucks and OP cares about the adverse impact on her life and the timing, but this kind of change happens and OP needs to decide whether to go with it (after trying to negotiate) or move on.

        2. JamieS

          By 100% back I mean they shouldn’t have any different considerations than any other employee doing the same job. If OP would’ve been expected to increase her travel had she not had a child then those expectations shouldn’t automatically change just because she had a baby. Her parental status and age of child should have zero bearing on her expected job duties unless she indicates there’s some sort of issue.

          Think of it this way. If coworkers doing the same job as OP started travelling more but OP wasn’t and she wrote in about being treated differently because she’s a new mom would you say the boss is right because new mothers can’t be expected to travel? I’m just going to assume the answer is no.

          As for a reason for the change, we don’t know if there has been or will be an explanation given nor do we know if the reason is valid. We only know the job expectations have changed which isn’t inherently unusual since roles change, sometimes dramatically, as business demands change.

          1. Em Too

            But good employers want to have happy staff. If someone prefers not to travel because they have a baby, or fear flying, or would hate to miss their book group that week, then it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that the employer will try to accommodate if possible. Particularly when the travel requirements have suddenly increased.

            1. Susanne

              No, it’s NOT perfectly reasonable to accommodate the employee who “doesn’t want to miss book club.” Our clients paid us to lead workshops all over the world. That was our product. Do you think they care one bit about Wakeen’s book club? What a trivial example.

              1. Katniss

                You realize you and the OP don’t have the same job, right?

                Why are you so invested and defensive that this OP doesn’t wish to see a huge increase in travel for her job?

                1. Specialk9

                  Exactly. The OP had her job change and it was unexpected and unwelcome, and to many of us it smacks of trying to run out a woman for having a child. Susanne is being dismissive and weirdly aggressive. There is clearly something in your own personal situation that is paralleling something in this story.

              2. Em Too

                I didn’t say the employer *must* accommodate. I said a good employer will *try* to. The triviality was intentional – they don’t care about a book club but they may care about a happy employee.

              3. London Grammar

                You’re making this about YOUR workplace and the travel expectations involved in working there. Someone taking a job at your workplace would have to accept that travelling is a major part of the job, from the outset.

                This is different from the situation that the OP has written in about. Where travelling was expected 1-2 times per year, but the expectation is increasing to around once per month. Even without a change of personal circumstances, many people would baulk at the increase in travel expectations.

                1. eplawyer

                  This, take the baby out of it. She was traveling once every 6 months. Now all of a sudden, her boss’ boss tells her she will be traveling every month. That’s a HUGE change that not many people would like. You sign up for a job and then it changes. We see it all the time here. You can push back and see what happens. Or you can find another job that does not involve that much travel.

                2. LQ

                  ^^^ this
                  I am single, live alone, don’t have pets or plants or book clubs. And –I– would totally balk at being expected to suddenly shift from traveling twice a year to traveling monthly. This is a significant shift in job duties.

                  If I’d signed onto a job that traveled monthly and they expected me to travel monthly it would be entirely reasonable to be expected to travel monthly.
                  But if I’d signed onto a job that required nearly no sales and suddenly became a quarter cold call sales I’d be shocked too.
                  If I was valuable I’d push back, see what I could do because that was a serious change in job duties. If they didn’t change their direction I’d seriously consider leaving.
                  (And if they made that change after it was clear I was a protected class I’d raise all my eyebrows about it.)

              4. MK

                Do you realize that the OP at least till recently didn’t have clients all over the world that required constant travel? If you take a job like yours, of course you shouldn’t complain about the travel, as long as the employer was upfront with you when hired. This is a job that required minimum travel that has suddenly increased to a ridiculous degree. That either means a significant change in the company’s operations or the boss being unreasonable. An accommodation might not make sense, but the OP has every right to question the decision.

                1. Susanne

                  You all are right. I was unduly harsh and unempathetic in my comments. I apologize to the OP and to the rest of you. Peace?

          2. Bookworm

            Parenting aside, I think a lot of people are reacting to the sizable increase in travel without a lot of discussion with the employees.

            Some people love or easily manage work trips. But for a lot of people, they’re really difficult. OP is going from 2 trips a year to 1 a month and it’s understanble that she wants some time to get her life situated before she makes that change. I think a lot of people would understand that even if she wasn’t a parent.

            1. Susanne

              I don’t. I hate people who are dramatic over business travel. You get to the airport, you get on a plane, you rent a car or take a cab at the other end, you conduct your business, sleep in a hotel and then fly back. It’s just no big deal. Companies manage to hire fresh college grads who are capable of this.

              1. Bookworm

                I think it’s less the grabbing a cab aspect and more the missing out on life at home aspect. Most people want to spend their evenings and nights in their own home and their own bed.

                Travel is an expectation in many roles, that’s true, but generally that’s established during the interviewing process, and people who aren’t interested are able to opt out.

              2. Czhorat

                And you don’t eat dinner with your spouse. Or tuck your kids in at night. Or have an hour for one of your home improvement projects, or a meeting with your book club. Or any of the other things people do when they aren’t at work.

                It’s a personal choice; I’d not want a job with the expectation of travel every few weeks (mostly for the with my wife and kids), though I understand that she people have different lives than me and works be ok with it. I certainly understand the difference between “two trips a year” and “one trip a month”.

                1. Katniss

                  Seriously. I dont have kids but I wouldn’t accept a job that required me to travel more than once or twice a year and would leave a job that suddenly expected that of me. There’s a reason I like being at home.

                2. Turtle Candle

                  Right. It’s sort of like if someone said “I was hired to be a technical writer but now they’re asking me to lay tiles three days a month too.” Plenty of people lay tiles. It’s a learnable skill. It’s not inherently immoral or demeaning or anything. It’s totally legal to change the terms on me like that. And unlike travel, it doesn’t require me to make arrangements for household maintenance/pet care/whatever.

                  But I’d still go “wait what?” And “this is not the job I signed up for.” And “I’m gonna push back, because I want to write technical documentation, not lay tiles.”

                  I’d not want a job that required me to travel monthly any more than I’d want a job that required me to lay tiles monthly. And even apart from other considerations of logistics and convenience, that’s legit.

              3. Katniss

                Really? You hate them? That’s where you focus your angry energy? People who would rather not travel for work?

              4. Kat M2

                That’s…….quite a strong reaction.

                Also, not all college grads are capable. Disabilities and chronic illnesses are a thing among young people. Parents can’t always travel (sorry, but there are logistical difficulties with this, whether or not you want to acknowledge it), and not everyone WANTS a job that involves travel. Further, not every job requires it.

                I travel for work and for pleasure (I currently live overseas for work), but there are lots of logistics involved and it does wear people out. People don’t have to like it and it can be a major source of stress for them. It’s easy for you-you’re very lucky. But not everyone finds it that way.

                1. Specialk9

                  I hate people who hate people who hate travel. Wait, hold on…

                  But seriously, I have travel. I’m an introvert, I’ve built a life that works for me, and I wouldn’t be pleased by someone deciding they could arbitrarily rearrange my life without reason. Fortunately I’m an accomplished professional, so I could just leave, or look at legal action if it seemed like gender discrimination. So, ya know, there’s that.

              5. MK

                Quite apart from the fact that you left out a huge part of what travel entails (packing appropriate clothes while staying within the airlines weight limits, checking traffic to know when to call the cab, spending hours uselessle on airports waiting for connecting or delayed flights, making sure your home runs smoothly while you are gone, shopping groceries with your absence in kind, accessing your chores into the few afternoons when you are home,etc), changing the terms of the job for the worst is not a non-issue that the OP will have to just suck up.

                No one is saying work travel is difficult to figure out. But even the very abbreviated version you describe requires time and energy that people generally aren’t expected to expend after hours for work and many don’t want to.

              6. Ramona Flowers

                You hate people who find something more difficult than you do?

                FYI half the things you just listed are not easy or simple for me for medical reasons and I’m not a college grad but an accomplished professional.

                I’m glad my boss doesn’t think like you. If I’m going to start hating people I might start with those who display no empathy for others.

              7. a different Vicki

                That’s great for you; some people find travel physically and/or mentally stressful, even if they don’t have obligations at home that make it difficult. Air travel itself is problematic for a lot of people, everything from being tall enough that the seats are a problem, to being “randonly” selected for intrusive screening every time and possibly missing flights as a result. Nor do we know whether this is a company that allows enough time, or one that expects someone to fly back from a trip, land at 11 p.m., and be at work bright and ready at 8 the next morning.

                Yes, they “manage to hire fresh college grads who are capable of this”: that’s often by selecting for people who know up front that they will be traveling that much, and don’t apply for jobs that say “25% travel.” That doesn’t mean that everyone is capable of it. I’m fairly sure that just about everyone who reads this site, if they looked at a week’s worth of questions, would find at least one letter writer whose job they couldn’t do, for any number of reasons.

                Let’s take the LW at her word: she finds the idea of that much travel problematic. It’s not being “dramatic” to say “this would be a problem for me,” any more than it’s being “dramatic” for LW’s boss to say the company wants her to do more travel.

              8. Detective Amy Santiago

                This is incredibly ableist and dismissive to people who have physical or mental health concerns.

                1. Specialk9

                  Amen x1000! I have chronic health related joint and fatigue issues. I keep my stuff together for an 8 hour work day in my carefully managed environment, but I’ll be sobbing with exhaustion and pain with extensive work related travel, especially with work to do before or after. Ableist indeed.

                2. Samata

                  I think it’s dismissive in general, even to people who do not have physical or mental health concerns. What about those of us that just like enjoying time with family and doing things we enjoy at home?

              9. Now What

                It’s not being “dramatic” to say that this is not how you, personally, want to live your life.

                You seem weirdly (one might even say dramatically!) over-invested in this. This isn’t about you. No one is criticising your choices here. Maybe try to take a step back and acknowledge that what works for you is not, in fact, the only way to be. It’s ok if you made different choices to the OP. But this is about what works for them.

                1. JaneB

                  As a fresh college grad, I had no pets, my parents were healthy working adults, and I was myself healthy, young and keen to impress – a lot of travel was no problem. Twenty years later, I have an elderly pet and elderly infirm parents, multiple chronic health problems physical and mental, and it’s very clear that the only reward for doing a job well is extra work in my line of business – I’m much, much better at my job than that new grad, but I have less energy to put into it and a better sense of my own worth, and travel is harder than it was then (not to mention 20 years ago I I didn’t have to buy teeny tiny versions of everything toiletry wise and stand in lines for fecking ever and all that, because fewer people travelled and they t was pre9/11 and airport security hysteria.

              10. MCL

                I actually enjoy traveling for work, but I would also dislike this big increase. It would be a big change in my lifestyle. Also, 90% of my travel means driving, not flying, which I would not enjoy a big increase of. I don’t have children.

              11. SunshineOH

                Also, no one said OP is “incapable”. This would be hard for a lot of people. I don’t know why you’re refusing to acknowledge that, simply because you’re not one of them.

              12. Falling Diphthong

                Er, yes, fresh college grads who don’t have children, or pets, or even own a house with a lawn that needs to be mown, and who still sleep like college students, adapt easily to jobs that require a lot of travel.

                Your example should be “Companies manage to hire seasoned professionals with young children and a partner who travels frequently (and no next-door-retired-yet-spritely grandparents) who can easily also fit their lives into any travel schedule.”

                1. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night

                  I traveled extensively in my 20’s and early 30’s for business and enjoyed it very much for many of the same reasons. Now I’m in my late 40’s and the 1-3 times a year travel that I do for my employer is more than enough for me. I hate the hassle of flying, sleeping in a strange bed, navigating an unfamiliar city, squeezing in meals frantically, etc. If monthly travel was made part of my job duties I’d be looking for a new position immediately.

              13. Observer

                Wow. YOU don’t care where you sleep, where you do your work, about the discomfort of most travel, about being near / with your family, etc. OK. That is FINE for you. But the idea that this is the ONE RIGHT WAY? That’s ridiculous.

                You don’t get to decide for people what’s important for them, what kind of relationships work for them, what is physically and emotionally comfortable for them. You don’t get to declare than anything you don’t mind is objectively “not a big deal.”

              14. UGH

                Are you new here? Your comment is not in the spirit of this community. You’re abrasive and not considerate, and you assume that your own thoughts and experiences apply to everyone. I wish we could block people on here, I’ve seen everything I need to see from you.

              15. Anony

                Everyone is different. Some people love travel, some hate it and others are indifferent. People take jobs based on their preferences and abilities. If I suddenly had to travel every month I would probably have to find a new job because I physically cannot tolerate long travel by plane. I would end up in the hospital. Saying that all you have to do is get on a plane does not change that reality. It would be like if your job suddenly changed to require a lot of heavy lifting. It’s simple. Pick up the box walk to the shelf, put the box down and repeat. College students can do it. But if you have back problems or are out of shape, it could be impossible for you to do.

              16. RML

                Right now I travel cross country for 4-5 days at a time, twice a year. If I had to start doing that monthly, well… I couldn’t. Why I am “dramatic” over business travel:

                *I already have a long commute to and from work, which cuts down the short amount of time I get to spend with my family. Travel cuts that time down even more and I can’t handle any LESS time with my family than what I already have.

                *I have medication that needs to be refrigerated and taken at specific times, which makes cross-country air travel a major pain. It’s mostly doable, but it’s incredibly frustrating and a lot of extra work. Combine that with a bad back from a car accident as a teenager (decades ago) and traveling by myself with luggage and standing around in airport lines hurts my body.

                *I have allergies and some dietary restrictions which makes eating in hotel restaurants and airports a major inconvenience. Dinners get scheduled for large groups of us, there’s no choice – sometimes I just can’t eat. I feel like crap when I get home from a work trip because I’ve either eaten things I shouldn’t have or I’ve skipped meals.

                *I’m anxious and stressed out just by nature, which is amplified by being in unfamiliar environments and large crowds (like an airport) and confined spaces (like an airplane). I can manage these things just fine for an occasional trip or in my daily life, but if I had to be at that level of stress once a month, I’d OD on Ativan.

                *I live 2 hours from the nearest airport that is approved for business travel at my company. (I live one hour from a smaller airport which tends to cost 4x as much for flights to San Francisco, which is where I go for my work trips.) Work doesn’t pay for extra nights in hotels to make your travel more comfortable, so to work in the San Francisco office on a Monday mid-morning means I have to get up at 2:00 am to get to the airport for 4:30 to fly out at 6am. It’s so disruptive to my body and brain – I’m expected to be totally ON and sharp and smart and organized in my work meetings, but I’m exhausted from the stress of traveling, the time change, the being awake for practically 24 hours by the time my mandatory happy hour and work dinner stuff on the first night of the trip are over.

                *and 400 other reasons that I don’t need to justify to a stranger on the internet. But honestly, you’re obnoxious. You “hate” people who get dramatic over business travel because it’s so easy. Easy for YOU, maybe. We aren’t all the same person living out the same experience, but that should go without saying.

                1. MamaSarah

                  Ah!! Airports really are no fun for those of us that are prone to stress or anxiety BUT SFO has designated yoga rooms!! The one I visited was just like a studio – a mirrored wall, mats and sanitizing wipes, bolsters and blocks. I took full advantage of it – and did some vinyasas, melting heart pose, and was later joined by a fellow who came in to do evening prayers. I had a great mini practice and a wonderful conversation. Would not have expected that during my travels!

                2. RML

                  That sounds really nice! Next time I’m there (when flying home from my next trip) I’ll check it out! :) Wonder if my east coast airport has the same thing, I’ll have to look into it.

              17. just another day

                It’s far easier for a “fresh college grad” to travel than most adults, let alone new parents.

              18. Guacamole Bob

                This response is so odd and so lacking in empathy. Aside from the obvious examples of parents with child care concerns and people with medical conditions that make travel difficult, people with pets that need care, people who are taking classes in the evening, people caring for elderly or ill relatives, people with significant volunteer commitments, people with fear of flying, people with sleep disorders or difficulties, people with significant dietary restrictions, and many others may find business travel more difficult than you do.

                Would your reaction be different if the person didn’t have a baby but said “I’ve been working so hard on my Masters degree and now my employer wants me to miss too many classes in my last semester?” What about “I tutor low-income high school students on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and finals are coming up?”

                People choose low-travel jobs for all sorts of reasons. Yes, there are way to work around many of these issues, but just because it’s a regular part of your life does not mean it’s not very disruptive for others.

              19. Courageous cat

                You are definitely in the minority on this, you should consider accepting that instead of being so harsh. Travelling takes a lot of energy and time no matter how much you enjoy it.

              20. Snark

                I have traveled extensively – nationally and internationally – for business, and have traveled for fun in some exceptionally challenging places – on every continent, in or on top of almost every imaginable form of transportation, sharing no common language with the locals, in various states of war and peace. I have ridden on bus roofs through the Andes, I inadvertantly purchased an AK-47 one time, I met a member of a Hindu cannibal death cult named Gary in Kathmandu who called me “brah.” All of that I mention to establish my bona fides as someone for whom all of the things you mention are, as tasks and on the surface of things, No Big Deal.

                It’s still a Big Deal. It sucks.

                Eating on the road is fattening and monotonous. It shunts all the childcare onto your spouse. You get sick more often. You’re constantly in cities you aren’t familiar with. Your luggage gets lost or delayed. You miss connections. You don’t sleep that well in hotels. You get fondled by Dwayne the TSA Agent on a weekly basis. It’s everything that nobody likes about travel, without the things that make travel amazing, like Gary the Cannibal Cultist.

                1. Fiennes

                  Oh, god, the weight gain. Sometimes I challenge myself to find a fresh vegetable in the airport. Not easy.

                2. Snark

                  Eating in airports is awful. It’s like, well, I have my choice of sweet (Cinnabon) or savory (Auntie Anne’s) greasy dough, a slice of pizza that’s the size of my face but less characterful than what you get at Costco, McWendy’s King, or Starbucks. And then you cram yourself into 22 1/2 inches of seat 32D, and your seat neighbor totes an enormous humid sack of burgers and fries in with them and consumes them messily, permeating your entire being with lab-developed beef scent and fryolator oil for the next two hours till you hit Chicago or whatever.

                3. Snark

                  It’s amazing how good the first bite is, and how quickly that turns to loathing, both of the pretzel and of oneself.

                4. Grad Student

                  @ Snark @ Evan Þ

                  For the sake of staying on topic, this might do better in tomorrow’s open thread, but Snark if you want to share I will be there PROMPTLY to read about Gary and/or accidental AK-47 purchases (or, honestly, anything you want to tell a story about because it’ll be good).

                5. Nancie

                  I would just like to +1 the request to hear about either the accidental AK-47 or Cannibal Gary in tomorrow’s thread.

              21. Fiennes

                Dude. I take 35-40 business trips a year, and I know how to prepare/plan/handle myself, and yet sometimes it absolutely is a big deal. I have a partner with a flexible work schedule and no children, just a dog, NONE of which helped when I was halfway across the country, my partner had the flu and could hardly get out of bed, and one of the pipes burst. I love trying to schedule plumber repairs while running through an airport to make a connection, don’t you?

                Only a very basic understanding of business travel is needed to know that it can be complicated, frustrating and difficult even in the best circumstances.

              22. myswtghst

                But we don’t know that’s the case for the OP. When I traveled for work, it was anywhere from a 1 hour flight to 2 days worth of travel to somewhere abroad, and my trips lasted anywhere from 3 days to over a month, depending on the needs of the location I was traveling to. I loved it and I still found it exhausting and difficult, so while I’m glad I did it, I don’t think I’d ever sign on to do it again.

                Just because it’s no big deal for you doesn’t mean others are inherently being dramatic for being realistic and honest about the fact that it wouldn’t work for them.

              23. Elizabeth West

                Well hold on a minute now. I would probably enjoy traveling a lot for work, assuming I was going someplace cool and not to little armpit towns where I can’t even get a cab. Hey, I’d be racking up miles, hotel points, etc. Assuming I had generous PTO, that would be a nice perk if I could keep those.

                But if I had literally just had a baby, OH HELL NO. Plenty of commenters have pointed out legitimate physical reasons (and monetary ones) as to why this is difficult for the OP, especially since the new boss sprung it on her and it wasn’t a condition of her employment at the outset. Age has nothing to do with it.

                1. Falling Diphthong

                  Doing a lot of business travel doesn’t automatically mean you get the miles and hotel points and such. Sometimes those accrue to the company. (Ask me how I know…)

              24. galatea

                Wooooow.

                I have a cat, severe allergies, and a chronic illness. Sometimes this “just no big deal” corresponds with a bad guts day. There are client sites I’ve traveled to where I literally cannot eat a single thing they’ve provided and I get to subside off of energy bars all day. Having a flight delayed sometimes means frantic phone calls to the catsitter to see if she can swing by and make sure my buddy has food and water.

                I travel for work, and I do so semi-regularly; I have a lot of practice at packing light and sleeping on flights; it still sucks. And frankly, I think you’re really being rude here.

            2. Sarah

              And I think 1-2 business trips a year falls under the category of “kinda fun” for a lot of people. I’m at a point in my career where that’s about how often I travel for work, and it adds a bit of novelty to my work year. If that suddenly changed to once a month, it would feel way more onerous and stressful, especially depending on the expected duration of these trips.

              1. Detective Amy Santiago

                Exactly! Monthly travel sounds exhausting and it’s asking a lot of anyone to increase from 1-2 times per year to monthly. I think too many people are getting hung up on the baby part of it and expressing frustrations to do with working parents that really don’t need to be part of this discussion.

              2. LBK

                Completely agreed, I think I’d like it if I got to do a couple trips a year. It would be kind of a novelty, although every story I’ve heard about business travel makes it seem like it’s much less glamorous than it sounds, especially if you’re there for a conference or something where you’ll barely leave the hotel.

                Having to travel every month, though? That sounds onerous. I travel pretty regularly for fun and even that gets exhausting, I can’t imagine have to do it that often and not even getting to do something fun while I’m there.

                If it doesn’t bother you, good for you, I guess. But that doesn’t mean everyone should just suck it up and get on your level.

                1. Snark

                  I traveled once or twice a month for two years, visiting Recovery Act projects. It was EXHAUSTING, especially since I was going to places like the Hulett, Wyoming, Pine Ridge, SD, and northern North Dakota in February, none of which are easy or quick to get to.

              3. AMPG

                I’ll be totally honest and admit that when my oldest was in the throes of the Terrible 2-3s* I volunteered for extra business trips. My husband dealt much better with tantrums (and saw less of them from the kid, for whatever reason) and had a schedule that allowed him to mostly stay home when I was gone. But even then, I had a lot of control over the scheduling of the trips, and they were never more than a couple of nights, and even adding the extra trips only took me up to a total of 6 per year.

                *Stephen Colbert had a great quote recently that whenever he heard a parent talking about the “Terrible Twos” he knew it was their first child, because they hadn’t yet experienced a 3-year-old.

              4. Elizabeth H.

                I love to travel and would quite happily accept a job where I had to travel for business every month. Or more frequently. Everyone is different! I think there are probably fewer people who like business travel than those who do, but employers should just be up front about the travel needs of a job ahead of time and be straightforward about unexpected increases or decreases in travel (e.g. if I accepted a new job because it involved a lot of travel, I would be surprised and possibly displeased if it went down to zero)

                1. Specialk9

                  My neighbor loved travel too. His work travel allowed him to keep all 3 of his wives on the line and ignorant. (Till prison, I mean)

                  /Not implying you’re a trigamist, just wanted to tell that story.

          3. Moi

            I actually think that people with special circumstances (such as having children, or having an aging parent to care for) should receive more leeway than employees without an active family burden. Life is all about give and take. We pay insurance when we are healthy so that we can receive benefits when we’re not healthy. We work a little harder when we’re young and childless so that we can have a little more flexibility when it comes time to create the next generation.

            1. JamieS

              Most people have kids when they’re young so I’m not sure what you’re getting at there. Regardless, flexibility isn’t something that’s banked so if you take on additional burdens when you’re childless you’ll automatically have leeway when you have a kid as payment for the additional work you previously took on.

              Not to mention people who never have kids. Should people who are forever childless be expected to always get the short end of the stick so that someone who chose to have a kid isn’t inconvenienced? Also, would you be okay with parents taking a pay cut so companies can compensate childless employees for their increased work burden?

              I find your overall attitude that people without ‘active family burdens’ are less worthy of leeway to be quite distasteful. A person not having family burden doesn’t mean that person doesn’t have just as many responsibilities outside of work or reasons they can’t work late, travel out of town, etc. Even if they don’t have outside responsibilities, childless employees shouldn’t be expected to work more, be more inconvenienced, etc. compared to co-workers who are parents.

              1. Nita

                I don’t think a lot of posters are implying it’s OK to shift the burden on another co-worker who has no kids. We don’t know that there is an actual burden to be shifted. Is the sudden increase in travel necessary in any way? If the OP is unable to travel, will someone else have to travel instead of her, or will she simply have to have the same discussions with her clients by phone?

                With the little information in the letter, it sounds like the extra travel was not a requirement until recently. While it could have something to do with a new business model, given the timing, it’s also impossible to rule out that it’s being dumped on the OP as a punishment.

                1. JamieS

                  Yeah I don’t think most posters are saying that either. My post was solely directed at Moi who explicitly said people without ‘active family burdens’ should get less leeway which I found frankly offensive.

                  As to OP, it’s definitely a new requirement but I have no idea if someone else would have to travel in her stead.

        3. Zip Silver

          “without any explanation”
          …from the OP. She said this boss is her new boss, who may very well want her to travel for whatever reasons he thinks the time needs. He may have an explanation that she didn’t include in the letter.

            1. Zip Silver

              OP didn’t say anything about it either way. There’s no word to take. She’s unhappy about the increased travel, but didn’t say if he did or didn’t give an explanation.

          1. LBK

            It doesn’t sound like the new boss has told the OP what his explanation is. Having it in his head but not telling anyone else doesn’t do the OP any good for understanding what’s led to this change.

      2. Temperance

        Okay I’m NOT a parent, and I would not be pleased to have my travel increase so much, either, nor would it be feasible in anything more than the short-term.

        I also am not sure that the whole “100% back” thing is fair, either. Plenty of non-parents have these issues, too. For example, I have physical therapy a few nights each week that I need to attend after work, and skipping it to do work travel would be bad for my health.

        1. JamieS

          How is it not fair for an employer default to holding employees in the same role to the same expectations barring being given a reason to make an exception/accommodation? I’m not saying an employee who can’t travel without undue hardship should either be forced to travel or be fired. I know sometimes people aren’t able to travel especially when it’s a new expectation.

          What I am saying is an employee shouldn’t automatically be treated differently based on perceptions. For example in your case if you were in a similar situation as OP it would be reasonable for travel expectations to be lowered if you talk to your manager about not being able to travel but it wouldn’t be acceptable for your manager to, for instance, see you have a limp and automatically bar you from travelling based on that without your input.

          1. neverjaunty

            “Based on perception” should also include, not assuming that just because someone is back from medical or family leave, they are at 100% just like they were before they left – whether the reason for the leave was ‘physical therapy’ or ‘pushing a new human being out of one’s body’.

            1. JamieS

              Well if your job duties are XYZ and you’re back at your job why shouldn’t a manager expect you to do XYZ unless you either specifically talk to them about not being able to do Z because of reasons 123 or you’re automatically incapable of doing Z. For instance if Z is carrying boxes up ladders and both your legs are broken making it impossible.

              Also you’re missing the context of my statement and either skipping over or misinterpreting my point which wasn’t that someone undergoing a major change (such as having a kid) shouldn’t be given some leeway if needed.

              I’ll give an example. Let’s say Susie (who’s back from maternity leave), Steve, and Stephanie all work as account managers for an advertising firm. Currently they travel once a year to meet with clients but due to an increase in clientele the expectations have changed to travelling once a month. My point was that a manager shouldn’t put Susie in a different category as Steve and Stephanie and automatically treat her differently than them because she’s a new parent. She should be viewed as equal to them or at “100%”.

              If travelling isn’t currently feasible for her then ideally her company would make accommodations. However making accommodations after input from an employee is different from a manager saying (through words or actions) “Susie just had a baby so I’m going to automatically treat her differently than my other reports.”

          2. Lady Blerd

            That is too rigid a way to view the situation. Employers make accommodations all the time for their employees depending on their circumstances. You seem to take exception with LW getting some kind of social treatment because of her parental status, she could have been a singleton who’s taking care of an ailing parent. Maybe the travel increase is legit and of course it shouldn’t always fall on the same employees to have to constantly travel for work but I would not be surprised if the change is their way to push her out the door

            1. Paula

              The potential for this travel request to be a way to get her to quit also occurred to me. Letter writer, are there good examples of other new mothers being adequately supported in the team of your one-over boss? Or do you know of examples where new mothers in the team decided to change jobs?

            2. JamieS

              I’m not taking exception to anything. IMO if it’s feasible OP’s employer should make accommodations for her so she doesn’t have to travel in the next few months. My point was that it’s not unfair for an employer to expect employees in the same role to take on the same duties unless given a reason to make an accommodation. Basically managers should start off with the default of having the same expectations on all their reports and then make accommodations as needed.

              For example, stepping away from parenthood, if an employee expresses an inability to travel because of a phobia of flying, it’d be reasonable for an employer to make accommodations if possible but that doesn’t mean having the expectation that person will travel prior to him communicating a need for leeway was inherently unfair.

              I also wondered if the increase was due to a legitimate business need or their way of pushing OP out. However since she’s being given several months advanced warning instead of having it suddenly spring on her I’m leaning towards giving the benefit of the doubt barring additional info to the contrary.

          3. Gen

            This reads less like “see you have a limp- bar you from travel” and more “see you get hit by a car- tell you more travel will be expected when you get back while you wait for the ambulance”.

          4. Drew

            How is it not fair for an employer default to holding employees in the same role to the same expectations barring being given a reason to make an exception/accommodation?

            You’re making the mistake of thinking that fair treatment and equal treatment are the same thing.

            I’m pretty sure being a parent of a newborn is a good reason for an exception/accommodation for any sane boss and workplace, especially if you are a nursing mother.

            1. JB (not in Houston)

              ^^ Yes, this. Plus, I’m baffled by the mindset that we should never give any accommodations to parents. As a person with no children, do I want to be stuck with all the unpleasant tasks so that my parent coworkers can always leave early for child-related activities? Nope. But as someone who recognizes that society could not function if parents just stopped having children, I want companies to offer policies to make it easy for people to choose to have kids. It is entirely a selfish motive on my part. Why do you think countries panic about low birth rates? We need people to have kids who grow up and work and pay taxes and provide support for the elderly.

              1. Birch

                Yes, this, and a company that makes accommodations for parents probably also recognizes when other people need different accommodations. Even if someone doesn’t currently need any, there’s no way to tell whether they won’t in the future!

              2. neverjaunty

                As a person with no children, you also have a right to expect that you will get cut the same slack if, day, you had an illness or had to take care of a family member. It’s not just about children, but about life happening.

                1. just another day

                  I understand your point here, neverjaunty, but the reality is that non-children related issues are very often treated differently than children related issues. It’s far easier for co-workers and bosses to accept children related needs than for other issues (which are often treated like “isn’t there someone else to take care of that?” even if the words aren’t actually spoken).

                2. neverjaunty

                  The reality in many workplaces is often the reverse, but my point was not really about how bad many companies are in reality. It’s that childcare, while important, should not be the only reason that employees are grudgingly allowed to have life outside of work.

                3. Nita

                  Absolutely. And good companies do exactly that. My company is very family-friendly and has been amazing with helping new parents balance work and their new responsibilities, and that includes flexible schedules as long as the work gets done. They’ve done the same for anyone who had a medical crisis, or needed to shift which office they worked from to take care of a sick parent.

              3. Competent Commenter

                Well put. In addition, every one of us was an infant once and deserved to be well cared for. We’d be a healthier and happier society if everyone had gotten the love and attention they needed as children.

              4. Temperance

                Yep. There’s a vast difference between giving parents better shifts and no holidays just because they have children and working with your staff to make sure people can have lives outside of work. It’s not fair to expect people without children to always pick up the slack of parents, but this is not that.

              5. Sunshine on a cloudy day

                Yeahhh – I with you here. Sometimes I do get frustrated when my colleagues with children seem to get so much more leniancy than I do (as a single female with no major life-obligations aside from a low maintenance dog), but a.) I totally agree with fair does not necessarily mean perfectly equal and b.) any time that frustration comes up it is directed solely towards management, not towards my parent colleagues.

                I’m totally at peace with the fact that I might need to cover for a parent colleague 10x’s a year as long as management works with me on the 4x’s per year I need someone to cover for me. Just like I’d be happy to cover for a colleague who has a chronic illness 10x’s per year

                1. Specialk9

                  Appreciate your approach!
                  If it’s any consolation, as a new parent, please believe that we are all looking at your life with FAR more envy than you could have for our kid accommodations. It seems unjust from your end, but if you’re counting drops of suffering, we’re talking teaspoons to gallons. I love my kid wildly, but damn every day is hard, and some are very hard. And I’d do it again, but comparing fair points misses a lot.

                2. Temperance

                  Okay, comments like yours are not helpful, specialk9. This is one of those things that makes childless folks like myself eyeroll hard. You can’t just assume that because you’re a parent, your life is so much harder than anyone else’s. That’s ridiculous.

                3. Specialk9

                  Temperance, fair enough. I can do a 1:1 comparison of my own life pre kid to post, and I used to make similar envious comments. But I don’t know what other people are dealing with.

                4. JamieS

                  Specialk9 I don’t think it’s comparable. Your ‘suffering’ due to being a parent is a result of choices you made. Your coworkers ‘suffering’ due to you being a parent is the result of choices they had no control over. I don’t know about anyone else but for me it’s a lot easier to tolerate unpleasantness and swallow dealing with the consequences if I had some control over the circumstances than if it’s something completely out of my hands.

              6. another person

                Also, just like…. in general, I think when people look at these policies and get upset, they seem to mostly be thinking about the choice that the parent made to have kids. But these policies are also to benefit the children, who had no choice about being born and we all were kids at one point.

            2. JamieS

              No I’m not. I fully understand the difference between equal and fair. I never once said OP’s employer shouldn’t make an accommodation for her or that parents shouldn’t be given accommodations. IMO employers should make feasible accommodations as needed and specific to OP barring literal impossibility (which doesn’t sound likely) I think it’d be ridiculous for them not to if she expresses a need for one.

              My point was that her employer, and the employers of new parents in general, shouldn’t discriminate and automatically say Jane shouldn’t travel or Jane shouldn’t attend this client meeting or Jane shouldn’t be given the opportunity to attend this conference or whatever else it might be based on Jane being a new mom unless Jane expresses she’s not able to do whatever it is. Doing so, even if the manager has the best intentions, sets a precedent for automatically treating people different based on parental status which can easily lead to discrimination that’s harmful.

          5. blackcat

            Uh, if I went on medical leave and came back, still not sleeping well but mostly recovered, and was suddenly expected to travel all the time? I’d be super pissed! That’s really insensitive. And I’d try to push back on it. Failing that, I’d look for a new job, because it would show me my employer doesn’t really care about me.

            You seem way too invested in arguing that the LW is asking for some type of crazy accommodation only parents would want. She’s asking how to push back on a significant change in her role that is happening at a sensitive time for her. There are a number of other circumstances where employees would do the same. If, in your example, someone got hit by a car and is just coming back, it’d be really insensitive to suddenly increase their travel, too.

            1. JamieS

              I never once said OP is making a crazy request for an accommodation. I said her employer shouldn’t automatically treat her differently from other employees unless she says she needs to be treated differently or in other words asks for an accommodation. I’m truly baffled why so many seem to be having issues comprehending what I’m, IMO very explicitly, saying.

              Also I know what OP is asking. My reading comprehension is very strong and, not to sound pompous, but the chances of my not understanding something that’s written in a language I understand is astronomically low to the point of nearly being nil.

          6. Jaybeetee

            I’d think it’s the juuuuust after a lengthy leave that’s causing the issue – if there was no leave in sight, just knowledge the job was going to change, LW could deal with that in some way or another (potentially by finding a new job if she really didn’t want to travel more). If it was some other kind of extended leave other than mat leave, I think it would still be an issue to impose more onerous standards on the job the minute the person is back at their desk. If she was out 3 months for surgery and recovery, I think it would be unfair to ask her to up her travel dramatically/take on new, more onerous aspects of the job right off the bat. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for her to ask to have the travel requirement stayed for a few months.

            1. myswtghst

              This is more or less how I’ve been thinking of it. Regardless of what the leave was for, it’s not the best plan to welcome an employee back with a massive change in job duties that will most likely have a negative impact on their life, and if you do, you might want to do it with an apology and a good explanation, as well as a willingness to find a way to make it work.

          7. Anony

            I don’t think it is about holding people to the same standard. It is about making sudden, dramatic changes in the job requirements without first getting input from the employees about how that change will affect them.

          8. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            I think you’re assuming the change is reasonable, and others do not agree. The significant increase in travel is significant, child notwithstanding. We don’t know if there’s a legitimate business reason for the change, although you’ve been answering as if the change is driven by business needs.

            It’s not reasonable to hold all employees in the same role to the same “expectations” when you’re imposing new and significant expectations. It’s also just not reasonable to expect all employees to perform a job identically—that’s a rigid formulation of “fairness” that isn’t in any way fair.

            1. JamieS

              No I’m not assuming it’s reasonable or unreasonable. I don’t know enough about OP’s job to possibly make that determination. In some jobs it’s a natural progression that’s not at all out of line and in others it’s s ludicrous change. I have no idea which it is and none of my comments have spoken to the reasonability, or lack thereof, of the change itself.

              I never said all employees should be expected to perform a job exactly the same regardless of any mitigating circumstances. That’s a ridiculous and illogical expectation. Even without mitigating circumstances it’s nearly impossible for there to be zero variation between two employees. What I did say is an employer/manager shouldn’t automatically treat someone differently based on their opinion of what a change in an employee’s life entails. In the case of OP’s circumstance, some new parents wouldn’t be able to feasibly travel and some may be eager to travel because it increases the chances for advancement (or whatever their reason might be). Therefore an employer shouldn’t automatically say “oh OP is a new mothers so I’m going to automatically treat her differently without her input.”

              Also I feel like half my posts on here are including the words ‘I never said that’. Not sure if my posts are unclear or if people are applying some personal bias and as a result adding content to my posts that isn’t there.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                Not sure if you’re still reading this but I wanted to respond to the “personal bias” thing.

                FWIW, I think it’s that your early posts stated certain conditions (e.g., travel increasing as a natural progression of the job) as if they were fact. That made it sound like you were suggesting (1) that the change was normal/ok, and (2) that new parents should not expect or request accommodation based on their new parent status. It’s clear from your follow-up comments that you were not saying either of those things, but that wasn’t as obvious earlier in the discussion.

                1. JamieS

                  Well I actually never stated anything as fact. If I’m thinking of the correct post you’re referring to I said the increased travel isn’t ludicrous if it’s part of the natural evolution of the job. What I meant by that is increased travel isn’t inherently unreasonable just by the nature of it. It would depend on what the job is and whether it would be a logical new expectation (or a natural evolution). I’d consider anything that’s a natural evolution to be reasonable and anything that’s not wouldn’t and would fall under the ‘bogus trips’ I mentioned.

                  Also I think there should be a differentiation between determining if a new job expectation is reasonable (what I was referring to in my referenced post) and whether it’s reasonable to hold an employee to that expectation depending on the circumstance. In the case of OP, depending on her job, the increased travel may be a normal, reasonable, and natural progression of her role. However, barring there being no other option, IMO it would be unreasonable for her employer to make her go right after she’s back from maternity leave if she expresses an inability to do so which I assume she will.

      3. Safetykats

        There’s no indication in the post that any valid reason has been given for the increase in travel. And to expect a new mom just back from maternity leave to suddenly start a schedule of greatly increased travel is in fact either really insensitive or really misguided. However, I have worked for men who thought somehow sending new moms on crazy travel schedules was a good way to lure them back – as if being away from their baby for days or weeks at a time was a perk. A friend of mine had to ask whether the company would pay for her costs to ship breast milk home before one of these guys recognized it wasn’t just that she didn’t want to travel – while had good childcare and a committed spouse there were just parts of the job her husband couldn’t physically accomplish.

        So yes, it’s lunacy to suddenly change a new mom’s job to require frequent travel when her baby is 6 or 8 weeks old – even if she is back to work. But it might be malicious lunacy, or just stupidity. If the latter, it should resolve itself with some simple explanation of the issues.

        I look forward to the update, including a description of what the company thought was an appropriate accomodation for pumping.

        1. Nita

          “However, I have worked for men who thought somehow sending new moms on crazy travel schedules was a good way to lure them back.” What did I just read? Just what??? I hope some kind of karma caught up to those people.

          1. Specialk9

            That made me do a double take. Did that man not consider… asking the little ladies their little thoughts on the topic? Argh.

            Also, my male boss is amazing. I spent much of the first 6 months with a newborn in tears – from hormones, exhaustion, milk supply issues and endless pumping and fruitless supplements, crazy hunger and no time. My boss was incredibly supportive and accommodating, because he has a lovely soul. And because of that, I will stick with this job as long as he’s there.

        2. KWu

          I wouldn’t have been able to imagine this mindset (lure back with opportunities to be *away* from kid) but now that you state it, I can see how some folks might think that. How odd. Thanks for sharing!

        3. AMPG

          I said upthread that I actually did take on additional travel when my oldest was at an especially frustrating age, but the difference is that a) he wasn’t an infant, b) I was volunteering for assignments, so I could take them when it was convenient for me and my family.

          1. Specialk9

            And also you had a partner with a flexible schedule, and IIRC you still had to schedule some childcare?

      4. AcademiaNut

        In a lot of jobs with occasional travel, it would be entirely reasonable to temporarily cut back on travel due to external life things – a nursing infant, a seriously ill family member, medical treatments, recovering from an illness or injury – even without being on medical leave. My job requires periodic travel, on the 1-3 trips a year level, but it’s normal for nursing mothers to not travel until the kid’s about 6 months old, and I went about a year without an international trip when I was doing IVF and couldn’t commit to trips far enough in advance to get air tickets. We also have some work trips that can’t be done by pregnant women (or people with heart conditions), for safety reasons, and we work around it.

        And I do think that being told you are going from 1-2 trips a year to 10-12 trips a year is definitely lunacy – it turns it into a completely different job. It’s like going from doing overtime once or twice a month to working 60 hour weeks, every week, or occasionally covering the phone to full time receptionist duties.

        1. London Grammar

          I think it is really odd to be aware of one of your employees’ change of circumstances (be that a new infant, a seriously ill parent or partner etc.) and suddenly move to increase the number of times you want them to travel.

          The timing of the change is questionable too. It made me wonder if they were trying to push her out the door.

          I think the OP needs to talk with the manager about this ASAP.

        2. Arjay

          In the United States at least, I think it’s really rare for anyone to come back from any leave at 100% efficiency. I cared for my mom at the end of her life, and even with intermittent FMLA and bereavement leave (where I took an extra week on top of the company provided 5 days), I wasn’t anywhere near 100% when I returned. For medical leave, people are often cleared to return to work while not being close to 100% healed and recovered. A reasonable employer recognizes that their employees have life events that may allow them to be at work while still not working at 100%.

      5. Robin B

        I thought the “Lunacy” response was to the need for an established person to have to provide high school transcripts…

        1. nonegiven

          Really what do 40+ year old high school transcripts tell you that college degrees and work history can’t do better?

      6. just another day

        Agree, JamieS. While it clearly sucks for OP3, if there is an actual strategy / structuring / cultural change in the company and the position now requires a lot of travel then OP doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on in terms of refusing. The fact that grand boss is new would explain the change in the approach / structure / positions, but I am wondering if this new grand boss doesn’t share the company’s existing / previously being ” very family friendly” and this is a shift in re-defining the culture on this topic.

        1. Specialk9

          Right, but many of us have seen corporate shifts that were actually designed to be pinpointed, and we’ve seen managers going rogue. We aren’t as trusting of new policies.

      7. Nita

        It appears that that the OP has been able to do her job for the past two years with only one two trips a year. There is no information that the position’s requirements have changed. The OP took the job with the expectation of limited travel, and increasing it significantly without consulting her first is a big burden. It might be a big burden even if she did not have a baby at home – what if she was also her parents’ caregiver, for example?

        The big difference in this situation is that if she were her parents’ caregiver, the boss might not know and the new requirement might just be an unfortunate coincidence. Since she’s about to become a mother, the boss obviously knows that, so it’s also possible that her travel requirement is being increased in retaliation, either to make her quit, or to harass her into proving that her work is still her No. 1 priority.

        Given the vitriol in some of the comments in this thread, there are a lot of people that think like boss, and this is a very real possibility.

        I’m not going to write anything more about the logistics of arranging care for a small helpless human beings. That’s a waste of everyone’s time. Those who choose not to care, will not suddenly start caring.

      8. nonegiven

        An employee back from a 6 month parental leave may be pumping and refrigerating for another 6-18 months. Not easy to do at work. Much harder to do on a plane and in client offices when freezing is likely necessary.

    2. Legal Beagle

      A huge increase in travel, imposed with no discussion (and no change in salary?) is completely unreasonable. I’m not sure why some commenters are invested in spinning this as a totally cool thing for a boss to do. Also, just to add to the serious problems other commenters have pointed out – if OP plans to breastfeed, such frequent travel will be even more logistically difficult and could disrupt her ability to successfully breastfeed her baby. To me this sounds like an attempt to make OP’s job impossible so she’ll quit.

    3. Artemesia

      I think the odds are very high that this is an attempt to push the OP out; someone who suddenly requires the mother of an infant to travel a lot when that has not been the job previously is not ‘thoughtless’, they are strategizing. I’d be prepared to confront this head on and make it clear that it feels like gender discrimination and alas it is time to be looking for a new job — perhaps the boss will back down but he may not and it wouldn’t hard to see what other options there are while she is securely employed.

      I am so grateful to my daughter’s employer. They not only allowed a maternity leave in the first year she worked with them, they have also allowed her to go 50% for awhile after returning to work. They value her contributions and want to make it work for her. That is how employers who value their employees who are new mothers function. To throw a burden on her shoulders immediately is nasty stuff and calculated to push her out.

    4. accidental manager

      In my jurisdiction, someone returning from maternity leave is entitled to reinstatement in “the same or equivalent job.” I don’t know what the rule is in the OP’s jurisdiction, or whether querying the change would make things more adversarial than necessary in the OP’s attempt to negotiate with the new boss’s boss’s expectations, but it might be interesting to find out.

        1. Natalie

          FMLA has that requirement and some states expand it further – in my state, your hours post-leave have to be substantially similar to pre-leave. The issue for the employer would be proving that these changes would have happened regardless of the leave.

  4. Alldogsarepupppies

    I’m very confused what OP1 is asking. It seems like their job is to facilitate friendships – and when that happens they get upset it works? Or do they think their friends got them fired by not including them in activities?

    Regardless – it seems like this isn’t really an issue. They have a professional relationship with their client(s), and its okay if they don’t have a personal relationship as well. It seems like if they want to focus on friendships, they might want to consider a new line of work that isn’t based on match making business with friends?

  5. JamieS

    #1 are you only upset they aren’t including you in future communications between themselves or are your contacts completely ceasing the relationship with you after being introduced to your client and you’re possibly feeling used by them?

    If it’s the former I think you should reevaluate how you’re looking at the relationships. To me it sounds like the client and contacts are developing a business relationship with some social aspects between themselves and you’re viewing all the relationships (between you and them and also between each other) as being predominantly personal relationships that you’re being left out of. Being upset at no longer being invited to hang out after introducing some friends to one another is understandable; being upset at not being invited to a networking/business coffee between two work contacts or expecting to be kept in the loop about business communications that have nothing to do with you is far less understandable.

    1. MNP

      Nobody can pay me enough to hand over my address book then be cut out of all communications and social interactions thereafter…what I do has a highly social element and there are courtesies to be observed.

      1. Roscoe

        Could you explain a bit more about your job here, because I, along with a lot of people really aren’t getting it.

        You seem to be lumping the social and professional things together, which it seems shouldn’t be the case. If you introduce a team to work on a project, and then a few members of the team hit it off and get drinks together after its over, why do you feel you are obligated to be invited?

          1. Dweali

            I mean, there’s been hexes and duck sex clubs (sex duck clubs?) so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Don or someone along the line needed some employment advice at some point…you can only send so many to the fish before you need to come up with different performance improvement measures :-)

        1. Falling Diphthong

          With this letter I was totally thinking of the last episode of Brooklyn 99, in which they need to infiltrate a crime family by befriending one of its least competent tangential members. It seems like “how can our undercover good guys infiltrate the mafia/cartel/terrorist group” is the usual background for this trope of using someone tangential for their connections to the power brokers.

      2. Danger: Gumption Ahead

        I think you need to put your specific expectations for your role post-introduction (e.g. nature of role, duration of involvement, formal procedure if client-intro want to move on without you) in any contracts/agreements going forward. If it is all in writing at the beginning, it will be much easier to navigate.

      3. LBK

        Honestly, it sounds like this is such a niche role that I don’t know if anyone here will be able to provide you useful information. My only thought is that it seems like you’re the only person in these situations that’s under the impression that you’re supposed to continue to be involved in any interactions going forward; either your expectations are off there, or you need to make it clearer when you’re making these introductions what the “rules” are, so to speak.

        1. MillersSpring

          OP #1’s situation is either a niche business (or culture) where Alison and the commenters can’t understand the nuances. Or OP #1 is completely misunderstanding that his client and friends don’t owe him an ongoing inclusion to parties or business dealings after he’s introduced them. What is his right or standing to continue to be included?

        2. myswtghst

          Yes, this. It seems as though OP1’s expectations are so completely out of alignment with those of his connections and client that either OP1 needs to do a better job of setting expectations during the initial introduction phase, or OP1 needs to reconsider their expectations.

        3. Mints

          +1
          It’s possible OP is in an industry where everyone involved should know the rules (my brain went to high stakes poker coordinator, probably because I saw an ad for Molly’s Game yesterday). But it’s also possible this is how a mundane industry used to work, and isn’t really necessary so people are gravitating away from that, naturally, without real repercussions besides an annoyed OP.

  6. Temperance

    LW1, it sounds like your colleague/boss was just mining your contacts to build his own business. I don’t totally understand your working arrangement from above, but I think you may want to revisit these arrangements in the future. Your book of business is your career, and giving it away to people who will ruthlessly take it from you is damaging your prospects.

    It sounds to me like you expected these introductions to end up evolving your role in the business, whereas your boss/colleague just wanted the info to line his own pockets. In the future, keep your contacts close to the vest.

    1. MK

      I agree that the client seems to have used the OP to get her contacts, but what confuses me is that the introduction seems to have been a (major?) part of her job. It sounds as if the OP expected this to work like the client hiring a worker through a temp agency, where even after the client and the worker develop their own professional relationship, the temp agency is always and forever the intermediary between them, while the client and the contacts treated it as the client hiring a worker through a recruiting agency, where the OP introduced the contact to the client as part of her paid services and then was expected to not have any further involvement with any relationship they developed.

      Also, it is weird that all of the OP’s contacts basically abandonded her after this and the client let her go. I mean, if these people were only using the OP to get the introduction to eachother, why did they have to go through her in the first place?

      1. MNP

        Temperence and anon anon anon, you got it in one. I have been involved in this (very social) business for a long time and it is the first occasion where the client has not had the courtesy to include me in (at least initial) communications between themselves and the person I have introduced to them, particularly after I have requested they do so. Yes, I am paid to make the introductions as PART of what I do, but not to have my address book hijacked wholesale and it does come across as both ‘grasping’ and ‘ruthless’. If I had been told in advance just to hand over my friends and business contacts then disappear, then I would not have taken the project as no money is worth it. The satisfaction I get from my paid work is helping projects evolve, seeing things come to fruition and getting a bit of professional credit – something that doesn’t happen if I’m not kept in the loop…it’s not good for relations and also leads to mistrust. I’d always hear about meetings or drinks AFTER the fact, from someone else entirely, then my friends would be surprised I hadn’t been asked by the client or at least have known about the set up. Soooo, lesson learned! Incidentally, there was zero transference of his contacts my way…he made sure of it by disallowing even his management staff to socialise, or perhaps have lunch, with me without him being there – which was never. So the controlling was VERY much on his side… I am not like that at all, if anything I am overly generous with my introductions which is why I know who I know and successfully do what I do. Btw, MK, my friends didn’t ‘abandon’ me, they are longstanding, but they have established independent relationships with the client (which, of course, is fine) but the client seems to have made a point of trying to cultivate them away from me and leave me out entirely – something even my friends and contacts think is a little odd. It’s called ‘friend stealing’ and no payment is worth it.

        1. MK

          “Friend stealing” is a frankly juvenile concept that supposes you have some kind of ownership over your friends. And it applies to social situations anyway.

          Being used for your contacts and then discarded is a serious danger in some professions, but your letter is confusing both because you don’t explain if your continued involvement was part of the deal with the client and because of your weird mixing of professionals and social relationships. You seem to think that the client should have kept you in the loop as a social courtesy, which is bizarre for most of us.

          Try to keep your story straight: you wrote that your friends seem to be turning against you and now you say that they are loyal to you and think the client is odd.

          1. LBK

            I completely agree. It sounds like you’re only being excluded from interactions between this specific client and your contacts, but your contacts are still interacting with you separately, so…? Nothing has been “stolen” from you because you still have those relationships.

            Also, FWIW, if your contacts are also under the impression that you’re normally included in the relationship going forward, why wouldn’t they be extending you invites when your client sets up events with them? If your client says “Hi Jane, let’s get drinks next Friday,” what’s stopping Jane from saying “Sure, I’ll send Bob a note so he can join us”? If they don’t seem to have a problem with meeting with your client without you there, I think you might be the one whose expectations are out of line here. You seem to be the only one who thinks this is weird or wrong.

          2. MillersSpring

            Agreed. How is this friend stealing? Are they no longer your friends? Or are your friends simply enjoying new projects and socializing with your client that is business related, and your presence isn’t pertinent or necessary after the introduction?

            OP, you said, “The satisfaction I get from my paid work is helping projects evolve, seeing things come to fruition and getting a bit of professional credit…” Therefore it seems like YOUR satisfaction and credit is not fulfilled, and you’re pouting.

            But you seem to be hurt that your client is not meeting business or cultural norms. So either you aren’t understanding the real norms, or your situation has other norms you haven’t explained well.

            It’s no fun to be excluded socially, but it doesn’t seem like your client or friends are violating business norms.

        2. Bea

          In my previous experience with contacts via brokerage if the broker is cut out you refuse to do business with that client and let everyone know he’s untrustworthy. It’s networking in a ruthless way but it’ll save your butt in the end. You are learning valuable trust lessons now. Not every person is trustworthy. Cut them out and don’t let them get away with draining your address book like that.

          1. Specialk9

            Can you explain that? I don’t even know what field this is applicable to, or how it works. So someone signs a contract with someone with lots of connections, then they do intros to meet the business need, then… ?

            1. LBK

              Here’s how I’m envisioning it: imagine the OP has a list of, say, the personal phone numbers of 10 big venture capitalists that you want access to in order to fund a big project. The service you pay the OP for is to call one of those people and then conference you in; you’re not paying to just buy that person’s phone number off the OP and then never speak to her again. On the flipside, her value to the VCs is serving as a filter so only vetted clients can get through to them.

              It sounds like this client thought he was just buying the phone number, or used that initial call to get the rich donor’s info and then started calling the donor directly rather than continuing to call the OP so she could set up the conference call again, which isn’t supposed to be how the relationship works. It’s not like a typical networking connection where you’re only part of it to make the introduction and then you expect that you won’t have anything to do with it after that.

              I wonder if part of it is also that the OP feels miffed because it’s bad for her reputation if someone who doesn’t understand the rules got past her. It’s like referring someone for a job who turns out to be terrible and has to be fired – it kinda makes you look bad that you gave that person your stamp of approval.

    2. Colette

      Yeah, I’m confused about the OP’s role. If her role is to make the introductions, then I’d expect her to make the introductions and then step out of the interaction, since she’s no longer adding value. If her role is to put together a team to do X and she’s being being cut out after they start, then she needs to look at her agreements with her partners and her clients to make it clear that she needs to be involved going forward (or impose a fee based on the expected duration of work, whether she’s involved in the work or not).

      1. MNP

        Colette, brilliant idea… in advance, I should have applied a charge for projects going forward in my absence…next time!

        1. LBK

          Can you provide any more information about what the “projects” are that go forward after these introductions? Do you actually have a role in these projects, or do you just like to be there to observe/be kept in the loop?

          It honestly sounds to me like you run an escort service and you don’t like that this john is contacting your escorts directly rather than going through you. In which case…I dunno, hire some muscle to rough him up?

          1. boop the first

            Some driving schools “function” this way too, actually. They set you up with a driving lesson, and then the driving instructor gives you his personal number and a 50% discount for lessons going forward (due to excluding the middleman). I suppose you could apply this business tactic to an awful lot of things I wouldn’t have thought of.

            1. SpaceySteph

              I once had this proposed to me by a hairdresser as well, to get my haircuts through her directly (and for cheaper) rather than at the salon. She was no longer working there the next time I went for a haircut… maybe because they caught on to her game?

              1. Specialk9

                Isn’t that different though, because the hairdresser is an employee, stealing regular salon clients? This would be more like a friend recommending a hairdresser and then being upset you go to the salon would them.

        2. Snark

          Such a charge would be really outside the norms of any consulting relationship I’ve ever been in. Colette was really framing that as more of fixed fee per project type arrangement, not as a “and I’ll charge you if you cut me out of the deal before I’m ready.”

  7. Pinkpenguin

    Op3: my work covers the cost of a caregiver and baby to travel with either parent for the first two years of the baby’s life. Is that something you can propose?

    1. Not My Monkeys

      I’ve never heard of anything like that, it’s amazing! If you live in the US I will fall over from shock.

    2. neverjaunty

      That’s extremely rare for Us workplaces, but that aside, it’s not even the issue of “cam I get a nanny”, it’s the serious increase in travel.

      1. Artemesia

        I used to give speeches on gender related issues and couldn’t get the sponsor’s to pay for the babysitter I needed when traveling with my 7 mos old. Now this was over 40 years ago, but I have never known of anyone who got these necessary costs covered as part of business travel.

        1. Thlayli

          I’ve seen it mentioned a couple of times on the “working moms” board on “what to expect”. So it seems like it is becoming a thing. I guess its a necessity to convince women to return to high travel jobs when their babies are still very young.

          Thankfully where I live we get much longer maternity leave so we don’t really need this as it’s very rare for someone to return to work before baby is 6 months old.

          1. pinkpenguin

            It makes my life so much easier, and is a huge reason why I stay at my org, am able to progress professionally, and why I continue to breastfeed. I travel quite a bit, and I can’t imagine trying to sort out the logistics of breastfeeding + pumping + having enough in storage before I leave + overnight feeds. It also helps tremendously with bonding and the whole mom work life balance thing.

            Yes, I wish I had more maternity leave, but seeing as how that isn’t going to happen, this is the next best thing.

    3. Specialk9

      My job suddenly increased travel when I got pregnant (from 0 to 6), and it was really hard, but also my own fault because yay let’s promote the new product! I miraculously managed not to puke on anyone, and then had to do the last 2 sites by video conferencing, by doctor’s orders. It would have been SO MUCH WORSE if I had had a newborn.

  8. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

    No.2 I have a university degree which is considerably more recent than my high school transcripts. Nevertheless, I was asked this year to produce my high school transcript. Luckily for me I happened to have a copy on hand because I had sorted a big box of old files and photos and it was there. It did seem strange that after 40 plus years of work experience my B in Geography is important. I suspect that the OP is being asked to tick off boxes that no one has given any real thought to as for their relevance.

    1. Ramona Flowers

      I feel like these requests potentially disadvantage people who are older and also those who have experienced more difficult life circumstances. It would be extremely awkward and personal to explain why I have no certificates or transcripts for anything before my MA. The only circumstance I’m aware of where I’d expect to be asked for exam results from age 16 or 18 is teaching.

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

        Yes, my 3 years of successfully surviving a toxic workplace is more relevant than knowing the types of rocks; igneous, mica, granite? However, I do know how to shut down a passive aggressive co-worker.

      2. Xarcady

        I was in 3 different high schools due to a military childhood. Can only imagine the fun in trying to get 30+ year old transcripts from all of them.

        And I still remember the college interviewer who thought, without any proof, that the reason I’d been in two different schools was that the first two expelled me! Why she didn’t notice the schools were in two different counties and two different states still puzzles me.

        Now that I think about it, one of the schools was on a now-closed military base overseas. I’m not sure there is any way to get a transcript!

      3. irene adler

        High school transcript request is also an easy way to figure out exactly how old a job candidate is.

        That seems to be a big deal to some employers.
        One recruiter actually sang songs to me and then asked me to identify the artist. As I was able to correctly identify songs from the 1970’s I was immediately disqualified for the job.

        1. RVA Cat

          This. It looks like an attempt at plausible deniability for age discrimination. They want candidates young enough that their records are digitized and easily accessible – effectively class of 2000 and later.

          1. blackcat

            I graduated high school in 2005. I am pretty sure the only high school transcript that remains is a paper copy, unless my high school chose to outsource scanning all of those records. My college scraps all admissions files after 10 years, so I can’t get a high school transcript from them, either.

            Even *I* couldn’t get this. And I’m not old!

            1. k.k

              Same. I just turned 30, and I don’t think my high school had digital transcripts when I graduated. They were making the switch to an online grading system while I was in school. And I went to a high school that was in a fairly well off community, they had the means to invest in technology and were not behind the times. I’m sure there are plenty of schools that didn’t make the switch until much later, so there are likely many fresh faced 20-somethings that couldn’t easily get their hands on their transcripts.

            2. LBK

              Same – I graduated HS in 2007 and I’m skeptical I’d be able to get a copy of my transcript, and I surely don’t have a paper copy anymore because why the hell would I still need those beyond applying to colleges?

            3. Artemesia

              A lot of college transcript include HS information. I know that I could not possibly come up with transcripts from the dark ages when I graduated.

            4. HannahS

              Same. I graduated HS in 2010; I’m still *in* school! And my high school transcript–along with any records of enrolment, etc.–was almost certainly incinerated (ok, shredded) about two years ago. They just don’t keep them around that long.

        2. Lance

          Wait, what? Just because you could identify old songs? That… sounds like borderline discrimination, at best, to be perfectly honest.

          1. Specialk9

            All of my nephews are obsessed with classic 70s rock. (Understandably, it’s an amazing era of music.) Guitar Hero raised a generation of classic music listening kids.

        3. sssssssssss

          What?! My 12-year-old has been fully introduced to the most popular songs from the Beatles to 2017 and she would be able to correctly ID songs from the 70s…as would some ppl who now own the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy (at least for a few songs). What an absurd “test!”

        4. AKJ

          My father is a DJ and I grew up in a house with a huge record collection. I could easily identify songs from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s if I was asked to, and I was born at the very end of the 1970’s. My cousin was a huge Beatles fan during her teen years, and she’s not even thirty yet.
          That sounds like discrimination to me, too – plus a really unreliable way of determining someone’s age.

      4. kittymommy

        Yeah, this does seem like it’s a back door method for age discrimination. Of remember a job application I filled out that asked for my high school gpa (I graduated in the early 90’s), i told the hiring manager i wasn’t sure of that but i had the gpa for my masters degree, would that be okay. She just looked at me for a beat and said not to worry about the question. I think it darned on her what an idiotic question it was.

      5. neverjaunty

        Bingo. Asking for needless transcripts is a pretty standard way of weeding out older applicants in SV.

    2. Hobgoblin

      So, my workplace actually requires proof of high school graduation due to a requirement in our state law. However, we contact the high school directly and send a request (and a release). I’ve only had one school not be able to fulfill the request for transcripts (they lost their records in a fire) but they remembered the student and wrote a letter that he did graduate. If there’s a legal requirement, it makes sense. Otherwise, who cares?*

      *Fun fact- I was homeschooled and had to obtain a waiver to the diploma requirement. I have a bachelor’s degree so it was granted without hesitation and now I hire my fellow homeschoolers!

      1. Brandy

        I wonder if theyd take my yearbook as proof I was there a certain year. Its easier to put my hands on that then a high school transcript. Id have to search google to learn how to get the transcript.

        1. Hobgoblin

          I wouldn’t accept a yearbook photo since we have a legal requirement that applicants have diplomas (or waivers) and it’s so incredibly easy to request transcripts. I can usually do it by email. I think people who haven’t requested their own transcripts in many years, or maybe even ever, just assume it’s an onerous process. Nah. It’s been unfailingly quick, easy, and free in my experience.

          1. nonegiven

            What about schools that are closed? My state has closed many smaller schools and sent the students to neighboring districts. I went to elementary school at a place where the hiring criteria for the janitor was how many kids they could enroll so they wouldn’t be closed. They closed the high school portion, then a few years later closed the rest. If I still lived there at the time I would have graduated 8th grade in the last class. The building has been torn down. A lot of schools in my state suffered the same fate. I don’t know where the high school transcripts would be now.

            1. Hobgoblin

              If that actual school is closed, I go to the county/district that oversaw it. If they don’t exist, the applicant needs a waiver which is realistically only granted for college grads. I’ve only been unable to obtain one diploma/set of transcripts (school burned down) and the county sent a letter certifying the applicant had, in fact, graduated. If some weird scenario presented itself, we’d do our best to work with the applicant. It’s just surprising to me how difficult commenters think getting HS transcripts are. I was homeschooled so I really didn’t have any expectation of how long schools keep records but it must be a really long time. I’ve gotten HS transcripts from 40 years ago with no issue. Maybe there’s some sort of legal requirement? I have no idea.

        2. Yvette

          The only problem with that is that simply being in the yearbook is not proof of having graduated. Those yearbooks go to press well in advance of final exams, report cards etc. (Please note that I also feel that having to provide HS transcripts when you have a college diploma is ridiculous and may very well be a backdoor to age discrimination.)

      2. Anna

        I went to high school overseas and would probably have a pretty difficult time getting anything like transcripts out of the Department of Defense. This feels like a weird workaround to avoid not discriminating.

    3. Thlayli

      I’ve also experienced this every time I’ve applied to a government job. They have a standard form which includes state exams you take at age 15!

      I recently applied for a job for which the minimum requirement to apply was a PhD and they still had the standard questions on the form about state exams at ages 15 and 18!

    4. Fake old Converse shoes (not in the US)

      Would the company pay for official translations if the candidate attended high school abroad (for whatever reason)? Anyway, why would a company want such information? Stats?

      1. sssssssssss

        They might pay only if hired. Otherwise, it’s on your dime (I felt the same way about being asked to have First Aid, a recent Hep test, a recent TB test and $10 to register on their site years ago).

      2. Hobgoblin

        We don’t pay for this but applicants have always had translations already prepared when they apply. Out of curiousity, I’ve asked about the cost and it seems like it runs $100-$200ish. For my local government entity, the law requires applicants have a high school diploma (or waiver) and we have a set pay scale that includes a higher starting rate for college degrees, so applicants with foreign degrees always have them ready to go. Standard in my field but perhaps not the norm.

    5. Lili

      I was actually wondering if this could somehow be a form of age discrimination. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know the specifics, but asking for something that older generations may have less access to seems fishy (like using the term “digital native”).

    6. Nye

      I’ve always been worried I’ll run up against some ridiculous pro forma requirement to produce a HS diploma. I don’t have one (I never graduated), nor do I have a GED. I do have a full array of advanced degrees, including a PhD, which in any logical system would be enough. Luckily, it hasn’t been an issue yet, but I can totally envision running across a government application with an inflexible requirement.

        1. Katniss

          Not every college has it as an absolute requirement! Sometimes the strength of other things can get you in. I got accepted before I had my GED and when it wasn’t 100% certain I WOULD have one, because the college liked other parts of my application enough.

          1. Specialk9

            I didn’t know that was possible. I’m really glad it is. I’ll bet you know way more interesting things than most people.

        2. blackcat

          I had a few friends who started college after 2-3 years of high school. This was at mainstream, elite US colleges. I don’t know how they did it, but there are definitely exceptions made.

          1. nonegiven

            One of my classmates finished her high school diploma by correspondence school, while attending school in the fall with the rest of the class. She pulled out of our high school and started college with the spring semester.

        3. SallytooShort

          You’d actually be surprised at how many colleges do not have high school graduation or the equivalent as an absolute requirement.

          And that’s especially true of community colleges. Which a lot of people attend before going onto four year colleges.

          1. AKJ

            My Ex got a “High School” diploma from a for-profit “business school” back in the 1980’s. (He paid $500.00, attended some classes, and got a diploma.) The school went out of business years ago. When he wanted to go back to school, he went to our local community college and they put him through some placement tests before letting him enroll – the same procedure they use for immigrants who have no school records from their past. He’s now at Big State University and should be graduating this spring, I think.

            1. SallytooShort

              I think that’s great! People really shouldn’t be penalized for this. If you can pass the placement exams that’s what matters. If you can’t then makeup courses in Community Colleges should be allowed.

        4. Hobgoblin

          Lots! I was homeschooled in an area with a large homeschool presence. The local community college quickly realized we were a great market and decided to let us in as long as we passed the placement tests. In my area, we homeschoolers usually finished high school at 16 and couldn’t really go away to college so community college was a perfect transition for us.

        5. Nye

          Homeschooled, and went to undergrad a year early, as suspected by a few commenters. I had a year+ of community college credits (and grades) from classes I took while homeschooling, plus SAT scores, and got lucky with timing – colleges were just starting to accept alternative application portfolios. And once I got a BS, nobody asked for high school credentials when I applied for grad school. (I actually wrote a grad application “diversity” essay basically saying, “Hey, so how many high school dropouts do you have in your PhD student class? Want one?” Apparently they did.)

    7. Be the Change

      One of my recurring anxiety dreams is that they, or perhaps THEY, take away my PhD because I didn’t pass a high school math class (I did pass all my hs classes).

    8. Temperance

      I honestly don’t think I’ve ever even seen my high school transcript. I graduated in 2001, so it’s not as if it was 700 years ago, but I can’t imagine what the heck it would be used for.

      1. a1

        Same. I haven’t been asked for my high school transcript since I was applying for colleges/universities and that was late ’90s.

    1. Lady Blerd

      Or the coworkers can save their money and not cause LW any undue anxiety and discomfort by respecting LW’s wishes.

        1. KiwiLib

          I’ve worked in places where a morning or afternoon tea and a gift were the norm, but there were leavers who declined that for various reason, usually because they didn’t want attention. Never been a problem as coworkers understood and respected their wishes. Have also seen people decline a gift, by saying if there was to a be a collection, they would like a donation to their chosen charity

        2. MK

          If you mean in real life a lot of people are selfish jerks who prioritize making themselves look and feel good at the cost of hurting the person they are ostensibly honoring, sure there are people (and workplaces) like that. Although I qestion whether they mean well. Intelligent people are perfectly able to tell the difference between a polite “But really you shouldn’t have, I am not expecting that” and an honest “I really don’t want a send-off”.

          Also, I think giving a gift without the event and the cake is the kindest solution here: the OP doesn’t have to suffer through a party she dreads and the coworkers get to show their appreciation.

        3. Lady Blerd

          I guess my colleagues are the exception then because any going away affair or lack thereof is done according to the wishes of said person. We’ve had people retire who simply wanted to receive their service plaque from the boss and leave and that’s what they got.

      1. Falling Diphthong

        The coworkers didn’t write in; OP did.

        OP was advised to ask that they skip the do, which is reasonable and within her control.

    2. Nic

      This is why I’ve snuck out of my last two jobs. I’m super uncomfortable with something like that, and I don’t eat cake, so it’s uncomfortable for multiple reasons.

      I feel a bit bad for sneaking out, but I’ve let folks know ahead of time that I’m not comfortable with a whole to-do, and if they choose not to respond to my request, then they can have the to-do themselves and enjoy it. More cake for them.

      1. Bookworm

        I’m not totally sure if I’m reading MommyMD correctly, but I don’t think it’s really a question of what she *should* have to do, but rather what is likely the most sensible option assuming the coworkers ignore her wishes and throw her a party.

        If OP’s goal is to get in and out of the job with as little attention as possible, then simply thanking the coworkers and eating a little cake is probably the best way to accomplish that. I suppose it depends how you define ungracious, but getting angry or upset or abruptly leaving – those could definitely have the opposite effect. That is, more attention on the OP. Whether that’s right or not is up for debate, but it’s a likely scenario in many social situations. Naturally, I think we all agree OP’s coworkers should respect her wishes.

        1. Susanne

          Not being able to handle the minimum socialization of a half hour with cake and small talk and people expressing general good wishes is a life problem. No one’s talking about forcing OP to give a speech to a hundred people. It’s not normal to be so unable to make small talk, and the OP needs to figure out how to get over it, with a therapist or life coach if need be. I would have serious reservations about any employee who didn’t have basic skills like these.

          1. Ron McDon

            I think this is a bit harsh; the OP isn’t saying they are incapable of making small talk for half an hour, they’re saying they don’t want to be the centre of attention and have a leaving presentation etc. I can absolutely sympathise as I feel the same.

            I am perfectly capable of being warm, friendly, chatty, good fun with my colleagues (although I secretly find it exhausting), but would also hate to be the focus of a leaving do and try to avoid it if I could.

          2. Czhorat

            You seem to genuinely not understand that your experiences and needs are not universal.

            I don’t think the OP is right to try to keep this secret, but if they say they are uncomfortable with a party on their behalf then they are. The challenge is honoring that as well as professional obligations.

          3. Jenn

            Susanne, you’re coming down really hard on this OP and the business travel OP. If you’re the Susanne I’m thinking of that normally comments here, I don’t remember your usual comments being so harsh. Holiday stress and life events can get the best of us, but it may be time to step away from the computer. Anyways, I hope everything is okay with you.

          4. Observer

            That’s really not relevant. Clearly, the OP is capable of doing their actual job without being rude to people. And it’s no one’s business to force the OP to solve their life problems.

          5. SC Anonibrarian

            Well I don’t hire people who show themselves to be harsh, judgmental, and ableist, so maybe it balances out! Grow an empathy already – it doesn’t make you weak to accept and embrace the fact that other people have different lives and different skills than you’ve developed.

      2. Falling Diphthong

        Well, first, her wish for privacy is that no one even be informed that she’s leaving. That’s unreasonable at work, where people need to make plans based on who is likely to actually be working in the office next week.

        Second, if you mean just the do with cake, because these are her professional contacts and so maybe she wants to leave on amenable terms with them. Which means you are gracious about well-intentioned gestures.

    3. Ramona Flowers

      You might work somewhere where people are incapable of ignoring a request like this but kindly don’t paint us all with the same brush.

      I think we’d want to give you a card but would be okay with you opening it alone after you left.

      1. Em Too

        This is exactly how we do it – if you don’t want a presentation, you’ll get a card (and gift unless you specifically ask not) handed over quietly by your manager with a ‘thank you for everything’.

    4. Mookie

      No, the LW’s co-workers sound like they like and respect her, so I don’t think they’ll be doing this once she decides how she’d like to request that they don’t. LW, I think Alison’s script is great. Good luck with the new job!

  9. Ramona Flowers

    #1 “The closest simile I can make is it’s like I initiate a game of beachball, get together a group of friends, they all pass the ball to one another, but leave me out of the game and never pass to me”

    Are you sure it’s like this, and not like a shopkeeper sells someone a beachball and expects to be included in the game?

      1. MK

        But the OP (you?) was paid to organise the dinner party. And a person who gets paid to organise a dinner party is generally an event planner who is expected to leave once everything is in place or hover in the kitchen in case something goes wrong, not a guest who can expect to share the meal.

        Look, it’s possible that the client and the contacts screwed the OP over. But it’s worth considering whether there might have been some fundamental misunderstanding about their role in the first place.

        1. MNP

          Lolllll! The ‘dinner party’ was an ANALOGY, much like the ‘beach ball’ reference was… I am not a caterer or event planner :-)))) I’m leaving it now because it’s clear that I’m not going to get any sort of sensible advice, aside from what one person got spot on – I was mined for my contacts so as the client could build and strengthen his own reputation within the industry, and I was let go when the client thought there weren’t any more to be had from me. Sadly for him, that was just the tip of the iceberg, so he has lost out businesswise by thinking short-term and also socially by showing me his true self serving colors. I was not paid to hand over my contacts and disappear, there are social niceties to observe as most are aware. It was the first occasion in a long career that this happened which is why I reached out here, so it is not commonplace for a client to behave like this. Btw, thanks for the ‘advice’ but my friends and business contacts are one and the same, nobody is selling anyone to anyone, and all dealings are of mutual benefit. Neither have my friends ‘abandoned me’, just a case of the client trying to ‘steal friends’ – something that we have probably all been the victim of at some point or another! Thanks all and ‘bye :-)

          1. Coldfeet

            I think everyone’s just confused about what you do, as the original letter and your cryptic analogies in the comments haven’t cleared it up. Can’t expect people to give appropriate advice without any understanding of the situation. Good luck to you.

            1. Legal Beagle

              OP is responding to everyone with “LOL” and criticism for not perfectly understanding their confusing letter, which they also refuse to explain further. Why would you expect help from internet strangers when you won’t even extend basic courtesy, OP?

              1. Czhorat

                Yeah, this is especially weird given that the OP’s job situation seems weird and the analogies some really clarify.

                “It’s a if I planned a dinner party and didn’t get to eat there”

                “That seems kind of normal for a party planner”

                “It wasn’t a dinner party. It’s just an analogy. Hahaha!”

                I have no idea what’s going on, and it’s either an odd enough situation that explaining works fine away who OP is or they don’t care to clarify for some other reason.

                Either way, it’s strange.

                1. Anony

                  It is also possible that the OP thinks that something is a professional norm that isn’t and is unhappy that everyone else does not see what he thinks is obvious.

                2. a1

                  Anony, that’s not the case. OP has said in a comment that

                  I have been involved in this (very social) business for a long time and it is the first occasion where the client has not had the courtesy to include me in (at least initial) communications between themselves and the person I have introduced to them, particularly after I have requested they do so.

                3. Anony

                  Just because they have always been looped in before does not mean that it is wrong when that doesn’t happen. It is always good to take a step back and challenge your own assumptions. Maybe the client was wrong, but maybe the OP was bringing some expectations to the interaction that weren’t warranted. If the client was a jerk there is nothing to do at this point, but if the OP didn’t make their expectations clear then it is possible that adjusting the early interactions in the future can avoid a repeat of this situation if it was due to a misalignment of expectations.

                4. Specialk9

                  I moved a lot as a kid – the big transitions are international, but regional within the same country could actually be worse. Why? We all thought we had the same rule book, but all those unspoken, unwritten, learned by inference rules are different everywhere. But people who don’t move around always assume they’re set in stone, and if you violate them, you’re a bad human who was raised in a barn and delights in tromping on decent folks’ feelings. When it’s really just that every group has different unwritten rules, and it’s just cultural differences.

                  I’m suspecting the OP has an unwritten rule that just got violated by someone operating from a different set of unwritten rules. OP is upset and wants validation that yeah, EVERYBODY KNOWS that’s the rule, and sure enough that other person was raised in a barn.

                  But we can’t really do that because you’re talking to people from 1000s of cultural norms, and we don’t really *get* that rule that is your bedrock (but probably can’t quite a articulate, because unwritten rules are frustratingly elusive that way).

                  That’s my theory at least.

            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              Yeah; very strange. I think OP is looking for validation, and when they can’t find it, they’re reacting in a manner that is not helpful for people providing useful guidance. Perhaps this is contributing to OP’s “someone’s stealing my book of business” problem, as well.

            3. I Love Thrawn

              This. I am completely confused by the extreme generalities here. So forming a reasonable opinion and giving some sort of informed advice is just about impossible.

          2. LQ

            I think a lot of people are really trying to understand so they can be helpful. It is hard to provide good and useful suggestions when people are confused about what is happening. I don’t think anyone is trying to attack you or say that anything is awry, it’s just trying to understand. (I personally really want to know more because it sounds very interesting in a magic kind of way, like a world of making connections and social niceties and relationships is so far beyond my understanding that it might as well be magic, so I’m disappointed that you aren’t going to tell us more.)

          3. Oryx

            We are well aware that the dinner party was an analogy — but part of using analogies is to gain context, hence reframing what limited information we have into terms we understand, such as the event planner comment.

            We can’t help you without more information about what, exactly, you do.

          4. Falling Diphthong

            I was mined for my contacts so as the client could build and strengthen his own reputation within the industry.

            But it sounds like that is explicitly what you were hired to do.

            To stick with the dinner party analogy–either you’re like the caterer/event planner, in which case it’s unreasonable to be annoyed that people who hit it off at your event continue the relationship without you. Or this is some sort of “having fallen on hard times, the princessa makes a little discrete cash by introducing up and comers with money to her network of aristocrats,” in which case the princessa needs to ask for her entire intended compensation upfront, not hope that they will loop her into the real estate deal just because she was the initial point of contact.

          5. Falling Diphthong

            My friends and business contacts are one and the same, nobody is selling anyone to anyone.

            Also, this is a weird business model that people are unable to understand.

              1. Tobias Funke

                I was wondering that; like maybe OP introduced someone and they signed up under OP’s contact instead of OP. But this is really hard to understand so I am not even close to sure.

          6. Sera

            Frankly it sounds like they cut you out of relationships because you sound like an unpleasant. condescending person.

          7. MK

            I know it was an analogy, one in which the person you placed yourself as “one paid to organise a party” shouldn’t reasonably expect what you seem to expect. Also, I spoke of your contacts abandoning you because you yourself wrote that it’s not only the client who cut you out of the loop, but the contacts who refused to keep you involved and are turning against you. And if they are also your friends, so much the worse. What most commenters said was that your description of the situation is confusing and that you should consider whether there is some confusion about your role in general, that you should clear up with future clients.

            In any case, if dozens of people are telling you one thing, but you choose to disregard it and focus on one person so that you can think you were a blameless victim of a heartless villain, suit yourself.

          8. Anony

            I don’t think I have ever heard “friend stealing” used as a professional complaint before. A lack of reciprocity in networking is frustrating, but not theft. It lets you know that you shouldn’t try to network with them further or take future jobs from them, but it doesn’t sound like any actual transgressions occurred.

          9. boo

            I think no one’s able to give sensible advice because we can’t figure out what it is you do!

            I suspect this may be because it’s in entertainment or politics or some other arena where even telling us what your job is would be too much info, so that may be an intractable problem, but I sure am curious, and if you can give us any hints I’d be thrilled :)

          10. Snark

            Based on responses like this, have you considered that people are cutting you out because you’re needy and abrasive?

          11. Courageous cat

            It doesn’t seem like you are very good at taking any constructive feedback gracefully. It’s also very clear that the original person was just continuing on with the analogy. Maybe you do have a right to be paranoid.

          12. Anna

            Literally we all know you’re not an event planner. We were continuing with the analogy you…oh never mind.

          13. Sketchee

            If we want to set up analogy, it’s most like being a matchmaker. If you set up two people on a date. It would be strange to continue to be on any or futures dates
            Should the OP want to be in the loop, then the structure of the introduction is incorrect. Set up conference calls and clear reason for you to be involved.
            If there are questions that you want to be a loop in? The answer isn’t to micromanage and be attached to every email. Just call or write saying “Just checking in to see how everything is going with your work with Tina? If there’s anything I can facilitate, I’d be happy to.”
            Deconstruct the reasons you’d be involved and become involved when that make sense. If there’s no reason for you to be in the loop other than feeling left out, then you shouldn’t be.

          14. Sketchee

            “I was let go when the client thought there weren’t any more to be had from me”
            If someone doesn’t need your services… that is the correct move.
            If you think you have services to offer them, then you can manage the relationship, then it’s on you to continue to follow up and let them know what service you provide.
            In life and business, it generally makes sense to manage your own behavior and think of actions you can take. In this case, share your availability and what you have to offer. Then you can let them go on your end.

      2. hbc

        Well, if you’re the party planner, then you really shouldn’t be sitting with them.

        Do you have more details about what’s normal or what kind of involvement you would expect, because a lot of us find it completely normal to introduce two contacts and be out of the loop aside from “Hey, turns out Jane is even better at setting a table than I thought, thanks!”

          1. Flora

            Yeah, we all get that, thanks. But your work is so… unusual … and outwith the bounds of normal professional roles that we are finding it difficult to understand what the issue really is. Are you in the USA? Because it sounds like there may be some culturally-specific context here that would help a lot.

          2. Myrin

            I don’t think anyone actually thought the dinner party was anything but an analogy. They’re just following through with it and pointing out that even as an analogy, it’s flawed.

          3. Millennial Lawyer

            It’s pretty clear that it’s an analogy, and people are responding using the same analogy. Do you mind clarifying what your business is? It’s hard to tell and that’s why it’s difficult to give advice.

          4. Ramona Flowers

            Wait, does this mean the teapots are also not real? And the llamas? The llamas at least are real, aren’t they?

            1. Specialk9

              To llamas are real, and snug in their toasty barns with lots to eat, as the winter snow falls all around.

              Except the ones in Australia, their barns are by the lake and they frolick there by when it gets too hot.

          5. nonegiven

            I think the dinner party analogy was more like she hosted the party in her own home and the client that paid her to invite certain people, then led her into the kitchen before dinner without even her own plate.

      3. Joie de Vivre

        If there is a trade association for your type of business, joining it could help. Most likely there would be other members who have experienced the same situation. Someone in the trade group might have suggestions about language to include in contracts for the services you provide.

        1. LavaLamp

          OP#4
          Are these personal social contacts that are icing you out after being included in something professional or are they all professional contacts?

          Is it that you’re introducing Jane who you go to book club with to BossMan and suddenly Jane won’t talk to you anymore? Is that what’s happening?

          Otherwise I’m really confused.

            1. Myrin

              I am not understanding your attitude. In your letter, you described a situation that none but two or three commenters have ever heard about before; so of course, if someone wants to give sensible advice, they first need to understand the situation and as such, are taking the opportunity to try and find out more in the comments. I don’t really get what’s lol-worthy about someone being unclear about a part of your letter.

            2. Whit

              You are being very rude to a group of people trying their best to help you, despite your inability or unwillingness to communicate clearly and comprehensibly. I don’t think you are actually looking for advice. You certainly seem incapable of engaging with it.

              1. ClownBaby

                I think s/he is just looking for people to say “that’s so unfair,” but we will never know for sure because OP will just say “lol” to this comment.

                It sucks out of the workplace to introduce one friend group to another and realize they get along more with each other than then do with you…but if it is your job to make those connections, it seems sort of expected that that’s the goal. It’s great the client and the friends get along so well and why include OP in that business/social relationship if s/he is no longer needed?

                1. LBK

                  Yeah, this feels 100% like someone just looking for validation of their perspective rather than advice. Unfortunately the OP can’t even seem to explain what their job is other than to reiterate that whatever the job is, the client is wrong and the OP is right, so…if you’re certain that’s the situation, what were you even asking, OP?

            3. ClownBaby

              You talk about your self-serving client, but your responses to any question/advice/whatever that you don’t agree with sure makes you seem unpleasant. I understand the need for anonymity so you don’t want to give too many details out about what you do…but man, I wouldn’t throw the ball to you either.

              Since you are scoffing at all advice being given and not answering any questions being asked…what is the answer you were looking for?

            4. Millennial Lawyer

              LavaLamp’s question was very reasonable… we’re all looking for more clarification, not judging you. Your response is bewildering.

        2. PersephoneUnderground

          OP#1- Joie de Vivre’s comment appears actually helpful, so don’t miss it!

          It’s hard for the commenters to know what to say when it sounds like industry-specific norms are at work here and you can’t tell us the industry, but “get advice from expert sources within your industry” is very good advice, given the setup! I know contacts are handled in very different ways in different industries, from non-competes in some (Odd but true example is dog walking- they use non-competes so you can’t steal your agency’s clients and go walk their dogs independently!) all the way to informal networking setups in others. So it seems you should talk to others who may have run into similar issues and see what they say.

          +1

  10. Em Too

    OP4 – your manager can let people know how you want to handle it as part of the announcement. ‘OP prefers not to have a leaving do or any formal farewells/thank you speeches’. Wouldn’t raise eyebrows round my way.

    1. Grits McGee

      I think presenting a clear alternative for what you’d like people to do instead of a party is really helpful. In addition to Alison’s script, OP4 could also suggest, “If people would like to do something as a group, I’d love a card signed by everyone!” in order to prevent the kinds of social gatherings that erupt when well-meaning coworkers think “Well, we can’t just do nothing to recognize OP4!”

      1. Specialk9

        Wise move. It harnesses that energy by ‘people who have a hard time recognizing that just because they like something doesn’t means it’s universal’, and channels that energy into something the OP is comfortable with. (I know, weird quote marks, it helped clarify a confusing sentence.)

      2. myswtghst

        Agreed. I think that sometimes people just want to do something, and in the absence of other suggestions, default to what they’d want / what is the “norm” in their environment, which in this case is a party. If OP can politely suggest “oh, it’d mean so much more to me to receive a signed card and say goodbye to people one-on-one”, and maybe even enlist a few coworkers to back them up, they may have better luck.

  11. Blossom

    I think we need more context on #1. I don’t recognise or understand the business model described. I wonder if it is specific to certain countries? I feel like there may be a cultural aspect I’m missing.

    1. Thlayli

      Yeah it’s a really weird job. Never heard of one like it. OP gets paid just to make introductions? How does that even work?

        1. Forever Queen

          We did. It doesn’t make sense. That’s why you’ve been asked to clarify. Read all the comments you are getting! When lots of people don’t understand what you wrote, the problem isn’t them.

          1. a1

            It’s one thing to say “I’m confused, I don’t understand this and therefore don’t have much advice to give/offer” and another to say “I’m confused, I don’t understand this…” and then continue on with a a bunch of assumptions and advice saying why they are wrong to feel that way and that this is normal, etc. Some commenters have gone with the latter and I can see why that would be off-putting.

            1. Anony

              I think it is more of a case that in general, after connecting people there isn’t the expectation that you will continue to be looped in. That is what most people are saying. But given the OP’s conviction that that expectation is reasonable, they are giving some benefit of the doubt and adding the caveat that there may be specifics omitted in the letter that would justify that expectation.

            2. LBK

              Well, the OP won’t provide any further information that would make it easier to provide useful advice, so we kind of have to go based on assumptions.

        2. Falling Diphthong

          Based on the full piece, I’ve come up with:
          a) You are tangentially related to a mafia family, and outsiders are using you to connect to the don, but they don’t want to include you in the arms deal once the introduction has been made.
          b) You are an elderly aristocrat fallen on hard times, hired by people with new money to connect them to people with old money, and they don’t want to include you in the ski resort development deal once the initial contact has been made.

          You talk about social niceties but in the context of paying for the use of social contacts, which is a strange mix of rules from usually distinct parts of life.

          1. curly sue

            … is it odd that my first thoughts on reading some of this + comments went to sex work / escorting arrangements?

            1. Anne (with an "e")

              I was thinking the same thing. Does the OP run a high end escort service? Has one one their clients cut them out of the loop? The madame has been cut out of othe picture. Or… Have the workers started turning tricks for someone else?

          2. eplawyer

            Actually I was thinking about the Julia Roberts character in a Law & Order episode. She put wealthy people together for good causes. She had a rolodex, it was the 90s, that was huge, but no real friends. She expected to be at the social gatherings and get credit for bringing people together. Because a name on a building is forever.

        3. Snark

          Why don’t you just tell us what the hell it is you actually do? Because the full piece is confusing and doesn’t shed any light on your specific role or industry, and so we have no idea how to advise you on norms and expectations.

        4. Jill

          We did and we still don’t have enough information to give advice. Your refusal to provide more specific information makes it impossible for people to help.

    2. Mirve

      Is the company this happened with from a different country/culture and did not adhere to the norms the OP is used to?
      Like a company trying to break into a new market and using OP to get their start.

      1. Mary Connell

        Some one above suggested multi-level marketing (MLM) which plays by different rules than normal business.

        1. Courageous cat

          And would frankly explain the dismissive attitude of her responses, but I’m admittedly very much -not- a fan of MLMs so there’s a bias there.

          1. Esme Squalor

            This would make sense to me. Especially when the letter writer claims to be super elite in her specialty, but finds extremely basic suggestions like, “spell out terms in writing” or “have a contract” to be mind-blowing and “insightful.”

            1. Specialk9

              I assumed the insightful comments were “yeah that stinks” or “you’re right”, not actual advice.

              1. Esme Squalor

                I don’t know; in places, the OP responded with enthusiasm specifically to those kinds of suggestions and indicated she’d try them. I got the sense these were new ideas to her.

  12. MsChanandlerBong

    When we moved to our new city, my husband interviewed for a job with the state university system. He has a bachelor’s degree, but they wouldn’t just accept his transcript. They made him bring his high school diploma and college degree–the physical degree, in its frame–to the HR office so someone could take pictures of them. They ended up pulling his offer because his former employer does not give references (they only verify dates of employment/starting and ending salary). He was disappointed, but he might be better off not working somewhere that deals in this sort of nonsense.

    1. A.N. O'Nyme

      Over here you can take a copy of your diploma and have it signed by an official so that yes, it is legally equal to your actual diploma. My social law professor actually advised us to do this (and lock the original diploma in a vault somewhere) because if you lose your diploma, you’re not getting another one. All the university can do at that point is confirm that yes, you did receive a diploma, but you won’t get a new one.

      1. Joie de Vivre

        I’ve known people here in the US that got a new college diploma when the original was lost or destroyed.

        1. A.N. O'Nyme

          Yeah, I’ve heard of that happening in the US. It kinda surprised me, but honestly it’s more logical than our system.

        2. Artemesia

          The universities from which I have all my degrees do not provide replacements; you lose it and it is lost. They do provide transcripts.

    2. Brandy

      Whaaaat. I have no clue where my diploma is. I think I lost it. I figured its standard, people graduate high school now. So they should assume. I got pictures of me holding it, but it didn’t mean anything to me…so I don’t know where it is. Id wouldn’t get that job.

      1. Jaybeetee

        I don’t think I’ve ever been asked for HS info ever, and I’ve had a lot of jobs. In my current govt role, I needed to provide “proof of education” and provided my university degree. If I provided that, and someone was still like “No, we need to see your High School diploma” I’d probably pull out of the process. Like you, I don’t even know where my HS diploma is anymore. As for transcripts…I’m far younger than the LW, but I can’t imagine any reasonable employer caring what grades I got in high school a zillion years ago.

      2. a different Vicki

        Right. I think my college diploma is in a box in storage right now (rather than in one of the boxes in my apartment). I have no idea if I even have my high school diploma. I probably could call and get a transcript sent, but it might take a while, if they haven’t put old grades into whatever electronic records system they’re using now. (My doctor’s office recently “updated” their electronic medical records, meaning that the test results I can access online only go back to April of this year.)

      3. Elizabeth West

        I’ve been asked for transcripts before and got them years ago–I do have my high school diploma, but I have no idea where the HS transcripts are. They may not have them any more at this point. Unless I’m applying for a security clearance or something with a law enforcement agency, I’d give anyone asking a pretty big side-eye.

  13. pidlin

    OP 1 are you in business development of some sort (ie sales leads some sort?) and new at the game? (I’m not thinking you are new at every game or you wouldn’t have contacts but my sister went through something similar when she first transferred from actual work based work to contact based stuff )

    If so, then this is par for the course and you need to keep your cards closer to your chest if you want repeat business. I notice that you said your client pretty much sacked you after they had drained you dry, unfortunately if you are in a contact based business, that’s the way they fly and if you want repeat business in the future, then you should negotiate your upfront contracts harder than you have here (One of the things you can do is write in a commission for repeat business etc)

    I’m not saying this is the right thing your client should have done, more that it’s an unfortunately grubby reflection on our society. Really rich and successful businesses don’t get there by playing fair, they get there by ripping off the little folk. No matter what their websites say about their corporate governance strategies etc

    The other important thing here is you have just given up you list to someone who obviously isn’t respecting you so in the future (cos you can’t change the past) at least make them pay you for your WHOLE list if that’s what you/they want (and that same client has potentially cut you off from that as they don’t care about your personal interactions) rather than spinning it out.

    Be aware though, that your friends won’t be friends too much longer if you keep selling them to your clients. Be picky about who you pass that data on to in the future. If you haven’t asked them first (and I have no idea whether you did or not so not judging) then they won’t remain friends for very long.

  14. Pickles

    OP#5, the removal of a 20-day job from your resume makes perfect sense. But make sure you keep the info handy (address, supervisor name, etc) if you’re ever likely to apply for insanely bureaucratic positions. For instance, federal or state government job forms sometimes really do want every single past position listed, including babysitting and high school fast food where you never even knew your manager’s last name.

  15. AlwhoisthatAl

    #3 – It’s a difficult choice to make, baby over work travel or not. The way I looked at it was that you will never get back the years of them growing up whereas companies are always asking people to travel and it doesn’t matter at all who travels or for which company. I chose to cut down severely on travel and support my partner because of her job being International, so I was there 95% of the time for my twin boys. It’s your choice to make though, don’t feel pressured by the “SuperMum/SuperMom” mentality where you look after multiple offspring, have a high powered career, fantastic love life, great social life etc etc.

    1. cheluzal

      Absolutely. We are scrimping and saving so we can try to have me stay home as close to a year as possible after I give birth. Those months fly by and that kid is way more important than a job/career I only do out of necessity.

    2. Specialk9

      Lovely attitude! Sounds like you made a choice that worked for you, and also recognize that others might make other choices.

  16. Roscoe

    #1 I’ll be honest, I’m a bit confused on your actual job here. However, it seems that there is a professional networking that you may be an intermediate to, and then a social component. If it is relevant, I definitely think you can push back about the professional part. If you are all supposed to work together on a project, and they are cutting you out, sure, keep inserting yourself. The social part, you can’t really do much about without seeming kind of whiny.

    As the guy in my social group has brought lots of people together, I get it. It can be jarring when people you introduce develop a friendship outside of you. But that’s life. It would be pretty petty of me to, when I hear about people I introduced hanging out, threw a fit about not being invited.

    The social part is something you just need to let go. Or, maybe if it is happening a lot with different people, maybe ask someone you are closer with if there is anything you are doing to drive people away.

  17. Lives in a Dumb State

    High school transcripts: yes, asking for them is dumb BUT I’ve found that in my state (and maybe others) when high school graduation is a requirement for certain public jobs this is a legal mandate as per our state laws .So they have to be dug up even if you have a master’s degree.

    1. Elizabeth West

      For that, yes. And for some law enforcement jobs, even civilian, in those agencies–I applied for an internship at the PD when I was still a crim major and the amount of information the application wanted was INSANE.

      But for a clerical job at a private company? Nah. At OldExjob, someone referred a friend of theirs for a higher-level office position. She was very qualified, had worked in similar jobs with the same level of responsibility for a long time, had great references. They refused to hire her because she didn’t have a HS diploma. So twenty years of proven work experience wasn’t enough. :P

  18. Putting Out Fires, Esq

    #1: I have a feeling it would be very doxxing to give us more details, but I’m with other posters. Without more context, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

    Is your client’s interest in your friends to sell to them? Or to socialize with them?

    Right now I’m picturing either some sort of elite matchmaker service or sales of some luxury product. Maybe the plot of some Hallmark Christmas movie tossed in there.

      1. SunshineOH

        I hope you realize that the commenters are trying to be helpful to you. It’s just very unclear what your job entails, and so it’s difficult to offer helpful advice. We also get that the dinner party and the beach ball were analogies and not the real situation. :) Sorry you didn’t find any helpful advice, and I wish you luck!

      2. KitKat

        I hope this doesn’t violate the commenting rules but…MNP, though you probably don’t intend to, you’ve come across as dismissive and condescending in these comments. I still don’t understand what you do, but if this is how you come across to your business and personal contacts, maybe that’s why they are cutting you out of the loop.

            1. AKchic

              Hate to say it… but generally a Madam is much more discrete and doesn’t write in for help. They wouldn’t give away their client lists for anything, unless they were retiring. Client lists are the biggest portion of the retirement fund.

              This sounds almost performance-based. Either music or even acting scene, which is why the person is both hesitant to give more details (doesn’t want to expose trade secrets or have us guess who s/he is or who any clients may be), and why s/he is so dismissive to the point of rudeness (it’s an “industry” thing – the arrogance).
              If I’m right – I suspect that this other person will gain a reputation for being a user, and not in a good way. The person won’t last very long unless they end up being able to kiss the right tuchus, and you know it.

        1. a1

          What they’ve basically said is they have clients and contacts they feel have used them and they don’t know what to do about it. And no one seems to giving them advice about that. They are instead focusing on the details of analogies and wondering what industry this is. While some feedback is definitely best catered to with knowing the industry not all of it is. While OPs responses have been… less than ideal, I can see where the frustration comes from. Add to that that we are supposed to take LWs at their word, and they say this is unusual, I don’t think we should be questioning that.

          1. Grits McGee

            Well, they are giving advice, but it’s been “Based on my experience and from what you’ve said, this seems like kind of an overreaction?” And clearly OP doesn’t think that it’s an overreaction, which is why commenters want more context so they can better understand the situation, since it seems like the particulars of the OP’s experience and industry are outside the experience of most of the commenters.

            1. Falling Diphthong

              Yes, an OP asking “Is X outrageous?” and being told “No, X is pretty normal” is a really common letter/response format.

              Sure, sometimes the response is “You’re not crazy, your office is full of bees.” But sometimes its “Yes, bees are normal in an apiary.”

              1. Jill

                The problem is the OP hasn’t given enough information to be able to tell if the bees are normal or not. The OP keeps giving examples and when people respond to the examples, the OP says the examples aren’t the same so they don’t apply.

                1. Falling Diphthong

                  Yeah, the examples are all social. (Organizing dinner parties, inviting people to play beach volleyball, friend stealing.)

                  There’s a reason the fictional companies here all make teapots or trade in llama futures, rather than casting all work problems as issues with raising toddlers or coordinating extended family around the holidays.

                2. Turtle Candle

                  Right. I think the frustration is that the LW is going, basically, “My coworker keeps swatting bees, how do I get them to stop?” And the answer is, “Well, that’s kinda normal in most workplaces, so probably just let them?”

                  And yeah, maybe you’re working in a hothouse for endangered Arkansas singing bees and you’d better not swat even a single one, or it’s an apiary and they need to learn how to cope with bees, or whatever, but it’s hard to give advice about interactions in an unusual industry with that piece missing.

                3. Specialk9

                  “And yeah, maybe you’re working in a hothouse for endangered Arkansas singing bees and you’d better not swat even a single one”

                  This cracked me up. Nice, Turtle Candle!

          2. Millennial Lawyer

            The problem is, and I think I’m not alone here, is understanding the professional vs. social boundaries of what OP’s job entails. If she’s actually losing personal friends after setting them up professionally, that’s different than professional contacts spending time with her client. It’s hard to give advice the way it’s written without more information.

            1. MNP

              Erm…because it’s unusual I was hoping someone here could suggest a way of dealing with it (see original post)… clearly not

              1. LBK

                I said this in a couple other comments below, but: in most industries, there wouldn’t really be anything to do. You’d just write this off as a loss and make a mental note to never work with the guy again.

                It seems like you’re not satisfied to do that, though, so I think you have to fall back on what the industry norms are that you’re familiar with for your role. If blacklisting is a thing, do that. If you think telling your contacts about what he did would be appropriate, do that. It’s hard to give a general answer because in most industries, the only way to “deal with it” would be to just move on.

                I guess my question would be, what do you *want* to do? What’s your gut instinct based on your experience for how something like this should be handled?

                1. Falling Diphthong

                  Seconding. If the norm was followed the last 50 times, and you just completed a contract with Cersei who violated the norm and annoyed you, then the usual business thing to do is not work with Cersei again. For anything where you have a large pool of people following a given norm–paying you on time, not swapping around the requirements at the last minute, etc–you don’t bother with people who are not worth the extra effort they want you to expend.

                  For example, if you hired contractors to set up and break down events (because you WERE an event planner, zing) and one did a bad job, you would just not work with them in the future, and not recommend them to other associates. You wouldn’t worry about them stealing your friends.

              2. Jill

                Because it is unusual is all the more reason why it would be very helpful if you provided more specific information. People cannot help you without understanding the context.

          1. AMPG

            Your responses aren’t what most of us would consider “polite,” either, though. So maybe the commenters who suggested that you have different definitions of “friendship,” etc. are actually spot-on.

  19. Czhorat

    LW4 – I understand that you feel awkward about it, but you are really best off bring open about leaving. As it have said, it’s very awkward and leaves a poor last impression to vanish without a word. If nothing else, from a perspective of pure self-interest you could find yourself in a situation in which you need a reference, a job, or something else from a former coworker. From a less transactional viewpoint it’s the right thing to do; it gives everyone a better sense of closure and continuity than sneaking out on your last day.

    1. Specialk9

      I’ve received many a “so long and thanks for all the fish” email from coworkers. Once literally. Might be an option. Make it warm and a touch personal, and all good.

      1. Specialk9

        Personal meaning specific, eg references to common bonding rituals (food trucks everyone loved, cupcakes, group tai chi) or non-touchy struggles everyone shared (that snowstorm we had to shovel out the generator). I don’t know, something that makes it not impersonal.

        1. Czhorat

          I might have literally said “so long and thanks for all the fish” on the way out of my last place. It’s the sort of thing I would say.

          But yes, we just had a long-term employee leave and he sent a nice farewell email to the group. He wishes is well, we wish him well, and life carries on.

  20. I get it

    #4 – I’m also a “low key” kind of person. When I left my last job, I told my manager something along the lines of: “I know when people leave, we usually have a goodbye lunch for them, but you know that I’m the quiet type and don’t really like all the attention. So if it’s okay, I would prefer not to have a goodbye lunch.” So very similar to Alison’s suggestion. My manager completely understood, and so did the rest of my team (they knew my personality at this point). On my last day, I just came in early with a box of treats and left it in the common area. When people asked I just said they were from me and please help yourselves. No goodbye speech.

    But yeah, definitely don’t keep it a secret.

    1. Queen of the File

      Same here. If you work in an office full of people that you suspect will force a celebration on you anyway, it can be helpful to suggest an alternative that would suit you, so they can still let you know they care that you’re leaving. “I’m not a party person–I’d prefer to say goodbyes one-on-one instead of all together” or “I’d rather share any goodbye wishes by email instead of in person”.

  21. Katie the Fed

    OP#1 makes very little sense to me. Are these business or personal contacts? That seems like a very, very blurry line which might be a lot of the issue. Recommend keeping friends and business contacts separate to avoid hurt feelings and general weirdness.

    1. Jaybeetee

      Based on above comments, this seems to be something of a consultancy role – make the introductions, but with the intent to collaborate all together on future projects. It doesn’t seem like it was supposed to be a “make the introductions and step aside” proposition, at least not on her end.

      No one has mentioned this field yet, but this seems like something that could come up in artistic or writers circles, where large collaborative projects are common, and networking is vital. It would be like someone requiring actors for a play, so they ask LW, an actor, for their contacts…and then hire on those other actors and freeze out the LW. It’s the kind of thing that could be rationalized as legit, but it’s kind of a jerk move. Typically, in such a scenario, if you’re asked to make the intros, you’d expect some kind of ongoing role in that project. (An artistic scenario would also make sense in light of LW saying that her “business” and “personal” contacts tend to be one and the same – again, that’s pretty common in artistic/writer/performance circles).

      1. Queen of the File

        This is a helpful example! Like many others I was having trouble imagining a situation to go from. Not that I didn’t believe the letter writer (maybe why their comments seem defensive?), just that I couldn’t place the situation in a meaningful way.

        1. Queen of the File

          I’ll add (probably unnecessarily) that some of these circles can get pretty isolated from non-circle experience (other industry norms, for example) and can, in my experience anyway, develop a culture of loudly/rudely blaming and shaming people for normal misunderstandings to avoid looking imperfect in some way. A world of fragile egos and hair-trigger firings, etc. This perspective helps me parse the original letter and the OP’s responses here a little better.

      2. Anony

        I wonder if the problem is that the LW and the client had different expectations from their collaboration. If the LW was hired for a short term role but hoped to turn it into a longer term one but he client never intended that and didn’t know about the LW’s expectation it would make sense that the LW would feel used but the friends would continue to do business with the client.

          1. Elizabeth West

            In that case, I’d make sure you have a more comprehensive contract (I thought you said this was a contract role) next time, that spells out those expectations, if that’s possible. Especially where getting credit is concerned.

        1. LBK

          If that’s the case, I think the advice would be to just be more explicit up front about the expectations and not just assume that the client will understand the norm; at the very least, it gives you protection/backup if they do end up cutting you off sooner than expected.

          However, you’ve also said that you’ve had a long career doing this and that this is the first time it’s ever happened, so I don’t really know if you need to do anything. In most industries, you’d just shrug it off, never work with the guy again and move on. However, it seems like in your industry this is a much bigger affront rather than just general jerkiness, so I think you should do whatever’s appropriate for your industry re: this specific person. It sounds like you might be in a world where blacklisting is a thing, so maybe do that? As for longer term solutions, I don’t know that you necessarily need any since, again, you say this is the first time this has ever happened to you.

      3. Millennial Lawyer

        That would make a lot of sense – it’s unfortunate OP has been commenting “lol” and not clarifying at least what industry it is! Art/theater/music would make a lot of sense here.

      4. LBK

        This is the part that’s still confusing me: what role would the OP expect to have in these projects going forward? It doesn’t sound like she actually wants to actively work on them, she just wants to be kept in the loop of what’s going on, since she said her job satisfaction comes from watching projects come to fruition as a result of the connections she makes:

        The satisfaction I get from my paid work is helping projects evolve, seeing things come to fruition and getting a bit of professional credit – something that doesn’t happen if I’m not kept in the loop…it’s not good for relations and also leads to mistrust.

        I guess I’m not clear on what exactly her involvement is/should be after the introduction is made.

        1. MNP

          In some circles, it is not all about commerce…there is an understanding to be considerate and include all parties initially so as to be courteous to the key person in the mix (ie me, if I am the one putting the two parties together). High-level business is not all about the financial transaction, it’s also about long-term mutually beneficial relationships. I am guessing that many of those responding here are in corporate jobs – what I am discussing is a client/consultant relationship which needs to be finessed to a significant degree and to the satisfaction of everyone involved. It’s not a ‘smash and grab’ office workers project…

          1. LBK

            It’s really not helpful to be demeaning to the people who are trying to help you. If you don’t think anyone here has valuable insight, why even bothering asking?

            1. MNP

              I didn’t realise prior to asking that it was such a difficult subject for some to grasp, and was looking for another (intelligent) perspective….does that answer your question?

              1. LBK

                It seems like it’s hard for you to grasp that this is really unusual in most industries; maybe there’s a more industry-specific forum you could go to where people would have more experience with the kind of relationship you’re talking about? Just because you have an unusual job that people can’t relate to doesn’t mean the commenters here aren’t intelligent – again, enough with the demeaning comments.

                That all being said, if I take your word that this is very unusual in your industry and this client should have known better, my advice would be: 1) don’t work with that client anymore, obviously, 2) in whatever ways are appropriate for your role/industry, let others who might work with him know what he did so that they don’t run into the same issue and 3) be a little more direct about your expectations when you’re taking on a new client. You don’t have to explicitly insist on it, but I think you can say something along the lines of “Typically clients do X once I’ve introduced them to my contacts,” where X is copy you on communications, invite you to events, or whatever’s applicable. That way you at least know that the person knows this is the norm, so if they choose to disregard it, then you can be clear that they’re just being rude. It sounds like this is a world where people are expected to read between the lines to some extent, so I don’t know that you need to really be explicit about it (like writing into the contract that they must copy you on emails or something). It sounds like that might also be too aggressive for a scene that’s focused on certain etiquette, so I think that implicit “this is what other people have done and ergo what I expect you to do” method should work.

                Did you get the sense that this guy was simply ignorant of the norm that you should be included in interactions going forward? Or do you think he knew and actively chose to cut you out? I do still think it’s odd that your contacts weren’t trying to loop you into these interactions if they’re accustomed to you being a part of them – maybe you can check in with a couple to whom you’re particularly close and see what their take on the situation is? They might have some insight that they garnered from their interactions with the client.

              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                MNP, your original post and your “clarifications” have been really vague. A person’s inability to see through the obscurity is not a measure of their intelligence (or lack thereof). Your responses are not “polite”—they’re extremely rude, unkind, inaccurate, and frankly border on trolling.

                Why are you treating people in this way? What do you hope to gain from it?

                1. Falling Diphthong

                  Based on updates, I’m moving to the “arranging high-end escorts” interpretation. Or something for which that’s a much closer business analogy than is inviting people to play volleyball with you.

          2. Just another corporate dum-dum

            MNP, here’s where you’re going wrong…. you were asked what *role* you play after making a connection. If you’re getting cut out of the loop, it seems like you may not be necessary to the relationship. You responded by saying that it’s *considerate* and *courteous* to keep including you- maybe it is, but that doesn’t mean you still have a *role* or are *necessary* to the project. Then you refer to yourself as the key person in the mix…how could the transaction proceed without you, as you say keeps happening, if you were the key person in the mix? Long term mutually beneficial relationships- mutual between which parties? Seems like client and contact are already benefitting and again, no longer have need for you. Finessed to the satisfaction of everyone involved…again, two people cutting you out of a transaction are, presumably, satisfied with that decision- the only unsatisfied person is you. You seem not to see the distinction between what you think is *courteous* and what is *necessary.* If these courtesies are so important to you, find a way to enforce them, but it really sounds like you aren’t as indispensable to these relationships as you think you are.

          3. NaoNao

            Office projects are not “smash and grab” and that’s a really weird and condescending way to describe them.
            Firstly, “high finance” IS office based.
            Secondly, office workers have to work day to day with the people they completed projects with and very, very rarely burn bridges or “smash and grab” (not even sure what that means in an office context).
            My best guess would be art consultation or art dealership. It’s a high-finance, social, and arts/creative world where personal and business contacts are blurred. The OP could have a “book” of buyers or potential “known buyers” or collectors that she/he has the “in” with after years of painstakingly developing his/her relationships with them.
            Springboarding off this “analogy”, let’s say MNP introduces Grabby New Gallerist/Dealer to a selection of her Finest Old Money Collectors.
            Grabby New Gallerist then immediately cuts MNP out of the loop, ensuring that the normal “2% consideration” on any sales Grabby New Gallerist makes is not forthcoming…ever.
            Let’s also say normally, MNP introduces Nice Gallerist or Nice Artist to her/his “book”, the protocol would be to keep MNP in the loop and pay him/her a small “consideration” for the continued development of the contact, the expertise (“Hey, Old Money Spender just called me and needs to liquidate her estate NOW. Who should I call?”), and the industry knowledge.

            This is based on my general obsession with reading tell-all non fiction about *cut-throat* and very non-normal (one might almost call it…smash and grab) world of art dealing at the high level.

            Having said that, this OP is…very unpleasant and I don’t understand why.

        2. Tuxedo Cat

          Yeah, the professional credit for introducing two people is unclear what that is. Without more details like the industry, it seems odd to me that anyone would receive professional credit for introducing two people… My colleagues and I all suggest potential collaborators all the time to each other. Other than a quick “Jane suggested I contacted you for x” in an intro email, I can’t imagine what other credit is involved.

          That said, I have a standing open invitation that these colleagues can suggest themselves as potential collaborators.

          1. LBK

            I get the sense that the people she’s introducing are clients who want something pretty substantial from the people she’s introducing them to, e.g. startups who want to be introduced to VCs for funding. Her job is to basically get them in the door, and she gets professional credit for making good matches and for maintaining good relationships with a wide range of VCs so that she has resources available for the clients that are coming to her.

            It doesn’t sound like these are standard networking connections where at most you’re probably hooking someone who needs a job up with someone who’s hiring; I think the contacts she has are much more valuable than that, which is why she expects to continue to be part of it because getting a client in touch with these contacts is a big deal.

          2. nonegiven

            I’m assuming something like when the project is finished, the credits include having OP’s name in it like ‘Special thanks to OP’ or listed as a consultant, so it can be included in their body of work.

      5. Elizabeth H.

        That’s a really helpful example too. A family member is a professional musician/former and collaborates with many different people on many different things, so the overlap between social relationships and business relationships is completely nonexistent/blurry (in a way that is appropriate for the context of people who work in the field).

      6. MNP

        Extremely, extremely perceptive of you, Jaybeetee. Thank you for grasping the situation (almost) exactly! Applause, please!!

        1. Specialk9

          No. You’ve used up every ounce of our collective goodwill. You said you were opting out of the conversation but keep posting increasingly rude things.

        2. Katie the Fed

          nobody here cares for your coyness. People are actually trying to help and you seem to want to play condescending guessing games.

        3. Windchime

          Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to have just said that in the first place? Why be so cagey about a job that sounds essentially like a talent agent? (Which isn’t such a special or rare job, honestly).

        4. Laura

          Hmm, I’m a novelist who also writes plays and screenplays, I have a ton of friends and acquaintances who act in, direct, produce, cast, agent, design plays and films, plus everyone in publishing, plus vast amounts of people in print media and TV (this is entirely normal for my job) and none of us would recognise this scenario from “artistic or writers circles”. Our jobs are really clear, and I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. You’re paid to cast a play or film, bring in a writer to adapt a novel for screen, etc etc. These are jobs. If anyone ever mentioned ‘friendship stealing’ in any context of anything remotely to do with our *work* we would all fall about laughing. Of course things happen personally, but the idea that they could be mixed professionally? Impossible. Or that X suggests Y to adapt a modern version of Macbeth for Sleep No More but gets pissed because they don’t get invited to rehearsals? Unimaginable.

    2. MNP

      In my area of business, one is the same as the other – my friends and professional contacts are one and the same…you find that is the case, the higher up the business/social ladder you go

        1. Esme Squalor

          I’m came to this thread a few hours after everyone else, but I’m seriously just scrolling through, shaking my head in amazement at the OP’s comments. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a difficult and pompous letter writer on AMA before. We did have the boss who lost his best employee because he refused to let her attend her own graduation, or the manager who fired the cancer survivor for using sun protection in front of clients, but at least they didn’t thread-sit and berate and insult those trying to advise them. If this behavior is at all representative of the letter writer’s MO, I can certainly see why professional contacts may prefer to circumvent her.

          I do feel bad for the other letter-writers that the drama of this OP’s barrage of condescending comments has taken over the board a bit and distracted from their letters.

      1. LBK

        We have plenty of people who are high up in their respective businesses here – I think you need to understand that your world is unique in the blending of social and professional circles and that your perceptions aren’t universal.

        1. Falling Diphthong

          My brother-in-law is a consultant, one of those people who is just effortlessly gifted at connecting with people personally and professionally. (Also really smart, but he has observed that if you could stand in only the line for brains or the one for people skills, the latter will probably get you a lot farther in life.) OP sounds nothing like him. (And increasingly like a parody of what someone who doesn’t move in the top social circles imagines that must be like.)

          1. Esme Squalor

            I’m really starting to agree with those who said they were getting MLM vibes from this letter writer. It has all the markings of someone who wants desperately to assume the trappings of an Important Business Person, but isn’t quite sure what that would really look like.

            1. Esme Squalor

              I also wanted to add: in the few places that this OP has said comments here been helpful to her and that she plans to use the suggestions, they’ve been recommendations to do extremely basic things like spell out terms in writing or use a contract, things anyone with a legitimate consultancy would already be doing. In my line of work, I employ a number of consultants (a few contractors my company works with can be accurately described as one of only five or so people in the US who can do their extremely specialized type of consultancy), and their contracts, scopes of work, deliverable time tables, etc., are extremely precise and explicit. The idea of anyone in a consultancy relying on a “gentleman’s agreement” or shared cultural expectations to proceed with work and payment strikes me as shockingly naive or unprofessional. Or maybe both.

              Based on her comments here, I believe it to be extremely unlikely that the OP is as much among the consultancy elite as she seems to believe herself to be.

          2. Laura

            (And increasingly like a parody of what someone who doesn’t move in the top social circles imagines that must be like.)

            Yeppity. I know a lot of those people and they don’t sound like this at all.

      2. LavaLamp

        You know, we aren’t mind readers. You really need to take a step back. If you want advice you need to provide the appropriate amount of detail so we know what we’re commenting on. Instead you’ve played this weirdly coy game of trying to make us guess what you do; call us ignorant if we don’t and then expect us to be useful to you. You’re being a rude, arrogant, self entitled jerk.

          1. MNP

            Really? I have built a successful career on communication and this is a unique experience. Thanks to some of the posters on this forum, I actually have an insight on how to deal with it :-)

            1. Snark

              Nobody with a successful consultancy career dependent on communication would need the insights you’ve responded positively to, like “make expectations clear in writing” and “establish clear professional boundaries and make sure your friends and business contacts understand them.” That’s….somewhere below basic, as far as business insights go.

              1. Laura

                Oh my goodness, so much this! Besides, they connected with the “artistic or writers circles” suggestions earlier, which is so wrong (that’s my job and it does NOT work like that). And “artistic or writers circles” are not at all “a successful career on communication”. I don’t think this person knows which end is up.

          2. ClownBaby

            +1

            I was thinking the same thing…I don’t think it’s friends being “stolen”…I think the situation at hand is OP realizing her “friends” were simply professional contacts and is now getting jealous that the client she introduced them to is able to have both a friendship and a professional relationship with them. If OP’s “friends” are getting the profession and social needs met by the client, they may not see any reason to keep OP involved.

            Here’s hoping OP is the exact opposite in person than what she is here.

            Frankly- I think she’s just a troll at this point.

            1. Laura

              OK, ClownBaby, that now makes total sense, especially given what OP has shown us about the way they engage with people.

        1. MNP

          Sorry? I gave all the information I was going to give in my original enquiry and have now received intelligent feedback and advice that I shall take. Thank you

  22. blackcat

    #3, I want to echo Alison’s warning to perhaps consult a lawyer. This was one of the tactics used to push a friend out of a job when she first had a kid. Her role magically changed from zero travel to 50% travel, without any real justification, the moment she came back from FMLA leave. Basically, they put her in a new role, and expected her to travel *her first week back.*

    Things to look for include
    -Whether or not anyone else’s travel has been suddenly increased
    -Whether other people have been allowed to delay/reduce travel for other medical reasons (eg cancer)
    -Whether fathers have been able to get reduced travel with a young child.

    In my friend’s case, it was 100% clear they did not want mothers. It was only after she tried to come back that she realized she did not know any mothers in her workplace with kids under 15 or so.

    (And, as a warning, she was told a lawsuit would be very hard. She didn’t have that energy with a newborn.)

    1. neverjaunty

      This is excellent advice.

      And while a lawsuit is very stressful, talking to a lawyer doesn’t mean the OP has to sue anyone.

    2. A.

      Employment lawyer here. This could be FMLA retaliation (in which case you’d look for the factors blackcat listed above) OR it could be FMLA interference, because you could argue that you aren’t being returned to a substantially similar job position, as the FMLA requires. Retaliation and interference are similar but different and both could be at play here, and interference is probably easier to prove in this circumstance.

      1. (Different) Rebecca, PhD

        IANAL, but sometimes just knowing that and dropping it into your next meeting/conversation on the topic is enough to get people to back down.

    3. Happy Lurker

      This was my first thought. OPs workplace is looking to push them out. I have a negative mind.
      Good luck OP and congratulations on your upcoming addition to your family! Focus on the good stuff, if you can.

      1. Anony

        I think one key question would be whether everyone’s travel is being increased. If it is being asked of everyone it is less likely that they are trying to push out the OP.

    4. Case of the Mondays

      I would just love for one of the women the company tries to force out to just come back and rock that travel totally blowing up the plan to push her out. Their travel budget would skyrocket. The sad thing is, they’d probably just find some Plan B to push her out instead.

      1. blackcat

        That is what my friend did. They did a host of other things and eventually she just couldn’t stand it.

  23. Bad Candidate

    I was recently asked if I took the SAT or ACT. I never took either, but I assume they would have wanted my scores if I had. They didn’t ask for a HS transcript but they did ask how my grades were. I’m not sure how 20 year old grades are relevant, but whatevs.

  24. just another day

    OP1, I’ve read the prior comments and many good points have been made, but I want to commiserate with you on how confused, frustrated, and hurt you must be feeling. For this employment to have ended in the way you describe is a terrible betrayal to conclude this convoluted employment arrangement.

    I’d suggest doing what you can to work through these feelings (therapy maybe?) right off so that it won’t inadvertently interfere with your interviewing for new positions (things like bitterness [even when justified] are easy for an interviewer to spot and can be a reason to pass on a candidate (to avoid the baggage).

    Truly, good luck to you OP – you can do this! It’s a cliche, but truly this adversity will only make you stronger – it is giving you an opportunity to prove to yourself just how resilient and strong you are. Find and embrace your inner fortitude!

  25. Liane

    Alison, so many of the comments toward OP 3, are so mean-spirited, arrogant, & dismissive, I fear you need another sticky Be Polite post at the top.
    All the “It’s easy, I’ve done/do this,” “Whyyy is she saying this is a problem?” and “Suck it, up, buttercup” type comments.

    1. Millennial Lawyer

      I am also surprised at the comments! I don’t know how many of them I find super mean, but they are at least assuming something that isn’t the reality for the average working person.

    2. Academic Addie

      I’m, frankly, shocked by a commenter saying they hate OP3 and anyone who thinks OP has a reasonable point. What is going on???

    3. SallytooShort

      I wouldn’t say they are mean enough to get a warning. But it’s pretty weird.

      Even if you leave out the soon to be newborn baby a huge increase in travel is a good reason to push back at work. And I sort of suspect some people would be *more* sympathetic without the baby issue.

      1. NaoNao

        Yeah I found that angle weird as well. Especially the “choosing to have a child” stuff that really didn’t sit right with me. I am child-free by choice and am in a household with two potential parents, steady income with a no-travel job, health insurance, a loving/caring/involved partner, no outstanding health issues, partner has substantial (like 6 figures) investments, and we *still* aren’t having kids because…things can change on a dime and we would be screwed.
        Not all people are fortune tellers or very cautious like we are. People deserve the chance to have the wonderful experience of having a child in their life if that’s what they want without being beat about the head and shoulders with “whelp, that was your foolish choice, back when your job was 0% travel! tough cookies!”
        I really don’t get that!
        Things change. As we’ve all seen from this very column! Bosses get fired, replaced, leave, or even die! Jobs dramatically change or people get laid off, fired, downsized, or pushed out. Industries like the music industry, publishing, journalism, travel booking, magazines, and retail, collapse in 5 years or less or change to the point that years of skills/networking/accomplishments aren’t useful anymore.
        Is the solution “never have a child just in case?”
        In my case, (and for other reasons) yes.
        But I would *never*! give that advice to others, it’s too extreme!

    4. Lady Phoenix

      I think the comment have been particular rough this month from the update about the guy who put human-shaped targets in public display, the update about the boss that inpregnated his subordinate and OP getting cost in the crosshairs, to this one.

      I think Allison should either consider morderators (Doctor Nerdlove) or just closing comments when she can’t moderate (Captain Awkward).

      Some days I realize how easy it is to hate people on the internet. :/

  26. just another day

    OP2’s post: WHAT?!

    It’s not for a government position that requires an extensive background check for security clearance, is it?

    1. Librarian By Day

      I was about to suggest that! My partner just got a job at a local government office that deals with a lot of private information (think police records) and it’s been about 12 years since he was in high school but it doesn’t matter to them. If there’s an extensive background check they want to know every detail of your life, no matter how long ago.

      1. AKJ

        I got a job when I was 18 (eight months out of High School) that required a full ten year background check. I asked if they really needed all ten years, they said yes, so I dutifully filled out the form, ending with “Third grade, Happyville Elementary School, Happyville USA.”

    2. Happy Lurker

      Government contract job had to see my diploma from HS…I thought it was strange, until my boss explained that everyone had to do it when hired.

  27. The Consultant

    OP1, based on what I can glean from your letter, I’m in a similar situation. I’m in a fairly political role in which I connect people who can benefit each other. That’s my job, so I introduce them, say good luck, then bow out. Some days it feels a little like I’m being exploited but it’s just business. Every once in a while people ask me to use close friendships I’ve developed with former colleagues to benefit my current company and that is where I draw the line. I know it can be hard when the line between personal and professional is blurred but when you start to feel like your friends are abandoning you, maybe it would be helpful to take a step back and regroup – think about whether you are contributing anything to the professional conversation, and if not, graciously back away. The key there is graciously.

    1. a1

      The LW states in a comment that

      I have been involved in this (very social) business for a long time and it is the first occasion where the client has not had the courtesy to include me in (at least initial) communications between themselves and the person I have introduced to them, particularly after I have requested they do so.

      so I don’t think this applies.

      1. The Consultant

        Yes, well I’m wondering if OP is misjudging the nature of his involvement and previous clients have included him as a courtesy, even though it isn’t necessary. Based on his reactions to previous comments, he doesn’t seem all that self aware. I can see other clients establishing stronger professional boundaries and that being difficult to process.

          1. The Consultant

            I guess that would explain the weird personal/professional boundaries and the OP’s reticence in providing detail.

            1. MNP

              No – a privacy issue. I thought I had supplied sufficient information on the topic for a full understanding. Some posters have grasped it, you clearly have not.

                1. MNP

                  Some posting here have excellent perception and have given me exactly the insight and feedback I hoped for. You, however, have not (clearly SNARK by name and SNARK by nature)

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Hey, please cut this out. Your original letter was confusing, including to me, and people are rightly pointing out that it’s hard to advise on with clearer details. If you don’t want to engage with people here, that’s fine, but these are people who are trying to help you and if you choose to comment here, you do need to be polite.

                1. MNP

                  Hello…if you read the posts I am responding to, I am correcting those who are (charmingly) suggesting I am a sex worker, a madam or in the mafia. This is not exactly the type of response I was hoping for, and I was unaware that discussions on these industries were commonplace on this site (as suggested by a responder). However, a few of those replying have been extremely perceptive, understand exactly what the issue is and have given me EXCELLENT advice that I shall now act on. Goodbye and thank you.

            1. Snark

              Then you don’t actually want advice, and you just want validation that the person taking advantage of your contacts is wrong and bad.

              1. MNP

                I have received excellent advice from a few who have responded here for which I am grateful and I shall act on. Thanks for your help.

        1. MNP

          I have been in a very long and successful career and this is the first time the issue has ever arisen, hence my query on this forum.

            1. MNP

              In my humble opinion, things are best addressed so they don’t happen again. I’ve had great advice from other posters that I am going to act on. Thanks for your help :-)

                1. Laura

                  You really haven’t had great advice from other people that you’re going to act on, though. I’ve read the thread. There has been sensible stuff about building things into contracts, but if you are, as you say, in communication, that absolutely won’t work. You’re just saying that to make it sound as if some of us managed to understand you and were therefore more clever. No one did,

  28. writelhd

    For #5: If the work at company B was hired as temporary and meant to be temporary–I’m confused why it doesn’t make sense to put it point blank. If it’s not relevant to the posting you’re applying for, then yeah there’s no point, but if it was intended to be short-term for a project, and that project was a chance to use or gain a skill relevant to a posting, wouldn’t it be good to put it, or at least depend on the industry? (if it’s one where short gigs is part of the norm, for instance…)

    Not sure if that’s the case, just noting that the OP said the posting at B was temporary, so it’s not necessarily the same thing as fast job-hopping.

    1. Name

      OP # 5 here. I thought along the lines of your rationale so I went ahead and included company B on my resume. But now to Alison’s point, I wasn’t there long enough to gain relevant skills, so I’ll be deleting it. It was temporary but meant to be 3 months temporary rather than 20 days temporary. I just happened to get a permanent offer from Company C that pulled me out of there. I do think Company B helped me get the offer at Company C. One reason is that I showed I was doing something relevant rather than being unemployed. But I don’t think listing company B has the same benefits now.

  29. AMT

    My professional license (for a career path that requires a specialized master’s!) required me to provide proof of high school graduation. Luckily, they accepted my explanation that I was homeschooled and there is literally no record that I ever attended school past the third grade. I suppose it’d be tragic if someone who could do undergraduate- and graduate-level work—but somehow not high school-level—slipped past them.

    1. (Different) Rebecca, PhD

      At some level, the passing of high school just becomes an implied understanding, right? I mean, right??

      Like, as my name implies, I’ve just passed my dissertation defense and received my PhD. I recall people saying that the bad things you did in high school went on your permanent record, but how long do they actually keep that stuff? I’ve gotten an aggregate of 5 degrees and a certificate from four universities…do we need to know that I failed sophomore high school geometry and got a 3 day suspension for scratching a classmate?

      1. AKJ

        My Mom sent for a copy of her HS transcript not too long ago, mostly out of curiosity – I went to the same school 30 years later, and I had to send for a copy of mine, so she was wondering if they still had hers. She sent the form in and they sent her transcript – she graduated in 1966 so the grades went back to 1962. Apparently our school will keep basic records like transcripts as long as they stay open, although all it had was a single page of basic information, no details. And no disciplinary records, although she did get a “C” in algebra in 1963.

        1. Erin

          So what happens when someone’s high school and former school district closes? I’m just curious because the school district my cousins went to just dissolved and shut its doors permanently.

      2. Super Secret Squirre

        Katniss posted that they got into college without HS diploma. And several homeschooled people similarly posted. I find it fascinating!

      3. Anon for this

        I have had people be insanely and bizarrely angry about not being able to get my high school transcript, even though I have a BS and can provide a copy of my high school diploma, or even the physical diploma, if they insist. The school will provide a letter confirming my dates of attendance and my graduation date, too, so I have no idea what the problem is. (I was taken into foster care in high school and all the graphic details about why are on my transcript, some of them written over my actual grades, so they can’t just be blacked out. There are also references to my siblings, so it’s a privacy issue for them, as well, which is why the high school can’t release the actual transcript. Way, way TMI for a work background check.)

      4. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

        Depends on where you live, Rebecca. Some states require long-term preservation of school records – 66, 75, 100 years, even in perpetuity.

        I had mentioned this – back in the mid-80s, my Dad was an elementary school principal. A man in his 70s was applying for some job that required a security clearance. He had to supply his transcripts – FROM THE LATE 1920s!!!! Legitimately.

        And some will have a concern about candor, and ask the question. If you said you graduated from Lovelytown Country Day School, or an exclusive prep school, and it turns out you didn’t, and that you attended Bozo High, they might call you on it.

        There also have been impostors applying for jobs – although it’s more difficult now with the I-9 system here in the U.S., but I’ve run into people who really weren’t who they said they were…also it was an 80s thing, people working under pseudonyms. I interviewed one guy with an obviously made-up name, and he had four working names in a five-stop, nine-year career. Makes ya wonder.

        And they MIGHT care about a suspension or expulsion from a high school – in spite of your degrees.

      5. AMT

        Come to think of it, there was actually a scandal at my school involving a visiting professor who had faked his undergrad degree and gone on to get a (legit) Ph.D. He was also involved in fraud related to his student loans and was a comically bad instructor. I sort of wonder what the college’s response would have been if he’d been an excellent teacher who hadn’t committed loan fraud. Probably a lot less outrage, though I assume they’d still fire him for lying about it.

    2. Hobgoblin

      Fellow homeschooler here! My brother joined the Marine Corps when he was 22 and couldn’t get his recruiter to understand that he didn’t have high school transcripts. Like, at all. Finally, he agreed that my brother could just download a blank high school diploma and have my parents sign it. We still give him a hard time that he got into the Marine Corps with a note from his mommy ;)

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy

        Similar for my brother. Army needed paperwork, so my Dad spent a bit of time with fancy fonts on Word. They printed out, signed it, and immediately scanned it back in to email it.

        But you sort of know going into the military that stupid bureaucracy is an unavoidable part of the process. I don’t see why you should have to put up with it for a regular job.

  30. Snark

    Being asked to travel six times more often with a family at home is a Big Deal. Even if you’re a good and skillful traveler and know the ropes, work travel sucks, because it’s all logistics and no fun.

    I have traveled extensively – nationally and internationally – for business, and have traveled for fun in some exceptionally challenging places – on every continent, in or on top of almost every imaginable form of transportation, sharing no common language with the locals, in various states of war and peace. I have ridden on bus roofs through the Andes, I inadvertantly purchased an AK-47 one time, I met a member of a Hindu cannibal death cult named Gary in Kathmandu who called me “brah.” I am lucky in that my mental and physical health make travel, even frequent travel, No Big Deal.

    It’s still a Big Deal. It sucks.

    Eating on the road is fattening and monotonous. It shunts all the childcare onto your spouse. You get sick more often. You’re constantly in cities you aren’t familiar with. Your luggage gets lost or delayed. You miss connections. You don’t sleep that well in hotels. You get fondled by Dwayne the TSA Agent on a weekly basis. It’s everything that nobody likes about travel, without the things that make travel amazing, like Gary the Cannibal Cultist.

    1. Specialk9

      When’s your pizza AAM party again? I want the rest of these stories, and I promise to leave the oven door closed.

    2. boo

      “…I inadvertently purchased an AK-47 one time…”

      Come on, man, you’re just gonna drop that in there with no details? (Of course you are, cause that just makes the whole list all the more awesome.)

  31. strawberries and raspberries

    Yeah, it’s like a strange combination of being deliberately obtuse and bristling at the thought of a mother advocating for herself. I’m guessing it’s either a) no kids and seriously underestimating the inconvenience and difficulty of that much travel (but then again, I have no kids and it sounds really untenable to me) or b) bitterness at seeing someone with the opportunity to contest this new requirement when at a different time you yourself may have had to “suck it up.” So hateful though, either way!

    1. Academic Addie

      AAM gets all kinds of questions that boil down to “I was hired with X expectation, now they want Y, how do I handle it?” I’ve never seen one attract this kind of vitriol. Wonder what could be different, hmmm.

  32. MamaSarah

    LW#3 Congratulations!! The birth (at home!!) of my daughter was one of the best days of my life. Birth is powerful and transformative – I wish you all the very best.
    I traveled a lot (like 60-70%) as a consultant – before I was pregnant, when I was pregnant, and with my little baby. When she was about 3 months, I realized this was not so sustainable and was secretly thrilled when I was laid off (getting my career back on track was a journey, but I got there). There are perks to traveling (seeing family, visiting the church we love, going to national parks and hip vegan cafes) yet it’s exhausting (as is motherhood at times).
    Have you researched breastfeeding laws in your state? It seems both unfair and unreasonable to ask a breastfeeding woman to spend more than 24 hours away from her infant. Here’s a link from my state:
    https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CFH/DMCAH/Breastfeeding/Pages/Laws.aspx
    Lastly, the first year is sometimes described as the “longest, shortest year”. Know that if you decide to ask for severance, this mama supports you! Enjoy this magical time. Best wishes.

  33. boop the first

    #1.
    My first thought is that quote from Office Space: “What would you say… you DO here?”

    That’s the thing about capitalism – your entire value is tied to what people can suck from you. Even in personal relationships, people only care about how you make them feel. What you give to them. If you have nothing to offer, you get cut out.

    What do you offer? What do you do? What do people want from you? You certainly want things from others, but that’s only half of the equation. If they paid you for that contact, then you’re both square up. Since that’s the only context in your letter, it sounds like there’s no loose ends here.

    If that’s the only context in your letter, then you provided a service, they paid for that service and now everyone is done. What’s left?

      1. MNP

        The level of advice and the ridiculous comments on this thread have reached such a low I have decided to excuse myself…really appalling

        1. Snark

          You’ve been evasive, vague, impatient, and frankly pretty immature in your approach, and you’re surprised that nobody can give you actionable advice? C’mon. The common denominator there is you, my dude.

          1. MNP

            Only been impatient with those who’ve insultingly suggested I’m operating in the mafia or the escort business. Very few on this forum have grasped exactly what I’m writing about but those who have been clever enough to understand have then given excellent and very perceptive responses, for which I have thanked them, ‘my dude’…

            1. Snark

              They didn’t grasp any more than I did, and they’re certainly no cleverer – they simply seem to be the ones who validated your sense of injury or rolled with your total lack of actionable information. There’s nothing to “grasp” here. This is not a complex situation. You’re just vague and weirdly defensive.

              And if you don’t understand suggestions you’re a pimp or mafioso are made with tongue entirely in cheek, well….there’s another bit of evidence that you need to reevaluate your expectations around human interaction. My dude.

              1. Laura

                Oh, very well said, Snark! No one grasped anything! MNP is just saying some people did to validate themself.

            2. LBK

              I was the one who suggested you were in the escort business, which I didn’t mean as an insult but rather the only conclusion I could draw based on your aggressive vagueness about what industry you’re in and what your job is. Usually when people act like that it’s because they’re in a business that’s considered shady or revolves around illegal activity.

              1. HRish Dude

                I also wasn’t meaning to be insulting. I can’t speak for everyone else, but your evasiveness leads me to believe that your line of work is something that isn’t generally socially accepted.

                Otherwise, why not substitute “teapots” as is the norm on the site if you don’t want your actual industry revealed?

              2. Elizabeth West

                Yes, and we’ve had legitimate and serious discussions here about how to handle workplace stuff that relates to sex work, so it’s not really a judged thing on this forum.

                1. MNP

                  Not something I can comment on but just because I haven’t been specific about what I do and who my clients are for privacy reasons I don’t believe there should be a rush to the conclusion I’m in the mafia, a madam or otherwise working in escort business. That is just plain weird to me… do all other posters give specific details about what they do and who they work with? It doesn’t matter as I got the required advice, for which I am happy and grateful…

                2. LBK

                  That is just plain weird to me… do all other posters give specific details about what they do and who they work with?

                  Most people don’t name names but yeah, most letter writers give general info about their industry and what their job is, eg “I’m an admin assistant for a small business”.

                3. Snark

                  Specific, identifying details? No. But good letter writers do tend to provide enough broad information that it’s possible to give them actionable advice. For you in particular, there’s a lot of sectors of the business and consulting world where your expectations that nobody will “steal your friends” are legitimate, and plenty where that expectation would be absurd and unrealistic, like mine. A little more about your role would have clarified for us what expectations were realistic.

                  But then, you weren’t actually looking for advice, you were just looking for an ego boost.

              3. MNP

                In my case it is a privacy issue…I work in a specialised field. (I now notice that many on the forum don’t directly say exactly what they do or who they work with/for, so why me?) I’ve never seen the term ‘aggressive vagueness’ before, btw…interesting turn of phrase! I just thought I had given sufficient information in the original query and, as many have grasped what I am discussing and gave good responses, I guess I did :-) Thanks for your interest.

            3. Specialk9

              1 and a half people guessed wildly, based on their own experiences, and you bestowed a verbal cookie from on high while insulting the rest of us for our lack of intelligence and social status. Dude. Not cool.

              And you keep saying you’re going to stop commenting, but you keep coming back and being even ruder, and attacking people personally, even when the site owner rebuked you. Please follow through on your promise, your behavior is not to the standards of this forum.

              1. MNP

                Clearly, you are the one who is defensive and has an issue… where have I ‘attacked’ people, where have I been ‘rude’ about your intelligence and social status? All I have written is that I already have responses that are adequate, and I did not have to give the posters further information – nor do I intend to. If some posters want to bait me by suggesting I am operating in the mafia or in the escort business then I find that derogatory and shall respond accordingly.

                1. Specialk9

                  Well, I’m not the one who used that term defensive, that was Snark… but if you were rude enough for Alison to have to rebuke you and then (after you ignored her), instruct you to *stop posting* entirely, that’s REALLY RUDE. I haven’t even seen that before, for a commented much less an actual letter-writer.

                2. Forrest

                  “If some posters want to bait me by suggesting I am operating in the mafia or in the escort business then I find that derogatory and shall respond accordingly.”

                  Soooo you’re admitting you’re the kind of person that takes the bait? That’s not a good trait to have, especially if you’re trying to pass yourself off as a professional.

                3. Laura

                  Blimey, mate, and you say you’re in communications? By this showing, you’re awfully bad at it! Really good comms people in the arts world, which you’ve said you’re from, have great senses of humour and a light touch and would have a lot of fun with the mafia/escort thing. I work with quite a few of them and they are tough as nails (i.e., this kind of talk wouldn’t bother them at all) and extremely charming. Not dismissive in any way. I don’t believe for a moment you are what you say you are. My vote too is for MLM.

              2. AKchic

                I have $5 that we will see another reply before the end of the day.

                This one *has* to have the last word on any conversation they are involved in, just based on the threads of today’s posting.

                1. Louise

                  I think Alison banned MNP from commenting, so hopefully this twilight zone comments section saga has come to a close.

  34. Catarina

    I agree with other posters that requesting a HS transcript is often an end-run on age profiling.

    Anecdote in that vein: I was in a preliminary interview for a professional job that was being screened through a temp agency. The temp agency employee was very young and obviously running the interview by script. She tried to casually bring up whether I was a local by asking about where I went to HS, and led me down the road of how my grades were/what my SAT scores were like. I couldn’t remember exactly, but gave her a “close enough” guess, and she looked horrified. It was then that I reaized this young lass had no idea that the scoring used to max out at 1600, rather than 2400.

  35. KWu

    OP3, I want to call out specifically that not wanting to travel for the first 3 months after you’re back from maternity leave and not wanting your job to change to significantly increase in the amount of travel needed does not make you a bad employee or not a team player anymore. What you want is extremely reasonable, and an employer that wants to claim to be family-friendly should definitely recognize that.

    I’m a new mom myself and am going back to work with a business trip when my baby is about 5 months, but my boss gave me the option of attending that or not so that it was my choice. I think it’s the right one but it’s definitely going to be a significant increase in travel difficulty due to figuring out pumping while being at airports and on the plane, storing breastmilk for even just the 3 nights I’m in the hotel, worrying about whether my baby will develop a preference for bottles again while I’m gone, how my husband will handle his long driving commute safely when he’ll have to be the one getting up for the middle of the night feedings for a few nights, etc.

    I also disagree with some of the implied characterizations in comment threads above that not being immediately up for travel means that you are “not at 100%.” There might be an underlying belief there that a “100%, good employee and team player” is one that accepts any demand from their employer without any changes whatsoever. That doesn’t seem right to me because it’s as though workers are cogs rather than people. I hope attitudes like that won’t make you feel less-than for being a working parent.

    In any case, it definitely sounds like expectations should be discussed prior to you going out on your leave. The first few months are plenty hard enough without having this amount of travel hanging over your head the whole time. I mean, this kind of proposed job change is stressful to consider even if you aren’t pregnant and tired all the time! My (slim, idealistic) hope is that somehow your boss’ boss is just being oblivious to the realities of having a newborn at home and maybe…somehow…thinks that upping the travel requirement of your job is actually giving you a career opportunity and demonstrating support for the value of your work???

    If the conversations from here go poorly, you have some options like consulting a lawyer as has been mentioned above or even finding a new job. I started a new job when I was 5 months pregnant; I know another new mom who interviewed and has landed a new job while she was out on paid maternity leave. It’s not easy and there might be people who’ll judge these actions, but you don’t owe your employer the sacrifice of what’s best for you and your family. Good luck, and congrats on the impending arrival!

  36. ArtK

    #2 High School transcripts when you’ve been away for 40 years? From others: Actual copies of diplomas?

    These would be red flags and potential deal breakers to me. They’re clear signals that:
    1) The company doesn’t know how to hire people. It’s possible that they have a one-size-fits-all process that has the same requirements for a mail clerk as a VP, but that shows rigidity and a lack of understanding. They could be using these hurdles as ways of weeding out candidates, but again, very bad practice. They end up hiring people who are good hurdlers and not capable of doing the actual job.
    2) The company doesn’t trust people. Yes, companies get burned but there are ways of verifying stuff and, really, the proof is in the pudding.

    Heck, I almost turned down a job because they wanted access to my credit history for a background check. Nothing in there is relevant to my ability to do my job.

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

      ArtK – but, if you work in the financial field, they may want to know if you’ve been (or ARE) in financial trouble.

      Or if you’re in bankruptcy. Or under a garnishment/attachment order.

  37. PersephoneUnderground

    #2 I’m picturing this happening mostly on electronic forms that are so standardized as to be ridiculous. You know, the ones with the same fields for everything, and a drop-down menu for you to choose your major for every school level including elementary and high school? So, how to get around that problem?

    My guess would be that you fill it out as best you can so the computer considers it complete, even maybe upload a document with a one-line “My high school transcript is not available, but if you have any questions about this I’m happy to discuss it.” message in it if an upload is a required field for the form, then call or email to try to contact a human so they don’t think you don’t know how to fill out the form. Kind of like filling in $0 for your past salary for every job when you don’t want to disclose but salary is a required field.

    What would others say? I thought it odd Alison didn’t address this as electronic forms are often raised as a problem here for people with non-standard answers to various questions (not criticizing though since it’s a short-answer post).

  38. AnonAndOn

    I expected to see more clarity on the first letter, but all I’ve seen was evasiveness, defensiveness, and more confusion. Sad.

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