whispering coworker, entry-level relocation assistance, and more

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

1. My coworker keeps whispering to me

I work with a chronic whisperer. I work in a medium-sized office that is partially open-plan with partitions to separate departments. My colleague, who I share a section with, almost exclusively communicates with me by whispering. Originally the whispering was restricted to gossip, which I was able to ignore and filter out, but this progressed to whispering when discussing work-related matters that she didn’t want anyone else to overhear, and now almost everything she says to me is whispered.

For private, work-related conversations there would be no problem stepping into a meeting room, or our manager’s office so the whispering really is unnecessary and I often have difficulty hearing her. I’ve even caught myself increasingly responding to her in a whisper.

How do I approach this and ask her to speak in a normal-volume voice? And ironically I am concerned about others in the office overhearing this conversation!

Ugh, whispering! I hate it. And it actually draws more attention from people around you than if you were just talking normally.

Since you have trouble hearing her when she whispers, you could run with that. The next time she starts whispering, say, “Sorry, I’ve been having trouble hearing you when you whisper. Do you want to go in a meeting room?” Then stick to that; henceforth, you can’t hear her clearly enough when she whispers.

The other option is to just be candid: “Hey, I feel weird about whispering — I think it can actually be more distracting for people than if we were talking normally, and I worry that people will think we’re trying to hide something. Can we just speak in normal tones or duck into a meeting room?” (You could say this the next time you happen to be in a meeting room together so that you have some privacy while saying it.) But this approach requires her to agree with you, whereas the first approach forces her to change what she’s doing regardless and thus has an advantage.

2. Can I get relocation assistance as an entry-level candidate with a liberal arts degree?

I want to move from the small town in which I live and attend college. I’m not particularly fussy about where to move, and I have been looking at many cities. However, I can’t afford to fly in for interviews or relocate on my own. I wouldn’t need the level of assistance that the person in this post about relocation wanted, as $3,000 would be more than enough to cover the entire move. Would any company be willing to pay that for an entry-level position though? Even if it isn’t formally considered relocation assistance, can I even expect a new hire bonus? Especially since I’m not a biochemical engineer or rocket scientist? Unfortunately, due to health problems in the family, my mom won’t be able to contribute, and she’s always insisted I focus on studying rather than working due to my heavy course load and the internships I’ve had.

I am going to graduate in August with a double degree in Literature and Political Science, minors in Spanish and Communications, and a certificate in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. That seems like a lot, but now that I am looking at the job market (having desisted from pursuing a law degree) I am feeling a bit disoriented. I am looking at everything from HR, sales, recruiting, marketing, PR, legislative positions, etc. I have found a lot of articles highlighting the analytical skills I’ve gained in such classes, but they’ve also made it clear that since I don’t have a STEM degree, relocation assistance would be a pipe dream. Is my only solution to find a low-paying job here in town and save for a year?

Yeah, for an entry-level position in those fields with those degrees for someone without much work experience, the chances of relocation assistance are low. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it’s going to be a long shot. In most cases, you get relocation if you have an in-demand skill set that the company really wants or as you move up the ranks and become more senior. There are some employers (generally larger ones) that will offer some relocation assistance as a matter of course, but they’re increasingly rare for junior-level roles. Sadly, signing bonuses aren’t super typical for entry-level roles in these fields either, although if they decide they really want you, you might be able to negotiate it as part of the offer.

That said … moves can be done on the cheap, especially right after college when you haven’t accumulated a ton of stuff yet. (They can be done on the cheap after that too, but it generally involves jettisoning far more possessions.) It’s not a terrible idea to work locally for a year and save up for a move, but if you really don’t want to do that, know that you can probably move for a lot less than $3,000!

Read an update to this letter here.

3. How to talk salary with California’s new law against asking for salary history

I’m sure you know that on January first, a new law went into effect that prevents employers in California from inquiring about your salary history, and (this second part is muddy for me) they also must post the salary range for their open position. But I still see postings that say “submit salary history with resume.” Most positions do not post their salary range, either.

My question is, what if I am in an interview, and they ask me about my salary history? I have practiced negotiations about not giving my salary history, but now that it’s a law, I feel like I shouldn’t even have to use those techniques. I obviously don’t want to rub the interviewer the wrong way by bringing up that the question is illegal. Is something like “Actually, I’d prefer it if you provided the salary range for the position, since that is the law now, and I can let you know if that is something I’m looking for” appropriate? The company, I’m sure, does not want to break any laws, either. What if they keep pushing? Do I become increasingly more firm about the law (and probably take it as a red flag)?

I’d say it this way: “Oh, I’m not sure if you know that California doesn’t allow that question anymore!” Say it in an upbeat, friendly way — like you’re helping them out by letting them know, not like you are about to file suit against them. If they take issue with that … well, you really don’t want to take a job where they bristle at you politely reminding them of their legal obligations.

The law doesn’t require them to post the salary range, but it does require them to provide the pay scale if a candidate asks for it. So you could follow up the language above with, “But if you wanted to make sure we’re on the same page about salary, can you tell me the salary range for this position?” Or a version that more directly reminds them of the law: “It’s an interesting switch in the law, with the requirement that employers now provide the salary range! Can I ask you what the range for this position is, and then we can figure out if we’re on the same page?”

4. Can I use quizzes to train people?

I’m a first-time manager of a rural public library, where I am the only full-time employee supervising three part-time staff.

We’re currently updating and rewriting most of our personnel policies. On top of that, we also are constantly updating the services that the library provides the public, adding new online databases and resources that my staff need to be able to talk about with at least a beginner’s level of proficiency. I feel confident in my knowledge of what we have to offer, or what policy changes we’re making, but I also recognize that I’m on the clock far more often than my staff is. I’m trying to come up with ways to encourage them to stay up to date on our policies and services.

Is it condescending to use quizzes? My goal isn’t to use these as formal evaluations; rather, I need them to be more confident in their knowledge of the policies/services, or at least get in the habit of looking up the policy in the handbook, etc. I’ve never managed a staff before, and I don’t want to treat my adult staff as if they were children, but I find myself answering a lot of simple questions for them.

I don’t think quizzes are inherently condescending, although they can definitely be done in a condescending way so you need to be careful about the implementation. But if you make them fun — and possibly do them out loud as a group — it could be fine. Plus if you do them as a group, it can be interactive and you can talk as a group about the answers and people can learn from each other. But I’d frame it as “this is an experiment and I want to see how it goes” and get feedback from people afterwards (and be open to hearing that it didn’t work for them).

5. What’s the clearest way to list references who are at different jobs now?

What is your suggestion on the best/clearest way to list references? All of my references have changed jobs since when I worked with them and I struggle with how to clearly explain this. I generally list their name, title, and organization on one line and then, on an indented line below, include a note about when/where we worked together and if they were my supervisor. For example:

Jane Smith, CEO, Llama Wranglers International
     Formerly Executive Director, Llama Trainers of NJ (which is the organization on my resume)
Contact #, email

I think this is fairly clear, but I’ve had hiring managers and interview committees confused by it before. Is there a better way to address this?

Yeah, it’s a little confusing. The info they care most about is what the person’s relationship is to you as a reference, not what their current job is. So I’d list it this way instead:

Jane Smith
– Jane was the executive director of Llama Trainers of NJ, and my manager there from 2012-2016. (She’s now the CEO of Llama Wranglers International.)
– Contact #, email

{ 405 comments… read them below }

  1. KL*


    … I am now imagining the office of Teapots International whispering to each other like they’re decoding messages on a stealth submarine.

    Alison’s scripts are great. I have trouble with my right ear and I just ask people to speak up.

    1. Say what, now?*

      Really I think OP could do both. Let the coworker know that she has trouble hearing her but that it would probably be better to speak normally for other reasons as well. Then the coworker would have to argue two points instead of one.

    2. MusicWithRocksInIt*

      I am so glad Alison pointed out how distracting it is! I work around several people who whisper all the time and it drives me nuts! If they were talking normally I could tune it out but something about that noise makes my brain strain to de-code it. It absolutely distracts me every time it his happening. I know they are not talking about me, but some primitive part of my brain always tries to convince me they are. I can assure you your other coworkers are acutely aware that you two whisper all the time.

      1. BadPlanning*

        I moved to an open workspace and there are definitly times when people swap to a “low tone” that oddly draws me in more than “average conversation volume.” And I have the same feeling — “must be talking about me.”

      2. Teapot Tester*

        I used to sit near a whisperer and it is very distracting. I didn’t really think she was talking about me and but I said so in a joking manner once and she was like, no, I’m just trying to be quiet! Whispering drives me nuts. Fortunately in our new office we’re not near each other anymore.

      3. Breda*

        It’s the same thing about how phone conversations are more distracting to overheard than regular conversations: your brain wants to figure out the bits it’s missing, even if you don’t consciously care about the content! If you can hear both sides & process it, it’s much easier to relegate it to background noise.

      4. hc600*

        My (shared) secretary sits outside my office and has long whispered conversations everyday and it’s sooooo distracting! Her one friend has the most piercing whisper ever!

        I wish they’d just chat normally.

      5. Susan Sto Helit*

        Ugh, whisperers. I once worked somewhere where the two women in my team who sat immediately behind me (very close behind me, as well), were in the habit of having long, whispered personal conversations at their desk. It was incredibly awkward, being sat there a) completely aware that a whispered conversation was happening within your earshot, b) trying to pretend you hadn’t noticed, and c) unable to turn around and even have a normal-volume conversation with other members of your team /because two people were sitting whispering in between you/.

    3. Free Meerkats*

      Something I learned while playing competitive paintball back in the 80s, when it was usually played in the woods instead of artificial fields, is that whispers carry better than a low, normal tone of voice.

      She may think she’s hiding things, but she’s attracting attention.

  2. FieldBiologist*

    #2 – Yeah, you can try to look for it, but there’s almost no way you’ll get relocation assistance for an entry level job. It’s very uncommon for even higher level jobs in a lot of fields. I have a notion there might have been (a *very* small) relocation assistance for Americorps… maybe someone else can comment if I’m imagining that.

    But I *really really* encourage you to only stay in your current town if you get a beneficial job in your field. Getting your first job out of college can be very hard, and waiting a year won’t help. You can move for very cheap if determined. And quite a few people do phone interviews for out of area applicants these days – so you might be able to do that before going in, and save yourself some of the travel costs.

    If you don’t currently have a low-paying job there anyway… why not go get a low-paying job in a major city? Maybe one with friends you could stay with at first? Yeah, living would be harder, but it’d be better than being stuck in the college town for another year.

    Good luck!

    1. Engineer Girl*

      Relocation assistance and signing bonuses are almost always for high demand hard to get skill sets. Those are usually in STEM. Or professional sports (if you’re that good).
      I would warn that the costs of city living are significantly higher than rural living. For example, the cost of living is 2.5 times more for where I’m living now Vs my Dad’s home town. So someone with a salary of 30k a year would need 75k to maintain the same standard of living. You might want to check out cost of living calculators for your desired city. (See link in name)

      1. seejay*

        Yep, I was just talking over with a friend about three possible job offers I might have coming down the pipeline and one of them is offering $85k/year max to start and the other two are starting at $110k/year, likely negotiable to $115-120 if I want. The first one? Absolutely redonk for the city I live in and the experience level I’m at. I was living “ok” at $92k but that’s with rent control and zero debt and paying grad school and only minor emergencies that I handled carefully. You absolutely cannot live in the city I live in, at least in your own apartment, on $90k/year (moving here now that is, you could if you landed an apartment 8 years ago before rents shot through the roof *and* if you didn’t have debts to deal with).

        My friend, on the other hand, was jaw-dropping at the salaries I was quoting because where he is, in a different city, but not with a crazy cost of living, $90k/year wasn’t chump change.

        Make sure you know the cost of city living first before you pack up and move cause you absolutely do not want to get caught by surprise, especially if you don’t have a safety net. Staying in your town for a few years might suck, but if you build up a savings safety net and deal with school debt (if you have it), while getting experience, might help you land a better paying job and better footing to move to a larger city in a few years.

        1. Spoonman.*

          What’s the median income where you live? I imagine it’s a lot lower than $90,000 a year. By all means get the best salary you can but let’s be realistic about what’s survivable.

          1. Betsy*

            I agree that it’s important to try to figure out the cost of living in your city, but it can also be difficult to predict. I’m struggling living in a supposedly cheap Asian capital, for example, but had no problems in my previous very-expensive-by-world-standards city. Part of it is about familiarity and knowledge of how to live cheaply in a particular place.

            However, I agree that $90 000 USD is going to be well above the median income in most places. I was living in the world’s 14th most city, more expensive than every US city except for New York and LA, according to The Economist and I was quite happy on about $25 000 USD, although this meant I needed roommates. I really doubt most singles would need $90 000.

            1. Parenthetically*

              I agree with all of this! I lived really cheaply in one of the more “expensive” Asian capitals but renting in my current city has become BANANAS expensive, especially compared to buying.

              There’s apparently no city in the US where the average minimum-wage full-time worker can afford to pay the average rent on that one job alone, so I admit I bristle a little at seeing $90k referred to as some kind of bare minimum for survival.

              1. Engineer Girl*

                She didn’t say bare survival. She said “living OK”. That means not panicking if the car needs repair. It means not having to space the bills apart in order to pay them.
                There’s a difference between comfortable and survival.

          2. Sam.*

            Thank you. Calling $90k “chump change” is remarkably out of touch. A new college grad recently told me that they were worried about moving to a new city because their friend lived in said city, making $70k+ with a roommate and no student loans, but couldn’t save any money because it was so expensive to live there. I had just moved from the same city, where I was a graduate student living on about $25k a year, and I was fine. It’s less fun/more stressful to live on less money, but manageable? Absolutely.

            1. Nonny-Nonny*

              Absolutely! I live in a fairly expensive US city, and make about $33k/year. I have a roommate, and am pretty careful about my budget, and live just fine. Also, for someone who might be looking to relocate themselves, thinking you need a $75k/year entry-level salary isn’t helpful. You can move cheap, get a roommate and live in a cheaper part of town, and do just fine.

              1. Yada Yada Yada*

                That is great! But I’m a little skeptical about how people have different opinions about what constitutes a fairly expensive city. In my mind, that’s a place where you pay something like $900 a month for a room in a shared apartment. That would be like 10 grand a year, and for 33k before taxes that’s a tight budget. Do you have student loans? Most young people do and pay hundreds per month. It’s all relative is my point

                1. Sarah*

                  I think both can be true – a true living wage for a region can be miles above the median income, which can make it simultaneously a fairly reasonable conclusion and wildly out of touch to call $90,000 a year chump change. I live in a city where many shared rooms are going for $1200-1500 a month, and when I was house searching I found that my mid-career middle class (but not software) salary was not high enough to meet the minimum income requirements for a studio apartment from the various rental agencies. One need only look under the nearest underpass to see that the median income of a region and the cost of living do not necessarily correlate.

                2. nonymous*

                  I think your numbers are spot on for someone who wants to live in an expensive region. Having said that, it’s possible to get a room for $600 within a 1hr drive of Des Moines, IA which has a decent job market and a high standard of living. I have friends in Lincoln, NE and Norman, OK who see similar numbers.

                  Still, using your $900/mo figure would mean that OP should be able to function at around $45-60K. In my expensive city, even retail positions start at $15/hr and nonprofit white collar jobs will start @ ~$20/hr. If OP is truly desperate, perhaps consider Americorps.

                  As for moving expenses, maybe look around for someone else who is doing a one way move? My MIL paid for a friend’s ticket back to help her drive out when she moved the last time. The friend drove the truck and got a free vacation for her efforts.

                3. Yada Yada Yada*

                  I agree Sarah! My response was directed at the person above me, not OP! And Nonymous, my $900 shared was related to Nonny-Nonny’s “fairly expensive” comment, not OP’s situation. In a truly expensive (from my perspective) city, $900 would be the deal of a century

                4. Engineer Girl*

                  Rent in my city is currently going for $1000 per bedroom per month. And many places have restrictions on the number of unrelated people that can be in an apartment. It works if you’ve been there a while and rent controlled. If you are coming in new you will pay full price.

                5. nonymous*

                  @Yada Yada Yada I live in the PNW, and it’s totally possible to get a 1 br basement apt (like a MIL unit in a quiet residential area) within 1hr of midtown Seattle for $900 with utilities minus wifi thrown in. However, the same sized apartment (in the same zipcode) in a complex would run $1200 and be prone to lots of loud drama. My MIL pays $1500 for a luxe gated 2br unit in Oly which has lots of gov jobs. I have a friend doing a postdoc in the San Diego area and he pays ~$900 for a MIL unit in someone’s house, although it’s about 1/2 the size.

                6. LBK*

                  I think the main point here is just that to survive in the city on a lower salary requires a lot more concessions than it does it a suburb or other lower COL area. No one is saying it can’t be done, but it will require a very different lifestyle than it would outside a city, and it’s frustrating when people make those decisions sound so casual. It’s the old bootstrapping bullshit – why can’t you just only eat PB&J or ramen for most of your meals? Why can’t you live with roommates? Why can’t you get a place an hour outside the city? Why can’t you sell your car and take the bus? Why can’t you cancel your smartphone? The answer is that you can, but that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult or stressful to live with some of those decisions, and it shouldn’t be treated as though they don’t have major impacts on your quality of life. They’re trade offs.

                7. Yada Yada Yada*

                  @nonymous you’re right that people’s choices play into affordability, for sure! But I’m not sure your examples are relevant to everyone, which is what my original comment was to point out. I wouldn’t consider any of your examples- Olympia, Idaho (!) to be particularly expensive. Also, not everyone wants to live in a basement below a family of four

            2. Thlayli*

              It’s the “in your own apartment in the city” thing that’s probably the line. When I was saving to buy a house I was on a high wage but I rented the small room in a 6-bed house in the suburbs and took the bus an hour each way to work. This enabled me to put half my salary into savings.

              Now I have a mortgage and I live in a 4-bed semi-detached house in the suburbs and we both commute to work. If we paid the same monthly mortgage payment we could buy a tiny bedsit in town and not commute. Or we could put the same amount of money into rent and rent rooms in a shared house. By accepting housemates and/or a long commute and by not having a car and using public transport, you can definitely survive on a lot less than it takes to live in an apartment to yourself in the city. This is kind of why suburbs were invented in the first place.

              1. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

                In my city – to live in a desirable “downtown” area studios (not even full one-bedroom!) start at about $2000 a month. You have to make 40xs the rent to qualify – that’s $80k. Ergo – a person who wants to live on their own needs to make 80k at the bare minimum.

                Of course you can make sacrifices to survive. Live in a burrough/the suburbs with a 1+ hour commute each way (in an aging transpo system that can, no will, strand you with no other options but a $50 cab ride), share a 6 bedroom/1 bathroom apt with roommates, live in a crappy 5th floor walk up with no living room and a “kitchenette” (mini fridge, maybe two burners, no stove) and a shared hall bathroom. Hell, I survived on $32k in this city by doing all of the above. However – to have a quality of living arrangements that would be considered standard/normal by 90% of the country (just a studio apt with a full size refrigerator, stove/oven, private bathroom and enough space for a full sized bed, love seat + TV stand, and a 2-4 seater table – the numbers that seejay mentioned are completely reasonable. For this area.

                I believe that was the whole point of the comment – do a deep dive in the area to make sure you know what to expect in terms of cost of living. Some people are not comfortable or up for the sacrifices mentioned above. For me – living with roommates has a profound effect on my mental health.

                1. Elizabeth H.*

                  I don’t get why a studio apartment with that much space is part of a normal quality of living. I live with roommates and pay a third of the “downtown” rent you quote, in a beautiful, huge apartment in an amazing location. I noticed your comment about living with roommates, but the culture in my peer group is of living with roommates unless married (sometimes even after marriage) into your 30’s.

                2. LBK*

                  I think generally speaking, people prefer to have fewer and fewer roommates as they get older – I don’t think I could go back to having more than one. I think it’s only become more common to have multiple roommates/live with roommates to a later age because it’s become too expensive to live alone in many places.

                3. boo*

                  Living with roommates into your 30s is the culture of my peer group too, and I like it, I think it maintains connections among us that might fade if we all moved to the suburbs in separate houses. But I think it’s a big city thing, and it is a cultural thing to consider when moving to a major city-does one want to live with roommates well into one’s 30’s?

                  I’m in NY, and as long as you’re willing to live with roommates and commute from one of the boroughs, cost of living doesn’t have to be insane. You can find good, cheap food, rent that’s reasonable when you split it five ways, and pretty much whatever else your personal necessities are, plus not having a car cuts your expenses a lot.

                  BUT if you’re moving at an age when you’ve got used to living in a big apartment by yourself or something, it would be a big lifestyle change. I think in some places/cultural spaces there’s a stigma about it, too, like if you still have roommates at my age you’re failing at being a grown up, kind of similar to not driving a car (I also don’t know how to drive a car).

                  So if you’re looking at it from the perspective that having your own place is a prerequisite (and maybe that having a bedroom that isn’t also your living room and kitchen is a prerequisite) because of where you lived before, then yeah, you’re going to need some money. Not necessarily $90K, but still. Some money.

                4. LBK*

                  You can find good, cheap food, rent that’s reasonable when you split it five ways, and pretty much whatever else your personal necessities are, plus not having a car cuts your expenses a lot.

                  As I said in my last comment, you understand the normalization of having 5 roommates in your 30s is the result of rent costs skyrocketing and not really something that’s always been an intrinsic part of NYC/big city culture, right?

            3. ThatGirl*

              Our household combined income, for two mid-late 30s professionals near a major metro area, is not quite $90k. And we’re doing fine.

              I know that there are cities out there with crazy stupid high housing prices, I get that, but it’s not the end of the world to have a roommate and it does seem a bit out of touch to feel like $90k is low. My first job out of college, 2003, I made $20k a year and did OK.

              1. Gumption Junction*

                You’re comparing 14 years ago to today, with the Great Recession in between?

              1. Genny*

                I’m cash flowing grad school (no undergrad loans) and renting a place on my own ($1,200/month – it could be lower if I wanted roommates, but I really value my private, quiet space). I make about $65,000 (I started at $42,000) before taxes and live in one of the top ten most expensive cities in the U.S. $90,000 as a minimum for a “normal” quality of life is ridiculous.

                LW, the advice to consider cost of living is a good one, but realistically with your majors and experience, you likely won’t make over $50,000 a year starting out (and will likely make somewhere in the $35,000-45,000 range).

            4. Overeducated needs a new name*

              I generally agree, but it can be very difficult to compare absolute salaries when you have no idea of costs. I lived on a grad stipend like yours for several years. In my current job, which was my first full time one after grad school, my salary more than doubled. But my rent went up by 50% (bigger city), my health insurance premium went from a free student benefit to $850/mo on the exchange, I had a kid so I was spending what I used to spend in an entire month on day care alone, and my spouse is job-searching while working very PT so we’re not really dual income anymore.

              So yeah, at my current cost of living, I literally could not buy food, shelter, and health insurance on the income I had three years ago, which would have been mind-blowing to me back then. It is insensitive to say “no way you could live on $X in my city” when surely people are, but we also don’t know what any given person’s student loans, medical costs, support of family members, or other major bills might look like, so it’s not fair to say “sure you could live on half that if you just had a less fancy apartment” either. Some people are financially irresponsible, some people just have to pay for more stuff.

            5. Applesauced*

              She’s *not* saying $90k is chump change, she’s saying to keep in mind *your lifestyle* and how much it costs in different places.
              For seejay’s life in seejay’s life, $90k isn’t enough and we should take her at her word, not judge her life and veer into “not everyone can eat sandwiches” territory.

              1. Applesauced*

                whoops – over use of bold – sorry!
                I meant to highlight “for seejay’s life in seejay’s city…”

                1. Jadelyn*

                  I don’t know, I think that much bold was entirely warranted. But that’s me, who also lives in an extremely high COL area, getting increasingly irritated at people insisting that you *can* do XYZ on $___ amount, as if we all have exactly the same needs and circumstances. It strikes me as an extension of the “I was able to work full-time while going to college and graduate with no debt, therefore people who talk about not being able to do that are lazy liars who just want to complain” mentality.

          3. Natalie*

            Eh, if you’re going to nitpick seejay about “absolutely cannot live” I feel like I could nitpick you about “survivable” being a low and terrible bar. People with low incomes in high cost cities don’t live well or even “ok” and it’s not ridiculous to not want to be in that boat.

            1. LBK*

              Right, you can “survive” on a low salary by living paycheck-to-paycheck and rarely spending money on anything that’s not a necessity, but your quality of life suffers dramatically. Not just because you can’t afford nicer things, obviously, but also because it’s extremely stressful to basically be worrying about money 24/7.

              1. LAI*

                I disagree. My first job out of college was as an administrative assistant making like 33k, I think. I had 2 roommates, which was normal – everyone i knew had roommates in their early twenties. And it was not only survivable, it was FINE. I still went to restaurants, I still went out with friends, I still bought new clothes, etc. Nothing extravagant, but I didn’t feel like I was lacking anything and I wasn’t stressed about money.

                1. LBK*

                  To each their own, I guess – I was in a pretty similar situation and found it really stressful.

                2. Natalie*

                  For what it’s worth, I’m took seejay’s comment to be about cities with a more extreme gap between cost of living and median income, so that’s what I’m talking about. It’s more than just living with a couple of roommates, it’s sharing a 400 square foot apartment with 3 other people, sharing a double bed (with a roommate, not a partner) and renting from a slumlord who won’t fix anything including the lock on their front door. It’s survivable, but its incredibly stressful and probably not anyone’s goal.

                3. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

                  Again – it depends on your area. I also made 32k in an extremely high cost of living area at one point. I lived with 5 roommate – one tiny bathroom. I could not afford to go to restaurants at all. I had to prep lunch/dinner for myself everyday and had to travel 1(+) hr to groceries stores for groceries that I could just barely afford. I could not do wholesale/bulk buying, because 5 roommates + no storage space. We didn’t have cable. We split the cheapest internet package which did not offer enough speed for five people to use at the same time. My room was so small that I literally had a full size bed and a single bookcase (less than 100 sq. ft – maybe 8×8 room). I had no savings whatsoever – I freaked out when I thought I broke my roommates cheap futon. Coming up with $200 to replace it was not doable.

                  I survived, but it was very stressful and not everybody can or should attempt hand living like that.

                4. Yada Yada Yada*

                  Right, and that’s great, but important details. Did you have $500 a month in student loans due? Was a studio apartment in your city 3k, and did living with roommates typically cost people in the 1500-1800 range per person? Is this in 2018 dollars? Not trying to make assumptions about you and I’m not picking on you, but if I had a dollar for every time somebody told me young people are whiny because they lived like a king on 40k in Tampa in 1982, I’d actually be able to buy a condo in my city

                5. Jadelyn*

                  And I’m sure we’re all very happy for you, but YOU ARE NOT EVERYONE. YOUR EXPERIENCES ARE NOT UNIVERSAL.

                  I don’t understand why this seems to be such a fraught point for so many people. Just because *you* personally experienced a certain situation a certain way, does not mean that it’s the same for everyone else in similar situations.

                6. pleaset*

                  It also depends on how much back up you have. I’ve lived on very little money in expensive places, knowing that if somehow I was injured and lost my job I’d not be homeless, because I could ask my parents if I was in deep need. If someone has nothing to fall back on if they lose their ability to earn a paycheck, that’s very different.

            2. Betsy*

              I agree that we shouldn’t get into a race to the bottom about living costs. However, I don’t think it’s nitpicking when the median *household* income in the US is $59 000, and someone’s suggesting you need almost twice that much to get by as a young (I’m assuming) single person.

              1. LBK*

                I just don’t think median income across the whole country is an especially useful figure; you’re comparing places where there’s orders of magnitude between the costs of living. I mean, I watch HGTV sometimes and see people buying 4-bedroom houses in Texas for $200k and that’s on the pricier/nicer end. You literally can’t buy a condo for that much in my neighborhood, property in that price range just doesn’t exist.

                1. Jadelyn*

                  This! Median income nationally is an utterly useless measure simply because of the immense gap between low-COL and high-COL areas. I lived in Tennessee (south of Nashville by a bit) for 2 years right after college. I’d grown up in California, in the Bay Area, which is notorious for its high COL.

                  The first time I drove by a house with a for-sale sign and a price out front, I just about broke my neck doing a double-take. I literally yelped out loud, “You can buy a whole HOUSE for that?” My friends who were in the car with me were baffled until I explained what the housing prices were where I came from. We compared notes and eventually figured out that there’s an approximately 5:1 housing/property cost difference between there and here. So the median income in a place where you can buy a nice 3-bedroom house for $100k doesn’t really have a lot of bearing on someone living in a place where the minimum for a tiny, crappy fixer-upper is easily $250k.

                2. Specialk9*

                  Yeah, condos in my neck of the woods (renter) are $800,000. That’s an apartment, not a house. For nearly $1 million.

                  The houses that go for only $800,000 are in need of major renovations (not falling down, but needing major elbow grease and a healthy reno budget). The average starter (small) house is $1.1 million.

                  As I said, I’m a renter.

                3. Engineer Girl*

                  This. My cousin bought a house for $40k. Out here it would go for $1.2 million.

                  Movies tickets are $5. Out here they are $16.

                  Unless you’ve lived it I don’t think you get the differences in COL. That’s why I recommended a calculator to bring some awareness. It would be horrid if OP made the move and found out that a supposedly generous salary is way below what is needed.

                4. Ramblin' Ma'am*

                  Yes, median income does vary widely by region. But in NYC, for instance, the median *household* income is less than $60k a year. So, yes, describing $90K as barely survivable for a single person is still out of touch.

              2. Reba*

                But the US is a large place where the cost of living varies drastically from one region to another — that’s part of seejay’s original point.

                In my own experience, my current home is a 1br apartment for which I pay (gulp) over 2300 US freakin dollars each month. A comparable apartment–desirable location, renovated sometime this century–in my hometown (a real city of nearly 1 million) can be had for $750.

              3. Natalie*

                They’re only suggesting that if you take one three-word phrase in their comment ultra literally and ignore basically the rest of what they said.

              4. Autumnheart*

                A crapload of people in the US are dramatically underpaid, and 1 in 5 kids live in poverty. Let’s not act like $59K is a reasonable amount of money to live on in 2018. For some people it’s fine, for a lot of people it really isn’t.

                Next time we found a nation, let’s not use the Puritans. This nonsense about how people need to suffer, go without basic necessities, or not enjoy anything or they’re being frivolous and wasteful is really for the birds.

                1. Engineer Girl*

                  In Santa Clara County $59k for an individual would qualify them for section 8 housing.
                  There’s some perspective for you.

                2. LBK*

                  I looked it up since that sounded insane and it looks like the cutoff is actually $42k/yr for a 1-person household, but $59k/yr does put you in the “low income” group. That being said, obviously $42k/yr isn’t an especially low number either – almost 3 times federal minimum wage. So yeah, perspective is important here for people talking about how they had no problem living on $25k.

          4. SFBayAreaResident*

            Median income in SF metro area is $97k. Median income in Silicon Valley is 110k. So if you’re not a techie and make 80k, that’s not easy.

        2. SFBayAreaResident*

          I am guessing you might live in the SF bay area. Prices here are truly INSANE, and I think, might be the highest in the world right now. I sympathize and agree with seejay. A few years ago I lived here fine with half that salary, but things have changed dramatically – housing prices have literally doubled. Average prices for a two-bedroom in SF is $4650, $1000 more than New York. And California taxes are very high. And everything to do with the service industry is crazy expensive. Babysitters can get paid $35 /h. Daycare centers cost more than your average college tuition. He is not kidding when he says you ‘cannot’ live in San Francisco on $90k per year like a normal adult, or if you want to start a family.

          1. phil*

            I live in Oakland, CA and currently pay $1100 for a one bedroom but that’s because I’ve lived here for 9 years. When I move-soon, I hope-the rent will go to $3000. Using my probably out of date method-one quarter of your base salary you’d need to earn $120,000 to afford it.

          2. seejay*

            Ding ding ding, winner winner chicken dinner.

            Apartments in my building, same size as mine, are currently going for $2400/month, and that’s for 430 square feet. That’s a *studio*, not a one bedroom. I’m paying less than that because I’ve been in my unit for 8 years and got in before the prices skyrocketed, but I know people that are still gobsmacked by how much I pay monthly for rent… they’re paying less than that on a four bedroom house for a mortgage in their area of the US or Canada.

            I don’t own a car because I can’t conceivably afford to pay for monthly parking ($300-400/month if you can even *find* a spot that’s not a mile away to rent).

            I paid off my student loans a few years back so I don’t have to deal with that, and I managed to make enough to pay my grad school tuition each semester but that’s left me with very little to put into savings. When I’ve had emergencies (such as medical or vet or a layoff), I’ve had to be careful about paying for things, and sometimes floating it across a few months to pay everything. So far, nothing has been that huge of a financial emergency that I couldn’t cover it.

            I don’t have family in the area to help, so I do have to manage this on my own. I can call on family and friends who could loan me cash, or I can rely on credit, but that would suck if I had to.

            Could I live somewhere cheaper? Sure… I don’t know what the rental costs are outside the core area, where I live, but I’d have to sacrifice quality of life by dealing with 1 to 2 hours of public transit… and based on the rent control I have, would I get something as cheap as I’m paying? Probably not. Could I pay cheaper rent with roommates? Probably, but I’m over 40, I don’t *want* roommates, I’m too old for that, I value privacy, and I don’t get along with people. I also have three cats and I don’t want to deal with someone else’s crap.

            Yes, I’m sure there’s ways to get by on $60k or less living in the Bay area if you make a lot of life changes and sacrifices, but there’s also a good hard line in the sand on where you want to draw them. And also what’s *realistic* about it too. Someone who just graduated is likely to have a lot more flexibility and could have a lot more options for their cost of living *within reason*… I’m still not sure someone could come into SF into an entry role and get by on a salary of $30k/year unless they were living in their car under the bridge. This city is ridiculously expensive.

            1. nonegiven*

              I’m really glad my son didn’t take that job there last year. He’d be paying 4 times his mortgage on a 3 bed house for a studio, probably with a long commute.

          3. BeenThere*

            I was scrolling to find some SF/Bay area commenters, to add to this a single bedroom apartment in SF is $2600. You’d be lucky to purchase a 2br family home for under a million in the South Bay, in fact you’ll be closer to two million if you want good schools and a commute under 30 minutes to your employer.

            It’s becoming increasingly common for the upper management, directors and the like to move completely out of the area and fly into the office for a few days a week. That how bad the COL is here.

        3. Beth*

          Wow. I have a really hard time believing there’s anywhere in the US that you can’t live on 90k a year–and I live in Manhattan, so I’m familiar with expensive cities! That might be needed to afford a luxury apartment with no roommates, a short commute, going out regularly, etc….but without even knowing which city you’re in, I can guarantee you that people live reasonably comfortable (if not necessarily luxurious) lifestyles there on significantly less than that. This seems really out of touch.

            1. LBK*

              Hmm, think this depends on what city you’re in – maybe in San Francisco, but I think LA and San Diego are cheaper than Manhattan.

          1. seejay*

            San Francisco. Units in my building are $2400/month for 430 square feet. That’s not a luxury apartment. One bedrooms, in ok neighbourhoods, not fancy expensive areas, are $2800-3000.

            I live comfortably in my studio apartment with no roommates and no debt because I’m careful, but it’s not luxurious in the least. I can afford a few casual, easy trips to Canada or elsewhere in the US. I’ve been paying for grad school without going into debt at one class a semester and managed to put some money into savings. I don’t own a car.

            Coworkers and peers making similar or even slightly more than I do wind up struggling financially if they have any debt or a car or any major life emergency. The only way to actually get ahead living here if is you’re making at least $120k/year and aren’t dumb about what you do with it. 90-100k will keep you comfortable and allow you to put away enough for retirement if you don’t have anything bad happen or debts sucking away at it, and if you aren’t getting gouged by rent.

            (and this is for a single income household, I can’t speak for someone who has two incomes coming in or is sharing living space with a roommate. I’ve only figured out the numbers for myself for the long-term)

      2. Mookie*

        Relocation assistance and signing bonuses are almost always for high demand hard to get skill sets. Those are usually in STEM. Or professional sports (if you’re that good).

        Really? (This is a genuine, not a rhetorical inquiry!) I’ve never worked in a field where it’s at all common, and where I’ve encountered the option it’s usually in corporate management where more intangible soft skills and leadership on-site are desirable, versus technical skills and functions that can be applied more flexibly, like for remote work. The exceptions are new corporate campuses, of course, where people are courted from near but more often from far. Though apparently the mass fuga ex surbube may change that pattern.

        1. TeacherTurnedNurse*

          See also jobs in any field where there is a shortage of qualified candidates, especially in a given geographic area. Nursing, for example, can come with a sign-on bonus of 5-7k in some areas, particularly those regions where people are less inclined to move.

          I think that’s the other trick to OP’s question; if they want to move from a smaller town to a city, they’re likely heading for a location that has MORE available candidates, not fewer – so a sign-on or relocation bonus becomes even less likely.

          1. kimberly*


            One of the two major health systems in my medium-sized city was recently offering substantial sign-on bonuses for many RN positions: 5K for new grads and 10K for those with 2+ years experience. So it can happen, but I think it is largely restricted to professions that have a minimum entry requirement. You either have an RN license or you don’t; there is not substitute.

            That said, it doesn’t hurt to ask (and if they do hold asking for it against you then you really didn’t want to work there anyway). Agree that a major corporation is more likely to help you out than a smaller company.

          2. YuliaC*

            Medical technologists sometimes can get a signup bonus, too, because in some areas they are very hard to find. Which is not helpful to the OP, of course, but perhaps something in the Emergency management area could be found with her education? The other areas she trained in are bursting with entry level candidates, but Emergency management seems like it shouldn’t be all that saturated.

        2. Anononon*

          I’ve a friend who’s first job was with Microsoft after college. We’re on the east coast, and they helped him move out there. I know they definitely hired movers for him. They probably also either gave him money or some kind of stipend for his travel, too.

          1. J*

            My first job was with Ford Motor Co after college and they hired movers + gave me a flat stipend for relocation (I think around $3k?) to relocate. This was in 2011.

          2. BeenThere*

            All the big companies in technology pay relocation even for new grads, when you move to the Bay Area and mention you were relocated people we ask you which of the handful of companies you are working for. It’s well known who does and doesn’t pay to relocate people.

        3. Hiring Mgr*

          Can’t speak for STEM, but i was a second round pick in the NBA of the then Kansas Cy (now Sacramento) Kings in 1982. They offered to pay all my moving expenses which was very kind. I wound up blowing out my knee and decided to go into high school coaching. I took a job leading a rag-tag bunch of kids in South Central LA’s Carver high. It was fascinating as a white coach with a racially diverse group of players from a tough background…..certainly challenging at times but we made it work and we all learned alot about each other.

        4. KHB*

          My employer, a STEM-focused nonprofit, paid my moving expenses when I started working for them in 2006. They would have paid up to $9000, but I didn’t need anywhere near that much, even though I was moving across an ocean, since I was young and had no furniture of my own.

          I paid all the costs up front and they reimbursed me when I got there. Fortunately, this wasn’t a problem for me. I don’t know what they would have done if it had been – maybe they would have made some other arrangement, maybe I would have been out of luck. As others have said, it’s a lot better to have some money than no money.

        5. Thlayli*

          I got a nice relocation allowance straight out of my PhD in mechanical engineering. One year of industry experience plus a PhD is fairly entry level. And it wasn’t out of the ordinary in engineering at all (can’t comment on other aspects of STM).

          1. Thlayli*

            In addition to the allowance they also put me up in a service desk apartment for a month. And now I think about it, during my undergrad I got a summer job in a rocket engine company and they paid for my move and put me up for two weeks – for a student job that was only 3 months contract. So yeah, it’s definitely a thing in Engineering.

          2. artgirl*

            From what I’ve seen, engineering-industry considers a PhD holder to be significantly further from entry level than other industries consider a liberal arts bachelor’s degree holder. Even a liberal arts or biological science PhD won’t get you the kind of industry job cred that an engineering grad degree does.

            1. Thlayli*

              actually in my experience as an engineer with a PhD, unless you are in an area that exactly matches with your PhD, you’re basically considered to be a grad that wasted 3 years!

              I got a position in an area directly related to my PhD so I probably jumped up the chain a bit faster (which was the whole point of doing one) but I was maybe one step ahead of people with a degree and 4 years of industry experience.

              Regardless of whether PhD is entry level or not, I got a relocation allowance as an unqualified 3rd year summer student, which is less than entry level. And in my experience it’s pretty common in engineering in general to give relocation allowances. I know loads of engineers who got them.

              1. artgirl*

                I only say it as a liberal arts bachelor’s holder and biological science grad degree holder — my spouse with an engineering PhD and all of his friends from grad school have faced very friendly job prospects that do not at all resemble the entry-level situation I’ve experienced. They do, however, all insist upon getting jobs in *exactly* the field they studied in school and so must be in similar positions to you.

                1. Thlayli*

                  Where I life graduate engineers would expect to earn significantly more than arts grads, but I’m not sure how your science graduate degree would affect that – pretty sure you couldn’t go straight from an arts degree into a science masters where I live anyway as you’d have to go back and do a science undergrad first

                2. artgirl*

                  Sorry I think we’re talking past each other. All I’m saying is the way employers treat recent-PhD recipients in engineering seems more “beyond entry level” than the way employers treat recent-PhD recipients in other fields. And certainly more “beyond entry level” than those who do not have graduate education. Just based on what I’ve seen.

                  And liberal arts doesn’t have to mean a major in an arts field, it means broad undergrad education, sometimes particularly to achieve a BA (mine happens to have been in a science concentration).

        6. Judy (since 2010)*

          I’m an engineer, and every relocation (except for interning) was paid for by the companies I’ve worked for. From 1992 new grad to 2 years ago. Every place I’ve worked including my current company offers relocation for engineers from new grads on up.

          My paid internships required me to move myself, but it was much like moving back to college. All my stuff in my car, rent a furnished studio apartment.

        7. Frozen Ginger*

          I got my first post-college job, entry level in STEM, with 1 summer of semi-relevant experience under my belt, and I got a moving stipend and full reimbursement on any moving charges. I had to pay taxes on all of it, but that was fine with me!

        8. K.*

          My best friend is a lawyer and has been relocated twice. Actually maybe three times – not sure if her first firm paid for her to move to its city after law school, but she has definitely been relocated twice that I know of.

        9. another STEM programmer*

          It’s common in my field (see name), even for limited-term employees like postdocs.

        10. AliceW*

          For jobs in Finance, relocation assistance is very common for senior or executive hires. Also, signing bonuses are somewhat common depending on the firm.

        11. Specialk9*

          Yeah I got relocation assistance. I’m a senior manager in a super niche field. I moved on the cheap (sold all my furniture on Craigslist) and bought new furniture and put most of it into savings. It’s totally doable to move on the cheap, especially without lotsa stuff, or pets.

          (My old city, pets added 25% to my rent; here it’s probably 50%, and the see available stock of housing is really limited.)

        12. Calpurrnia*

          Yes, it happens in techy fields for sure! I just started a new job last month where nobody even blinked at my request for a 5k signing bonus. Boyfriend started a new job six months ago, was offered the same bonus as me, and negotiated a slightly higher salary in lieu of the bonus. He’s a software developer coming up on 10 years of experience, and I’m a data analyst with a couple years’ experience plus an MS. We’re definitely lucky that both of our fields are in really high demand right now (to the point that both our teams actually have open positions and a lack of qualified folks to fill them), so signing bonuses and similar perks are not uncommon.

        13. Safetykats*

          I’m an engineer, and I’ve moved several times for new jobs, and I’ve always had relo. Our company offers it even for college hires, although it’s got a lower cap than for higher level positions. Also it’s always reimbursement, except for the actual moving company, which is paid directly. My last move my relo included realtor’s fees both ends and 60 days temp housing and was grossed-up for taxes – and that was not a management level job. My son, whose degree is in history, is currently moving for a new job with his employer and while he doesn’t get temp housing he does get expenses and a week off with pay for his time in transit and for finding housing. I think it’s really dependent on the company and the location; larger companies will have more generous policies, and companies that have a need to recruit more widely to find the talent they need (regardless of the field) are more likely to pay relo.

      3. CrystalMama*

        I know I save at least 3k a year on a plant based diet! Many people over the world live cheaply and Healthfully on beans & rice.

      4. CTT*

        The law firm I’m working for offered a general $5,000 advance on salary, which I think is semi-standard (advance vs. bonus – although I think in the Good Old Pre-Recession Days a bonus was more customary). It is nice to get acknowledgement that for most students, they won’t be able to work during the bar and finances might get shaky.

    2. grace*

      A relo bonus might be rare for an entry-level job, but a hiring bonus isn’t necessarily – I have a friend working at a large company who was offered an intense bonus for signing, which she used for relocation. Actually I have several friends that happened to, and I graduated last year – so it’s not unheard of or even that crazy of a thing to ask about after you have an offer.

      1. Lalaroo*

        The plural of anecdote is not data, though. I have NEVER heard of a signing bonus for an entry level position that wasn’t something like nursing, and in many jobs you are going to look naive and out of touch if you ask about a signing bonus as an entry level hire.

        1. Yada Yada Yada*

          Lol I love your line about data! Here to stir the pot a little: probably 70% of people I graduated college with and was close enough to know this information about them got signing bonuses as entry level. This was for people in the private/business sector

          1. Coffeelover*

            Similar story… Everyone I know got a signing bonus AND relocation. But all of us went into management consulting or finance jobs where even entry level people get those. With OPs background I would suggest management consulting at the big guys… They tend to hire more STEM these days but you can get in with other degrees. I suggest this profession because of its signing bonus/relocations… Not necessarily promoting this as a career choice.

            1. Elsa*

              Seconding this. I had a BA in anthropology and my first job out of college at a consulting firm offered a several thousand dollar signing bonus. A large portion of my starting class was inexperienced liberal arts majors from schools all over the country. In my experience, though, many of the companies in industries in which entry-level signing bonus are standard are also those that tend to do on-campus recruiting, which at my undergraduate university was in the early fall.

        2. grace*

          I didn’t say it was going to happen everywhere, just that it’s not crazy to want or ask about later on in the process, especially if you know more about your own industry. Maybe you haven’t heard of it, but I have, and I’m obviously not the only one.

      2. Bea*

        But it’s a large company and it greatly depends on what your friend’s educational background is.

        My friend got paid to relocate and a huge bonus but he has a MBA and MD.

    3. Janey-Jane*

      Yes, Americorps has a small relocation assistance, if moving more than X miles. (I’d guess 50, but it’s been a few years.)

      1. Starbuck*

        Do they? For which positions? I was an AmeriCorps member and now supervise them, and have never heard of such a program.

    4. mrs__peel*

      There are lots of smaller/medium-sized cities (e.g., in the Rust Belt and Great Lakes regions) where you can have a very good quality of life on a modest salary. I think that sometimes smaller cities aren’t on the radars of new grads, unless they have some family connections there. But there are many good options.

      For example, I’ve spent most of my working life in Cleveland and Rochester, NY, which are both extremely pleasant places to live. Commutes are easy, and there are lots of good restaurants, a surprising amount going on in the arts, etc.

      (The caveat, of course, is IF you can find a job in one of those cities since unemployment rates are often higher than in larger metro areas. The major employers around here are higher ed, healthcare, and Wegmans).

      1. artgirl*

        Or if, as I’ve seen done, you can work in a metro area for awhile then get authorized to switch to remote status and move to one of those smaller cities. Best of both worlds.

    5. MMM*

      My first job out of school paid for me to move. I did have a master’s degree but it was a perk offered to everyone. I wouldn’t wish the job on my worst enemy, but hey, they did pay for my movers.

    6. D.W.*

      It’s not common, but I actually was granted relocation assistance for my first job out of college, so it’s possible!

      They reimbursed up to 25% of my annual salary.

    7. Beth*

      My first job out of school paid for me to move (I was a humanities major, but going into a tech company), and while it helped reduce stress, I was actually surprised how little I spent, by the time all was said and done! The vast majority of the cost was my plane ticket–I just didn’t have that much stuff, since I’d been living in furnished dorms. I think everything fit in like four large boxes that I had shipped, a checked suitcase, and a carry on. (Tip for people who are smarter than me: eight smaller boxes would have been wayyyy easier to move than four large boxes, the weight adds up fast!) It totaled in the hundreds of dollars, not the thousands–and I probably could have gotten it lower by renting a minivan for a couple days and driving, now that I think about it.

      OP2, take a look at how much stuff you actually have (and how much of it you’re planning to bring along–moves are a great time to pare down stuff that you never use or have been meaning to replace anyways) and see what it actually adds up to. If you’re in a similar place to what I described, then I think you should just apply for jobs and not worry too much about relocation assistance. Yes, you might have to pay out of pocket….but that’s not necessarily a huge hit.

      Do keep other costs of moving in mind, though! For example, renting an apartment usually requires a security deposit and first and last month’s rent, at the minimum, and you’ll need access to cash for food and other necessities until you get your first paycheck. These would be true even if you were moving within your current town, and aren’t generally covered by relocation assistance. This is what caught me when I was first starting out–I struggled with how much my bank account was being drained until that first paycheck! (Everything was fine within a month or two, it was just stressful at first.)

      1. ReanaZ*

        Yeah, I am totally baffled by the $3000 figure for a new grad moving. If you aren’t wealthy, how do you even own $3000 worth of stuff??? Like I could have repalced literally everything I owned straight out of school for a 1/3 of that, save for a shitty car that helped with the move. I didn’t spend that much to move abroad or move 5 people out of one of the most expensive cities in the world to a state across the country. I am always confused when moving costs come up in AAM.

    8. Starbuck*

      FYI, as an AmeriCorps alum and current supervisor of several members, to my knowledge there aren’t any AmeriCorps programs/positions that offer any sort of relocation assistance. And the stipends generally pay very poorly- often below the federal minimum wage hourly. There are a few programs (usually positioned within govt orgs rather than non-profits) that do pay hourly, but the rate is still around $10-$11/hr. Not great. Perhaps you’re thinking of the education award that is available at the end of the term? This is just under $6000 for a full-year term now, and can only be applied to qualifying loans/tuition at accredited programs, and you do have to pay taxes on it when you use it. AmeriCorps is a better option when what you really need is experience, not cash.

  3. JA*

    OP #1 here – should also add that for so long whenever she was in my manager’s office and I could hear that they were whispering, I assumed they were talking about *me* because I’m the only person who could reasonably be expected to overhear anyone in that office, but now I realize that it’s just the way she communicates. But thanks Alison for the advice and I’ll probably give the first one a shot!

    1. Mad Baggins*

      I used to work with someone exactly like this. She said everything in a conspiratorial whisper, from “I think Wakeen’s sick today,” to “It’s so cold lately!” Plus she would even cover her mouth like it was super secret. I could hardly understand a word she said! Luckily I didn’t have to work with her a lot and ended up just smiling and responding as vaguely as possible (“Oh my” “I see” “Mm!”). I wish I had had Alison’s scripts then…Best of luck to you!

      1. Red Reader*

        My housemate has this super annoying habit of whisper-mumbling at me with her hand over her mouth. At this point when she does it, I put my hand over my own mouth and stage-whisper back I CAN’T HEAR YOU WHEN YOU WHISPER WITH YOUR MOUTH COVERED. It doesn’t stop her from doing it in the long run, but she does generally repeat what she just said in a normal tone of voice without her mouth covered.

        1. Specialk9*

          It’s actually a gendered thing that some cultures promote more than others. Covering your mouth prevents people from seeing your teeth, which our primitive brains see as aggressive. Girls shouldn’t be aggressive, so…

          Whispering is often a similarly gendered thing. Being loud and aggressive is for men, so…

          Japanese women especially are socialized to cover their mouths when smiling or laughing. But after I read a psychology article on the topic, I kept seeing women (rarely men) doing it, and catching myself doing it!

    2. mimsie*

      Have you tried responding to her in a normal volume voice and just ignore the fact that she’s whispering? That might prompt her to speak up a bit first before asking her to.

      1. Pollygrammer*

        I was actually going to suggest responding with “pssst tssshh ttsh tssss.” Literally. Because whispering is ridiculous.

    3. Agent Diane*

      Hi OP1!

      I think you can use that story to explain to her the impression she is giving to others, if script one doesn’t work and you move onto script two.

    4. The Supreme Troll*

      Yes JA, I feel where your coming from. To me, whispering (back & forth) just seems so unnatural and yes, that we are drawing more attention (not less) to ourselves when we talk that way.

      For me, the need to whisper is very, very limited.

    5. Ainomiaka*

      I think saying this to her might help. Particularly since you are in an open plan office, she could think whispering is less annoying to less people. Saying it isn’t is a reasonable first step. Since you say this is all the time I actually also want to ask- does she ever talk at what you consider a normal volume? Some people just have voices that are really quiet.

      1. JA*

        She used to speak in a normal volume voice for everything but gossip, but the whispering increased progressively. It’s not *everything* she says, but almost everything. And she doesn’t whisper when she’s on the phone. Perhaps I should insist she calls me on the phone from her desk next to me whenever she wants to talk to me!

        1. Ainomiaka*

          Okay that’s just strange. Unless she’s gotten talked to for being too loud? I’ve mostly experienced that in social setups, but it’s bizarrely cutting.

        2. AKchic*

          I’m actually wondering if she’s been spoken to for talking too much and she’s trying to be quieter to avoid the appearance of talking *as much*.

          Does it alleviate the problem? No, not at all.

          Being direct and saying “I can’t hear you, you need to speak up” every time she whispers will help. It calls out her talking each time she does it (if she has been spoken to about chatting too often), and it brings up that her whispering is an ineffective means of communication so if she *does* actually want to communicate, she needs to either speak in a normal voice, or find another way to talk (preferably not with smoke signals).

    6. Castaspella*

      My boss whispers all of his emails to himself as he’s drafting them – it drives me absolutely insane. He’ll read the first few lines out repeatedly, so if he’s sending one to me, I’ll be sitting next to him while he keeps whispering my name to himself. It is bizarre, distracting, and infuriating.

    7. BS*

      I work in a small cubicle room with generally two or three others. I’m generally quiet but the others will often chat with each other on everything from work to periods. Yes literally. I couldn’t care less about the topic of conversation and have never been bothered by it. But when they occasionally start whispering all of a sudden I feel like it must be about me, given the other things they’ve talked about at full volume. While I admit I’m probably generally wrong on this it’s definitely made me much less comfortable around my coworkers than any topic of conversation actually heard would.

      When you whisper it’s bound to have a much worse and likely negative feeling to those around you. And if some of your neighbors had caught bits and pieces of it when she was doing it to gossip then they’ll probably assume everything being said now is more of the same, and about them.

  4. caryatis*

    OP#2–I moved cross-country for about $1000, and I had a lot of stuff. If you really do not have even that much saved, you can borrow the money and pay it back within a few months. I rarely advise people to go into debt, but in your case the money for a bare-bones move might be a good debt to have. Also, whenever you do get a job, please start saving. Stuff happens in life and (as you are learning) operating with zero savings can really hurt you.

    1. Tardigrade*

      My first post-college job did provide relocation, but it was a reimbursement so I think I probably spent about $1,000 like you (for the moving van, apartment signing, utilities, etc.). And there were some things I didn’t have for a while, like a couch, but it all worked out.

    2. CM*

      My sister moved several states away after college and she did it for no money except gas because if it didn’t fit in her car, she got rid of it. She bought some cheap furniture from thrift shops and Walmart. When I moved after college I rented a u-haul and my family helped me load/unload. Moving cheap is doable if you are willing to downsize. Since you mom lives in the same small town as you, you can also ask if she would be willing to store a few things that you can’t afford to move yet but can’t bring yourself to get rid of.

      1. Sarah*

        Yep, when I moved cross country for grad school, I took only what I could check on the plane (I flew SW so no checked bag fees). I believe I also mailed maybe 2 or 3 boxes of books via media mail. And of course, you don’t need to move somewhere that requires a plan flight…are there any major cities within a driving radius of you? Then you can drive to interviews and drive for the move which would reduce costs even more.

    3. A grad student*

      Yeah, I think my whole family moved cross-country for about this much- Uhauls are pretty cheap. I don’t want to disbelieve what OP is saying, but I honestly can’t understand why it would cost so much for a recent college grad to move cross-country, unless she’s counting something like a security deposit and first and last month’s rent in the $3,000, in which case… Pick a cheaper part of the country to move to, where that kind of expense to move in isn’t as common.

      1. Trig*

        Yeah, I’m guessing she’s including everything in the move: cost of gas, u-haul, hotels along the way, first and last rent, security deposit, buying basic ‘new house’ supplies, buying some new furniture, stocking up on groceries; all that stuff. It can probably be done more cheaply than she imagines, but I think she’s trying to be realistic and have a buffer, which is good!

        That said, I still think it’s worth it. Pick a city you like where you maybe know people and see a number of openings in the areas you’re looking. Move to a cheap area there (this might be the outskirts of town rather than right downtown, but hey, leases only last a year, so you can do a short move if you land a good job.) Then try to get a basic job like packing groceries or serving coffee to keep the lights on while you apply and interview.

        There’s an argument for working minimum wage jobs in a low-cost-of-living area while you save up, but I think getting out of the minimum wage jobs faster will be easier if you’re able to interview for better paying positions from the get-go.

        OP, I know from personal experience the completely directionless feeling of finishing a humanities degree and trying to find “a job, any job.” I finished my MA and was working part-time at the library and at a store. I applied randomly to a few things, put my name in a few general hiring pools, but realised I needed more direction than that. So I went to our local tech college for Technical Writing. Internship lead to a job, and six years on, I have a career.

        By all means, apply to stuff that sounds like it might fit and see what happens… but keep it in the back of your mind that a short stint somewhere to get some specialised qualifications might help too!

        1. mrs__peel*

          One of the advantages of moving to a smaller city is that “first + last months’ rent + security deposit” is much less of a thing.

          In all the places I’ve rented in the Rust Belt, it was just “first month + deposit”, and that was not too much because the rent was so cheap to begin with. And some places even offer a first month’s rent free because they’re so desperate to get tenants.

          Cleveland, for instance (where I lived before) is very much a renter’s market, since they have so much housing stock and the population has declined considerably over the years. I rented a very nice 1-bedroom for $485/ month for years, and my landlord never raised the rent in all that time because he wanted to keep me there.

          1. A grad student*

            Yeah, I’m in rural Virginia and every apartment I’ve rented here has only wanted a security deposit before move-in- and one of those security deposits was only $200. If the OP is open to places like those it’ll really cut down the money she’ll need to move (and cost of living generally tends to be low too, so it’ll stretch a small salary)!

    4. LAI*

      How far are you moving OP? After college, I moved for the cost of a one day, uhaul rental which was I think under $100. Friends helped. I also know people who have moved across the country with just what they could fit in their car, so that would only be the cost of gas and some cheap furniture when you arrive. It can definitely be done for less than $3000.

    5. Yada Yada Yada*

      This is a good point. If you rent a truck or pull a trailer behind you it can be fairly affordable

    6. Barney Barnaby*

      Exactly. You can even share UHauls with people, which cuts the cost of the rental and gas in half.

      I’m wondering what the OP has that is worth $3,000. He might be better off selling everything but a car and clothes, driving to the new city, maybe shipping a few boxes, and then buying everything new. He also doesn’t have to get an entire apartment worth of stuff immediately – there are options to rent furnished, or just buy a mattress and frame from IKEA and slowly accumulate other things as the paychecks come in.

    7. Busy Trap*

      You might also have some time to get a temporary job now that school is almost done before you start the new gig — you’d be able to save up some of this money so you don’t have to borrow it.

    8. mrs__peel*

      One thing I did to keep inter-state moving costs down was to hire my own U-Haul truck, and I looked at Angie’s List to find local movers at each end *just* to load and unload.

      Some movers have a minimum number of hours, but (in my experience) it was still pretty reasonable if they were just supplying a few hours of labor and no truck. I think it was about $500-600 total for a 250-mile move, with the truck rental and all the moving guys. (And I had WAY more stuff than the average young person, including eleventy billion boxes of books and a vintage fridge).

    9. TravelLite*

      I’m in biotech. I got something like $2000 relocation assistance for a relatively entry level job (but with PhD) in the biology field to move from another country (Europe) to the US. They just gave me a lump sum. Apart from the flight, I spent $600 to move all my stuff (shipped at lowest and slowest rate, I had a 1-bedroom in Europe but I sold all my furniture first), and kept the change.

  5. AcademiaNut*

    I’ve done multiple moves without much money, and there’s a big difference between having no money and having some money. Assuming you’ve already gotten a job, at an absolute minimum, you need enough money to get to the new town, and live on until you get paid. If you really have no money, and can’t borrow from a friend or family, your options are along the lines of hitchhiking there, sleeping in a park for the first couple of weeks and dumpster diving for food, which I wouldn’t recommend.

    If you’re able to do it for cheap, though, there are some things you can do. First, you’re not going to be able to rent your own apartment, because that typically requires about three months rent up front (first month’s rent and deposit). So you’re going to need to find a place that’s looking for a roommate and doesn’t involve a lease (try Craigslist), and you’re probably going to need to arrange it by email before you get there. Otherwise, check out things like hostels, or staying in university dorms during summer break, for a few days to a week until you find the roommate situation. Pack a sleeping back and an inflatable mattress, to make do if you can’t afford a bed.

    Then, you live really frugally until you get enough money to afford a rent deposit, and/or outfit yourself. You can get by with a cheap pot and frying pan, a cutting board and a paring knife, and a single set of plate/cup/bowl/cutlery, the aforementioned sleeping bag, and some clothes and toiletries.

    If you have no money at all, then you’ll need to find work locally until you can afford to move.

    1. ellen*

      Talk to Goodwill, Call around to see if any church groups offer some kind of assistance, because they do exist and often can help. this may not be to the tune of “first and last month’s rent” but in a lot of cities, there are places that will loan or give you professional clothing, and little “So you are starting out” kits that would include a frying pan, etc.

    2. Beth Jacobs*

      Great point! Sure, it’s possible to move for less than a thousand dollars, but people might be forgetting rent and deposit (whereas I presume OP is able to stay with his mom if he stays in his hometown).

      But on the other hand, if the OP can’t find qualified work locally, getting stuck in retail for a year could really hurt his career long term, so I would recommend doing whatever’s possible to find a job in the field asap.

    3. Betsy*

      I’ve done some very cheap moves. When I moved cities to go to grad school I got rid of everything and just took a couple of suitcases on the plane. Use something like Google Flights to find the very cheapest fare (with baggage). Most cities have roommates or housing Facebook groups that you can join. The cheapest option might be subletting a room for a short period of time, because that often involves less bond/rent in advance upfront and then you can just pay the rent and save up until you can find something more permanent. Moving into an established sharehouse cuts down on set-up costs, and you might have to make do with crappy furniture until you can afford better stuff. I have had success at getting jobs with just Skype interviews, so I haven’t had to fly in for interviews, but I do know many people who swear that they have to interview in person otherwise they won’t have a chance.

      1. KitKat*

        This is what I did. I had no money and was moving to DC for a job where I would be making 22k/year. I flew with a frying pan, a hotplate, and some clothes in a suitcase (I couldn’t even afford to check a bag!) and rented a basement room for nearly a year while saving money and buying the essentials at thrift shops or getting them from Freecycle.

        Honestly, it didn’t even bother me that much. I was used to living in a dorm in college, so my standards were already low, and I was moving to a new exciting city for my first professional job…it was stressful at times, but mainly it all felt like a big adventure. And then my next job where I made 35k and lived in a real apartment felt like unimaginable wealth!

        1. Betsy*

          I love the idea of you flying with a frying pan! I put my whole desktop computer in one of my suitcases when I flew down to start grad school, as it was before everyone had laptops.

      2. CM*

        If moving to a city with a large student population, you may be able to sublet a room from a student who is gone for the semester but did not want to give up the lease. Those are typically 1-4 month leases and are below market rate (at least in my experience).

      3. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

        I’ve seen people do super cheap moves like this – DOWNSIZE or store stuff with families. Fly or drive to new city with just a suitcase or two of necessities (personal belongings, no furniture/kitchen supplies/etc at this point). Arrange for an Air BnB for the first week or two (it will be furnished so you just need your personal belongings), then look for a better short term arrangement – roommate situations generally off craigslist (at least the apt will most likely be furnished, if not the room itself – if the room is not furnished buy a cheap air mattress and live out of piles and your suitcase) that are either month-to-month or a short term sublet (like for a month or two – for these, the room will most likely be furnished). That gives you a solid 2-3 months to find a more permanent situation – a year long sublet or a longer term roommate situation or your own place – whatever your situation allows. At some point you can either have some additional items shipped to you slowly or purchase some very cheap fill it items. Or once you’ve found a semi-settled place you could potentially make a trip back home to bring some larger furniture items (this would cost money, but it would spread the costs out over time). Worst case scenario you can extend your AirBnB or hop around AirBnBs until you find somewhere to settle for a little bit.

        I’d say you’d just need to save up enough to get to the city. Then if you could try to have at least one months rent as a cushion/security deposit you can probably make it work. At least if you have a job lined up and income coming in almost immediately.

    4. LKW*

      I was definitely thinking about first month / last month rent obligations. I didn’t even think about roommates (it’s been a long time since I had a roommate.) That is a good idea!

      1. Red Reader*

        Stuff can also be shipped via Amtrak reasonably inexpensively. I moved from Seattle to Indy by shipping 8 boxes by Amtrak for about $200, and everything else went into my smart car. (And media mail for the books and dvds you can’t get rid of.)

        1. Jubilance*

          Stuff can also be shipped via Greyhound. When I moved from MN to GA for grad school, I shipped textbooks and other things I didn’t need right away via Greyhound. Did it about a week before I left, and by the time I arrived, my stuff had just made it to GA.

        2. essEss*

          Ooh… I didn’t know that you can ship by Amtrak! That’s a really useful piece of information.

      2. Drama Mama*

        If only reserving one actually MEANT something….got burned the last two times I reserved one, and got there to find they really work first come, first served, and was without a truck when I needed one. Two different locations a couple hundred miles apart and corporate didn’t give a fig.

        1. A grad student*

          I think this depends on the individual uhaul shops, and time of year. In this part of the world unrelated stores (an army surplus store, a video rental, and a mechanic are the three we’ve visited) rent out uhauls on the side to make extra money, and we’ve had extremely varied experiences as a result. Corporate Uhaul absolutely does not care remotely about any of them though, so YMMV

    5. Thlayli*

      Hostels is a good idea – I know absolutely tons of people who lived in hostels for a while when starting out.

      1. Thlayli*

        Hell when I stayed in the YWCA in New York I met some old ladies who’d been living there for decades.

    6. Natalie*

      If small town also means small college, your alumni network might be another resource. I went to a small college in a small town, and the postgrad community is pretty robust and tight knit. A lot of alums rent rooms to current students doing internships or recent grads getting started.

    7. Samata*

      I was recently looking into relocating and some people rent out rooms on Air B&B for as little as $17 a night and half that if you do it by the month, so $250-$260 per month in some downtowns will get you a room with a private bath and sitting area, a private entrance and walking distance so car isn’t required. I know it’s still some money but it doesn’t require a big upfront cost (like deposit, first/last month) and you can pay it on a coffee shop job, esp. with no car expense if you can work within walking distance. Another bonus of this is you can get to know the city a little, see what part you’d like to live in, etc.

      Good luck, OP! But I agree with those saying move now and job search after you get there. I wish I had done that after college.

    8. Risha*

      I once moved across several states on borrowed money for a job, and ended up hitting the local food bank when I ran out of cash while waiting for my first paycheck. They were a little bemused when their standard list of questions revealed that I was employed full time at about $80k a year, and I didn’t qualify for any of the FDA food, but they still readily and cheerfully gave me a big box from the private food donations.

      Also, most low cost hotels offer a weekly rate that you need to stop in or call up and ask for (and usually come with fewer services, like cleaning once a week instead of daily), and a small population of people who live there for months on end during temp work or in tough housing circumstances. It’ll still be more expensive (in most areas) than finding a cheap room to rent, but it’s both much easier to find and requires nothing in the way if deposits or references. Get a place with mini-frigs if it’s in your budget. Leave a little room in said budget, because the rate will change from week to week and must be paid up front. If you go with a chain, Motel 6, Red Roof Inn, and La Quinta all take pets at all non-resort locations (check on numerical limits and if a fee applies first), and many Ramadas do as well.

    9. Specialk9*

      Everything AcadamiaNut said. It’s how most of us in expensive cities do things.

      As an aside, one lesson learned was to check the address against the sex offender list. I once moved in, and then right out the next day, with a sex offender. (Otherwise I’ve had fantastic luck with Craigslist roommates.)

  6. LNZ*

    Hey OP2 perhapse check out AmeriCorps VISTA. Its national service and a year long commitment but most postings have relocation reimbursement.

    1. MCL*

      I was also a VISTA, but I no longer remember if I was given relo. I served in the Midwest city where I attended grad school, and it was a great way to learn about the community (bonus, I established residency for in-state tuition). It’s a great experience, especially if you are already used to living frugally. Since it is a college town, nobody on my team had problems finding roommates, so ymmv.

    2. Grits McGee*

      When I was a VISTA in 2012-2013 I was offered relocation reimbursement, but they calculate it based on how far you’re traveling from your starting location to your assignment. I think the upper limit was $500-600, but I only got about $330 in relocation money based on moving from LA to AL (about 300 mi).

      Another thing to look out for- VISTA stipends are calculated to pay you poverty wages, and there’s not a lot of range between what they pay at the lowest COL locations vs extremely high COL locations. I was actually able to save money while living off of my $800 a month VISTA pay in rural Alabama, but I’ve known people that have gone into debt trying to survive off of VISTA pay in urban areas. Hopefully this has gotten better now that VISTAs are allowed to take other jobs while in the program, but it’s definitely something to take into account.

      1. Pollygrammer*

        When I was a VISTA (and they didn’t allow a second job–rumor has it somebody got fired for having an Etsy store ffs) most of my extra change came from them paying me to drive ~40 miles each way for our “mandatory” team meetings and having a gas-efficient enough car that their mileage allowance was about twice what I paid in gas. :)

        1. Janey-Jane*

          I did VISTA about a year or two before the job change, and some of my peers were blatantly selling artwork through Facebook and working second jobs. Our program, at least, didn’t really enforce that, though the did say it at Orientation.

          1. MCL*

            Yeah, I had a few friends in my VISTA project who were definitely working off the books. The AmeriCorps volunteers who were not VISTAs got to get second jobs, as I recall. I did a lot of dogsitting and stuff on the side, too, which definitely helped. I lived in Madison, Wisconsin and earned maybe $900/month in 2007, which was about what I was making as a student the year before so I was very comfortable with that salary. I qualified for SNAP, which really helped a lot (that benefit went away when I went back and became a FT student). If you’ve got a lot of different interests I would recommend giving it a shot – it really helped me learn a lot about myself professionally as well as personally.

        2. MCL*

          Me too. My main work site was about 20 miles from my home, so I was reimbursed for some part of the mileage of a daily 40 mile round trip. Most of my team members did not get that reimbursement though, because their work sites were not as far out. Mine was the most far flung one.

          1. LNZ*

            Yeah, you have to be full on relocating at least 50 miles to get the reimbursement. The program itself wont cover things commute, which is what you were doing, but some sites will.

      2. Flinty*

        I made 17k in DC when doing AmeriCorps a couple years ago and was also able to save money! I think it really depends on what expenses you consider necessary – I didn’t have a car, didn’t have a smart phone, only took the bus, and drinking with friends = buy wine at the grocery store and drink it in my apartment. Some people are perfectly happy living like that for a year or two and some people are miserable, no shade either way but you have to know yourself.

        1. LNZ*

          Yeah, it can really depend. I’ve had a great time and am in my 3rd (and final) year of doing it. I also actually saved up money in one of my terms, while i was in the arctic the tribal college i was with provided a free dorm and meal card. There was also basically nothing to spend my money on in the village and with alcohol being illegal soi couldn’t even buy that lol.
          But I know some people who were miserable. Which is why i suggested they look into it instead of being all “def do this thing!”

        2. LNZ*

          Yeah it can really depend on the person. I was also able to save money while i was in the arctic. The Tribal College i was with gave me a free dorm and meal card, i used the fleet cars if i ever need to go into town, and there was basically nothing to spend my money on other than a few amazing pieces of Inuit Art i got from the actual artist. Also alcohol is illegal in the village so i couldn’t even buy that. Saved up about 6K total.
          I’t my 3rd and last year in the program and I’ve loved it but yeah i’ve also known people who hated it.

      3. LNZ*

        It actually caps at $1000. I moved from California to the Barrow Alaska up in the arctic circle and then from there to Colorado from there Colorado for another term and my moving expensive were actually a little under the reimbursement.

  7. CA job searcher*

    Re: #3
    I’m in California and currently searching. I haven’t been asked so far about salary history, perhaps because I’ve been a freelancer, so am usually just asked for my salary history. I’ve been searching for a full-time role since before the new law took affect and anecdotally I have seen an increased willingness to tell me a salary range up front since the start of the year. The only place that has refused is a national org where I was talking to someone out of state and it was early enough on that we just moved on and I’ve since had a few other interviews with that org.

    My usual response is “I don’t have a particular number in mind, it’s really about the whole package. Do you have a range in mind for this role?”

    1. Liz T*

      “I haven’t been asked so far about salary history…am usually just asked for my salary history.”

      Was one of those supposed to be “salary expectations?”

      1. CA job searcher*

        Yes, ugh! I haven’t been asked about salary, I’m nearly always asked about expectations. Typically in a first convo with an internal recruiter.

    2. Rat Racer*

      Also job hunting in CA. I’m struggling with the opposite problem, where because employers aren’t allowed to ask about salary history, and because the range is not posted, I have no idea whether I’m applying for a position that would be lateral, higher paying, or a significant drop in salary. It means that I have to bring it up, which feels awkward. How are these conversations supposed to go? Not used to this new turning of the tables…

      1. Jadelyn*

        In your phone screen or initial interview, just tack on toward the end as you’re wrapping up, “Oh, by the way, I just want to be sure that we’re on the same page with salary expectations for this role. Can you give me the range for this position?” And then depending on the answer, you can either say “Great, that’s in line with what I was thinking, thanks” or “Unfortunately, that’s below what I would be willing to accept, so I don’t think it makes sense for us to continue. Thanks for your time.”

        Just make it very matter-of-fact, and most recruiters/hiring managers should respond in kind.

  8. Envoy*

    OP #2, when you say you’re “not particularly fussy about where to move”, does that extend to moving internationally?
    If you’re American and at all interested in teaching English abroad, there are plenty of schools/organizations willing to provide relocation assistance for new hires. I’m thinking mainly about schools in Asia and the Middle East (Japan, South Korea, the UAE, etc.) but it might be true for other parts of the world as well. In most cases, you only need a Bachelor’s degree and a passport from one of the seven main English-speaking countries. (TEFL certification helps, but often isn’t a requirement.)

    1. AcademiaNut*

      From my observation, a random Bachelor’s degree and an American passport can get you a job teaching ESL overseas, but the kind of job that gives you relocation money will generally involve some sort of certification, and/or practical teaching experience.

    2. Traveling Teacher*

      Seconded! And, with your wide-ranging knowledge, finding a position that fits your needs right now shouldn’t be too difficult. Often, you’ll be on an 8, 9, or 12 month contract, too, so it’s fairly easy to move along when you decide to change jobs. Housing is often provided, too, so it can save you the stress of also finding a place to live (was the case for me–only cost me 45 euros/month for my highly subsidized housing instead of the typical 350-450 euros for a basic studio or one-bedroom!) Expect the salary to be a bit lower, but for me and many of my colleagues, we netted slightly more overall and didn’t have to pay a deposit or 3 months’ rent in advance. It’s always been a huge asset to my career that I can demonstrate my self-sufficiency through having had the skills and wherewithal to move at a very young age, by myself, to a foreign country and live there happily and continue to find work.

      One cautionary note that was given to me: always check out the program to ensure it’s legit. The vast majority are legit and respect the contract, but there are a few horror stories out there of what basically amounts to indentured servitude! Dave’s ESL Café is a good place to start looking…

    3. London Calling*

      * (TEFL certification helps, but often isn’t a requirement.)*

      From my research on TEFL sites, no reputable language school will take you without one.

      1. Japan Teacher*

        TEFL certifications usually aren’t necessary, in my experience. I’m currently an EFL teacher in Japan, and I know very few people with any teaching credentials whatsoever. Other countries might have different standards, but usually Japan is the most difficult East Asian country for prospective teachers to find employment.

        1. Starbuck*

          This seems like a recipe for a stressful job with poor outcomes for students, are there really schools hiring people to “teach” who have no experience or training in education? Or is it more like private tutoring? That just seems unfortunate.

          1. Japan Teacher*

            Many of the jobs here are in private “English Conversation Schools” which are often more like tutoring and require little expertise, from what I can tell. The lesson plans are ready-made and there are only a few students per class. There are also a lot of jobs for assistant teachers in public schools. Those jobs have less autonomy and are therefore better training for people who are new to teaching. You’re right that it can be stressful. Students generally need to be motivated in order to really learn.

      2. College Career Counselor*

        Interesting. Is there any geographic variance on that? From what I’ve seen, I would say that TEFL certification has become more the norm for western Europe placements, maybe increasingly so for eastern Europe, less so for Asia and South America.

    4. Kate*

      Japan certainly doesn’t offer relocation assistance for inexperienced teachers, TEFL there is very popular and oversubscribed. Middle East often does and pays well but usually wants more qualifications, usually a masters in ESL.

      I think the best rewards from TEFL are if you’re already qualified as a teacher in your own country and can get jobs at international schools. If you’re unqualified and go into language schools it’s a good way to have a year or two’s holiday, but often a bit of a career dead end.

      1. Betsy*

        I agree that it’s a bit of a career dead-end and it’s best for people who have a passion for teaching and are trained as teachers, or someone whose main life goal is to live in another country for the sake of it. The conditions can also be much worse than back home, depending on the laws in the country you relocate to.

        I am in Thailand and I see a lot of teachers struggling, but also some enjoying the experience. Many people who find a job in Thailand get stuck when they teach too long and are then unemployable back home. In my opinion, it’s far, far better to get a job in the industry you plan to work in, accumulate some experience, and then if you really love the idea of teaching and having a career break, you can spend a year teaching English in another country.

        1. Justin*

          Yeah I was lucky that I did it right after college, and then came home to get a degree. I have friends who are… still there, and I left in 2010. And not a one of them has a resume that will excite an employer at home.

        2. CM*

          I agree it is a dead end if you do it for multiple contracts, but as a year in between college and another job it is a good way to explain why you didn’t get a job immediately after college.

    5. Chriama*

      If $3000 is standing between her and any other city in the US I don’t recommend she teach English abroad. You need minimum 1k to start up, ideally 2-5. Most employers pay mid-month on a monthly basis so you’re not getting your first pay check until at least 6 weeks after you arrive. Also, TEFL doesn’t lead to a whole lot of career options. By all means go if you want to go. It’s not a terrible choice to do it for a couple years and then come home and find another job. But this is not advice I’d give to someone young and vulnerable who’s just starting out her career. It’s an option that should be taken with your eyes wide open.

  9. Renee*

    OP 2 another way to move out of state is to find a job that allows telecommuting. The company I work for about 70% of the workforce telecommutes either full-time or 2 or more days a week with the rest of time spent in office. Anyway, a lot of my coworkers have moved all over the US, since their job requires only a phone and a computer, and the company pretty much doesn’t care where in the US you work from as long as you work. Sometimes yes an employee is not allowed to move across the US because we need east coast coverage for clients, but the majority of the time a move to a different state isn’t out of the question. Of course it will be hard finding a telecommuting position, but with technology on the rise, telecomutting is definitely following a similar trend.

    1. AK*


      A majority of my team telecommutes, the company pays to fly them out to the office for training and to pick up their work devices but hiring and day to day is all done over phone and email

      1. nom*

        Can I ask what field you’re in? I’ve looked for telecommute positions frequently, but most of what I see aren’t ‘real job’ postings. (Sadly, it seems like telecommute is now a favorite keyword for scammy fake junk.)

        1. shannanigans*

          “Telecommute” seems to have gone out of style. Google “remote job boards” and you’ll get lots of options for sites to check.

          And companies looking for one remote hire will often have many (or all) of their positions be remote. So if you find a company you like you can start checking their site too.

  10. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#4, I can think of some circumstances in which quizzes might not be bad, but I think my initial reaction would be that it’s condescending. I’m also not convinced it’s an effective way to talk through or teach information for adult learners?

    1. Lumen*

      Most education research shows it’s not that great for learners of any age. The value of quizzes is to check if the teaching was effective; they have little value to those being taught.

      1. CM*

        They can have value to those being taught if it shows them that they have gaps in their knowledge.

        1. Bostonian*


          Sometimes the biggest obstacles to learning is what we think we know… until we take a quiz and realize we didn’t really understand as well as we thought!

      2. I teach adults*

        This is actually incorrect. There is substantial value in low-stake, frequent testing in adult learning. And substantial research that backs this up. (I can’t speak to teaching children as that’s not my field.) I teach a licensing class in corporate environment to adults.

        Here’s why it works: Let’s say that you are trying to learn that ctrl+z is the shortcut for undo. Once you do it once, you’ve learned it. But the challenge is to remember it. You have to cement that neural path in your brain. You can read that shortcut (ctrl+z = undo) all day long, but you will not really cement that path until you are tested on it. A test you make up on your own will work. It doesn’t have to be a formal test. This is why flashcards are an effective study method for memorization.
        Here’s an analogy…If you walk across a grassy field, your footprints will flatten the grass, but the grass pops right back up. Go to a college campus or city park and you will see sections of grass that are matted down permanently because so many people have used that path. This is what you want with memory, and this is what frequent, low-stakes testing achieves.

        If I asked you what your childhood phone number was (a form of quizzing), you could probably rattle it off without much thought because the neural path to that information has been used so much that the grass is matted down. The path is clear to that information because you were quizzed on that number hundreds of times as a child. (This would be true of adult phone numbers except that we no longer memorize phone numbers.)
        Research by Dihoff, Epstein, and McGuire (that’s three separate studies, not one article) demonstrates that retrieval (quizzing) is one of the most powerful ways to learn and retain new information. You learn more from being tested and getting it wrong, then you do from repeatedly reading the correct material.

        In my situation (classroom setting), I am able to quiz adults all day long without it being condescending. In fact, if I ask them, “We can do A, B, or C in the next hour. What do you want to do?,” 100% of the time, they say practice quizzes. Let me say that again – every single time with every single training group, they want more quizzing.

        OP, here’s how I do it. Modify this for your environment. I am teaching adults in a corporate setting preparing them for a multiple choice exam to get a professional license. This class is part of their employment. Less than 10 students per class. They can keep their job without getting this license, but they will make substantially more money with it (for doing exactly the same work).
        I put a multiple choice question on the screen. They each have index cards for A,B,C, or D. They each hold up the appropriate card. This way, I know who is struggling but they aren’t embarrassed by the class if it is incorrect. If they all get it right, we move on. If 1-2 people got it wrong, I quickly explain it and we move on. If the answers are all over the place, I say, “Who wants to justify their answer?” Then someone will say, it’s A because of this. Someone will say, no it’s this. And we have a small discussion until we figure it out. I’ll facilitate this discussion so we are headed in the right direction. (discussion takes no more than 90 seconds)
        Some keys to this: it is low stakes – nothing bad happens if they get it wrong. Their manager never even knows. It’s frequent – we do it multiple times a day. And most importantly, I’ve created a safe environment.
        When you are trying to come up with a way to do this, think of it as retrieval practice rather than quizzing. A written test that is scored like school is a little annoying. But there is definitely a way that you can get your employees to retrieve the information from their brain (and that’s the goal) without being condescending.

        1. Turquoisecow*

          That sounds like an awesome method for teaching adults, and for getting them to actually retain the information. At the same time, it seems like it’s a conversation feel rather than a classroom feel.

        2. SpaceNovice*

          OP#4: I teach adults is correct. Quizzes CAN work if done right. Other commenters have some good suggestions, too. Look into methodologies for this. Probably something low-key is best. I like the suggestion by Trudy Scrumptious for the raffle. Really big changes will require training.

          One word of warning: your documentation must stay up to date, and you have to allow staff to read the new information before quizzing. Quick reference and detailed information on the overall process as well as those for the new changes. Make sure it’s quick and easy to get to and everyone knows it. Differentiate new changes so they can find and read over them quickly, tabs in binders, etc.

          Since you work in a library, maybe make a cheat sheet that gets updated for the front desk or staff. Common questions, services provided, fees, important phone numbers, where to find more detailed information, etc. Make your staff part of the process in developing it–they know what information they need to look up, and will be happy to make a good resource better.

          Just be careful not to document it in too much detail, as then no reasonable person will ever wish to read it.

          (Of course, you probably already do a lot of this. It’s wonderful that you’re writing in and making sure to pass on this information to your reports in the right way. Knowledge sharing correctly prevents a host of problems and empowers your staff to be successful. Even better when the knowledge sharing goes both ways.)

          1. The Curator*

            I came here to say this. They may know it for the quiz but if they are part time they may often forget that the Kate nights are Wed and Friday . Do a google doc of frequently asked questions and policy / no unaccompanied children under twelve etc

        3. Decima Dewey*

          At our annual Summer Reading meeting, there was a pop quiz on the Summer Slump (the loss of skills student experience if they don’t learn during the summer). All but one of the answers were so freaking obvious. The one was a trick question–the amount of time teachers spend re-teaching old material was higher. The last question was whether there was anything other than making school year round that would prevent summer slump. Again, there was obvious that there was something that could be done, or we could all have left the meeting have a latte at Starbucks before going back to our branches.

        4. Elizabeth H.*

          I agree completely about memory and repeated low-stakes testing. I taught myself the world capitals via purposegames.com quizzes. I still remember all of them except I screw up Oceania capitals so much.

          1. Samata*

            When I was in the 4th grade my pap quizzed me constantly on my state capitals. In the morning while brushing my teeth, during breakfast. Just a few at a time, but over the course of a year. that was 30 or so years ago and I still remember them all.

            Just referring by to OP in this thread, I also still remember my childhood phone number, which we lost when I was 8 and moved out of town.

        5. nonprofit director*

          I love that method!

          I do a lot of training. The topics I train on are important for managers, but not necessarily their area of specialization. We cover a lot of wage and hour laws, for example, because most of them supervise numerous employees (we are in California, so those laws are complex). I vary training techniques and when I use quizzes, we always have the most discussion and I get the most compliments on the usefulness of the session.

          As long as it’s a very, very low risk situation and intended to facilitate learning, quizzing can be a great way to teach adults. But you really have to take care to ensure the environment is safe. I will develop quizzes in part based on problems reported by the payroll manager, for example, but I will mix up facts and never, ever name names. I also do not collect the quizzes, score them, or keep track in any way. Quite often, people will want to talk about things they got wrong in real life, and those turn into great case study discussions.

    2. Betsy*

      I agree that they could be seen as condescending. I think they might be fine as part of an online module, or I guess they could complete one on paper, if that’s still a thing. In my opinion, a serious quiz about workplace practices would be OK.

      But a fun, informal, quiz as a group activity? I don’t think that would be appropriate in a workplace. I barely feel like I can get away with Kahoot quizzes at university. The students love them, but we know they’re not serious, and most students are not older than 21. As an adult in a professional position, I’d *hate* doing a silly quiz like that, because you know the material is neither silly or fun. I also agree with the above poster that it’s not that great as a learning activity. I’m doing it partly to see if they’ve understood the concepts, and also for a bit of lighthearted fun at the end of a very long session.

    3. Nins*

      I would have thought that but I worked somewhere where we had to stay up to date on constantly changing information and my manager used quizzes to help us stay on top of it all. People liked it and it made it easier to cope with how much fresh information we had to learn each week.

      1. [insert witty user name here]*

        Yes – I could see where something like this could work. I would be super up front with your staff about what you’re doing and why – make sure they know that yes, you want to make sure they’re able to provide patrons with correct information, but also let them know it’s so you can re-calibrate the “teaching” method (whatever it might be) as needed. If you’re open with them and let them know it’s so you can help or change if needed, hopefully they’ll be more open to it.

        And absolutely no repercussions if they don’t get an answer right! If anyone pauses for more than a few seconds, move on with the answer – and point out where they can find that answer in the future. I really like Alison’s suggestion of doing it all together, more as an interactive conversation.

    4. Kate*

      Yeah, I’d be really put off by this. When I was a teaching assistant in graduate school, some professors gave us a pop quiz in a TA meeting, and the general consensus was that it was hugely condescending, and we didn’t understand why they couldn’t take up their issues with the people they were concerned about. For something like this, I might just mentioned that you know with the policies being updated so frequently, it can be hard to keep up, so you want to help them stay on top of it any way you can. Then ask what might work for them, like reviewing as a group or maybe they’d like the quizzes. I really only see quizzes working if they first buy into it.

    5. 2 Cents*

      Instead of quizzes, can you put together cheat sheets that live at the front desk/info desk that would cover the same information? So like “list of databases available” with bullets about what you can find in each? So that way, if someone comes in asking if they can access the Census data for the past century, your person on staff at the time can look at the list of DBs and be confident that, “Yes, X database which you can access using your library card, will give you that info.”

    6. Aerin*

      We get emailed guides on new applications or changes to our procedures. Once a quarter (or when enough of them have piled up if they’re more sporadic), we have to complete a single quiz that covers information from all of them. In our case, we’re not expected to know that information off the top of our heads–rather, we’re expected to know how to look for and where to find that information if it ever comes up. So the quiz is just to make sure that yes, you’ve actually read this guide at least once. The structure of it means I’ve never felt that it’s condescending, it’s just a standard part of our training protocol. All of our training modules include an assessment at the end.

  11. Lumen*

    OP #4

    You can use quizzes, but I think you’ll get mixed-to-bad results. I had a manager who “trained” me by quizzing me on things he’d not given me any instruction or direction on. He was trying to “push” me to figure it out on my own, but I mostly felt frustrated, stupid/bad about myself, and resentful. How was I supposed to know things he’d not bothered to train me on, or even where to find the information when it was something completely new?

    Teach your employees first, THEN quiz them if you find value in confirming they got it, and if they keep coming to you for help, nudge them back in the direction of finding the answer themselves. Because I disagree with Alison on this one; most people I know find quizzes in workplace training very condescending, and I don’t think they do anything to improve confidence in one’s knowledge.

    1. LKW*

      My recommendation is prepare a training package. For each policy or policy change – create a primer or a quiz where the person reads the policy and then answers the questions. You may want to tie their annual evaluation to their completion of the training. It wouldn’t have to be a significant benefit/penalty but enough that it would limit raises or whatever.

      I work in a huge organization where we have a lot of training. On the really important things we do have to take quizzes and prove that we not only read/listened/watched the material but that we understood it and can apply it to the appropriate situation.

      Unless you are training on “How to locate and reference policies and procedures” I would not recommend creating a training package that asks them to look up the reference in your set of policies and procedures and produce the answer.

      You could also ask each of them to create this training for a small set of policies/procedures and cross train one another which would help them learn in different ways.

      1. Ambpersand*

        Yeah, we have this same system in place. We have to legally be trained following whatever regulatory guidelines are set, and our online system will issue a short 4-6 question quiz for each procedure with the key points before it signs off that you’ve completed the training. It’s a requirement for the job to do those trainings, quiz and all. The worst one though is the 3 hour training module we get every fall, which has closer to 20 questions. Even then, no one complains…. It’s just a part of how our company does training.

        1. LKW*

          Our company has recently started applying pre-tests. If you score high enough on the pre-quiz, you don’t have to take the training. If you get a couple of questions wrong, you only have to take those modules. It has reduced some of the 1-2 hour training courses down to 20 minutes. I love it.

          1. Ambpersand*

            I would love that option! A lot of our trainings are re-issued on a cycle to stay up to date (3, 6, and 12 months), so that would come in really handy for the procedures I’ve already trained on before but haven’t changed since the last cycle.

          2. LQ*

            Yes to pre-testing. It both helps learning and if you let people test out (make the questions hard enough that they demonstrate knowledge) it is an awesome incentive for people who hate them to just learn enough on their own to not need to take the training.

      2. Undine*

        Oh I hate those trainings and I hate the quizzes. And I hate with the fire of a thousand suns that ours have audio along with the slides and you have to wait till the audio finishes until you go to the next slide.

        1. Aerin*

          Ours that have audio give you an option to do it without audio, or to access a transcript for the hearing impaired. So I read the transcript and then go over and check my email until the video is done playing and I can move on.

    2. RJGM*

      +1 on teaching first, then quizzing.

      I volunteer in a library and was given a quiz after my training. My trainer made it VERY clear that there was absolutely no weight attached to the quiz, that I wouldn’t be penalized for wrong answers, etc. She wanted to make sure I understood everything I’d learned, and it presented an easy opportunity for her to review some of the trickier concepts (like how series in our library are shelved by title, not series order). She even said that she’d walk me over to the shredder and that we could destroy the quiz together after I was finished with it.

      However: This was one-on-one. This was AFTER the training, not during it. And it was for a pretty basic volunteer position, where I basically do nothing but shelve books. As Alison and Lumen both said, quizzes can be helpful if you do them right, but very, very unhelpful if you do them wrong.

  12. Crystal*

    OP re: quizzes. FWIW I do a quiz at my annual staff training for a specific role BUT I have them do it as pairs. So they have the icebreaker to find their partner (the ‘ol tried and true one person gets a card with peanut butter, another with jelly, etc) and then the quiz together. That way they feel less like it’s a judgmental test and more where they can see “oh, I should know this and I don’t” & they can’t use any resources to answer he questions. I’ve never gotten complaints (I do anonymous surveys) and I’ve done it this way for about 6 years.

    1. Crystal*

      p.s. I do work in a specific work environment which is not corporate & things like this are appreciated (aka a late great NBC sitcom could’ve been based on my office)

    2. Naptime Enthusiast*

      +1 to the annual training. Ideally the training will become more of a refresher than actual training. I have a similar issue with people not reading our SOPs and Handbooks before asking for help, but they’re all spread out over the country. What I’ve found to be helpful is to email them the answer once, with the location where that information can be found to reinforce that they can find it themselves. It’s a slow learning process if they’re used to just asking for the answer and getting it, but it’ll be worth it when they stop bugging you with the same straightforward questions all the time.

  13. Another Project Manager*

    OP #2–my company offers relocation for entry-level jobs (and hires a lot of liberal arts majors–English Literature and English Education major with a Spanish minor here, and I started within a few months of graduation with no previous experience), so those positions are definitely out there, depending on the industry you’re looking at. Agree with AAM that they are rare, but they do exist.

    1. Nerfmobile*

      Yes. I suggest looking at large tech companies with multiple locations for non-technical roles such as marketing, HR, customer support, etc. Your chances of at least some relocation assistance there are possible. For instance my company even gives our summer interns some relocation help.

    2. grace*

      Yes, this! Look for large companies, OP2 – they generally have the infrastructure and money set up to offer this. It’s not all STEM. Or try to find internships and/or fellowships – they can generally offer relocation assistance, and payment, as well.

  14. Traveling Teacher*

    OP2: Why not do some private tutoring for extra cash, starting right now? You can start with just one-two hours/week and scale up from there once your finals/thesis are done. You sound like a highly motivated person to have studied such a diverse range of topics! Tutoring Spanish is likely the easiest to find work for, and if you keep it homework-help focused, your preparation time will be limited. Even if you only do one hour/week for the next five months, by my calculations, that would net you about 400 dollars if you charge 20 dollars/hour. Something to think about! And, this is a good time of the year to look for this type of work; mid-semester is when parents realize their kid needs a boost!

    In the US, if you exceed about 500 bucks/year of this type of income, you’ll have to report that as earned income (I think that’s the limit, right? It’s been years since I worked in the US…), but you could earn enough to cover relocation costs of moving + three months’ rent.

    Also, since your parents are the ones who encouraged you to not work in favor of studying, could they give you a leg up on the relocation costs? Provided that they weren’t just being financially controlling by telling you to not work (in which case, don’t ask them for anything, ever, and get out asap!), it would seem reasonable to agree on a small loan once you have an offer in hand that you would pay back with a set payment plan of X dollars per month…?

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I am neither an accountant nor a llama, but I believe what you’re thinking about is the threshold for receiving a 1099-MISC for miscellaneous income is $600 from one “employer”…but legally all income must be included on your tax returns. However, people largely ignore that because if the amount is under the reporting threshold (for the payer to report directly to the IRS, not for the recipient to report it!), and you don’t have a LOT of these payments, meaning thousands or tens of thousands of unreported income, it’s very difficult to get caught.

      1. Traveling Teacher*

        Oh, that’s good to know! Thanks! (I am definitely not an accountant!) It’s something I learned about in high school (Economics, I think?), but that was a couple of decades ago.

  15. G uk*

    I like quizzes, only after learning though not before. The kahoot website can be a fun way of doing it too if looking to keep it informal fun rather than formal test.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Quizzes before learning work if there’s a legitimate reason to not be sure where a group of people are in their skills, and you’re trying to target the topics and level before you dive into explaining the new company database. But I am hard-pressed to think of many workplace situations where you wouldn’t be expected to have learned that by working with them.

    2. I teach adults*

      Agree to keep it informal, low stakes. The only “penalty” for getting it wrong is that we’re going to figure out how to do it right.
      Another website similar to kahoot is pollseverywhere. I’ve never used kahoot or pollseverywhere, but I know others who use them.
      Also agree that you should test after training. There is some research that shows that pre-tests help in learning, but I’m not familiar with the details of the research. I personally don’t like pre-tests whether I’m in front of the class or a student.

  16. Cristina in England*

    OP 4: I don’t know if this will be suitable for your situation but since you’re in a library, you could offer them sample patron questions as part of a training and ask them to get back to you with the results, but it really would have to be part of training and you would have to have recently trained them on the appropriate resources (with this goal in mind) beforehand. You don’t want them to feel ambushed, tricked, or set up to fail.

    1. Q*

      That’s what I was thinking. Don’t frame it as a quiz, frame it as these are questions you are likely to be asked so we need to make sure you know the answers (or how to find them).

    2. Person of Interest*

      That’s what I came to suggest – maybe construct these as role-playing scenarios with common patron questions you want the staff to learn how to solve. This can be fun in a group setting.

    3. Sweet Fancy Pancakes*

      This is exactly what my library system did when we got some new databases. There was a weekly “A patron walks into the library…” scenario, where staff was encouraged to use the databases to find the answer to the patron’s question. People who submitted answers were rewarded with a little candy bar or something, and the answers were shared with the whole staff so everyone learned from it.

    4. chnellociraptor*

      This has been my method for training as well, with staff who will be working at a front desk. Most of their job is to be able to answer customer questions, particularly when their manager (me) isn’t around. I let them study first, then gave them a quiz with a number of scenarios. They are allowed to use our company website, our customer handbook, any resources that we’ve covered in training. I don’t expect they will memorize knowledge – I don’t even have most things memorized – but I need to know that they’re able to locate that information without my help.

  17. Ruthie*

    OP #2, just wanted to flag for you that under certain circumstances, relocation expenses are tax deductible. I was able to deduct the cost of my move across the country for my first job, which was helpful in defraying the costs.

    Information about limitations is pretty easy to find on Google, but generally the costs are deductible if you move a significant distance and you start your new job soon after the move. So save your reciepts if that may apply to you!

    1. the_scientist*

      This is a really great point! Where I live at least, SO MANY things related to a home purchase or relocation for work are tax-deductible. Things I wouldn’t have considered- like we can apparently claim meals on days spent looking for housing, for example! OP, do a bit of research to see what the laws are where you live because when you’re on a shoestring budget even little expenses add up quickly.

    2. Natalie*

      It’s also worth noting that if they are deductible, relocation expenses are an above the line deduction, so you can use it *whether or not* you itemize.

    3. fposte*

      The new tax law took away the deduction for moving until 2025, unfortunately–no deductions for a move in 2018.

    4. TootsNYC*

      deductibles are fine, as long as you actually have the money in the first place.

      Any financial bonus for a deduction will come many months after you have to lay out the money.

  18. Millennial Lawyer*

    OP #2 – if you’re set on moving to a city, are you open to looking into paid internships or fellowships? Some programs can offer subsidized housing or at least can be essential to getting your foot in the door. Also keep in mind cities that have a low cost of living or even smaller cities that have interesting opportunities. I say this especially since you mention a Legislative Assistant position which in the major city I’m in, is basically an unlivable salary for the cost of living if you don’t have a safety net, and very hard to get without any connection to the area or internship experience – meanwhile our states capital or smaller cities are way more affordable.

    1. Millennial Lawyer*

      I also see that you’re open to other kinds of positions – so do your research! There might be a large range in salary of the positions you’re looking at.

        1. Millennial Lawyer*

          Most likely yes – if you’re talking Senate/House one would need either district or DC experience (not too familiar with hiring for that) and in state/city government definitely need to have interned or volunteered and made connections or gotten a paid job through an MPA program or fellowship program (and there are paid fellowshipprograms out there!)

          Also nothing wrong with getting a paid position somewhere and volunteering on campaigns in your spare time to get a foot in the door – you will meet a LOT of people that way.

  19. Hotel GM*

    #2 – I got relocation assistance right out of school with a double BA in History and Political Science, but my company is highly decentralized across the world.

  20. Shop Girl*

    Why not try a small city. I live in the Capital District of NY and you could live comfortably on 50k a year and much much less if you have roommates. We have a lot going on including a thriving queer and social justice community. If you get bored we are a little more than a three hour car ride to NYC, Boston, Montreal and most importantly the ocean. While I’m totally prejudiced toward NY most states (if you are in the US) have smaller cities that offer a lot.

    1. Ambpersand*

      I live in a “small” city (250,000+ people) in the Midwest and agree. The cost of living here is fairly low, but the job pool is large like a bigger city and there are TONS of things to do and see. It’s also just a few hours drive or train ride from several great lakes, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. It’s kind of the perfect balance.

      1. Millennial Lawyer*

        As an east coast city girl, I must say midwestern cities are extremely underrated for that reason.

        1. mrs__peel*

          Plus, in many of those places, entrees often come with a side of pierogies…. (drools)

      2. lawyer*

        I feel like we’re living in a golden age for second tier and small cities, TBH. If I were geographically mobile at this point, I’d be looking at Boise, Boulder, Kansas City, Nashville, or Columbus (I know it’s close to a million, but my current city is 5 million, so…).

        1. Millennial Lawyer*

          Sigh that’s my issue too… my significant other is from a midwestern city and totally open to move to some place better cost of living, but my job is very centric in where I live and my entire family is here.

    2. Millennial Lawyer*

      Funny you should mention that because I specifically responded to OP2 with Albany/capital region in mind. Rent is way more cheap than NYC – like not even comparable and there’s still so many opportunities especially in public relations/politics/nonprofit/other liberal arts friendly jobs.

        1. Millennial Lawyer*

          That is what everyone always says LOL! I lived there for a little less than a year (so during winter too) and it was fine but people really do say that.

      1. CheeryO*

        Buffalo is another great small/mid-sized upstate NY city. Close to Toronto and within short flight/road tripping distance of all the big Northeast Cities and Chicago. Decent-to-good job market depending on your field, low COL, tons of restaurants, breweries, nature stuff, sports teams, etc. I make significantly less than my friends in NYC and Boston and live way more comfortably. Smaller cities are definitely worth a look if you don’t have your heart set on big city life.

    3. Tobias Funke*

      Yup, I grew up in a very large city and now live and work in a metro area of less than a million people. I love it. I never thought I would, but here we are.

      1. Julianne*

        I love Wegman’s and would miss it so much if we left the northeast. (But if we went back to the area I grew up in, I could be reunited with my first love, Meijer. Hmmm…)

    4. ErinW*

      Yes, definitely. Most of the numbers being bandied about on the board here are relevant to NYC, DC, Bay Area. I’ve lived all over the Midwest and I’ve never paid a grand for rent. In Cleveland, I had a spacious two-bedroom duplex with a yard and a garage, directly on the bus line to downtown, and paid (I think? been a while) $745/month plus utilities. In Pittsburgh, I paid just slightly more for a one-bedroom in a really nice neighborhood, also on the bus line. Later, my husband and I bought a house in the near ‘burbs for probably one-nineteenth of what a similar house would cost in one of the major cities.

      But people have this prescribed notion of what a “big city” is, and it’s basically New York (I blame 90s sitcoms). Many medium-sized cities have great job opportunities and tons to do, great restaurants & museums, sports teams, and you can see all the art house movies and your favorite band will probably play there eventually. What else do you need?

    5. MCMonkeyBean*

      I live in a city with a population around 280K and I love it. I am in between the two big cities in my state and I can go to them easily if I want, but my cost of living is SO much better. When I left my grad program everyone else went to the two big cities. Someone told me they were paying like $1,800/mo rent for just their portion of a shared apartment while I paid $750/mo for a two-bedroom townhouse. The difference was astounding to me.

  21. Adjuncts Anonymous*

    OP#4: Go to Kahoot and make your quiz a game. All you have to do is open a free account and make your multiple choice quiz. You can make it business and private, or possibly share if there are other branches in your library system. Your employees can play on smart phones or computers.

    The one caveat is that you will need a projector connected to a computer with Internet, or set it up as a remote challenge. In a traditional Kahoot quiz, the questions do not appear on each individual device, only on a central display. It’s worth the trouble; my adult ESL students LOVE Kahoot!

    1. Betsy*

      I use Kahoot for work too, but with late teens. I have to disagree. I think I’d feel really patronised and really want to roll my eyes if they used it to drill work policies. It’s really designed with children in mind. Even when I do the quizzes with late teens it’s all a bit tongue in cheek because we’re using it to try to understand complex theories.

  22. Cordoba*

    For OP#3, are the cases where the right approach from the job applicant is just to ignore the law and have a normal salary discussion?

    I’m thinking that if I wanted the job and confident in my salary history I would be inclined to just talk about it directly even though the state says I don’t have to.

    I’m sure they’re not supposed to hold it against you if you remind them about the law and decline to discuss it, but I expect that many interviewers would look more favorably on the candidate who just answers their questions.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Eh… you can make this argument for any question. “My salary history is stellar. I have no life outside work, and promise to neither marry nor reproduce nor get a goldfish that might want me home occasionally. I have an air mattress so I can sleep in the storage room.” But employers asking those things are out of line, and it’s a red flag that they care. (Seriously, what is so hard about figuring out what you will pay people? Why is this only answerable if the person either has a job elsewhere and brings you written proof of salary, or works for you but interviews elsewhere and brings you written proof of offered salary? And then you will pay whatever number some unrelated business came up with?)

    2. Dinosaur*

      You then set up the expectation that candidates will talk about salary history despite the law, which is a bit of a bummer. Laws don’t work if people don’t follow them, and in the case of employment laws workers tend to have to force employers to follow them.

    3. Little Bean*

      I wouldn’t. The law was passed for a reason: to reduce the effect of decades and decades of salary inequities for women and people of color. If you make it easy for bad employers to break the law, you are disadvantaging the job candidates who the law was meant to help. Though to be fair, it is not illegal for a job candidate to *offer* their salary history, sans prompting from the employer.

    4. Anon O'Mouse for this*

      “ignore the law and have a normal salary discussion”

      Except that I think a “normal salary discussion” would be one where the employer states the range they are willing to pay for a position, then the candidate decides whether that’s the right ballpark for her, and then they negotiate from there.

      No “ignoring the law” necessary.

      1. LBK*

        Exactly – this is what a normal salary discussion *should* be. It shouldn’t be putting all the power in the hands of the employer, which is what happens when you’re the only one who gives up information about salary expectations and you have to just see what the company thinks.

    5. LBK*

      The issue is that what passes for a “normal” salary discussion has systematically disadvantaged people for decades and you shouldn’t perpetuate it just because it works out for you personally. The law exists to fix a bigger problem than one single negotiation.

  23. Catherine*

    OP2–I’m from a small town, went to college in a small town, and moved to a large city after graduation. I’m just chiming I’m to say that I can sympathize with the way that small-town low cost of living can be a trap. It’s hard to gather the resources to move elsewhere, plus hearing everyone you know use a warning tone to say, “[Big city] will be expensive…,” can be demoralizing. (Side note: I went from small-town poor to big-city poor, and the latter had more to offer.) My advice is to work on all possible fronts to reach your goal. Get a job and save most of what you make. If you have a lot of possessions, sell what you can. Build up your credit. Once you have an offer, could you put some of the move on a credit card? (Could you move with two suitcases?) Learn more about the fields available to you to help target your search. Apply for jobs. If someone wants you to fly for an interview, be up front that you don’t have the money, and ask if you can Skype. If you get an offer early on, you may as well ask about relocation assistance. Even if it takes you a long time, you’re not going to be worse off for having some work experience and some savings.

    1. TootsNYC*

      (Side note: I went from small-town poor to big-city poor, and the latter had more to offer.)

      I agree with this, plus there are a greater variety of jobs.

  24. WorkingOnIt*

    #2 You may have to do both as finding a job can take a long time, so you can find something relevant locally (hopefully) and or sign up for a temp agency, and then also apply for jobs out of state. I guess if you have limited funds for moving and or going to interviews for these, then you want to be really clear about what you’re looking for so that you don’t waste money and time on stuff that I either is a bad fit, or won’t work out. So it would probably make more sense for you to work locally – hopefully in one of those areas you mentioned so you can clairfy the path you actually want to take, then you have experience and money to approach your search out of state. That probably feels restricting right now, but actually you sound like you’re overwhelmed with the choices, so you probably need some real life experience to know which path might be a good fit.

  25. Penny*

    My former supervisors were whisperers. As in, they would whisper (loudly) about me or about work gossip while standing right behind me. I guess they thought I couldn’t hear them. That’s one reason I left that job. It was so petty and made me feel like crap.

  26. Heather*

    #2: You need to get a job, regardless of what your mom has told you about “focusing on your studies.” You are an adult and you will need a nest egg to get you started in a bigger city, and it’s possible to do well in school while working. I knew I wanted to move to NYC after college, so I worked 30-40 hours a week my last year in school, while managing a full course load and sitting on the exec board of 4 organizations.

    You can move to a new city for less than $3k. You may need to rely on sublets for a while until you can save enough for first/last and security, so maybe for now don’t bring furniture and just bring your clothes and suitcases. When you do find an apartment, it may look bare for a while (when I moved to NYC from my Iowa liberal arts college, I was on an air mattress for 5 months) but hey, that’s the postgrad life, right?

    In the meantime, you need to build your “survival job” resume. Often in major cities, it is extremely difficult to get jobs in food service or retail without prior experience, and you want a way to make money while applying for full time work. Get a job at a restaurant or caterer or shop NOW to get at least some experience. This will also help you build your savings for the move.

    Also, a tip, based on a mistake I made – if you end up taking internships in your new city (you may have to, to keep your skills relevant while looking for full time work) try to only intern 2-3 days a week. I took two internships for 5 days a week when I first got here, and it meant no one would hire me for food or retail jobs except a catering company that paid well but only needed me sporadically.

    1. WorkingOnIt*

      I think OP #2 is already graduating and meant that their mom had told them to focus on studies/internships while they were at school – so they don’t have savings. What you did sounds mega impressive, I had nowhere near your drive or forethought, I wish I had. Kind of wish I had it now. But I also have no idea how you would be on an exec board as a student. What you did was mega-impressive, perhaps necessary for your financial surivival, but not everyone can do what you did, everyone’s circumstances/characters are different. I feel like your experience would be a very high bar to meet, I don’t know how I would have attended all my classes, let alone past if I’d worked 30-40 hours a week and been on 4 exec boards. #OP 2 I think you need to know what you want out of a job before you apply, and don’t beat yourself up compared to other people’s examples, I used to do this, but realised much later that they knew what they wanted far earlier on and you can’t change the past. You don’t have to get it right fresh out of the gate, you do need a plan though if you want to get out of the small town, and not hang around in a job you got to tide you over.

      1. Heather*

        Clarification: student organizations! I think I probably would have died if they were off-campus orgs. As it was, I was pretty overextended, but I was also really paranoid about wanting to have things on my resume for when I applied to internships in the city. I went to school in a town in Iowa where relevant internships for me were nonexistent, so I had to piece things together to feel competitive with my East Coast counterparts.

        I don’t bring up the orgs because you need to be hyperinvolved to get anywhere in life, but just because time management is totally possible between classes and work and then some, with some finagling. Three of my jobs (30-40 hours were cobbled together across 3 workplaces) were on-campus, including two tutoring centers, so there were more flexible hours (e.g. 2-hour shifts throughout the day, open hours 8 am-11 pm.) I don’t know how people going to school full time AND working in jobs with traditional 9-5 hours do it without daily collapse and they deserve three gold stars and a raise.

        I had plenty of friends who didn’t work in school, and it’s not like they were getting 4.0s while I scraped by on a low C-average or anything. We got comparable grades, they just wasted more time bingeing things on Netflix. For a lot of people, having less time to focus on your studies means that the time you spend on your studies is… actually better focused.

        1. Heather*

          (Sorry – 4 workplaces. Two tutoring centers, the admissions phone bank, and then I went between the bar at the local community theater and hostessing at a restaurant downtown.)

    2. Leslie knope*

      Yeah, no human can actually do all of those things and give them equal attention. This has been proven , I dont know why we need to give bootstraps lessons to people who may be from a background where working during school is discouraged.

  27. Detective Amy Santiago*

    #5 is a great question, though I have a corollary because I’m in the same boat with my references.

    Is it necessary to indicate that they are no longer with the organization where we worked together? I’ve always just provided what their position was when they supervised me.

    1. OP #5*

      Thanks! I feel like the reference question is so much more complicated than it should be. I don’t want to give prospective employers a mini-biography of my references but sometimes it feels like that’s what is needed.

    2. CAA*

      It’s nice to give their current employer, but it’s not really necessary as long as you give a way to contact them directly. It’s a little disconcerting to think you’re calling a person at Company A and the receptionist for Company B answers the phone and you have that awkward little moment of being surprised and asking if person X works there and wondering if you have the wrong number. If you provide your reference’s email address or a phone number that rings at their desk, it matters less.

      1. Ozma the Grouch*

        I used to just give my reference’s most current contact info using their current title and company name. Thinking that giving out their personal information was too invasive. But then I ran into the unintended problem of prospective employers thinking that I was implying that I was or had worked for those companies. Even though I had not listed them on my resume or spoken about them in my cover letter. One interviewer even went so far as to call me out as a liar for implying that I had worked at a very prestigious company because my old supervisor was now a higher up there. At the time I was completely caught off-guard and was kind of at a loss as to how they expected me to connect them with references spanning 3-4 jobs back without reaching out to people who had moved on. So having an official-ish template to follow does feel helpful.

  28. MovingTips*

    OP #2:
    I moved across the country out of college with almost no money as well, so here are some tips:

    1. You’re going to need a little money, that’s just how it is. I worked retail/babysat for a few months and was able to save up enough money to move. It really, really shouldn’t take a YEAR to save enough money.

    2. A lot of cities also have colleges, and a lot of those college students live off-campus and do summer sublets. So if you are moving anytime soon, this is a GREAT way to find a furnished place to live that won’t require a ton of money down (security deposit, first/last month rent, paying for furniture.) Plus, you can settle in and learn about the area before committing to a year-long lease. Check out college FB pages and craigslist. I know craigslist/sleeping in someone else’s bed feels sketchy, but it is how I have found every apartment I’ve ever lived in. Just do your due diligence, skype with the people you are planning on subletting for, and it’ll be fine.

    3. If you don’t have a car, aim for cities that don’t require a car since that will save you a lot of money.

    4. If you are flying to your location, you can get 2 checked bags free on Southwest. Stuff as much as you can into 2 huge duffles (note the 50lb weight limit!), bring another backpack as a carry-on, and you can probably get *most* of your things there. Ship the rest through standard USPS, it shouldn’t be too expensive.

    5. Moving to a new city kind of stinks if you don’t know anyone – but hey, being a hermit is cheap! Save as much money as you can in the first few months as you sublet, and you should have enough to cover the standards to move. Again, if you don’t have a lot of stuff and but no car, don’t hire movers just rent a ZipCar.

    6. In case this was not communicated to you in college: DO NOT TAKE FREE FURNITURE FROM THE STREET. This is how you get bedbugs.

    1. Pollygrammer*

      RE: your #6–I know someone who picked up a couch from the curb once. He did not get bedbugs.

      He got black widow spiders.

      So seconded–do not do that.

      1. Betsy*

        Is this not a thing in the US? In Australia, especially in Melbourne, people go mad on council hard rubbish pick-up days trying to compete over who scores the best street finds.

        1. Natalie*

          It’s definitely a thing, but in some areas its rapidly becoming not a thing because there was a resurgence of bed bugs a while back. With soft furniture like sofas it can be hard to tell if bedbugs or bedbug eggs are coming with.

        2. Arielle*

          No, we do it too, but soft furnishings have more risk than something like a wooden coffee table. In Boston, the day all the students move out is called Allston Christmas.

    2. Natalie*

      #3, even if you do have a car, consider cities where you could ditch it. Obviously do the math on this, but there are a lot of cities where gas/parking/insurance/repairs will exceed the cost of public transportation and some taxi fares easy, plus the cash infusion from selling it.

    3. SarahTheEntwife*

      Wooden/plastic furniture is probably fine, though, especially if you wash it well before you take it in. I have several curb chairs :-)

      1. bb-great*

        Yeah, I would never get anything upholstered secondhand, but almost all my furniture is craigslist/yard sale finds.

    4. TootsNYC*

      4. If you are flying to your location, you can get 2 checked bags free on Southwest. Stuff as much as you can into 2 huge duffles (note the 50lb weight limit!), bring another backpack as a carry-on, and you can probably get *most* of your things there. Ship the rest through standard USPS, it shouldn’t be too expensive.

      You don’t have to bring it all at once, either.

      If you think you’ll visit your parents for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can also leave a bunch of stuff there (winter clothes?), and then bring it with you when you come back. (Or if they’re visiting you, they can haul it). You might want to organize it well enough so that if those travel plans don’t happen, it’s easy for your parents to ship it. Later, when you’ve been working and can pay for the expense of shipping it UPS Ground.

  29. Laura (Needs a New Name)*

    OP2, I wonder if your parents’ financial background has given you unnecessary expectations for how much this will cost and how much you will need. The first move I had that exceeded $3K was 10 years after graduation and was only that expensive because my new employer (tenure track university professor) covered moving, and their standard package included packing and unpacking. (CRAZY AMAZING YO! But 100% unnecessary.)

    If you’re in college, you know how to move your crap back and forth. Move it back to your parents, pack 2 suitcases and a backpack with the essentials, and get to your new city. Look for a furnished sublet of a room so you don’t need to consider other furniture. Craigslist, Goodwill, and asking family to mail you their old crap can get you tons of necessities. For things where you absolutely need to buy, use credit, smartly. As soon as you have a job, immediately put the cards in the freezer and come up with a plan to pay it all off.

    If you’re graduating at the end of the summer, you have time to earn first/last/security between now and then, or a good chunk of it. I moved into my first apartment with a deposit I saved over working during undergrad (while paying my own way, so every cent I saved was scrounged) then working minimum wage through the summer. Not a lot of cushion, but I could pay my rent. You can do it!

    1. the_scientist*

      My experience with moving is that it almost always costs more than you think it will, but $3000 does seem like quite a lot for a post-college move. My partner and I just purchased our first home and moved to a new city and the actual move itself did not cost $3000 (that’s obviously excluding all the stuff related specifically to the home purchase). We were also previously living in a <500 square foot apartment, so we did not have a lot of stuff to move. I will say that now that we have a lot more space to furnish we are discovering that "grown up" furniture is hilariously expensive but the good news is that if you're living with roommates or in a small apartment, 1) you don't need a lot of furniture to begin with and 2) hand-me-downs and inexpensive stuff that can take a beating works better for that type of environment anyway!

      1. Natalie*

        Since the OP doesn’t have any savings, I wonder if they are including security deposit & first month’s rent in that figure?

        OP, just in case you weren’t aware of this – in my experience, relocation assistance is almost always a reimbursement (which means you would need to have the money up front to pay movers) and it generally DOES NOT include deposits or rent.

        1. fposte*

          That’s a really good point–the money usually doesn’t get advanced to you, so you’d have to find a way to cover the expenses initially.

    2. Tuxedo Cat*

      This fall, I moved to a town two hours away. I hired a mover for a one-bedroom apartment. It was $800 total for the mover. With packing supplies, I’m guessing I was in the $850 range as a high estimate.

      When I was fresh out of college, I had nothing so I moved with two suitcases. Again after grad school, I basically sold everything and moved with 2 suitcases (and hired a pet mover). Many things can be repurchased, and sometimes, even cheaper than what you’d pay to ship.

    3. Cercis*

      I think it depends upon if you’re going to try to rent an apartment on your own. Then, yes, with first, last and a deposit plus potentially utility deposits it adds up really quickly. The idea should be to try to find a roommate situation – which is really scary for folks who’ve never done that (I had two roommates before I married and both were … not good, but I did survive).

  30. Liz T*

    Re: #3, if one sees a Californian or NYC job posting that asks for salary history, is there a way to report the listing?

    1. CAA*

      In California, the Dept of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has an online form where you can report violations of labor law. There’s usually an “other” category so you could use that to complain about the salary history question. The DLSE also works on wage claims, child labor law violations, workers comp, etc; and I don’t think the law defines any penalties for asking about prior salary, so this might fall pretty far down their list of issues to pursue.

  31. Boredatwork*

    OP #2 – Most companies do not offer relocation assistance, like Allison said, if you’re not in a super competitive in-demand field, there’s very little chance of that happening. I moved from my very small college town to a “big city” for my first post college job. I kept what fit in my car and bought IKEA furniture. All in I maybe spent $500, for gas and furniture. I didn’t have a couch for a long time, but you can make it work!

    Also, be wary of mentioning this to potential employers. I see alot of “older” hiring people who have the warped sense of millennials and this just stinks of “entitlement”. I am not saying YOU are in anyway entitled, but if I see this ALOT from hiring in my company. I could see them gasping and clutching their pearls, over the idea that an evil millennial would dare ask for assistance moving cross country for an entry level position they should be thrilled to have been offered in the first place. This is real, I am sorry.

    1. TootsNYC*

      It is real–it would slightly ding someone who asked it, because it would indicate that they (1) don’t have a good sense of the business world, so: less experienced; and (2) thought they were more valuable than they are, so would they expect to work on more senior stuff and keep getting int he way, etc.?

      So smart of our OP to write here and ask!!!!
      That’s a great way to make up for the lack of experience–turn to someone who knows and get the info ahead of time, behind the scenes.

  32. Anita-ita*

    #2 – Unless you’re shipping your car overseas or across the country, I don’t see how moving costs would be 3k. I had a friend move from Austin, TX to Hawaii and she paid about that much to move her things (including shipping her car and a pod of her apartment overseas). You can rent your own Uhaul and have someone help you drive it, or you could drive that and someone drive your car.

    One option is to find a city close to you and focus on that city to find a job. If it’s within a few hours drive, your shipping costs would be minimal. I moved to a city 4 hours away from where I went to college and packed up my apartment in a Uhaul and had my dad drive it and meet me there and I don’t think I paid more than 200 dollars for it to have it for 3 days.

    I even think you could move across the country with a UHaul for less than 300 bucks. It would be hard but the chances of receiving relocation assistance of 3k for an entry level position is not likely.

    1. Jubilance*

      I moved from FL to GA and it was definitely more than $3k. I did use a moving company, as I didn’t have any friends available to help me move to another state in the middle of the week, and I didn’t want to just dump all my stuff.

    2. atalanta0jess*

      Three hundred bucks? No way.
      I just went on the uhaul site, and looked up the cost to rent their smallest truck, and take it from Saratoga Springs NY to Chicago. It’s $529. Plus $200 bucks for gas. And that’s not anything like cross-country. From Saratoga to Idaho Falls, just the rental is 1500.

  33. Trudy Scrumptious*

    OP#4, I used to work in a bookstore, and the person who booked our events would do a newsletter once a month, then give a quiz on the newsletter, put the completed quizzes in a hat, and give small silly gifts to the raffle winners. It might not be the right approach for a corporate environment, but I think it would be fine for the purpose you’re describing.

    1. Ambpersand*

      I work in for a pretty large company and our records management team does this with their quarterly newsletters! It’s just one question and you email back the answer, but your name goes into a drawing for a free lunch in our cafeteria.

  34. anonagain*

    OP 2: This is a long shot, but are there any career events at your school, in your area, or even at a professional conference you can get to where companies will be doing on site interviews?

    That doesn’t really address the cost of relocating, but it might help with the cost of interview travel.

  35. Allison*

    #1 Oh god, people whispering in the office is one of my biggest pet peeves! I’m sure most people just do it to be considerate, but the sound carries more than they realize, people still hear the sound even if they can’t make out the words, and it can sometimes produce an awful whistling noise. And of course, people will wondering why you’re whispering. Are they gossiping? Is there a problem? Is someone in trouble? Is someone going to get fired? Is the company about to go under? If you really need to have a private conversation, grab a conference room, otherwise, use your normal voice, or whatever messaging app your company uses if you don’t want people to overhear.

    1. Annabelle*

      This. I don’t really mind hearing work conversations or small talk at a normal volume, but something about whispering drives me crazy.

  36. Justin*

    I hate whispering so so much. So much. It’s like a dog whistle for me, I hear those ssssssssssssss sounds and I can’t focus on anything else.

    Agreed, just ask to go somewhere and speak normally.

  37. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    OP #2: As AAM wrote, as a practical matter, the OP should not expect any relocation assistance or hiring bonus, as a new college grad in an entry level job. These types of compensation are seen in many fields (not just STEM) for experienced in-demand employees, especially in metropolitan areas or with big employers, but I’m sure are rare for inexperienced college grads in an entry level job.

  38. Marley*

    OP2: Get yourself the job, do what it takes to get in the door–that is the most important thing. That might mean using credit cards to finance getting to interviews and living ridiculously cheaply. I had friends who slept on air mattresses their first six months in DC jobs, for instance.

    But the important thing is to get the job and have a chance to prove yourself.

    1. Betsy*

      I agree with this. I’ve had a couple of interstate moves where I’ve been miserable and broke for a few months (although I got to sleep on regular beds, but one was really creaky). Both times things got much better financially within a year or less. I don’t recommend going into debt usually, either, but there are a few times in life when you need to back yourself and just leap.

      My other recommendation is to try to pick a city you know you’ll like and have preferably visited before. It can be more difficult than you’d think living in a place that’s just not you, unless you have an exceptionally optimistic or pragmatic personality. If you’ve always loved a certain place, due to the weather or culture or because it has a great live music scene, or great opportunities for hiking, then that could be a good place to start. I always make the mistake of thinking I’ll be totally fine with anything, but in the day to day things like climate or being able to do your hobbies, or meet like-minded people become very important.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        When you are very young and just starting out (meaning, you don’t have a lot to loose) it can definitely be a good strategy – and its certainly time-tested – to relocate yourself to the new desired city, and just be prepared to do whatever you can for the first few months. It’s high risk high reward, but it worked for me. I recommend sending a LOT of applications in the weeks before you relocate, noting that you are going to be in town after the 10th or whatever, so you hopefully already have stuff cooking by the time you get there. You should also be prepared to move into a group house and take a part time job while you’re trying to get your foot in the door.

    2. Ambpersand*

      I had a friend who moved across the country a few years back with nothing but $1,000 in savings and what he could fit into his car. He’d found an apartment in the area he wanted and signed a lease before leaving (through email/online) and immediately got a few hourly jobs to make ends meet until he could get into his ideal position- I think he had 3 part time jobs at one point and slept in his car between shifts because he knew it would be easier to get hired if he was a local candidate, rather than long distance. He had a rough first year of food stamps and no furniture besides his mattress and TV, but he stuck it out and now he’s got the job he wanted in the field he was going for.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Yikes, this is why its really nice to pick a desirable city where you already have at least a few friends/family. I did something kind of similar but at least I could crash on people’s couches, not literally live out of a car.

        1. Ambpersand*

          Oh no, he had an apartment, but his different shifts were usually scheduled an hour or two apart and with drive time it made more sense to crash in his car for a power nap than try to drive home and back. The car power naps saved him some gas money too, but he would go home at night once he was done working for the day. From what I remember, he was averaging 18-20 hour days between the three jobs and it was the only way he could get a decent amount of sleep. But you’re right- it would have been tons easier if he had a foundation in the area. Luckily he’s the type of guy who has never met a stranger, so it only took him a few weeks to make some pretty strong connections.

  39. Boredatwork*

    OP #4 –
    I personally think quizzes are an excellent way to teach colleagues. If you’re worried about this being too much pressure, make then anonymous. I use survey money and the only data I collect is whether or not someone has taken the quiz. I have no idea who answered what and just look to see trends on what was answered incorrectly.

    I like Allison’s suggestion to make the training fun. Maybe hold an informal group meeting to go over the material and then mention the anonymous evaluation. You can follow up based on common trends you see in your “survey” results.

    1. I teach adults*

      From a training perspective, I think making it anonymous defeats the purpose. Let’s say three out of five people don’t know how to do X. Then what? I make all five of them attend training on it. It would be more beneficial to everyone to know which three don’t know it and train them.
      If you’ve ever been one of the two people who knows it and has to suffer through the training because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, you know that’s excruciating. Far better to identify the people who need training and train them.
      (I’m not referring to mandated training like sexual harassment or diversity. I’m referring to how to do your job type of training.)

    2. Caramel & Cheddar*

      “and just look to see trends on what was answered incorrectly”

      I do something similar. If lots of people keep getting the same questions wrong, I look at a) whether or not the question is worded in a confusing way, and then b) what my training materials on that subject are and how I can revise them.

  40. Overeducated needs a new name*

    Haha, I feel like I’m the annoying person in all the AAM letters this week! Coughing, whispering…my cough is getting better, but today I’m losing my voice, and it’s so much easier to whisper than croak. (Yes, I have seen a doctor, who said “well, there are a lot of viruses going around this winter, be glad it’s not flu, it should get better on its own.” Yes, being low-level sick for most of the winter annoys everyone, including me. Spring can’t come soon enough!)

  41. OP #5*

    Thanks for posting my question AAM!

    This is a helpful way to look at it and I’ll look at changing how I present my references.

    There’s an extra level for me (that I left out of my letter) in that I’m located in a pretty rural area and some of my references are now heads of well-known local foundations/organizations so I’ve always felt a little like I’m also leveraging their current position as an extra point by being able to have them on my resume?

  42. OP #5*

    For OP #2: In my career I’ve found that liberal arts/nonprofit/legislative positions are more likely to “help” your relocation by offering you someone’s guest room while you get settled than offering any financial assistance. I’ve never actually taken anyone up on this (it freaks me out) but I’ve gotten job offers that included that and I’ve worked places (in legislative positions) that offered it to other applicants.

    1. Betsy*

      Someone just offered me their guest room! I thought it was super nice, but I just can’t imagine going to work and putting on happy new job good employee face and then coming home to coworker’s house and having to keep up the hey-I’m-doing-great-I’m-super-competent-and-a-really-great-person thing after work too. Like, I’d just like to be able to go home and cry if I make a bad impression or a mistake at work, and then watch TV in my underpants, with only myself to judge me.

      1. OP 5*

        Exactly! That’s why I didn’t take the job offer that came with the offer of a guest room AND a cross-country move. I need some down time! lol

  43. mia*

    #2 – Look for companies that target young new grads. For instance, I know Target in Minneapolis recruits heavily for BA roles for new grads from all over – they pay to have them move to Minneapolis, put a lot of hours into learning the company, and hope they mold into becoming eventual buyers or managers. Usually they are flexible on the degree.
    Or, they start groups of similar people right out of school, and start rotating them through different departments over the course of a couple years, 6 months at a time, with the intent of building lifelong careers.

    Maybe other big companies do the same – Amazon, Walmart, who knows?

    And while I’m not saying take a job like that for a short term, keep in mind that once you have experience, a place to stay, and money coming in, you can eventually focus more on what you want to do in a new job.

  44. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

    OP2 – Don’t rule out working near where you are going to school. It might not be where you want to end up, but if you can get something in your field for a year or two while you save to move to your actual desired location it will be worth it. I had several friends that did this. Plus it’s usually easy to live cheap in a college town as most college students are broke. Just remember it’s temporary to get you where you want to be.

    1. Chriama*

      Yeah, I mentioned new grad positions below. Great minds… anything like a rotational program or management trainee program is also a good idea.

  45. Grey*

    #1 : I take a lighthearted approach when people whisper to me unnecessarily. I whisper my reply and add, “but don’t tell anyone”.

  46. Amber Rose*

    #4: I quiz people constantly. I feel like half my job is writing quizzes. Sometimes I do pop quizzes in meetings. I get some groaning but nobody ever seems upset or offended.

  47. Chriama*

    OP 2 – I would look for positions specifically mentioning “new grad” or “entry level”. And if your college has a career center I would go through their on-campus recruiting process. I think 3k is small enough that an employer used to hiring lots of new grads will not find it an unusual request.

  48. Caramel & Cheddar*

    Re: quizzes — I think there’s definitely a time and place for them (and naturally, I think the context in which I use them is that time and place!). I have to do a lot of computer training for a piece of software, but the initial entry-level training is really, really tedious for me to deliver myself, especially when we have a lot of great training materials for that level of introduction. (I still do one-on-one training for job-specific stuff after that.)

    What I recently implemented is a system where new staff have to go through the training materials (usually videos, some written) and then they get access to the test database for a scavenger hunt-type quiz (via Google forms), where basically they’re just looking up information and learning how to navigate the database by doing rather than just from what they’ve read/watched. I’m not overly fussed on the results; it’s only ten questions, and if you get perfect, great, but if you don’t meet the passing requirements, you can take the quiz as many times as you need to to pass (and I genuinely don’t care if it takes you two times or ten to do it). Mostly this is just to make sure that a) when you come to our one-on-one training later on, you have a familiarity with the software layout, terms, features, etc. so we don’t waste valuable time on the beginner stuff, and b) you’ve actually invested some time into your own learning, because in the past it’s felt like people take a really passive approach to being taught a new piece of software.

    The bonus is that so many teams never have enough for people to do on their first day, so having them spend a couple of hours on the training materials and quiz helps buy my colleagues some time!

  49. Another Lawyer*

    I had a very senior manager give us a quiz with 48 hours to complete it and all of the questions were mistakes he had made. We discussed the answers over snacks on a Friday afternoon.

    It worked really well because they were his mistakes so it was automatically not condescending and it really illuminated how things play out in practice.

    1. nonprofit director*

      I have done something similar. At a previous position, I trained people how to write reports for our industry. And how to team-write large reports. This was hard to teach, and at one session I brought out an old draft of something I had written that had red marks from a supervisor all over it. We ended up going through that document and discussing what I had done to “earn” those red marks and what I could have done better before submitting my draft. All of my other training sessions on that topic followed that method.

      I think the key with using quizzes is to keep it low key and safe, emphasize the quiz as a learning tool and not a test, and always be respectful.

      1. Another Lawyer*

        “I think the key with using quizzes is to keep it low key and safe, emphasize the quiz as a learning tool and not a test, and always be respectful.”

        100% agree

        1. GreenDoor*

          I’m not a librarian but I do work in government where policies and rules frame just about everything we do. Instead of just giving me the quick answer, my supervisors would answer my questions by saying stuff like, “What does the policy say?” “See if there are any statutes that cover that?” “Did you check the Handbook?” “Does the Department of Education have a fact sheet on that?”

          In other words, instead of giving the quick answer, I learned to go search the policy/statute/handbook first, then come to the Boss if I couldn’t find answer. Me actually being the one to read through the policy manual helped me memorize things a lot better and also exposed me to other policy issues that stuck in my head, so later on, I’d have those “wait I think I read about that somewhere” moments and, thus, I’m now the Policy Manager for my work. I’m a much better researcher and analyst because my managers didn’t default to just giving me the quick answer.

          1. TootsNYC*

            my mom did this to me when I was a kid. I’d ask her what a word meant, and she’d make me look it up. (I couldn’t just say, “Oh, I don’t care anymore”–then she would make me bring the dictionary back to her, instead of just looking it up in the other room.)

            The answers we strive for are the ones we remember.

  50. A. Nonnymoose*

    For as long as I’ve been here our office has had a severe whisper-culture, and some weeks it’s my biggest gripe. It’s getting a little better recently- some of the egregious gossips have moved on and people are getting more in the habit of physically leaving the space if they’ve got something really sensitive to discuss. I think it might just be inherent to open plans, since we don’t have many effectively removed or soundproof places to go- not without being very conspicuous about it.

    Other than trying not to engage (and usually they’re not whispering to me, just around me, which is way worse!) I try having a white noise machine on to block it out a little. When I’m not catching snatches of the conversation it’s actually less likely to make me paranoid and agitated.

  51. Lillian Gilbreth*

    Some good news for OP #2 – I got a relocation/signing bonus of $2000 when I got my first job out of college! I studied economics and I’m in consulting with a very small company (~20 employees.) Since the job is intended for new grads, it was understood that you might not be in the city and might need a little help.

    Obviously that was my experience and isn’t universal, but it isn’t unheard of. (A friend of mine got 10k in relocation for her first job, but she’s in NYC finance so idk if that’s applicable anywhere else.)

  52. LawBee*

    #2 – if you can fit your belongings into your car, you can move just about anywhere. Trust me. The most expensive part of moving isn’t necessarily the stuff (because you can always minimize) but finding the place to live. I’d suggest picking a city that you’ve always wanted to live in and just do it. I’ve done it three times, and it’s always been worth it. Either I loved the city and stayed there for years, or I learned that it wasn’t for me and I beat feet out of there. You’re young, this is the time to do it!

    Also, as AAM has said before, it is a lot easier to find a job if you’re already in the city where the job is located.

    I’m having little envy stabbings – this is such an exciting time in your life. Go! Fly! Uproot and put wheels on your flower pot, because there is a lot of world out there waiting for you.

  53. Glacier*

    For OP #2: I graduated with a double major in political science and international studies at the bottom of the recession (fun). When trying to cast a wide net, I came across Epic, a medical records software company in Madison, Wisconsin. At the time, they were looking for anyone “smart” enough to do the work, and despite the fact that I knew nothing about healthcare policy or software, I was hired. They paid for me to move from the West Coast, and the salary both higher than what I’d found where I was living, and high because the cost of living in Madison was so low. If you’re looking for a place, and flexible on where to move (Madison is a fantastic college town), I’d suggest checking them out. (They’re kind of the Apple of their industry, if that makes any sense.) Good luck!

  54. Uncle Bob*

    3) I’ve had some success deflecting the question but stating that it’s not easy to compare a job just on salary when you need to consider benefits, 401k/retirement, bonus incentives, stock, and personal growth. I’ve had jobs that offered low salary/high bonus, jobs with no 401k option, jobs with stock options etc. I also mention “I like to compare the full package, but to make sure we’re on the same page here, do you have a range in mind”. That worked very well in my last round of looking (I spoke with 8 companies – and only had to give total comp in the final negotiation).

  55. oxfordcomma4life*

    #2 I second the comments about overseas, but want to expand that to also include “isolated communities within your own country”. I moved early in my career to the Middle East (not as a teacher– I work in the media) and they covered the move, as well as putting me up in a hotel, helped me with visas etc. But you don’t necessarily have to go overseas to do that– I’m Canadian, currently working in the Arctic, and when I moved, my company covered the move costs too. That’s super common, and there’a also a labour shortage in all fields across the North American Arctic. There are loads of jobs in policy and government as well– at least in Canada, these are government towns– that pay surprisingly well because the cost of living up here is quite high. If you’re not choosy about where you move, these are all great options (I know packing my bags and heading to Qatar at 23 was one of the best things I ever did!).

  56. LadyKelvin*

    I’ve cross-country moved a few times now so I have a good idea of how much things cost: First time I moved from PA to TX and just packed my car and my dad’s truck and we drove. It cost us a couple hundred dollars for gas and a night in the hotel room. The second time I moved from TX to Miami and rented a uhaul. I think it cost ~$800 for the truck, gas, and hotel rooms. The next time I moved from Miami to DC. I hired movers and packed my own stuff. They stored my stuff for a month and carried it into and out of my house, $1500, plus I took the car train from Orlando to DC so I didn’t have to drive, it was $300. Finally last year I moved from DC to Hawaii. This time I had movers, shipped my car, me and my husband and my dog’s flights, it cost about 10K when all was said and done. So it can be done on the cheap, and surprisingly, hiring movers is not as expensive as you might think. We also moved in town, rented a uhaul, and just hired a few people from Hire-a-Helper to help us move our stuff. Best money we ever spent.

  57. Stacey*

    LW #2 : As someone who just moved for my job (I hated commuting)… I have some suggestions.
    1) Google “Cost of Living calculator”. Bankrate has a good one. https://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx You can find the nearest metro area by you and compare the cost of living to cities across the US, even foreign. It’s how I found out that the $20,000 a year I was making in Idaho would need to be $60K in NYC.
    2) The website My First Apartment has a rent calculator and will also tell you how much money you need to have saved up. https://www.myfirstapartment.com/2015/09/rent-calculator/ I have found that money to be about accurate. I moved 22 miles for my current job and had to buy things like tables and chairs (two words: thrift stores).
    3) You can actually claim moving expenses on your taxes (unless that changed with new the tax laws). You have to have moved 50+ miles for a job. Look into it! I didn’t meet the requirements, but you might.
    4) Realize that you might have to move before you get a job. I work as an editor and grew up in the Rocky Mountains. I sent out hundreds of applications to NYC, Boston, San Francisco, etc. Never heard anything. Then I realized that it was much easier for these companies to just hire locals for entry-level positions than to interview someone from hundreds/thousands of miles away. I did end up in my current position after I moved to that state for an admin position and was looking for work in my degree. It’s a job I didn’t even know was possible, but it’s perfect for me. So keep looking locally! Look into internships too with local companies. They would love the help. Just try to be realistic about a company in a distant city wanting to hire non-locals for entry-level positions. I hope this helps!

    1. TootsNYC*

      I moved 22 miles for my current job and had to buy things like tables and chairs (two words: thrift stores).

      Let me add to that: Facebook Marketplace

      My niece moved out on her own in the Philly area, in a hurry, with nothing but a suitcase of clothes. She bought a big, sturdy, well-made (but ugly and out of date) dresser for $20 using the Marketplace. She had a ton of options.

  58. GraceT*

    I work in healthcare and I have monthly quizzes on policies. It’s a powerpoint presentation followed by a 5-25 question online quiz. It’s done at work online during my downtime. I don’t find it condescending, a little annoying when they’re not specifically related to my job duties and that sometimes they take over an hour. But short, relevant presentations with quizzes are a good idea.

  59. TootsNYC*

    I’ve never managed a staff before, and I don’t want to treat my adult staff as if they were children, but I find myself answering a lot of simple questions for them.

    One thing you can do that’s semi quiz-like but also probably far less labor-intensive is to do what my mother did when I asked her simple questions.

    She’d say: “What do you think that answer to that is? Where could you get the answer if I weren’t around? Go check there.”
    (Actually, I’d ask her what a word meant, and she’d make me get out the dictionary to find the answer myself. Pretty soon I just started looking it up. It made me very self-reliant and gave me a good sense of initiative.)

    This is a reasonable way for a boss to train people. You can even say, “That’s a simple question that you should be able to answer for yourself. And you should retain that answer so you don’t have to ask it all the time. How can you make that happen? And how can I help?”
    Involve them in the organization of your own internal reference materials, so they HAVE a place they can look for those easy answers, or so that they can get the updated info BEFORE the questions arise.

    (and it’s basically a quiz of sorts, but in the moment)

    It seems so easy to just answer the question. But if these are simple questions, they should be finding those answers themselves so they’re not bogging you down, and also because the answers we strive for are the answers we remember.

  60. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    OP #4: I think AAM’s suggestion on re-characterizing this is good. An informal group quiz can come at the end of a group training activity. I think it’s important to remember that this is not school– it’s a workplace. Large companies use online learning management systems to conduct quiz-type assessments on formal company policies after video presentation of the material, which employees must pass to demonstrate that they read and understood the policies. Frankly, those *are* annoying. But large companies also have compliance issues and regulatory issues beyond what your library has.

    Aside from knowing personnel policies, the questions you are trying to answer are about services offered and proficiency in using technologies. In other words: Do these employees know how to do their jobs? In a typical work environment, that question would not be answered through a quiz. If I were you, I would focus on how to conduct effective training activities, how to effectively communicate the knowledge or know-know, and how to do effective assessment of job performance, such as by observation or results (not through a quiz).

  61. TootsNYC*

    Upstream, Catherine said this:

    ” If someone wants you to fly for an interview, be up front that you don’t have the money, and ask if you can Skype.”

    Having been someone who received a resume from a reasonable candidate from all the way cross the country, I will say this:

    My first question–before talking about her skills, etc.–was to say, “You’re there. We’re here. How are you going to do this, if you get hired?” She was able to say, “I have a relative I would stay with during the first weeks while I apartment-hunt.” So I was willing to seriously consider her.

    If she’d said, “I’ll look for a place to live” or something vague, I wouldn’t have taken her very seriously as a candidate.

    So, pick your city, and DO SOME RESEARCH on where you can live, how hard it is to get an apartment, etc. And be ready to answer any query like that with something that has enough detail that the hiring manager can trust that your logistics won’t interfere with being there on your start date.

  62. Anon for this*

    I am librarian in technology at a fairly large system, and we were having the same issues with staff knowing about newer resources. We now send out a training checklist for each new item so they know exactly what they are expected to know. This feels a little less juvenile than quizzes, not that those are a terrible idea. I just wonder if it might accomplish the same thing for you without adding stress by testing them.

  63. Legally Brunette*

    OP #2 – have you considered working on a political campaign? Assuming you’re in the US, it’s an election year, and that would give you options all over the country. That’s what I did fresh out of my poli sci degree, and while campaign jobs aren’t necessarily glamorous or well-paying, they are great starter jobs if you’re interested in politics. Your minors in Spanish and Communications could be assets as well. A campaign probably won’t help you with moving costs, but if you’re willing to go where they need you, they will often find you free housing with a supporter who has a spare room (again, not glamorous, but it’s free housing).

  64. JustMe*

    #2 If there’s anyway possible for you to get some job experience before graduating or get an internship right out of college, please do so. We are now seeing students with multiple internships under their belts by the time they graduate and it’s going to make your resume much less competitive without any experience. It also benefits you to do some internship work – it will make it easier for you to decide what you would be good at.

  65. Vivien*

    OP #4 – I worked at a newspaper and every once in awhile, we’d have a group “Pop quiz!” about various AP Style nonsense. The editor would ask a question and the group would have to answer. Like whether or not “email” requires a hyphen, or how ages are written out. EVERYONE should be able to answer them, even if they aren’t copywriters or reporters. It was played off as fun and a good way to bring out the newest changes for every year’s AP Style manual.

  66. Jen*

    OP 4: you should try Plickers. It’s an app that makes quizes fun and team centered (but not condescending). We use it in training sessions and in the classroom often with great feedback!

  67. Library Trainer*

    To the public library OP –

    I’m a librarian responsible for training for full time and part-time staff. We have a blog that we can all add to as a reminder for policies or announcements (like, “Hey! We have this new database that does XYZ”). I create a quiz each week for the part-timers based off what’s discussed in the blog to make sure they’re all up to speed, especially since they might not fully read the blog otherwise. I give them 3 attempts for each quiz and emphasize that they must achieve a 90% or above, because all answers are in the blog! Overall, it’s going really well and it’s nice to know everyone is on the same page. Every once in a while I’ll skip a week for the quiz and I always get a bunch of questions asking about it! However, since full time staff have more time to read the blogs they do not have a quiz, they’re just expected to be on top of things a bit more. I would also recommend Kahoot and Mentimeter for fun, interactive in-person training sessions.

  68. Librarian By Day*

    I’m way late, but I usually have weekly staff meetings with my employees (my department at the library also only has me and three staff members) and each week, I assign us a policy or a database to look at in our spare time, since we often have down time at the desk. When we meet back the next week, we have a 10 or 15 minute conversation about what we learned and how we think that particular policy/database will impact our patrons.

  69. Callalily*

    #5: I keep it simple for references; each name is a heading and then the information is categorized underneath:

    Jane Doe
    T: 555-555-5555
    E: janedoe@email.com
    Relationship: Former supervisor at Old Job Inc.
    Current Position: Manager at NewCorp.

  70. Cheshire Cat*

    OP4, if you call it a scavenger hunt your staff may be more open to it. At minimum, it removes the “grading” aspect from consideration.

    I had a library director do this when we added some new databases, and while we all knew that learning about them was more than a game, we didn’t feel that missing an answer would affect evaluations, either.

  71. Joce*

    to the LW asking about relocation assistance:
    I was once in the same position. not much (basically no) work experience, just graduated and looking to move. I also had no credit, which is kind of like bad credit. So I got a credit card with either $1000 or $1500 limit. It was plenty for the move and not hard too pay off with a real job.

  72. Optimistic Prime*

    #2 – In my field (tech), relocation assistance for entry-level jobs is actually pretty common among big and mid-sized companies even if you aren’t in a technical role. A brand-new software engineer out of college can get relo – but so can a brand new program manager with a major in literature, or a brand new person in finance, etc. We also do give new hire bonuses, although the amount varies by job (engineers get more, of course).

    There are lots of jobs in HR, sales, recruiting, marketing, and PR at the entry-level at companies like mine that would pay relocation assistance; in fact, I have recruited for them. The downside is that the recruiting season for the bigger companies is actually coming to a close and we’re starting to prep for next year – we usually run first-round interviews in the late fall. But if you have any interest in technology, I’d contact the recruiter that’s assigned to your college/university or region.

    Also, as Alison said, you can move pretty inexpensively if you don’t have anything to move. I feel like if you were looking to move in August, if you got a part-time job now you could probably save up enough to cover most of the costs.

  73. blockchain prenups are fine*

    LW #3: I work in HR in CA, and if you’re interviewing with an HR manager or contact and they ask you for your salary history, I’d consider that a red flag. This rollout was not quiet – we got huge reminders from legal, the state, and anyone keeping up with labor and employment news would have at least second-hand knowledge of the new law.

    It’s one thing if a hiring manager is unaware (though HR should have trained them on such a big change), but if you’re interviewing an HR rep who doesn’t know the law, especially after all the fanfare here, I’d definitely catalogue it away for when you’re evaluating any potential offers from the company.

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