director is asking about my struggling coworker, an ethical dilemma, and more

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

1. My director is asking me about my struggling coworker

The director of my department recently asked me whether I’ve noted anything about the behavior of a coworker who sits across from me. I’m a recent manager, but I don’t manage this person. She’s someone I consider a friend, but we don’t hang out outside of work or anything. The director asked if I’d noticed that this person is often absent, coming in late and leaving early. I had noticed that, but had assumed that they had permission from their boss (who is currently away on maternity leave, hence the director stepping in), which wouldn’t be that weird because we’re a pretty flexible workplace. I confirmed her absences, and the director told me that this person not only does not have permission, but was told weeks ago that she’s on notice because she’s simply not putting enough hours in (i.e., not making it up during nights or weekends, which I had previously assumed).

The director asked me if I knew anything about this employee’s personal situation that would help them understand all these continued absences. Here’s the thing, I maybe do, but I feel weird about sharing it. I believe she’s struggling with mental illness. She confided in me a few months ago, and I was able to draw her out to talk to me because I also struggle with anxiety and depression, and I could understand what she’s going through. She hasn’t talked with me about it since, so I don’t know exactly where she’s at now.

Also … she’s crying at her desk. She’s being discreet about it, but it’s amazing how distinctive cry-breathing is. This has been happening at least once a week for the last month. The one time I walked over to ask if she was okay, she waved me off. Other people might suspect, but I’m the only person with a direct line of sight into her cubicle.

Do I have an obligation to share either of these pieces of information with the director? I feel like I probably don’t want to say “I think she’s suffering from anxiety and depression,” not least because I don’t want to contribute to stigma about mental illness, but I’m on the fence about telling them about the crying. My instinct is to protect her, but if the director finds out about the crying I don’t know how I’d explain why I didn’t report it. Should keep out of this situation? Or, as a manager, should I be helping the director by passing on all my information?

It sounds like the director might asking you because there’s potentially information that could help your coworker, by giving the director some mitigating context. (Or not. I can’t be sure, but it sounds like that’s how they framed it.) That said, I agree that it’s not your place to share her mental health info. The crying is more of a grey area, but of course you should still be respectful of her privacy. I think you can walk that line by saying something like, “I do have the sense she’s going through something difficult and might be having a tough time outside of work, but I can’t say for sure. It could make sense to ask her if she’s doing okay.” That flags that yes, indeed there might be something difficult going on, but it doesn’t violate her privacy, and nudges the director to ask your coworker directly, which is what they should be doing anyway.

2. I asked my employee to nominate me for an award

Moral dilemma. I was recently nominated as a finalist for a pretty important industry award. To get nominated, I needed 3 nominators, not including myself. For some reason, I asked one of my direct reports if he would consider nominating me. He did willingly and said I deserved it.

However, now I’m feeling really guilty about the whole thing. I have a decent chance to win the award, but having asked my direct report may have created a conflict of interest. Was he really going to say no to his boss?

Anyway, I’m thinking about removing myself from consideration. Am I overthinking it or is this a real ethical dilemma?

I don’t think you need to remove yourself from consideration, but I do think you’re right that you put him in a position where it would have been really difficult for him to say no. That said, there are plenty of people who genuinely think their boss is great and would be delighted to have the chance to write this kind of nomination. If you know for sure that you have that kind of relationship with him, this isn’t terrible. (But it can also be hard to know for sure. I’m certain there are bosses out there who think this is the case for them when it’s not.)

Anyway, is it too late to get a fourth nominator? If not, that might be a good way to handle it. And either way, it wouldn’t hurt to go back to him and say, “Hey, I realized after I asked you that that it put you in a potentially awkward position, given the power dynamic in our relationship. I’m sorry about that, and I’ll be more cognizant of that in the future.” Either way he’ll probably tell you it’s fine, because that’s what most people would say to their boss in that situation. And he may really mean it! But if he did feel a little weird about the request, he’ll probably really appreciate hearing this.

3. How much risk is there in complaining to HR about a no-show interviewer?

I just got stood up today on a phone interview and will see if I hear from the recruiter who scheduled it. If I hear nothing, I would like to write to the HR director to thank them for being contacted as a candidate but to professionally point out that they tarnish their brand when candidates have an experience like this. What risk am I taking, aside from with this one company?

It’s not a very big risk, beyond this one company. With this company, there’s a risk that they’ll write you off as a complainer (although if your message is polite, a healthy company won’t dismiss it that way and may even appreciate hearing from you). But it’s very unlikely to have ramifications beyond that. It’s possible that you could run into the person you write to or the recruiter herself when applying to a different company — since people change jobs — and that they could remember you, but the risk is pretty small that that’ll happen and they’d be holding a polite letter against you.

4. Can I ask to shadow someone doing the work I’d like to do?

I’m currently an ESL (English as a second language) teacher who wants to make a career change to a data analyst position. I’ve applied to dozens of data analyst roles, but I was only able to score one interview (which was unsuccessful). Due to my lack of experience in this industry, I’ve been self educating myself and was able to get some analytics certifications, and I’m taking a couple of other online classes to beef up my resume.

I’ve been thinking of contacting some major companies and asking if it would be possible to shadow someone on their analytics team. What is the right way of doing this and would it seem strange that I’m a grown adult looking for a shadowing opportunity and not a kid out of college?

I wouldn’t ask them to let you shadow someone. That’s a really big request and they’re not likely to grant it outside of a formal program for students or something like that (plus there would often be confidentiality concerns). It’s also not likely to be especially helpful, since you’d be watching someone work at a computer most of the day.

I also don’t think it’s likely to significant strengthen you as a candidate. I’m wondering if you’re seeing this as a sort of back-door networking opportunity or if there’s something different you’re hoping to get out of it. If you’re seeing it as a way to build relationships with people in the field you want to go into, I’d rely on more traditional networking instead, and possibly informational interviews. But I suspect the issue you’re running into is that you’re making a major change in your field, and it’s one where hiring managers aren’t going to immediately see a lot of transferable skills unless you really spell them out for them — which will be a challenge but not necessarily an insurmountable one.

5. Company rounds down our time in order to pay us less

You always talk about how hourly, non-exempt positions must be paid for any time they spend working. How does that work when a company rounds their time? I’ve worked for three different companies that do this and they’ve all done it a little differently, but here is how my current company handles it. If I punch in at 8 am, that’s when I start getting paid. If I punch in at 8:01 am, they round my punch in to 8:15, which gives me 14 minutes of off-the-clock work. The opposite happens at the end of the day. If I punch out at 5:15, I’m paid through 5:15. If I punch out at 5:14, I’m only paid through 5:00.

The way they’re doing it isn’t legal. Companies are allowed to round to the nearest quarter hour, but they can’t always round down so that it comes out to their advantage. The rounding has to even out (or to be to the employee’s benefit) to be legal.

You could show your employer this factsheet from the Department of Labor, which spells out that what they’re doing is illegal.

{ 223 comments… read them below }

  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#5, as Alison notes, this practice is illegal—employers can only round time if doing so evens out (i.e., they round up as often as they round down so that overall you receive fair compensation for time worked). It sounds like your employer is consistently rounding in a manner that shorts your pay. Not only is it illegal under federal law, if they’re in a state with protective wage-and-hour provisions, they could be on the hook for much more than just the money they shorted you.

    Is your manager/company generally trustworthy? That is, do you trust them to do the right thing if you flag that their practice is illegal? If you don’t, and if you’re covered by the FLSA (it sounds like you are), I’d recommend submitting a wage-and-hour complaint to your state’s labor board and the federal Department of Labor.

    1. Kittymommy*

      Interesting. Now I’m wondering if the way we do it is okay (more theoretical as I’m exempt). We round to the nearest quarter hour but have a 7 minute layover. In other words if you click on at 9:07, it’s counted as 9:00; 9:08 is counted as 9:15.

      1. rldk*

        Yes, this is okay – since there’s as much a chance that you’ll get paid-for-time-worked as not-paid-for-time-not-worked, it evens out!

      2. Angelinha*

        That’s designed to be compliant with the law – 9:07:30 is exactly halfway between 9 and 9:15, so you have a 50-50 chance of happening to walk in between 9 and 9:07 as you do between 9:08 and 9:15.

      3. Peaches*

        I came here to say the same thing. My company just recently started doing this. Last week one day, I clocked out for lunch at 12:52 (this was rounded down to 12:45). I clocked back in at 1:53 (this was rounded up to 1:00 – for what’s it’s worth, I actually returned BEFORE 1:52, but my punch in app on my phone kept freezing when I tried to punch in). Anyway, since I would have been short 15 minutes for the day if I left at my usual time (4:30 PM), I asked my manager if she could change my punch in time from lunch from 1:53 to 1:52. She willingly did so, but I was still rather irritated that my 1 hour, 1 minute break was counted as 1 hour and 15 minutes. With that being said, I imagine there’ll be times when the system works to my advantage.

      4. samiratou*

        In the days of electronic time-keeping systems, why have a rounding system at all? I would assume the practice started when people were calculating payroll manually and it’s just way faster to do it in quarter-hour increments but does anyone do payroll by hand anymore?

        1. AntsOnMyTable*

          I hate the practice. At my job you get written up for being even a minute late. But we also need express approval to stay past 737 since at 738 they have to pay for another quarter hour. I am out of work way more often between 730-737 then between 723-730 (when it would benefit me) so the majority of the week the net “benefit” is to my job.

          I mean I guess I get it because when our census drops sometimes we are sent home and it is a lot easier to for us to fill our time as either PTO or non-PTO when it is 15 minute increments. It still is annoying to realize at the end of the year I probably gave my job several hours of free time. Plus all those times I have to answer phone calls on my unpaid lunch break.

          1. The Friendly Comp Manager*

            You should not be answering phone calls, unpaid, on your lunch break. That is illegal.

      5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Your employer’s rounding policy is legal, as it follows DOL’s rule of 7 and rounds in both directions.

      6. JM60*

        That’s probably in compliance with the law, unless they’re mandating you to to clock in at certain times to have it round down (e.g. telling you to wait until 9:08 to clock in). From an ethical standpoint, the important thing IMO is that it evens out in the end.

    2. OP #5*

      I generally really like my manager, but I’m not sure on this kind of situation. She’s definitely drank of the company koolaid a bit too much I feel to be any help!

      1. LovecraftInDC*

        I’m very late to the party, but if they’ve drunk the company kool aid, and that kool aid is all around ‘we do the best things for our employees and treat them GREEAT’ that may actually be to your advantage.

  2. Handy Nickname*

    My company rounds down when punching in (e.g. punch in at 8:01, get paid starting at 8:15) and doesn’t round when punching out -if I punch out at 4:59 or 5:01, I am paid through the exact minute I punched out. Is that legal? It always felt off to me- especially if I punched out for 20 minutes for lunch and then had to stay 30 minutes to make up the time.

    1. Bea*

      If you round, it has to be by the rule of 7. Below 7, round down. Above, round up.

      They nailed a big company big time awhile back for this BS.

      1. Handy Nickname*

        My company rounds down within 14 minutes for punching in only, and doesn’t round at all for punching out. :/

        1. Bea*

          They’re breaking the law. You can tell BOLI and it should trigger a payroll audit where they’ll find that out pretty easily. Unless you’re using some screwy system for time keeping.

        2. Bea*

          *I meant to say contact your state labor department. I forget every time states call the department something different!

        3. Zgscl*

          If I am reading this correctly the rounding would benefit the employee. They are rounding to an earlier hour and not rounding when’s punching out which has the potential to result in overpayment of up to 14 minutes.

          That said I’ve never understood the desire to round. When I did payroll we did to the minute and had no issues what so ever. Now that most time clocks are electronic and automatically sync to payroll (assuming you have a modern system) it’s no more difficult to pay someone for 39.78 hours than 39.75. I guess there could be an issue in some locations with a large number trying to punch in or out at one clock but I haven’t run into that personally

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I think Handy Nickname is saying “round down” as in “rounds down the total amount of time billed.” They say, upthread, that if they clock in at 8:01, it’s rounded to an 8:15 clock-in time.

          2. Natalie*

            I imagine it’s more of a legacy from when payroll was calculated manually. Adding up quarter-hours is much easier than multiple 0.0166666s of an hour.

            1. Observer*

              Not likely. It’s just as easy to round to the nearest 1/4 hour as it is to consistently round to the lower amount.

              1. Jennifer Thneed*

                But it’s way easier to *calculate* that quarter-hour than it is to calculate some oddball 3.5 minutes. And that WAS a concern back in the days of manual bookkeeping. (Which wasn’t actually all that long ago.)

                1. Observer*

                  You’re missing the point. You don’ need to consistently round to the LOWER amount to get neat quarter hours. You can just as easily round to the NEAREST quarter hour and get the same effect in terms of calculations.

              1. Jadelyn*

                Yes, but those “grade school mathematics” still take up a ridiculous amount of time when you multiply that out to cover dozens or hundreds of employees. The few seconds you save per timesheet by rounding to quarter-hours for calculating pay adds up fast – as would the lost seconds per timesheet if you were calculating payroll manually to the minute.

                That said, electronic timesheets are a thing now, as are payroll processing systems that do those calculations for you, so I actually agree that it’s not really necessary to continue rounding like that. But I don’t feel it’s necessary to smugly look down on people for choosing the path of greater efficiency at scale, simply because it’s “grade school mathematics” either way it’s done.

                1. Excel Pedant*

                  No it’s exactly right to look down on an organisation that once upon a time couldn’t be bothered to do grade school maths and then pig headedly carried over their lazy rounding into an era of spreadsheets and computers where in fact the rounding meant more work.

                2. Observer*

                  And the amount that you’re shorting people does NOT add up?

                  The bottom line is that calculating payroll CORRECTLY is part of the cost of doing business. Passing it on the employees is definitely something to look down on.

        4. Observer*

          They can round only for clocking in. But they have to round in both directions and to the nearest 1/4 hour. So, if you clock in at 8:01, they can round but is HAS to be to 8:00. It’s only when you hit 8:08 that you can get rounded to 8:15

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This doesn’t sound legal. If they’re going to round, they have to do so consistently and in a manner that doesn’t always benefit the company (i.e., you should get the benefit of rounding such that it evens out over time).

      1. Engineer Girl*

        The three legal ways:
        • round forward in and forward out
        • round backward in and backward out
        • no rounding in and no rounding out

        Any other combination would be incorrect, including the advantageous rounding backward in and forward out

        1. Jonah*

          There are other valid combinations: e.g. round backward in and forward out (both advantage the employee), always round to the nearest 15 minutes (53–7 to 0, 8–22 to 15, 23–37 to 30, 38–52 to 45).

          1. AcademiaNut*

            Basically, anything using the same mathematical rounding operation at the beginning and end of the day would be fine.

            Of course, the larger the interval they’re using, the more temptation to game the
            system. If they round down in fifteen minutes intervals, for example, if you always arrive at work at 8:14 and leave exactly at 5, you’d shave an hour and 15 minutes off your work week, while rounding in five minute intervals would only give you a 25 minute advantage.

            1. Emily K*

              Yep, when I worked at a national pizza chain that round :01-:07 down to :00 and :08-:14 up to :15, errybody was so helpful at the end of their shift looking for extra work they could do for 8 minutes to get paid for another 15. And people would show up a few minutes early so they could clock in at 6:22 for a 6:30 shift and get paid from 6:15.

            1. AcademiaNut*

              It will be legal, however.

              Any rounding system that allows free will have some potential for abuse by the employees, by tweaking their start and arrival time. However, it would be straightforward to track employees who were always 14 minutes late, but left exactly on time, deal with it on a case by case basis.

            2. Mike C.*

              Maybe they can use a more precise system then. There are things called “computers”, after all.

              1. Jadelyn*

                Mike, did a wicked fairy put a curse on you that requires you to condescendingly snark at X people per day every day or something? I’m just trying to figure out why it’s necessary to bust out the condescension for something as simple as “electronic timesheets can handle precise time calculations these days”.

        2. Natalie*

          Eh, this is law, not math. If you were rounding down both times, but you had people always starting exactly at 8 (say, that’s when the store opened), at the end of the week you’d have shorted anyone time who didn’t leave exactly on the quarter-hour. For FLSA purposes it wouldn’t matter if your system was logically consistent, they’d still expect you to change it so that it was neutral to the employees at worst.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Yes, exactly this. What is legal is not always the same as what is logically consistent (as we sadly all know!).

    3. namelesscommentator*

      I think employers are allowed to round only in their favor for punching in, to an extent. For shift work, there’s no reason someone should be clocked in at 7:55 for an 8:00 shift, so it makes sense the employer would round up (because the work wasn’t asked for/authorized).

      Do they round down even when clocking in AFTER the scheduled start time? If so, that seems illegal. But I would expect them to pay you starting from your scheduled time, even if you clocked in 14 minutes earlier.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        But legally it doesn’t matter if the work was authorized or not – it still has to be paid for.

        1. hbc*

          In that case, it matters what “punching in” means. If the company is cool with someone punching in up to 10 minutes early (to prevent lines) but absolutely forbids starting work before 8:00.00 without recorded permission, there’s nothing extra to pay.

          Yes, they’re taking a risk that some jerk will claim they did work for an extra 10 minutes a day when they were hanging out in the break room instead, but it’s pretty low if the other employees will tell the truth.

          1. Julia*

            I usually punched in early because my train arrived a bit early, and if boss or a co-worker saw me, I definitely had to start working instead of making myself tea. No one really paid me for those 5 to 10 minutes. Although I guess I usually got away with being late once in a while due to train delays, so I was pretty okay with it.

          2. Renamis*

            My company lets us punch in 15 early, but you’re not allowed to work until your start time. If you do and you talk to a manager about it, they’ll pay you, and probably immediately write you up. Assuming you didn’t have a good reason (I self early started and self extended plenty, but I had a reason and when I went to the managers it was always approved.) They would not take lighting to schemes that both cost money and are a legal liability.

            1. DArcy*

              That’s what my company does as well, but with only a five minute early window for clocking in. The system will round those early clocks to the shift start time, but this doesn’t cheat anyone of minutes actually worked since they’re not supposed to start until then.

          3. Peaches*

            I worked at a grocery store in college that would not allow us to punch in before our scheduled start time. There was only one punch-in machine, and there were usually about 30 people who started their shift at 4:00 P.M. If you showed up even at 3:55 P.M., you’d be 20-25 people back in line and end up punching in after 4:00 P.M. (they didn’t use any rounding rule, so you’d only get paid from, say, 4:05 to your end time, even though you showed up early, due to the large line). The punch in machine itself really slowed down the process. You basically had to scroll down an alphabetical list and find your name, select it, and then enter a password. So obviously all the people at the end of the alphabet (to no fault of their own), majorly held up the line since they had to scroll through hundreds of employees before finding their name. Hopefully they’ve changed their system since then – that was back in 2013.

            1. Michaela Westen*

              Wow, that is one of the most inefficient things I’ve ever seen. But so typical of corporate retail!
              In the 2000’s I occasionally thought about getting a 2nd job. After a couple of times in the slow, cumbersome “you have to apply online through our machine or computer”, I no longer applied at those jobs. It took me 90 minutes to put in one application because of all the personality questions. Click……………………………………………………………….screen change. Click………………………………………..screen change.
              Only people who have *nothing* else to do would take the time!

  3. ChauffeurMeChauffeurYou*

    #1: As a desk crier myself, it’s very kind of you to just ignore it. I’m going through some mental illness difficulty myself now, and if I left my desk every time I needed to cry, I wouldn’t get any work done.

    1. MLB*

      But the director is noticing something is off. I would prefer someone not ignore me if the alternative was to lose my job because the director thinks I’m just a slacker.

      1. Letter#1*

        Thanks for both these comments. I’ve definitely had my own breakdowns in public places and I have a lot of sympathy for it. But, MLB, are you suggesting that I should give her the heads up that the director is concerned? She should already know because she got a talking-to a month ago. Or what would you recommend?

        1. Washi*

          That’s an interesting question and I think I would not say anything to the coworker. She already knows, and I think if it were me, I would be really embarrassed that it had gotten to the point where the director is talking to my coworkers about it, I’d be wondering if the whole office knows, etc. I can’t see how it would help to say anything, and it might actually hurt.

          1. Letter#1*

            Yeah, that sounds right. So then the question is whether I reach out to her without mentioning that the director had spoken to me. Just to say “I’ve noticed you’re having a hard time, is there anything I can do to help?” Which I think I should probably do as a friend, not as someone who might pass information on to the director.

            1. Nita*

              Yes, that’s a good idea. She may not respond in the moment, but she may later, if she knows you’re noticing something’s wrong.

            2. Washi*

              This sort of goes back to the post about a coworker dealing with grief (lots of good comments there!) but I think concrete offers tend to be more helpful than “is there anything I can do?” I would probably just be a little extra friendly, ask how things are going, send her a funny article, and at most maybe point out what she can get through the EAP (for us it’s 3 free sessions, which is great!)

            3. Observer*

              I would talk to the director before you do this, though. The thing is you SHOULD be telling the director about the crying at the desk but you don’t want to share anything that she tells you in confidence. It will be a LOT easier to avoid accidentally saying too much if you actually don’t have any real information.

              Something like “I do think she may be dealing with personal issues as I’ve heard what sounds like crying a few times.” Enough to alert the boss that there is a problem, but clearly not something you know too much about and can’t really discuss.

          2. St Flumph*

            I think you should be completely honest with her so she can either go and explain the situation and/or ask for your help.

            Your instinct to protect is absolutely right, who gives a shit about a few hours lost work?

        2. Glowcat*

          I don’t know: if she is already suffering from anxiety she may panic and think the office is talking behind her back… but I do agree that the director should have the context.

        3. MLB*

          No, I wouldn’t mention anything to her. I would go with what Alison advised – speak to the director so he can handle it without providing any personal information.

        4. irene adler*

          It would be a kindness to her to let her know that you’ve been asked about her behavior. Might even tell her it is the director who is doing the asking.
          Then answer any questions she might have regarding what you’ve just told her.

  4. Nobody Here by That Name*

    #3: I wouldn’t rule out a genuine mistake or emergency on the part of the interviewer. If it were me I would contact the HR person by phone or email with something like “Hey, just wanted to touch base because I thought I had an interview with Elanor on [date/time] and she never called. Did I get the time wrong or did something come up?”

    That way you’re giving HR the message that the interview didn’t happen – and if they’re worth their salt they’ll know this is bad – but you’re not shooting yourself in the foot if the reason why the interview didn’t happen is that Elanor was hit by a tractor carrying a billboard for erectile dysfunction pills or some such.

    1. JamieS*

      At first glance I read that as Elanor carrying the billboard and was slightly disappointed when I realized you meant the tractor.

      Anyway I mostly agree except I’d recommend proactively contacting the recruiter or the interviewer directly instead of HR. Normally I’d just say
      if possible contact the interviewer directly but I don’t remember if a candidate is supposed to go through the recruiter for all contact or just the initial interview set up so the recruiter gets credit.

      1. Darury*

        I had that exact same initial read. I wasn’t sure why Elanor was carrying a billboard, but I could see how it’d be hard to dodge a tractor while doing so.

      2. Nobody Here by That Name*

        I was assuming HR was the initial contact and one who set up the interview since that’s how it works in my company. But yeah, whoever the main contact to date has been should be the person OP touches base with now.

    2. T3k*

      Agreed. My last job they missed the scheduled interview twice, so I messaged the recruiter both times to let them know and we rescheduled and finally interviewed on the third attempt (and for those curious, that was actually a wonderful job, they were just extremely busy).

    3. LarsTheRealGirl*

      This. OP, you may have already reached out to the recruiter/HR you’ve been working with (but it sorta sounds like you’re waiting for them to reach out?), but if you haven’t, that’s step 1.

      This script is good because it doesn’t assume malice or incompetence. (And really, can you imagine sending out a more direct “you missed my interview” email and then being told YOU had the time wrong? Embarrassing! And not likely to reflect well.)

      1. Shawn*

        Oh I had the right time and they acknowledged that when I spoke with the recruiter at a later date and they apologized at length for their hiring manager being a no show. I have been a manager numerous times and it is simply unprofessional in my circle of colleagues to miss an interview or not inform a candidate if the firm no longer wants to pursue the process when they have already reached out to them. I’ve even been asked to find ways to mentor new managers by one staffing agency in my city who I have ordered much staffing from as they have encountered numerous poorly trained hiring mangers. I don’t know anyone who would like to arrange their schedule for any interview, prepare for it, and have a no show experience. I think it does reflect on the company.

        1. LarsTheRealGirl*

          Wait I’m a little confused… so they DID reach out? Was there another communication you’re still waiting on?

          If you spoke to them and they “apologized at length” then I’m not sure that reaching out to them to reiterate how slighted you feel is the best move. No one believes a no-show is a professional move but trying to further shame them for something they’ve already apologized for isn’t professional either.

    4. Lisa Babs*

      I know. Things happen. So if there is still a slight chance you want the job still don’t write an email talking about how they tarnished there reputation. Because miss-communications and accidents happen. I’m personally leaning towards a miscommunication than a tractor accident. But you never know. Long story short, I agree with a touching base email.

    5. MillersSpring*

      This script is good. Please don’t say, “You’re tarnishing your brand.” Jeez. The company knows it makes them look bad if they no-show for a meeting of any kind.

  5. Mark Roth*

    The one job I had where I paid any attention, the rounding rule was based on 7. On my “late” start days, I’d make sure to punch in around 9:37 so I would get paid from 9:30. If I was a minute late, I’d just wait till it was actually 9:45 to punch in and get to work. On my early days, I would try to punch in around 6:52 so I would get paid from 6:45.

    You could say I was unethical, but no one complained. I never got any grief for what I did, nor for letting the kids working under me do the same.

    I’m not sure how long I would last when it would be pretty damned obvious that I wasn’t working from 9:01 to 9:15.

    1. Mad Baggins*

      This is why I don’t get the rounding system. Is it to make things easier for payroll to calculate? What is the benefit to encouraging/discouraging employees to start/stop work at different times?

      1. Anonymous for this*

        Im in the UK and I used to work for an agency where strictly speaking, if you clocked/signed in late, you would lose the first 15 mins pay as it was calculated in 15 minutes increments on the electronic system. One of the managers made me enforce this when I had to approve timesheets in her stead as her PA which put me in the the position of Public Enemy No 1. I had to explain nearly every week to someone that signing in at 9.10 and out at 5.10 was no good if they were rostered on to open the reception desk at 9.00. Adding on the 10 minutes work at the end of the day didn’t help those people who had an appointment at the start of the day and who’d had to wait for them. In this case it was partly used as a disciplinary method – get to work on time or lose pay – but I think that it would have been preferable to have instituted proper disciplinary proceedings as well for the people unwilling or unable to get to work on time as it would have had more weight rather than effectively dock pay which wasn’t audited unless someone complained.

        1. Wants more wrangling*

          We did it differently when I did call centre in UK – if you were late, that was dealt with under disciplinary procedure. Pay was not affected.

          If you were on a call at the end of your shift, you were expected to finish it – you didn’t get paid extra if it only lasted a couple of minutes, but anything over 5 minutes and you got 15 min overtime pay, 20-35 min got 30 min overtime, 35-50 got 45 min overtime and a manager wondering what the hell was going on…

          If you weren’t on a call, you were assumed to have finished on time.

          (We didn’t do clocking in/out.)

          1. Anonymous for this*

            It’s better to use disciplinary proceedings for lateness as that’s a proper record being kept and should be fairer all round. However, it needs to be consistently applied or that’s another issue! It’s easier just to dock pay and in the case of agency workers, it’s all the employer can do other than complain to the agency to have them disciplined or removed from the assignment. We had to sign in for the fire registrar.

      2. FD*

        In principle, allowing companies to round to the nearest quarter hour is supposed to make things easier to calculate. I suspect a lot of the rules were made when more of this was done by hand, and some schmuck in payroll would have to calculate what 0.067 of an hour at $1.15 an hour would be.

        1. Tau*

          This seems logical to me. My last job, I had to fill out two time sheets – rounded in five minute intervals, one in standard hour-minute notation, the other in decimal hours. I learned what an utter nightmare trying to convert time to decimals is, and would end up doing things like trying to make sure I never worked 5-modulo-15 minutes three times in week out of fear that I’d have to explain to some manager who didn’t understand maths why one timesheet said 40 hours and the other 39.99. In the end, I did my level best to always work an amount of time divisible by 15 minutes because it was so much easier.

          1. Anonymous for this*

            Yeah in my very first job which had flexitime, I was ‘advised’ to round the times myself so if I started work at 9:03, to write 09:00 on my timesheet to account for walking across the room, taking off my coat etc. At the end of the day if I knocked off at 5pm, apparently I was supposed to stop work at 4.55 and add on the 5 minutes for shutting down, putting on my coat etc.

      3. boop the first*

        That’s the thing! If they’re using a machine to collect timestamps, they must also be using a machine to calculate payroll so why make it “easier”? The machine won’t care.
        Which is why I feel (at least in my case) that these are installed to specifically punish workers.

        1. Observer*

          Well, for one thing, it IS a hold over. For another it’s a lot easier for the humans who have to read this stuff.

          And if it’s done properly it does NOT punish workers.

          What the OP describes is NOT legal.

      4. Bea*

        It’s to make payroll easier to calculate.

        The reason employers do it however is to punish workers for being late.

        An old boss tried telling me to round up always and I explained the rule. He was cantankerous but knew I was saving him from fines and wage theft suits.

        Many places still use hand punches and handwritten timesheets. It’s like how we tend to bill in 15 minute increments..

        1. schnauzerfan*

          Our hourly people have to work 40 hrs per week. Not 39.86, and certainly not 40.25. So they used to have two minutes grace before or after the hour (7:58-8:02 counts as 8 etc.) Hourly people punch in at the start of the shift, at lunch time, after lunch and at the end of the day. So there’s 8 minutes of potential flex there per day or 40 minutes per week. We had some people who always managed to be just late enough to gain that 40 minutes each week. And some that routinely put in 1/2 an hour or so extra. So, no more flex. Now they are expected to manage 40 hours a week, either by taking a shorter lunch, leaving a little late, etc. But the ones who really get ragged on are the one who put in too much time, leaving us in the position of needing to pay unbudgeted overtime. That gets all of us in hot water, staff and supervisors alike. As an exempt employee, I can work all the overtime I need (unpaid) but I’m still expected to average 40 hrs. And if I worked 45 hours last week, I’m welcome to shoot for 35 this week.

      5. Burnett*

        As someone who does payroll every week, that’s exactly why it is. Most large companies use automated payroll systems where the computer can calculate, but where I work, I have to manually input hours from the punches. Rounding helps make that math easier. As long as the employee is getting paid for the time they’re at work, rounding isn’t usually a significant issue. What the LW says is happening would be illegal though: if you’re going to round you have to make sure you’re not shorting employees on their time.

    2. AnotherSarah*

      This is what I tried to do as well, on the same system. But it was tricky–I worked 8:30-5:00 and anything after 5:00 was paid overtime. So if I was late and clocked in at 8:40, I’d *want* to stay until 5:10 because I a) didn’t want to lose money and b) wanted to stay on the right side with my boss, but then my boss would have to approve 15 minutes of overtime for me retroactively, which of course she didn’t want to do.

      In the end, so many of her reports did this (I’m sure EVERYONE’s reports did this; it’s so easy to come in 7 minutes late!), that she got in trouble for not running a tight enough ship. These weren’t jobs that our timelines mattered to that extent. It all felt so silly. We started getting around the system by clocking in via phone–so if I was stepping into the lobby at 8:35, I’d call the ADP system and clock in, then fake clock in with the hand-scan, then clock out at 5:00 but stay some extra minutes. It was all so convoluted and silly.

    3. Turquoisecow*

      This was the system at the grocery store I worked for. Often times, due to the store being busy or replacements being a little late, cashiers wouldn’t get off the register in time to punch out. So, you were supposed to get off at 3:00 and really you finished your last customer at 3:00 and then you had to hand in your till and by the time they got to the clock it was 3:05, and they’d just kill time until 3:08 to get paid the extra fifteen minutes. Or check the following week’s schedule. Or ask a question or walk slowly, or whatever.

      Some supervisors would call them out on it, but mostly those were the people who made the schedule and knew how scarce payroll was, and how much of a difference one extra cashier made.

  6. AcademiaNut*

    I work in a computer heavy field, and honestly, job shadowing me would be incredibly boring. My experience with job shadowing is that it’s mainly of educational benefit to someone who has no idea what’s involved in a job, and is deciding whether they want to train for it. It provides no advantage when it comes to actually applying for a job.

    For coding jobs, having a link to examples of work you’ve done can be a major asset when applying for jobs. As you’re new to the field, it might be worth doing a personal project in the type of work you’re applying to, and putting it up on Github for employers to look at. That will be stronger than listing a certificate, but not any practical experience.

    And, of course, if you have a contact in a related field, asking them to critique your resume and offer suggestions about how to strengthen or target your applications would also be useful.

    1. alice*

      I job shadowed someone in my field once. It was 20 minutes of her explaining her current project and what techniques she was using and then an hour and a half of us talking about unrelated things. Not really shadowing.

    2. topscallop*

      This is a really helpful comment. My husband is trying to get into coding (currently he does data management/marketing/salesforce stuff for a firm, and is teaching himself javascript on the side). He is building a website to showcase his personal projects – mostly apps and shortcuts he’s created for his colleagues, and has gotten resume tips and examples from a friend in the field. He studies coding and algorithms an hour or two every day. Is there anything else you would recommend? He ultimately wants to be a back-end developer. He doesn’t have any formal training in this field, and I’ve been worried about potential employers writing him off.

      1. Logan*

        There are a lot of meet-ups for different coding topics (in my very diverse city I have found that these tend to be almost exclusively men, and almost all of those have beards, so it’s often a very specific type of person – some groups work hard to encourage diversity so if someone doesn’t feel like they fit into one group then they should try others). These would be a good way to meet up with others who have experience, and find out what jobs are available.

    3. Kate R*

      Seconding the suggestion of showing examples of your work. I belong to a Data Science Meetup group, and the idea of creating a data science portfolio has been gaining traction, especially as more colleges and universities are creating data science majors. It’s a way for potential employers to see not just your coding skills, but also how you think through a problem.

      1. epi*

        I was coming to say this too. The OP can go really broad with it too– my city has interest groups for specific languages, data sources, project types, as well as straightforward ones focused on a given job. Our hack night definitely includes data analysis projects. Work in progress presentations are often for things that are ready to expand and may be hiring soon. Real professionals from a lot of different fields go to these. The OP may also get a sense of where these people are and what their background is– there are a lot of analyst positions in companies or fields they may not be thinking of.

    4. Larina*

      Just this morning, my boss told me about how when he was learning SQL, he downloaded the most recent US Census data (since it’s freely available) and made his own database and models using the info. A big personal project like that could go a long way in showing a future employer that you know what you’re doing and be very helpful, OP #4.

      1. epi*

        This is a really good suggestion. The OP can also go to data dot gov and look for public data on any topic they want– they will come up with a way more compelling project if it’s on a topic they know and care about.

        Many states and local governments have data portals for their own public data now, as well. And they can pull in data or results from private services like Google Maps via API.

  7. Mark132*


    One thing I think important to remember is only professionals can diagnose mental illness. I like Allison’s advice to only report what you’ve observed. Even with your coworkers statement, there is a difference between her saying she is depressed and clinical depression.

    1. Thlayli*

      Yes – don’t say you think she has depression or anxiety – you are not qualified to make that statement.

      I actually disagree with Alison’s advice on the crying though. It sounds like the director is wondering if coworker is just being lazy while boss is away, or if there is a good reason. Coworker is already on notice, so unless a good reason is given for the absences she will probably lose her job.

      Director is probably planning on asking coworker about contributing problems, and may even have spoken to her already. It seems to me the most likely reason for director to ask OP this is that they are looking for some evidence to support the idea that coworker does have a good reason to be distracted.

      I think telling him about the crying can only help the coworker, and pretending she seems fine will be more likely to contribute to her getting fired than anything else.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I agree. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for you to mention to the director that you’ve witnessed coworker crying at her desk. Or, if you want to couch it in softer terms, you could say something like “There have been times when I’ve noticed that Susie seems very upset and may even be crying, so it’s possible there is something going on. I checked on her once when I noticed and she waved me off.”

      2. Lilo*

        I agree. I managed someone who was having quality issues and burst into tears when I had to talk to her about it, even though I had done my best to be extremely gentle. Knowing that she was.goijg through some temporary family stress helped me find a way to address her work issues (that 100% had to be addressed) without contributing to her situation.

        The thing is that coworker coming in late is going to have to be addressed, especially is she isn’t working the hours and has been warned about it. That conversation is going to have to happen. Knowing coworker had seen crying at work will help the boss prepare for what can be a difficult conversation. I actually got guidance from my own boss on appropriately handling crying at work, it is tough to know how to handle it in the moment.

        1. Lilo*

          Basically, managing someone going through something doesn’t mean you ignore work problems, but my experience is that your tactics for addressing those issues are different. a stern firm statement that you need for someone who isn’t taking things seriously (which I have had and turned around) could squash someone who is going through something. You have to be firm but gentle and may suggest some things like sick leave and EaP.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Yeah, I took the director’s question as an attempt to find out if there were outside circumstances (marriage dissolving, parent in hospital) that the coworker didn’t want to bring up as an excuse, but that would shade the director’s response re struggling to abide by a PIP.

            1. Letter#1*

              I think that’s exactly what the director was hoping to find. They’re very compassionate and I think they hate the idea of firing this person if there’s some reasonable explanation that they just don’t have access to.

          2. ExceptionToTheRule*

            Agreed. When I’ve had to address attendance-related performance problems, I always start the conversation with “is there something going on in your life that I should be aware of as we work through this” – the level of disclosure if up to the individual, but I am going to handle the situations very, very differently depending on the answer.

            I’ve also been VERY open with my staff about my own anxiety issues, so everyone knows my office is a judgment free zone in that regard.

          1. Lilo*

            It really depends on the situation. Since you aren’t her supervisor, the tactics are different. You can be compassionate and offer support. Just walking over with a box of tissues and “let me know of you need help” may be appropriate, depending on your relationship.

            As a supervisor, this is really, really tough. If someone is to the point of non functioning or seriously upset, you give them time, like “Let’s continue this in 15”. But for a necessary meeting, particularly when someone is having serious performance issues, like your friend is, the meeting has to happen.

            What I was taught to do was push over the tissues, pause, assess, and keep going.

            Not that it is all about you, but managers aren’t heartless. Having someone cry in front of you, particularly as you are trying to correct bad behavior, is tough. The impulse is to go “it’s okay, don’t worry”, but for someone who is having serious issues, you just can’t say that. It gives the wrong impression. Stay compassionate but firm in the issues you need to get through, offer tissues and slow the speaking and response times, but otherwise act like they aren’t crying because drawing attention to it more can make it worse. Quiet, simple compassion but still getting through your meeting goals.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              It might be helpful for some to know that passing that box of Kleenex over can be a powerful moment. The gesture says, “I realize my fellow human being is crying/hurt.” And at the same time, the Kleenex means “I know you can pull through the tears and we are going to talk about this situation.”
              I am amazed by how many people take the gesture as an act of kindness and pull themselves together.

              1. Wrenn*

                A doctor did that to me once in his office when he was giving me some very sad news. It was a really comforting gesture, completely non-verbal, and it was like saying “this sucks hardcore and I don’t mind that you’re upset” without a response required from me. We could discuss the thing like rational adults and acknowledge that it was emotional without needing to talk about that part.

                So, yeah. It’s a way of offering support without putting the other person on the spot about it in the way asking questions or offering verbal sympathy can do.

          2. Lilo*

            Adding on, if this person is a personal friend and your director doesn’t know that, that is is 100% something you need to disclose before offering any kind of assessment on her. I temporarily had a similar position over my office friend, and I kept it 100% disclosed and never, ever did any assessments of her work.

          3. Not So NewReader*

            Just my opinion, but I’d rather see crying than see temper any day. I correlate crying with processing/understanding. Let’s face it, some things are just plain sad and all the anger in the world won’t help those things. I tend to view anger, in SOME cases, as a form of denial. Again, this varies on the situation. The classic example, I can think of is an employee did X, the boss knows this as a fact and has verified it. So the employee needs to stop doing X. When the boss sits down for a meeting about X, the employee becomes angry and perhaps starts shouting. This is not good and the boss is in for a much longer conversation.
            A crying person is more apt to have reached the conclusion, “I need to fix this.” Of course, not all the time and not every crying person. I am just noting tendencies that I have seen.

            1. Lilo*

              Shouting is bad in a different way. If an employee shouted at me during criticism, I think I would immediately loop on my supervisor and talk about whether we keep that person on staff. That conversation is immediately 100% over and we add another issue that has to be addressed immediately.

              Crying is much more common and that’s a good thing. That kind of anger or yelling is nearly impossible to come back from. No one wants to cry in their boss’s office but it doesn’t signal a serious behavioral problem.

      3. HRM*

        There might be a good reason for the crying and the performance problems and she could still be fired. And that doesn’t make her employer the bad or awful in any way. If the employee is struggling due to a health issue (mental or otherwise) and has the option to take FMLA to deal with it, that’s what she should do. It’s her best job protection. The employer may have a short-term disability benefit that will be income replacement during the leave. Anyway, the LW should stay out of it other than the brief response to the director that Alison advised. The director should then follow up with the employee and as part of that follow up, discuss expectations and any short-term accommodations the employee might need/employer might be willing to make. The employer should also make sure the employee understands any benefits she has and how to access them.

        1. Lilo*

          Seconding this. I worked with someone who was going through a tough time following the death of a family member, but her work quality was terrible. I could not continue to let her sending out letters and public communications that were rife with errors, it was causing problems. I did have to recommend a PIP to my supervisor and then oversee it. She fortunately turned it around and saved her job, but we would have had no choice had she not. And I did encourage her to take FMLA and leave , for what it’s worth (you cannot force someone to take leave like that, however, for obvious reasons). I kept my boss in the loops about her regularly and received a lot of coaching on working with her.

        2. Wrenn*

          Agreed. A relative of mine was going through a tough time and tried to hide it at work because, well, that’s what we generally try to do; carry on like everything is fine. It did not go well, and their manager became seriously concerned. Fortunately, the relative was able to recognize they needed help and took action before there were serious consequences. This included speaking to the manager, at least in general terms, about what was going on and what steps they were taking to fix it. The manager was actually very sympathetic and in the end things worked out okay.

          But I do think the LW needs to stay out of it as much as possible. Just relay what you’ve observed, and let the coworker and the director sort it out. It really sucks to watch someone struggle, but if they don’t want your help (i.e. waving you away, telling you everything is fine) you can’t force it on them.

    2. Letter#1*

      Thanks, I normally wouldn’t speculate except that she had confided exactly that to me a few months ago. I agree that wording this to the director as a “mental illness issue” would hurt her a lot more than it might help the director be compassionate for the situation.

      1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        OP1, I agree you cannot disclose anything your co-worker said in confidence. What you can do is encourage her to share more about her personal issues with her supervisor. While I usually prefer to keep a strict line between the personal and the professional, in this case, her personal situation has negatively impacted her work attendance and performance. I believe she has reached the point where the value of keeping this private is vastly outweighed by the benefit of opening up to a supervisor whom you see as compassionate.

      2. Wrenn*

        You don’t have to bring mental health or any associated terms into the conversation. Many people go through tough times, family issues, rough patches, and other problems in their lives that affect their work. Use language like that; vague but conveys that she’s possibly dealing with something right now that’s hard for her. The boss will understand that. Even though she herself has used the terms anxiety and depression doesn’t mean you have to, or should. Depending on your relationship with her, it may be a kindness to give her a heads up that the boss is concerned about her. They are the ones who should be talking, not getting you involved, but you could give her a gentle nudge in that direction.

      3. JSPA*

        I’d probably use words that don’t do double duty as mental health descriptors. You feel she is somehow preoccupied, stressed or sad. You have no clue what the details are, and have been assuming they’re personal. You hope the manager will broach the subject with her, if needed. Full stop.

  8. MK*

    OP3, if you do complain, do be measured in what you say. By which I mean, don’t point out that one interviewer standing one candidate up for a phone interview will result in the tarnishing of the company’s brand; that’s frankly inaccurate so grandiose a statement that will have many people rolling their eyes at your email. Say, for example, that you would have appreciated being notified about the interview being cancelled, so as not to be kept waiting for the call; it will get the point across that you are annoyed at their rudeness just as well.

    1. CMart*

      Agreed. Even in non-hiring situations where the threat of “brand tarnishment” is more credible, the people with issues who come out of the gate waving their “I Will Go To Yelp And You’ll Be Sorry!” flag are rarely taken seriously.

      They’re coddled, certainly, but a chastisement like that tanks their own reputation with that particular establishment. I don’t think OP3 would care to do that, especially if this was a genuine error or an emergency had come up.

    2. Gloucesterina*

      I take OP3’s larger point and it makes sense for them to be put off, but it is true brand tarnishment doesn’t seem to be at stake unless the company sells, I don’t know, clocks? Calendars? Appointment scheduling software?

    3. Formerly Arlington.*

      Completely agree, and would find anyone complaining that the brand was “tarnished” by one missed phone call to be a bit melodramatic. Factually stating that the appointment was missed is sufficient.

  9. alice*

    #4 – volunteer! Find a nonprofit in your area who could use some assistance in analysis and volunteer to take a look at their data for them. I found a few companies like this by cold-emailing (although I’m sure there are better ways). Smaller businesses and nonprofits won’t lose anything if you can’t do the job, but they’ll be delighted if you can. It would be a good way to add something to your resume.

    1. Washi*

      Seconding this! All the nonprofits I’ve worked with could have used someone to do data analysis, but the need was never great enough to afford to pay someone.

    2. Triplehiccup*

      If you are currently working for a school district, they probably have a data team at central office. They might be willing to set up an internship for you.

    3. Business Cat*

      I was going to suggest the same thing and further it that there is actually a website that matches volunteer professionals with nonprofits. Look up Taproot Foundation. I’m a data analyst and worked on a project from there as a way to give back and do more rewarding work than my corporate job and had a really nice experience.

      1. alice*

        I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this! That’s actually how I started doing this too – got sick of corporations and needed a break.

    4. Aphrael*

      Another option is to apply for analysis and policy work with education agencies (eg your state department of education). They typically hire former teachers because the experience is very valuable in those roles, and at least in my experience there’s always room for data analysis in those jobs if you have an inclination. It might be a halfway point for you to transition into a more data-focused role.

    5. E*

      I agree that this is a great way to get experience but I’d be a little less cavalier about saying small businesses and nonprofits won’t lose anything if you can’t do the job. If they’re accepting your volunteer skills for something they actually need, maybe they’re able to move that project off somebody else’s plate, and if you don’t successfully do it or create a mess in their database, somebody else will need to do it at the last minute or fix the mess. Or if they’re trying to get volunteer computer expertise that they don’t have, they probably do have a need and would like to be able to trust that you have that expertise.

      1. zora*

        I get what you’re trying to say, and it does make things difficult to have a volunteer who is a failure at what you need done. But in this case, if I was the nonprofit person, I would be happy to let them do a little bit of trial and error as long as they didn’t take up too much staff time for support or questions. But I would suggest the OP be upfront about their level of experience and I would think of it more as an educational opportunity than a skilled volunteer project.

  10. Daisy*

    2/ I don’t really understand the suggestion to get a fourth nominator? If he’s through as a finalist then presumably that part of the process is over. The organisers are going to at best shrug and throw a new nomination in the bin, at worst think it’s pretty weird.

    Anyway these things where you have to round up 3 simultaneous nominations are usually going to involve some of this sort of hustling- 3 people are never going to simultaneously sit bolt upright in bed at night and exclaim, ‘My God, I see it now- Bob should be Man of the Year!’. I don’t personally think it’s a big deal.

    1. Czhorat*

      The oasuwy is that it was the nominee’s report over whom they have authority. Instructing someone beneath you in the hierarchy to put in the nomination is arguably an abuse of power for personal gain and very close to nominating yourself.

      1. Pollygrammer*

        Whether or not he felt pressured by the power differential, the LW did ask, not instruct. (And isn’t being asked to nominate someone for an award going to be hard to say no to, no matter what your relationship is?) And I would assume that his relationship with her was included in the nomination, so the committee would know that and hasn’t been bothered by it.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          It is far, far harder to say ‘no’ to your boss’s ‘asks’ than to those of coworkers, subordinates, or peers. Even the most unvindictive boss should know that it’s disingenuous to pretend their employee would feel safe saying ‘gosh I don’t know much about that award, and am so very busy I may not get to it.’

          It’s probably too late in this instance, but this is not territory you should find yourself somehow tumbling into. Surely out of all the people who know your work, three of them are not your employee.

          1. neverjaunty*

            This. Asking a direct report is very different than asking a colleague, and the OP knows this too.

          2. Daisy*

            But surely that rule only applies to non-work stuff? Managers are allowed to ask you to do (reasonable) WORK-stuff you can’t say no to until you’re blue in the face. I would put an industry award, which most companies like their managers to be nominated for/win, very much in the category of ‘a reasonable work thing’ (assuming the employee was allowed to write it on work time).

      2. A username of extraordinary originality*

        I’ve been trying to figure out what “oasuwy” could possibly mean in Czhorat’s post. Help!

    2. CM*

      I agree with Daisy — obviously it’s context-dependent, but for the awards I know like this, it doesn’t matter that much who nominates you. I think OP#2 is right to realize that she should have asked somebody else, since there was no way a direct report could really say no to that, but it doesn’t seem like such an egregious abuse of power that she needs to do something to correct it.

      1. Wrenn*

        That’s what I’m thinking. I’ve had very good relationships with a couple different bosses and I respected their knowledge and achievements in their field, so I wouldn’t have had a problem in this situation. Assuming it really was a request, as opposed to a “voluntold” type direction, I don’t see the harm. Yes, definitely say something and if this comes up again, don’t repeat the situation, but I don’t think it’s a huge deal. More like an “oops, didn’t think that one through enough, will do better next time”.

    3. Genny*

      Agreed. LW, remember this feeling to guide you the next time you encounter a similar situation, but don’t beat yourself up over this. It just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

  11. Delta Delta*

    #5 – Thr last time I had a job with a clock in/our procedure was around 1999, so my perception may be off. But, if it’s a computerized system (as opposed to someone checking time cards by hand), it doesn’t seem like there would be any reason to round because it would be easy to know the exact amount of time and pay the person for that exact time.

    The last time I had a job that had a manual punch clock with cards, many of us would stand around the clock with scraps of paper and punch them periodically to know what the exact time was before punching in or out so as not to run in to rounding issues. Morale was low there.

    1. Liane*

      It is pretty common for companies with electronic timeclocks to pay to the exact minute and use the rounding to determine any occurrences for leaving early/arriving late. At the grocery where my College Kids work, they are paid to the minute. However, clocking in 7+ minutes after a shift begins or clocking out 7+ minutes before it ends are considered half an absence, and 3 absences in a certain rolling time period (3 months?) results in a warning. (The clocks won’t let workers clock in more than 6 minutes early for a shift)

    2. OP #5*

      My first job had the manual punch clock and did rounding too. I also remember a lot of punching random pieces of paper to make sure it really was the time (the face of the time clock was an analog clock and the hands were very deceiving). It was super annoying… but at least that place’s rounding made sense to me!

  12. Rebecca*

    #5 – glad this was posted. I’m non-exempt, and for the most part, our company does it right with regard to the rounding rule. Except: we get emails about not punching in before a certain time, because our ADP record will be manually changed to read 7 AM (or whatever our starting time is). So if someone comes in and punches in at 6:45, and actually works, that record will be manually changed to the specific starting time of 7 AM, unless they have specific permission from a manager and will not incur overtime that week. We also get “reminders” about punching out on time, so if you punch out at 3:59 PM and your end time is 4:00 PM, we are reminded to punch out on time.

    Result: my coworkers and I spend a lot of time trying to make sure our punches are exactly right. I may punch in at 6:54 AM, but I don’t do any work, since I’m not getting paid for it. I boot up my computer, punch in, and go get coffee, chat for a few minutes, etc. and start looking at email at 7 AM. I make sure I have exactly 30 minutes on my lunch out. And then at the end of the day, everything is shut down about 2 minutes or so before my end of shift, and I wait until the clock hits the magical number so I can punch out, and my butt is out the door.

    Honestly, it’s exhausting, but I don’t work for free.

    1. Natalie*

      For what it’s worth, what they’re doing isn’t legal. If people are working before 7 they have to pay them, even if it wasn’t authorized.

      1. alice*

        Yep, this. The last time I worked for a company that had a clock in system, it was set so you couldn’t clock in before a certain time. It was equally as painful (if your shift started at 8 and you were ready to go at 7:55, you had to wait 5 minutes before clocking in), but it ensured no one actually working before their shift started.

        1. J.*

          Last time I worked a job with a time clock was a while ago, but there was always a long line at the (one!) clock because you were only allowed to clock in or out within a 3-minute window on either side of your shift start/end times. So it was a mad dash to get it in before you’d need a supervisor override, and the last 15 minutes of the day was easily just people hanging around in a line in the hallway instead of working.

          I only did day shifts on Friday and worked evenings the rest of the week, which was off peak, there were only a few of us around in the evening. I’m not sure how the day shifts managed with only 6 minutes to get everyone who was working clocked in and out on one machine. And it was a hand reader that was frequently fussy, so if one person had a problem with it, it held up everyone. It just seemed so much more inefficient than other ways of keeping track of time.

      2. Rebecca*

        Oh, I know. I sometimes end up with this situation at the end of the day: in the middle of urgent shipping issues with customer and trucking companies, back and forth emails, trying to resolve a very time sensitive issue, and realizing I may need to stay past quitting time. This involves me trying to find a manager who can approve it. If I can’t, I simply walk away, and if there are issues that happen after I leave, oh well, that’s how it is. Even if I am approved to stay over for that day, I’ll be leaving early the next day or coming in a bit late, as I said, overtime is strictly frowned upon.

        It’s not lost on me how it’s OK for them to round up to starting time…and maybe we lose 5 minutes, but if you clock in 5 minutes early and clock out 1 minute early that’s not OK. Those minutes add up over the course of a year.

        1. Peaches*

          That’s absolutely ridiculous. If there’s a time sensitive issue, they’d seriously rather have you leave if they’re not there to approve it than work a bit later without their permission? Also, the whole clocking in one minute early is equally as ridiculous. I never left even a minute early for almost a year in my previous position. ONE time, I finished up and began walking out the door at 4:29, one minute early. My manager had the gall to stop me and stay, “uh, is it 4:30 yet?” I watched the time on my phone change from 4:29 to 4:30 as she was saying this and said, “now it is”. She laughed and said “okay, great, have a good night”, as if it wasn’t a big deal, but I was super irritated!

    2. Observer*

      They are being seriously stupid. What they are doing is an invitation to being blown sky high on wage violations.

      They are routinely manually changing start times in a system that’s supposed to have an audit trail, so there is evidence right there. And, if they turned off the audit trail (I’m not sure if you can), then that’s going to look VERY bad.

      What makes it worse is that no one is going to be able to claim that this was a rouge employee – the company has sent out numerous emails saying that they will do this.

      What makes it even stupider is that if someone has another dispute, the company’s credibility is going to be zero, since we already *know*, based on the company’s own statements, that they comfortable with tampering with time records.

    3. whingedrinking*

      I worked for a while at a bakery where the time clock would automatically remove half an hour (for the break you were supposed to take) once you hit six hours. Unfortunately, since the length of the shifts depended on how much work there was to do, sometimes I’d be at work for five hours and sometimes for seven, and it wasn’t always easy to tell which one it would be. So at about the three hour mark I’d have to start making an estimate about how long it was going to take to finish up, whether it was worth it to take a break or try to get done faster. And if it took even six hours and one minute, then I’d have to hang around for another half hour to get paid for that time. There were a fair few shifts where I clocked out at exactly five hours and fifty nine minutes before doing another five minutes of work. The other solution was to leave when you were done and ask a coworker to punch you out a half hour afterward, which some of my team did and I flatly refused to do, on the grounds that I didn’t want to get accused of defrauding my employer because a coworker got distracted and let the clock run for another six hours.

    4. OP #5*

      That’s kind of how I feel in the morning. When I punch in at 8:02 but I’m not getting paid until 8:15, I leisurely get my tea, take a walk around, do a little stretching… anything except work!

  13. Lemon Bars*

    #4 Because of your background and the field you are in make a consideration to either take a few classes at a college that has a analytics program or consider moving in to a low level role in an analytics area in a large company ( Health Insurance is notorious for hiring people and training them to move up from within).

    1. J.B.*

      I would add to this – the community colleges in my area are pushing analytics. They have AAS degrees and certificates, and the one I attended offered a full suite of classes online. There aren’t a lot of networking opportunities, but if you got a few classes with some basics then you could compete for internships. A good baseline would be intro to Tableau, SAS, and python.

      Also think carefully about what you want to do and transferable skills. With an education background you may have more comfort in presenting and writing up results than other students.

  14. MLB*

    #4 – you may want to consider looking for help desk jobs. At my last company, a large majority of our IT department started at the help desk and were promoted within. Yes help desk work is a thankless job, but it gets your foot in the door when you’re first starting out or changing professions.

    1. CM*

      Great suggestion. These tend to be entry level jobs but you learn a lot while you’re doing them.

  15. sg*

    #4 — i would also say to do some projects in addition to taking courses. since you’re already spending the time, do some work to actually put your skills out there. find a data set that interests you — analyze it and write up a blog post. this is an awesome way to showcase your skills and actually makes a difference in the data world. join twitter and check out the data community there. it’s a great way to see what skills people actually have/need and to network!

  16. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #3

    I feel like it’s a big assumption to say that the interviewer stood up the OP. It seems to me that the likeliest, and simplest, explanation is that the interviewer either had an emergency or missed the appointment for some other reason, like a reminder didn’t pop up in their email program. I would email HR to ask if something happened that the appointment was missed. That points out that it was missed and you didn’t hear anything from anyone, and gives them a chance to explain.

    1. VeryTired*

      Whatever the reason, the interview did stand up the OP. A good interviewer would look at their calendar later and contact the candidate or work with their recruiter to correct an error. No harm, no foul. A poor interviewer won’t take any action.

      1. Colette*

        I’ve missed meetings because they didn’t have a reminder, or because I accidentally cancelled the reminder with a bunch of others. In those cases, I wouldn’t necessarily notice – I don’t often review my past calendar.

        The OP is entitled to be annoyed by the interviewer missing the meeting – that’s annoying! But it’s also the thing reasonable people sometimes do.

    2. Jessie the First (or second)*

      “or missed the appointment for some other reason, like a reminder didn’t pop up in their email program”

      I mean, that’s a crappy reason to miss an interview. That’s not really different than standing someone up.
      (Makes me think of Will & Grace reboot when Karen breezes in way past starting time: “Sorry I’m late, I got here as soon as I wanted to”)

      1. Colette*

        Really? That kind of thing happens. For the candidate, the interview may be the most important thing they’re doing that day. For the interviewer, it may not be in the top 3. That doesn’t mean it’s not important, or that they shouldn’t treat candidates with respect, but it’s less likely to be the thing their day revolves around – so the lack of a reminder may mean that they get absorbed in other work and miss it.

    3. Bea*

      We’ve had mistakes and missed phone interviews a couple times but when it’s caught we apologize for it.

      One was our phones dying and didn’t realize it was happening. It rang then dropped like someone ignored the call. We shrugged and thought the guy changed his mind. An hour later we figured out the phones were bugging out.

      I immediately reached out to apologize and ask if they would reschedule. The guy really did ghost at that point. Not blaming him at all for being over it but it sucked for everyone involved.

      So yes, I assume it was an error. But someone should be checking up on their scheduled interviews in some way. You should know every slot and a note of speaking with them.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      I’m not saying OP shouldn’t be annoyed– I would be, too. All I’m saying is maybe it was just an error, not someone purposely standing someone up because they don’t want to tell her they’re not interested or whatever. When I hear someone say they’ve been stood up, to me it sounds like the other person did it intentionally. And the OP wrote in her letter, “I just got stood up TODAY.” To me that seems a bit premature to assume that she was stood up and will hear nothing back. Not even a full say has passed. There could be a reasonable explanation.

    5. Jennifer Thneed*

      They WERE stood up. All it means is that the other person didn’t show up at the agreed time. It doesn’t refer to method or reason, just to the bare facts. “I came to our meeting and you weren’t there, without letting me know.”

      It’s not like ghosting, it’s just a way of saying “they didn’t show up for our agreed meeting”. Whether that’s a romantic date, an interview phone screening, or a plan to meet in front of the museum and see a show, that’s what it means.

      1. Colette*

        If you’re supposed to meet a friend at the museum and they are in a fender bender on the way, did they stand you up? What about if they are in a serious accident?

        I agree with The Other Dawn that “stood up” implies a level of intention that may just not be there, and framing it that way isn’t likely to do the OP any favours (because if she tells herself it was intentional, she may approach the company that way, and will look like a jerk if her interviewer is sick/seriously injured/suffered a death in the family.

    6. Someone Else*

      My experience is “stood up” just means someone didn’t show at a previously agreed upon time, without making contact to say they weren’t coming either shortly before or after said time. So, to me, even if something did come up and the person had an emergency or some other reason, they still stood up the interview. To get stood up does not require malice or inconsiderateness. Just means they didn’t show, which they didn’t. That description requires no assumption. Unless OP3 missed some message from the interviewer who no showed, OP3 was stood up.

  17. Never*

    #4 tbh shadowing a data analyst would be pretty boring, we mostly sit at our desks all day and write code

    1. Lia*

      Seconded. If you want to watch me wrestle with code all day and build visualizations, I mean, be my guest, but it’s not super entertaining.

  18. Widgeon*


    I am also an ESL instructor and job shadowing is SO common in our industry, but not so much in other areas. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to make a major jump in career, you may need to start over at the bottom just like that college student.

    Nearly all non-profit or government-based ESL programs require some form of data analyst or entry-level areas that require data analysis, as funding is based on a number of data factors. Have you considered trying to teach at one of these and building connections or experience in these areas? For example, all of our administrative staff is required to do basic to advanced statistics on attendance/student profiles for government reports. It may be an alternative to consider.

    1. Catwoman*

      +1 for this. I’m a full time data analyst now with an educational background in art history. I got all my experience on the job, starting with a position that was student recruitment and data analysis for a fine arts college. Academia and non-profits are great places to look for these kinds of positions.

  19. boop the first*

    5. Ew, one of my previous employers had this exact system (a restaurant, of course!) and it even included the seconds. So if you’re in a rush to catch the bus and accidentally clock out at 4:59:59 it deducts 15 minutes. I guess they assume it takes an entire 15 minutes to grab your stuff and run?? It’s not like we had to count floats or change clothes or anything. It was purely a punishment angle.

    Annoyingly, I also arrive 10-15 minutes early every day, so they were definitely getting that extra time out of me too. I guess I could have just stood around until the clock told me it was paying me, but when it retroactively removes time at the end of the day, there’s no way to fight that.

    The worst part is we all relied on this cheap, dollar-store wall clock to know when to leave, and it was never accurate, so I clocked out at 4:59pm a LOT of times. I figured they stole at least a few weeks from me over that decade.

  20. peachie*

    I and a few others have a different employer from the rest of our team, and I found out last week that everyone under the other employer has to punch in and out every day, even though most of them are salaried exempt. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that! I would forget all the time and I think I’d feel like I was being watched constantly. I typically work over my scheduled hours (I’m also salaried exempt, they just have a standard 37.5 hour week schedule) but some days it’s more or less and my time in and out varies sooooo much from day to day.

  21. Ali G*

    #4 you could look into professional associations in your area that are made up of people doing the type of work you want to do. Many have events/socials and you can go even if you are not a member (you might have to pay). This is a better way to network, than shadowing. They also have job boards, and you might decide it’s worth it to join anyway.

    1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      Depending on where you are, Meetup can be a good place to find these groups. In my area, some of these are local chapters of national (or international) groups, and some are strictly local meetups. Some are more technical, others are more social-targeting-technical-people. Some are general “technology” meetups, others are more targeted to specific areas (like a particular programming language, or something a little broader like front-end development or data science). It can be worth checking to see if the tech groups in your area organize this way or not.

  22. peachie*

    OP4: No concrete advice, but I came from a similarly non-IT background and made a pretty abrupt career switch to a programmer analyst position–when I got it, I had no formal experience and had learned the programming language on my own. So it can be done! I did a little summary at the top of my resume that basically said “I taught myself how to do this but I do know how to do it,” which felt silly–I’ve never done that on a resume otherwise–but I think it actually helped to explain my non-conventional background. I can also say, anecdotally, that my team would hire someone who knew basic SQL but was interested in the work and brought other “soft skills” in a heartbeat, probably over someone who had more of a technical background but didn’t have those other qualities. Good luck!

    1. peachie*

      Also: I saw Tableau suggested in the comments and I think it’s definitely worth learning! Everyone seems to be interested in Tableau nowadays. The nice thing is that learning it isn’t dependent on having a ton of technical knowledge–in my experience, at least, the difficulties are mostly in figuring out how the software itself works. You can do a one or two week free trial, and I found it immensely helpful to go through the training videos (linked in name) one by one from the beginning and follow along; it’s not thrilling, but it will give you a solid foundation. It looks like they also have eLearning courses you can try for free now, though I don’t know much about them.

  23. neverjaunty*

    OP #2, at this point I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a hard look at that “some reason” you asked your employee. You had a reason for making a really poor choice here, and figuring out what that was – even if it’s painful or unflattering – is the best way to remediate your actions, short of withdrawing from the award.

    You might also want to talk to your direct report. He should be aware that you really appreciate his support of you but also realized later than he wasn’t in a position to give you fully honest feedback on this.

    1. Wrenn*

      I imagine because it was easy. Especially if the LW has a good rapport with their employee, you can forget the power dynamics sometimes. Probably it was a decision that wasn’t thought out completely, hence the uneasiness after the fact. I wouldn’t be reading anything too deep into it. Just make a note to not do such a thing again, because, hey, power dynamics. If it was a genuine request (as opposed to an instruction), I don’t see any harm as long as the LW apologizes to the employee and doesn’t do it again in the future.

  24. Employment Lawyer*

    That pay arrangement is 100% illegal. Most wage-and-hour employment lawyers like me take these matters on contingency (no fee) and offer free initial consults. They’re probbly doing it to all of their employees, too.

    You should call an employment lawyer, not the DOL. The DOL doesn’t often care and they are generally overworked.

    1. neverjaunty*

      Seconded. Some DOLs are more responsive than others, but a lawyer’s responsibility is to you, not to the general mass of people submitting complaints.

  25. Mo Money*

    #3: Honestly, using those exact words actually could hurt you. It would if I was the HR person who got your email. Telling the company that they are “tarnishing their brand” is pretty obnoxious. For one thing, it’s an extreme reaction to one person standing you up. Yes, it was an inconvenience to you, but it was a single mistake by a single person. It comes off as a pretty big overreaction and kind of self-important. It would be much better to just focus on what happened and not draw conclusions about the company as a whole- just say “Not sure what happened but the interviewer didn’t call me- have we gotten our wires crossed, blah blah.” And you never know when a bad impression you made can come back to bite you in the ass. (For example, you might say “I never want to work at this company, so who cares,” but what if this HR’s person’s next job is at your dream company? You never know.)

    1. MullItOver*

      Agreed! I would not even want to acknowledge an over-the-top reaction like that. At my workplace, we had someone call and not be able to get through. It turned out our phone system was having issues, but we didn’t realize it on our end. Well, instead of sending a reasonable email to us, he sent us a long rant in which he accused us of purposefully ignoring him and went on and on about how unprofessional we were being. It was ridiculous. Unless the company has previously done something to make you question them, it’s not the best way to handle a situation that could be an honest mistake/misunderstanding.

  26. Mo Money*

    Forgot to add: It’s also kind of condescending because obviously the HR person knows it’s not great for the recruiter to stand up a candidate. You’re not actually giving the HR person new information here. HR is not going to say “Eureka! Recruiters should not stand up candidates!”- You know it, they know it, and for you to point it out comes off like you’re just trying to give them a hard time.

  27. Not My Money*

    My industry divides an hour into 6 minute increments (9:00 to 9:06 = 9.1, 9:07 to 9:12 = 9.2, etc.). There’s a minimum of rounding and the math is easy. Of course, employees are encouraged to write down “clock time” because they don’t always get the conversion correct.

    1. Bea*

      They have you do your own decimal conversion *shiver* that would be even more tragic for payroll. I trust nobody’s math skills. Timeclock programs are so cheap now

  28. Hiring Mgr*

    #3, contacting HR over one missed call seems like a bit of an overreaction, no? Things happen all the time–calendar issues, urgent deadlines, out of the office last minute, whatever… Yes the recruiter should have contacted you to apologize, reschedule, etc but still…

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I think that OP #3 could give the recruiter a few days to reach out first, but I don’t think it’s an overreaction to let someone know beyond that. It’s possible the recruiter had an emergency and was out of the office and no one realized they were supposed to do this interview.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        A few *days*? Ah, hell no.

        A recruiter failed to call me recently. I emailed about 90 minutes after our agreed time and asked if I had mistaken the time? (Turns out I didn’t give them the house number but I was waiting for the call on the house line, while sending calls on my mobile phone to voicemail because that’s what I always do. The phone call happened and all was good. But notice that I took on myself to have made the error when I reached out to them.)

    2. Bea*

      I think contacting is the right response BUT the tone is way off. We had a 9am logged as 9:30 once. The person reached out at 9:15 inquiring if something was wrong. I immediately apologized and explained the error, then went to snatch up the person who was doing the call.

      We hired the person. It was all good.

      But if they lectured me. It’s not how we roll here and I would feel like we weren’t meant to work together.

  29. McWhadden*

    There are a lot of employment things in the US that are technically illegal but incredibly difficult to actually legally act upon. (Like discrimination on race, age, gender, or disability can be very difficult to prove.) But, luckily, this is not one! It’s relatively easy to investigate and act on.

  30. AnnoyedAnon*

    My work is non-exempt too and does a weird time clock thing. It’s an office job in a high rise and bills to 6 minute intervals.

    To clock in, one has to hit ctrl alt delete, enter a username and password, open one’s email, find the specific email with a link to the online time clock, click that link, enter a username and password and THEN one is “in.”

    You can bet that since this system began a month ago, I rush inside, clock in, and THEN put away my lunch in the break room/get silverware for breakfast/get coffee, and in the evening I am just waiting for the clock to change on the last minute.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      My email is often a bit slow opening, so to save some time (if I were you), I’d save that link in my browser so I could get to it without the email step.

      Of course, with a system like that, they’re also making sure you don’t even log off at the end of the day, let alone shut down – because starting up will take longer. I’m not surprised you’re annoyed.

    2. Rebecca*

      Me too! I was able to set up a desktop shortcut to ADP, and saved my user name and password, but I still have to boot my computer, wait for it to give me the network log in screen, then I enter my user name and password, wait for Windows to load…then finally I can double click on the ADP shortcut. Several more clicks later, I can clock in. I do the exact same thing, once I do all of that, I go get coffee, put my lunch in the fridge, whatever, but I don’t do a lick of work until exactly starting time.

  31. The Tin Man*

    OP #4, I have successfully transitioned to the world of data! My job title isn’t “Data Analyst” but it’s a good job I’m happy in that certainly uses some (though not all) of my data analytics skills. I do have a role of Master Data Coordinator for the project I was currently put on, though.

    I am going to reiterate what other people have said. My number one thing that helped me transition was to take a Data Analytics bootcamp at a local university. I quit my job and did the 8-week, full-time option but they also have a part-time option and I think they have since added an online option. I can even use it as credit if I want to get a Master’s at that university. Through the course there were networking events, a capstone project, etc. Heck there are still networking events I go to. I didn’t get my current job through those but it still helped me get my current job and gave me very useful skills.

    What did help me get my current job was:
    1. I went through a temp agency. They got me an interview with a place (see 2), then I was hired full-time once I showed what I can do.
    2. In a previous job that had basically nothing to do with data (assistant manager at a gym) I did all sorts of things creating spreadsheets and various tools and talked about my troubleshooting when there were discrepancies between the handwritten logs and the digital logs. This showed both my comfort in Excel and my ability and willingness to dig into problems when and if I found them. Turned out to be very relevant to the position I was interviewing for.

    Also, DataKind is an organization specifically for data professionals to volunteer their expertise. I didn’t do this myself but it may be worth looking into in addition to the other ideas people had here.

  32. Lygeia*

    #4 I work at a recruiting firm specializing in placing analytics professionals (though I’m not one of the recruiters). Analytics may be an area where you’ll want to consider going back for an advanced degree. A faster option (though not quite as attractive to hiring managers) is to enroll in an analytics focused bootcamp. Just be sure you do your research; not all programs are created equal. Otherwise, there are a lot of resources out there that will give you hands on experience – things like Kaggle competitions are great. Also, a lot of cities have meetups for these professionals, which are great for networking.

    It is a profession where you’ll run into a lot of employers being wary of hiring someone without experience especially if you don’t have a formal education in the field. It’s doable but will be harder. Good luck!

  33. Shawn*

    Many thanks for your reply to my question about the no show interviewer! Very useful in these days of sometimes under-experienced HR staff or hiring managers.

  34. mmppgh*

    Lw3 – I would definitely reach out but I wouldn’t shame them. Simply reach out to the recruiter and say, “I thought we had a phone interview at such and such, was I mistaken?” This portrays you as a professional trying to solve a problem, Not a complainer. Any number of things could have happened (sick employee, emergency, calendar snafu.) Yes, they should have planned better and realized their error but companies employ humans and sometimes mistakes are made. I would not be so quick to jump to conclusions and seek to categorize the entire company as horrible over one error that, to your personal knowledge, only happened to you. It looks petty otherwise and no one is impressed when you go straight to the boss to report an employee’s error…especially if you didn’t attempt to clear it up with the employee first.

  35. Wade Lynch*

    Reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, I learned that it was once common to not pay for any fraction of an hour; that is, if you worked for 8 hours and 55 minutes, you were paid for eight hours only. Also:

    “They had always required the men to be on the killing beds and ready for work at seven o’clock, although there was almost never any work to be done till the buyers out in the yards had gotten to work, and some cattle had come over the chutes. That would often be ten or eleven o’clock, which was bad enough, in all conscience; but now, in the slack season, they would perhaps not have a thing for their men to do till late in the afternoon. And so they would have to loaf around, in a place where the thermometer might be twenty degrees below zero! At first one would see them running about, or skylarking with each other, trying to keep warm; but before the day was over they would become quite chilled through and exhausted, and, when the cattle finally came, so near frozen that to move was an agony. And then suddenly the place would spring into activity, and the merciless “speeding-up” would begin!”

    Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle (p. 59). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

  36. Wasabi*

    Re OP4, I have a question: I looked at all the responses to this question and people cited coding, data science, using Tableau, SQL, analysis and policy e.g dept of education, data visualization, SAS, python, IT, and managing and organizing data in Excel as data analytics. These seems rather a broad swath to me. I was considering taking an 8mth program in data analytics, but I could not actually figure out what I might be qualified to do after it. One advantage I could see was I would take stats. The testimonials from the people who had finished the program was that they do analytics for e.g. major banks, but no info on what that looks like. So as a discipline, that might include anything (and more?) that’s on that list I compiled? I come from a qualitative social research background and of course what I do there is “analytics” too (and not having hard analytics like stats has been hurting me as I look for work), but I would never call doing qual work “analytics”. So, those in the know, is data analytics really just shorthand for a _number_ of skills and processes and within that universe you fig out what you like, what you’re good at, where’s you niche?

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