my friend doesn’t understand work, my coworker sent me unsolicited advice about quitting gracefully, and more

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

1. My friend doesn’t understand how work works

I have a friend who just started his first job (ever, never worked a part-time job) after graduating undergrad. He is taking two gap years between med school and undergrad, and he’s working in an admin position on campus in the meantime.

My friend really just doesn’t understand how work works! Though he is the most junior person in his office, he constantly gets annoyed if other people in the office ask him for help on anything. He says he doesn’t want to be a crutch for them to use. He seemed generally stunned when a coworker asked to send out a package when he is already sending several out for the office. It’s not that he is swamped with work – he just doesn’t want to be seen as the person who does everyone’s mail.

The rest of the lab IS swamped, while my friend watches TV shows daily. He also takes long breaks walking around campus, without alerting anyone, and then clocks all this time as time worked. Eventually his boss said something about needing to set hard deadlines for assignments because things were slipping through the cracks. He freaked out, saying that he doesn’t need to be micromanaged. But in reality, he is purposefully drawing out his assignments by watching TV, so they’re definitely not being completed in an effective manner. He’s in an isolated part of the building, so nobody checks in on him to see if he’s actually working or not. I don’t believe that anyone is aware that he slacks off, as he describes the methods used to look busy and to hide his TV screen.

He complains constantly to me about these issues, saying that he doesn’t want to be the “B****” of the office just because he is the youngest. In other aspects of his life, he is truly very hardworking, so I feel like he just really does not understand how work works!

It’s not my place to say anything, as I’m not his manager, but as a friend, I would like to make it clear that he’s acting unprofessionally. He’s counting on letters of recommendation from this office for his applications, and I don’t want him to jeopardize these. I normally act shocked when he says he watched TV or whatnot to show it’s not standard behavior, but it’s not getting through. Should I stay out of it or say something?

You can definitely say something as his friend, but you should be prepared for the likelihood that you won’t get through to him. But if he’s telling you this stuff, there’s no reason you can’t have a natural reaction when he does — like, “Dude, this is how work works — when you’re the most junior person and have time on your hands, of course they’re going to ask you for help. There’s nothing weird about that. And “Hey, are you still counting on this job for letters of recommendation? Because you’re putting those in jeopardy by the way you’re acting at work.” And “You’re going to get fired if you keep that up.” And so forth. (In fact, if you don’t say that sort of thing, you’re going to be in a weird position when he tells you this stuff. It’s a normal response, and you should feel free to have it.)

But your friend sounds tremendously immature, and someone did him a disservice by not requiring him to have a job before now (or at least preparing him for how work works). It might be that nothing will get through to him until he experiences the natural consequences of his behavior. As a friend, it’s understandable to want to try — and you should! — but it’s not on you if you don’t get through to him.

2. After I resigned, my coworker sent me unsolicited advice about quitting gracefully

I gave my three weeks notice at my current job yesterday, and things have already gotten weird! About an hour after I had the conversation with my manager, I received an email from a colleague who is close with my manager, but who I am not close with. He congratulated me on my new position, and then sent three web links to articles on how to “gracefully resign.” All three links have these in the title, it seems like that’s the phrase he googled.

Am I being paranoid, or does this seem as pointed as it feels? I’m not sure where it’s coming from, as I’ve never had any negative feedback about my professionalism, and so far, my resignation has been very by the books. I’d like to ask him whether my manager feels that I haven’t been professional in my resignation, but I’m wondering if it’s just better to let this one go?

The details of my resignation: Yesterday, I emailed my manager in the morning asking when she had time to meet and talk. She’s a busy person, so she asked if I could call, to which I responded that I would rather talk in person. We confirmed a meeting time but not five minutes later, I got a call from her asking for a “hint.” I said that I would just need to have the whole conversation, a hint would be hard, and she said to just tell her. So I did! I told her that it had been a hard decision, that I had enjoyed working here, but that I had accepted another job offer and that my last day would be three weeks out. I also let her know that I still wanted to meet in person, because I was working on a transition plan but wanted to make sure our priorities matched up. It was a short call, but it seemed to go okay at the time. If anything, she seemed disappointed or sad.

For what it’s worth, my manager does have a history of speaking poorly of people behind their backs once they’ve done something to make her unhappy. I’m concerned that she’s not telling people the truth about my resignation, but I’m not sure if that matters.

Your resignation sounds perfectly done — you tried to meet in person but said it over the phone when she pushed you to (which is better than playing games about it) and what you said was everything you should say when resigning. So I don’t know what’s up with your coworker! Sending those links would have been an extremely snotty move even if you had been unprofessional, which you weren’t; you’re not even close with this guy and he no standing to send you unsolicited advice in this context. It’s bizarre.

So yeah, either he is extremely weird and inappropriate (is he?) and did this on his own, or your manager misrepresented what happened and he’s still weird and inappropriate enough to think this is appropriate for him to do.

If you feel like pursuing it, you could walk over to him and say, “I’m confused by the email you sent me about resigning. Did you have a concern about the way I gave notice?” (I would do this because I would be irate and would want to force him to explain his thinking, but you might be better off just leaving it alone.)

You could also say to your boss, “Did you or Bob have some concern about the way I resigned? After he heard I’m leaving, he sent me some articles about how to resign gracefully and I can’t figure out why.”

Or you could just let it go, of course. But personally I’d enjoy making it awkward for them.

3. Should we stagger our employee start dates?

I am the HR department of one in a pretty small company with about 30 employees. We recruit from a few schools to have a class of “20XX” join during the summer following their graduation. This summer we had six employees start in a three-week span. It was really hard on a lot of senior management to train those six (even with lower lever employees helping), and they are still really under-utilized, months later.

Our presidents have decided they would like to stagger the start dates of the 2019 class, having two start in June, two in July, two in August, and two in September. We’ve never done it this way, and at the last meeting, I received pushback from members of our recruiting team (not HR employees or senior employees, but employees early in their career who have connections with the schools we recruit at) saying that it is better to have them all start in one large group. They said that it could be awkward to start by yourself, and then whoever starts in June would have more of an advantage over who starts in September. I can see both sides of the argument, but being green myself in the workforce, I was wondering if you had any advice about the best way to schedule these new employees start dates?

It should be up to the managers who will be managing/training them. They’re the ones best equipped to say what will work best for them and their teams.

But for the record, your junior employees’ arguments are weird. It’s very, very normal to start a new job by yourself without a class of other new hires. I mean, yes, it might be nicer to start with a group of other new hires, but that’s not crucial and it isn’t more important than your actual business needs. And there aren’t unfair advantages to starting three months before someone else. People start jobs at different dates all the time. It’s how work goes. None of this is a reason to override what will work best for the managers who will be hiring them.

4. Recruiting someone who works for an important customer

We are a very small, very specialized company. We need to add an experienced analyst very quickly – we are drowning in work. There is one analyst that we would love to have but he works for a customer, a critically important customer. We absolutely do not want to damage our relationship with the customer or the analyst so poaching the person seems out of the question. However, I’d like to legitimately ask him if he knows any analysts in our field who are looking for an opportunity and might be a good fit for our company. If he knows someone, that would be terrific and we’d want to meet them. If, however, he sees this as an opportunity for himself that’s even better.

We’ve worked with this person for a few years and have a good relationship with him. When we’ve been at his site or seen him at industry meetings, it’s not unusual to have dinner with him and be generally, casually social with him.

How would I do approach him about this opening without crossing any ethical boundaries or appearing to be poaching from a customer? Would this be better if our lead analyst (his counterpart at our company) were to contact him or can I, pseudo-HR person, do it?

Your proposed solution — asking him if he knows anyone who might be interested in the position and hoping he volunteers himself if he’s interested — is exactly how people do this when they’re worried about the optics around trying to hire someone away from a customer (or partner organization or so forth). That way, if you hire him and your customer/his employer is upset, you can truthfully say he threw his hat in the ring himself, as opposed to you deliberately trying to lure him away. (However, you should also keep in mind that some people are really territorial about employees — not that they should be, but they are — and no matter how you frame it, there’s a risk that your critically important customer will be upset.)

I think it’s fine for you to be the one to do it, but your lead analyst might have better rapport with him. Really, though, this is mostly about getting the job posting in front of him and then seeing what he does from there.

{ 419 comments… read them below }

  1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

    OP3, at first job after college, I was one of 20 new grads. We had one-week training as a group in late June and then started 3-5 at a time every two weeks through the summer. Worked perfectly, as that allowed us to be matched to new projects as they started.

    1. Grits McGee*

      Yeah, I was onboarded in a similar process for an entry level job, about halfway through the process. It worked really well because the older hires* had just been trained themselves, so they were familiar with the process and also what they needed to know as new employees.

      *ie, the ones that had been hired 2-6 weeks before the newest batch of hires

    2. Blue Eagle*

      Often times the biggest problem with being the last to start is when the company gives preference by seniority and those who start one week earlier get priority (e.g. who gets to put in their vacation days first or who gets preference for not working on a holiday, etc)

      Hopefully the company will treat everyone starting in the same summer as having the same start date for senority purposes.

      1. Wheels*

        I came here to say a similar thing. Sometimes things like payrises and bonuses have cut off points and that might have an impact on morale if for all other purposes they are treated as a cohort.

        1. Gravy*

          Yes! If you go around referring to them as “The Class”, make sure they’re all treated the same. If the people who start in June are eligible for a year-end bonus, but the people who start in September aren’t, some members of “The Class” are gonna be mighty pissed off.

        2. Smithy*

          Exactly what I came here to say – particularly if your fiscal year ends at the end of September. If someone who starts in June is positioned for raises/bonuses/etc. vs the September start – that can make the group feel far less “cohort”. On the flip side for someone starting in June – being told you have to wait longer than someone starting in September to be considered for a raise can also sting if it’s found out in the process.

          However it’s handled, I think just making sure that you’re upfront with this “cohort” around that is important.

          1. Minocho*

            Ugh. That’s awful. And really inconsiderate of the senior employee.

            Our office we have to submit requests for prime time off very early. All the managers then negotiate who gets what, taking into account previous years, etc. Prime times are generally Spring Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m sure people end up disappointed sometimes, but in general people are able to get what they need, even if they’re not super senior.

      2. Quickbeam*

        This can have a long lasting impact! I worked a place where 2 coworkers had 40 years in (!) but one was hired a week before the other. It still impacted vacation picks. One always got Christmas off, the other did not.

        But I supposed no one is ever going to work 40 years for an employer any more.

    3. Angelinha*

      Since they’re specifically recruiting new graduates, who presumably graduate in May, isn’t it kind of weird to tell some they can start immediately, and some that they have to wait around over the summer to start in September? It’s not like most of these people will have jobs that they can leave 2-3 weeks ahead of their start date, unless they get a short-term summer job.

      1. Angelinha*

        I guess I also think that it’s much easier to train a group than to stagger training, as long as you put some resources into it up front. (Maybe that’s something last year’s cohort could help with?)

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Having had extensive experience with this in the past 18 months, YES, soooo much easier to train a group! We usually bring in a newly-graduated class and do their training together for the first few months. And they all met each other and developed connections with people from Day 1, which was nice for them as well.

          This year, I have lost track of how many times I’ve done orientation and start-up training. We hired a bunch of great people, but no one was able to start at the same time and there was off-cycle turnover that had to be dealt with. It was hell on me and they are not nearly as connected to their peers as the ones who started together. I feel like I’ve done nothing but interview, orient, and train this year, and that’s maybe 1/5 of my job.

      2. BadWolf*

        Hopefully, you would have some room to offer different starting times so grads could pick times that worked better for them. Some people need/want to start right after graduation. Some people might be able to/want to start later in the summer.

      3. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        We were asked what we preferred as to start date. I took a two-week vacation using earnings from my college job and started in July. Perfect! We were all treated equally in terms of seniority as well.

        1. Tupac Coachella*

          That was my thought-some of the graduates may prefer to have a little break, especially if they have a guaranteed job at the end of it, while others may want to start getting a paycheck right away. And if they do the whole hiring process in spurts instead of all at once, they may capture recent grads that needed one more class over the summer or took a few weeks off before job searching.

      4. Notapirate*

        Unless I really loved the company and roles I would accept another offer that started immediately rather than be unemployed for 3 months. My savings were drained after undergrad. People who had more money maybe wouldnt mind the break. I would have had to take a second job to make it to September following graduation in May.

        1. Artemesia*

          Lots of people want that last summer off and can live at home or have a long trip planned — and some want to start immediately because they need that paycheck coming in. I’ll bet if you want to do the stagger, you could match it with the preferences of the group.

      5. treena*

        Also if you hire someone in April/May for a start date in September, it’s very likely that you’re going to lose people to other jobs who are willing to hire them right away. If you stagger the hiring, so you’re hiring in May for June, June for July, etc., you’re going to miss out on the best candidates who land a job right out of school.

        1. Logan*

          I was thinking the same thing, although at minimum it would be good to offer your top candidates the choice of a starting time (some may want a later date, and some might want to start immediately). If some candidates are mediocre then a later date won’t affect much, but I wouldn’t ask a top choice to wait 4 months.

        2. Bostonian*

          Yeah, even if the candidate(s) CHOOSE the later start date, thinking that they’ll use the time to travel, spend time with family, etc., it’s also time that another opportunity may present itself.. especially if they were interviewing at other companies at the time

      6. M. Albertine*

        I took the summer off before starting full-time work; it was my last summer vacation! I used it to travel, move, and recover from school. I did have a part-time job to fund it, but it definitely worked out for both the company and for me. Doesn’t hurt to ask!

      7. Kiki*

        I think, depending on the company and the crop of new grads, there’d be the chance of an organic spread of preferred start dates. Graduations at different schools are different dates at throughout May and June, some people may need extra time to figure out where to live if they’re coming from far away, and some new employees would seize an opportunity to travel for a few weeks/months before they have to take that as PTO. I opted to start my first job after college in September for a combination of those reasons and because I was able to transition my part-time college gig to a full-time gig for a bit over a month.

      8. Shark Whisperer*

        I agree with everyone else that there are some who would want to start later, given the option. When my partner graduated, he had been working for the campus Health Center on a project he really cared about, but wasn’t going to turn into a full time job. Starting a full time job in September really worked for him because the Health Center was willing to continue paying him for the summer so he could wrap up his project. I get that this is an extremely specific example, but I’m using it as an example that everyone’s circumstances are different, so I think if you allow people some choice of when they start, it might actually benefit some grads to be able to start later.

      9. Yikes Dude*

        Quite frankly, they might be opening up a better pool of candidates if they hire for August or September. Many people would love to be able to take a month or two to figure out their living situation, travel, or even just plain catch their breath without the stress of job hunting. Top tier candidates have enough interest that a lot of them really can choose the job that will give them a few weeks/months to get their crap together before starting.

      10. jb*

        That type of thing is totally normal for public accounting. At large firms they often have just a couple large cohorts (June, September, December), but at smaller ones they may have more smaller ones.

      11. Sarah N*

        This would be what I would be concerned about. If this is an industry where this sort of hiring schedule is typical, I think your firm could easily lose out on good candidates who get offers elsewhere. If you are graduating in May, and you have a choice of two jobs, one of which starts in June and another of which starts in September….obviously you are going to choose the June job even if you have somewhat of a preference for the September company otherwise, because what new grad can go without a salary for 3-4 months! I think your company will be stuck with the September hires who couldn’t find work anywhere else, meaning they’re probably not the most competitive people.

        If these weren’t new grads, this wouldn’t really matter. Or, if this hiring schedule is something totally unique to your company, it also doesn’t matter — but I’m guessing there may be competing companies out there looking to hire new grads as well, in which case you risk losing the best hires to them.

      12. Meteor*

        I agree – When I graduated college, I only took a short 2-week gap before starting my permanent job. I was not financially in a position where I could just wait 3 months to start a job. I think this company would be alienating high performers and forcing them to take a job elsewhere, if someone else offers them a sooner start date.

      13. Amber T*

        That would be my concern – there might not be enough good/qualified candidates who want to wait until September. Our class starts June/July (the few exceptions have been at the new employee’s request/requirement from previous jobs, but we’re talking about a few weeks, and it’s a very industry specific weird thing). But depending on the specific industry, it might be post “hiring season.”

    4. samiratou*

      I can see it being much easier from an IT & facilities perspective to have them start as a group, but I don’t know if that’s what the recruiters are thinking or not.

      Also, they might lose people who would rather find a job right after they graduate rather than have to find a temporary job for 1-3 months or go without pay while they wait.

      I can understand why the managers have a hard time with that many starting at once, but I think someone needs to sit down and go through the pros and cons of a staggered approach vs the current one and see which works best. It doesn’t sound like any solution will be ideal.

      1. TootsNYC*

        well, if all the hirees are known, IT can do all the behind-the-scenes setup all at once, for efficiency’s sake.

        But in terms of rolling out to the desktop, it might actually be easier on IT to do it a few at a time!

    5. uranus wars*

      Well and I was thinking it might be nice for the new hires too, some may want the job but have something going on immediately after graduation that causes them to have to pass…a July, August or September start date availability might also work in the companies favor.

    6. Ms Lady*

      A lot of people are saying that they would loose good candidates by starting them later, but I wholeheartedly disagree! I think that staggering is an excellent choice, provided that OP gives them a choice. The reality is that some recent grads may want to start immediately, and some will have more flexibility (and may not even want to start early if given a choice to start later).

    7. Safely Retired*

      Offering later starts and provide them to those who want them sounds fine. However I would have kept job hunting if my start date was more than a month or seven weeks out. By the time someone graduates these days they have debt up to their eyeballs on top of ongoing expenses.
      My counter proposal probably would not work, but anyway…
      Pick a date late enough for the entire group. Start them ALL on that day. Make two changes to their training. First, have the high-level managers deal with the entire group at ounce, not piecemeal. Second, pass off the job to lower level people as soon as possible and let them do the one-on-one or small group training.
      This should result in more group cohesion than staggering.
      I too started with a large group of graduates, albeit in a much larger company. We were each assigned to a department, and most of our time was with the others in the department. Presentations from higher up were spread over a few months, just one or two days a week. There was VERY strong group identification, valuable when you consider how dispersed around the company we would eventually be. We would always know someone over in that other department…

  2. Teacake*

    #1 I think you could tell your friend that he’s putting you in a very difficult position because he’s describing behaviour that will get him fired sooner or later, and you don’t want that to happen to him – and that you’re happy to advise him on how to behave at work if he wants, but it’s hard for you to hear about how he’s sabotaging himself. You could also make judicious use of: “I hope you’re not saying that because you think I agree with you.”

    However. Some people just won’t ever hear it. There’s one person in my social group who has a history of this kind of behaviour, and whenever he starts a new job we basically mentally start a book on how long it’s going to be before he flounces. He doesn’t want to listen to anyone’s input (believe me we’ve tried), so we’ve long since had to give up trying to do anything except change the subject.

    1. valentine*

      OP1: Tell him someone’s granny invented skiving, people know how long it takes to complete his tasks, and he should be doing them and asking for more work. Then, tell him to get a new audience for this particular sexist nonsense.

        1. Lance*

          Yeah, I’m not seeing anything sexist in this; I’m seeing a guy who thinks he can coast by, watch TV or wander off, and just generally not do much of his work.

          1. Liane*

            The OP quotes their friend as saying, “I don’t want to be the office B—-…” (the word for a female dog) which is now widely, and rightly IMO, viewed as sexist/misogynistic language unless the conversation is about pets. That’s my guess.

            And I don’t think I want this slacker as my doctor or anyone else’s.

            1. I Love Thrawn*

              As the office admin., I was a bit ticked off about that part. Nobody’s job is beneath dignity.

            2. Blue Bird*

              Agreed. His tone seems bro-ish and sexist. It seems he deems any work that is ‘traditionally female’ as an insult to his person.

              I’d hate to be his office manager.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                OP, this is something that you might want to bring up. Explain to him that his use of office b!tch has more implications than he is currently thinking about. My go-to expression is “That’s not cool.” So I would suggest something like, “The term office B is Not Cool and people think of it as sexist language.”

                Please keep in mind, OP, that we can wish our friends the best all we want but they only get what they work at. I am not too impressed to see that he has this aspect to his personality. Perhaps you can say something along the lines of “the problem with slacking is that it bites us later on.”

                I have a friend who is a verrrry hard worker. Friend decided that he did not need to learn Spanish. He slacked off on this one point. And wouldn’t you know it? He had need in his work day to know that Spanish he never learned. This is nothing a person can pull out of thin air at the last minute. You either have it or you don’t. Slacking off bites us later on.

                1. AnnaBananna*

                  Honestly, I think this kid (yes, I called him a kid, you’ll see why soon) would be the least worry about his language use.

                  LW1, are you also going to med school after? If not, no worries. But do remind him – repeatedly – that he will indeed be the b**** starting now until he becomes an attending. The first time he gives attitude like that, he’ll start getting shuffled around rotations and never get hired anywhere. Med school and subsequent internships are a whoppingly HUGE network of folks that have worked together. There is nothing that will sink your rep faster than not pulling your weight. In fact, send him this link: as it has great advice about habits that he needs to set in stone now so he’s not overwhelmed when he gets there – because he will be in way over his head if this is how he approaches his work ethic.

                  Then after that conversation, let it go. If he wants to sink himself, that’s on him. I’m sure your leadership can realize when someone isn’t using their potential.

                  a medical school program evaluator

            3. Murphy*

              Right? He’s going to be the kind of doctor who treats the nurses and other “lower level” staff like crap.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                We had one here when he walked down the hallway the nurses HID from him. They usually went into a utility room or closet because he would never in a thousand years walk into one of those rooms.

                1. Amber T*

                  But he would be the smartest/best/most accomplished doctor ever so why wouldn’t you want him as a doctor. /s

              2. samiratou*

                This was my first thought. Please, don’t let this guy get admitted to med school like this! The world doesn’t need more doctors who think actual work is beneath them.

            4. Antilles*

              It’s interesting thought about language, because that’s a semi-common phrase I’ve encountered here in Atlanta and the South and isn’t normally viewed as sexist/gendered – just a convenient and easily-understood shorthand for for “the person who does all the undesirable crap tasks that no sane person enjoys or wants to do”. If you called a *person* a “b”, then it definitely would be viewed as sexist, but using it as a generic term “office b” does not seem to be viewed with those same gender connotations in this region.
              (For the record, the guy is still a total idiot in plenty of other ways. And frankly, being the “office b” and dealing with stuff like mail delivery is often just part of the deal with being the low man on the totem pole)

              1. Kyrielle*

                And, honestly, he’s “working in an admin position” – so not only is he the newest in the office, but, it probably really *IS* his job.

              2. Holly*

                I don’t want to derail on this, but words becoming common parlance do not erase obviously sexist/racist roots. There is a *reason* why “the person who does all the undesirable crap tasks no sane person enjoys or wants to do” is a gendered term. Funnily enough, that definition describes what a lot of women deal with, and is also a reason why all of these AI “assistants” like Siri, Alexa, etc. are women, and why secretaries etc are considered “female” professions. So I don’t think it’s accurate to say it’s a neutral term, and considering the amount of times I hear it used as a common phrase in NYC, I don’t think it’s regional.

                1. Observer*

                  Eh, it’s not just the “roots”. This is an *actively* sexist term. That word is still used as a specific female pejorative. And the phrase basically says that the person whose job office scut-work is is, almost by definition, a woman who we have no need to have any respect for.

              3. Yay commenting on AAM!*

                I think the term “office b—h” is not “female dog/sexist term for a woman,” but more akin to the term “prison b—h,” which is a term for a low-ranking person who is physically and sexually assaulted for the gratification of the higher ranking people. And in those situations, the “b—h” is typically male.

                I am female and over the years I’ve become very cautious about picking up grunt work that’s not in my job description simply because I have a uterus. I’ve even had to be careful about picking up grunt work that’s *in* my job description- when I supervised part-time staff, I had a group of them start calling out at the last minute on the grounds that “Well you’re there and you’re not doing anything so you can cover my shift.” I had to completely overhaul how we covered for staff absences because they were taking advantage and my work was not getting done while I covered theirs.

                1. LadyPhoenix*

                  “Prison B*tch” is a very gendered term. It is about toxic masculinity and often these dudes are raped or treatwd as “women” because prisons are all abput alpha dude bs.

                2. SleepyInSeattle*

                  “I think the term “office b—h” is not “female dog/sexist term for a woman,” but more akin to the term “prison b—h,” which is a term for a low-ranking person who is physically and sexually assaulted for the gratification of the higher ranking people. And in those situations, the “b—h” is typically male.”

                  Just because a term is used to refer to a man does not mean it’s not a gendered term. In your example, a prison b___h is someone who is who is “physically and sexually assaulted for the gratification of the higher ranking people” –so…like a woman. Basically the weaker man who is treated as any woman would be were they to be around in that situation. When guys call each other a “little b___h” it’s insulting a man by implying he’s exhibiting some trait that is undesirable in men because it’s a traditionally female trait. It’s about weakness. being less strong. Less worthy of respect. The patriarchy hurts men too. It’s still sexism.

                3. Aveline*

                  Just because it’s used in that context doesn’t make it not sexist

                  In fact, the reason prisoners use the term is to demean the male victims forther by feminizing them.

                  The term B@tch is sexist. Full stop.

                4. JSPA*

                  any etymologically, it supposedly comes (presumably by way of cajuns???) from “biche” (female sweetheart, from the french for doe; “ma biche.”) And then the two usages melded.

                  It’s still not a professional term, nor a professional attitude. With luck, he’ll get fired, and get one last chance to rethink his attitude before he buys himself (and those around him) a whole lot of trouble, doing this sort of thing in a role where it really matters.

              4. Aveline*

                Maybe that’s how it’s used in Atlanta, but please don’t speak for he whole South.

                You tried to say that to some of my female clients who are also Southern and you’d have your block knocked offf

                My experience having lived all over the US is that it isn’t regional like “bless your heart”. It’s generational. I hear it a lot by people who are either GenX or in their 20s who want to be edgy and cool.

              5. Working Mom Having It All*

                I think the idea is that it’s sexist to assume that it’s women’s job to do all the “undesirable” work, and that being in a support position is for women, or worse, “bitches”. Which as a term is super dehumanizing in general and not just an interchangeable term for woman. If this guy was saying he feels like he’s getting stuck as the “mom” of the office, I’d be irritated, and it would be sexist, but admin work as “bitch work” is completely beyond the pale. Like “report to HR” awful if this happened in the workplace and not as an aside to a friend in private time.

                While I suppose it’s quaint to note that in parts of the South this is still considered acceptable everyday speech, that doesn’t make it not deeply misogynist. It means that rampant, oppressive misogyny is still the norm in those parts of the South. (I would also, as a southerner who knows smart and respectful southerners, doubt that this way of speaking in a professional context is considered acceptable. You might meet a few fratty southern bro types who don’t think anything of saying that privately, but it’s in no way just a normal turn of phrase. Even in the South.

              6. Mookie*

                The word is not exotic and everyone recognizes its permutations, all negative, all gendered. You may recall a certain someone unable to pull, claiming he “moved like a bitch”–that is, poorly and unsuccessfully and weakly.

                For more Performative Confusion cum Pedantic Amateur Etymology Hour, see whenever someone understandably balks at talk of Country Matters, where the invariably handwave is We Use It Differently There. No, you don’t use it ‘differently.’ You use it in the way intended, the way we were all socialized to. It doesn’t matter whether individual speakers accept that it’s sexist or not. Its level of sexism is independent of how often it is used regionally or in certain dialects.

            5. AdAgencyChick*

              Yeah, I got a strong whiff of sexism from that, too. My team has someone like this (not in my line of reporting, or I’d be coming down on him HARD), who pisses and moans about the administrative aspects of his entry-level job and thinks he shouldn’t have to do it. His counterpart, a WOC, never complains about the same work. This kid has never said out loud that he thinks it’s women’s work (though he has said it’s beneath him), but I smell dude entitlement, and even more so with OP’s friend since he actually said “office b—-.”

            6. Aphrodite*

              My first thought on reading this was that this guy is always, always going to think he’s above anyone else. (Mommy and Daddy teaching him that no doubt.)

              OP, I’d leave him alone. No advice. The reason is because he needs to learn that he’s not, that his behaviors and decisions WILL impact his future life, and that he cannot go around trashing those around him. He will abuse nurses and other medical personnel, he will make patient interactions miserable, and he will not be a decent doctor. He needs serious consequences before he appreciates any of that so I say leave him alone. Let him complain or do whatever he does. He may get away with it now but it won’t last. And then . . . karma.

          2. LGC*

            Also, in addition, he’s doing a job that was predominantly female for a long time and acting like this. (I’m gonna use the s-word here, but we would have called Fergus a secretary 30 years ago.)

        2. Mary Connell*

          OP1 quoted the slacker as calling administrative work “b****” work.

          It’s possible that it’s a general and ignorant use of the term and he didn’t mean to suggest that menial or secretarial work should only be done by low-caste females, but … the actual term is gendered.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            I’m picturing “Admin job: ya’ basic,” a la The Good Place. The insult is gendered, but he isn’t thinking that this is women’s work so much as that it’s intruding on his hang time.

            Objectively, this is a really weird way to spend his gap years, and moreso when he hasn’t applied to med schools yet. I can see the essay now: “I decided to take a couple of years to catch up on my Netflix backlog. Weirdly, my job kept trying to get me to mail packages instead, and dodging that was A Challenge I Have Overcome In My Working Life.”

            1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

              Yeah it’s super weird. A more typical pre-med gap year would be like global health/peace corps or working in a medical research lab as a lab tech. The second one is possibly what this is but if so it doesn’t sound like the kind of experience that would help an application.

              The friend sound unhappy in his position and maybe unaware of how much he is self-sabotaging.

              Getting a job you hate and doing it as little as you possibly can is not a recipe for successful advancement in any field. OP’s friend should rethink what he is doing with his time.

              1. Holly*

                I was thinking this… I genuinely wonder how someone who never had to work before all of a sudden is taking an admin job and not volunteering/doing research for two years before medical school. And is watching TV on the job, not studying for MCATs…

            2. Kathleen_A*

              Yeah, I doubt that the “women’s work” thing is the problem. The problem is the “This work is beneath me” thing. His terminology is gendered, but the feeling is, alas, common no matter the speaker’s gender.

              And while I appreciate the OP’s loyalty to his/her friend, I am just really finding myself disliking this guy. There can be a lot of arrogance in the medical field, and that he has this “I’m too good for this” attitude already – long before he’s got any actual reasons (e.g., many years of work and study) to feel arrogant – does not bode well.

              And I am also pretty sure that, on some level, he does in fact know enough about work works to know that he’s screwing up here. Why else does he have at his disposal different methods to “look busy and to hide his TV screen”?

              1. Holly*

                I think it goes hand in hand. I think its “beneath” him because the way admin work is viewed is very gendered.

                1. Kathleen_A*

                  Sure, maybe. But there are lots of typically masculine jobs that this guy might consider “beneath” him, too – mailroom tasks, for example (mailrooms have been traditionally staffed mostly by males, and maybe they still are – ours certainly is), or, heck, working in a hardware store. People can be snobby about many different things.

                  And in any case, it doesn’t matter why he thinks it’s beneath him because the fact is, he is low man on this particular totem pole, so it absolutely is *not* beneath him. Plus, the whole “beneath me” thing is a ridiculous concept anyway. Lots of guys – because it was mostly guys – who thought they’d never have to type because it was beneath them have had to learn in the last 25 years that they made a big mistake there.

                2. Mookie*

                  The existence of classism doesn’t water down, invalidate, or excuse low-level, bog-standard sexism. This person can be drowning in his own classist assumptions and it’s still perfectly reasonable, totally acceptable, and utterly out of your control if somebody wants to acknowledge the unexamined misogyny in his assumptions.

            3. Lyssa*

              I’m hoping that it’s weird enough to suggest that he’s unlikely to ever make it to med school (much less through it), at least, not without some major life changes.

              1. Datah*

                Sadly, I know too many people at Med School who are far less mature than the people not in med school. But at the same time he should realize as someone going to med school, he is gonna be on the bottom of the pile doing the grunt work for many years to come! So he has many years to learn to be a decent worker/doctor

              2. AKchic*

                Conspiracy theory time: What if he already applied to med school and didn’t get accepted? Its not every day we hear about a 2-year gap-year for “work experience” and then they take a job not even in the field they want to study and ultimately go into.

                I know, it’s a stretch.

            4. Working Mom Having It All*

              I’d bet money he either didn’t get into med school on the first try or does not currently have the grades/scores/recommendations to make it happen and is spending this time working in a lab or the like while he either gets his ducks in a row or applies to a second round of less prestigious (possibly Caribbean?) med schools.

              More generously, it’s also possible that this is someone who decided to go to med school late in the game as an undergrad and doesn’t have some undergrad pre-reqs which he is currently catching up on while he waits to apply.

            5. Bobbin Ufgood*

              Yeah. This guy isn’t getting into medical school if this is what he’s doing with his “gap year.”
              Also, OP1, please tell me his name so we don’t admit him to my medical school

          2. Aveline*

            Why does his intent matter?

            Intent is not magic!

            It’s also 2018. If you are an American male educated enough to have a shot a mess school, you should be educated enough not to say something so blatantly sexist and classist

            1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

              Unfortunately in my experience at a couple of major universities, most pre-meds never take anything that would make them think about sexism/classism. It’s really a shame.

              1. Observer*

                He’s not the kid who didn’t hear of staplers – he’s someone who has access to modern communications. So, there is no way he could NOT know about #metoo, #timesup etc.

            2. LGC*

              It’s also 2018. If you are an American male educated enough to have a shot a mess school, you should be educated enough not to say something so blatantly sexist and classist

              …oh man. All I’m going to say is that if the last three years have taught me anything, it’s that this is an extremely optimistic viewpoint.

              (Okay, so I’m arguing something slightly different – you’re right, he should know, but to be quite honest a lot of young guys are taught to just not care.)

        3. IndoorCat*

          I think DoctorShmoctor meant referring to the comment being the b-word of the office. Like, it’s a sexist term, and also, it’s stereotypically women’s work to do (admin work and secretary work can have a lot of overlap). But he looks down on the tasks of the job he signed on for because “he just doesn’t want to be seen as the person who does everyone’s mail.”

          There’s nothing bad or un-masculine about doing mail or sending packages, and it’s certainly not something that would make someone seem like the “b***** of the office,” unless you already have a sexist mindset.

          Slacking off is obnoxious regardless of the gender of the slacker, but the negative vibes towards admin tasks and referring to been seen doing these tasks as being seen as a b**** adds sexism on top of the obnoxiousness.

    2. Sparky*

      I’m interested in who he thinks should be doing this work; does he think menial tasks just accomplish themselves, or does he think someone of a different gender should be doing them, regardless of how senior or experienced they are?

      1. Anna*

        Perhaps a vague idea that the office should hire someone to do the menial work, but not sufficiently thought through to realise he *is* the person they hired? I’ve had that thought when I was doing such work (but I immediately after that realised that they did in fact hire someone to do that work and the someone was me). Or perhaps he thinks everyone should do their own work, including mailing their own packages, and hasn’t thought that one through either.
        Or he is in fact sexist, that is also a possibility.

      2. Aveline*

        Yep. LW needs to ask him who he thinks should do that work and why they should do it.

        It will be enlightening. Either he thinks someone else should do the work or he has no idea how much grunt work is required by functional adults in their homes and workplaces.

      3. LW1*

        LW1 here:
        For the example I mentioned about mailing stuff, it isn’t actually his job to mail things for the entire office. He’s in charge of a specific project and completes the administrative work related to that. So to be fair, it’s actually not his job to mail things for everyone in the office – everyone is responsible for their own mail (and other related menial tasks). I think he’s just being a jerk by not being willing to help to when difference in work load is so apparent.
        I still agree though that his general feelings about admin work are sexist, as other commenters have mentioned.

        1. Working Mom Having It All*

          Here’s the thing, though. Our office manager is responsible for mailing out certain specific company related things (paychecks, for example). However, if I went to the front desk and put my outgoing mail (technically not her job) on her pile of things to run to the post office and she told me to take it back, and that she’s not interested in doing my “bitch work”… that office manager would be out on her ass toute de suite. It’s usually understood that the admin person who handles mail for the office/department/team as part of their job is willing to extend the courtesy of also dropping other people’s mail if it’s not a huge imposition.

          So even if the mail thing isn’t this person’s specific job duty, it’s a generous thing to do which tends to be part of the social contract of the working world.

        2. LGC*

          So, like, I’m impressed that he’s hitting multiple letters from this week! (Please write in again if he decides to slip his coworker’s preteen $20 and tells the kid to keep it a secret!)

          In his defense, he might actually have a valid reason for not mailing packages for other projects, if he’s assigned to a specific project. But on the other hand…as Working Mom noted, his approach is terrible. (Although now that I’ve chilled out a bit, I’m not sure whether he talks the same way at work as he does with you.) If it’s not too much of an additional burden, b0th of you are right that he should just do the mail – and address it if it starts becoming burdensome.

        3. Mookie*

          So he’s uninterested in pulling his own weight or working outside of the narrow confines of his job description and doesn’t recognize or understand cooperation, the sort of person who doesn’t think to replace the toilet paper without a rota (which he’ll likely refuse to sign onto). It sounds like he has some growing up to do, or will be enduring a lot of embarrassing public pratfalls in his near and distant future. Probably both.

    3. Psyche*

      Yep. You need to stop being a sympathetic ear (or even neutral person to vent to). Tell him that he DOES need to be micromanaged, as demonstrated by the fact that he is NOT WORKING during the hours he reports. Then tell him that his work ethic is terrible and ask him why. If he generally has a good work ethic, maybe he can turn it around. He needs people around him to be blunt. If he doesn’t want to do admin work, he needs to legitimately keep himself busy with work.

      1. Nita*

        Yes. Obviously his boss is not micromanaging him enough. Maybe there was a good reason for putting him in an isolated part of the building all by himself, but it doesn’t sound like a good idea to not even check on him during the day, since management is starting to see signs of his poor work ethic.

        Anyway, that’s not something OP can help. Talking to the guy is definitely a good idea, but I’m getting the sense that telling him that “this is how work works” won’t get through to him. He wants to be a doctor, not an admin, and is probably under the assumption that he’ll be the authority bossing others around – so he doesn’t see the need to learn how to work as a lower-level employee. What may sink in is pointing out that he’s not going to last two years in this job (or any job) if he keeps this up, and that if he needs the references he needs to at least do the bare minimum of what’s expected of him (like, not defrauding his boss by running off for long walks and billing the time).

        1. Recent Anon Lurker*

          Also, just because he wants to be a doctor doesn’t mean he will automatically be the boss. It can take time to establish yourself enough to be the head of a practice or lead doctor on a floor/speciality. Learning how to take direction and be a team player are very valuable skills for any doctor to learn.

      2. Hills to Die on*

        Yes, I’m having a hard time imagining someone who behaves like this to be a generally hard working person in other aspects of his life. But I will take OP’s word for it.
        This guy is NOT getting references from anyone he works with, and he probably isn’t going to keep that job because he will get fired. He can pretend, but people are smarter than that. It’s almost worse if they think he works hard all day and still accomplishes nothing.
        You would be doing a favor to him by telling him in no uncertain terms or even getting him a book on how to navigate your first job. Or show him this post. This is probably judgmental of me (ok it is) but laziness is one of my biggest pet peeves and I would probably not be interested in being friends with a person like this. I have seen people who are close friends in that same office really distance themselves from the friend because the friend is deliberately slacking and messing up at work. I know you don’t work together but I would just be so put off by someone this obnoxious.

        1. LKW*

          People put emphasis on the things they like or have meaning. A temp job wouldn’t “inspire” this behavior.
          To be sure it’s immature, short sighted and ridiculous.

        2. LW1*

          I think LKW is right – he truly excels in other areas of his life due to extreme effort put in. These happen to be areas that he is very passionate about or sees valuable for his future. I think it is lack of respect for the position that inspires him to behave this way. I definitely am put off by the comments, particularly because they are SO frequent, but I don’t think he is a generally lazy person. More like an extremely entitled person.

          1. Sarcastic Fringehead*

            We just had someone like that leave our law firm. He came into an admin position with the assumption that it would be easy work, he’d get good recommendations from prestigious lawyers, and then he’d go on to law school. Instead, it was clear to all of us that he thought he was above the job, and he did the work so poorly that no one was sorry to see him go (and we’re still cleaning up his messes). He didn’t get any good recommendations, because the lawyers he worked with could see that he half-assed any work he thought was “beneath” him.

          2. Genny*

            It sounds like up to this point, he’s been able to only focus on pursuing his passions, but that’s not the real world. Sure, people still work on their passions, but they’re also responsible for a lot of other things that don’t spark joy, but that still require them to put in the effort. It sounds like he’s in for a rude awakening on that front.

          3. Mookie*

            It’s not just the position he’s disrespecting. It’s everyone he interacts with at and adjacent to work. He realizes that the world is not invested in playing second fiddle to him or is not arranged only so he can navigate through it, picking up bits of detritus to add to his shiny CV, yes? He has no future without other people, quite literally. It’s bizarre to behave like people are inconveniencing him by expecting him to behave like a normal colleague, not an enemy combatant or roadblock on the path to his Destiny, there only to be dismissed, fooled, or avoided, lest they ask something of him he doesn’t think is immediately gratifying and infinitely edifying to him personally.

            Also, the extreme effort you have documented in substantive terms is of the Imaginative Skiving Off kind. He puts real thought and investment into that, apparently. I don’t see much of a sterling work ethic there, which explains why he’s not done much for himself thus far with the obvious advantages he’s clearly exploiting.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I think people don’t say this truth:

      Your employer has purchased your time and your body and your brain from you; during work hours it is not yours. When you do not work efficiently at your job, you are stealing from them.

      And if you rented an apartment, you would not stand for your landlord refusing to let you sleep in your bedroom, or storing the snowshovel in your living room.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Also, people don’t often get the message of how important things like mailing packages is.

        When you mail packages for someone who has more mission-critical things to do, you free them up to accomplish more.

        When you file stuff in the right place, promptly, then when someone else needs it, they can find it quickly.

        I might try asking him (in addition to the lecture), “Can you think of why it is that they might need these things done, and why it might be that YOU need to be the one to do it?”

      2. sourgold*

        I find this incredibly disturbing, tbh. My body belongs to me at all times; my employer doesn’t appropriate it by virtue of having hired me to accomplish specific tasks. We aren’t things to be hired, we’re people with boundaries and privacy.

        Surely there is a way to condemn this guy’s behaviour as unprofessional, unethical, and immature without jumping to “your employer is your owner and you are not your own at work” metaphors.

        1. JSPA*

          What is an employer paying for, if not the (products of) your brain, (attention from) your brain, (use of) your body (within job descriptions and legal protections) and–broadly–use of your time during work hours?

          Sure, our thoughts are free. And we are free people. But the point of a contract or agreeing to a job for pay, is that we’re trading away some of that total freedom for money and a job title.

          What makes something slavery is that it’s involuntary; not that someone has rights to our time, actions and attention, after we’ve freely contracted to give them exactly that. This guy is scamming his employer, and bragging about it, and complaining when his scams are intruded upon.

          1. Lehigh*

            (products of) (attention from) (use of) and (within job descriptions and legal protections) are extremely key phrases; surely you’re not suggesting that adding them or leaving them out results in a substantially similar sentence.

            1. TootsNYC*

              I figured you’d realize they absolutely apply.

              But you are supposed to use your brain to do tasks for your employer and your body (lifting boxes, mailing packages) as well.

        2. Ja'am*

          Yeah, I’m sure you didn’t mean it like that Toots, but this wording is VERY weird. At no point does your boss own any part of you. Maybe your time when you’re on the clock, but your actual mind and body? No.

        3. Lehigh*

          Yeah, I’m with sourgold. Your employer has purchased your labor, full stop. It is not even renting your body or brain, much less assuming ownership.

          Now, this dude is refusing to peform the labor that he has agreed to provide and should be thrown out on his ear, but I don’t know why we need the hyperbole.

      3. LW1*

        LW 1 here : I agree with you here, andI tried to explain this to him actually. Particularly because the projects he is working on are funded by grants, it’s not just stealing from the employer when he clocks additional hours that were essentially unworked. It’s directly taking away resources for the actual research projects going on. This seemed to be the only thing I’ve said that made an impact on how he thinks, but hasn’t changed his behavior!

        1. Marthooh*

          You can try using Alison’s scripts to get the message across again, but if I were you, I wouldn’t try more than once. After that, just say you don’t want to hear any more complaints from him about how hard it is to slack off at work.

          1. F as in Frank*

            I agree, you don’t have to listen to someone continue to talk about how they are wasting research grants. I would say “you know my feelings on slacking off/time theft/wasting research grants, I don’t want to talk about this. (subject change)”

      4. Jadelyn*

        Ooookay, let me just stop you right there, because this is going Bad Places.

        My employer has not “purchased” anything about me, and the framing of “not working sufficiently hard” as “stealing from the employer” is wildly disturbing (and props up a lot of anti-worker narratives – for example, obscuring the truth of “wage theft”, which is primarily committed by employers shorting staff of duly earned pay; this kind of framing allows “workers not doing enough/not working 100% every second they’re on the clock” to be included under the broader heading of “wage theft” and muddies the waters).

        Employment is a business relationship, but it’s more on par with a vendor or contractor being paid to perform a particular kind of work for the employer than it is with the employer “purchasing” its employees.

        If my employer pays me to make teapots, and the expectation is that I’ll complete 10 teapots a day, but I only average around 8 teapots a day, then the business relationship is not being fulfilled. It could be a failing on their part (unreasonable expectations or lack of support/work environment/training/materials/whatever) or on my part (slacking off or not having the skills needed), or a bit of both – but it’s more like a vendor not meeting contract terms/a client not meeting contract terms with their vendor, than “stealing” any portion of either my wages or the value of the 10 teapots I’m supposed to be producing.

  3. tink*

    #1: Please, PLEASE say something to your friend. If they get it in their head now that it’s okay to blow off work they think is “chump” work that they’re too good for, then they’re going to carry that attitude into med school and it is not going to go well for them.

    #2: My guess is colleague either overheard most or part of the phone call and didn’t realize you’d tried to deflect to an in-person first, it got misrepresented to them, or they’re just being a weirdo jerk because you told the manager first.

    1. Zona the Great*

      I’d respond back immediately with a, “What a bizarre email to receive unsolicited. Why did you feel it was your place to send it?”

      There’s no way I’de engage in a dialog about my resignation with a peer.

        1. Hills to Die on*

          Yup. It’s rude.
          I also might be tempted to outline what happened and ask the coworker what they specifically suggest doing differently. It will annoy them but they will get the point. There’s no reason why anyone should be under the impression that you were unprofessional.

          1. YeahWhyNot*

            I really wouldn’t give them the opportunity. I don’t think they’ll get the point and it sounds like they would find some way for the OP to Do Resigning Better.

      1. Doctor Schmoctor*

        I wouldn’t respond. I would ask the manager if she thought there was problem with the way I resigned. If she asks why, I would say Jimbo sent me this weird email, and let her handle it. Jimbo is being a nosy asshole. Ignore him.

        1. Fergus*

          I would ask why jimbo was a nosy asshole and to stick his nose back in his own asshole and stay out of mine

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Yeah, this is the time to go remote sociologist who has a ticket outta here, and just take quiet notes on the Placating Joanna ritual as it is performed.

        2. OP2*

          I think this is what I’m going with (if I can keep quiet for the next 3 weeks). I sent off a quick “thanks for the congrats!” email. I might bring it up with my manager when we meet today, depending on her mood, but I’m thinking that likely won’t be worth it. I will say, it’s a nice wrap-up validation that I’m leaving for good reasons!

          1. Marthooh*

            “Thanks for the links you sent! Unfortunately I can’t return the favor; I got no hits on how to be an *hole without being an *hole.”

      2. Colette*

        I’d reply with “since you’re looking for tips on how to resign, I’ve always found it best to have an in person conversation! That way, you can let your manager know what your last day will be and talk about how to transition your work. I hope it goes well – good luck!l

        1. Washi*

          Haha I was thinking the same thing! “These are great tips on how to resign! Let me know if you need any other suggestions and I’d be happy to walk you through the best practices.”

        2. stephistication1*

          Perfect response to a silly person who feels entitled enough to meddle in your business. He sound insufferable.

      3. JSPA*

        “Hi, I think you may have sent this to the wrong person. I’ve already resigned from my job here, guided by this very popular ‘how to resign politely’ protocol. [insert AAM link]. I don’t expect to be reading up on comparative resignation protocols again for quite some time.”

    2. TooTiredToThink*

      I’m wondering how #1 even expects to get into med school. Its highly competitive and from what I understand that medical world experience is critical. He’s going to need those references.

      1. Dr. Anonymous*

        Unless this is magically the only time has ever acted this selfishly, I don’t see how he will get into med school. And if I recall, the standard application requires you to record EVERY SINGLE JOB YOU EVER HAD, and you can bet someone will be calling these people and they will get an earful. No med school wants to admit jerks.

        1. Larval_doctor*

          Meh, I do med school admissions. I’ve never even heard of someone calling an employer. We get 3-5 letters of reference (almost strictly from professors and/or medical doctors shadowed). Reading all of those for an applicant pool that’s usually in the 500 range is A LOT of work. No one calls additional references. Honestly, this guy sounds like a chump, but if true that he works hard in other areas of life, his performance at this job is not going to affect his chances.

          1. Natatat*

            The OP#1 says “He’s counting on letters of recommendation from this office for his applications”. So in this case, I would think his behaviour at this job will affect his med school application?

        2. Psyche*

          Jerks get into med school all the time. He won’t get in based on a lackluster letter of recommendation and may not get into a top tier school, but if he has the grades and scored well on the MCAT, there is a good chance he will get in somewhere.

        3. SemiRetired*

          Had to laugh at this comment. Have you ever met any doctors? Being a jerk might be an admission criteria far as I can see.

      2. Cruciatus*

        I worked at a med school–not in admissions, but I got to know a lot of the students and I think people would be surprised at who is accepted into med school! It was pretty scary to know some of these people were going to be entrusted with peoples’ lives. Usually the biggest requirement needed was certain sciences so students often took post-bacc courses in those sciences (which the med school conveniently offered) and then were accepted into the program. So, unfortunately, I could see him getting into certain med schools (like the one I worked at) easily.

    3. MassMatt*

      #2 I would be tempted to Google “Mind your own business at work” and send him the links. But the pros of engaging him (momentary satisfaction) are outweighed by the cons—if he is close with your boss, it might blow up to making your final weeks unpleasant, or jeopardize your reference. I would probably just ignore and chalk it up to his being weird, who cares I will probably never see or talk to him again.

  4. Teacake*

    #4 Is this not still poaching him though, in the end? If hiring this analyst is going to damage your relationship with such an important customer then I’m not sure it’s a wise move, even if you go about it in the way you’ve described.

    1. JamieS*

      Yeah, it’s basically indirect poaching. Alison’s advice is a way for OP to attempt to cover themselves but there’s still a definite risk of losing the customer. Especially since “I mentioned the job to him and he applied of his own volition” is pretty easy to see through.

      1. Nico M*

        It’s only poaching if you get caught.
        How will the current employers ever know they didn’t see an ad or get contacted by a recruiter?

        Also the analyst probably knows a bunch of other analysts as well and may actually know someone else who wants the job.

        1. Ren*

          How would the Critically Important Customer even know? It has just lost an Experienced Analyst to you — after that analyst has been working with your Very Small, Very Specialized Company on their behalf. That’s pretty much going to be considered poaching any way you look at it.

          And here’s the thing: Even if OP had never had the idea of wanting this particular analyst, if the customer really is critically important, the company might well not hire the analyst even if he saw the ad on his own and 100 percent pursued the opportunity — precisely because it cannot risk damaging the relationship with the customer.

          1. Kyrielle*

            This! $PreviousJob hired two top people away from a client for different roles. At least one of them, maybe both, applied to public openings entirely unsolicited.

            The client was still ROYALLY ticked and we had to treat them with kid gloves for quite a while, plus there was a moratorium on hiring anyone employed by them without first checking with them. (If someone applied from there, they were told their application could only proceed if the client could be asked if it was okay – so they weren’t outed as job searching unless they okayed it.)

            1. JSPA*

              is that even legal? IANAL, but this reminds me of some past postings from lawyers on tortious interference (which is not limited to screwing someone over by maliciously giving false information, so far as I can see).

              1. Ego Chamber*

                Good thing you ANAL, your ideas about tortuous interference are way off. There’s nothing illegal about refusing to hire someone based on where they currently or previously worked, otherwise I’d be rolling in the money I made off of lawsuits every time I didn’t get a job.

            2. e271828*

              A whole slew of tech companies just got in a lot of trouble for agreeing not to hire each other’s employees.

              Don’t do this.

    2. UK reader*

      I am not an expert in this area, but don’t service contracts often have clauses about commissioners/suppliers/ clients not being allowed to poach each other’s employees, at least for the duration of the contract? One of my previous employers had such a clause (and I think poaching wasn’t allowed in either direction).

      So it’s worth checking if there are any contractual issues before approaching the person they are tempted to poach.

      1. Elfie*

        I work in IT, and this is very true. It’s also very true that most of the places I’ve worked (client side not supplier side) have paid out to the supplier if they really wanted to poach the employee. Still, that’s the other way round to OP’s situation, so that might be really different (although I do know client employees who ended up working for suppliers too – but I don’t know if a payout occurred).

    3. Jen S. 2.0*

      It’s also only poaching if the dude actually ends up getting hired. Anything could happen during the process, from the target not throwing his hat in the ring because (unbeknownst to OP 4), he can’t change jobs for another 18 months until he’s worked through the MBA tuition assistance repayment period, to OP’s company learning they have a much lower pay range than the customer and not enough wiggle room, to the health insurance not working out (don’t underestimate this one), to the customer successfully counteroffering without knowing the source of the other offer, to another applicant unexpectedly blowing the target out of the water at the interview, to the target’s spouse getting an amazing job offer in Hong Kong next month.

      All’s fair in love … and hiring. Who knows what might happen? He might be your ideal candidate, but that has virtually nothing to do with his being able to take the job.

      (Funny: a cousin of mine kept randomly sending me vaguely interesting job openings at the college where she works, 5 states away from where I live. I was a little bemused, but skimmed them and deleted, since I’m fine in my job where I am and, more importantly, not looking to move, especially not for a pay cut. I figured she was just casting a very wide net; hiring is challenging. In conversation with my mother, she was like, “So did you apply for any jobs Sabrina sent you?” Apparently Cousin Sabrina was hoping I’d apply! Like, wha?)

    4. Colette*

      Letting someone know a job exists isn’t poaching, really. People already know other jobs exist. If he’s happy at his current job, he won’t express interest in this job; if he’s not happy, he could leave anytime for another job whether he knows about this one or not.

    5. Mike C.*

      It feels like poaching to me, but unlike others I don’t see a problem with this in the slightest.

      If you want to keep your employees, compensate them enough so that they don’t leave. It’s not that difficult.

        1. TootsNYC*

          except of course when there are contractual agreements, but then it’s not poaching; it’s violating a contractual agreement.

    6. Nita*

      I think so. If the company is honestly looking for other analysts, there are other ways to find people in the field. Recruiters, LinkedIn, reaching out directly to candidates who do not work for Important Customer…

      And by the way, poaching this person may violate the contract with the customer. It’s not uncommon for these to contain anti-poaching provisions – and these don’t necessarily talk about direct poaching, they may just prohibit one company’s employee from working for the other one for a certain length of time after leaving the original employer. Or the poaching may solve OP’s problem in an unexpected way – if the client gets mad enough about it, they can stop working with OP’s company, and their workload will get smaller.

    7. Logan*

      If the position is posted openly then it’s easy enough for the client-analyst to apply themselves, so asking them isn’t the problem. It only becomes a problem if they apply, and are the best for the job.

      If it were me being approached, I would prefer to be asked by another analyst (specifically someone who knows other analysts in the field). I would also suggest that OP’s analyst contact a few people, so that it doesn’t seem completely targeted. And, I would phrase it as “you are a valued customer, so we are asking for suggestions on who you would want to support you” – this phrasing could allow you to be more open with the customer company, if you can make it seem like a formal and open request of “we want to help you better, so do you have suggestions on how we do that?” But this obviously depends on context and personalities…

    8. The OG OOF*

      I just have to say that I don’t think “poaching” is a real thing. We are all adults. If we want to go work somewhere else, we want to go work there. If we leave our job, it’s not because we were “poached.” It’s because we were offered something we needed that our current employer couldn’t provide – anything from a healthy workplace to a raise to a change.

      I’ve just hired someone who others could say I “poached,” but forget that shiz. This person is an adult. I was able to offer them something that their current employer can’t. Good for this new employee being able to have a good option.

  5. Observer*

    #3 – I agree that the arguments the recruiting staff are making are weird. So much so, that I hope someone is carefully overseeing their efforts.

    The one thing I would be thinking about is the possibility of losing good potential hires because you’ve pushed the start date out so far. It may be a risk that’s worth taking, or it may even turn out not to be a risk at all. But it is something I would clearly think about.

    1. Chaordic One*

      I agree with Observer about the possibility of losing good potential hires because you’ve pushed the starting dates out. Since you seem to be hiring recent grads, most of them are going to want to start their jobs fairly soon after they graduate. All things being equal, if they get offers from other firms with starting dates that are closer to their graduation dates, they are probably going to go with the job that starts soonest, instead of waiting around for a couple of months or more. The candidates for the jobs that start later will probably not be as skilled or as desireable.

      1. Someone Else*

        I don’t disagree with anything Alison said. However, in addition to your good points here, I’m also a little confused by the managers’ perspective? At least in my experience it’s easier to train more people at once than to train two people, have a small break, train another, etc, repeat. From a trainer perspective getting it all in one go instead of having to incorporate a training routine across a longer span of time, the former is much easier.

        1. Snarl Trolley*

          I’m wondering if they’re looking at it as a way to more easily devote specific one-on-one training time to monitor information retention and progress, if they’ve had issues before in training a large group taking so many people away to help. Which….is weird in its own right, to me, but without more information, I don’t necessarily understand their structural or hierarchical training needs in either scenario.

        2. Myrin*

          That’s only true if all the new people are trained in the same/very similar jobs, though. If everybody is going to be trained to do different things, it makes much more sense to stagger those trainings, especially if training for two different jobs is done by only one senior person. (I kind of got the sense that something like that was the case since OP said “It was really hard on a lot of senior management to train those six (even with lower lever employees helping)” – it seems like the senior managers were stretched thin by the demands of training six people at once, either because they all needed to be trained in vastly different things, or because that big a group needed a lot of attention at once, or because with six new people, there were three times as many questions and confusions as with two new people.)

          1. fposte*

            I have some jobs that require a fair bit of one-to-one coaching, too; I would never take on more than two new staff at once.

        3. Jenn*

          My work does a very intense mentoring process (job involves a lot of writing). If I do nothing but train (suspend my other work) I can manage 3-4 tops, and I am considered one of the more experienced trainers. I can manage 1 and keep most work duties. We have started big batches before, but getting enough trainers is tough.

        4. Red Reader*

          It depends on your training process and needs. Ours involves enough work review and one-on-one follow-up that it is really hard for my colead and me to train more than two new folks at a time between us and still have time to do the rest of our day to day work. We CAN do it in a pinch, but everyone is happier if we stick to two max and keep them aligned as best we can in their training schedule.

        5. doreen*

          It depends on what kind of job/training you’re talking about. If you’re talking about classroom training ( as most of my jobs have had), then it’s easier and more efficient to train a large group at once. A couple of those jobs also had on-the-job training after the classroom training- and that’s where fewer was better. Everyone who finished the classroom training was assigned to an office- and the offices with two trainees had a much easier time than those with five or ten.

        6. Op#3*

          We are a really small company so we don’t have formal training – it’s mostly on the job training. So when 4 new employees came in, we were watching 4 new employees work at once. So it’s not doing a battery of training workshops. Hopefully that explains it better!

      2. MK*

        That’s a big assumption. AAM gets a lot of letters about people who would like to push their start dates back a bit. The OP can bring it up at final interviews and see what answers they get.

      3. Anononon*

        Not necessarily. I know a lot of new grads who lived/moved back with their parents following graduation and who were supported by their parents during that time. I bet a lot of them would have enjoyed one last long vacation before getting into the working world.

        1. Washi*

          Yeah, I was really happy my first job started in early August after graduation. My student loans all kicked in 1 year after graduation, and I had almost two full months to relax while feeling secure that I had a paycheck coming my way at the end of it. It was great!

        2. schnauzerfan*

          Yes. When we make an offer we ask all of our candidates for a proposed starting date, and it’s really amazing how many of them would like to start “after I go to the destination wedding next month,” or whatever…
          We have a new person starting Dec. 26. Odd, but she needs to move and wants to travel for the holidays so OK, it actually should work well for us too.

        3. Former Producer*

          Yep, this is what I did, except I graduated in December, and started working in early April. It was nice to have a few months off before having to work, even though I was still applying for jobs and didn’t have anything lined up until March.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      Yeah, that’s what occurred to me as well – telling a new grad that you’re hiring them, but they need to wait three or four months without a salary could lose you good candidates who have multiple offers and take the one that starts earlier, as well as people who can’t afford to spend months without a pay cheque.

      If you do go the staggered route I’d make the earlier offers to the best candidates, but tell them they have the option of delaying their start up to the end of August. That could help, as there might be people who can afford the break and want a vacation before diving into a new job.

      1. Bagpuss*

        I like this approach, as it means you are less likely to lose your best candidates if they don’t happen to have the resources to be able to wait for a delayed start.

    3. Mo*

      On the flip side, I know a lot of students who go want to go travel after they graduate so it might not be as hard as you think to get new grads to start later in the summer.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, that actually seemed like a feature to me more than a bug. I personally always want to start things as early as possible but I know a lot of people who decided to just take some time off directly after graduation – if you play your cards wisely, it’s entirely possible to get the maximum satisfaction out of this situation for both sides really.

    4. Daisy*

      Not an answer to OP’s question, but I’m curious as to why a company of 30 is planning to hire 8 graduates anyway? Particularly since the last six are ‘under-utilized’. Seems disproportionate.

      1. Op#3*

        My thought too, but they want to plan for attention! I brought it up, saying we should maybe hire a smaller number and really invest in those guys, but..

            1. Dragoning*

              Perhaps instead of putting that money into hiring extra people and put it into retention strategies–better salaries and benefits, since you have to pay for fewer of them, etc.

            2. Hope*

              I’d hire fewer people and pay them more, in that case. Give them a reason to stay. But it also sounds like that’s not entirely your call, so I know it’s easy to say, harder to do.

              1. Op#3*

                I brought that up, saying that we should focus on 4 or 6 instead of going for a class of 8. My boss would prefer we didn’t.. we already pay them decently 60k+ with signing bonuses and usually a year end bonus of 1k after less than 6 months if working. Everyone gets unlimited PTO so, and health insurance is decent.

                1. Bostonian*

                  Damn, I didn’t get it that good until almost 10 years after graduating. And I live in a high cost-of-living area, too!

                2. Starbuck*

                  “Decent” is of course relative compared to what other new grads in your field are getting, and the cost of living of the area. Also if places are paying considerably more for employees with 1 year of experience vs. entry level, maybe a year-end raise rather than just a bonus would be more compelling.

                3. Sacred Ground*

                  Your boss doesn’t actually get to decide what’s “decent” pay, the market does. They may well be “decently” paid from you and your boss’s perspective but if you’re still losing them to competitors (“we get a lot of our people poached”) then something’s not right. You may still be at the lower end of market rate. $60K sounds like a lot but if your competion is offering $75K, then you’re going to lose people. Others may offer other benefits that you don’t, maybe more flextime options, work from home, bigger signing bonuses, employer-paid advanced training, etc.

                  If your compensation (including benefits) really is at the high end of the range but you’re still losing people, consider the possibility that there is something else going on with your company’s methods, office culture, workload, etc. that is driving people away or at least leaving them dissatisfied enough to entertain offers. We read here all the time about people leaving jobs for equal or lower pay because they feel overworked, underappreciated, abused, or they just don’t like where they work.

                  Does anyone in your office microwave fish?

                4. Observer*

                  I obviously don’t know how your compensation package stacks up against the rest of the market. But, it sounds pretty good. So, I think you’re looking at the wrong thing. Instead of focusing on how to handle hiring a cohort that you’re going to lose, figure out why you’re losing so many of your people. A revolving door ALWAYS indicates some sort of sysfunction.

                  PS Before anyone jumps here to tell me how common revolving doors are in this, that or the other industry, remember that serious dysfunction is also extremely common in those industries.

    5. Just a guy in a cubicle*

      If these cohorts are law/sales/anything where you’re expected to build a personal book of business, then the idea that staggered dates would be a problem makes sense – who wants to be the third batch with a chance to get an “in” with the senior people?
      And if the people you’ve recently hired through this process are all saying “that change seems wierd and bad”, that also probably tells you how next year’s cohort is going to see it when you start making offers that way, so at the very least you probably want to have a clear description of how this will work, and an understanding of specific objections from your last cohort so you can address those when you’re making offers.

    6. Elle*

      Yes, I came here to say the same thing about losing potential good hires who can’t afford to take off May-September. It would have been a complete deal breaker for me.
      I would have had to find a temporary job, and it would be even more complicated if relocating because I’d need a new lease in my current city for only 4 months, or I’d need to come up with relocation money on my own so I could move way ahead of when relocation benefits are typically disbursed to new hires.
      Of course, there are also the opposite cases- candidates who want a break between school and entering the workforce.
      So ideally, this would be a conversation between candidates and hiring managers. Maybe if you give them all the options for start dates you’d find that they naturally even out among the options, perhaps with the last to accept needing to pick a date a few weeks further out than they wanted. But I’m having a hard time imagining someone picking September by choice.

      1. Elfie*

        My company hires grads, and they all start in September. As far as I can tell, that’s common practice in the UK.

    7. Patty Mayonnaise*

      I agree with the point about losing good potential hires, and I’m actually surprised that this point wasn’t mentioned in the letter or in Alison’s answer. While I think you might find one or two strong people who want to wait on starting a job, most of the people taking the later spots are ones who weren’t competitive enough to get offers earlier. There may be industries where this isn’t the case, but I’ve definitely noticed it in the sectors I’ve worked in where new grads were hired en masse. Not to mention it’s not great for company diversity for, say, half or more of your new hires to be privileged enough to not have to work for several months.

    8. Tommy Pickles*

      Just in case this is helpful perspective, here are some good reasons to have a class start together: in my industry, we do this to foster a sense of a class community. Many big places hire >50 new hires a year for a very challenging job with long, unpredictable hours. The sense of community is basically a retention device; it’s easier to tolerate working long hours alongside people you have grown close with, where you have a mentality that you are all “in the trenches” together. It also helps encourage collaboration, which is important in this industry. However, this only works because in our industry there is a lot of training that does work best in a group. It sounds like this isn’t the case for you, and there are other ways to get similar effects (like having “Class of 20xx” social events).

      1. SCORMHacker*

        From a learning and development perspective, I totally agree on the class starting together. Not only does it build that sense of community, but also provides a group of people that your new hires can learn from. I’ve designed new hire training programs for situations similar to yours, and while it sounds like you you don’t have a formal training team, it sounds like it might be beneficial to take some time before your new hires start to help map out with your group of trainers what the new hires need to know, and then maybe brainstorm some ways for them to learn those tasks without a sole focus on one-on-one training (which depending on what they are doing, may be teaching them less than giving them a chance to learn on their own with coaching and followup instead).

    9. Another worker bee*

      This was me. It shows a lot of class based blindness to expect someone to just chill for 3 months to wait to start your job when they are fresh out of undergrad (aka unless they are in a certain privileged class, up to their eyeballs in student loan debt and financially running on fumes). Suffice it to say, I didn’t go work for the company that tried to pull this with me – I went with the one that allowed me to start in two weeks.

  6. LawBee*

    #1 – Your friend has a looooooooong learning curve ahead of him. I’m surprised the lab hasn’t actually let him go yet, especially for lying on his timesheet. If nothing else, it may be a good thing to tell him that clocking hours worked when he isn’t is probably illegal.

    #3 – I’ve never started any job as a group. It sounds lovely, but it’s definitely not any kind of requirement or boost or whatever. You start jobs when you start them!

    1. Liane*

      #1: My read is that no one in the lab knows about the falsified timesheets–yet. OP writes that Boss has only mentioned deadline issues (which can have many causes) and that Slacker works isolated.

      1. Psyche*

        Yep. He isn’t going to be fired if he isn’t caught. Maybe OP should point out to him that he obviously knows he is wrong or he wouldn’t be trying to hide it.

    2. DAMitsDevon*

      I haven’t started any jobs as a group either, but my younger sister has. One was for an investment banking job and the other for her current job at a private equity firm, so I’m wondering if this is a more common thing in the financial sector?

      1. Autumnheart*

        Could be the size of the company. I work for a corporate HQ and they have orientation every two weeks for about 20 people at a time. It’s used to go over all the employee information, fill out benefits paperwork, get a tour of the campus, etc.

    3. MLB*

      I worked (very briefly) at Comcast in their internet call center and I was hired with a large group so we could all be trained at the same time. I’m not sure by the letter if the staff is overwhelmed at training a group at once (because that seems easiest to me), or just the fact that they are all starting at once. Alison’s advice is spot on, but I find it odd that the staff is balking at hiring such a small group all at once.

      1. Sacred Ground*

        I think the term (in US at least) for employees slacking off while on the clock is “time theft,” i.e., the employee is stealing time for which the employer has paid. Wage theft is when employers don’t pay earned wages (not paying overtime rates to hourly workers, falsifying time sheets, withholding taxes but not paying them, etc), i.e., the employer is not paying wages for which the employee has worked.

        1. Ego Chamber*

          This is right.

          Time theft also has to be a little more serious than slacking on the clock. Staring out the window for 10 minutes or taking an extra long bathroom break instead of working on the TeaPotS Report isn’t usually enough to be an issue (unless it’s an established pattern verging on a Last Straw Situation) but walking around campus for a couple hours and billing for the time? Check out the big brass ones on him… O_o

  7. Bowserkitty*

    But personally I’d enjoy making it awkward for them.

    Yuuuuuup. What have you got to lose, OP2?

    1. Liane*

      “So sorry I couldn’t get back to you on this sooner, but I was focusing on transitioning work and writing documentation. Now what was your problem with my resignation? Or did I misread and you needed my advice because you thought I rocked it?”
      I might wait until my last day or so, in case Mr. Graciously takes it badly. Three weeks is long enough for the most delicious awkwardness to spoil.

      1. OP2*

        I hadn’t thought about delaying the reply, I like that! I did send a quick “thanks for the congrats” email back, but I wonder if a post-resignation period reflection on the articles might be worthwhile.

        1. Anon for this*

          I urge you to reconsider resorting to snark. If you confront the guy as Alison suggested, you still get to call him out on it while remaining on the high ground.

    2. Elle*

      Yes!! This is the snarkiest I’ve ever seen Alison and it made me giggle. If even she thinks you deserve to have a bit of fun at their expense, then you DEFINITELY deserve to have a bit of fun at their expense.

      1. Corky's Wife Bonnie*

        Exactly. I really, really want him to say this: “Did you or Bob have some concern about the way I resigned? After he heard I’m leaving, he sent me some articles about how to resign gracefully and I can’t figure out why.”

      2. Anon for this*

        Alison’s reply was actually quite straightforward! The replies on this thread are pretty snarky tho – and I don’t think that resorting to snark is a good look, when a straightforward confrontation does job while keeping the OP squarely on the high road.

    3. Logan*

      I don’t know how to word it so that a statement is both truthful yet suggestive, but a comment about how Bob seems to be interested in resigning might stir the pot in fun ways… (it’s a bit too important of a topic to actually follow through as it could really hurt Bob, but the concept does amuse me)
      “After I announced my departure, Bob seemed quite interested in knowing how to resign gracefully”

    1. Jen S. 2.0*

      This. People start and leave jobs at not-100%-ideal times literally every day. Six months later — if that long — it does not matter.

      1. Jen S. 2.0*

        Also, once I started the same job on the same day as another woman. The only notable thing was that for months people did not remember who was who. People called me by the wrong name until I left that job, nameplates and corrections notwithstanding.

        (Doubly notable was that she was Caucasian and I am not. I mean, we looked NOTHING alike. You’d think someone eventually would have whispered, “No, Jen S. 2.o is black, and Sandy B. 4.0 is white.” But I guess not? Or they did and it never stuck?)

        1. Friday afternoon fever*

          Yes! The only things I got from starting the same day as 3 other people were a mixup of our phone numbers in the directory and a wee amount of camaraderie. No issues getting to know people who started before or after me…

    2. CTT*

      There are some areas that function like that, though, especially if they’re hiring a group of people straight from school. All the law firms I clerked at and the one I’m at have all the new hires start at the same time, do training together, and that associate class is your start at an inter-office network. It’s not as strictly defined as a grad school cohort and after a while some people leave and others come in, but framing it as a cohort for training and orientation purposes isn’t unheard of.

  8. Doctor Schmoctor*

    #2 Mention it to the manger and ask if she felt there was something wrong with the way you resigned. She did kind of force you to do it over the phone. If the answer is no, let it go. Coworker is just a busybody. Ignore him

  9. Doctor Schmoctor*

    #1 This doesn’t have anything to do with it being this guy’s first job. He’s just an entitled brat.
    Tell him he’s going to get fired.

    1. CC*

      I suspect this is the case as well. I think he is fully aware he should not be doing these things on the job, he just feels he’s “above” this kind of work.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Yep. Office grunt/gofer/donkey/etc. pretty much defines those kinds of jobs.

        He thinks he is above all of that and equal to (peers) with longer term/permanent workers who are all actually senior to him.

        If he gets into and graduates med school and becomes a doctor, I can see him as one of those doctors that condescends to their patients because they know better than the patient, whose body it actually is, because “ I’m a physician.”

        1. Jenn*

          My Dad is a doctor and there is a lot of administrative stuff involved. He has admin staff, but he still has to do his part of the dictations and medical records. I have yet to encounter a job that doesn’t involve a little grunt work.

          1. Tardigrade*

            This. There’s plenty of documentation that the MD is the only one who can complete, whether they think that’s below them or not.

        2. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

          If he gets into and graduates med school and becomes a doctor, I can see him as one of those doctors that condescends to their patients because they know better than the patient, whose body it actually is, because “ I’m a physician.”

          So, 90% of the doctors women and minorities deal with, then.

          But yeah, this doesn’t bode well for his career at all. Every job has aspects that are boring or repetitive. You do them because they’re necessary and, you know, part of the job. If this joker doesn’t make it to med school, he’s going to get the shock of his life when he’s forced into a ‘lowly’ position. OP can be a good friend and tell him he needs to change, but he might be someone who has to learn the hard way.

          In all seriousness, I hope he does change, at least for the sake of future patients.

        3. Mike C.*

          I don’t think we need to go so far as to pretend that medical experts aren’t actual experts in their field. I get that there are may complicated issues that certain groups face but taking an anti-intellectual route isn’t a good solution.

          I go to a doctor specifically because they know more than I do about medicine. For the same reason I hire a plumber or a barber. They know more than I do in their fields and I’m paying them for their expertise.

          1. ThankYouRoman*

            I am with you mostly.

            Please remember doctors are highly educated and skilled professionals but expert is pushing it for most run of the mill physicians. They have medical “opinions” and this is why it’s important to get multiple ones for complex issues.

            My GP ended up knowing more quirks about my non complex condition than an OBGYN who’s supposed to specialize in women’s reproduction systems.

            It’s like law. A ton of specialties, very small over laps and even within the same firm many are ones you never trust with your case.

            Unlike a skilled profession like plumbing who only focus on something that doesn’t vary nearly as much as medicine.

          2. Beehoppy*

            I don’t think anyone is saying the doctors aren’t experts in medicine, but if they don’t LISTEN to their patients and believe them when they share their symptoms, then even the smartest, most educated doctor won’t be able to make the correct diagnosis.

            1. Nita*

              They’ll still get paid for the visit. And the follow-up visits because the patient is still sick. So unless they care about the patient out of the goodness of their heart, there’s no incentive to listen. It takes a lot for the not-listening to become a provable malpractice case, and anything less is par for the course.

              1. Mike C.*

                This is rather conspiratorial. Even if your logic was correct, the continually sick people would start seeking out other doctors rather than the one who doesn’t seem to be helping.

                1. Jennifer Thneed*

                  Yup, and yet that doesn’t seem to happen often. The second opinions, I mean. There’s a reason the Washington Post has a regular column about people who had medical mysteries, usually for decades, before they get correctly diagnosed.

            2. n*

              This. I’ve seen doctors be completely dismissive of patient’s symptoms and conditions. My friend has epilepsy and I once accompanied her to the ER for a seizure. She was in the middle of a seizure and the doctor was standing there, watching her, saying, “that doesn’t look like a seizure to me. I don’t think you have epilepsy.”

          3. Elfie*

            This may well be the case, in terms of medical knowledge, but lets not forget that the patient is the expert in THEIR condition.

          4. MM*

            The types of doctors being talked about here are the ones who are being anti-intellectual, in that they are not interested in what the patient has to say or report about their condition. It’s an incurious attitude that favors formal, already-acquired knowledge over immediate data–practicing medicine as a box-ticking exercise instead of a scientific practice with major interpersonal components. People die this way.

            This is not to say that there is no value in that formally-acquired knowledge. Of course there is. But this is why medicine is a *practice*: one has to do it in concert with the patients.

    2. Snarl Trolley*

      And combined with going into the MEDICAL field? Woof. Unless he’s ridiculously connected, he’s in for an extremely rude awakening. LW, maybe rope that aspect into the conversation, too – as in, he’s going into medicine and in medicine, even the small stuff is important and connected, no matter how like “b*tch work” it seems. And honestly, with that in mind, WOW that’s sure as hell not an attitude I’d want MY doctor to have. That kind of dismissive and unfounded egotistical bedside manner gets people killed.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        I think OP should just stay silent and let him learn. Hoisted on his own petard as ut were…

      2. Psyche*

        He is going to be one of those med students who looks down on nurses and will try to feel like failing to properly insert an IV is ok because that isn’t supposed to be his job.

      3. Neptune*

        Agreed! I’ve done so many jobs where pretty much the ONLY way to get interesting stuff to do was to first of all prove that you were capable of doing the boring, small stuff first. Because why would you want someone doing brain surgery if they’ve shown that they can’t even handle sending a parcel?

    3. Jenn*

      I didn’t behave like this at my first job at 16, let alone the presumably 22 this guy is. I feel like “you shouldn’t be blowing off deadlines to watch movies” and “You shouldn’t be disappearing for hours at a time while on the clock” are not actually things a manager should have to tell an employee. Guy deserves to be fired many times over.

      1. Quoth the Raven*


        Hell, my best friend didn’t get his first job until he was around 26 or 27 (his family circumstances allowed for him to concentrate exclusively on studying) and he was spoiled in many aspects, yet his professional ethics and behaviour are some of the most admirable I’ve ever seen.

    4. hbc*

      Seriously. This is not inexperience.

      After maximum 1.5 complaints, I’d be at “Are you really complaining to me that you’re being asked to do work and it’s interfering with your TV and walks?” “They can’t put it in the official description, but your job is Office Crutch/B*tch.” “Dude, if we’re going to stay friends, I can’t hear any more work stories from you, because they make you sound like an entitled, whiny douchecanoe.”

    5. LadyCop*

      I totally think this guy gets how work works. Especially if he’s otherwise hard working, and especially if he is planning on med school. I think he’s just naive/immature and is struggling with the concept of naturally being at the bottom of the totem pole. (Which I too struggled with after graduating college. The hierarchy of being an Army Officer only confused me more)

      It’s also kind of odd seeing as med school, and medical work in general, does not just start you at the top either…

      I do think as a friend the OP has some standing to say something, but facing the natural consequences of his actions now is far better than this lesson coming later.

      1. S1*

        This is a side note, but this is the third time I’ve seen someone in this comments section use “low man on the totem pole” and being only vaguely familiar with that US idiom, and similarly vague re US indigenous cultures, went out to see if I could find what that actually meant. All I could find was that totem poles aren’t necessarily arranged in linear importance; that the head carver usually did the bottom bit because it was at people-height so it was typically the best-carved part; and that the expression first showed up in some newspaper in 1939 before being used as the title of a book a couple of years later. It rather sounds like totem poles are being used in an expression which doesn’t describe them very well, which is a little odd.

  10. C*

    Oh boy. I’m a physician and I often say that training named students is difficult in large part because for them it’s their first job. It’s a big challenge for the students for whom basic professional skills, like telling the truth and punctuality are new ideas. I don’t know if this will drive it home but he won’t be a successful medical student if this is his professional attitude, no matter how smart he may be.

    1. Hugh*

      “telling the truth” is a new idea? (Hopefully this was tongue in cheek^^)

      The guy hides his TV watching and lies on his timesheet. He’s not clueless about the fact that it’s wrong. Unaware of how serious the consequences can be, maybe, but he knows very well that’s not what good work is, even if his job experience is TV shows and friends complaining about their summer jobs.
      I get being a bit clueless about clothing norms or nervous about the line between proactive/obnoxious or other office norms, but his attitude is more that of a complete slacker.

      1. Snarl Trolley*

        “Unaware of how serious the consequences can be, maybe, but he knows very well that’s not what good work is”

        Oh, this is a GOOD point.

      2. Working Mom Having It All*

        My guess is “telling the truth as a new idea” is tied in with the notion that, in some undergrad circles, especially cutthroat ones, it’s common for people to feel like the ends justify the means, and any amount of unethical behavior is fine as long as it results in the grades you want. This can be things like slacking and cutting class without penalty as long as you ace the exam, or bald face lying to get an extension on an assignment, or manipulating others in a group project to do your work for you.

        It doesn’t usually work this way in the professional world, because you’re usually part of a team that has longevity beyond a few months. Also while I’d guess that professors have heard it all before and know people tend to have only so many ailing grandparents, your boss has REALLY heard it all before and you are definitely going to run out of grandparents eventually.

    2. Jenn*

      I did once train a new hire (this job requires a post college degree) who would take multiple long smoke breaks (maybe, not kidding, totalling 2 hours a day) during the day then be gobsmacked when I counselled him that wasn’t getting through enough work done. He did not end up making it through (he quit following the “you’re on your last chance” meeting, following multiple weekly progress meetings AND being swapped between trainers a couple times to have others take a crack at him).

      Funny thing is, this guy was two years older than me. Age isn’t really determinative. One of the best people I ever trained was one of our youngest hires and it was her first non retail job. She was super hard working.

    3. Waiting for the Sun*

      I wonder if the guy really wants to go to medical school. Maybe self-sabotaging to get out from under family pressure or whatever .

      1. Psyche*

        To me it sounds like he is already assuming he will go to medical school and nothing he does right now really counts. I have worked with pre-med students. Some are fantastic. But there is a type of med student who is extremely entitled and thinks that work is not important because what is important is getting to med school and so all they need are hours on the timesheet. These are the same students who will argue that they should be given an A because they are premed and need a high GPA to get into med school.

    4. Art3mis*

      I have a friend that works in a med school as support staff. She says med students are THE WORST.

  11. Kc89*

    #2 sounds like a co worker of mine who emailing people weird unsolicited shit like that

    People can get offended but I choose to just see it as one if his many weird quirks

    Obviously I don’t know your co worker op by or he’s anything like mine it’s best to just ignore it

    1. Marthooh*

      I thought maybe he was trying to do the networking thing where you email people “Thought you’d find this interesting!” with a link — but if so, he’s still clueless.

  12. Ralkana*

    We’re having the same problem as #3 with our yard staff. It’s physically demanding, so normally high turnover, but we’re pretty good about having a solid staff of about nine or ten yardmen. But due to a few guys quitting (2 veteran guys on the same day, which was ROUGH), a couple being let go, and some transfers into different departments, we were suddenly down to six, and two of them were so new they squeaked.

    Management wanted to hire on four temps and get them all trained up simultaneously, and my yard foreman, who would be supervising the training, had to push back, HARD. There’s just no way to properly train four guys at once and still provide any sort of good service to our customers.

    So we’re bringing them one one at a time, every month to six weeks, to make sure they’re properly trained and our standard of service doesn’t suffer. Alison is right, you really need to listen to the training managers about what is possible and efficient.

  13. Rez123*

    #1 I don’t think this has anything to do with young, first job or not knowing how to be a professional. Sure, there are some norms that you lean after working for a while. What he is doing is something you learn when you are 6. He knows what he is doing and this is all on purpose. There are people like this who have done it for decades. They just get very skilled about it. Yes, you can talk to him but it won’t make a difference.

    #3 Just do what management wants. I don’t think in this case you should consider feelings. I’ve noticed that when a larger group starts at the same time they tend to be grouped together and not integrate as well to the office.

    1. HannaSpanna*

      Totally agree with your comments on #1.
      My first job was during summer at uni, and I definitely just knew that you couldn’t watch tv at work, or go for random walks. I don’t think this attitude is due to lack of experience.
      It’s like he thinks The Office is a documentary.

      1. Cosette*

        Perhaps #1’s friend thinks this whole thing is beneath him because he’s going on to bigger and better things? He shouldn’t, but we had an intern for a summer who almost came out and said that. I think she wanted the internship because we are a very “in the news” agency and not because she wanted to actually work.

        1. Temperance*

          Yep. I had an intern like that. He was a real ass in many ways (extreme mansplainer, to start), but he was simultaneously inept and offended that I didn’t give him more “interesting and important” work.

      2. So long and thanks for all the fish*

        I wonder if working in a lab at a university is a bit of a factor here as well, particularly if (most) everyone else in the lab is salaried (like graduate students) and he’s the only hourly worker. Graduate students in the labs around me do things like this while waiting for their reactions to reach a point where it’s time to do something with them, while doing repetitive tasks, etc. In the everyday stuff, it’s a lot more laid-back than your typical job and while sometimes their PIs yell at them if they catch them in the act, for the most part it’s not a huge deal, and often they’re working 12-14 hour days anyway for very little pay. I think being an hourly worker SHOULD change this calculus immensely though.

    2. Bagpuss*

      Yes, I think if OP#1 wants to help their friend then responding with comments like
      “All that sounds totally normal for a job of this kind”
      “In your position, I ‘d be using some of that time you’re currently using for TV to approach the more senior staff and ask what you can help with. Good attitude and work ethic are things they’ll remember when they are asked for references by your med school”
      “I don’t understand, that doesn’t sound like micro-managing to me, it sounds like a perfectly normal instruction from your manager”

      At best, friend may listen and learn, and if not, they may at least get bored of complaining to OP since they are not getting the sympathy they want.

      (OP1s friend reminds me of the worst temp. I ever had. I’m a lawyer, she was someone who had was looking for work as a paralegal or equivalent , and was temping while she looked for the job she wanted.

      She was a terrible temp. She was condescending towards our permanent secretarial and admin staff, she didn’t follow instructions and she would argue when any issue with her work was raised.

      We wound up telling the agency not to even bother suggesting her to us for future cover. Just after she left, we starting looking for someone to start in a junior role to assist a more senior caseworker with a view to developing their own caseload as they got more experience. It would have been exactly the kind of opportunity she was looking for, and had she done a decent job as a tempo, we would have reached out to her to invite her to apply. As it was, she was on the ‘don’t even interview’ pile, because of her general attitude.

  14. kay*

    OP 3 where I’m from law and government grads all do this- people finish university in November and grads all start together in Feb-March. I would be pretty surprised if they were staggered, but that’s because we have specific rotations, extensive training, and with government people relocating. So if the job is similiar to that I can definitely understand the hiring peoples’ positions. Also the employers in these cases often promote graduate cohorts and developing close networks which would be more difficult when staggered.

  15. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    Not only is the guy in #1 a lazy, entitled brat, but he’s also an idiot. If he wants to goof off at work, he needs to complete his projects FIRST :)

  16. Cosette*

    Training a group of new folks can be difficult but I worked one place that came up with a “university” of sorts for everyone that had started in a specific (fairly short) timeframe. Prior to “university” week, they trained in specific job areas, then spent a week in a classroom setting where each manager came in and did a presentation on the company in general. It gave them a really good picture of who the company was and how things worked, and how they fit into the whole puzzle. It really was a great experience (still is, I presume, although I don’t work there anymore) and made them feel very much a part of the greater company.

  17. MuseumChick*

    OP 1, please say something to your friend. You will be doing him a favor. I might say something like: “Fergus, I’m confused. You’ve mentioned X before about your job. This is something that is pretty normal in the vast majority of jobs.” He will probably say something like: “But it’s NOT FAIR because of Reasons.” You can say in a even more confused voice: “Fergus, I hear you. Again, that is a very normal part of most jobs. Nothing you are telling about what they are asking of you is unreasonable.”

  18. lumosnox*

    #3 I can actually think of a situation where the recruiters have a good point. If they have predetermined milestones for the class to hit – with raises and promotions coming at incremental levels when you hit those milestones – there could be a level of competition among the classes about when they hit those milestones. If there’s a competitive atmosphere, it would seem unfair for a few people in the class to have a head start on the others in hitting those success milestones. It’s not an argument for not doing it (as Alison rightfully said, the decision comes down to the hiring managers!) but that could be why they’re concerned, and that deserves to be addressed.

    1. drpuma*

      Excellent point. The staggered schedule can also have an impact on how certain benefits accrue. OP3 may want to guarantee everyone a certain number of vacation days or time off around the holidays, for example, whether they start in September or June.

      1. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

        I had one job where I was hired full-time from being a temp, and the HR admin told my boss to put my start date down as March 31 instead of April 1 so I would get benefits sooner. “Three months” wasn’t exactly three months, there: it was three full calendar months, so starting April 1 counted the same as starting April 30.

        That should be fixable if they’re changing how they onboard their new recruits, but only if there’s proper communication between the people who said “stagger the starting dates,” the recruiters, and the people who decide on and implement the benefit policies.

        1. Just Employed Here*

          That’s bizarre math on your company’s part… If you started work on 1 April, you have worked all of that month — there isn’t a single day of April you didn’t work. How is that not a full calendar month?

          1. pinky*

            Yes, but the poster said that starting April 30th would be the same as starting April 1st. Meaning that by dating the poster’s start as Mar 31st, they got credit for working in March, so a month earlier.

      2. Beehoppy*

        True. At OldJob you weren’t eligible for the 401k contribution until after 6 months. If you started before June 1 you would get the company matching 3% for your first year. If you started June 2 you had to wait another full year for the match. A few years ago some new graduates were hired and wanted to push their start dates back for travel/moving (but flexible) reasons. CEO tried to explain they would be missing out on several thousand dollars in their 401k. they shrugged it off, but when the end of year rolled around they regretted it.

    2. Elle*

      True! We are all evaluated ‘as a class’ in a “rack and stack” every year where we are ranked against other people of a similar experience level (this is a huge corporation and there are literally thousands in my ‘class’). The rack and stack happens in November. I started in May and others in my hiring year didn’t start until September. You better believe that my accomplishments looked better on paper than someone who had only started a month ago, even though that’s to be expected. So everyone who started in September missed out on promotions / raises until the following November. Maybe that’s fair, because they didn’t really work long enough to earn a raise, but they were certainly coming from behind and had to push to ‘move up in the rankings’ the next year, rather than just maintain their spot.

      1. Op#3*

        We have an unlimited PTO policy, so starting early won’t acrue any more time. We also have switched to evaluation of the class in September after they’ve worked a full year.

    3. Mouse*

      My office hires newly minted master’s students and we interview and make offers at the same time (usually late spring, right before graduation). Sometimes start dates shift based on when someone wants to start, but it also depends on how quickly their new hire paperwork is processed, which can create artificially skewed hierarchies. Which is infuriating if you’re me, and your designated HR person forgot to file your paperwork, so you’re a month “junior” to someone that more or less started at the same time.

  19. LGC*

    …does Fergus even know what his job entails?!

    I’m half joking. Because if he’s an office admin, he’s…kind of expected to do that sort of stuff. And one possibility is that he saw the title and didn’t realize that it’s the now accepted term for “secretary.”

    Which isn’t an excuse – if he doesn’t want to “just be a secretary,” he should leave. But it sounds like he doesn’t understand that job in particular, which does often involve a lot of scut work.

    (Also, maybe I’m reading too much sexism into this, but “bitch work?” Really, dude?)

    1. (Different) Rebecca, PhD*

      Seriously. On one hand, a *really good* admin is much more ‘life blood of the department’ than they are secretary. On the other hand, it takes work to get that good, and a lot of their duties are still sorting, filing, alphabetizing, mailing, and doing the things that no one else does because everyone else has less general/more specialized duties.

      And no, you’re not reading too much into it; that was very sexist.

      1. LGC*

        Honestly, I always thought that “admin” and “secretary” were functionally interchangeable. (It’s just that “secretary” has a lot of sexist baggage attached to it.) And to be honest – even the more routine tasks are pretty essential to functioning. It sounds like LW1’s friend works in a lab – what if those packages are samples that need to be received by a certain time?

        1. (Different) Rebecca, PhD*

          They’re not functionally interchangeable, though there’s a significant amount of overlap. The primary difference is in the levels of access and authority in the position of Administrative Assistant, who will (occasionally, at least in academia) be privy to certain need-to-know information about students, do the first round of sort/eliminate on applications for professorships (very preliminary, like weeding out those who don’t have the proper credentials/don’t meet the job description at all, which decision then still gets okayed by the hiring committee…), and can put through waivers/authorizations for classroom size or students who need prior permissions to take a course. They’re much closer to an office manager than a secretary, because they actually do ‘administrative’ work.

          As for your last sentence, though–RIGHT?? What a mess…

          1. fposte*

            Though I’m in academia, and the same used to be true of the department secretary–it’s just that the term has changed over the decades.

          2. LGC*

            @Rebecca and fposte: you learn something new every day! (I’m not in academia, so that specific distinction was new to me.)

        2. ElspethGC*

          Being someone’s secretary was a very well-respected job that was solely reserved for men because it was a very challenging environment… Right up until women *were* allowed to join and it became a majority-female field, at which point it became looked-down-on and lower-paid. See also: nurses, teachers. Doctors have one of the lowest-paid professions in Russia and get much less respect than in other countries – being a doctor is seen as a ‘woman’s job’ because it involves caring for people, like nursing is in other countries.

    2. restingbutchface*

      You’re right, I was kinda eh, until I read that line. B*tch work??? That, to me, is the concerning thing. I wouldnt hire anyone who referred to admin work or any traditionally female roles as b*tch work.

  20. coffeeandpearls*

    As someone who works in medical school admissions, these qualities in an applicant are super unattractive. If an applicant is competitive, they should have hundreds of hours of work and service experience ( I’m guessing that if he isn’t helpful at work, he isn’t serving his community on his own time either). We look for what work you completed in college, and if you were just booping around, even considering your academic achievements, it’s unlikely you’ll be admitted.
    If the plan is “fake it till you make it” at work until he gets in…that likely won’t happen. We can tell when recommendation writers don’t really know the candidate. Also, our interview process is designed to reveal how mature a candidate is and how they work with others, which is hard to fake. He’s right to think he’s going to need two gap years- he has a lot of work to do, and he better get to work!

    1. Psyche*

      Honestly, he probably is doing some sort of volunteer work because that is what the pre-med advisors told him he had to do to get into med school. But most likely he is taking the same approach as he is for this job. Get the hours on paper and do as little as possible.

  21. Delta Delta*

    #1 – Eh, if this guy even gets in to med school, I’d bet he doesn’t make it all the way through. Med school isn’t easy to get into, and if you get there, the work is insanely hard. Someone (I’m guessing his parents) did him a huge disservice by not encouraging him to have a job sooner so that he’d understand how jobs work. And really, refusing to mail something for a co-worker when he was already going to the post office? That’s ridiculous. I hope he never needs a favor from a co-worker. That might be where I’d start if I was the friend (also, how is OP even friends with this guy?).

    1. Decima Dewey*

      My thought is that his parents may have tried to tell him about how jobs work, but gave up and figured he’d learn the hard way.

      1. Autumnheart*

        Maybe his parents have been feeding a narrative about his exceptionalism since he was a little kid. “My Johnny can’t be expected to [insert perfectly normal expectation], he’s going to be a doctor!”

  22. Carmen Sandiego*

    I just finished medical school and am in my residency. The first few years of clinical work are primarily grunt work – you gotta start on the bottom and work your way up!

    1. Coffeeandpearls*

      Yes! One of my med students told me many stories involving poop incidents on rotations. If this guy gets in, he’s about to get a whole new perspective about what’s undignified at work!

      1. ElspethGC*

        I suspect Jam is referencing the ‘How should I pick a specialty?’ flowchart. (www.howardisms [dot] com/other-stuff/how-should-i-pick-a-speciality/)

        To get to orthopedic, the chart basically goes ‘sane -> not very hard-working -> thinks big -> jock -> ortho’.

      2. Mrs. Badcrumble*

        As an old nurse colleague of mine use to say: “Orthopedic surgeon: Strong as an ox and twice as smart.”

      3. Business Librarian*

        I once knew a resident who decided to go into orthopedic surgery because he hated working with sick people.

      4. Jennifer Thneed*

        Surgeons in general don’t need to have good social skills. They’re specialists in a thing you do to people who are unconscious. And apparently (from comments here) orthopedic surgeons are all that, turned up to 11.

    1. P*

      And here I would have thought anesthesiologist*

      *because they’re rumored to make a lot of money for not much work/great lifestyle

  23. Falling Diphthong*

    OP1: When I was in the Peace Corps, there were a few people taking two years off between undergrad and med school. (They all had their admissions but had deferred them.) They all went back a couple of months early so that they could get themselves back into US med student frame of hard-driving workaholics, rather than the local ‘some days you wait all day for the bus, and it doesn’t come–so you try again next Tuesday’ frame of mind. This guy isn’t only confused about how work works, but about how med school and residency work.

    As for what you can do–sure, point out he’s ridiculous when he’s ridiculous, and maybe he’ll be grateful later. But often in these cases it’s not until some hard consequences actually start delivering figurative upper cuts that people realize they have it within themselves to not be doinks.

  24. Falling Diphthong*

    OP2: I suspect your boss doesn’t like change. You presented her with change, she went off to vent to Fergus about Change!!!! Is Bad!!!! and he got fired up on her behalf. Clearly if you had done… something… then your boss wouldn’t be so stressed out about The Change.

    They are both being unprofessional; you are being normal.

    1. WellRed*

      Yes, the boss was weird about this too! Asking for a “hint”? Just…take the 5 minutes he requested and talk to him already!

  25. Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves*

    #2: Some workplaces and managers are really weird about people quitting and set up that culture in the lower employees. I worked at a place for several years before I couldn’t take it anymore. The owner was notified of the issues many times and he just lashed back at us. So two of us quit at the same time. It wasn’t an ideal time due to the manager being on vacation, and I had to give my notice over the phone after a similar experience to OP’s (boss called when I emailed asking for a meeting).
    I was told I was stabbing them in the back. One of the lowest level employees started some crazy gossip that I kept walking into (tiny office) and told everyone I betrayed them by leaving. She had tried to sabotage me before so I don’t know why she cared. It was just the culture that the owner had created that we were all “family” and they did so much for us that we didn’t appreciate. Like giving us paychecks.

    In the end I’m out of there and very happy. Try not to give these idiots too much mental space. I laugh when I think about that assistant who was so devastated by us leaving now.

    1. OP2*

      That sounds a lot like my work culture, what a bummer! I’d go out on a limb and guess that your previous job also did very little to actually retain their employees?
      I’m happy to be leaving, and I’m glad you got out. I’m focusing on identifying the dysfunctional behaviors that I don’t want to run any risk of carrying into my next job with me, I’ll take any hints you have there!
      PS–Love the username, my partner has it on a shirt that gets a lot of love.

      1. Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves*

        I think their long term employees stayed because they got the schedules they wanted and didn’t have other options or education. It was a decent place to work if you were part of the admin staff because you were actually treated much better than the people out working in the field. They could make major mistakes, be rude to customers, screw up accounts and causr problems for the higher paid (salary) field staff without any consequences. Salary staff was seen as free labor to work as many hours as possible so they could avoid paying overtime to the admins.
        They didn’t really do anything to make me want to stay. We actually had a meeting about morale that was awful and depressing and was essentially that the beatings would continue until morale improved. Most of the scheduled morale boosting lunches never happened or got cancelled by the killjoy admin.

  26. Random thought*

    Regarding #4, you might want to check your service agreement with your customer if you do anything more than ask him if he knows anyone interested (and maybe even before that). Our contracts have nonsolicitation clauses that have liquidated damages attached if you violate it. I’m not saying your suggestion WOULD violate it, but if there are parameters it would be good to know

    1. LibraryMan*

      Honestly, the best way to get what you want – a stellar analyst – is to go to *his* employer to ask him to advertise this job through his contacts. He will be aware of it, they will be aware of it, it will be all above board, and nobody gets hurt.

      What you and your company truly want is “someone with this level of expertise”, not him,, specifically (unless you’re secretly using this as an opportunity for romantic matchmaking, and that’s a bizarre reading of the letter.) So stop focusing on Jim the Analyst, and start using your contact with Jim the Analyst’s company to find someone like him.

      And you can explain your reasoning to this company: “We are really jealous of how you were able to find Jim. Can you tell us how you were able to attract that level of talent to you company? We don’t want him, exactly, because that would impact your success, and we don’t want that, but … can we get his help to find someone with his skills?”

      Flattering, and handled correctly, would allow your two companies to flourish together rather than drive a wedge between them.

  27. jk*

    #2 I would reply to his email and ask if he was doing some research for himself and if he had in questions on how you put in your resignation. See how he likes that. What a tool he is.

    1. Trek*

      Add to that you promise to keep it confidential until he has the chance to tell everyone he’s leaving. Then over the next three weeks act like you are keeping his secret that he’s leaving and let him worry that you are going to tell people that he’s leaving.

  28. Random Commenter*

    OP1, maybe you could consider letting your friend go. I know this sounds mean but I don’t think he will stop, whatever you tell him, and I think this type of attitude is likely to trickle to other aspects of his life. I don’t think you wanna be around that.

    1. LGC*

      Eh, I’m not sure if LW1 should let him go. There’s a huge range of possibilities – from their friend not understanding the position to their friend generally being an entitled jerk. And it sounds like he’s not unpleasant outside of the work thing (which is bad but probably not friendship-ending bad).

      The worst case scenario is that he knew what he was getting into, and he’s an entitled jerk. The best case is that he misunderstood what the position was (which…he shouldn’t have, but I can see that) and is just handling this really poorly. (Really poorly.) I think the best thing LW1 can do is…let him fail. It’s better for things to blow up on him now than later.

      1. Random Commenter*

        I know what you mean, it’s just that he really does come across as an entitled jerk and I think we collectively should have zero tolerance with them. But I’m aware mine is a more extreme reaction.

      2. P*

        I think he loses “I didn’t know” credibility when he’s actively hiding his slacking and fighting supervision.

        1. Antilles*

          True, but there’s also a middle ground where he’d be fine in a different job but is just emotionally checked out since it’s just a waystop and he doesn’t feel like he’s doing something worthwhile. It’s hard to feel enthused about helping others with their tasks when you don’t care about the lab’s work and know you won’t be there long term*.
          That doesn’t speak well of his motivation and dedication (or his ability to get through the endless grind of med school, FWIW), but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s completely without merit as a person and should be immediately dropped as a friend.
          *Theoretically anyways. He’d be far from the first to have a “couple gap years” morph into “how am I still here” 5+ years later.

          1. LGC*

            Basically. If Fergus wrote in, I imagine him starting off a little bit like LW3 from yesterday, but maybe I’m projecting onto him. (The difference is that LW3 from yesterday was handling his situation appropriately. Fergus is doing the exact opposite.)

            Plus, maybe I’m jaded but I feel like everyone has at least one area where they’re a jerk and this just happens to be Fergus’s. LW1 has valuable information about him, but without knowing other things about him (like how he treats people in service roles generally), I don’t want to make a call either way.

          2. P*

            It’s really up to LW1 to decide if the relationship is a positive one or a negative one. I doubt anyone would immediately drop someone based on some internet comments unless they were already seriously questioning the friendship. It’s a little hard for me to imagine having a friend who was this out of whack in the entitlement arena but still a stellar BFF, but anything is possible, especially with 2nd/3rd hand information.

    2. Mike C.*

      Yeah, I totally drop my friends when they aren’t professionally successful. That sounds completely reasonable.

      1. Reba*

        It’s not about success in the workplace, but about what aspects of his character are being revealed.

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*

        It’s not about being “professionally successful” it’s about being completely out of touch with the norms of adulthood.

        Frankly, the friend sounds like an entitled douche and I wouldn’t be surprised if that does come across in other areas of his life.

      3. Elaine*

        It’s not about not being professionally successful. It’s about the fact that at rock bottom, he’s a thief deliberately stealing money by completing false timesheets.

      4. Elsajeni*

        This has nothing to do with whether he’s “professionally successful.” It’s about him behaving like a jerk and expecting you to agree that he’s in the right. And the specific ways that he’s behaving badly at work, like refusing to do work apparently because he thinks it’s beneath him, are in the “rude to the waiter” category — red flags about his personality generally.

  29. Bookwormish51*

    OP4–if you are worried about the customer, why don’t you ask the head of the customer business or the contact there. Say you are looking to hire and do they or someone who works there know anyone. Then, you won’t even have approached the analyst directly and if he jumps ship, they will know you didn’t try to poach him. Also, having HR contact him will seem more like poaching than a question from the person he deals with. Good luck!

  30. SarahTheEntwife*

    For #3, are these temporary jobs? It seems really odd otherwise to have six employees be hired all at once in a company of 30 people, then another 6 the next year (unless I’m misreading the letter?). If each year’s cohort only gets a limited time to build connections with senior staff, get in on projects, etc., the people who start earlier could have an advantage that wouldn’t normally relevant in a position where people would be expected to stay at least a few years and leave at possibly completely different times.

    1. Jaybeetee*

      Could be an entry-level/”revolving door” type company. I’ve seen that kind of thing, where they have a crop of new hires every year, and a lot of people who move on after a year or two after getting some experience. I worked at a place that was in a “growth phase” (total staff doubled in the year and a half I was there), but in my entry-level position in particular, management was candid that they *knew* that was the kind of environment it was, that people moved on relatively fast, and they actually were quite invested in providing professional development for people. It was pretty awesome in that respect.

  31. Blue Bird*

    #1: try to build boundaries between you and your friend (so that he doesn’t inform you whenever he breaks rules), give him a cursory warning regarding his lack of professionalism, and then let life run its course. I’m not optimistic one discussion among friends will change his attitude. Don’t be hard on yourself. You can’t steer him on the right track.

  32. McWhadden*

    Is number three a law firm? Or something similar that does associate classes? If so I don’t think the recruiters are being weird. It’s the norm for most law firms to start a class at once. And work assignments are absolutely relationship based. You develop with partners and senior associates who give you work. Someone with three months more relationship building time with senior people will start off better.

    1. Book Badger*

      The only time I’ve heard “the class of [year]” in a job setting IS law, because people hire that graduating class directly out of law school.

      1. Arctic*

        LW # 3 I think the recruiters raise some good points and they are definitely not being “weird”. If you have a Class of XXXX structure it’s typical to start at the same time. That’s the point of doing things that way.

        And it’s just naive to claim people who have three months more time and experience don’t have an advantage. They receive more time with senior people to build relationships, they are up and working sooner and are more likely to meet any bonus goals, people doing the training are more likely to be enthusiastic with the first batch than the second or third batch. There are a lot of reasons why someone starting in September is put at a disadvantage compared to those starting earlier. Not to mention the fact that the earlier ones have health insurance and other benefits sooner.

    2. Op#3*

      We’re a government consulting firm. You do develop relationships with people, but it’s usually based upon what the Associate would like to focus on.

  33. P*

    OP1: I think your friend actually DOES understand, at least a little; they’re just so arrogant as to feel like work is beneath them. Exhibit A: he is actively hiding the fact that he watches so much TV at work. Meaning, he knows he’s not supposed to be doing it, but does it anyway. Exhibit B: people are asking him to do stuff and telling him he needs to improve, but instead of doing so he complains and freaks out. He is NOT clueless, he actively has a bad attitude.
    Like if someone does something annoying to you, something that could just be poor social skills; when you ask them to stop, do they stop or double down? The former is someone who was just clueless, the latter is a jerk.
    Sorry, your friend sounds like he doesn’t have the right attitude about work, not that he doesn’t understand. The way he’s acting I actually fear what kind of doctor he’ll become, though hopefully they’ll get their head on straight in the next few years if they go ahead with med school.

    1. Boo Hoo*

      Heck when I was even higher than my initial admin work, which is how I got my foot in the door while in school, I was happy to help make copies or something similar. A few mins away from a ringing phone to stretch my legs and refill my coffee and maybe chat with the cute guy at the copy machine. All good to me.

  34. Czhorat*

    For #1 – I find that the best thing to do in dealing with friends who have unrealistic expectations is to avoid reinforcing their misconceptions.

    Alison, as usual, has good scripts for this. I’ll sometimes soften a bit. For example, “In all fairness, it’s your boss’s job to make sure you get these things done faster and they might get into trouble with their boss if they aren’t.” or, “In my experience, most workplaces don’t like to pay you to watch TV. This seems pretty normal to me.”

    You’re not exactly correcting them, but you are perhaps slowly talking them back in off the ledge. At the very least you aren’t giving positive or even neutral responses which they could take as a signal that their attitude is normal and acceptable.

  35. Jaybeetee*

    LW1: I suspect your friend is in fact aware that you’re not supposed to watch TV all day at work or take long walks on the clock, and he’s thinking more that he’s meant to be a Very Important Doctor someday and that this job is both a temporary stop on the way and something that is beneath him. He doesn’t see himself like the other drones who actually do this stuff for a living (while I’ve never met someone brazen enough to watch TV at work, I have met students who unfortunately carried this attitude to some degree or another in their part-time and summer jobs). When he actually has the nerve to complain that someone made him work at work, feel free to give him a verbal smack. “…do you think you’re not supposed to work at jobs?” If you really want to be on the nose and challenge him, maybe ask outright at some point if he perceives himself as “better” than other people working similar positions. Maybe you’ll learn something about your friend you’ll wish you hadn’t, but you’d be better off knowing that.

    LW3: Hiring cohorts. I’ve worked at a few places that practiced “batch hiring”. There was often a bit of staggering to start dates anyway just due to scheduling and circumstances, but there are ways to train multiple people at once, even if you’re a relatively small group. One way is the “buddy system” where each newbie is paired with a more experienced worker whom they shadow, and they eventually start taking on the tasks. Other places created a bit more complex schedule, where newbies would move from person to person to learn different tasks. Yes, productivity takes a hit for a couple weeks due to employees training concurrently, but once everyone is up to speed things take off. I mean, if your company does want to stagger out new hires that’s not the end of the world either, but if they’re doing it just because it feels too onerous to train six people at once – there are ways around that if that’s what they’d prefer to do.

  36. Kat A.*

    For OP #1:
    You say your friend works hard in other areas, but unless you’ve worked with him on a continuous basis you can’t really know that. I’m sorry to say this, but I just don’t see it. His work ethic is really bad, but on top of that he complains about normal business operations like he’s some sort of victim. That really says something.

    Also, since he’s hiding his TV watching, he knows it’s wrong. Yet, he’s doing it anyway and bragging about the many ways to look busy while not doing work.

    I’m not sure he’ll get the message you want to give him. Guys like this usually need to lose a job (or two or three) before they open their eyes. But good luck. I know you care and it’s frustrating to hear him talk, but you may have to say your piece and then just let him experience the consequences of his actions.

  37. ThankYouRoman*

    #1 He’s going to flip the heck out when he learns the amount of work that goes into residency. If he makes it that far since without work ethic, Med School will chew him up and spit him out. Especially with this 2 year gap, yikes.

  38. Pineapple Incident*

    OP1, I think you should have a sort of come-to-Jesus talk with your friend about his work habits. Not only is he jeopardizing his recommendations and current work status by acting this way, he’s also setting himself up to be an ineffective and arrogant clinician in the future who people aren’t interested in helping because of his attitude.

    I used to work in admin roles in a hospital setting, and the nurses and I always went the extra mile for medical students, resident doctors and attendings who noticed that our jobs added value to their work and made it easier. Admin work is not beneath your friend – it can be extremely trying and thankless. If he were to actually put effort into this role, I bet he will appreciate it forever as having been a humbling experience and window into the sorts of work he never wants to have to do again.

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      I have long been of the opinion that we should have a special kind of national service, where everyone takes a year after high school to do counter work or some other kind of retail/service work. Yes, some rich kids would get out of it, but lots of people would get a lot of benefit from learning how to work with customers. (And maybe over time, as more people have done that year, customer will be less rude to retail workers overall. I do dream.)

  39. Grey*

    #2: “You’re leaving too? Congratulations. Those look like great articles to start with. If you need any additional tips, I’m happy to help!”

  40. Q*

    OP#1 some people will just never get the concept of work. I have relatives that have never worked in their lives, and they do not understand why my husband and I can’t leave work at the exact instant they request us to change a light bulb for them. Every ten years or so they try to get a minimum wage job and just end up being fired, then brag they are working the system by collecting unemployment. I truly hope your friend is just going through an adjustment process and will wake up, as he is young and has plenty of time to change. He doesn’t want to end up a complete loser like my relatives with no job skills.

  41. nonprofit writer*

    Stories like #1 are the reason I make sure to thank my dad periodically for “forcing” me to work in his office on Saturdays during his busy season when I was a teenager (I did get paid!) I learned office norms really young and even though I complained mightily about it at home, it was great experience. I received no perks/slack for being the boss’s kid. I was answering phones etc at the age of 14, learning how to take a message, speak politely with clients etc. I also did basic work like filing, photocopying etc. I still didn’t love my first job out of college but at least I knew how to do it! (and not to expect to be given work at a higher level)

  42. J.E.*

    #1 sounds like he’s slacking because he doesn’t view his position as a “real” job. In his mind his real job will be when he’s a doctor, so he doesn’t feel he has to take his current position seriously. To him, this is just a stopover before getting on with his “real” career. That said, he should really take this seriously if he expects recommendations from this job for his med school applications. This also doesn’t show promise for how’ll he’ll be as a doctor. Like a previous comment stated, he does seem like that type of doctor in the making who would walk around acting superior to other staff. It may be immaturity, but he needs to learn now that he’s laying the groundwork for how he’ll be perceived.

  43. Maxine Meyers*

    #1: Commenting as a doctor, your friend definitely needs to correct that nonsense before medical school. Our department nurses often comment that I’m unusually skilled (for a doctor) at blood draws, placing catheters, etc.- skills I have because I step in and help when things are busy. The medical profession is all about helping your colleagues, and no one is above any type of task.

  44. Lauren*

    “But personally I’d enjoy making it awkward for them.”

    This AAM comment is why I love this blog.

  45. ArtK*

    OP #4: Please check the contract(s) with this customer. There may be “no poaching” clauses that limit what you can do. What Alison suggested may pass, or it may not. Best be prepared.

  46. Lindsay Gee*

    #1: I had a friend EXACTLY like this who also coincidentally was trying to get into med school (she eventually did). She was working in a family doctors office in undergrad and essentially got the job bc the husband/wife doc team were here neighbours. I think she thought she would be shadowing/doing more medical stuff- which she never would have been allowed to do since she was still in undergrad and this was a min wage office helper job. She basicaly watched youtube all day, did some administrative tasks etc. When a locum doc came in and started getting her to run errands for the office, the outrage!!! you would have thought that she was asking my friend to lick her shoes or something. She was outraged at the audacity of the doctor asking her to run errands, when essentially she WASN’T doing anything productive to the office (because she wasn’t a qualified admin assistant, receptionist, anything). I did try and explain all this to her, that bc she was bottom of the totum pole and was hired as a favour to give her some experience and resume padding that she would have to do some boring stuff…but nope. The outrage continued. Thought she was above menial tasks.
    Advice: talk to your friend but don’t expect them to accept your advice or change their ways. If they complain about this stuff at work, just change the subject or just explain that you don’t want to hear them complain about things that are literally their job.

  47. Chaordic One*

    While I certainly wasn’t as bad as the OP #1’s friend, I do cringe sometimes when I think about my behavior at some of my first jobs. My biggest problem was that I got bored with doing the same thing over and over again and I quit several decent jobs for that reason.

    I can also see that sometimes I didn’t have enough initiative. (Of course this was before “google.”)

    1. Liza*

      I can relate to that. I’d say it’s probably better to quit a job if you find it intolerably boring than to do what this guy does and deliberately mess around on the clock and falsify his time sheet. I too struggle with repetitive work – I wound up crying with boredom when I got a job stacking shelves at my university library, unable to listen to music and not allowed to assist customers – but it’s a genuine concentration issue rather than a conscious dislike of the work. For years I saw it as a personal (work) ethical failing, I think at least in part due to stories of people like this guy, whose behaviour stems from arrogance rather than just plain poor fit for the job. I think if you really do find you can’t do something well, there’s no shame in moving on to try and find your niche. That’s sort of what those early part time jobs are about. But this guy seems to see this job as little more than a means to an end.

  48. Employment Lawyer*

    3. Should we stagger our employee start dates?
    You should either stagger them OR you should spend more time setting up group training (there’s a lot to be said for this kind of efficiency.) The latter may make more sense. One person can usually train six people if it’s all they do: If you plan ahead of time to rotate trainers through the newbies and to keep them separate until they have basic skills, that may be more efficient. Rather than having them drag on 6 different departments for a month, you can find 20 different folks who will each spend one day training the whole group. Not to mention it lets you focus on “who is the best available trainer of ___ skill?” which, depending on skill, is likely to be a lot of different people, and may not include any of their direct supervisors.

    That said:
    But for the record, your junior employees’ arguments are weird.
    No they’re not. If you’re in a competitive environment (think, law firm stock firm, etc.) these places run on an “up/out” model. Summarized, a certain percentage of each year gets fired, the rest get promoted.

    As such there is a huge incentive not just to do well, but to do BETTER than everyone else; your relative standing can be more important than your absolute skills. And as such the early hires would probably have a huge leg up.

    1. Psyche*

      I have trained new people before. Sometimes individually and sometimes in a group. I would prefer to train them all at once. My productivity for that first month would be terrible, but over the course of four months would overall be better. Having two new people every month for four months would drive me nuts.

  49. nnn*

    If LW #1’s friend was someone I was advising, I’d respond to “he doesn’t want to be a crutch for them to use” and “he doesn’t want to be the “B****” of the office” by emphasizing “You are support staff. Your job is to support the rest of the office.”

    When I started my first professional teapot-making job, I was reluctant to go to support staff for stuff I could do myself. Then my boss pointed out to me that I should be going to support staff for stuff any anyone with basic office skills can do, so I can spend my time on the specialized teapot-making activities, which not everyone can do and which are what generates revenue.

    So I’d extrapolate from this to the reality of the office he’s working in. Everyone can do mail, not everyone can make whatever their equivalent of teapots are. So you’re doing mail to free up other people to make teapots. That’s why they hired you.

    1. nnn*

      Also, if he’s in a “But I’m going to be a DOCTOR!” mindset, I’d suggest that that’s better achieved by going straight to med school than by taking a gap year. (Or, if he’s not into that, dig into why he’s so intent on taking a gap year.)

      Of course, all that is if he was someone I wanted to put the effort into advising. How much effort LW1 wants to put into advising is up to them.

    2. MrsCHX*

      Ooh good point. My last company was the first time I ever had an admin assistant (we had 5 admins each assigned to small groups of people). It took me awhile to get used to! But 1) she was actually better at administrative duties– go figure! :) 2) it freed me up to do the strategic aspects of my job

  50. bopper*

    Work friend who doesn’t work:
    This is why I made my kids have summer jobs.
    You could also tell him: Imagine you are a manager with two workers One you pay $50/hr to do super technical stuff that your company sells . You have another one who gets $10/hr. Which one do you want to do stuff like mailing packages and copies? The one who could be doing more work that can be sold, or the junior person who is doing administration work? So yes, both types of work need to be done ,but you wouldn’t have the admin person if the technical person wasn’t doing their work.

  51. Peaches*

    OP #2 – I went through a similar situation! When I resigned from my last (horribly toxic) job, I emailed my boss who was frequently in and out of the office and asked to set up a meeting. She said, “well, I’m not going to have any time in the next couple days”. I told her I understood she was busy, but would really appreciate an in-person meeting that day or the next, or at least phone call. She emailed me saying that she guessed she could spare a few minutes the following day. Not more than 5 minutes later, she called me and said, “what’s so important that you want to talk to me about right this second?” (never said I needed to speak with her right that second!) At that point, I went ahead and told her I was resigning, and my end date would be X date, and thanked her for the opportunity (which quite honestly was more than kind enough – she was an awful, awful manager). She flipped the switch at that point and said she would miss me, and asked if there was anything she could do or say to make me stay. Of course, I told her there was not. Our team was absolutely drowning in work because people were always quitting due to the poor management and toxic environment.

    Anyway, I later received a vague email from my boss’s boss (who I’d never spoken to – she didn’t work in my office), indicating that I shouldn’t have resigned the way I did and that I should brush up on “professional norms.” I was so taken aback that a complete stranger to me would send me such an email, knowing absolutely nothing about me. Still so thankful I got out of that place!

    1. OP2*

      That is strikingly similar! I think what’s so interesting about it too is that the whole situation isn’t going to help when people resign in the future. Several coworkers who have seen the change in attitude toward me have confided that they will be less likely to give long notice. I’m thankful I’m getting out too!

  52. Anon for this*

    #4 – My company has done some hiring from clients and haven’t had any issues. We only approach analysts who have inquired about working for our company or we may ask if they know anyone for an open position to start the conversation. But to be fair, poaching is somewhat common in my industry.

    In addition to some of the other great comments here, I would recommend considering how the Star Analyst leaving the client organization would impact the relationship. IME, the point of contact on the client side can make a big difference in the relationship. If Star Analyst understands your product and the relationship is going well, he’s going to be your champion with the client. If they backfill with someone much less experienced or has a preference for another vendor, that could set things back.

    It’s always nice to have the ability to hire someone you know and feel confident will thrive in the role, but there are plenty of other great analysts out there. Best to keep your options open, even if Star Analyst throws his hat in the ring.

  53. Anonanon*

    #2 – There are some places from which it isn’t really possible to quit gracefully. That’s on them, and it’s also a reason you’re better off moving on. I gave LastJob a long notice because I was worried 2 weeks would put them in a bind and I really wanted to maintain a good relationship with them. My boss was pretty reasonable, but the other managers simply stopped speaking to me and gave the appearance to others in the organization that I was not leaving on good terms. I agonized that I had burned that bridge and really wanted to know what I needed to learn from this experience so I would not make the same mistake again. I asked the managers for feedback, but they had only created their own story about why I was leaving LastJob and had no interest in where I was going next or why I had accepted another position (a perfect for me opportunity that kind of dropped in my lap I couldn’t pass up). I’ve also scoured this site looking for answers, and the only answer I can come up with is that LastJob was a toxic organization (other things support this) – I did nothing wrong. The lesson learned is that doing the right thing for your career is not always going to win favor with others, but you owe it to yourself to do what’s best for you.

    1. OP2*

      I totally agree about it being a confirmation that you’re better off moving on. I think my instinct too is to feel that I’ve done something wrong or need to learn a lesson, but that’s not the case. I had learned my lesson already, that’s why I was job searching!
      Thanks for the validation and encouragement.

  54. MrsCHX*

    As an HR Manager I think it is EXCELLENT when people in similar roles/same department can start at the same time. We’re a smaller company but the couple of times this has happened for us, it has really been great. And that’s with experienced folks; we don’t even have any entry-level jobs here. Just recently our 3 new sales people came on board at the same time and everyone has agreed it’s SO much nicer for onboarding/training.

    I do agree that the department managers should be deciding when the new hires should start.

  55. Working Mom Having It All*

    #1, it sounds like your friend doesn’t know what an Admin job entails. He’s caught up with the idea that this is about him being the “most junior” person, or people treating him like “their b****”, when most likely, if he was hired on as an administrative assistant, stuff like mail and helping people with miscellaneous tasks because they are busy is literally the nature of his role. You kind of *are* the b-word of the team, even if you are the most senior person there. That’s why it’s “administrative”. The administration you are doing is those small housekeeping tasks that enable everyone else to do their real jobs.

    I’m curious whether this was sold to him as a “lab assistant” job and he doesn’t realize there are support staff tasks involved, or whether maybe he decided that for himself due to lack of experience?

  56. Jessica Fletcher*

    #1- Your friend has a strange idea of the kind of jobs that look good on a med school application. Med schools want to see that he pursued his interest even before applying to school. If he can’t find a science or medical related job, he should be volunteering, in addition to working hard at his job.

    But I wouldn’t bother addressing it unless it’s your bff. You aren’t his parent and most people wouldn’t want this kind of unsolicited advice.

  57. Ms Lady*

    OP3- I’ve seen a lot of comments here saying that you will loose good candidates by staggering the start date because all new grads will need the money right away. As someone who graduated not too long ago, I can say that’s not true- or at the very least, that wont be your candidates’ only factor in whether they decide to take the job or not.

    Personally, if I had been given the option to delay starting my first post-grad job, I absolutely would have! I had an incredibly rigorous academic experience that pushed me to my limits right up until the day I graduated (I submitted the final draft of my senior thesis 2 hours before the ceremony), and I only had 3 days between graduation and my start date. I ended up getting very burned out only a few months into the job, and I came very close to being fired for performance issues. If I had waited to start, I could have taken a break while working my low-key, part-time college job to get by. I even had the option of living with my parents for a few months if needed.

    My point is, don’t worry about staggering the start. Surely some will want to start right away, but some might be glad to have more flexibility in their start date.

    1. Op#3*

      That’s what I was thinking! We are going to try and give them the option (not just say you need to start on X day no wiggle room!) So I’m hoping it will naturally sort it self out. We had some candidates who literally move across the country (from CA to VA) so they might need time to pack up the dorm, see family, find a good apartment, then have some down time!

  58. CoveredInBees*

    OP 3 There’s a potential hiring advantage to having staggered starts in that some students might prefer to take time off, have time to move out of student housing, etc. I went from an intense undergrad program to an intense job. Yes, I would have still done it if my start date was soon after graduation, but having the time off was very good for me, mentally. Not everyone can afford to do this but you might catch more people offering a few different start dates.

  59. CoveredInBees*

    “But personally I’d enjoy making it awkward for them.” I love these moments of snarky realness after the calm, measured, and professional responses are done.

  60. Wendy*

    LW #1: I had a roommate like this in my early 20s, down to the TV watching all day long. She would, quite literally, marathon entire seasons of TV and then complain about how tired she was, how hard work was, her boss, etc. The rest of us in the apartment worked jobs that required being on our feet and actively engaged with clients/patients/customers all day at the time. We tried repeatedly to tell her that wasn’t normal or how things were done, and to nicely point out that in a lot of jobs she would have been fired.

    It never seemed to sink in. I hope you have more like getting through to your friend. My former roommate turned out not be a good person to have in my life in a lot of way, and we’ve lost touch. I’m not sure what she’s up to now or if her work habits ever really grew up.

    You say your friend works hard in other areas, and I hope that’s true. I just wanted to note that you might not be able to get through to them, and it’s not your fault or your responsibility if they continue on like this. He’s an adult, and it’s his professional life.

  61. Penny*

    LW1: “He seemed generally stunned when a coworker asked to send out a package when he is already sending several out for the office. It’s not that he is swamped with work – he just doesn’t want to be seen as the person who does everyone’s mail.”

    Ok I can sort of get this*. Unless his job description is admin and mail is his job, I can understand not wanting to become the office mail clerk. Did he get a job description when he was brought on with expectations clearly outlined? He’s fixing to get fired if he did and he’s ignoring it. And good luck getting through med school with zero boundaries or expectation-meeting.

    * I was a mortgage processor before the crash. I was the only woman in an office of six loan officer men and they always dumped their mail on me and asked me to make coffee. They continually saw me as an admin assistant, not a processor who was on their level (and held the keys to their speedy work). So many years later, I now know this was the fault of the owner who never set the expectations, which is why I can mildly defend LW’s friend for taking exception to it if it’s truly not his job.

  62. Jennifer Thneed*

    OP2, next time you change jobs, if you can afford to at all, take a week in between. Starting a new job is *hard* and you won’t get any time off for awhile. When the new place asks when you can start, give them a date that gives you that week of free time. Don’t feel like you need to request the time, explain yourself, or apologize for wanting the time. Your reasons are your business: all they need is the actual date.

    (And actually, most people who ask you a question like that just want the answer. They don’t care what it is or why it is, they just need the info to fill in a form or something similar.)

  63. Number Five*

    Yeesh, #1 highlights perfectly why people need part-time jobs early in life. Maybe not even for the experience, but rather so they get a handle on all the unspoken guidelines that come alongside having a job.

  64. Ginger*

    Not sure if anyone else commented on this, but it is VERY common in certain industries (legal and accounting for sure; I’m guessing maybe engineering also though I don’t know for sure) to have hire “classes”. Legit just like school: often they are paid the same (if it is lockstep), they are billed to clients according to what “class year” they are, they make partner (or get counseled out) at the same point (6 years generally for law), they all start at the same time, with a few stragglers just before or after the window if they had some other commitments, they all go to the same continuing education trainings each year, etc. etc. It seems really bizarre when you aren’t used to it, but, depending on the industry, it IS possible that the folks arguing for hiring them all at the same time may have a point. Not that accounting and law don’t have lateral hires that sometimes join mid-year (all, btw, are assigned a class-year upon hire – sometimes as part of a lateral move, a new hire might agree to be pushed back slightly) but…well, my BigLaw firm just had our “2018 Class” start a couple of months ago. :)

    1. Op#3*

      We mostly just do it so they can have a sense of comorodery. For example, at some point we drop the “class of xxxx” and they have a nickname instead.
      Sure they I can agree that those who started a month early MAY get a bit more seniority, but I’m not so sure that’s the case now.

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