telling my boss his wife messed up his travel, company wants to promote me without a raise, and more

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

1. Telling my boss his wife messed up his business travel

I used to work as an executive assistant to a person who did a lot of business travel, but also did a lot of travel for his side-business activities. This was all legit, above board kind of stuff and his main job was aware of it.

As his assistant, I handled all the business stuff: booking flights, doing expense claims, all that jazz. However, his wife handled the side-business travel and I was instructed to liaise with her to coordinate schedules and handle any times when business travel would occur in conjunction with side-gig travel. His spouse was awesome, really organized and a great person to work with, but this was still a little bit awkward. It became more awkward when she made a mistake and booked travel for him at a time he was required to be somewhere else for his main job. I double, triple, and quadruple checked all of our email correspondence and it was for sure something that had gotten mixed up on her end, I am confident in that. So I was between a rock and a hard place: it wasn’t MY mistake but I was probably going to wear it because how am I supposed to present all the evidence to my boss that his spouse, his partner in life for over 20 years, the mother of his children, was the one that made the error that was sort of a costly mistake? He and I had a great working relationship, great communication, he had my back, all in all he was a great person to work for.

I ended up just doing my best to fix it and make everything work out, but it never sat right with me that I had to sort of pretend that it was my fault. I think that if I had tried to present everything to him that it WASN’T my mistake might have just made me look like a jerk or be really self-serving. Did I only have those two choices: screw-up or jerk? Or was there a third option that I just didn’t realize?

You were being way too delicate! It wouldn’t have been a jerky move to tell your boss that his wife mixed something up, because you wouldn’t have said it in a jerky way. You would have just matter-of-factly told him, “Hmmm, it looks like Jane booked you in Atlanta on the 20th when you need to be in San Diego. I’ll let her know.” Your brain was going way overboard with the “partner in life for over 20 years, mother of his children” thing. It’s just a routine business thing, not particularly sensitive information.

If I were your boss and I found out that you were pretending something was your fault because you thought I’d dislike you if you told me my spouse had messed something up … well, I’d actually be really concerned. I’d worry about your judgment, or whether I’d somehow given you the impression that I was too fragile to hear normal business stuff, or whether my spouse had done something to scare the crap out of you. I’d wonder what else you might be sugarcoating, and what else I might want to know that you might not tell me.

It’s worth looking at whether you’re being overly delicate with your current colleagues/manager, because this is a strange instinct! This is just normal business stuff, not anything you needed to dance around or hide.

2. Should we keep people less than 100% busy?

I was mulling in my head how one way to ensure work goals could be met is to have employee’s less than 100% busy. This wouldn’t be to the point of having literally nothing to do at given time every day, but not load employee’s work plates to the max. To me, it’s logical to have some buffer time to cover work for an employee on vacation, to catch up when one is sick, and to do all the little extra projects managers seem to distribute at the last minute. But it seems that every employer for whom I’ve worked, maxes out an employee’s workload (while limiting overtime too) and doesn’t either consider or care how an employee catches up or handles extra assignments. I was mulling on this, in the case I’m ever in a position to influence a team’s workload. What do you think?

Yep, that would be logical, not only so that people don’t get overloaded but also because there’s real value in having space in your week to step back and just think — think about better ways to do things, come up with new ideas, etc. Smart managers also build in some “buffer time” when they’re planning out goals for the year (or whatever period of time), on the assumption that new priorities will arise that can’t be predicted right now.

The problem, of course, is that when something arises that needs to be done or would provide a lot of value, people aren’t likely to say, “Well, Jane has the room to do it but we want to keep 5% of her time open so we have to pass.” And those “little extra projects managers seem to distribute” end up filling people’s plates anyway.

But good managers manage around this by (a) being flexible enough to move things around/reprioritize/back-burner things entirely when someone has been sick or on vacation or is simply overloaded and needs some breathing room, and (b) acknowledging that when everyone is at 100% of their capacity all the time, you’ve got to either scale back on expectations so people don’t burn out, or hire new staff. The problems tend to happen when a manager isn’t doing either of those.

3. My company wants to promote me but not pay me for it

I interviewed about a month ago at my current company for a promotion. The position was open because they are opening a new work site and they moved one of the managers there, leaving his position at my work site vacant. Yesterday my manager called me into his office and told me I’d been selected for the position. He then asked me to start working in the position immediately, without a pay increase or even an offer letter. This position will be a huge increase in responsibility from my current position, so I don’t fancy doing it for no pay.

After discussing it for a while, I found out that the last person who was in that position, as far as HR is concerned, is still in that position, despite his having been working at the new site for weeks already, and they cannot put me into a position that is not vacant. Supposedly this is because the new work site has not yet secured funding for its operations from our customer.

My company has a history of promoting people and not increasing their pay for a long time after they start in the position. Six months to a year until someone sees their salary increase is normal. Since they cannot even have HR change my status to the new position, it will likely be even longer. I offered to do the new position for 30 days, and if I haven’t received a formal offer at the end of 30 days I will return to my current job. My manager’s counter offer was that I will just work in the new position and whenever they can officially promote me they will. 

I would like to take this promotion but will only take it for a significant salary increase because it is a much more stressful job than my current one. I find this whole situation very strange because I am working for a well-established company with thousands of employees. What is the best course of action?

If you’ll only accept the position for a significant salary increase, you don’t have a lot to lose by holding firm on that. You can try saying something like, “I’d love to accept the position and I’m excited about doing the work. But it’s a significant increase in responsibility, and I want to ensure that my compensation reflects that. I understand that the position isn’t officially vacant yet. But surely if we were hiring someone from the outside to do this job, we’d give them a salary that reflects market rate for this work. I’m asking that we do that now, before I accept the role. I can’t commit to it without first knowing what the salary will be.” (Or you could change that last sentence to, “Once I start doing this higher level work, I think it’s fair that my salary reflect that. Alternately, I’d be willing to wait up to two months as long as we can put in writing that I’ll receive that increased pay retroactively. Otherwise I’d be doing higher level work at a lower level salary, which of course wouldn’t be reasonable.”)

But it sounds like they’re counting on you to want the promotion enough that you’ll just do the work for a year or more at your old salary. And if you hold firm, you do risk losing the promotion, so you should just be sure that you’re willing to take that risk before drawing a line in the sand about it.

4. Should I warn my boss before I get a buzz cut?

Right now my hair falls a little below my shoulders, but I’m feeling really tempted to get a buzz cut. I don’t usually meet with clients for my job, and the office is pretty laid-back, but if/when I decide to go for it, do I need to notify my boss in advance so that he’s not caught off-guard? I’m not talking about leaving during the day and coming back with a lot less hair or anything like that, just coming in after the weekend with a dramatically new look.

Nah, you don’t need to give your boss a heads-up. It’s your hair. You’re not dyeing it an unnatural color or otherwise doing something that might run afoul of your office’s dress code. You don’t need permission, and your boss should be able to survive the shock.

5. Company canceled our dinner interview and hasn’t been in touch since

I’ve been going through an interview process that has been agonizing to say the least. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that in two months, I have spent 12 hours on this company so far.

Last month, I was scheduled to have a dinner interview (the sixth step) with the management team. The day of the interview, it was canceled due to illness. They said they would call me the next day to reschedule and that they would be out of the office the next week on a conference. No call came. I emailed the week after the conference to check in — no reply.

My family and friends are furious for me and think I should call (rather than email) and I think I should just give up. I’ve been checking on LinkedIn and the position hasn’t been filled and it’s no longer available. Thoughts?

There’s not a lot to be gained by trying to force an answer out of them. The only answer that really matters when you’re job searching is that lack of information is a no, at least until you hear something different. And you have that answer.

To be clear, they were definitely rude. After the time you invested, they owed you the courtesy of “we’ve decided to go with someone else” or “we’re putting the position on hold for now” or whatever the answer is. But a zillion companies do this; it’s just the way job searching goes. That doesn’t make it not rude, but it does mean that your friends and family are going a little overboard in being “furious” for you.

I’d just assume the company’s silence is your answer. And in strictly practical terms, this may be a better outcome than if you’d gone to the dinner and then done their seventh and eighth steps too, and then received a no after that.

{ 270 comments… read them below or add one }

      1. T. Boone Pickens

        Man that letter was absolutely spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, my skin crawled with how awkward the LW must feel with the whole situation (especially with what happened at the event!). That being said, it was still awesome.

        Reply
  1. Mike C.

    When planning allocations, I’ve always seen 80% capacity thrown around as a general number.

    All of Alison’s points are great (especially the one about wanting free time to improve things), but there are also massive downsides to always being at full capacity. In particular, you’re going to have people cutting corners or taking similarly shortsighted tactics when it comes to completing work, and that’s just a ticking time bomb.

    Also another word on having time to improve processes – your company will never be able to grow efficiently or innovate if you have no time spent towards those efforts or trainings or education and so on.

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    1. Dragoning

      Our department wants us at 80% capacity on our day-to-day core job responsibility, and 20% time for project work, development plans, training, etc.

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    2. KR

      Oh yes to your last point. I feel like I never get to do the small things that make my Dept tick – update info sheets, file drives, budget in advance, make reference sheets, ect. Mostly because we’re always piling on more work and there’s always more work that could be done. It’s good of OP2 to be thinking of this stuff if they ever want to be a manager.

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    3. Akcipitrokulo

      We work 7.5 hours/day. When we do sprint planning, we get capacity of 6 hours/day to fill because it works better that way :)

      It’s unrealistic to expect 100% high quality concentration every minute of the day. And that’s before you consider meetings and adhoc consultations that happen.

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    4. RJ the Newbie

      I work with employee utilization and realization and the percentages that companies attribute to employees always varies depending on the specialization (I’m in engineering). 80% is a decent number permitting 20% to general administration, marketing/communications et al. The company I am at now is understaffed and the numbers I’m seeing are concerning me as some of the better employees are at over 100% on direct projects alone.

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    5. LQ

      80% is what is thrown around here too. When we do planning and such we assume for about 80% or less (other projects/other duties) of 7.5 (8-2 15 breaks).

      But it’s also good to know that for some roles the pressure that was mentioned is there. People out, surprise work, emergencies, etc. You might be able to see it when you are at planning, but depending on your job you might not see that the plan is actually 6 hours of work a day, not 8.

      Every few years or so my director goes on a tirade and demands that no one (other directors and managers) talk to a couple of teams without going through him because those teams get flooded with work because it doesn’t go through the right channels and it’s work that the director would have said no to, but people go around him and directly to the people doing the work (who are empowered to push back but don’t always because the person asking is nice or seems like it’s an emergency, or you want to be helpful, or you aren’t sure if you’re empowered to push back, or whatever)). I’ve been on one of those teams at that time and really the team is at about 50% or less, you have long long breaks and get everything done no problem, plus time for professional development, and just doing office work. So it seems like the capacity of the team is lower than it is, and the team feels more overwhelmed than it should. (After this I went screw this noise, “You’ll have to talk to Director about that” made a lot of seemingly Urgent and Super Important requests just fizzle.) Sometimes some of us (yo!) make our jobs harder and more full than they need to be if we speak up (and dammit your manager should help with that, but you should assume you have to say something).

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    6. Sharon

      The other thing that I think a lot of people don’t think about is impacts to collaboration. I’ve never worked in a place that (to my knowledge) measures utilization like this. It’s always been generally always overfull plates. Which means that I end up waiting and waiting for people that I need to collaborate with to have 5 minutes to share with me. It can get frustrating.

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    7. SheLooksFamiliar

      When I was a fledgling recruiter, I got tired of people – usually disgruntled job seekers – insisting I should be on the phone all day long in order to do My Job. They didn’t want to hear I needed to be in staff meetings, update meetings with hiring partners, managing reports and paperwork – oh, so much paperwork! – and were especially dismissive of training for my own development and advancement. If I wasn’t on the phone all day long, talking to candidates, they thought I was slacking off. And they told me so, often in very colorful language.

      I think the 80% target for day-to-day activity is about right, depending on the organization’s needs.

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      1. Helena

        Yes a lot of people think that physicians should spent 100% of their time physically with patients too (“Dr Smith only does 4 clinics a week, and she’s paid $$!”). Um, if I’m always with a patient when do you think I’m ordering tests, checking the results of those tests, and actioning them? When am I authorising prescription refills? When am I discussing your case with colleagues? A ten minute consult generates a good half hour or more of associated admin.

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    8. Serin

      My boss told us he aims for 85%.

      This is the first time I’ve worked for a company that wasn’t tiny, and it’s the first time I’ve ever had a functional backup (allowing me to go on vacation without doing two weeks’ worth of work in advance / taking work with me / taking business phone calls all the way through my time off), and, man, this is the life.

      Managers need to keep in mind that people who burn out are really expensive to replace.

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    9. Anon For Always

      Interesting number. Where I work they aim for 100% in the slow times, which means during the busy times you are at 150%.

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    10. Lucille2

      I see this often as well. Environments that want to stack employees’ plates 100% are asking for burnout and problems when someone inevitably needs to take unplanned time off or an unforeseen problem surfaces. Also, attention to detail tends to go to the wayside when people are overloaded with work.

      Another issue I commonly see is how 100% capacity is measured. You’ll have superstars whose 80% looks more like average worker’s 100% and new guy’s 120%. The standard has to be appropriate for the team. I’ve known managers who see how productive the superstar is and raise the bar for everyone when a better solution is to give superstar new challenges/opportunities.

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    11. Michaela Westen

      I work in data management and time for organization is *essential*. The worst thing to do is rush through the work. I have to have time to think about the processes and how to manage them, and make notes about details to refer to later. Trying to rush would cause a lot of sloppy work and half-done analyses.

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  2. Engineer Girl

    how am I supposed to present all the evidence to my boss that his spouse, his partner in life for over 20 years, the mother of his children, was the one that made the error that was sort of a costly mistake?

    I can guarantee you that after 20 years the boss has probably seen his wife burp, fart, and make costly mistakes. Such is the way of living with someone. You see all the warts.

    Not acknowledging mistakes keeps them from getting corrected the next time. And that’s what it was. A mistake. Not sabotage. Just mention it and work with the wife to get it corrected.

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    1. Bigglesworth

      I agree with this so much. I have seen my spouse to some…well…very disconcerting things to the unitiated (thought processes, financial decisions, and his toots could wake the dead only to have them keel over again). Not a whole lot would surprise me.

      My spouse and I have been coworkers twice. We first met as coworkers and then I helped get him a job at my company after we were married. I would rather know what was the issue to talk with him about versus thinking a colleague or subordinate was incompetent. Trust me, when we’re working together we made it very clear the other person did not get special treatment.

      If your boss is a good person and generally reasonable, you shouldn’t take the fall for something you didn’t do. I’d really start to question what else you covered up if I found out about this and was your boss.

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    2. Jen S. 2.0

      No matter who made the error, there is no need to dance around it. It’s not somehow worse because the other travel arranger is his wife. This is also a pretty minor error; there doesn’t need to be blame and shame and hair shirts and making it up to someone and black marks on someone’s Permanent Record. LW didn’t need to take a hit for something she did not cause, but nor did she need to make it a capital-T Thing that the wife caused the oopsie. “Hmmm, looks like Amelia accidentally double-booked you for a trip on this date when you already had a work obligation. Not sure how that happened, but I’m sure we can work it out. I’ll get in touch with her.”

      The level of concern LW has for taking and placing blame made me wonder whether the boss is more volatile than the letter made it seem. Is Boss someone who blows up when there’s an error? Does he hold mistakes against staffers for years? Do you never hear the end of it when you accidentally order off-white letterhead instead of white-white?

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      1. Neptune

        Your 2nd paragraph is what I was wondering – was there something else going on with that boss? Was he the type who wouldn’t hear a word said about his wife or something like that? Because otherwise this level of hesitance from the OP seems unwarranted. When you have two different people handling two different sets of travel arrangements for the same traveller, sometimes mixups will happen! It’s not a personal criticism of the boss’s wife, it’s just a one-off mistake. The important thing is for it to get fixed, which it sounds like it was. If the boss took the OP pointing out the issue as a personal criticism of the mother-of-his-children-love-of-his-life-etc-etc then that’s a problem with the boss’s work/life boundaries.

        If that’s not the case: OP, in future maybe try to work on how you think about people like this boss’s wife. If you’re continuing as an EA you’ll probably have to deal with spouses, partners etc to some extent in the future, but if they’re doing work that overlaps with yours then you can’t hold back information like this because you’re afraid of offending.

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      2. OP1

        I was brand new with working for him, so I didn’t know him that well, that was part of the problem I had in deciding what to do. I really DIDN’T know what his reaction would be.

        Also…….. he was eventually asked to step down because of his management style (the word “bullying” was thrown around)…. He was always nice to me, but who knows.

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        1. KR

          Hi OP! I travel for work all the time. Sometimes stuff happens and you lose out on non-refundable tickets because plans get moved around, or you have to book last minute and pay a premium, or you have to shift travel due to whatever happening. Most people who travel a lot know mistakes happen and they usually are costly. I’m glad we’re just talking about the past though!! :)

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        2. Workerbee

          Kind of makes more sense to me now that you were hesitant in how to approach him on this; just because he was nice to you didn’t mean you didn’t pick up on underlying issues.

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      3. Falling Diphthong

        Yeah, needing to lay out all the evidence is exactly what my boss at my last in-house job would have found really annoying–he didn’t need to see the trail that PROVED Owen was the one who messed up this thing, he just needed someone to fix it now that it had been noticed.

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        1. Psyche

          That’s what I was thinking. The conversation does not have to be “your wife messed up.” It can be “there seems to have been a miscommunication and you are scheduled to be in two places at once. This is how I suggest fixing it.” Then you can let them take the lead. If they want to dig into what went wrong, you can do that. If they just want to move forward, you can do that too.

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          1. Marthooh

            And even if the error was inconvenient or costly, it still isn’t all that heinous. It’s just the kind of snafu that’s likely to occur when someone has two gigs running concurrently. The boss should realize that by now.

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            1. Jen S. 2.0

              Especially since Wife is scheduling his side gig. The main gig takes precedence over the side gig, and so the onus was on her to be that much more careful about scheduling.

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        2. Jen S. 2.0

          This too. There’s no need for an elaborate burden of proof situation and evidence and affidavits and depositions proving beyond a reasonable doubt who was at fault. You don’t need to take a heap of blame for the mistake, but the source of the error is just not that big a deal.

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      4. The Other Dawn

        “No matter who made the error, there is no need to dance around it.”

        A former coworker of mine was like that. She reported to the CEO, and even though he wasn’t volatile and was an all-around nice guy, she had such a hard time telling him that he’d made a mistake, or asking an awkward question. And this was a tiny company so it wasn’t like she didn’t see him every single day and spend lots of time with him. She would dance around it and sugarcoat. She had much more for deference for the top tier of the hierarchy than I did. I don’t mean I was disrespectful, just that if someone made an error or an awkward question needed to be asked, it didn’t matter to me that it was the CEO, EVP or whoever. I just did it because it had to be done.

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      5. AKchic

        That was my thought too. Or did LW previously have a boss who would hear nothing negative of their spouse or adult children (been there, in a family-run business… never again).

        If this boss has given you no reason to think that this very common, very understandable, and very *human* mistake on his wife’s part would be blamed on you, or in any way made into some kind of debacle that would come back to bite you, then I wouldn’t worry about it so much. Just a matter-of-fact “oh, looks like a scheduling overlap, we’ll work to get that smoothed out” and move on.

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    3. snowglobe

      The only way this might be a tough conversation is if the wife was incompetent and made similar mistakes all the time. It might be difficult to tell your boss that their spouse really shouldn’t be doing this work. But it sounds like the wife was usually pretty efficient at handling this stuff. Mistakes can happen, the important thing is to just fix it; it shouldn’t matter that much who made the mistake.

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    4. OP1

      This actually really helped, haha. I’ve been swapping roles in my head (what if I was the spouse, what if it was my spouse, what if i was this employer) since reading Alison’s reply to my question and I can see it now.

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      1. Dr. Pepper

        Unless he went into raptures about how perfect his wife was and how her angel hands never made a mistake, I think pointing out an error she made would have gone over just fine. Most people are *fully* versed in the shortcomings of their spouses and learning that said spouse has made an error would not be a big deal.

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        1. Kes

          Especially if *you* don’t make it a huge deal or dwell on how she was wrong, just focus on what needs to be fixed. You’re not telling him to criticize his wife, you’re just letting him know about a problem that needs to be fixed

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    5. WellRed

      Yeah, does the LW think couples think each other is perfect? Also, this is why it’s better to keep work and personal life separate. I don’t think the LW would have thought along these lines otherwise.

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    6. NotAnotherManager!

      I laughed out loud at this – I love my spouse, but he’s not infallible, and there is very little one of his coworkers could tell me about him that I’ve not seen. Oh, he didn’t plan for something because “things seem to always work out anyway”? Yeah, been there, done that, have the t-shirt – and the reason things seem to always work out anyway is because SOMEONE does plan for them. It’s just not him.

      I’ll defend him to the death were someone being cruel to him, but pointing out a mistake? Nah, that stuff happens all the time. I’m sure he could tell some good ones on me, too. (And, in fact, I have heard him commiserate with my former boss about some of my… more challenging personality “quirks”.)

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      1. Dr. Pepper

        This is what I was thinking! When you’re married, you really do get to know someone, the good and the bad. Hearing that your spouse screwed up would not come as a shock to anyone, and you would probably be able to guess the whole chain of events and whatnot that preceded the screw up. There’s very little anyone could tell me about my husband that I haven’t seen, or would be able to picture with no problem. And vice versa. In the past I’ve told my husband about something I’ve done that I thought would unpleasantly surprise him and he’s like “yeah, and? you do that all the time”.

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    7. Smia

      After 20 years, yep, he’s seen her make mistakes. And if you told him she did, he’d probably roll his eyes and go “again?” As he would know she’s capable of messing up in that manner.

      My husband, whom I’m the love of his life and spouse of many years, came down to a project I’ve been working on around the house. That I hadn’t touched in a few days since I hit a roadblock. He looked at it, sighed, and started finishing it. Cuz after so many years, he knows the drill. Lol. Bet your boss and his wife have the same type of scenarios in their relationship.

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    8. anon today and tomorrow

      To be honest, that wording gave me such a knee-jerk “wtf no” reaction. It’s sort of…elevating the boss’s wife to this pedestal of thinking he views her as unable to do any wrong.

      Would that same reaction be used if it were a coworker or an executive who had made a mistake? I’m guessing no. In these situations, I think it’s best to just frame it as a mistake being made by someone else, because the handwringing over it being the boss’s spouse comes off as really bizarre.

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      1. OP1

        I can see why it sounds bizarre, it was my attempt at hyperbole for dramatic effect. The main point I was trying to get across is that there was a dynamic that was present in this situation that isn’t present in other work situations. I wasn’t sure how to navigate the obvious emotional layer that wasn’t a factor when I was working with other colleagues and folks who aren’t family members. I really didn’t know how he would respond, and her response when I brought up the double booking made me feel like she thought it was my fault. I didn’t want to correct, however politely, because I wasn’t sure how she would react, and how he would react if they talked about it. It was just really weird.

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  3. AcademiaNut

    Regarding #2, one thing I’ve realized reading AAM is that a lot of employers inadvertently understaff. They hire enough people so that the work can get done with a reasonable workload as long as everyone is working at 100% capacity. They fail to take into account vacations, sick leave, FMLA leave, parental leave, people quitting and new people needing to be trained. The staff then ends up working at slightly more than 100% to keep up with the normal vacations and sick leave, and there’s no reserve for when someone takes a longer leave or quits, or emergencies crop up. The recession didn’t help, as employers got used to employees who were desperate enough to accept being told to do 20 or 50% more work with no extra pay.

    If your employees get, say, 5 weeks of paid leave in a year, then that means you need to factor in around an additional 10% staffing to provide coverage for those times. If people aren’t taking their earned vacation or are dragging themselves in sick because catching up on work before and after is too exhausting, you’re probably understaffed.

    Now, having employees sitting around doing nothing isn’t a great idea idea in most jobs, and if people are used to working at 90% capacity, being suddenly told to work 100% is still going to feel like a burden. So I think the solution is to have work that is in the nice but not time critical category that isn’t make work, but can be put aside when there isn’t time (like updating documentation). And if the work in that category is never getting done, then you’re understaffed and need to hire more people.

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    1. Leela

      Not to mention burnout. If you have people working at 100% all the time, you might get them doing something 100% of the time but they’re probably not actually working at 100% capacity all that time. What we have set for work hours was certainly not based on what’s optimal for employees or how their brains work

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      1. Akcipitrokulo

        Yep. We don’t have set breaks apart from lunch – it’s expected that if you feel like a coffee, you go get one (unless actually in meeting at the time). Or if you need to stretch legs or just mull a problem over away from your desk for a few minutes, the assumption is that you’re an adult professional and are on top of it – and that it’s a reasonable expenditure of time that leads to greater productivity.

        (Also if a couple of us are in the kitchen at the same time, we’ll often come back with the answer to what we were trying to work out!)

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      2. MsChanandlerBong

        That’s what’s happening at my work right now. It is our busiest time of year, so we are all running around like chickens with our heads cut off. On Monday, I worked 7.8 hours of overtime…barely made a dent. By Wednesday, I was falling asleep at my screen while I was working, so my productivity was not great.

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    2. Lionheart

      Yup. This. At oldjob I had four direct reports, and three of them were well past retirement age and unwell, but had tenured contracts and wanted to keep working as long as they could.
      At one point, boss came and asked me if I really needed 4 full time staff. Well, no.. but it’s a very rare day that all 4 staff are actually in the office.

      Reply
      1. Ann

        I really don’t mean to be unkind or ageist/ ableist here- but aren’t these 4 people blocking the way for 2-3 people at the start of their careers who need a break and a step on to the ladder? And from your boss’ question I’d infer that the level of experience/ training needed wasn’t too high or specialised?

        Reply
        1. Cordoba

          Presumably they either needed the money/benefits; especially if they were unwell. “Past retirement age” does not mean “actually able to retire”.

          Do you contend that older workers have an *obligation* to shuffle off into the sunset in order to clear the field out and provide opportunities for people starting out?

          Reply
          1. doreen

            I’m not saying older workers have an obligation to leave – but just like “past retirement age” doesn’t mean “actually able to retire” , the fact that someone is working past retirement age doesn’t mean they need the money/benefits.

            Reply
            1. Cordoba

              Sure, it’s also possible that they’re working primarily because they just like the job, or want to stay busy, or whatever.

              In any case, I submit that these folks are not at all obligated to stop working in order to prevent them “blocking the way” for somebody else.

              Reply
                1. Cordoba

                  Maybe I misread it, but Ann’s comment about how these workers are “blocking the way” for others sounds to me like she thinks they are doing something wrong by continuing to work ie are obliged to retire and make room for people who need a “step on to the ladder”.

                2. MK

                  Trus, but “blocking the way” does hint at something along those lines, as well as being a pretty combative way of phrasing it.

              1. Liet-Kinda

                If you can retire, and are still working, but are absent so often that you are not actually regularly working full time, yeah, I think you’re obligated to retire so your employer can fill the position with someone reliable.

                Reply
                1. Anna

                  Nobody is obligated to retire or do anything, even if they aren’t able to work full-time. I don’t want to say it’s okay as long as your employer says it is because we all know a lot of employers suck and let things slide, but that’s a problem with the employer, not necessarily the person in the position. Most employee issues come down to managers not being willing to step up and do their jobs.

                2. Ann

                  That’s exactly what I meant- past retirement age- so why not retire if they cannot be there at least a big portion of the time? To the extent that the employer/ manager has to store up a reserve of 4 people to do the job of 2-3? As Delpine said, they’re holding the position. And I apologise for being a direct communicator- didn’t realise it comes across as combative…

              2. Michaela Westen

                If a person of any age is working and doesn’t need the money (or benefits), they should stop and let someone who needs a job have it.
                If they want to stay busy they could do volunteering or hobbies. In a university or other social organization maybe they could even arrange to keep working in the same place as a volunteer.

                Reply
          2. Allison

            Right, unfortunately a lot of people aren’t able to retire in their 60’s or 70’s right now, so I can’t blame them for staying in the workforce and I certainly don’t think they owe it to my generation to stop working so we can have their jobs.

            Reply
            1. EH

              Yeah, my parents still work and they’re in their early 70s. The rare times they’ve mentioned retirement, it’s been pretty clear they’re not going that way any time soon, either.

              Reply
        2. Washi

          Why do you assume that they weren’t good at their jobs? It sounds like with 4 of them, there was sufficient coverage for the absence issue, and Lionheart didn’t mention any performance problems.

          You could also hire 2-3 young people and have a couple of them need FMLA/maternity leave and have the same problem. I think Lionheart’s point is evidence of why, if possible, it’s better not to understaff and stretch everyone to their breaking point, so that humans being humans and being sick or whatever doesn’t throw a wrench into everything.

          Reply
        3. What's with Today, today?

          We have two salesmen who are 78 and 81 respectively. One has a very ill wife and one is caring for essentially his whole family, including the great grandson who lives with he and his wife. Both men would love to retire but they both need the money.

          Reply
        4. Bookartist

          If these elders were in entry level jobs, they still would not be obligated to vacate for someone younger. You may not like to think it of yourself, but you *are* voicing an ageist attitude.

          Reply
    3. Seeking Second Childhood

      My yearly goals have included an audit of our online publications library to make sure the new docs from a sister company are posted correctly… for the past 3 years. When people leave they’re not getting replaced…but we’ve been given more product lines & production groups to support.
      It’s short-sighted – the burnout is starting to hit all of us hard.

      Reply
    4. I Love Thrawn

      This kind of hits home for me. I work in a church, supporting three pastors and whoever comes through the door. They laid off the bookkeeper/office co worker so I am the only support person here. We have a new pastor full of ideas, which we need, but that means more work. I feel like I’m running every day, trying to stay ahead of an avalanche. I found out Monday they want to hire another exec. level person in the next year, and I had to flat out tell my new boss I can’t support one more person. Which I can’t. I’m already stretched and on OT as it is. When I had to go to the ER in August, I couldn’t even take sick time off to recover because there was no one else to do stuff. That one hurt.

      I especially appreciated the week recently where one pastor sniffed about my OT, and then the next week he sniffed about me being behind on something. Pick one, guys, you can’t have both.

      Reply
      1. RKMK

        So, there’s money for another exec, but not another support person? Yeah, no, get out if you can. I’ve been that person, going flat out for an org that constantly got top-heavy while undervaluing the support roles. That’s getting set you up both to fail and to get burnout.

        Reply
        1. Washi

          I think it gets tricky in churches and nonprofits when fundraisers want to see their money going to exciting things like another pastor or another program location, rather than more admin staff. Plus donors love seeing low overhead numbers, rather than thinking about ROI.

          I think for admin, you have to show what kind of impact an additional support staff person would allow you to have, because “I’m burned out” unfortunately doesn’t fly in a lot of nonprofit settings.

          Reply
          1. WellRed

            Good points! I am thinking in this case, though, there should be a difference between “burnout” and an actual medical emergency.

            Reply
          2. RKMK

            Yeah, no, “donors love seeing x,y,z” and glorifying “I’m burned out” work schedules doesn’t cut it. I’ve worked in not-for-profit/health care and I don’t care: an org that cuts their staff so much that they can’t even take emergency health days is not is a place to work. A colleague of mine worked herself into an actual, literal heart attack under that toxic work ethic, with doctors who’d kept piling on the work and selling her on the idea that if she TRULY cared about the work of the org she’d get it done, while screwing her out of pay raises left and right. Life is too short, and no org is worth it.

            Reply
      2. Ace in the Hole

        This may not work for you, but my coworker and I were recently able to get an additional half-time employee hired by pointing out that the company would spend less on a new position than they currently spend on overtime and temp workers. Maybe you can propose it that way?

        Reply
      3. Michaela Westen

        Can they hire a temp? Either to relieve you for time off, or to help you?
        They really aren’t good managers! What are they going to do when you burn out? Who will support them then?

        Reply
    5. BurnOutCandidate

      I relate to this. My company has no redundancy built into it — and I have no one to back me up — so I work when I’m ill and the four-day Christmas Christmas weekend will be my longest stretch of time away from my office in two years. (The last time I was able to take a full week was in March 2010.) I struggle to take even five vacation days scattered throughout the year, and my department director reamed me out when I took a day in September because there was no back-up for me that day. (Never mind that the only project I would have done that day didn’t need to be done until the following day. Another manager was upset, so…)

      I’m asked every year in my review to document my job, but 1) I don’t know where to begin (parts of it are highly technical and require high-level MS-Office skills that no one else has), 2) I don’t have the time at the office to do it, and 3) I don’t have the mental energy when I get home to even think about it. Unsurprisingly, I’m exhausted, physically and mentally all the time, my depression is out of control, and I struggle to even go to work some mornings. To quote Blade Runner, “The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long,” and my candle’s almost gone.

      Reply
      1. Michaela Westen

        You need a better job! Obvious, right? Look on the weekends, and looking will probably make you feel better.
        Or, quit and get temp work until you find something. (make sure you can get the temp work before you quit)

        Reply
  4. Observer

    #4 Why do you think you need to warn your boss? Is he the kind of person who REALLY REALLY doesn’t handle change well? Or has rigid ideas about how people should look? Because absent something like this, I can’t imagine this being that big of a deal. I’m sure you’ll get lots of comments from people and possibly some shock. But it’s all very surface – Like “Wow, she sure looks different!” and then forgotten, rather than “Oh, now that really changes my view of her as a person!”

    Reply
    1. TL -

      One of my bosses worked with his wife and it was very clear that criticism of his wife was not appreciated and would not be heard – but he did that by literally ignoring even the mildest of concerns that were brought up. He wouldn’t discuss his wife’s management at all, which was a problem because you would get completely different directions from both of them, they were often not on the same page, and she was a terrible manager and not well-versed in the subject matter.

      Everybody who worked for her tried to bring up some of the issues to him, with no luck. But we did try, OP, and you should too, barring any evidence he won’t be open to it.

      Reply
    2. Neptune

      Yeah, this doesn’t sound like the type of job or company where an advance warning would be necessary. (Those do exist – cue memories of an old manager that sent me out to buy myself lipstick on my break because I didn’t look “polished” enough that day – but if you had that type of job you would know about it and probably wouldn’t even be considering a buzzcut in the first place.)

      And OP, your buzzcut sounds like it’ll be awesome! Enjoy your new look :)

      Reply
    3. Anononon

      When I was planning on going blonde, from very dark brown, I told a bunch of people. Not because I wanted approval, but because I hate the shocked/surprised reactions from people after. I’d rather have people expecting it to cut down on that. But, that’s a weird thing I have. :)

      Reply
      1. Catherine

        Yes, I’d drop a couple of casual mentions beforehand to prepare your colleagues. I once had a really drastic cut and got so very tired of the comments, and the “why did you cut all your hair off” questions. By the end of the day I was so sick of explaining that I started claiming it was a terrible lawnmower related incident.

        Reply
    4. LawBee

      The only thing I could think of is that some people have really weird reactions to women with buzz cuts. If the OP is a woman, and her boss is likely to have that reaction, I can see the concern.

      I still wouldn’t tell them though. My head, my hair.

      Reply
  5. Observer

    #1 I’m wondering about how you handle mistakes in general – your own and others? The whole framing sounds like any sort of mistake is a BIG DEAL. And when we find A MISTAKE we need to do a full court press with all the evidence lined up etc. Which, you really don’t need.

    Yes, it’s good to know what happened, especially if there are reimbursements to be made. But that’s the normal course of business not some Big Event that Must Be Investigated.

    I’m not trying to be snarky, but I’m just getting a sense of a rather over-wrought reaction to an annoying mistake.

    Reply
    1. Hills to Die on

      I work for a guy who lets one of his Directors get away with murder—and countless ongoing mistakes. The rest of us are held to an unreasonable standard while Director does things that are absolutely shocking. You absolutely cannot criticize or point out or try to work through her mistakes. It will be your fault for not being a team player.

      I just want to point out the possibility that this may be a reaction to previous bad bosses. Doesn’t sound like this guy was one, so I think that the advice to look at how you handle other mistakes is a good one, OP.

      Reply
    2. Anon Accountant

      It could be OP1 had poor treatment from a prior job or even other staff where Jane did no wrong and it was “everyone else’s fault”. And when management was upset with you and you say “Jane handled that” they get even more upset. Because it’s a Big Deal if you mention Jane did something wrong. And Jane does no wrong in their eyes.

      Reply
    3. OP1

      There is some background here that I left out because of not wanting the letter to get too too long. I was in this position for a year, and the last 8 months were pure hell for reason’s outside of everyone’s control: one of my coworkers died in her sleep (he was really young), another of my coworkers was trying to juggle her job plus her spouse’s terminal illness, another coworker had a spouse AND both her parents die, someone got fired, someone got another job. So there was a LOT of absences and a lot of sadness and grief within the office and those of us who were left in the office were sort of picking up the slack all over the place. It was really hard on the heart so, in hindsight, my brain was in constant “worst case scenario mode”, so I can see that my judgement on this was a little clouded. We were all terribly sad, pretty overworked, and just plain frazzled.

      In other circumstances, even at that job, I never had a problem just stating the facts (no blame or anything) and a proposed solution or what I had already done to address an issue. This thing in particular was just weird because I had never dealt with a spouse in that way before and because of all the awful life stuff.

      Reply
      1. Liane

        I think you are right about why you were overthinking the travel hiccup and trying to take the blame. Any one of those first three alone would have been hard both emotionally and logistically on you, coworkers, and boss. So I can see why you’d think this way in the midst of that.

        Reply
      2. Anon For This

        Oh my God.

        That office was clearly cursed.

        And it totally makes sense why you were in panic/anxiety mode for that.

        Reply
      3. Neptune

        That’s really rough, OP. I completely understand why you had that reaction at the time, and I don’t think that you need to dwell on it now. That sounds like a very understandable reaction to some horrible things.

        Reply
        1. OP1

          I forgot about the person who’s mother was going through cancer treatment, the person who fell down the flight of stairs at work and was off for weeks, and the person who had anxiety attacks at work because their job changed to the point they couldn’t handle it anymore. It was insane. I ended up getting a job in my field and leaving but I was a mess.

          Reply
          1. OP1

            Edit (on mobile and hit send before I was done!)

            The reason I wanted to bring it up and get some feedback from people outside the situation is exactly because of the advice I’ve received. I want to be able to still make good decisions even in the midst of those insane circumstances, and that only comes from learning, baptism by fire in a lot of cases.

            Reply
            1. Observer

              Oh wow! That would really mess with anyone’s head. With all that going on I can see why something so mundane would take on such fantastical proportions. I’m guessing that getting out of there was the healthiest thing you’ve ever done for your mental health.

              Reply
              1. OP1

                I had been applying for other jobs the entire time because this was not at all my field, so when an opportunity popped up I launched myself at it. I still keep in touch with a lot of my old coworkers (its hard not to bond after enduring that kind of environment), and things have gotten MUCH better. But yes, my mental health was pretty much shot. I learned a lot of lessons about caregiver burden, burnout, and that sometimes its okay to not jump in and say “i can do that” when you already have a plate that is 200% full.

                Reply
      4. GreyjoyGardens

        WOWSERS, OP. Cut yourself a break. That kind of sustained bad luck would reek havoc with anyone’s perceptions. Live and learn and next time it’s OK to not take the blame!

        Reply
  6. Observer

    #5, I think you dodged a bullet here. If you really need the job, I do feel bad. But the whole thing sounds like a place that doesn’t have any respect for the time, energy and effort of the people the interview. Is that an indicator of how they treat their staff? Just make sure that any emails from them didn’t get stuck in your spam filter. But, to be honest, employers that make people spend this much time are quite likely to ghost a prospective employee.

    Reply
    1. Melissa

      Yeah, in retrospect, I think you’re right…just makes me sad because I was being brought in for an operations position so I actually could have helped them improve!

      Reply
      1. Bigintodogs

        I’d be mad too if I were you or your family! A sixth step? Jesus, that’s a lot. And then to not follow up after you spent so much time on them…I’d be pissed.

        Reply
        1. Melissa

          Right? It was funny how mad everyone was…I think they were just incredulous and also a bit scared like, ‘Omg, this is how it IS now??’

          Reply
          1. Observer

            That’s a scary thought. But I really don’t think it’s all that common. For one thing lots employers are not quite such jerks, and even not great employers don’t necessarily do this kind of thing. Also, SMART employers don’t do this because it’s a ridiculous waste of time for the company, too.

            Reply
  7. Leela

    #5 I’m curious if this type of interview is common for your field (or if maybe this is some extremely well-known company as those tend to have brutal interviews to deal with the onslaught of people wanting to work there)? That seems like an awfully intense process. I’m tempted to agree as pointed out that you likely dodged a bullet not only because a process like that indicates a lack of respect for candidates to me, but because ghosting you at this stage REALLY indicates a lack of respect for candidates to me, and lack of respect for candidates often translates into lack of respect for employees IMO.

    I’ll say having been a recruiter that sometimes you’re so, so desperate to get back to the candidate but can’t for some reason. You’re hounding the last interviewer for feedback daily and they’re JUST.NOT.RESPONDING (happened to me at Giant Teapot Online Retailer, it took over two months for me to find out if we wanted to move forward with a candidate with me and the team asking the interviewer for feedback over and over but he just couldn’t seem to make the time to respond with “yes” or “no”), you’re owned by another company and they just handed you a crazy budget cut and now you’re scrambling to figure out if you can even fill that role at all, and you *really* don’t want to lose a good candidate by not responding but you *REALLY* don’t want to scare them off by telling them “well we just got a huge budget cut that we can’t figure out how to deal with yet…” or a lot of other reasons. It’s totally possible that whoever’s supposed to get back to you is having a major crisis about the fact that they can’t but there’s some out-of-their-hands roadblock in their way and telling you what that is puts them at risk with their bosses too.

    Whatever happens or whatever the case is, best of luck on your job search, and I hope you wind up somewhere that respects your time and communicates well!

    Reply
    1. Trout 'Waver

      Not communicating to a good candidate is by far the worst thing you can do to them. Just reaching out and saying you’re still working on it but don’t have any updates at the moment is by far better than remaining silent until things lock into place.

      Reply
      1. Washi

        Or even if you don’t proactively reach out, responding to at least one status check email from a candidate would be good. I don’t necessarily expect companies to reach out themselves just to tell me there’s a delay, but if it’s been weeks and weeks and I email to check in, it’s nice to get an answer.

        Reply
    2. Melissa

      The recruiter in this case was the on-site HR person, so all of her main contacts were right there. This was the craziest process…I posted about it below.

      Reply
  8. Wintermute

    #2, let me tell you a story about exjob– they had this idea that any time people weren’t busy was wasted money and time. The problem is we were an operations center and they we also handled disaster recovery and when things went very wrong, plus they added handling emergency requests as well. The end result was we went to them and said “when we’re juggling all these things and it gets to be too much, what gets put down?” and were told “nothing, make it work.” There is a reason that this is an ex job.

    When people are working 100% capacity, then there’s no slack to handle an emergency, now maybe emergencies aren’t an inherent part of this job but they will happen some times, or new opportunities or projects. You should aim to always have enough slack to capitalize on an opportunity or handle an emergency without routine business being disrupted.

    In addition, flu season happens, maternity leave happens, you’re really putting yourself behind the eight-ball if you can’t weather routine, everyday losses of capacity without having to back-burner core tasks.

    Reply
    1. Leela

      I had a company tell them I was stealing money from them because my work friend came in and waved at me and I smiled back. I got in trouble for SMILING. It was just a warning but still. Like you said, there’s a reason that job is an ex-job.

      Reply
      1. Dame Judi Brunch

        Leela, I had a similar experience at old job! I got in trouble for offering my coworker/friend in the cubicle next to mine candy. Getting up from my desk and walking two feet, asking her if she wanted some, then walking back, got me a stern talking to.
        That was the moment I decided to look for a new job.

        Reply
        1. Anon101

          Wow. Was your boss Scrooge McDuck? I don’t know if the goal of some places is to be so petty but somehow they get there anyways.

          Reply
        2. Leela

          I can’t imagine they’re retaining people well or having good morale in a situation like that. It sounds like your old employers were like mine: treating employees like naughty children who were constantly going to pull one over on the company the second someone wasn’t looking, regardless of what our track record was. They had very, very high turnover.

          Reply
    2. Anon101

      At my old retail job, people who weren’t working at maximum capacity were committing “time theft”. There were posters in the break room detailing how money employees were costing per minute of inactivity. The result was that at any given time I was responsible for six things, to be juggled simultaneously, because they refused to staff more than two people per shift. It was a nightmare. Coincidentally, the upper management had perks like bi weekly Zumba hour, so it was a real one sided definition of time theft. I worked there for two years and we went through about 40 employees in that time. But they could never figure out why turnover was so bad! The amount of money wasted on their bad policy was so much more than the dollars they advertised employees we were absconding with (the equation of which they divined this remains a mystery).

      Reply
      1. Wintermute

        Companies like that baffle me, labor is not an infinite pool, the other office location at exjob has a serious issue in the local community in that they churn through employees so rapidly that everyone who would want the job that will accept their pay level has either already been fired, quit, or warned by a friend or family member that they’re a disaster; is ineligible for some reason (couldn’t pass a drug test, couldn’t pass a background check, couldn’t pass a credit check); or doesn’t have the skills. They’ve hit the bottom of the barrel and have started digging.

        Reply
        1. What's with Today, today?

          My BFF is in lower levels of management at a grocery store. They just fired the meat manager for time theft – he was scheduled earlier than most other employees and was finishing his tasks then setting in his car while clocked in before the other employees arrived. I’m not sure how he got caught, but he got canned for it. It wasn’t BFF’s decision, btw.

          Reply
          1. Temperance

            I think that’s totally fair, actually. If he was staying inside the store and putzing around, it would be much different than doing a bunch of work and going outside and sitting in your car, where other employees could see him getting paid for not working, isn’t great.

            Reply
      2. JB

        I can’t comprehend the concept of ‘time theft.’ You hire me to do a job, you give me the deadline, and that’s the end of the discussion. I’ve seen websites talking about tracking their employees down to the minute. Who wants to work in a place like that?

        Reply
        1. LQ

          2 things here.
          It’s not always a job with a deadline sometimes it’s a job where you have to be there. (Though I’d say a job where you have to be there…the thing you are paid for is being there so if you are there you are doing the thing. This feels like circular reasoning, but it’s because it’s definitional.)

          Also I totally track my time to the minute. And I’ve gotten my boss to toss out project, move things off my plate, and shifted work around because of it. Time tracking is not the devil. It’s really really important. I’d say more for individuals than companies. Why do people think understanding how they spend their time is a bad thing? I do not get it.

          Reply
          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

            I’ve been tracking my time by the hour for the last several years, so that, if my management estimates that a task that in reality took me 40 hours, should have taken five, and want to know what I did with the other 35; or if all of my time is being sucked up by an outside contractor bombarding me with questions about their job so I cannot do mine; or other similar situations that I have to bring up to the management, that I have the numbers to back me up.

            That said, in my field (that is all “jobs with a deadline”), 95% the time, time tracking that is forced from above really is the devil. It adds nothing to the productivity or the bottom line. It actually wastes people’s time because they have to spend a portion of their day doing time-tracking.

            Reply
            1. LQ

              I think that there are a lot of horror stories about what shitty managers and shitty companies do with tracked time that is deeply problematic and devilish. But I don’t think that time tracking itself should be covered with the same brush. (I do mine personally and have an app on my phone that’s a swipe and a tap, the only hard thing is really consistently remembering to change when I change the work I’m doing, which I’m getting better at.)

              Reply
          2. WellRed

            But do you have some time built in that’s a bit of breathing space? That’s what people are talking about, here. I am on the clock right now and have a very busy day, but I am reading AAM right this minute because I can’t work at full capacity every! single! minute! of the day. Of course, I don’t have the sort of job where time tracking makes sense.

            Reply
            1. LQ

              AAM time I call professional development, and then I have a block that I call oversight (which is sort of the time card, cleaning up space, general filing), along with a block for general work human time (which is just, sometimes my job is to have relationships with people so I need to spend time on that, that’s the one I most often neglect and try to bump up, I would like to be spending about 2-3 hours a week on it, most I spend less than a hour). So I absolutely build in those things.

              To be fair my boss isn’t looking at it, except when I’m explaining I’m overwhelmed with a project and he wants to know how much time I spent on it (which he asks because he knows I’m tracking, it’s not something he’s demanding or even expecting of everyone). But it’s really easy to get him to agree to help, or to cut a project because I have that tracked, and the number of hours I’m spending on whatever I’m asking is often way more than he’s thinking it should take, which can be for a lot of reasons, but the data helps. (And he’s very data driven so it works well for those conversations.)

              Reply
          3. Neptune

            I think minute-by-minute time tracking is fine if it’s something you want to do as a performance tool, or more general tracking for your boss to monitor – “I was working on the XYZ Report between 2 and 3.30”, that type of thing. That can be really useful.

            I think a lot of people (especially people who have/have had certain types of low-paid service jobs) have had really bad experiences with bosses who want minute-by-minute breakdowns of your time, though, because – being cynical here – they rarely want it for anything good or reasonable. “What were you doing between 15.07 and 15.11?? Getting a coffee?? UNACCEPTABLE! Going to the bathroom from 10:07 to 10:13? TOO LONG! This is evidence that you’re slacking!” Etc. The extreme end of that is how you get to stuff like Amazon employees having to pee in bottles because they have to account for literally every second of their shift and taking too long to get to a bathroom can get you disciplined for “idle time”. That’s a very extreme manifestation, of course, but it’s that type of thing that causes the dislike of minute-by-minute time tracking that you’re talking about.

            (Also, I think in general most people don’t enjoy being monitored that closely because it feels as though your boss doesn’t trust you or you’ve done something wrong. If it’s something imposed on you rather than something you want to do because you find it useful, that can be really unpleasant.)

            Reply
            1. LQ

              I think part of the issue is that by saying how much time tracking sucks you’re letting the shitty minute by minute bosses off the hook. Bosses and companies who expect inhuman levels of productivity are the problem. Every time you turn the focus away from the problem into something that can’t take responsibility you take responsibility away from the actual problem. It’s not the time tracking. It’s the shitty boss who expects you to literally be productive at 100% capacity for 100% of the time you’re at work. Or (perhaps worse) says they expect 80% because humans, but then piles on 100% work and says, just do it in the 7.5/8 whatever hours you have.

              Reply
              1. Neptune

                Well, absolutely, ultimately the corporations and their expectations are the problem. At the same time, the time tracking is one of the primary mechanisms that they use to enforce those expectations, so that’s why I’m saying that’s one of the reasons so many people will have a negative reaction to it – they will have most encountered it in a negative context. I’m not saying it’s inherently an evil horrible practice or that you shouldn’t use it if you find it useful – I’m just responding to what you said about “not getting” why so many people don’t like it.

                Reply
                1. LQ

                  It is absolutely helpful to understand that people only see time tracking as a tool used for evil so they don’t get that it it just a tool. (Pitchforks.) I do still think that it’s letting the people who use the tool for ill get away with the ill they do by focusing on the time tracking rather than the lack of management skill. But it helps, thank you.

        2. Yay commenting on AAM!

          Time theft is a bit of a thing at hourly jobs. For example, when I managed swim instructors and I watched the clock in/out times, I’d allow up to 30 minutes on the end of each shift for getting situated, ex: talking to parents, cleaning up equipment, doing paperwork in the office, assisting other staff with side-duties, rinsing off and changing back into street clothes, etc. If someone’s class ended at 5 and they clocked out around 5:30, I’d happily pay them for that half hour, because it was transition time that was needed.

          But occasionally I’d see someone whose class ended at 5 clocking out at 7:00, because they spent 30 minutes on those side duties and then spent 90 minutes sitting in the jacuzzi, taking a long thorough shower and styling their hair, chatting with the lap swimmers who came in after, eating pizza with the front desk staff, etc. That last hour is what I’d consider “time theft” and if your budget is tight and all of your staff are doing that at the end of each shift, it’s a disaster.

          Reply
      3. Lucille2

        Retail is the WORST. I was consistently the only person staffed at my college retail job which meant calling out sick or taking a lunch break were not options. I only wish my young self knew how wrong this was and didn’t accept it as a normal part of being a responsible employee. I was also told at that job that it was against store policy to call out sick during December, so I went to work with the flu to avoid being fired.

        Reply
    3. Rebecca

      My employer is like this – just enough people to cover the workload, and if one person is out for more than a day or two, it’s really a strain. We have really busy times and maybe 2 months or so every year where it isn’t so bad, but when we lost 3 people to illness/surgery/hospitalization during our very busiest time, it was hell. It’s not work where you can bring in a temp and sit them down to do tasks. That, coupled with the aversion to overtime that Dracula has to garlic leads to people racing through every day at top speed, cutting corners, and not doing good work. You can only work like that for so long before something gives.

      I have a hard time taking my vacation time, but I manage to take every minute, as it’s not paid out at the end of the year and we’re not permitted to roll it over. Let’s just say I won’t be at work much next month.

      Reply
      1. JaneB

        try working in universities or other parts of education – it’s a VOCATION, if you don’t have the PASSION to work 60+ hours a week should you even be in the job, and like most non-profits the mission is important and the need obvious and it’s REALLY hard for the kind of people who want to do this work to “let the students down” – when in truth the students are being let down by the management who understaff and over-demand, NOT by the over-worked and burnt out staff.

        Only three weeks until “vacation”, when I have to do my admin roles, grading, write a research grant and work on publications, oh, and write a new course for next semester. And take some time off and see my family and all that stuff

        Reply
        1. Humble Schoolmarm

          Oh so very, very true.

          In my district we are contractually guaranteed 10% of our time away from students to “prep”, This isn’t non-work time, just time without small people who need a ton of attention. In the upper grades, teachers have historically gotten a little more than that due to the number of teachers we need on hand – around 20% prep time depending on what exactly you’re teaching. This year, my district decided that the teachers have far too much time on their hands and have mandated that any time above the contracted 10% needs to be spent going into other classes and supporting struggling students.

          The thing is, presenting a lesson to the class is only the tip of the iceberg of what teachers do. We need to plan the next lesson, generate materials for that lesson, grade assignments, keep in contact with parents and do a variety of other administrative and documenting tasks. I now have three days a week when I get to pee at lunch and at the end of the day because otherwise, I’m in front of students that I can’t legally leave alone. I’m staying late almost every day and only stopping because I have to, not because I’m done. And implementing any of the new and shiny pedagogies they keep presenting to us in professional development? Sounds great! But I can’t find time to overhaul my teaching practice when I don’t have time to pee.

          Reply
    4. JB

      I once had a new boss standing in front of 500 people actually say the words, “Everything is a priority.”

      Her credibility instantly dropped to zero.

      Reply
      1. Melissa

        Omg, at my last job, the CEO said the same to me when I asked him to prioritize the list he just gave me. He said, ‘Everything is ASAP.’ I said, ‘That’s not a thing, you know.’ No surprise that startup failed.

        Reply
    5. Super Anon for this

      We’ve had this ridiculous policy for about a year at CurrentJob, that everything we do during the workday be logged at 100% capacity. The manager who put the policy in place runs a report at the end of every week. If your hours logged for the week do not add to 40, you get an email. (I know that for a fact because one time, the manager messed up when running the report, the report showed that everyone had logged 10-20% of their time for that week, and dozens of people got copied on an angry email with the “offenders” names and logged hours listed.) If your hours do add to 40, additional reports are sometimes run and you are then informed that you spent too much time on project A or not enough time on project B, too much admin time logged (like meetings and such), or some similar nonsense.

      The end result of this policy is exactly what I expected when it first went into effect – everyone pads everything, so none of these numbers are reliable. Before the policy took effect, people would simply log the time worked on a project, and these numbers were later used to bill the customers. No idea how the billing is being handled now.

      Don’t do this at home, kids. This is a very silly thing to do to your business.

      Reply
      1. Leela

        Very much this! If you force your employees to report certain numbers, they’ll find a way to make their numbers look like that a LOT more than they will get their numbers to actually be like that, especially if those targets are handed down from people that don’t do the work or seem to understand it (or even want to).

        At a former call center job, we were punished for having a certain number of people we called say no to our service. They also kept making that number harder and harder to reach to increase profit. Our number of recorded “Can’t talk call later” calls skyrocketed, and people who wouldn’t lie and close out the call after the person saying “I’ve told you not to call here over six times. I’m going to get a lawyer if you don’t stop.” would take the hit. I got pulled into scolding meetings with my manager and said “look, I just closed out over 7 calls today by Wakeen that were recorded as Can’t Talks and every one of them said that they’d told Tyrion specifically to take them off the list and never call again” and I was called a liar and told I was making excuses and was no longer eligible for my earned bonuses from how many people I *did* get to sign up. Screw that place till the end of time.

        Reply
  9. TL -

    #3 – I am 100% behind you not taking the job before the pay comes through. Personally, I wouldn’t start the promotion without the pay; I’d bet money they’d do their darnest to ‘trap’ you in the promotion by telling you there’s no job to go back to.

    If you can afford to put your foot down on this, do. I bet they’ll come around once they realize they can’t bulldoze you into doing what they want.

    Reply
    1. TechWorker

      Anyone have a sense of how common this is in big companies? I get the impression the answer is ‘very’ (eg they won’t officially promote until x time in the year, and even then only if ‘there’s budget’). Which sounds bullshit to me (my company is about to inherit this policy in a buyout :()

      Reply
      1. Clementine

        At the large company I work for, you effectively have to do the work at the level for which you want a promotion for some period of time, and you and your manager have to prepare a promotion document showing that.

        Reply
      2. 653-CXK

        At ExJob, we would be assigned new tasks that were slightly more complex, but receive no increase in pay because management figured lateral work moves save not just money, but the hassle of filling out tons of forms (such as equipment moves, salary increases, title changes etc.). To answer your question, it very much indeed relies on the budget and any money the unit could save through lateral work moves was money they didn’t have to pay additional money.

        Lateral work moves also dilutes your pay. Say you earn $20 an hour and you’re responsible for 20 tasks that hour – that comes to $1 per task per hour. Then management assigns you 2 additional tasks with no increase in pay. Now each task is $0.91/hour – but if the company was to keep your pay at $1/task/hour, they would have to pay you $22 an hour. The company would rather save $0.09/task/hour by paying you at the same rate than give you an additional $2 an hour for those two additional tasks you have to do.

        There was one time I was selected to help out with backlog, and got a 5-10% bonus for doing it. The catch – it was work that everyone avoided like the plague because it was notoriously difficult (think really fussy and open to wildly subjective interpretation) work. When management discovered our group was doing some parts of the project wrong, they pulled us all off the project – much to our delight.

        Reply
      3. EPLawyer

        Which is insane. As Alison so rightly points out, they can’t get an outside hire to come and do the job for x period of time without a commensurate salary. No one would take a job if they were told they will be paid in 6 months, maybe, if it all works out right. If the slot is open and you are hiring for it, treat it as an external hire and act accordingly. Otherwise, you will find employees leaving for the same job at other companies, where they will be paid immediately.

        Reply
        1. LJay

          Also, the excuse HR used doesn’t work with an outside hire.

          They can’t promote the OP into the spot because the manager that got moved is still technically in the spot? Then what would they do if they hired someone from outside the company to fill the spot? Make them work for free?

          Reply
      4. snowglobe

        At my fairly large company, this would be very unlikely to happen. HR is very careful that the work people are doing fits within certain job grades, and that their pay is within the appropriate range. It could happen, I suppose, if the person was previously at the high end of their old job grade, so that with the new job they are now more in the middle. But I’ve never known anyone not to get some kind of pay increase with an actual promotion, and I’ve never known anyone to work more than a couple of months in a job without being officially promoted (and those few times, it was usually that they were filling in temporarily and didn’t officially have the job yet).

        Reply
        1. TechWorker

          This seems reasonable. The reason for my concern is that our site is small enough that there’s not much leeway (like, if a manager leaves, or there’s a new project that needs a manager, they basically have to promote someone into that role – they don’t generally outside hire but that’s a different story..). So we might end up with the bureaucracy of a large company but have to move people round/have people chip in to get the actual work done like a small company.

          Reply
    2. MLB

      100% this. If you start working the new job at the same salary, they’ve got you backed into a corner, and outside of quitting, you’re going to be working in the new position, with more responsibility and no increase in your salary for who knows how long. You need to stand firm and say no, that you won’t start working in that position without an official offer/pay increase and stand by that decision. I was backed into a new position at my last company. Thankfully it was a lateral move with my salary (and the job generally paid less), but it was way more stressful and not something I was interested in at all.

      I’d liken this situation to someone who falls in love with a married man – he keeps telling her he’s leaving his wife to be with her, yet he just keeps stringing her along so he can have a mistress on the side while still remaining married. I realize that financially you may not have a choice, and if you’re concerned about losing your job or losing the promotion in the future this may not be feasible. But don’t be the mistress. In the long run it’s just not worth it.

      Reply
    3. Hey Karma, Over here.

      Also, “My manager’s counter offer was that I will just work in the new position and whenever they can officially promote me they will.”
      That’s not a counter offer. That was the original offer.
      Well, no, the original offer was for you to move into the position and wait to see if you decided you wanted more money and then tell you no. You just expedited the process.
      If you are worried about how this will affect your career at this company, let’s see…the next time they a have position that requires high skills, and needs broader, more demanding work done, for free, they won’t ask you.
      Not really a deal breaker.

      Reply
      1. Mephyle

        This caught my attention, too. It’s laughable that the manager might consider that a counter offer. A “counter offer” is something that moves towards a middle ground.

        Reply
    4. WellRed

      I know it’s easier said than done, but, you wouldn’t take a job from a new employer without knowing the salary, so why do it now?

      Reply
    5. BRR

      I’m throwing my weight behind not starting without the pay. “My company has a history of promoting people and not increasing their pay for a long time after they start in the position.” For companies like this, I think people should try and take a really hard line. There are just so many ways this could go bad for the LW.

      Reply
    6. Mona Lisa

      I agree with this. A new department at my university wanted to hire me for a stretch role, but they were dealing with a lot of bureaucratic red tape while getting the new position approved by HR. In the meantime they were drowning in work so a provost convinced my old dean to let this new office “buy” my position until they could get the HR approval through, which was estimated to be 2-3 months.

      It wasn’t until 6 months later that I was hired at the 25% higher salary with increased benefits, and I had almost no negotiating power on the salary when I was finally hired. (What was I going to do…turn down the job I’d been working for a half year and be unemployed or go back to my old work? They knew that I wanted to move into the new field and had no leverage.)

      If the LW is in a place where she can afford to put this new position on ice, I would do it. Otherwise, she’s likely to get screwed over by the company more so than she is already. However, if this is a good stretch role for her, I can understand if she wants to work the role for a year and then take her newly acquired skills elsewhere. That’s what I’m planning on doing.

      Reply
    7. green

      The only reason I can see to do this is that having the higher title will make it easier to get a better job elsewhere, if that’s the route you want. Sometimes it’s worth it to get that experience on your resume for a short amount of time (like a year max) so you can move into a similar or better role at a new company. I wouldn’t take it with the pay cut if your long term plan is to stay at this company, but title does matter a lot.

      Reply
  10. NewHerePleaseBeNice

    I’m in the training and learning field, and I’d really, really love it if companies would understand that keeping staff at 100% capacity means there’s no space for people to learn new skills. OK, so sending your team on a training course in a classroom for a day or away to a conference for a week might mean they’re getting trained, but not if they’re constantly having to check their emails while they’re there. Or (like one company did) offered a full subscription to an e-learning platform, then not allowing anyone the time or headspace to do any learning or reflect on that learning because anyone who was seen taking an online course during work hours was mocked for being a ‘slacker’.

    I knew of one place (here in the UK) who asked people to work 15 minutes over to make up time lost on a day when there was a fire drill. Luckily I learned about this before I took a contract with them…

    Reply
    1. Wintermute

      Very true! I talked above about my exjob and how they set themselves up for disaster when an emergency happened but I totally forgot the biggest issue– it was an IT job and no time to train meant skill decay and serious issues adapting to incoming changes.

      Reply
      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

        I am IT. This is my pet peeve. This is my 5th job in the US in 21 years and I cannot think of any of them that allowed time or resources for regular training. Worse, I suspect this is not an oversight. It’s far easier for the leadership to let go of an older employee with skill decay and hire a new one with fresh skills fresh out of college at half the price; or an offshore one for a fifth of the price; than to keep the older employee and have them train and keep their skills up to date. Repeat as needed.

        Reply
    2. KR

      Ugh I had this happen. Part time job and my boss bought this great subscription service for learning skills. But I only had 29 hours a week in a position that required 40… So that never got used.

      Reply
    3. Ann Perkins

      This so much. My company culture places a big emphasis on having personal development plans, but our local staffs are usually at 100% capacity if not more so. Any additional development or education you want to build related to your job is seen as something to do outside of work hours. I didn’t mind that when I was younger, but now I’d still love to learn but don’t want to sacrifice time outside of work.

      Reply
    4. Observer

      In the US, that would be illegal for non-exempt workers.

      More importantly, that’s stupid as all get out. And (at least in the US) an invitation for trouble.

      Reply
    5. Lucille2

      Let me guess, same company touted the e-learning platform as a great employee benefit and used it as leverage that employees aren’t utilizing benefits already available to them. Yeah, this sounds familiar to me too.

      Reply
  11. Clementine

    For the poster with the unpaid promotion offer, how about taking the job, but then quickly starting job-hunting? Having the job will boost your resume, and maybe you can get the salary boost you deserve elsewhere. Yes, you are not being treated fairly, but think hard about giving up a possible opportunity that could pay off big.

    Reply
    1. promoted without pay to manager

      This scenario happened to me. I did decide to take on the promotion with out pay for title change, and immediately updated my resume and started job search. I got an offer, told my current job I was offered something better and the current employer ( I work in government) got our ED to push through the fastest position reclass in everyone’s memory- with a significant pay bump. From start to finish through that still took about six months. I have now been in this current reclassified position for a year, and I am using the elevated title and higher pay range to job search once again- just to see what is out there for me now that I am in this more high profile role. My current work group is very challenging and toxic, I never really wanted to take it on…but have been playing the long game hoping it will pay off in the next job.

      Reply
    2. NotAnotherManager!

      I would not do this. Being in a management role for a few months is not going to be a big stepping stone into another organization. Companies looking for an experienced manager are usually looking for an experienced manager, not someone who was just promoted into such a position. Hiring someone with 3 months of managerial experience is not that much different than hiring someone with zero.

      Reply
    3. Où est la bibliothèque?

      This is a good idea, but the LW would have to work around the optics of job hunting immediately after promotion factor. There are probably ways to do it, though.

      Reply
    4. Perse's Mom

      Per the OP, these promotions often take months or longer to be official. It would be questionable imo to list her official job title as Store Manager when the promotion hasn’t gone through yet so her *actual* job title is still Department Manager. Trying to immediately hop to another company with a couple of weeks or a month of experience at this new management level also is not really a good look.

      Reply
      1. Clementine

        I can see it is a problem if the new title does not happen any time soon. As for job-hunting after a promotion, it has worked for me. Lots of factors could come in to play here.

        Reply
  12. Susan K

    #3 – In my department, when there is an opening for a management position, someone is usually appointed as a temporary manager until the position is filled (which is almost always by making the temporary manager permanent). I’m not sure of the details of the arrangement; I think they get a pay increase but not full management pay or benefits. I just know that they always complain about getting screwed. The temporary status is usually for several months because the company is not in a big hurry to fill the position permanently when they already have a temporary manager.

    I have a coworker who really wants to get into management, and he was selected to fill the temporary role the last two times there was an opening. He refused to do it on a temporary basis and held firm that he wanted the job but only on a permanent basis with full management pay and benefits. The company was not willing to do this, so they selected someone else as the temporary manager and now that person has become the permanent manager. It is obviously up to you whether you want to take that chance, but you should definitely keep in mind that there is a chance that if you are not willing to take the promotion without an immediate raise, they might just find someone who is.

    Reply
    1. Penny for your thoughts

      #3 should absolutely take the promotion if he wants to be promoted generally. In the worst case scenario, the company fails to follow through with the raise, but in a year or so #3 can shop new skills to another employer who will pay properly.

      Reply
      1. Lucille2

        I disagree. OP needs to tread carefully here or risk being stuck underpaid for the long haul. What if something happens that prevents the company from offering a pay raise, like raise-freezes or massive budget cuts? Or the offer is less than OP is expecting? Already being in the position does not give them any leverage to negotiate salary at that point.

        Also, some states have passed laws preventing hiring managers from asking about candidates about current salary, but most have not. If OP is underpaid, and is not fully aware of their market worth, it could work against them when negotiating salary with new employers too. Being underpaid is a problem that can follow employees for years especially in cities where cost of living is dramatically increasing.

        Reply
        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

          I had that happen once. Was asked to “be patient” – then, when the time period was up, I reminded my manager of it and he started giving me the “pay freeze” horsebleep.

          I said that there are exceptions, right, because there were several promotion announcements of late, no?

          “Duh, yyuh”

          Well this is one of those exceptions. Do it now, do it gracefully, or, well, if you dare me to find another position, my counter-offer demands will be more severe. Count on it.

          I got the promotion… lousy raise but I did get the grade and the bonus push with it.

          Reply
  13. Al who is that Al

    Having people run at 100% is a train wreck waiting to happen. Basically it is assuming that nothing will ever go wrong – everything will be finished on time, nothing unexpected will occur, no-one will be ill, absent or even die and possibly the most important – people are running flat-out. People are not machines, you try running them at 100% and then when the inevitable happens and things don’t go perfectly, they are trying to do much more than 100%. So they will crash and burn. May take a while, but it will happen. Then your best people leave.
    There is also no time left to develop, improve or change the existing systems, which leads to competitors outdoing you.

    Reply
    1. EPLawyer

      You don’t even run machines flat out at 100% all the time. My husband fixes plant machinery. Most of goals are to run at 80% a day so that if there IS a problem, they don’t lose too much and can run at 90 or 100% for a short period of time to make up for it. There are also scheduled maintenance days to fix the big stuff that can’t be jury rigged to get the line back up.

      If we do it for machines, we darn sure should do it for people.

      Reply
      1. Cat wrangler

        I learned about Triad days this week. Apparently it’s 3 days between November and February which pull the biggest drain on the national energy grid when everyone basically gets home, and puts on the kettle on at the same time. My job was to source an online predictor for the powers that be at my employer to decide if they need to switch off the mill to save money on these days. Machines can’t run at 100% ever. Humans much less so.

        Reply
          1. Even Steven

            And spreadsheets can be really hard on us! In the summer I left a very toxic job in a medium-sized service business where I was the only accounting/tax/financial staffer. I have mentioned it here before, but I developed serious health problems as a result of being overloaded all the time, and at a flat-out gallop for years. When I quit they really looked at my role (I gave them a document summarizing all of my tasks – it was 12 pages long and in Font 8). They hired THREE people to replace me by Labor Day. So much for all of their rah-rah company loyalty “110%” speeches.

            Reply
      1. CheeryO

        This is why I couldn’t hack it in engineering consulting. My company wanted 40+ hours of billable work per week, which seems pretty typical, but I physically cannot do quality work for 8+ hours per day and didn’t feel comfortable charging time to projects when I was actually staring into space or taking a break to chat or walk around the building, especially since our clients were mostly municipalities with tight budgets. It really stressed me out.

        Reply
        1. NotAnotherManager!

          Legal also expects around 40 billable hours per week (slightly less for nonattorney billable staff), they just expect that people are going to work longer weeks to account for the business development, professional training, etc. time. 60+ hour weeks are pretty typical.

          Reply
        2. Rocinante

          If you were directly hired by the municipality and worked an 8 hour day you would have had a couple hours of breaks, walks, etc. Is it really unacceptable that you should do a typical 8 hour day as a consultant (including the normal breaks) and charge 8 hours to the client?

          Reply
    2. Rob aka Mediancat

      I call this “you can’t sprint a marathon.” If my workplace needs me to go at 100% for a short period, a day, even a week, I can do that, but go too far and people burn out, get tired, and their productivity or quality drops.

      Reply
    3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

      There was an infamous story in here a couple years back – where a guy had been overworked – to a breaking point – and asked for help – and finally he just said **** you! and walked.

      And everyone said “ooh bad, real bad really unprofessional” when the guy walked out.

      Then there was a follow up – they hired TWO people to replace the “unprofessional” – and also spread “the rest of his work across four other people” ….

      My reply = lemme get this straight, he quit and you needed two people to take on PART of his duties? And he expressed a cry for help and you ignored him?

      Who’s the UNprofessional here, kids>?????

      And I have seen people quit when they’re burned out. Better than dropping dead, although the company won’t collect its life insurance on the employee.

      Reply
  14. Birch

    I wish all employers and managers realized the need to not work at 100% all the time! It’s especially important for fields where the work is never just “done”–because time is not kept hourly and/or because tasks are never finished (I’m thinking of research, design, creative fields, academia, etc.). Even if you work at 100% capacity for x hours a day every day, it’s never enough, so that becomes the bare minimum expectation. When your job depends on your brain’s ability to be creative and problem solve, constantly working at near-burnout is devastating to individual health and productivity, high turnover, and no change to expectations because if the culture is to burn yourself out keep up with everyone else, that’s what you have to do. That and the psychological effect of always assigning more work than it’s possible to do in the given time. Aspirational task assignment just sets everyone up for failure because no one is ever achieving goals.

    Reply
    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      Yes. I frequently read this blog on brief breaks during the day — sometimes simply reading someone else’s problems *with* possible solutions can reset my mind so I’m ready to dive back into the sea of conflicting priorities & contradictory instructions that my job has become.

      Reply
    2. C Average

      When I returned to the workforce after some time away, I specifically sought out a job where “done” was a recognized and achievable state of affairs. I work retail now, at a place with good benefits and lifestyle perks (like having the same days off every week and offering paid sick days).

      When it’s busy, we hustle. And when it’s dead, we chat with each other and/or customers while polishing the teapots. We go home on time. Our management specifically schedules floaters, who are sent where they’re needed on a game-day basis so that nobody is ever stretched too thin.

      I’ve been there six months now and all of this STILL boggles my mind.

      Reply
  15. The Doctor

    #3…

    “But surely if we were hiring someone from the outside to do this job, we’d give them a salary that reflects market rate for this work.”

    Why do companies insist on doing this?? When corporate policy is to pay outside hires more than those promoted from within, the best employees end up leaving.

    Reply
    1. Colette

      I’m sure part of it is that they have to pay more to get outside hires. But part of it too is that it’s easier to get a stretch job when you’re a known quantity (i.e. inside hire). If you have no management experience, it’ll be hard to get a management job at another company, but easier to get a job at the company you work at.

      Reply
    2. CupcakeCounter

      Yup. At OldJob we had a great manager who told you the system upfront. He gave a coworker a mega boost by telling them that their masters was useless here and to GTFO as soon as they could after graduating. 2 years later when a great position was open he called that guy to apply and come back at a 50% raise from what they were making before. Had he stayed he would have gotten AT THE MOST a couple of 7-10% increases (mostly likely 2) but by leaving he magically was eligible for a significantly higher number.
      He never lied to the people there and if you thought your chain was being yanked you could go ask him and he’d tell you the truth. That was how I knew that my immediate supervisor was going to bat for me and the VP was an asshole who constantly shot everything down.

      Reply
    3. Marie

      Not only do good employees end up leaving. Those individuals also realize how the game is played and calibrate their efforts accordingly. All my promotions come from switching companies so I always have a few toes out the door, and little to no loyalty. I work at a high enough level to get great references, which is actually not my top level.

      Reply
    4. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

      Show of power.

      Plus, the outside hire is usually an unknown quantity. Higher possibility of failure.

      Reply
  16. Cordoba

    When selecting manufacturing machinery the rule of thumb is to assume an 80% utilization rate.

    That is, a given a teapot painting machine with at *theoretical* maximum capacity of 100 teapots per day will likely only be able to paint 80 teapots per day in reality. If your business requires painting 90 teapots per day you’ll need a bigger paint machine.

    The remaining 20% is eaten up by maintenance, material movement, shift change, etc; all the other necessary and inevitable parts of the operation besides the actual painting of teapots.

    I see no reason to expect that humans are capable of a utilization rate any higher than this, and wold absolutely never try to run a team greater than 80% loaded. In many professional jobs you lose ~10% of a person’s theoretical working time right off the top between holidays, vacation days, sick days, and travel.

    Reply
    1. EPLawyer

      Why shoIuld always scroll and read all comments before commenting. I said the same thing above in response to another comment, after you had commented.

      Reply
  17. Anon, a moose!

    On #2, the part about limiting overtime feels a little strange to me. I get it in the context of that making it harder to get everything finished on time, but as a non exempt employee, while I appreciate the extra pay I don’t really *want* to work overtime regularly. The extra compensation to me is a consolation for sacrificing my personal time for work causes.

    But i’ve had really poor work life balance that i’m trying to train myself out of so maybe i’m being oversensitive!

    I think lw is on the right track that having some wiggle room and flexibility is smart.

    Reply
  18. angeldrac

    OP1:
    This is not really advice, as I think Allison’s words of wisdom are perfect, but just reassurance. My parents have run a business together all their working lives (like, since they were 18) and are now approaching retirement. They have been married more than 20 years, parented each other’s children and life partners – they know each other can screw up. They might have a bit of an arguement about it, but they’ll get over it. I totally understand the awkward position you feel you are in, but no otherwise reasonable person is going to think you are the jerk (if anything they’ll probably be going out of their way to apologize to you).
    Please try to frame this in your mind like you would any other mis-scheduling that happens at work, and take the “but it’s boss’s wife” factor out of the equation. They’ve been married for 20 years, and assumedly also have a lot of experience working together, too – they’ll look after their part.

    Reply
  19. Merlin

    #3 I have worked for 2 global companies with foreign home offices (one German and one Japanese) where it was normal and expected that in order to get a promotion and the accompanying raise, you had to DO the work for a year first, then get evaluated, and if all were happy, THEN you get the promotion title and salary bump. No exceptions. But if they hired from outside, the person would step straight into the role, title and salary. Go figure.

    Needless to say, there was a LOT of middle management turnover.

    Reply
  20. Melissa

    Hi, I’m Person #5. It’s been a little while since I asked the question (about 2 months) and I never did hear from them again. But I do want to add what they had me go through.

    It was an operations job for a chain of medical spas. I’m a operations/product development exec in the health and wellness world, so it wasn’t an entry-level position (just as background).

    First, I had to submit a letter detailing why I wanted to be COO, along with my resume. They liked that, so I got a call and phone interview. Then I had to go to an online portal and fill out EVERY JOB I HAVE EVER HAD (I’m 44 and started working at 12 so you can imagine). Then I had a video interview. Then I had to take a 2 hour personality test. Then I went in person for a 5 hour onsite walking interview where I met with all the docs and staff, toured the facility, observed patient procedures.
    Then the dinner was scheduled. There were a couple of weeks between these events. We had reservations at the Capital Grille. Then it was canceled that day due to illness.

    And I never heard from them again. Haaaaaa.

    So. That, in my opinion, is quite the tale. And here I sit, months later, still looking for work. I have been out of work for 8 months, ever since my last company (a start up) lost its backing. Things are getting pretty desperate. I have had other interviews/calls but I always seem to be missing this one ‘surprise’ requirement. I say ‘surprise’ because it’s never listed in the job description. For example, this week, I met literally all the requirements in the posting only to find out that they wanted agency experience. Well, add that to your posting and we won’t waste each other’s time.

    If any of you know anyone looking for a person like me in Michigan, I am here :) Just don’t ghost me.

    Reply
    1. irene adler

      RE:” I always seem to be missing this one ‘surprise’ requirement”

      I get that a lot. Suddenly during an interview I will be asked about a specific skill not mentioned in the job description. Further, it’s suddenly a ‘must-have’ requirement. And they end the interview.

      Age discrimination? I am over 40. Course, can’t prove anything.

      Reply
      1. Melissa

        I’ve wondered about the age thing too. I don’t think you can tell how old I am though, at least I don’t have the normal ‘clues’. My college grad date is well past the time I should have graduated because it took me forever going part time. And usually people are surprised by how old I am when I tell them….but who knows? The last surprise requirement was explained to me as ‘it’s not a requirement but other candidates have it and you do not’ :(

        Reply
        1. Jaybeetee

          40s strikes me as a bit young for age discrimination, not to say it can’t happen – at least in my area, people in their 40s seem to be more or less peak career, combination of good amount of experience, but not yet “too expensive” or “too close to retirement” or any of the other reasons older workers can struggle to get hired. At least based on what I’ve seen, age discrimination seems to become a bigger thing once you’re past 50. (And people in their 20s struggle like crazy here, due to the perpetual “not enough experience/need a job for experience” issues).

          Reply
            1. De Minimis

              I’m sure it gets worse at 50, but it can be tough after 40 depending on the field–especially if you’ve changed careers and have an experience level more typical of younger workers.

              That being said, I think age has probably come into play only a couple of times in my job searching over the years.

              Reply
        2. SheLooksFamiliar

          Corporate staffing here, and I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. I hate ghosting, too, but Alison is sadly right – it happens so much, it’s almost typical. You’re being very gracious in a tacky situation they created.

          Also, I know this won’t take away the irritation but those surprise requirements are quite often just that – unexpected. I’m always straight with my hiring partners about their ‘must haves’ and ‘would be nice to haves’, and the WBNTHs can tip the scale. It’s a valid candidate selection process. But sometimes a candidate has experience/skills/credentials the hiring partner didn’t even think of but considers valuable. It’s really not a reflection on you or your skills, even though it can feel like it.

          Finally, as a woman closer to 60 than she cares to admit, I can tell you without hesitation that age discrimination is real, and it begins before the age of 40. The ADEA of 1967 protects applicants and employees over the age of 40, with a few exceptions, and this has helped in protecting talented people from blatant discrimination. This may not be a factor in why this company ghosted you but age can often be a reason why companies drop candidates from consideration…and the candidate might never be able to prove it. Argh.

          Reply
        3. The New Wanderer

          I’m the same age as you and was on the job market for 18 months before I started working again last month. I would not be surprised that age (or more like experience and assumed related salary expectations) was a factor in some of the jobs I wasn’t selected for, although I took off all the obvious cues like graduation dates and only listed my last job. But advanced degrees + 12 years experience listed is already putting me at an estimated late 30s so there’s only so much I can do.

          The one place I felt like it might have been an issue was where I came in second to a woman who is 10 yrs younger (per LinkedIn profile) with almost the same experience, just 10 years less of it than me. But it really could have been several things – maybe her salary expectation was lower, maybe her culture fit was better, and maybe her specialization was more in line with what they needed (it wasn’t a hidden requirement per se, but the hiring manager told me each of the final candidates had a unique specialization that the company valued).

          Wishing you luck in your job hunt!

          Reply
      2. Triplestep

        They could be ending the interview for any old reason, but yes – the “surprise requirement” is a handy way out of an interview, or a way to let a candidate down easily.

        I once started a job and on the second day was shown a new org chart with an open role between my manager and me. I screwed up my courage to ask him to consider me for that role. It turned out that HIS boss was having him hire someone from HIS old workplace, and the role was being created for her. Later I was told by my manager “I need someone with experience in ‘x’; that’s the only reason I’m not considering you for that role.”

        Meh. That wasn’t the reason; she didn’t have that experience either, but what was he going to say? “That role was created by my boss specifically for this person who has less experience than you have; that’s the only reason I’m not considering you for that role.”

        Reply
        1. Leela

          I’m surprised that they think they’d get good info from that. I think that two hours with you in person working through different situations (while still a huge, ridiculous ask of your time) would be far more valuable. I could say anything I want on a personality test to make myself seem one way or another. I also think that people really overestimate the value of personality assessments in hiring. Someone might indicate they’re introverted and the team goes “ooooooh they’re not going to be a team player because they said they’re rather stay in reading a book than go to a party” or “ooooooh they said they’d rather go to a party, are they going to be reliable?” And I think that people can have an unconscious (or even fully conscious) bias toward people that have the same type as them.

          For the record, I really like taking them too, for my own benefit and interest because I like seeing what I come up with. And I also get a different result almost every time I take them! That leads me to not put a lot of stock in them accurately describing what an employee is like, much less whether they’re a good fit or how they’d perform. Even if they’re going to stick with it, I think two hours is really egregious. At least you came out of this with a story!

          I’m in a job search situation too, after my entire team was laid off, followed immediately by two huge studios in my city closing, flooding the market. Fist-bump of solidarity.

          Reply
    2. Lady Ariel Ponyweather

      o_O What??? Bullet dodged, honestly. But I really hope something comes through for you soon! Any company would be lucky to have you.

      Reply
    3. Public Sector Manager

      Melissa, I’m a government lawyer out here in California and when I go to healthcare conferences, the one comment I hear a lot is that DaVita Healthcare tends to look for good, intelligent people first and doesn’t necessarily look for particular experience, like the surprise requirement of agency experience you mentioned in your reply.

      I can’t speak to them as an employer, but I thought I’d share in case in helps you in your job search.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  21. Jam Today

    When I ran an operations group (data entry and quality assurance) I wanted my staff to be working at 80% capacity. People aren’t robots; they need downtime, they need time to think about things, as Alison said, and just time to feel human. If you want good employees who will stick around, treat them like human beings and not machines.

    Reply
  22. Delta Delta

    #1 – I can identify with how OP feels. Sometimes when a mistake happens it feels like it’s because the discoverer has done something wrong, and fixing it or calling it to someone’s attention is going to cause problems. And then there’s some agonizing over whether or not the action taken was the right one, etc.

    However, it sounds like a) boss’s wife is fairly awesome to work with about these things and b) OP is putting WAY too much stock in the fact boss and wife are married. I think if this had been me, I probably would have agonized (because that’s just what I do sometimes) but then the next step would’ve been to pick up the phone and say, “hey, Wendy, I just noticed we’ve both booked Gavin to be in different cities on the 26th. Let’s get this solved since he can’t be in 2 places at once.” And that would’ve been the end of it, and Gavin wouldn’t have needed to know, necessarily.

    Reply
    1. OP1

      That’s effectively what I ended up doing, I just sort of ignored the “who was responsible part”, but it felt like she thought it was my initial error. I didn’t feel like belabouring the point was worth it, so I just let it go and we fixed it. But that’s the part that didn’t sit well, I’m not sure what else I could have done orher than ignoring it and hoping it didn’t happen again

      Reply
      1. Alianora

        That can be tricky, when you feel like someone is assuming you made a mistake but they don’t say anything. You don’t want them to think you’re incompetent but you also don’t want to come across as defensive by pointing out that they made a mistake. I do think being proactive about fixing the problem goes a long way. If it happens once or twice there’s no need to assign blame.

        If it’s happening a lot with one person and you can tell their opinion of you is dwindling, then I do think it’s worth it to stop glossing over whose mistake it was for future occurrences. Doesn’t need to be super confrontational. Instead of Delta Delta’s suggestion (which is a good one) you could change the wording slightly. “Hey Wendy, I noticed you booked Gavin in Los Angeles on the 26th, but he’s already scheduled to be in San Francisco for a meeting that day. Let’s figure out how to get this solved.”

        Reply
    2. Lucille2

      Seems to be a normal part of professional life to occasionally need to clean up someone else’s mistakes. It’s best not to get hung up on who’s at fault. In some cases, it is essential for the responsible party to be held accountable, but for something human like a travel mix-up, it’s not productive to emphasize blame unless there is a pattern.

      Reply
  23. SigneL

    Unless #1 knows (or fears) that boss is unreasonable, I’d suggest this: explain how it happened, then explain your idea how to prevent it happening again. In my experience, bosses love solutions, especially if they don’t involve a lot of money.

    Reply
    1. OP1

      Oh absolutely! Or if I can’t solve something I go to my boss with a list of things I’ve tried or thought of to get their guidance. I replied to another commenter that my headspace was really out of whack at that time because of all the awful things that were happening to all my coworkers and the stress that put on me and the like ONE other person who wasn’t dealing with a tonne of heavy personal or family health stuff

      Reply
  24. Jaybeetee

    Who’s reading LW3, working for the Canadian feds, and laughing and laughing (this basically is my life right now)… assuming it takes awhile for the job/pay to catch up, do you get retroactive pay back to the start date, or are they just basically asking you to work the job below pay level until they eventually get around to making it official? If it’s a job you want, and you know the pay will eventually catch up, *including* back pay for the entire time you’ve been in the position, it might still be worth considering, and putting up with the administrative delays. If there’s no intention to fully compensate you for your time though, that sounds more like they’re just trying to get “free” work out of you.

    Reply
  25. Tigger

    #4 is messing with me because I am thinking of coloring the ends of my dark brown hair a dark blue and since it is an “unnatural color” I think I need to ask permission. Darn you over thinking brain!

    Reply
    1. Lady Kelvin

      Don’t think of it as asking permission. Just “double check” with your manager that there aren’t any policies around unusual/unnatural hair colors. Then you’ll know if you can do it or not.

      Reply
    2. Leela

      Don’t be too hard on yourself for being an overthinker! Some industries/bosses will care. I’ve worked at a bank where this would definitely have been a problem, and in gaming studios where you could go from 0-100 tattoos overnight and no one would care. It’s definitely something to take into account but getting a lot more viable to just up and do versus how it was in the past.

      Reply
      1. TeapotSweaterCrocheter

        I came here to say basically the same thing! I have dark brown hair, and last year I bleached a section by the nape of my neck and dyed it violet (so, a full purple stripe). I re-read the dress code before I did it, and I also looked around and saw a few other people in the office had “not-natural” hair colors… so I chose not to warn anyone beforehand. And – nobody cared! My mentor even mentioned how much she liked it.

        YMMV – you have to know your own workplace. But it’s definitely not something you would ALWAYS have to ask before doing no matter where you work.

        Reply
        1. Tigger

          We are a very relaxed office (the office manager wears sweatpants to work alot) and they care about the work you do and not if you show up in heels and look pretty. I don’t think it would be a huge deal but since I am the youngest by a solid 20 years so it might toe the line a smidge

          Reply
  26. Lady Ariel Ponyweather

    #1 – I get how you feel. People can be VERY touchy if you point out a significant other, family member or even friend made a mistake. Even pointing it out in a casual way (“Oh, I think [name] wrote this when it should be this other thing”) can be construed as an ‘attack’. If it happens once or twice, it makes you very wary of raising issues with someone like your boss.

    When I was younger, I kept my mouth shut and took the blame, even if it wasn’t my fault. These days, I say something and if the person is a jerk about it, that’s on them.

    Reply
    1. OP1

      I was about 25 when this happened and pretty fresh out of grad school. I have had jobs constantly since I was 16, so I wasn’t brand new to the workforce, but I was (and probably still am) on a steep learning curve. Your last sentence might need to become my new mantra. “If they’re a jerk that’s on them.” I tend to do a lot of attempting to protect other people’s feelings at the expense of my own.

      Reply
      1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather

        I think this kind of thing can be hard regardless of age or experience. We all have our challenges and I think it’s great that you’re still examining your actions and reasoning behind them. A lot of people don’t do that, but you’re willing to learn and grow. That takes courage.

        I know exactly what you mean about protecting other people at your own expense! What really helped me was learning that our flaws are actually our strengths with the volume turned up a bit too high. You have a lot of empathy and you see the broader picture. That’s a good thing! You’re caring and understanding of others. We need more of that in this world. The problem only comes when you turn up the volume too high and value others before yourself. That helped me see the difference between helping others and hurting myself.

        It took me a long time to get to ‘if they’re a jerk, that’s on them’ and I went through a lot of hell in my personal life before I got to that point. Thankfully, it sounds like you don’t need to go through the same. You’re doing great! Hope you have a great day and weekend.

        Reply
  27. NotAnotherManager!

    #2 is the bane of my existence. The data-driven, spreadsheety part of me longs for the day I could plan out my employees’ time with such precision! I wish that we could do accurate employee utilization planning – that’s just not the nature of legal, particularly litigation. We do the best we can, but you don’t always know when new clients or new matters are coming in. Some days are deadly dull and spent catching up on business development and CLE work; other days are insane and 12+ hours long, even with extra people brought in to help (if that’s even possible, some groups are so specialized that having nonpractice people come in does them little to no good). Still, at end-of-year budgeting time, it feels like a 50% crapshoot.

    I have been able to identify problem areas – I had a practice that had three people when really they needed at least 5. I had to beg, borrow, and plead with HR for the extra people, but I got them and it proved to be successful and improved both service and employee satisfaction. Because that worked out so well, they don’t fight me on new people anymore, and I’ve successfully doubled their staff in the past year – it’s still tough some days, but it’s not awful with people quitting every five minutes.

    Reply
  28. boop the first

    Considering the time investment in staffing, finding that work balance must be incredibly difficult (at least judging by every place I’ve ever worked which has always been horribly understaffed).

    Employers don’t seem to care much about burnout or injuries as long as they can find someone who can get 80% of the work done each day. They’ll just cycle through until someone is willing to show up.

    The problem for THEM, though, is that none of that important long term stuff gets done. Personally, I’d rather be overloaded than have an hour with not much to do (unless they kick us out early, that’d be great).

    Right now, I am so overloaded that I’m literally weeks behind schedule. My hands/arms have gotten so much weaker, my skin is rashing up and coming off from stress, and I’m getting IBS from outta nowhere. Employers don’t care about that, but they SHOULD care about the fact that deep cleaning hasn’t been done in weeks and weeks. The floor is filthy, there are mice everywhere, and I’m falling asleep at 6pm when I should be doing side work.
    Which is a huge shame, because it could have been an interesting job if it were managed well.

    Reply
    1. WellRed

      I am so overloaded that I’m literally weeks behind schedule. My hands/arms have gotten so much weaker, my skin is rashing up and coming off from stress, and I’m getting IBS from outta nowhere.

      And yet, you’d rather be overloaded then have an hour of downtime? Okaaaaaay. Also, that IBS isn’t coming from outta nowhere. See: stress.

      Reply
      1. Yay commenting on AAM!

        Go to the doctor, stat. If work is making you ill, you need to take care of it. Unfortunately, some of these issues, once they switch “on” the switch back “off” is much more tricky.

        Reply
  29. Dr. Pepper

    #4: I was in the opposite position to you once. I worked on a small team in a manufacturing type job and when I was hired, my boss had a giant, full beard and his hair stuck out in a big curly afro. He looked a like a mountain man sasquatch, and truthfully a tad alarming. After a few months on the job, he went out to lunch and came back clean shaven and with a buzz cut. I literally didn’t recognize him and approached him with “can I help you, sir?” I had no idea it was my boss until he opened his mouth and started talking. We had a laugh about it and that was pretty much it. Unless your boss is super weird and sensitive to change, I wouldn’t worry about it. He may have a moment of “huh?” when he first sees you but that should be the end of that. At least he’s seen your face. It was slightly unnerving to realize that I had worked closely with a man for several months with no actual idea of what his facial features looked like under all that hair.

    Reply
  30. Hiring Mgr

    Out of curiosity, why would an unnatural color be different than a buzz cut? I mean assuming you don’t see clients, work in a stodgy industry, etc..

    Reply
  31. Tennessee INFP

    #5 – Early on in my career, I realized I was oversharing information with my family and friends that they didn’t really need to know. I understand if you have a very close family how you want to let them know what’s going on in your professional life. But I have found it so much easier to just tell my family I am starting a new job, rather than fill them in on the job searching process. This is because if I don’t get a job I applied for, I was constantly answering questions like “well what do you think happened?” “what are you going to do now?” It was causing my family and friends unnecessary levels of disappointment, when really, your job and job search are nobody’s business but yours (unless for some reason you just want to share it with them). Answering the question, “Well I didn’t know you were looking for a new job” is much easier than the previously mentioned questions, plus it keeps family members from getting too involved in an aspect of your life that isn’t theirs to get involved in.

    Reply
    1. Melissa

      Thank you! I have asked them to stop asking me ‘How’s the job search going?’ Because I am like, ‘unless you have a job to give me- DO NOT ASK. You’ll be the first to know.’ And they’ve stopped, thankfully. Probably because I am super depressing to talk to LOL.

      Reply
  32. Isabelle

    #5 I’m sorry they ghosted you, especially at such a late stage in the process. Glassdoor has a section for interviews. It would be really kind of you to leave an interview review as a warning for other applicants.

    Reply
    1. Melissa

      Yes! I am planning on it…as soon as I find a job. Something about doing it now while still unemployed it making me feel weird. Like bad juju.

      Reply
  33. Random

    I have to disagree on #4, if you are a woman or present as female, there are jobs that will have an issue with this. Buzzcuts and shaved heads on women are still uncommon and to some people unprofessional.

    Reply
    1. NotAnotherManager!

      I’m in an industry where a buzz cut/shaved head on a woman would be frowned upon (outside a medical issue that caused hair loss), but I’d assume OP is not in that sort of environment based on the description of “laid back”. It didn’t sound like she was considering something that would be frowned upon in her professional sphere and is merely wondering if she should give a heads-up about a big appearance change.

      Reply
  34. ZL

    #3- there’s always a tiny chance that there’s an exception, but if your company feels that you have the skills to take on that much more responsibility, I can guarantee that you can find a similar position at another company that will actually pay you what you deserve. I would ask them for the salary increase right off the bat and if they don’t give it to you, either don’t take the promotion or just work in that role until you get a job offer somewhere else. It sounds like your company has a history of leading on employees with raises that may never come. You’ll get a much higher raise changing companies anyway.

    I worked in a “promoted” position for 6 months waiting for the raise of “a few dollars per hour” that they promised me- when I finally got it, it was a whopping $1.70/hr increase. A couple years later, I found a position with the same title that ended up having significantly less responsibilities… and it paid almost $20k more per year.

    Reply
  35. Close Bracket

    LW#4:

    I would say something, not just to him, but to everyone. I went from shoulder length hair to a buzz cut, and it really took people aback. Some people weren’t even sure I was the same person. If I did it again, I would mention it to people.

    You don’t have to make it A Thing; you don’t even have to say you’re getting a buzz cut. You could offhandedly say something like, “Going to get my hair cut this weekend. I think I want a big change! Maybe a lot shorter.” Be lighthearted.

    Reply
  36. Kitty

    #5 honestly I’d take this as a blessing in disguise. Unless 6 rounds of recruitment meetings is the standard for every job in your industry, it seems like a red flag to me. I’ve only ever had negative experiences with companies that expect this much of applicants. I felt like I dodged a bullet with one, after hearing what the culture was like on the inside.

    Reply
    1. Melissa

      Yeah, you’re right. Except for the fact that I could have changed the bad culture since I was up for an operations role…sigh. It is what it is.

      Reply
  37. Mr. Bob Dobalina

    Op#2: The other commenters have mentioned the 80%/20% thing, and I have also heard that number, where employees should have 20% of their time for professional development, training, special projects, unexpected urgent work, etc. I have even heard a well-meaning manager say that in front of his team as an aspiration. But I have never experienced it in reality. It’s like a pipe dream at my workplace.

    My current employer actually brags about “staffing lean” (under-staffing) and burns out employees. I can’t even do my core work in a 50 hour week.

    Reply
  38. Dakotah

    @OP4 In high school I wanted to trim my mid-back length hair to a cute pixie-style Peter Pan-cut. My hairdresser told me to come back the next day, pointing out that short hair is harder to maintain than long hair.

    The next day I went in for a bob; still enough hair to pull back into a ponytail on days that I just couldn’t be bothered, and also a lot shorter so not spending all afternoon with towels and blow dryers!

    Reply

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