company is giving my job to the boss’s daughter, do I have to pay if I invite someone to a networking lunch, and more

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

1. Company is giving my job to the boss’s daughter

I have been in my current job for three years. I was hired here a few months out of school and have worked hard to learn everything I can about my field (marketing and advertising). My annual evaluations have been nothing but praise and I successfully applied for a promotion at my last evaluation and landed the job I’ve wanted since I graduated. My boss is a wonderful mentor, I love my coworkers and I love my job.

I work for a family owned and operated company. Upper management is all family members and they look out for their own. Everyone else here is paid well below market rate, benefits are stingy, and management is known for policing behavior (cameras everywhere, no talking if they’re nearby, etc.)

One of the VP’s daughters graduated and came to work for the company. I was just informed that she really likes what I do and wants my job (something I saw coming as soon as she arrived). So they’re “splitting” my job between the two of us. I am to make a game plan outlining everything I do and figure out how to share my job with someone who is not qualified to do it (she admits she isn’t a good writer and is best when “on camera”). My boss was in tears telling me this and knows it’s wrong. I’m crushed because I worked my butt off for two years to earn this promotion and I’ve worked hard the last eight months to make a lot of changes to this role that have resulted in positive growth and revenue for the company.

I’ve already sent out my resume and have interviews at other companies lined up. Other team members have quietly told me they’re also interviewing and won’t stay because of this Is it worth saying something to my boss when I do finally give notice that this is the main reason I’m leaving? Or just grin and bear it?

Yes, you should say this is your reason for leaving when you resign. I suspect they’ll probably know that already — and upper management will be fine with it because they want to give your job to this family member anyway. Pushing you out might even have been their intent. But it’s good to say it anyway, if for the principle of it (and in case on some off chance they missed the impact this would have on you).

However, the bigger thing here is that it sounds like it’s a blessing in disguise that this is pushing you to change jobs. You are paid “well below market rate,” benefits are stingy, and for some reason your office has “cameras everywhere” and people fall silent if management is nearby. Those are marks of an unhealthy, toxic workplace. It’s great that your immediate coworkers are lovely and that you like your work — but you can find those things in organizations that pay you what you’re worth and don’t monitor you with cameras or scare the crap out of people. It’s very likely that a few years from now you’ll look back on this as a move you’re glad you made.

2. Employee says she got “yelled at” when she gets feedback

I have an employee who uses words like “big trouble,” “I got smacked,” and “yelled at” when describing incidences when she is informed she is not following directions. When I hear her say those things, I cringe. I have never touched her, let alone smacked her! Please help!

“Jane, I understand you’re using hyperbole, but when you tell people you got ’smacked’ or ‘yelled’ at or ‘in trouble,’ you’re conveying something very different than what actually happened — and you’re putting me at risk if anyone takes you literally. I need to be able to give you feedback about your work without having it characterized so hyperbolically.” You could add, “Adults don’t get in trouble. They get feedback on their work, and that’s how we should refer to it.”

3. Can I invite people for networking lunches without paying for them?

I’m mid-career with no managerial responsibilities, but I do have increasing leadership and visibility within my organization. I’m trying to network more to increase connections outside my local team, which means more money spent on work lunches. I’d love to treat when I’m the one who extends the invitation or the person is earlier in their career than me, but with two kids in daycare my budget is incredibly tight. I can hardly justifying the cost of eating out myself, let alone paying for a second person! I’m planning to go dutch in these situations, but worry that this looks cheap or even ungrateful for people’s time. Am I overthinking this? Or do I need to suck it up and cover the bill?

If you’re inviting someone to a meal in a business context, very often they’ll assume you’re paying for them. This is different than, say, coworkers deciding to grab a meal together; when it’s more networky, often the assumption is that you’re treating (sometimes because the meeting will benefit you in some way, and sometimes just because that’s the traditional etiquette rule). People don’t always assume that, but it’s frequent enough that you risk putting people off if you don’t come prepared to pay. (That’s not to say to say the other person won’t insist on covering the bill anyway; sometimes they do.)

So, instead of a meal, what about coffee? It’s cheaper, and a lot of people will prefer that — a meal is a big time commitment and people may have other ways they want to spend their lunch time or find it harder to carve out space for a lunch than a coffee. And it’s not like you’d be suggesting browsing a vending machine or something; coffee is a super common networking thing and might solve the problem.

4. Resumes with no contact info

I’ve been a recruiter for over 15 years and am seeing something lately that I haven’t seen before. Is someone, somewhere telling candidates not to put any contact info on their resumes? At least twice a week I receive resumes that include a name, but absolutely no contact information. These are primarily from candidates whose entire work history takes place in the US, so I don’t think it’s a difference in cultural norms. Nor are these 3rd party agency resumes or LinkedIn profiles. Our ATS does require you to type in your contact info, but why are people even in possession of resumes that include no email or phone number? If I have 30 candidates for one role, and you make me hunt for a way to contact you, you are for sure getting rejected because I don’t have the time nor inclination to track you down. I’d love to know where this is coming from!

I’ve gotten a few of these too, and I’m baffled by it! It was one thing when people started removing their mailing addresses a while back — fine, no one is contacting candidates by mail at this point anyway. But it’s still standard to include a phone number and email address, and not including either of those is bizarre. (Frankly, including only one of those is a problem too — someone who prefers to email candidates to set up an initial conversation may not bother to call to do that, and vice versa — but at least that’s better than including nothing at all.)

And I don’t know where it’s coming from! I can’t imagine someone is actually advising candidates to do this, so I suspect it might be the resume version of people who don’t know how to address an envelope or write a business letter; they truly don’t know this info is a standard part of a resume (and perhaps figure they’ve entered their contact info elsewhere in your application software, without considering that resumes are often looked at outside of that software). That’s the best theory I’ve got.

5. Do I have to tell a new employer about my cancer diagnosis?

I have a stage 4 cancer that has been in remission for quite a while. The prognosis is hopeful and I’ve barely missed work because of it. Am I able to change jobs with a diagnosis like this? I work full time and I carry the health insurance. I know that for now, the ACA provides for pre-existing conditions. Am I required to tell a new employer about my diagnosis? And if I don’t, what are the implications? I’m fine now and even though the prognosis is hopeful, with cancer the future is still not totally known.

You are not required to tell a new employer about any medical condition. The only reason you’d need to tell them is if you were requesting accommodations after you were hired or wanted to add some context to a request for time off (and even then you wouldn’t have to share specific diagnoses if you didn’t want to). This is your business and you can decide to share it only to the extent that sharing would benefit you.

If you’re worried that if you do mention it at some point in the future, they’ll be upset that you didn’t disclose it earlier, know that you have no obligation to do that. If they’d have wanted to know because it might have affected their hiring decision, that would violate federal law — so really, you’re doing them a favor by not disclosing something that could lead to illegal bias, even if only unconsciously.

The one thing I’d factor in is that if you’ve relied on FMLA at your current job, be aware that FMLA protections won’t kick in at a new job until you’ve worked there for a year (and assuming the employer is large enough to be covered; employers with fewer than 50 employees aren’t).

{ 523 comments… read them below }

  1. Urdun*

    If your application software requires contact info to be entered separately, I can see candidates deciding to remove the info from their resumes so as to appear detail-oriented. Why ask people to provide the same info twice? Job hunting and applying is very nerve wracking and processes that may be clear to the hiring manager can be really obscure to the applicant.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      This explanation doesn’t ring true for me, mainly because job application systems generally make you enter your full work history. Candidates wouldn’t take out job history from a resume because they entered it in the system, so why do it for anything else?

      1. a1*

        Right! I just entered my entire work history into the system, why attach a resume at all? Oh, it’s making attach something, so I’ll just attach a blank document since they already have the info.

        I don’t think so. This explanation makes no sense.

        1. Brett*

          Last job had an application system that made you enter all your address and jobs for the last 10 years.
          We routinely had people attach blank documents in the resume section. (Or word docs that only said something to the effect of “see work history section of the application.) The resume section was not mandatory.
          Ironically, these would get through, but people who attached a complete resume and put “See resume” in the work history would get rejected, because the work history section was mandatory.

          1. Dot*

            Did you push back on this? It’s an enormous waste of people’s time, and really disrespectful to the candidates.

            1. Oaktree*

              Yeah, people hate when employers force applicants to do this. It’s an enormous waste of time and effort, and is just begging for people to make tiny inconsequential errors (e.g., typos) that can be used to take candidates out of the running for not being detail-oriented enough.

              1. Analysis Paralysis*

                I agree — the duplication of effort between resume info & online application is frustrating!

                IMHO this is not the reason WHY contact info is being left off of resumes. My experience in the IT world: if you post a resume on any job board (Indeed, Ladders, etc and in my state, you’re REQUIRED to post it on Monster in order to receive unemployment benefits!), your resume WILL be data mined and you WILL start receiving unsolicited emails, phone calls & text messages from IT “consulting” firms (aka body shops) who want to submit your resume for contract work, often for roles completely unrelated to your work experience / regardless of your geography location.
                This is exactly what happened to me. I received a deluge of emails, texts and phone calls (hundreds with a few weeks). You think it would be great to have so much interest in your resume but they aren’t actually interested in you, they just cast a broad net & hope they catch someone. Again, NONE of these jobs were for my skill set and 99.99% would require me to move for a 3- or 6-month job (no relocation assistance, of course).
                The net effect is that I was so buried in crap that I didn’t want, it was hard to notice the legit emails. Within 3 weeks I realized how all these “consulting firms” got my contact info, so I uploaded a resume that only had my name at the top.
                However, once these firms have you in their database, you will NEVER escape. Even now, three years later, every Monday I receive about a dozen unsolicited requests to submit me for specific contract jobs. I’ve unsubscribed from these emails, sent replies asking to be removed, blocked texts/calls. While the volume has decreased, I still get them.
                Rant over. :)

                TL;DR: Do not post a resume that includes your contact info on any job board. HOWEVER you should keep a separate version of your resume that does include your contact info — this is the version you should attach when you apply for a job.

                1. PersephoneUnderground*

                  THIS- This is why. Lots of people put their resumes on job boards, which usually make them searchable and therefore pretty dang public. Address is a safety concern, but phone and email on a public site lead to spam phone calls and emails from recruiters basically saying “Hi, you appear to have a resume, you’d be perfect for insurance telemarketing on commission! We aren’t sure you have a pulse, but if you have a resume that’s close enough to fulfilling the “human with pulse” job requirements!”

                  If they’re still giving you their info in some way, like by emailing you or (more plausibly) filling out an application, I could see them not particularly feeling a need to create a different version that includes it. At that point from the applicant’s point if view it’s apparently redundant, so it’s a convention they’d need to know to include it anyway. Plus the “tons of resume examples/templates are awful and incomplete” thing Alison said.

            2. Brett*

              The 10 years of addresses and jobs was an enshrined in law requirement for the background checks that went with the positions.
              Despite years of feedback that it discouraged applicants and created a risk for identity theft, there was no chance the governing council was going to change it.

    2. Chili*

      I agree whole-heartedly with your last bit about what may be clear to the hiring manager can be really obscure to the applicant. I don’t know if people are initially including contact info and then removing it so as not to be redundant or if it’s just confusion about how hiring managers view applicants’ info.

      I think once you do hiring, it becomes very obvious what one should do to make things easier/ better for hiring managers. For those who have no experience or insights (from reading Ask a Manager or otherwise), there’s a disconnect between what the application looks like to an applicant vs. how those materials will be presented to a hiring manager. Why would an online application have a field for contact info and also expect you to include it again in the resume? Why would an application want you to attach a resume and also have you type out your work history in a separate part of the form? It makes sense to the individual hiring manager because they understand their process (e.g. All the form fields are for the software to filter applicants, and then the hiring manager reads and works off of resumes), but an applicant may have different assumptions about how hiring managers must be using their application (e.g. The person hiring will receive a packet of all the info I’ve typed into the forms, so attaching a resume with the same info as the form fields is redundant).

      1. homesick at space camp*

        “(e.g. The person hiring will receive a packet of all the info I’ve typed into the forms, so attaching a resume with the same info as the form fields is redundant).”

        Especially because this is true in some systems!

        1. A Poster Has No Name*

          Especially since the candidate has zero idea how the system handles their information. At my company, they seem to discard everything except the resume, but I don’t even know that for sure.

          Better to err on the side of caution and put it on your resume, but if you’re new to job hunting, I could also see candidates thinking that, since they are entering that info elsewhere, that it’s a waste of space (or adds clutter) to put it on the resume.

    3. Amy*

      They need to provide it twice because the resume will quickly become separated from the information in the portal.

      I’ve only ever seen the resume as part of a hiring team. I wouldn’t like to need to cross reference the portal – I’m not even sure how to access it. It’s an HR tool and I’m not in HR.

      1. Bonita*

        This may be why people are not including their contact information on their resume. Resumes sometimes get passed around among quite a few people and there is nothing the applicant can do about that after they submit. At my last job, I found out that my resume was shared with my entire department (about 70 people) before I started the job as a way to introduce me. I was not happy about that. I don’t want that many people having access to my personal contact information. I would rather that only HR have that information.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          What would the people do with your contact information? Email and phone being basic stuff that people tend to list in plenty of places so they can be contacted about stuff.

          1. Bonita*

            The thing is, I don’t know what they would do with it or who else they would share it with. I do list my email and phone number in plenty of places… when its necessary. But it is not necessary to make that information potentially widely available at a company I am applying to when I know that HR will be the one to reach out to me for the first interview.

            1. Nitpicker*

              Just an interesting thought. Your company sharing your resume with your entire department would probably be in breach of the GDPR over here in the EU.

          2. Chili*

            A friend of mine was turned down from a a job, then received a call asking her on a date by a guy on her interview panel. It was really creepy and weird and unprofessional. Inevitably someone at a company is going to have your contact info so they can tell you your status, but when it’s widely distributed there’s an increased risk of creepiness. And even if your contact info is theoretically out there for anyone to find, there’s often a mental barrier for people when they have to sleuth for contact info vs. when they already have it.

            1. Constantine Binvoglio*

              Ooof, that’s super bad.

              My worst experience with my info being shared was when I was rejected for a job from the corporate office of a specialty goods company, but then a week or so later started receiving daily marketing emails from their retail arm (which I’d never shopped at.

              1. londonedit*

                That would be super illegal where I live (well, definitely illegal for another couple of weeks at least, who the heck knows after that…)

              2. J.*

                I applied for (and didn’t even get an interview with!) at least one nonprofit organization that immediately added me to their fundraising list. It’s so frustrating.

                1. pancakes*

                  Likewise, and in my case I’d just published a law review article about a very niche topic that they mentioned, in the job listing, they planned to litigate. I didn’t even get called in for an interview and my article was subsequently cited in several court opinions, state and federal. It really frosted my apples. Also discouraged me from ever donating to them in the future, knowing they’re scanning resumes for prestigious schools rather than relevant experience. My undergrad school was & my law school wasn’t—that was a mark against me.

              3. AKchic*

                My husband has been job hunting since July. Cannabis is legal in Alaska, so he has been looking in that industry as well. Our home address is a well-known cannabis reference. The entire street address is so “hilariously” set up that you’d think it was a teenage prank. I’ve had orders cancelled (online), phoned-in food orders will get hung up on (especially since I can sound young on the phone), and the police have even questioned the address when we had to call once.

                Anyhow – my husband applied for a few cannabis industry jobs. Interviewed. Address was openly questioned and discussed. Husband assured them that the address is real – googled the street address and pulled up pictures off of his social media to show that yep, we live there, that’s us living there, matching google earth images with our personal shots.
                He didn’t get the jobs, but he sure did get calls asking to host private parties at the “420 House”. I was more than happy to tell them all to “f the h off” (we’d gotten a few solicitations from the industry before; I was politer then).

                We now keep our address off of his resume, and I’ll be keeping it off of mine when I inevitably need a resume for anything.

                1. pancakes*

                  That is maddening! The nerve of these people! I can sort of relate because my ex-bf of many years had the same name as a very famous basketball player and if we tried to make restaurant or hotel reservations under his name, people would often think we were trying to prank them. The tricky part was that my ex knew even less about sports than I do and couldn’t spot people trying to prank him back. One trip we went on, I was nervous we wouldn’t have a room for our first night because my ex made the reservation, then told me the guy he spoke to was very nice but had “such an unusual name, Scotty.” The guy who took the reservation told him that his name was Scotty Pippen, and my ex had no idea that’s also a basketball player. The guy had in fact reserved a room for us, thankfully. I like dry humor but it can be difficult!

            2. Who Plays Backgammon?*

              I once got a call from an HR person at a private college and was excited about the possibility of an interview. But it wasn’t that. The HR person wanted to invite me to be part of her multi-level marketing side hustle. I turned her down, called the college, got the name and title of her boss, and called that person to report it. Don’t know the outcome–they never contacted me again, about an interview or the HR person’s inappropriate use of my contact information, but you need to speak up about this kind of crap.

          3. BadWolf*

            People take photos and post them, “New coworker!! Can’t wait” — not realizing they’ve included a bunch of personal information on the resume.

            Someone wants to ask you out later.

            Someone adds you to their Christmas card list and starts sending you things at home. Not terrible…but weird?

            Your stalker ex calls everyone in the office, desperate for your number and someone’s all, “Oh I have a copy of their resume, I can be helpful and give you that.”

            Outliers? Yes. Happens to people, yes.

          4. JessaB*

            I don’t want unnecessary people to have my personal phone number, if I need to be contactable outside of work (and not for instance by work email) then the company needs to give me a phone number. My personal information is private.

            Passing around my personal non work email and phone number would have me in high dudgeon lecture mode with anyone who dared to use them who wasn’t personally given them by me.

            I literally ditched and changed a personal email address because a friend gave it to somebody without my permission. It’s an email attached to my phone that about five people have access to, if I get email on that address it means it’s pretty much an emergency. Nobody else is supposed to have that address, and I wanted to strangle him for giving it out.

            There’s this current attitude that people just give out other people’s contact info without checking with them first and that there’s nothing wrong with doing that. That probably dates me as an old fogey, but back in the day you just didn’t do that.

            I’m a beyond private person, Mr B says I have the household security (computers, accounts, personal info etc.) set to “raging paranoia”.

            1. techRando*

              I vividly remember being in middle/high school and having people bug me (over and over again) for my friends numbers and them thinking I was sooo weird when I said that I wasn’t giving out anyone’s number without permission from that person.

              And, whenever I asked the people whose numbers were being asked for, they all 100% appreciated that I didn’t give them out. That trust is, quite possibly, why I had so many people’s numbers in my little address book, including people who I wasn’t even close with. They knew that I’d call them and let them know if an event got cancelled but that I wouldn’t hand their number over to any annoying kid who asked.

              But even back then, lots of people DID give up people’s numbers and think it was fine.

              1. Mama Bear*

                I will offer to pass along the requester’s info to the requestee but not hand out information the other way around. If the person asking isn’t OK with the ball being in the other person’s court, then they really shouldn’t have that person’s contact info. I will also ask what the preferred contact method is and which one – do you want this person to have your personal email address or do you want to use your work one? But it’s still odd to leave off contact info on your resume. All I get before interviews is the resume itself.

            2. TootsNYC*

              There’s this current attitude that people just give out other people’s contact info without checking with them first and that there’s nothing wrong with doing that. That probably dates me as an old fogey, but back in the day you just didn’t do that.

              I actually think it’s the opposite now! I know that in my early adulthood, there wouldn’t have been any worries about passing on contact info.

              Now, even if someone asks me for a referral of someone to hire, and I have their resume in my files, I seldom give out the applicant’s contact info. I email them to say, “Joe Schmoe is looking to fire a widget polisher; here’s his info” or “should I give him your deets?”

            3. Artemesia*

              If I were job searching I would create a gmail account specifically for that purpose and use that on my resume and link it to my phone. I have a gmail account for travel where I keep receipts, tickets etc, a general account and then one I use for purchasing where I don’t want to be advertised to constantly in my regular account. I could easily add one that was just for job searching which would make it easier to keep track of job correspondence.

              1. EH*

                This. I use a specifically-for-job-hunting email address when I’m searching, and use it to register with all the job boards and other places.

          5. Ms Cappuccino*

            Ew no. My personal phone and email are only shared with HR, not with co-workers. And you also got your address on a resume

        2. Oxford Comma*

          I’ve recently seen a trend where HR blacks out the contact info. I get the concern, but if I can’t find you, I can’t bring you in for an interview. You don’t want to make it hard for an interviewer to locate you.

      2. Just Elle*

        ….which is why companies should stop requiring people to retype their entire resume into a portal no one looks at in the first place, but I digress…

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Or, better yet, build a portal/application that’s actually USEFUL, and obviates the need for a resume at all! Forward the job history and contact info portions on to the hiring manager, or better yet, have people access it through the portal, so that access to that info is logged. That also means that the candidates are more likely judged on their relevant work experience rather than their word processing or desktop publishing skills.

          1. Just Elle*

            Eh, honestly, this puts so much burden on the person applying! I HATE having to retype my entire job history (often many more years worth than I would ever put on a resume, the way they make you enter it, since I graduated college less than 10 years ago).

            I get that absolute consistency in formatting is better for a hiring manager. But if you’re halfway decent at building a resume (which is really less about word processing skills and more about taking a half hour to google ‘how to make a resume’) then the hiring manager should be able to get what they need from it.

          2. Ra94*

            Yep. The one positive thing about applications in my sector was that every company used a standardized portal, which allowed you to save all of your contact details, educational history, work history, and language skills. Each company would then have you type in a cover letter or answers to 3-6 short essay questions, tailored to them. No resume, no redundancy, just…a lot of work on the essays, which was fair enough!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Me too. Uggggggghhh.

            Some portals import your resume, but then you have to go through it and check, because it always gets the information wrong. I love it when all I have to do is upload a resume and the cover letter. And maaaaaybe answer a few questions.

            1. Just Elle*

              Seriously. I’d honestly much rather risk being eliminated if I forget to disclose important job-relevant information, than be forced to fill out terrible long answer job history questionnaires for every application (when really, the hiring manager is still only going to look at my resume anyway).

        2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

          YES, this.

          Especially since there’s no way to tell at the outset what fields you’ll be asked to fill in, until you hit SUBMIT and the application is gone and you’re wondering why there was no field for your attached certifications that the ads asked for (or cover letter or whatever.)

      3. smoke tree*

        This may be the job application equivalent of all of the files I receive with helpful names like “document1” or “[my name] document”. Not everyone is great at anticipating what will be helpful to the person on the other end of the process.

    4. JSPA*

      “If you want someone to contact you, make it easy” is something most people figure out in grade school. It’s not higher level thinking.

      It’s like not leaving voice mail saying only, “call me back,” when calling someone you don’t already know well, which exposes your assumption that a) everyone is using a phone that displays the caller’s number b) everyone can identify your voice c) everyone will follow your orders without knowing why you’re requesting a call back.

      I’m not sure I can think of a job where losing track of the main goal (“I want [person] to contact me!”) should be trumped by supposed efficiency (?) or streamlining the look and feel of the resume (?) at the expense of making key information readily available. (Eh, maaaaybe those early-stage ad campaign teasers would count. Or perfume bottle design. Or stealth product placement in influencer videos.)

      One faint possibility (which is irritating enough) is that people have their contact info in some sort of graphic layer that’s separate from the main PDF and it’s getting scrubbed by the submission system. But I’m guessing this is driven by a “play coy, make them work to get you” mirror-image variant of “gumption” advice. “Notice how mysterious, sublime and reserved I am” is just as likely to get you not called as, “Look, I sent you my resumé by snail mail with fresh cookies.”

      1. Dot*

        “If you want someone to contact you, make it easy”

        If only the companies/people hiring applied this philosophy!

    5. Just Elle*

      I have actually seen the advice to remove contact info before, from school career centers.

      When we uploaded our resumes through the career center portal it had to have no contact info, I think so that the companies were forced to go through the school’s hiring process and use our school email addresses?

      I was also advised that if posting my resume on LinkedIn, etc, I should remove contact info to avoid getting spammers stealing my info – they could just contact me through LinkedIn using proper channels.

      I’m thinking maybe some people crafted special resumes for this type of application, and then forgot to put the contact info back when applying to real jobs??

      1. DistinctiveGait*

        This could be part of it. The version of my resume on my portfolio site only has my email and twitter handle, as I work in media and didn’t want spam or for the general public to have my address and phone number. I have another version I send out when I apply to specific jobs.

        1. JessaB*

          If I had a media job I would absolutely have a separate email for job requests and things, with all the free services out there having a separate one would be easy, I could also prioritise any emails that came in TO that address as very important.

          1. Veronica*

            How do you manage checking all these email addresses? I have one and check it every morning. It would be an increase in time and effort to have more than one address!

            1. Jill March*

              With gmail, you have a drop down box with each account you’re signed into. It’s super easy to switch to a different inbox. The mail app on my phone will pipe in mail from multiple email addresses, if I set it up that way.

      2. Patty Mayonnaise*

        Seconded – this was my thought as well, they sent their LinkedIn resume with no contact info, forgetting the info wasn’t there.

      3. College Career Counselor*

        Agree with Just Elle. This is most likely someone who has accidentally sent the “public”/LinkedIn resume to a specific job.

        Not that I disagree with others who have said that they are leery of how their resume (and thus their location/contact information) might be distributed after they’ve applied. Some years ago, I found out that an institution to which I had applied had put all the finalists’ resumes and cover letters on the internet–NOT password protected!–so that the campus community could review them. You know who else could review them? EVERYBODY, including my then-current boss, as well as the other candidates for the position. This is how I found out I knew two of the three finalists fairly well.

    6. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      The application is basically a regurgitation of your resume with more detail. So based on your analysis, your resume should be blank. I’ve never been in a hiring position, but I’m guessing they’re not printing out the resume and application and keeping them together at all times, so they have to hunt down the contact info in a separate system. Even if that’s not the case, is it really that hard to put your email address and phone number on your resume? And if the process of applying isn’t clear, I’d add my information to as many things as possible to make sure they had it.

      1. Zennish*

        Manager here… here’s how it works at my org, anyway. HR gets the resumes and online form, and reviews the form data to see if everything lines up with the posted qualifications (They listed the appropriate degree, didn’t indicate they can only work at site X when the job is at site Y, etc.)

        Then, HR passes the resume of anyone who appears to meet the posted qualifications on to me. I never see the form submitted to HR, just the resumes. If I receive a resume with no contact info, I’m going to assume that either the applicant has no idea how to format a resume and didn’t bother to find out, or that they are so oblivious that they left it off by accident. Either way, it’s probably going to be an automatic “no”, and I’ll go on to the next resume. Admittedly I can’t speak for everyone, but that would be my line of thought.

        1. S*

          Knowing how the system works in your organization, why would you assume the person is oblivious/ignorant? Instead of assuming that HR has the contact info. This is such a petty attitude

        2. TootsNYC*

          or are they assuming that HR, being so deeply involved in the process, would be the ones making contact, and that they’d use the contact info they typed into the form?

        3. Eukomos*

          Seems like this would result in selecting for the lucky, the psychic, or people who already know exactly how the hiring process works at your company and companies like it. Selecting for people who already know professional norms is useful, but you risk keeping out good employees who are just new or from a different industry and could have valuable novel perspectives.

        4. Jill March*

          My company is almost the same. The manager would let HR know which resumes she liked and HR would contact the candidates to set up interviews.

          Does HR completely leave the process at that point? When I was job searching, I remember almost all of my first interviews being with an HR person or recruiter over the phone. If that went well, then my would-be manager would interview me. My current company’s HR is ~amazing~ and they stay involved during the entire process, making sure things stay fair and legal. For example, HR sent the job offer and, after I accepted, asked about accommodations. It felt really safe and considerate to be given be proactively asked that by HR instead of having to go to a manager I didn’t know yet but would be working with every day.

        5. Zennish*

          At the end of the day, it’s standard to put contact info at the top of a resume, and nonstandard to leave it out. If I had fifty resumes to go through, I really wouldn’t investigate and speculate about every oddity, so the first cut would probably be to simply pass on any that aren’t fairly standard, other things being equal. I’d have the same reaction if the company name was misspelled, the resume was in Comic Sans, etc.

          If there isn’t anyone that looks awesome in the remaining bunch, I’d go back through the others of course, I’m just saying it seriously decreases your odds in some instances not to follow standard formats.

    7. Jam Today*

      That doesn’t make any sense to me. The resume is going to be printed out and handed around, the contact info is sitting in a database somewhere. The resume is the source of truth.

      1. gyrfalcon*

        The information in the database could also be printed out and handed around. I gather from posts above that that hardly ever happens, if at all, so these databases may only have bad reporting abilities for creating a printed report. But it’s not inconceivable.

    8. Lisa Szczech*

      I know that a lot of advice being given out is not to use any info that gives away where you live so that you aren’t weeded out based on location. I wonder if this is a versions of that as your area code being out of state or an email with an out of region cable company at the end would provide this info.

      1. Percysowner*

        Area code should be less important now because of cell phones. My area code is from 5 years ago, because I kept my cellphone number and have no other phone number. I hope companies are aware of this. If people are worried about unwanted contact or giving too much information a “job search” email address should help. Also, maybe a burner phone or free Skype phone number might be a way for people to avoid some problems.

  2. anon for this*

    I coordinate corporate volunteers for resume review sessions with high school students. We’ve seen a lot of the volunteers telling kids to remove all contact but their school email for privacy reasons recently, so I’m not surprised this is popping up elsewhere. Despite this going directly against what we ask them to tell students.

    I get being concerned with privacy, but I typically presume a resume is submitted to a pretty limited crowd. I tell students to put name/email/phone/city & state if they’re uncomfortable with putting their street address. (& GV numbers are easy enough to set up if the phone concerns them too).

    1. LadyL*

      I put my phone number and email, but I skip physical location info because I had been looking for jobs in a location I didn’t live in but wanted to move to, and I noticed I got way more interest when it wasn’t obvious I lived out of town. Is that in poor form? In my limited experience it worked (got several offers including a place that was adamant about only hiring locals-once they were interested they said they didn’t care about me having to commute in at first).

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s poor form (in that it will annoy hiring managers who want to know if you’re local or not and who might have legit reasons for needing to hire locally, and it will be clear you’re trying not to be up-front about that) but it also can help you get interest as a non-local candidate when you otherwise wouldn’t. So … a little shady but can also be effective.

        1. annony*

          I disagree that it is shady. Not providing information that is not explicitly asked for is very different than outright lying by putting your friend or relative’s address instead of your own. I think it is fine to not volunteer information that may be used against you. If they make inaccurate assumptions, that’s on them.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            In a vacuum where there aren’t conventions, sure, that sounds very logical. But in reality, it’s going to seem like you were trying to hide it. You can decide you don’t care because the benefits outweigh that risk, which is a completely fine decision and one I can see recommending in some situations, but it’s still useful for people to know that it’s going to strike a not-insignificant portion of hiring managers that way.

          2. AKchic*

            Some places have clauses that require them to hire locally first. Example: Alaska. Some contracts have Native Hire clauses. Especially when they are working on Native-owned land. If no Indigenous Alaskan is qualified for the job, then they are required to look for an Alaskan resident. If one is not found, *then* they can hire outside of the state.

        2. LadyL*

          For future reference, is there a better method for doing that that’s less shady?

          When my fiancé was trying to move from the Midwest to Big Coast City where I was living, he found the same thing- no one was interested in him until he took his address off his resume. He got a great job after that, and they seemed to have no problems with the way he applied (his boss told him he was their top candidate and they were worried about losing him). To be clear, he talked about his location immediately in the first phone screening. But later on fiancé helped hire another position at the same place and one of their best candidates was from the southern Midwest and fiancé said that internally his boss and others talked a lot about how someone from that area wouldn’t survive in the big and how they probably wouldn’t really want to move away and how if they’re from that area they probably won’t be a culture fit. Fiancé tried to push back on these ideas, used himself for an example, but people still kept saying the same stuff. It wasn’t even an issue about the move or the guy’s interview, it was really focused on what they assumed someone from that state must be like. So it does seem like people make some broad assumptions about your goals/cultural attitudes/lifestyle based on where you live.

          I don’t want to be dismissed as a country bumpkin or having the wrong values because I happened to be born in the wrong geographic location, but I definitely am not trying to look unethical or shady. Is there a good way to navigate that then as a job hunter?

          1. Alli525*

            I’m planning a move across the country at some point in the next few years, and my thought is that I’ll enter the city/state info for the city I’m moving to, and be very explicit in the cover letter that I’m planning to move to their city because my family is there, so they know I’m not physically there yet but I’m not just casually flinging resumes at every city/state in the area because I want to leave my current place and am not committed to any specific location.

            When I moved to my current city, I arranged with a friend in that city to use their address when sending out resumes before I arrived. I might ask one of my family members if I can do that this time too.

            It’s a LITTLE shady, but adding context helps, I think.

            1. LadyL*

              Huh, to me using an address I’m not physically at seems shadier than just omitting, but maybe if it’s someone you know they look at it like proof you have contacts in the city. Is that a more preferred method? Have you been getting good responses?

              1. Pharmgirl*

                I think it does help to show that you have connections. My current job is a state away / 1.5 hours away from where I was before. We offer on call services so that type of commute isn’t ideal. I put my parents address down as it was only 30 min away and in the same state. I don’t know that I would have gotten an interview without that – I was honest in the interviews about where I lived but that I wanted to move to be near family. They were a little concerned about me sticking with the long drive, and showing that I had connections showed that I had a reason to move to the area.

          2. TootsNYC*

            Yeah, I see the location thing as similar to not putting your photo on your resume as a way to hide something like race or age.

            Those things shouldn’t be factored in, and in a way you’re doing them a favor by not putting it out in front of them.

            Sort of like the person who has been in treatment for cancer.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            This makes me angry; I tried applying to jobs on the west coast and got nowhere. I even tried saying in my cover letter that I’ve lived out there before and am eager to return.

            If a company does not put “local candidates only” in a job posting, I can only assume they’re open to someone who lives further away. Not all of us are bumpkins who don’t know anything and can’t bear to live five minutes away from Mee-Maw’s house. >:(

            1. EddieSherbert*

              +100. Stereotyping someone because of the region they live in and what you think that means should definitely not be allowed.

            2. Veronica*

              When I was young it was very hard to get a job in Cali because everyone wanted to move there. One of my friends moved there assuming she could get a job at a chain restaurant where she had worked in Kansas, and after two months she hadn’t found a job and had to come back.
              I expect it’s still like that. It will be hard to break in there.

            3. Who Plays Backgammon?*

              Yeehah to that. I’m from a state with a bumpkin reputation and even though I wear shoes, don’t chaw tobacco, and already knew how to use an indoor flush toilet when I hit the big city, it’s horrifying the number of remarks and “jokes” I’ve had to put up with that are really nothing but insults. These from progressive, enlightened people who’d never talk that way about someone from to backwater of another country who aspired to a better life and moved to achieve it.

        3. MatKnifeNinja*

          This is an example of how putting your location can burn you.

          Services jobs. You live in Detroit and want a job in the suburbs. That little boutique-y shop in the burbs will skip past your resume because many bosses don’t want to deal with people who ride mass transit. Especially if the employee has to depend on our total garbage mass transit system. It’s a step above nothing.

          My friends will actually put down “owns reliable transportation”, because so many people assume lives in Detroit (non Midtown area)=no car.

          So for that DC lobbyist, I can see people getting annoyed. For my friends, no location means they actually have a shot at an interview at that big box store.

          1. DataGirl*

            Not just because of transportation, a lot of people in the suburbs are highly prejudiced against people who live in/are from the city of Detroit. Having that on their resume would definitely take them out of the running for some managers. Also a big part of the reason there is no reliable public transportation between Detroit and some of the suburbs is those cities do not want Detroiters coming out to work/shop/eventually live in their communities.

            1. Veronica*

              I’ve always suspected that of the suburbs around here, too. Especially the one with a very weird numbering system and no addresses on the buildings.
              It’s like they don’t want you to find the address you’re going to!

          2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

            I worked somewhere where we’d only hire candidates who lived on subway/bus lines with regular service (every 20 minutes or so) or walking/biking distance.

            If you lived somewhere where there was one bus an hour, you wouldn’t get an interview. We hired for single-coverage positions and couldn’t risk people being an hour late because the bus didn’t come and they had to wait for the next one.

            1. LadyL*

              I’m not trying to sound judgmental, because I get what you’re saying, but isn’t that kind of discriminatory against poor people? Like posters above have said, I know the Detroit area and the public transit is bad by design (wealthy white people did not want poor black detroiters in their neighborhoods) so if one only hires someone who either has a car or lives on the bus line, then one is in effect perpetuating that discrimination. I don’t know how people in “less desirable” areas are supposed to get jobs if that’s the system.

              I get that it’s not an individual employer’s responsibility to fix racism and classism, but I’m just wondering if that’s the most ethical way to get reliable employees without cutting off all candidates under a certain income level.

                1. soon 2be former fed*

                  And poor people get blamed for being poor, ridiculous when this type of institutional racism exists. People get excluded for ethnic sounding names, and all sorts of non-relevant factors. Hiring organizations really should do better and no consider anything other than qualifications for the work to be done, period. Folks can worry about their own transportation.

        4. JessaB*

          I think that if they have a reason to hire locally (some government jobs require residency, some local jurisdictions have special tax incentives or other deals for hiring local if they have high unemployment or something) it behooves them to state that in the advert. Also, to make the difference between “if you take this job you must reside in x jurisdiction within one week of hire,” vs “you must have lived in x area for at least 12 months to qualify.”

          I was in interviews for a residency required job when due to my father’s health we moved to Florida. I knew that if I got the job ultimately, I’d have to move back to New York and had already made arrangements to move in with my grandmother until I found my own place. My father’s health took a turn for the much worse, so I declined the job. But both sides knew that even though I was in Florida, I had a place to live if I were hired.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It’s certainly not discrimination in the legal sense. And employers can have legitimate reasons for preferring to hire locally (like that they need someone who can start quickly or who knows the area, or they live in a challenging area and have had a string of non-local candidates bail after a few months there).

          1. Fikly*

            It’s not legally discrimination. But there’s lots of discrimination that’s not illegal. In my personal experience, the number of employers who have a legitimate reason for not wanting a non-local employee are heavily outweighed by the ones who don’t.

            If I have a reliable way of getting to work, and I’m comfortable with my limits and with what the commute will be, and it does not impact my ability to do my job, it’s none of their business.

            1. Play A Doctor On TV*

              I worked with a resume consultant and he mentioned location discrimination and that I should put Big City instead of my suburb 15 minutes away. I think we associate the word discriminate with racism/sexism/ageism but it can also just mean picky/choosy. I could see some of the big fancy company recruiters who live close to their office picking some in Big City instead of someone “way out” in the suburbs. I come in to Big City all the time and it’s a 15-30 minute drive but I can understand folks not having a clue. I think it would be super weird to pass over a candidate for that but I took the consultants advice anyway.

              1. Rexish*

                I once applied (fresh graduate) to a job that I had worked for as a temp. The hiring manager sent me a personal message saying that they have gone with the local, but they have a long holiday coming and I could come in and do that. I’m from the largest city in the area. This place is about 30-40min with public transportation or 30minute drive on a major road with little traffic. Baiscally the same time as going across the city. I also applied for another smaller city and since it’s public sector they posted all the people invited for an interview. From over 50 applicants they had only invited locals for interview. Again, a place very easy to get to. Also I could have moved to the location. So baically being form a big city might be bad, being from the suburbs might be bad :D

                I’ve ben trying to apply to another location. I’ve explained my desire in the cover letter. People have a lot of bias towards people moving so it’s possible that they don’t even get to the cover letter. I wouldn’t blame anyone for not putting their location down. It might be annoying but if they are appropriate candidate it might be worth talking to them instead of assuming.

            2. MK*

              That’s a lot of ifs there. And an employer isn’t unreasonable to not blindly trust your self-evaluation of your own limits.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                Like the guy who was surprised that employers looked askance at his intended 2 hour twice a day commute, which did in fact turn out to be a problem.

                1. Sally*

                  Yes, this! I had the same issue with an employee who lived a couple of hours away from the office. She said it would be fine, and I was a relatively inexperienced manager st the time, so I said OK. Turned out she was too optimistic about being able to handle the commute long term.

                2. Constantine Binvoglio*

                  Yeah, like Sally, I had this situation. Hired a woman who lived quite a distance and would be commuting by car into Boston, which has notoriously terrible traffic. She underestimated how quickly it would wear on her and started requesting things that weren’t possible (e.g., we had a requirement that workers take 1 shift per week at the info desk, which has a hard start time of 8am, and she knew this upon being hired. By 3 months in, she wanted us to waive that in her case). Within a year, she left and said that the commute was the #1 reason.

              2. Fikly*

                I don’t buy this. It’s like when doctors get offended at the possibility that you might know more about your chronic rare disease because you’ve lived with it for a decade, when they’ve had an hour long lecture on it in med school 15 years ago.

                1. CheeryO*

                  I think it applies more to a new commute. If you’ve done a two-hour round-trip commute before and didn’t mind it, great, but if you’ve only ever had short commutes but you *think* you’d be fine with a longer one, that’s a little different. It seems super common for people to burn out on long commutes (especially when they’re not the norm in the area), so it makes sense for an employer to be wary of that.

                2. Hush42*

                  Right, like CheeryO said, a lot of people don’t fully understand what a long commute is like and will change their mind about whether or not they’re okay with it after having to do it.
                  I commute 50 minutes each way to work and have for the last 6 years. It’s gotten to the point where I find it exhausting. It takes SO much time out of your day and you don’t realize you’ll miss that time until you no longer have it. I have stuck out the long commute for financial reasons (I am living with my parents while I worked full time and finished my education). I have an employee who recently sold her house and was considering moving to a location 45 minutes from the office. She’s been commuting 15 minutes to the office for the last few years. I told her that she would hate the long commute and should probably look for things closer. She was convinced that it would fine and she wouldn’t mind it. Until she temporarily moved into her parents house which is a 45 minutes drive from the office and realized she HATES the commute.

                3. MK*

                  Or it’s when patients insist they know what’s wrong with them (and self-medicate), because after all it’s their bodies, better than the person who studied for years and has treated hundreds of similar cases. Look, no one is saying the employer is always right about this, but saying that the employee (who, unlike the patient, is strongly biased to believe they can do anything to get the job) should get to make that decision without the employer knowing anf being able to at least address it is going in the other direction.

              3. smoke tree*

                I was once turned down for a job because the hiring manager didn’t think I would last long living in a small town, since I had never lived in one before. I was later hired by another manager in the same company and outlasted many people there, including the person who beat me out for that first job.

            3. Bonita*

              Every employer has a legitimate reason for preferring to hire someone who lives locally. If you have a large pool of qualified candidates and some are local and some are not, it does make sense to prefer the local ones. Moving to a new city takes time— time that an employer may not be willing to wait. And a lot of people think they will be ok with a long commute, but find out that it doesn’t work for them, so they start looking for a new job. The employer can avoid both their problems by hiring someone local. 

              1. Rexish*

                But if the candidate is good then wouldn’t it be worth discussing these points? I was recently trying to move to a certain area to join my partner. We already had a place to live, knew the area well. I would have been able to move within few weeks notice. I feel like the risks pointed in the post are bigger with poeple moving but there are same risks with locals as well. I just feel like location of the applicant shouldn’t be la large factor. Those questions about startdate and motivations to move could be discussed (if applicant is good) and not just agree that it’s preferable to have a local.

                1. Bonita*

                  I’m not saying that non-local candidates shouldn’t or won’t ever be considered, but when an employer is reviewing application, they have a limited amount of information about each candidate and everything is a factor worth considering, including location. Non-local candidates are more likely to be considered if they have some exceptional skill or experience that makes them more qualified than local candidates.

                2. doreen*

                  It sounds like your partner had already moved and you were looking for a job in the new location – the way I see it, you are functionally local. You won’t need to delay your start date to find an apartment or have an ungodly commute until you decide to move. In fact, I could see someone in your position using the partner’s address so as not to appear non-local. Most non-local candidates are not in that position , and every employer has a different experience with them – I work for a state agency which really can’t pass over a candidate new to the agency because of how far they live from the job opening. A training class started this past Sunday, and before the class even started, someone was on a Facebook page saying she lives in X, was going to be assigned to Y ( which was 2.5 hours from X ) and asking how long it would take to transfer “closer to home”. Could be 6 weeks, could be 6 years – but based on past experience, within a year she’s going to start asking for a “hardship transfer” ( which doesn’t exist), asking for a work schedule that call for one hour of work on Fridays (and then taking leave for that hour , effectively working a 4 day week and circumventing the rules that says we must ordinarily work a 5 day week) and so on. The one thing I’m certain won’t happen is that she will move so she has less than a 2.5 hour commute- because I’ve never seen that happen.

                3. Rexish*

                  I’m not by any means suggesting that there are no benefits with hiring locals or that there are no risks in hiring someone that has to relocate. I was just saying that in general I don’t agree that either is better and someone that is non-local shouldn’t automatically go in the no pile without reading their application or not having a phone screening where these topics can be discussed. I’m sure there are million examples of how recruiting someone non-local has gone wrong. There are also a lot of success stories. But so are about locals as well. This is not specifically to you Bonita and Doreen. Just a general thing where we shouldn’t put too much emphasis on location since there are so many factors. I mean I can totally get it from hiring managers point of view. But it is very frustrating for applicants.

                4. Washi*

                  It’s not so much that no one should ever give a non-local a chance, it’s more that if you have a ton of qualified applicants, one strategy is to start with the strongest locals, and I don’t think that’s discrimination.

                5. Elizabeth West*

                  If it’s a higher-level / skilled job, maybe. But I can’t get a lower-level job in BiggerCity from where I am currently, because the pool of local candidates is much larger and they are not going to wait for me to relocate for a receptionist role. That is the whole reason I’m moving.

                  I’m pretty sure I lost out on a better job that was interested in me, since I was still here and they wanted someone who could start fairly quickly. I’ve been trying to convince a family member of this but she doesn’t get it.

                6. Rexish*

                  I totally understand the strategy of hiring locals if the candidate pool is good. Most people don’t have particularly special skills or unique skills that makses hiring managers want you. Most people do a regular job that a lot of people are qualified and able to do. It’s just frustrating for an applicant who wants to relocate. But I understand that job hunt is not fairness. I think the word discrimination (which I haven’t used) can be up for debate.

              2. JSPA*

                So many people [live / have lived / have a place to stay and contacts and local information] in more than one place. You don’t normally put the local address of your parents, your fave cousin with a spare room where you stay for two months every summer, your serious long-distance-relationship. Or maybe you know the city excellently from doing the co-working / co-living thing there before, and could be back there in 12 hours, fully plugged in.

                That’s cover letter level of information; if you weed the resumes based on address, you’re losing people you should very much want to interview.

              3. Fikly*

                You’re never going to be able to prevent a potential employer from discriminating against you. The goal is to prevent this from happening until as late in the process as possible, until you can make your case for why you are a good employee and a person, rather than random resume they can toss in the garbage can.

                I remember reading about a little person who was working in sales (ie, their stature had nothing to do with being able to do the job) and never got past an interview until their first interview was a phone interview. Because they weren’t seen, their potential employer actually listened to what they said, what their skills were, and what they could bring to the position. They got the job.

                1. Rugby*

                  Discriminating against someone because of their disability is illegal. Discriminating against someone because they live far way is no different than discriminating against someone who doesn’t have a certain degree or someone who doesn’t have enough experience. It’s an easy way to narrow down your list of candidates, especially if you have a lot of applications.

                2. Zillah*

                  @Fikly – Regardless of whether or not it’s right, I think it’s really important to be careful about equating something like preferring to hire someone local with ableism. Those two just aren’t the same thing.

            4. Iconic Bloomingdale*

              I work for a municipal government and it is absolutely relevant for us to know where exactly a candidate lives. This is because there are local laws stipulating that employees must live within the city limits for at least two years (with limited exceptions). Once they complete two years of continuous service, they can live in only a few specific surrounding counties outside city limits.

              Candidates who fail to meet the residency laws within 90 days of hire are subject to termination of employment. The same also applies to employees who are discovered to be in violation.

              1. Mike C.*

                But you don’t need to know where the candidate lives, you need to know where your employees live within 90 days of being hired.

                1. Emilia Bedelia*

                  90 days is not that much time to move. It’s reasonable to point this out to candidates so that they are not surprised by the requirement, and so that the org don’t have to waste time hiring people who cannot comply with this.
                  “We see from your resume that you’re located in Differentville. Because of local laws, all employees must live in Sametown within 90 days of hire. Will you be able to meet this requirement?”
                  It doesn’t need to get more involved than that.

                2. Triumphant Fox*

                  Am I confused here – it seems like they have to have lived their for two years by the end of 90 days of hire (so if you were at 21 months in that area, you could be hired, but not 20 months).

              2. Elizabeth West*

                Wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) that be in your job post, though? It’s pretty important information for a candidate to know.

              3. Who Plays Backgammon?*

                This was a big issue in Very Expensive City where I used to live: that the majority of city employees didn’t live there, so there was a stink about the city not hiring local. Until the response came that the cost of living was so high in the city that most of its employees couldn’t afford to live there on city salaries and had to go farther out to afford decent homes.

            5. Falling Diphthong*

              This sense of discrimination comes down to “Potential employers will judge you by things on your resume. Or not on your resume. When that’s all they have to go on.”

              Hiring is not a judgment-free zone.

              1. Anon this time*

                Well put. I am absolutely against discrimination in the legal and colloquial sense, but in the dictionary sense (weighing various factors to choose between two or more options), discriminating is necessary in this context. Distance is one of those factors that it makes sense to pass judgement on in hiring sometimes. I recently helped with hiring for a role where we expected that we’d have a range of candidates geographically, but it worked in a particular person’s favor that they were local. One reason was that the role requires a lot of community networking (which Local Candidate had a proven track record in, but can be developed by an external candidate in a reasonable timeframe), but it certainly came up that we’ve been burned before by candidates who came to interview and realized that our town is…well…kind of garbage. #sorrynotsorry

            6. Morning Glory*

              I have a 90-minute commute each way and am a dedicated, responsible employee who arrives to work on time. I’ve had this commute for the past 6 years.

              But, guess what? It still sometimes negatively my organization. If they need someone to come in on a weekend/early morning at the last minute, it will never be me. I’m more likely to need to work remotely during harsh weather than colleagues who are 15 minutes away. During a very busy time before a big event last month, my commute became an issue with my manager who needed to be able to reach me on a couple of occasions while I was underground without reception.

              Overall for my specific job, these have been minor issues – but for a different position, they could be a serious problem. I see no reason why an employer shouldn’t decide that it’s a deal-breaker without wasting everyone’s time; they know the requirements of the position better than the applicant.

            7. Zennish*

              If we posted a requirement that wasn’t addressed in the candidate’s application materials, I’d ask about it. When I found out someone dodged the question, it would give me second thoughts about hiring them. I don’t care what their assessment of their limits is, I care about whether they are going to be straightforward and direct, or going to try and dodge whenever they don’t like the answer they have to give to a question. If you want to address why you’re still a great candidate despite X, Y or Z, that’s what the cover letter is for.

            8. Kiwiii*

              This! I started a new job about 2 months ago, and several of my coworkers have mentioned that part of the hiring process was discussing whether or not I’d be comfortable with the 50+ minute commute (which is fair, I suppose, because in any kind of weather or construction it can easily creep towards 1.5 hrs), until they realized I was already doing basically the same commute just a couple miles less. My only comment to that has been that I would have hoped they’d’ve asked me before officially deciding against me, because it feels a bit silly.

            9. Door Guy*

              My current job was concerned at first because it’s 36 miles to my office from my house and they were worried about the commute burning me out, on top of I get a company vehicle that comes home with me so 60-70 miles minimum every day just to get to work and home.

              For the burnout worry, I’ve lived in the general area for the majority of my life and the drive to the city has just been a part of life. I knew that if I wanted to make any real money I needed to go there to work. On the commuting mileage, they were originally going to deny me the commute (the current employee handbook states 20 miles max) but modified it so I could commute but lost the ability to use the vehicle for personal use outside of work (which is fine with me, as I’d had a vehicle in my driveway for the last 6 years that was the same way, and who wants to drive a logo’d work truck around anyways?)

          2. Anonomoose*

            I know it’s useful information for hiring managers to have, but do you think it’s a deal breaker to leave it off?

            I’m always slightly concerned by location as a proxy for race/class, (i.e, do you live in very white middle class suburb like your boss does). Or, hey, worker x lives in poor part of town, and therefore, because you know the trains are bad there, you keep an extra eye on what time they come in, and build up the impression they’re late more than everyone else

            1. Important Moi*

              It is ever so convenient for the employers to have that information!!!! I guess depending on your life experience, that type of discrimination it is not a thing some people have to think about….

              I’ve been judged (and dismissed) for….
              *where I went to high school
              *where I live now

              As a person from modest means who has chosen to live adjacent to a modest area, I am surprised and disappointed at all the comments saying that location should always be provided and nothing bad (in the form of discrimination) could possibly come from it.

              1. The Bean*

                Yeah where you live is definitely used as a proxy for class and race.

                Plus people might live at an address that reveals something specific, like a halfway home or shelter. Or they might not have a fixed address. It’s common among my generation to couch surf between graduating from school and getting your first paycheck.

                1. Zillah*

                  Is omitting just your street address that uncommon, though? I’ve generally put [City, State, zip code], and I feel like that’s different from omitting the info entirely.

              2. Autumnheart*

                Agreed. If a hirer knows the area well and sees an address that says the candidate lives in an “undesirable area” (poor, known for violence, whatever) then the hirer may very well conclude that the candidate is a particular race or background or whatever, regardless what the person’s actual qualifications are. It’s called redlining when it comes to financial applications. I don’t see why it’s any less discriminatory when it comes to job applications.

        2. Tuckerman*

          I’ve heard of employers removing addresses from resumes before reviewing to prevent unconscious bias (e.g., “Oh, this candidate lives in THAT part of town.”)

          1. Important Moi*

            I wonder if there will a discussion about unconscious bias that will develop. Very few have addressed that thus far, yet those who have been victim are very aware. I can never predict what letters will have a lot of responses…

      2. anon for this*

        I look at it from a functionality perspective. An employer is going to want to be able to call and email you, so you make that information easy for them to get. No one sends letters anymore, so street addresses aren’t needed. But I do want to know what city applicants are from so I that’s useful to have on resumes.

        FWIW, I’ve successfully done cross country job searches twice, and both times I put in the cover letter “Please note that while I currently reside in X I’m able and excited to relocate to Y for this opportunity.”

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Seconding functionality. The purpose of the resume is to interest people in hiring you, and that means you don’t hide basic information like experience or how to contact you.

          1. Zennish*

            This. There are a number of responses on this thread with all sorts of circumstances where you’d want to leave this info out, and while I’m not saying they aren’t legitimate, I am saying if you make yourself more difficult to contact or figure out than the next person, you’re less likely to get the job.

      3. Junior Assistant Peon*

        This is what a cover letter is for – to make it clear that you want to move to the area and didn’t apply by mistake. Having been on the receiving end of resumes, the non-local ones often looked like someone either spammed every job listing, or accidentally clicked on the wrong link.

      4. Holly*

        My law school counselors would always advice to just say in your cover letter you’re willing to move and provide a reason why.

    2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I’ve been tempted to do this more than once. Some recruitment agencies try to be as low budget/stingy as possible, forcing recruiters to use their own resources to do their jobs, and when they leave many of they take a copy of that information with them. That’s why I still get calls from people clinging to a 6-year-old résumé that lists my short stint as a bilingual level one tech support. No Jane, I won’t do that again, no no no.

    3. Massmatt*

      email and phone are different than a physical address. The latter are both unlikely to be used by an employer to contact you and easily misused by a stalker or the like. There’s a reason most people no longer include them beyond perhaps city and state.

      Email or phone is how the employers will contact you, if they are missing or even harder to access you are SOL. Inappropriate contact can be solved by blocking.

      I am leery of using school email addresses also. Are the students going to have access to them indefinitely, or do they disappear after graduation? We have also heard many stories here about students never checking school email “because I never use it”.

      1. Junior Assistant Peon*

        We were given “lifetime” email forwarding on graduation in the early 00’s. The service was terminated a few years later when social media emerged, made it possible to reconnect with old friends, and rendered the alumni email forwarding service obsolete.

      2. KoiFeeder*

        Well, I’d have checked my high school email more often if any of my teachers ever actually used it. College email, however, is a different beast entirely- and I still actually have mine, for some reason.

  3. Budgieman*

    No 4. Resumes with no contact info.
    I’ve seen that happen here in Australia, particularly with starter positions.
    It happens so they can tell the Social Security department that they sent out multiple resumes but didn’t get any interviews, and therefore continue to receive unemployment benefits.

    1. Mami21*

      Or it could be that the person was too young or inexperienced to properly format the resume, or simply made a mistake. People receiving unemployment benefits are demonised enough in Australia. The unemployment allowance has not being raised in years and surviving solely on it is a huge struggle, not a life of luxury.

      1. Mami21*

        Also, every jobseeker on unemployment benefits is funnelled to a job search agency and put on a job plan. If they miss an appointment, the benefit is automatically cut off. If they are not able to find work or begin studying within a certain period, they are referred into Work for the Dole programs. There is no option to sit at home and pretend to look for work indefinitely.

    2. Approval is optional*

      Wow. That comes across as pretty judgemental – but I guess the unemployed are an easy target for jibes, especially by those who have been fortunate enough to have never have been in that situation.
      Even if the applications for these starter positions are coming from those receiving the Newstart Allowance (and given it is a ‘thing’ in the US where the dole isn’t available, that’s an assumption with little evidence) the flaws in the resumes are just as likely to be linked to the fact that the government has all but stopped funding programs that provide the unemployed with job hunting skills such as resume writing. Besides, why bother to ‘sabotage’ your application, and risk penalties if you are caught, when you can rely on the fact that the chances of winning a position when you are one of the long term unemployed are fairly low.

      1. Budgieman*

        Yes, I can see that my comment comes across as judgmental, but unfortunately I know someone who plays the system by doing exactly that (well, that’s what he tells me…and he’s been unemployed for years).
        It was not intended to be a generalisation or indictment on any group.

        1. TechWorker*

          Fair enough that you know someone who did this but if it’s one person that’s not exactly common… your first comment made it sound like you’ve seen it multiple times?

      2. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        It’s a broad sweeping generalisation, but we genuinely interviewed someone who specifically said they didn’t want the job and only applied because the jobcentre made them do it. This only happened to me once, but I spoke to other hiring managers (comparing notes) who said they’d had the same thing from at least three other different candidates.
        As unpalatable as it may be, these people exist and are the reason behind the shortcut judgementalism.

        1. Ariaflame*

          Though the real reason is that people are being obliged to apply for jobs they don’t want and aren’t qualified for, thus wasting everyone’s time merely so that the government can be seen to be tough on the unemployed.

        2. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

          Wait, the person told you that they were forced to apply for the job…but they’re being blamed for being forced to apply for the job? Shouldn’t you and other hiring managers be angry at those responsible for this ridiculous policy and not the people forced to comply with it so they can survive? At least the person was honest with you from the start of the interview and didn’t waste your time any further. And my guess is that being honest with you meant possibly risking losing their benefits, or damaging their reputation and making it harder to find work.

          I’ve looked up more on this because of this thread and the whole situation is appalling. Benefits are apparently 30% below the poverty line and people have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get just that. It’s the same in other countries, sadly, where people are blamed for being poor or sick or falling on hard times. I cannot fault people for doing what they need to do to survive.

          I don’t want to sound as if I’m attacking you, because it’s understandable to be annoyed for having your time wasted like that. But your anger and judgement should be for those who are causing this shameful situtation.

  4. Engineer Girl*

    #2 – I might proactively loop in HR just to give a heads up. I might also ask for advice. What you don’t want is for this to get back to HR via third party gossip. Approaching HR ahead of time lets you control the narrative.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      I’d also alter Alison’s script slightly. Instead of “and you’re putting me at risk if anyone takes you literally”, I’d say “you’re putting me at risk if anyone thinks this is actually happening”. Mainly because I have a feeling that anyone using hyperbole in this way is the same kind of person that thinks “literally” means “figuratively”. It could confuse the message.

      1. WellRed*

        Sad but true, but also gave me a laugh. I’d also guess this person doesn’t know what hyperbole is either.

      2. DrRat*

        Same here. I think Allison’s advice was great, but I think the verbiage needs to be changed slightly. If you’re using terms like “I got smacked” at work to describe employer feedback it’s pretty safe to assume you may not exactly be a vocabulary whiz. I can see the words ‘hyperbole’ and ‘hyperbolically’ sailing right over this employee’s head. As far as “literally” goes, a writer I know still talks about the time someone in his writing class three decades ago wrote, “His mind was literally sharp.”

    2. MK*

      Yes, OP, do this. My sister has to deal with such an employee, who then proceeded to go to HR and play the victim for them too. And unfortunately management is being ineffective about shutting this down, it’s such a mess my sister is job hunting because of it.

      1. Snorkmaiden*

        For this reason I would also start documenting – as much as you can remember of what’s happened so far and anything in future.

        Write down dates, times, what you talked about, where and why, what you said and what the employee said.

    3. Lynca*

      100% this. This is honestly a case where HR needs to know in order to protect yourself. If it turns out they’re just being hyperbolic and don’t have any intent to cause problems, fine. But if they’re saying hyperbolic things in the hopes of getting out of taking feedback or performance consequences by making it seem like you’re the problem, you’ll be in better shape having already brought it up.

      We have a hyperbolic griper that ended up accusing a supervisor of harassment. Completely unfounded but it put that supervisor on the defensive which was not a good situation.

    4. CL*

      Maybe even have someone from HR present when you talk to the employee, or at least another person, so that if it continues it is more than just your word against theirs.

    5. MicroManagered*

      Whoaaaaaa I had a completely different read on this situation. Where I work, it’s fairly normal to say you were “yelled at” or “got your hand smacked” in a completely colloquial way. People even say it over a system warning or error.

      Everyone *knows* you don’t mean it literally. It would look very out of step to go to HR and say someone is accusing you of physically or verbally assaulting them for this. It would be very damaging to your credibility and reputation.

      1. ChimericalOne*

        Yeah, I was really shocked by this advice, too. From the OP’s description, this 100% sounds like colloquialism to me. I’ve never said I “got smacked,” “got smacked down,” or “got my hand smacked,” but I’d absolutely translate that to “I did something I shouldn’t have & the boss told me not to do it again” if I heard someone say that. I mean, unless they’re acting like they literally got hit, “I got smacked” should be easily understood as figurative. Same with “yelled at.”

        1. MicroManagered*

          So I work in a pretty regulated industry. I could see myself saying “I got my hand smacked for that once” to tell someone they are asking me for something I cannot do or should not do. It’d be like a less direct way of saying “You are asking me to do something against policy/illegal, and I know this because I actually did it once and was told not to do it again.”

          I would expect anyone to understand that I don’t mean “I was physically assaulted at work for a mistake.” If someone actually went to HR over it, they’d be completely written off in my book.

        2. The Bean*

          Yeah in biglaw “yelled at” = chastised. “Screamed at” = actually screamed at. “Screamer” = partner who screams at associates and staff.

          1. pancakes*

            Not invariably. I’ve seen people ask “did you actually get yelled at or do you mean that figuratively” on multiple occasions.

        3. Who Plays Backgammon?*

          Also worth mentioning is the possibility that the manager comes off sounding harsher than they intend.

      2. WellRed*

        Interesting. I would never take this coworker literally, but listening to her saying she got “yelled” at would exhaust me. Where I live, these are not colloquialisms, one is an exaggeration, while getting “smacked” is not something that is said in general, definitely not in a work context.

      3. Lissa*

        Not so sure about that. I know someone who uses “yelled at” to mean “someone told me not to do something I’m not supposed to do” and until I actually saw the interaction that led to her saying “yelled at”, I did actually think people were raising their voice to her. After I saw someone tell her really politely not to do smoke somewhere and she went around telling people he “yelled” at her, I definitely take things way less seriously that she says. Whether it’s colloquial or her interpretation, I don’t think it’s universal that people will understand it’s not actually happening that way.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I would at the least think they were maybe not raising their voice, but that they were speaking harshly, punitively, or even just sternly. That it was a reprimand, not a correction.

        2. AKchic*

          Yep. My 17 year old used to exaggerate when he was little. It was never “he took my toy” it was “he snatched that out of my hand!” even if the toy was on the floor beside him. Never “he touched me”, but “he slapped me!” even while playing tag and he didn’t want to be “it”. Not “he’s talking loud and annoying me” but “he’s screaming at me!” because they were in the same room and he wanted to watch a show and hear it without his brother’s voice drowning the words out.

          Words matter. Context matters. Precision of language matters. Exaggerating for effect, or to get a desired effect (getting your brother in trouble, or to get him to be quiet, or just to be left alone with a favored toy even if you aren’t playing with it) is manipulative. While some colloquialisms are more common (i.e., “I got my hand smacked”), it’s not the same as what was referenced my the OP (“smacked” in general, which, without context, is alarming).

          It’s worth a corrective discussion with the employee.

      4. TootsNYC*

        I might object to all of those as well–NOT because I worried someone would take those colloquialisms literally, but because a correction is NOT a reprimand, and I would not be happy to have my staffer frame my feedback as a reprimand.

  5. Dan*


    What are your overall interactions like with this employee? And for that matter, do you know anything about the employee’s work background before she came to work for you? I ask, because for several years after college, I worked blue collar jobs. Far more often than not, if the boss “wanted to see you”, you were in some sort of “trouble.” These types of jobs had progressive disciplinary policies, e.g., “verbal warning”, “written warning”, “suspension”, followed by “termination.” So yeah, if you got an official verbal warning for something, it’s fair to say that you were “in trouble.” And at those jobs, it was very seldom where the boss wanted to see you about something that wasn’t a step on the progressive disciplinary scale. It also lead to the typical apprehension of “oh crap, what did I do this time” thoughts.

    At my first professional job, it took quite awhile to break out of that mental rut of being “in trouble”. But the reality is, it did matter who wanted to talk to me. I worked in a “matrix” organization, where I had an official “manager” but most of my day to day work was supervised by a variety of other people. Those people I worked for day-to-day? I had to talk to them a lot. So much so that if they wanted to see me, even if they were high up on the food chain, it was always to “talk about the project”. Sometimes it was a status update. Sometimes it was questions about some random thing. And yeah, sometimes it was about things that could be done better, or things that actually got screwed up. But I talked to these people so much that it wasn’t really about being “in trouble” anymore. That said, my official manager? I didn’t have much contact with her. So yes, when *she* wanted to see me? There was a little bit of that “oh crap, what did I do.”

    The trick to getting over these feelings with your employee is to have enough contact with her about *not* getting in trouble, such that when there “concerns” that have to be addressed, they’re just one of many other contacts.

    I’ve been in the professional workforce for ten years now, and contacts with my immediate management don’t conjure up those feelings. I will say though, that if my grand boss or higher says he “needs to talk with me”, well, I’m going to wonder WTF I did.

    1. BethDH*

      This is a fair concern to raise, but it sounds like OP’s employee is saying this after the meetings, not before. Would you have characterized such a meeting as yelling?
      I do think it’s worth mentioning to the employee how this comes across, though, because I can absolutely see hyperbole after the fact as a sort of way to blow off the stress of having this kind of expectation.

      1. Kiwiii*

        I can’t speak for Dan, but I know that my first year or so in the office world, I definitely described any negative conversation as “getting yelled at” because that was the wording that had always been used in my experience working in retail and in factories. It wasn’t so much the volume or even the tone of the conversation, but rather that the purpose of it had been to tell me I had done something wrong. I wouldn’t have said “got my hand smacked,” but I know people who would interchange that with “got a talking to.”

        1. BethDH*

          Interesting, and I can see how that would affect it. I suppose it’s telling that I connect critical feedback at work to something more like getting harsh comments on a paper in school than I do to my experiences in retail and in working at a park (where I do remember that same phrasing).

  6. Diahann Carroll*

    OP # 1 – your company sounds awful. Seriously, they are doing you a favor by bringing in this nepotism hire with no actual qualifications – you’ll move on to something better, and their marketing and advertising will implode. It’s laughable that they think someone who can’t write and doesn’t even know what you do would be good enough to go halfsies with you on a job, lol.

    On another note – I work for a family-owned business where damn near everyone in the founders’ families works here. That said, every one of them is qualified to do their job. They all start at the bottom and work their way up. Our pay and benefits are pretty dang great (the software developers may beg to differ, but they’re not wildly underpaid and yes, we could use unlimited PTO since we are technically a tech company and that’s becoming more common in that space, but whatever), and the C-suite execs come and eat lunch with the regular folks on occasion at the headquarters. So not all family-owned businesses are a disaster – you just have to vet them carefully and make sure they’re global like the one I work for (the larger ones tend to have less centralized dysfunction).

    1. Aphrodite*

      I agree. If you stayed and shared the job you can bet your bottom dollar that the blame for the implosion would not be shared. You would be the sole scapegoat. I’m glad you are getting out; try to get out as soon as you can, which shouldn’t be hard given how long you’ve been there and the great work you have done. Getting out at the top will be far easier and more valuable to you than waiting until the downward spiral is in progress.

      1. Paulina*

        The job splitting aspect is also very likely to remove some of the more appealing aspects of OP2’s job that look better, while leaving her with the less appealing and potentially lower-rated parts. It’s far better to look for a job when your current job has the description you want, rather than after it’s been messed with to give the VP’s daughter the plums.

    2. Eadaz*

      I work in a similar family-owned company. Not only does everyone in the family have a job, now all the higher-ups are hiring their kids. I’m not in a position to assess their qualifications.

      From their perspective, I see why they’d want to hire their brother-in-law, or niece, or whoever. After all, they’re family, and you want to help them out because in your esteem they’re good people. But as a non-family member, I am incredibly resentful of the fact that they can just walk into a decent job–I don’t know how much they were tested against other candidates but I can’t help but think that if they were that good they’d have made it elsewhere. We have real diversity and culture issues that won’t be solved as long as they’re picking from their own gene pool.

      1. MK*

        Maybe they didn’t want to go elsewhere. People are always talking about incompetent persons getting jobs at family businesses, but there plenty of people who took on such a business and made them huge, or who could have great careers but chose their family’s business because they didn’t want to work for someone else. Sometimes they tailored their studies/ training with tat in mind.

        I think the main issue is to be upfront about it. The owner’s kid who comes to work for the company isn’t a new coworker, they are a boss-in-waiting.

        1. Sharkie*

          Not always. I work for a family business and my manager (the owner’s son) isn’t able to apply to director level or above positions because he is held to a higher standard than other candidates – if a opening has 5 years of experience and a bachelor’s he needs 7-9 years and a masters. I guess his parents (who are in their 60’s) really want to make sure he is the right person for the job

          1. MK*

            If I was him, I wouldn’t stay there to put up with some weird kind of reverse-nepotism.

            Anyway, my point remains, the main issue is to be clear what is going on. If the relative is to be treated like everyone else, make sure it’s always the case. If they are coming over to take the bussiness in a couple of years, make that clear.

          2. Paulina*

            His parents likely really don’t want to have to fire or demote him, and are also probably very sensitive to perceptions of nepotism.

          3. Tan*

            I’d be intrigued to find out what happens if son moves on. I used to work with a guy who came from a family business. They underpaid and underappreciated him (compared to co-workers), so he found us. Then the proverbial hit the fan: uncle and dad (who ran the place) were not happy to say the least, they even rang my boss at the time to try and give us a negative reference to put us off (we had references from mutual clients that he was great). After a few years he did go back there to a management position but it did take leaving and several years “bad vibes” to realise the “reverse-nepotism” was the problem not “ingratitude for all they’ve done”

      2. Jojo*

        AAM has noted many times that often a driving reason people start businesses is precisely to make sure their family members have employment.

        1. Smithy*

          This. I know one family business where a significant part is to serve as a safety net for struggling family members.

          How well does it work long term and would I want to work there? That I don’t know – but it’s a huge driving factor for the family to have the business.

        2. Eadaz*

          Absolutely, I get it… for them. That doesn’t make me, a non-family member, feel great though.
          Guess the only way around it is to all start our own family businesses and only work for family? /s

        3. Who Plays Backgammon?*

          Yes. That kind of reminds me of the recent post and threads about the husband and wife running a construction co. out of their home and hired an oddball who gave himself the run of their house in the wee hours. They wanted him to quit, but they’d hired him as a favor to family so apparently firing him wasn’t seen as an option.

      3. Tinybutfierce*

        My last job was similar (it literally said in the employee handbook that the handbook rules didn’t apply to member’s of the owner’s family). The CEO’s granddaughter/VP’s daughter was basically shuffled around from position to position until she found something she sort of liked, which she still consistently dropped the ball on, which always resulted in myself and other coworkers having to take the blame and pick up the slack whenever needed. And of course she never got in trouble for basically not doing her job half the time, because her manager couldn’t actually manager her, because she’d just run to daddy to complain. Everyone unfortunately got used to just working around her as much as possible and trying to stay cordial with her, but pretty much eeeeeveryone couldn’t stand working with her. Man, I don’t miss that place.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          it literally said in the employee handbook that the handbook rules didn’t apply to member’s of the owner’s family


          Daaaaaaaaamn. Glad you’re out of there.

      1. Quill*

        As a bee I take exception to this statement.

        It’s full of wasps! And a house that yells go away in dripping blood!

          1. Quill*

            I mean, realistically, I don’t want a house full of bees either, much as I might love them when they’re outside. Thanks!

    3. OP1*

      OP1 here- the worst part is my boss and grandboss keep insisting it’s only temporary- “a year or two!” All the family members they bring in bounce from department to department (“sharing” jobs that are already filled) in order to learn more about the business. This doesn’t make me feel better, especially because the other family members have college-age kids studying marketing who may do the exact same thing in a year or two.

      1. MissGirl*

        Ha ha, a year or two. As if that’s temporary. I commend you for not buying their BS and being proactive in your career. This place has served its purpose in being a good entry level job and now you’re off to better things. I wish you well in your search.

        1. OP1*

          Thank you! I appreciate it and I am just now realizing the full extent of my network. I think the commenters and Alison are right- I will look back on this and be thankful it got me moving somewhere better!

      2. Diahann Carroll*

        This doesn’t make me feel better, especially because the other family members have college-age kids studying marketing who may do the exact same thing in a year or two.

        Oh, they are absolutely going to do the same thing with them. With this additional information, I’m now convinced they’re trying to push you out and the VP’s daughter is the test case. That really sucks that they would treat a long-time employee like this – I’m glad you saw the writing on the wall and began your job search. A lot of newer grads wouldn’t have been able to pick up what they were putting down and would find themselves out on the street, confused as to what the hell happened.

        1. OP1*

          Looking back, I was warned pretty thoroughly by then-employees when I first started that the family would always come first. But I needed a job in my field (I had just moved cross-country and didn’t have a network here and was fresh out of school!) and was desperate to get out of retail.

          That said, I’m still working retail as a second job (yay low pay and student loans) and it has taught me how to recognize some serious BS and how to handle awful people. I’m smiling and nodding through the pep talks they’re giving me this week then going home and applying for new jobs. I’m hoping the next job pays enough that I won’t have to work a second job!

          1. MK*

            OP, don’t get into the trap of beating yourself up for this decision. For all you know, it was the right one; obviously you aren’t being treated well, but you must have gained expeirience to leverage into a better job.

            1. TootsNYC*


              My uncle was a CFO of major retail chains. During one of our philosophical conversations (before he retired and became a Rude Political Uncle thanks to Fox News), he talked about never beating yourself up for past decisions.

              “You make the best decision you possibly can at the time, with the best information you have. If you weren’t careless, then is WAS the best decision. Later, you have more information. Or parameters or needs change. But at the time you made that decision, it was the right one. Now it’s not, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t then.”

              I found that very reassuring.

            2. AuroraLight37*

              Yeah, it’s easy to armchair general now in hindsight, but at the time, you were working with the information you had.

      3. MatKnifeNinja*

        Get out and give the reason you want more challenges, expand your horizons, whatever….

        They know they are edging you out for Daffodil, and will get all butt hurt you brought it up. You deserve better than that. Let another family member bring Daffodil up to speed.

      4. Temperance*

        That’s what they’re saying because the want to keep you around because they expect her to underperform you, and think that you are stupid enough to believe this nonsense.

          1. AKchic*

            Yep. They absolutely expect OP1 to be her trainer. And the next family member’s trainer. And maybe even the next one’s if the 2nd family member doesn’t decide to stick around. Eventually, OP1 will train their permanent family member replacement if they stay. And that’s what the family expects.

            Family businesses can be like the mob in that respect. You do what they ask, no questions. You remain loyal to them, but don’t expect any loyalty in return; because you aren’t family. Only family gets loyalty.

      5. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        They might be absolutely telling the truth that they are having family members spend time training in different departments (a year or two to actually understand the job) so that at some point (when the next generation takes over the family business) they know what everyone does and how it all works together to make the business succeed. In which case your job is secure, sort of. The bad news is they could fire you anyway without having a family member take over your job. In my experience, especially in small businesses, marketing is often looked at by people who don’t understand it as something they just “set and forget”. Like, you set up their social media accounts, create a few document templates, print up some brochures, and now they have a marketing program that just runs “automatically” as long as they follow the plans you’ve put in place and hire someone periodically to reprint the brochure.

        If they had been upfront with you from the time they hired you that this was part of the job, that’s not as nefarious as it sounds. People make careers out of contract positions and consulting, especially in fields like advertising and marketing. But really, even without the low pay, bad benefits, and surveillance culture, they seem to have been really honest in their actions that there is never long-term future at this company for non-family members and you (all) should be planning on moving on as soon as possible. You got from them a few years experience or a job title to put on a resume that maybe you would not have been able to get right out of college with a larger company, and now parlay that into bigger things without feeling like you’ve been cheated.

    4. WellRed*

      OP really buried the problem: they are giving her job away, they suck, but, THEY WATCH EMPLOYEES WITH CAMERAS! PEOPLE GO SILENT WHEN MANAGEMENT COMES NEAR!

      OP, are you working in a George Orwell paperback?

      1. Quill*

        I remember trying to sit in the only corner of my (near the door) office where there was no camera, then being extremely happy to be moved into the back room to “mind the printer” later… no one could walk behind me…

        There were a lot of things wrong at lab from hell, and this was one of the early ones.

    5. Western Rover*

      And some family-owned businesses can start out with lots of favoritism and become more professional as they grow, like the one where my brother works now: his 1st job, 3rd job, 5th job and 7th job. Each time he quit frustrated over his lack of future potential, they would lure him back, and they honestly got better as time went by. He’s now been head of his department for about 15 years and may well retire there. But I doubt they were ever were as toxic as OP’s.

    6. Artemesia*

      Consider it a blessing in disguise. This company deserves to lose you and since they already underpay you, this lights the fire under you to take your experience and skill where it will be better rewarded. This was paying your dues to get experience and skill — you have that now — go find a better job and let them waffle along with this unqualified person. Family businesses are almost always bad places for non-family to have a career.

    7. Who Plays Backgammon?*

      I’ve worked at several small family-owned companies, and sad to say, they were all crummy to horrible. Pay and benefits were stingy and opportunities were few, far between, and based on how much the patriarch and/or matriarch *liked* you. Relatives got the best jobs whether they could do the or not. Decisions were based on what’s best for the family, which wasn’t always what’s best for the strength and growth of the company. Labor laws? What are those? One owner wanted everyone to work on Saturday and said he didn’t have to pay overtime. Another handed out checks on payday and asked everyone not to deposit them until the next day. One lost the medical plan for nonpayment of premiums and didn’t tell the employees until afterward, while we all thought we had coverage!

      Your experience doesn’t surprise me. Diahann Carroll is absolutely right. Make sure to keep a portfolio of your work and accomplishments, and move on to something you deserve.

  7. Jay*

    OP#1, this sounds like the best thing for you, honestly. It looks like you got everything you are going to get out of this job and it is going to set you up for a much better job in the future.
    All in all, a good trade for the low pay and benefits. I had a post college job that pushed me out in a similar fashion (they were very, very open about it, though, even giving me a glowing letter of recommendation specifying that there just wasn’t any place in their organisation for me to go).
    If I were you, I wouldn’t take it personally, treat the “shared job” as a really long notice period (so you can take your time job searching and get the new job you’ve earned) and count this as a win.

    1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      Yup. I’ve worked at a family-owned business and the #1 priority was always the family, not the business—certainly not the non-family employees. Use this as a three-year learning experience and go get a higher-paying job with real benefits.

    2. MJ*

      ‘…treat the “shared job” as a really long notice period…’

      With the added bonus of doing half the work, which opens up time for interviews. Haha! As if. OP will be working twice as hard to cover the boss’s daughter’s mistakes/inexperience.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        This. Why in the world wouldn’t they just make her an official intern? That way, she gets small assignments and can shadow people like OP who actually know what they’re doing and can be given assignments based on her actual aptitude?

        The VP is delusional if he thinks his kid, having no actual abilities or knowledge about marketing and advertising, will be anything other than a time suck and resource drain in the role OP was promoted to. Start your kid off at the bottom if you truly want her to see what it’s like working in marketing and advertising, and let her prove herself on her own merits. By doing what he’s doing with this halfsies nonsense, he’s not only screwing over OP, but he’s screwing over his kid too. If she turns out to be as incompetent as she sounds, she won’t ever be able to leave dad’s company and work someplace else. But if dad’s company gets bought out by a larger entity or goes under when the economy takes another downturn, she’s in trouble – she will have no real skills or accomplishments to compete in the job market.

    3. Sara without an H*

      Yes, this. OP#1, what troubled me about your letter was this: I’m crushed because I worked my butt off for two years to earn this promotion… You know the place is toxic, that you’re underpaid, and grossly policed. (Cameras everywhere?!! Sheesh!!!). But somehow you believed that, because you did a great job, they’d value you?

      I admit, I went through this myself in my younger days. I accepted a job with a few red flags. (Actually, the place was Red Square on May Day, but I was young and naive.) But I thought that, if I just did a good job, the toxicity would flow around me. I was wrong.

      So review the job search sections of the AAM archives, spiff up your resume, update LinkedIn, and work your network for all it’s worth. Three years in your first job after university is not bad at all, and you’ve gone as far as you can in this organization. Time to move on.

    4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      #1, make sure you have all the coworkers and managers that you like working with, added on LinkedIn, because my prediction is that, in five years, they will be working for a variety of employers all over your geographical area. These people are your network. By hiring them and then chasing them out with ridiculous business practices and inane nepotism, your employer did all of you a favor.

      treat the “shared job” as a really long notice period (so you can take your time job searching and get the new job you’ve earned)

      I love it! And, when you need to be out of office for a job interview, VP’s daughter can cover for you, since she’s going to be doing your job anyway. Perfect!

    5. OP1*

      I like that idea of treating this like a notice period! I found out on Monday and have been submitting my resume already and have an interview today. My network has also been sending me jobs- I am angry and motivated to gtfo!

      To add insult to injury, there is an entry level position open on our team that is perfect for anyone starting off in this field (that’s where I started). She just won’t take it because that’s not what she wants- and now I know it may also be because she admits writing is her weakest skill…

      1. Narise*

        Also make sure to post all the details of this place, low pay, cameras, no trust, and horrible benefits on Glassdoor after you leave the company.

        1. Isabelle*

          Yes please leave a review OP1 and mention the nepotism in there too. It’s so useful for job searchers to have this information.

        2. OP1*

          That’s my plan! I was going to wait a few months so they wont immediately know it’s me but ultimately I will.

        3. Radio Girl*

          While you are job hunting, do your best to help the boss’s daughter. Go out on a high note, and never let her know how hurt and angry you are. Your departure will speak volumes.

      2. Diahann Carroll*

        OMG, they had an entry level role, which is where she belongs, and they didn’t put her in it because she didn’t want it and wanted to be a level above?! WTH?! Why didn’t they just make her AVP while they were at it since, apparently, DNA is the only barometer for ones suitability for a role at this place.

      3. Kes*

        I have to agree with the other posters, I think later when you look back you’ll be glad this happened and gave you the motivation to get out. Your job sucks in a lot of ways (cameras??) and I suspect now you have some experience you won’t have too much trouble finding something much better

      4. Syfygeek*

        At least you have a heads up. When I was much younger, at a company that valued family, and treated employees like family, I was showing the CEO’s assistant how to change or update the org chart. She asked me how to add someone next to my position, “just to see how to do it”. I added the box, and then she asked me to put in a name, “just use this name, as an example”. The example was the CEO’s god-daughter, and a week later, she was not only on the org chart, but also in my office, while I was unemployed.

  8. Medico*

    LW 1 Seconding Allison’s advice that in a few years time you’re going to look back on this job with a sigh of relief that you were shoved out. It sounds like an awful place that doesn’t value their staff.

    1. Scarlet2*

      A blessing in disguise, indeed! Low pay and benefits, rampant nepotism, surveillance, employees being treated like naughty children… That place is full of evil bees.

    2. OP1*

      I’ve been dragging my feet on leaving because I do love my coworkers and immediate boss and have really enjoy the new skills and projects I’ve been learning/taking on. I’ve known for awhile that I was nearing an endpoint- I just didn’t think this would be it!

      I’m looking forward to taking this as my chance to move somewhere exciting with better pay!

      1. You can't fire me; I don't work in this van*

        The good news is that you have a perfectly acceptable answer when hiring managers are asking why you are leaving. A lot of people have experience with knowing someone who worked in a family business and understand that this isn’t uncommon when you work at one as a non-family member.

  9. Jen S. 2.0*

    worry that this looks cheap or even ungrateful for people’s time

    Because it does. Both, in fact. It’s fine to economize by inviting someone for coffee, but it’s not fine to economize by spending someone else’s time AND money by making them buy a lunch they otherwise would not have purchased. That you’re doing it for your benefit and not theirs makes it downright inconsiderate.

    I feel you on your budget. I do. But, just like any other host, you need to throw the event you can afford, not expect your guests to subsidize the event you wish you could afford.

    That said, if you really can’t treat, and for some reason it has to be lunch and not coffee, please make sure you don’t ask someone if you can “take you to lunch.” I would expect to be treated with that language. Whether or not I actually accepted the offer of paying for the meal, I would notice if someone offered to “take” me out to lunch and then purposely only paid for their own sandwich or suggested splitting the bill. I would think less of it if the person offered to “meet” me for lunch. That’s less of an invitation, although it still would not escape my notice that they took up my time for their own benefit and I still had to buy my own lunch.

    I can afford a sandwich and Coke Zero, but I would note that the person is taking from me without even thinking they maybe they should try to offer me some courtesy for sharing my time and experience.

    1. Marion Q*

      by making them buy a lunch they otherwise would not have purchased.

      Yeah, this. There’s no guarantee that the people OP 3 invite to lunch are well-off financially. They may be also on a budget and can’t really afford lunch out.

      1. Jen S. 2.0*

        Exactly. It’s not reasonable for OP
        3 to push a cost onto them because it’s out of her budget … but with no real concern for their budgets. It’s a moot point if it’s easily in their budgets.

        1. Wendy*

          Not really. Even if I could afford to buy lunch every day of the week, it’s my decision to spend the money, not yours.

          1. Don’t get salty*

            Exactly! I was “invited” to lunch by my director to discuss recruitment strategies for an unpopular position within the organization. After I decided not to give him my colleagues’ direct contact information for him to cold-call, he decided that he’d rather go Dutch.

    2. MK*

      Yes, if the OP proceeds to ”go Dutch” with people, she should make it clear before they accept an invitation. OP, other people have kids and budgets and maybe cannot afford eating out for your benefit.

    3. Snorkmaiden*

      “ throw the event you can afford”

      Yes. This. Lunch needs to be off the table (literally) if you can’t offer treat. This is something someone might otherwise bring in from home, might not have budgeted for, etc.

      Coffee is a very good solution – so long as you treat for that!

    4. Eadaz*

      Agreed. Though if someone asked me to “meet” for lunch I would still expect them to pay–they’re the one asking for my time and advice.

      1. Scarlet2*

        Exactly. In any context, if someone says they’re going to “take me out” for lunch, I will 100% expect them to pay. I will probably offer to pay my half, but if you’re the one inviting me and you let me pay my way, I’ll definitely think you’re cheap.

        In this situation, it’s exacerbated by the fact that OP is the one who is going to benefit from the encounter. So I’d still expect them to pay if they want to “meet for lunch”. It’s not like they’re friends with those people and just want to enjoy their company.

        1. MK*

          It’s tricky to subtly convey that it’s not going to be a treat. In social situations, I usually do it by mentioning the price, as in “Want to try X restaurant? It’s going to come up to around Z.” But I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying this to a near stranger.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            . . . because it’s tacky, at least in this setting.

            I mean, if my friends want to meet up for lunch, I assume I’m paying. If somebody wants to pick my brain over lunch, then I think I’ve earned them buying for me.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        The only exception to this rule, imo, is if the person asking is a student or intern.

        But another working colleague? No. The person who makes the invitation is expected to pay. I may offer to go dutch as the invitee, but it’s not reasonable to expect people to pay time and money to help you.

        1. Eadaz*

          Agreed. In my culture I would certainly offer to go dutch but I would expect them to reject it with a “no, I insist, you have been so generous with your time” or something to that effect.

    5. Misty*

      This one really rankled!!!! Lol, don’t waste my time and money for your benefit, please!!

      Not only is this extremely inconsiderate of posters networked “victims”, but has the potential to really backfire after alienating them!

      1. Witchy Human*

        That’s a little extreme. My read is that LW is talking about networking for her current job (“leadership and visibility within my organization” and “outside my local team”) and while I agree that she should be paying, if that’s the case it’s not as obviously on her as it would be for someone looking for career advancement from outside connections.

      2. Oh So Anon*

        The LW is really talking about getting together with colleagues to talk shop – in that light, it feels really extreme and lacking in goodwill to frame those interactions the way you have.

        Anticipating reactions like this can easily make someone very uneasy about even attempting to maintain their professional networks.

    6. annony*

      I don’t think that there is a way to suggest a lunch networking meeting that you do not want to pay for that won’t be incredibly awkward. Stick to coffee or find inexpensive places where you can afford to offer to pay.

    7. AAM Canadian fan*

      ” like any other host, you need to throw the event you can afford, not expect your guests to subsidize the event you wish you could afford.”
      Oooh. Love this.

    8. OP3*

      Thanks for the feedback, all! I actually have two specific occasions coming up that seem to fall more in a “gray area.” The first is that I asked a colleague on my team to “go to lunch” to discuss some big, team-wide initiatives that are coming up but also to pick her brain about her career. She started as more of senior peer, then was promoted into a leadership role and now has an interim position as a senior leader on my team, and is actually in my reporting relationship! I think I could make the argument for going dutch given her role relative to mine, but given everyone’s strong reaction to the fact that it’s my invitation and the meeting is to my benefit, I’m going to at least attempt to cover the bill. The second is a former coworker who I mentored to a certain extent. I’m probably five years ahead in my career, far enough along to give advice but hardly an expert! We mutually agreed to do lunch when she left our organization. I think going dutch is safe with her, especially since when she originally asked me for coffee to give her career advice she didn’t cover the bill for me. I thought about giving her the feedback that she should cover the cost for things like that but chickened out of giving the negative feedback. As she progresses in her career we’ll definitely feel more and more like peers, so splitting from now on feels appropriate. Thanks again for the gut check and the advice, everyone!

      1. OP3*

        Also, I’d love to do coffee instead but for whatever reason lunch seems to fit in more people’s schedules. Plus I’m tied to daycare drop off so morning coffee is tricky. :-/

        1. Washi*

          In my experience a coffee can happen at literally any time other than 12 – 1, not just when you’d be having your morning coffee!

          1. Jen S. 2.0*

            Especially since many people — me included — don’t drink coffee. I order tea when I “meet for coffee.” The coffee itself is not the important thing. Most times I’ve met for coffee have been for a date in the evening. When it’s been for work, it’s been mid-afternoon. Meeting for coffee is not just a morning thing. It’s an event that is shorter, less formal, and cheaper than meeting for a meal.

        2. commenter*

          Thank you for the clarification! It’s very likely that your senior colleague will pick up the tab or agree to split the bill, but offering to pay is a nice gesture. One thing I like to do to defuse any potential awkwardness–especially if the other party insists on paying–is to say something like “thank you so much, but my treat next time” which both shows your etiquette awareness and plants the idea that there will be a next time.

      2. Filosofickle*

        Hi OP! I have a weird thing around the term “pick your brain”. A senior colleague once pointed out she hates when people ask her that and is predisposed not to meet/help people who do. It sounds predatory, like all you want to do is take from them, and in a violent way to boot. I had never thought about it but she’s right! I never used it again.

        1. OP3*

          This is so interesting! I have no idea if I actually used the expression “pick your brain” or not, but there are probably much better ways of phrasing this.

    9. TootsNYC*

      I think that if someone is a bit of a peer to you, you can say, “Could we grab lunch one day?” I think you can even say something like, “I wanted to pick your brain, and I can tell you about our new project.”

      But if you’re the only one seeming to benefit, it’s not as cool.

  10. Kathlynn (Canada)*

    I’m going to guess that at least occasionally it’s an editing mistake. I applied for a job once, and had somehow deleted my name when I was updating my resume. Luckily I still got the job, because I was already promised the job so long as I applied for it. (having already worked with management elsewhere). Lesson learned, always double check everything, even if you don’t think you’ve changed it.

    1. Buttons*

      Make sure to save your resume as a PDF before emailing it or uploading it. This will prevent anyone from altering your email, and it will keep your formatting in place. Sometimes when a Word document is uploaded to a system portal it will completely wipe out information or do weird things to the formatting so much so it can’t be read.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I currently work with someone who years ago sent me a résumé on which she had deleted the first letter of her first name.

      So at the top of her résumé, in 36-point type, it said:

      ennifer Johnson

      She had to have bumped a delete key while print it out and then just grabbed it from the printer and stuck it into the envelope without even looking at it.

      I only sort of held it against her (but mostly I had enough freelance candidates that I’d already worked with). Mostly I cringed on her behalf.

      Years later I did hire her at another place, and we’re currently colleagues. She’s quite good at her job.

  11. KayDay*


    Is hard to tell without the context, but is the employee just using these words colloquially or are they really complaining (and not just to their work buddies) about getting in trouble. It’s pretty common for people to say “yelled at” when then really mean “chastised” or “given an informal verbal warning” or “received stern feedback”. And it’s also quite common for people to say, “ooops, I’m in trouble,” when they mean that the boss is displeased with them, rather than that they were subject to steps on the official disciplinary process. Obviously, in some cases using this language could be problematic (e.g. if the employee is saying “Mr. Boss is so horrible, he is always yelling at me and getting me into trouble” when Mr. Boss is simply giving feedback.) But if it’s just casual conversation (“yeah, I got yelled at about getting the TPS report in late, I’ll be in big trouble if it happens again,”) that’s really not worth making a stink over.

    “Smacked” is a little weirder, where I’m from someone might say “I was smacked with a parking ticket” but I haven’t heard it used in a work context ever. There are a few people who I could imagine saying “I got a real spanking over the late TPS report” but I don’t think that’s very common.

    1. Chili*

      I have heard smacked used to mean chastised before, but it does seem like a rare use case. I think it would be worthwhile to clarify with the employee how they are taking the feedback. Because yes, sometimes people do use “yelled at” synonymously with receiving negative feedback and aren’t actually feeling like they were literally yelled at. There are also people who do actually interpret negative feedback or critique as yelling and do feel very attacked by critique. If it’s the latter, it may be worthwhile to clarify that negative feedback is part of doing the job and even the best employees get negative feedback sometimes and you still hold them in high regard.

    2. Traffic_Spiral*

      ” It’s pretty common for people to say “yelled at” when then really mean “chastised”

      And it’s a huge pet peeve, personally.

      1. Chili*

        My mom does this and it drives up a wall! I know she says it about me to family members when I very reasonably asked her to, for example, not talk about my menstrual issues over dinner with extended family. It’s frustrating because I know she says “yelled at” to mean chastised, but other people don’t so they think I’m a monster!

        1. Kiwiii*

          Yep! Boyfriend’s family all take “please don’t do that” as a massive affront and will then (literally) scream about how I’ve yelled at them.

      2. Shan*

        I’m surprised at the number of people here defending it and saying OP is overreacting… it seems pretty obvious why a boss wouldn’t appreciate having feedback be referred to as being “yelled at” or “smacked.” Being colloquialisms doesn’t change the fact those phrases really aren’t appropriate for the situation.

      3. Lissa*

        Yeah. I mentioned this above but people like me who tend to the more literal side have no reason to know the person saying it doesn’t mean someone raised their voice at them. And combined with the other things she’s saying I do think it could leave a bad impression to people who don’t know that’s what she’s doing.

      4. Dot*

        Same. This can be a real problem in personal relationships as well. Yelling is abuse. Not being able to bring up a concern in a calm way for fear of it being taken as yelling is also abuse. People want to downplay this particular verbal tick but it’s toxic at its core.

    3. Phil*

      Oh good, it wasn’t just me who thought it was a little over the top to be put off by “yelled at.” I jokingly use that kind of language all the time (though admittedly not smacked/spanked/physical contact words).

    4. Lynca*

      Maaaybe I hang around too many people that like wrestling but when I hear smacked I think smackdown. Which would be in line with being hyperbolic about getting feedback considered bad.

    5. sb51*

      Ditto on “yelled at”. To be frank, my parents are the kind of people who, when angry, go very quiet and calm because that’s just how they are. So getting “yelled at” as a kid never involved raised voices—they only actually shouted when, like, cheering at sports events or trying to get our attention when we were far away.

      So I literally cannot tell you afterward whether someone had a quiet disapproving tone or a shouty one. Because my brain parses them the same.

      Now, most of my bosses have been great and give me real, actionable feedback and do so before any issues get to actual disapproval, but if they did, I might use “yelled at” to describe it. “Smacked”, on the other hand, I would speak to the person about, because it does imply a physical interaction.

    6. Washi*

      Even with “I got smacked” I would assume that Jane is using this kind of hyperbole out of embarrassment or in a bid for sympathy, not that Jane was physically hit by her manager. It’s juvenile, but I wouldn’t speak to Jane about it. If you do, just be aware that she is probably going to go around saying her manager is spying on her and telling her what words she can and can’t use.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Yeah, I would assume she meant she got her hand smacked in the metaphorical sense and not the literal one. Still, problematic wording in the workplace and I can see why the OP is concerned.

    7. a1*

      It’s pretty common for people to say “yelled at” when then really mean “chastised” or “given an informal verbal warning” or “received stern feedback”.

      Is it common, though? I’m not saying it’s unheard of, I just don’t think it’s common. Everyone I know associates “yelled at” with voiced raised and in an angry tone. Maybe, maybe, just the angry tone and not loud, but always anger there. No one I know uses it for “corrected me” or “pointed out a mistake”. To do so seems to be extreme hyperbole to me. If a friend or colleague tells me their boss yelled at them, I’m going to think their boss has anger management issues, or my friend really did something extremely wrong to warrant that. Not that they made a mistake in a process and was reminded of the correct way to do things.

      1. ChimericalOne*

        I use “yelled at” to mean “chastised,” not necessarily implying anger. And multiple other people on this thread are saying that they use it that way (or have heard it that way), too. Maybe it’s regional. Maybe it’s a class thing.

      2. Zelda*

        “Everyone I know”… “No one I know”… Absolutely this is regional and cultural. A netfriend of mine tells tthe story of being raised by quiet Scandosotan people among quiet Scandosotans. She was a child and made mistakes and got corrected like any child. The first time she visited in the home of a friend who was culturally different from her, she was shaken to the depths of her eleven-year-old soul to discover that, when her friend got yelled at for a mistake, the friend’s parents actually YELLED! She had just assumed that, when the friend mentioned getting yelled at, it meant the exact same thing as it did in her own household, which is that her parents’ mouths got a little tight and they said “that’s *not* what we do.” Which was how everyone *she* knew used “yelled at.”

        1. Lissa*

          Yeah, I am just learning in this thread that apparently a lot of people use “yelled at” to mean “mildly criticized”. I had no idea! Now I’m going to question everyone who says that from now on and wonder if the person actually shouted at them, lol.

          1. Zelda*

            I gather that, in Scandosotan, “that’s *not* what we do” is NOT mild criticism; it is a shattering indictment of one’s ability to live among civilized human beings. My netfriend above, in the presence of actual raised voices, was certain that she was witnessing unprecedented, vicious child abuse.

            My point (and I do have one) is that every subculture’s calibration for these things is different.

            1. 1LFTW*

              Born and raised in Scandasota, but my parents were transplants from the East Coast, and yes.

              This might be why, when someone relates to me that they “got yelled at”, I always, ALWAYS clarify. Of course, my parents are also kinda pedantic, and raised me as such. I will never say that anyone “yelled at” me unless they actually raised their voice. I’ll say they called me out, or corrected me, or said “please don’t “. Actual yelling is abusive and unprofessional.

    8. ChimericalOne*

      This definitely read as colloquialism to me. It does not sound like OP’s employee is saying “Mr. Boss is awful, he’s always yelling.” It sounds like OP’s employee is saying, maybe somewhat jokingly, “Oops! About to get my hand smacked again!” and OP is reading it as “She’s telling people I’m HITTING her!!!”

      “Big trouble” in particular sounds lighthearted to me — a way of defusing some of the tension of being criticized or corrected. This also reads as blue collar — I don’t think I’ve ever heard people talk like this in a white collar workplace, but when I worked in shipping, it would’ve been completely unremarked-upon.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        I’ve only worked in white collar jobs, and this is where I’ve heard these expressions used.

        1. ChimericalOne*

          Guess it may be a little bit of both, then — common in some places, limited to blue collar work in others.

        2. pamplemousse*

          White collar and I’ve definitely used “yelled at” and “gotten in trouble” colloquially (the latter usually to mean “admonished about something pretty clear-cut where I was obviously in the wrong,” like lateness or missing a deadline).

          I’ve never actually been yelled at (my boss might have raised her voice once or twice to cut me off when there was a real question of urgency) and I don’t think I could really explain why I use those phrases that way! I should probably be more precise with the language I use.

  12. Marie*

    I’ve done a lot of networking mostly over coffee. Partly that’s because I live in Seattle and we have lots of great little coffee shops near where people work, but also because I often don’t know this person well and prefer a short meeting at first, much like online dating. There’s no graceful exit from a lunch or dinner that’s going badly, not really.

    1. Buttons*

      Same. I will not meet someone I don’t know, or know well, for a meal. Coffee is all I will agree to.

  13. Snorkmaiden*

    #3 Are these lunches with people inside or outside your company? If they’re inside your company (though it sounds like they’re not), then maybe just set up a 1:1 meeting instead?

    And either way, but especially if they’re external, have you checked whether your employer will cover it? You said this is to increase your team’s visibility, not for your own career networking – so I’m not sure you should be paying anyway, given that it’s for the business. For example I would be able to expense coffee in this situation. Worth looking into.

    1. Washi*

      I was coming here to say this! OP refers to these as “work lunches” and seems to imply that the need for visibility is tied to her new position, not for personal networking. If the networking is primarily to benefit the company, the company should pay.

    2. akiwiinlondon*

      I was curious about this also as the LW didn’t positioning it for their own development.

      If it’s for the benefit of the company they should certainly make an argument for this to be covered by the company.

    3. OP3*

      To clarify, these meetings are definitely for my own benefit, either to solicit advice or get experience mentoring others depending on who I’m meeting with. You’re right that an internal meeting would also work for internal people. I find it feels freeing to get offsite, but this is a good reminder that I’m not tied to going places that cost money!

  14. Emma*

    #4 I’d suspect it’s related to the fact that most jobs are applied for by email now – I could see inexperienced applicants assuming that any return communication will come by reply to their original email, therefore thinking that including contact information is redundant. Still based on a misunderstanding of how hiring processes often work, but an understandable one.

    1. Chatterby*

      Since it’s to a recruiter, I assumed they left the contact info off because recruiters take it off anyways, and if they do it themselves, the formatting won’t get messed up.

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      For most jobs you’re applying online, not by email. Unless you’ve had to enter an email address to apply, that’s a big assumption that they’ll know how to contact you. Plus, if I were looking for a job, I’d want to make sure there was a way to contact me in as many places as possible.

  15. Sebastian*

    I wonder if #4 is sometimes a case of having been told not to include contact details when sending a CV to an agency, who don’t want the employer to be able to contact you directly? And then either misunderstanding that as applying more generally, or just accidentally attaching the wrong version?

    1. Dasein9*

      Yeah, there was a letter recently about an agency that changed someone’s resume without their knowledge. I wonder if some agencies are removing contact information included by the applicant on purpose.

  16. Viva*

    #4 Regarding Alison’s comment that no one contacts via email anymore when hiring – this must be a US thing. In Germany almost all communication is via email in hiring. I’d even say the email address is even more important than a phone number over here, as you’d get everything per email: the confirmation that they received your application, the invitation to interviews, your contract with the discussed offer or rejection. The only time they call is when they have good news and want to give you the job.

    1. Blue*

      I think Alison said that no one contacts by mail anymore in hiring, as in letters delivered through the postal service.

      1. German Girl*

        Yes, this is a vocabulary misunderstanding:
        mail (English) => Post (German)
        email (English) => E-Mail or colloquialy just Mail (German)

  17. Jack V*

    For the CV, I can imagine it might be “I always email the CV to people so they already have my contact” or “I upload the same CV to job sites or ask people to pass it around, but don’t want everyone who sees that to have my email address”. Or “if this is an agency they don’t want my contact details on the CV they want to handle that”. But it still seems odd.

  18. Cheryl*

    It’s funny, but only in the past few years have I noticed people using the phrase “yelled at” to mean any type of critical feedback. If a customer gives the manager of a restaurant or store a small criticism so they can be aware and possibly fix it, even if it’s said in a calm or friendly way, some managers will later report that they got “yelled at”. It may sound like a small thing but I find it a violation of trust.

    1. VeryAnon*

      Really? Far more often, I’ve seen managers literally scream at employees, often for small infractions, and attempt to minimise their behaviour later.

      1. Lissa*

        These seem like two very different and unrelated things though . . ? I could even see someone doing both, i.e. minimizing their own yelling and exaggerating when someone criticizes them.

        1. VeryAnon*

          They’re related because a lot of people will insist they didn’t yell at an employee when they absolutely did. So they’ll say the employee is exaggerating, when in fact, they did yell at the employee. And I’ve seen that far more frequently than lying employees.

          1. Lissa*

            There’s been like 20 comments here explaining it’s not “lying”, apparently it’s a colloquialism or interpretation so even though I wasn’t aware of that use as being common, I’m willing to believe it is. Even without that, there’s a huge gap between someone deliberately lying vs exaggerating or interpreting things differently, and I don’t think that it has to be either “employee lied” or “employer lied.”

            1. VeryAnon*

              Eh, if people use terms like ‘violation of trust’ it’s difficult to argue that terming something a lie is hyperbole.

              1. 1LFTW*

                Since Cheryl was talking about store/restaurant managers reporting that a customer “yelled at” them, I assumed she meant that the manger was using this to criticize employees. For instance, if a customer politely suggested that the manger staff two cashiers because they had to wait while the cashier finished up with a customer on the phone, the manger might weaponize this against the employee: “I just got yelled at by a customer because you kept them waiting!”.

                1. 1LFTW*

                  (Sorry, hit submit too soon)

                  So it becomes a violation of trust because the manager has exaggerated the customer’s displeasure as an excuse to criticize the employee’s performance, and put the blame on the employee for something that’s beyond their control. There are a lot of managers, especially in service professions, who equate managing with reprimanding. You can often tell who they are by whether it’s not they describe polite customer feedback as “getting yelled at”.

    2. Luna*

      I feel that anyone who refers to being calmly, and non-physically, told where they made a mistake as ‘being yelled at’ or ‘being in big trouble’ have never *actually* been in trouble. To quote dear Princess Bride: Those words… I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

        1. a1*

          So, what do you say then if someone actually yells at you, in a loud voice and/or with anger? How do you differentiate? Does it go up the ladder in hyperbole? or do you still sell they yelled? I would like to know when yelling means yelling and when it means mild correction and the person doing so wasn’t even upset or annoyed.

          1. ChimericalOne*

            You can tell by context. If someone says, “Yeah, I slipped up yesterday and got yelled at over it” in a casual tone, they’re saying they got chastised. If someone says, “I made a mistake yesterday and Mary absolutely flipped out on me” in a tone that conveys resentment (or bewilderment), they’re saying she yelled, screamed, etc. It’s the same as with any word or phrase that could be meant literally or figuratively.

          2. CMart*

            “He yelled at me – like, actually yelled.”

            Kind of like how as written, “lol” has ceased to mean “laugh out loud” and now indicates “I acknowledge a sense of amusement”, and when you want to say you actually laughed, you use the proper descriptive words (“this made me laugh audibly”).

            I also think there’s a small semantic, colloquial difference between “I got yelled at” and “she yelled at me.” The first is pretty commonly understood to mean that you were reprimanded, the latter is more of an indication that you were spoken to sternly – and that could be anywhere between a tone of obvious annoyance to spittle-flecked yelling.

        2. Dot*

          A lot of people here are giving reasons why this particular colloquialism is harmful both at work and in their personal lives. Actually yelling is a pretty serious accusation in either scenario.

          The people I’ve known who do this is were passive aggressive in general and couldn’t handle any negative feedback, so I’m not even sure I’d consider it a colloquialism in the first place.

      1. pamplemousse*

        I use “yelled at” colloquially and I have been yelled at in anger often. My mother was big on yelling. (This actually may be why I associate a sharp reprimand with a yell, even when the volume is perfectly normal, though I think it’s probably just a language tic I picked up somewhere.)

      2. Humble Schoolmarm*

        I agree, and although it’s a colloquialism, it does have an impact. What I see a fair bit is young teens who have picked up on the phrasing and are seeing any chastisement or reminders of norms and expectations, however mild as “Being yelled at” so “Hey, Fergus, please don’t talk to Jane while I’m explaining the activity” escalates to the nth degree because they’ve seen that “please change your behaviour” = yelling, picking on or, my favourite, “being rude”.

    3. ChimericalOne*

      It’s a colloquialism. Do you also find it to be a violation of trust when someone says “I hit the jackpot” [with X, Y, or Z] and they don’t mean they literally won a lottery?

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        I can see where Cheryl’s coming from. We view actual yelling as a huge violation of workplace norms, that someone definitely lost it for a minute. Someone who runs around saying, “New Jack Karyn yelled at me about the TPS reports,” is implying that I lost it at work. Another person who doesn’t know the colloquialism is going to look askance at me.

      2. smoke tree*

        I would be less concerned about others taking it literally and more concerned about what it reveals about the employee’s way of thinking. Assuming that the LW is a reasonable manager and isn’t setting out to punish or intimidate employees, this mindset seems really confrontational and kind of immature. It doesn’t bode well for her ability to receive feedback.

  19. Jh*

    Op #1… Do you have vacation time at all? Personally I would start using it up for interviews and days off here and there.

    There is no reason for you to put enormous effort into training this kid. Don’t work late, don’t sacrifice your personal time. Leave on time, take lunch, let her figure things out herself. Do not go above and beyond.

    You’ve been used and this entitled child who is old enough to know better is just expecting you to hand over knowledge she hasn’t earned.

    What they have done is not ok and when you go for new jobs and they ask why you are leaving… Tell them the truth. They will be pissed off for you! This says nothing about you and everything about them.

    1. OP1*

      Before all this went down, I took a week-long vacation with my partner, so I am low on PTO. But my boss has always been flexible about us taking time for appointments and making it up (we’re all hourly!).

      That’s my plan is treat her like anyone else and make her try to figure things out on her own before I step in. What’s funny is, I don’t think she realizes the volume of work I do every day, in addition to weekly and monthly projects. She is still going to be included in the higher up’s big meetings and go to the fancy conferences that no one else has ever been allowed to go to- so I’m not sure how she’ll realistically be able to do all of that and meet deadlines and maintain basic standards of quality in her work.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        so I’m not sure how she’ll realistically be able to do all of that and meet deadlines and maintain basic standards of quality in her work.

        She won’t. But you’ll be gone by then, and your poor manager will catch heat for her failures. I hope your manager’s job searching on the low as well.

      2. sometimeswhy*

        If it’s possible and if you’re willing, as a kindness to the person who will fill your role after she flames out or fails upward into a position where she’s too important to generate work products, it might be nice to put together a guide of what you do, the broad strokes of how to do it, and the locations of the resources you need to perform the different parts of your job with an eye toward the next-next person may not be trained well or at all.

  20. Meats*


    The desire to network is great but I’d definitely go with coffee, or if you work somewhere that has good walkability why not ask the person if they’d like to stretch their legs and go for a walk? I’ve had networking conversations like that and it’s a refreshing break from the work day.

    I’ve also been asked out to lunch for networking purposes, and one time the woman who invited me let us order, eat and chat before she said “I forgot my wallet” (she knew from the beginning of the meal) but would definitely pay me back. She didn’t (even after sending me a thank you email for my time and saying she would again in that!) So I paid for someone else to soak up career advice. I decided that if her application ever makes it to my desk, it is most likely going in the trash. Anyway, this is an extreme example but I just wanted to warn of what it could look like for the other side (take time out of your schedule, give me advice and oh sorry I can’t pay for your sandwich)

    1. Washi*

      Yeah, I’ve done the walk thing! It’s more casual, but I like it when I can make it work. And I’ve also offered to meet people at their office (when appropriate) and sometimes that’s appreciated just as much, if not more, than a free coffee!

      1. OP3*

        I love both these options! Walking is getting tricky with the weather changing, but I’ll keep it in mind for the spring.

  21. Luna*

    LW1 — If anyone asks, especially the family members running the place, tell them you already have your game plan. *You* are leaving, so there’s no need to split anything, since daughter can have the role all to herself. And then you leave, and enjoy popcorn while watching them crash and burn. Because, seriously, that company sounds so wrong.
    I don’t mind family working together — if they can treat each other as coworkers/employees while at work.

    1. Bagpuss*

      I wouldn’t do that until you actually have a new job. While it sounds as though they need LW a lot more than she needs them, they may not realise it, and it would be a shame if they sacked her for “disloyalty” before she has a new job lined up.

      (Obviously neither looking for, or planning for a new job is dislyal, but it sounds as though this is a pretty dysfunctional workplace so I would not rely on them acting professionally or even, necessarily, in their own bests interests)

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Bad idea unless she already has a job offer, because considering what they’re doing, they wouldn’t hesitate to fire her if she said that.

      1. Witchy Human*

        Yeah, even if I was her immediate boss, supported her in seeking a new job AND liked her a whole bunch, I wouldn’t let her just stop doing her job without consequences.

  22. VeryAnon*

    LW1: You remind me so much of the LW who ‘burned a bridge’. My take is that they want you to ‘share’ the role in that you *do* all the work and VP’s daughter gets the credit, fluffs up her resume, then leaves for a better paying role.

    LW2: Are, you, in fact, yelling at the employee? I’m sure you haven’t smacked her (jesus) but it’s easy to be louder or more forceful than we think we’re being.

    1. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      I have a friend who gets progressively louder the more excited she gets. And she’s 5’11”, so tall and slightly imposing. She’s not aware of it when she does it. And it happens often.

      A coworker accused her of yelling at him. Without having been there, I’m guessing she was just excited about a topic or problem and just got loud.

        1. londonedit*

          Same! My mum always complains about ‘people shouting at each other’ when actually it’s my sister and I having an entertaining debate about something. She interprets any sort of impassioned discussion as ‘arguing’.

        2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          I also unconsciously get louder when I get excited about something–so I might sound like I’m yelling if I’m telling you about good news. A few of my family and friends now say “volume, Gollux,” meaning “please lower the volume, and yes I am interested in what you’re saying.” It took a bit of work to find a short phrasing that didn’t feel like they wanted me to stop talking, because that’s often what people mean when they say, literally, “please be quiet.”

      1. Dust Bunny*

        My mother does this. She insists that she’s not yelling because she doesn’t intend to yell, but in decibels, it’s functionally yelling.

        1. The Original K.*

          My mom does this too. She’s not yelling in anger (although she does yell in anger, heh) but if she’s animated, she’s speaking loudly enough that it’s yelling. It’s a running topic.

        2. AKchic*

          My uncle is a narcissist and a loud talker. My great-aunt is also a loud talker (it really does run in the family – guilty!).
          My uncle and great-aunt are also going deaf. Can’t tell them that though because “everyone can hear me just fine, you just need to stop talking so quietly!” Family gatherings have to happen outside with those two around because they are literal shouting matches. And uncle will talk over any woman he can hear because he HAS to be the only person talking, regardless (oh, how I miss my grandfather’s traditional “shut the F up” in his direction).

      2. teclatrans*

        I…I am 6′ and haven’t had coworkers in years, so I am going to assume I am not your friend but: I am your friend. When I get excited or am putting pieces of a puzzle together that have eluded me, I get more and more intense, and apparently raise my voice too. My kid has taken to saying, “Mommy, your ADHD is taking over,” which helps, and has helped me recognize the problem in other settings.

    2. LKW*

      I doubt they want the daughter to leave – it’s a family business. They want OP#1 to train the daughter to be as good as OP#1.

    3. OP1*

      None of the family members leave once they start, so I doubt she’d ever leave. She is a former paegant contestant who lost her competition and needed a job post-college or she wouldn’t be giving us the time of day. But anywhere else, she’d be considered entry level and would never qualify for my position.

      Since she got here, she’s been making “suggestions” without any research or insight into our own data that she’s passed to her VP dad, who passes them to my department director who passes them to my boss who passes them to me. It’s unprofessional and undermines my managers and behind closed doors they’ve express their frustration with all of it. But ultimately, the family name is on their paychecks.

      1. VeryAnon*

        Oh, my mistake – I thought it might be a cosmetic exercise designed to make it look like she had more experience than she did.

  23. VeryAnon*

    Also, does anyone else find the kids who benefit from this nepotism really strange? Why would on earth would you want a job someone else handed to you like that? Wouldn’t you feel ashamed knowing you hadn’t earned it?

    1. Asenath*

      I think they take for granted that they have earned it, or at least that it’s a fair arrangement. I knew of a business, not a family one, but one in which a particular department hired high school students for summer work. It was taken for granted that if a current employee of that department had a son or daughter in high school, that child got a position, and other students were considered only after all children were placed. If a family disapproved of this – some did – they didn’t put their child forward for a job; but often they’d be offered one anyway if they had a parent working in the right place. Families who participated more enthusiastically weren’t ashamed of doing so. It was just they way things worked, and totally taken for granted.

      Now, nepotism got a lot more of a bad rap in the kind of small community in which almost everyone was related, and government jobs – particularly the kind organized by the town or rural authorities as a kind of make-work for the unemployed – had to be allocated without nepotism. You’d be sure to get someone complaining and maybe going to court over a job offer that went to a second cousin of a committee member instead of someone else, who would turn out to be a second cousin once removed of two other committee members. But in other cases, where less was at stake, I suppose, just a summer job, it was seen as routine and not a measure of anyone’s morality or something to be ashamed about.

    2. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      I used to wonder the same.

      I worked for a family run business. It was a big enough firm, with offices coast to coast and a five-storey head office in a major city (where I worked). Owned by brothers. One brother, all of his kids worked there. Did they actually work? Yes, and they were nice as well if a touch unaware of how good they had it.

      The other brother had four out of five kids work there. When the fifth one divorced and found herself with no income and now a single mom, a job was created for her. And she was paid more than the rest of us because she blabbed about it, but in a completely un-selfaware way. She had zero secretary experience, we were all underpaid with no COLA raises and in she walks with a higher salary. To her credit, she was a fast learner and able at her job.

      The brothers also hired their niece. Educated and capable, she did well at her job but she, compared to her cousins, was very much aware of how it looked that she was just handed a job. She worked hard to counter that image. However, she casually mentioned at lunch at how she got an unexpected raise on her paycheck. No one replied and I realize now maybe she was fishing to see if others got raises too. No, honey, no one got raises. Only family. (I later realized she was also a bully, attention-seeking and had an appalling lack of sympathy unless the matter or person was related to her somehow.)

      But it wasn’t just the brothers. One of the unrelated higher ups hired his two children because “I don’t want to go to school anymore, dad.” That really burned me up: don’t want to finish school? Fine but don’t expect a hand out of a free job! At least they did work and did well at their jobs. It didn’t seem to bother them at all their jobs were just handed to them while the rest of us had to interview.

      1. Asenath*

        The “I don’t want to go to school, Dad” thing can work out. One of my uncles decided he didn’t want to continue with his education, which was a very high priority for his parents – his father especially regretted that he hadn’t had the option to get more education. “Fine”, his father said. “I can probably get you a job at Local Industry. They’re hiring labourers. But if you’re not going to school, you’re working. “. My uncle didn’t need to spend long on the job before he decided that an education was a better bet than a dead-end job on a labourer’s wages.

    3. Mel*

      I think it’s a whole different mind set. I’ve worked at several family owned businesses and in general there is an expectation that jobs will be favors.

      I’ve *gotten* a job as a favor. Though I only realized that afterwards. I’m not a relation, I just went to church with the guy and other church people pressured him into hiring me! Awkward. But all his hiring picks were like that. He knew their family or had business dealings with their family.

      Another business I worked for was all friends working together (but one owner) and I was the only outside hire. That was -weird-, but whatever. Then the kids of these people started being old enough to need jobs…

      The ones who don’t want to work just have stock in the company. Or maybe a spouse gets the job in their place.

      I’ve known them all since they were young, so I’m really proud of the two who decided to forge their own paths, but also really sad for the ones whose skills have stagnated because they’re not in a real work enough.

      I work for another family owned company now, but you’d never know it. It’s run as if it was, with the exception that the owners are brothers.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        I work for another family owned company now, but you’d never know it. It’s run as if it was, with the exception that the owners are brothers.

        This is how my current company is. You would never know it was family run from the outside and just looking at how the place functions. Everyone is treated well from what I can see, and none of the owners’ kids have super lofty positions in the company – they get (mostly) treated like everyone else.

    4. homesick at space camp*

      I had a similar-ish situation, where I was a nepotism referral to a job that I might not have gotten into on my own (they were gonna hire me as soon as the referral happened, so I have no idea). I basically took it as a step in the door and then did my best to make sure no one ever figured I got hired just because so-and-so sent me over. After a year or so, people expressed surprise when they found out (I never told them, my relative never told them, but other people in the office knew) that I was related to Relative.

      The job I’ve gotten since then was on my own, but it was absolutely on the foundation of that, and I’m aware of it.

    5. LKW*

      I think it entirely depends on the individual and the family. Some families will have the kids work from the bottom and move them up, likely more rapidly, through the ranks to give them perspective on the people they’d eventually be leading. Others will do as this family has done.

      For people who have been handed everything in life, this is par for the course. There’s nothing embarrassing because this has always been the way things are.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        For people who have been handed everything in life, this is par for the course. There’s nothing embarrassing because this has always been the way things are.

        This. They don’t view their privilege as a privilege at all.

        1. Scarlet2*

          Exactly. People are blind to their own privilege. They also tend to assume they’re just “naturally” better than less fortunate people and they simply deserve everything they get.

        2. The Original K.*

          There was an episode of The Good Place recently that had a very mediocre guy touting his very mediocre accomplishments, including inheriting a family business, and the goal was to get him to realize his mediocrity – but instead, once he said all that stuff out loud, he thought of himself as BETTER than he actually was. I’ve come across people like that – everything has always gone well for them and they believe it’s because they’re skilled, not because they’re privileged (of course, it’s possible for people to be skilled AND privileged).

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            (of course, it’s possible for people to be skilled AND privileged)

            Yes, like my current manager. He’s the CEO’s son, but is very good at his job and is an excellent resource for our team because he knows everyone in the company and what they do.

            1. VeryAnon*

              Yes. I’ve worked in family businesses where everyone pulled their weight and did the job well.

      2. Clisby*

        Yes, a family business is part of the wealth the founders want to pass on to their heirs. It makes perfect sense that they’d want to hire at least some of the next generation, although it does not make perfect sense that they’d hire children/other relatives with no aptitude for or interest in the business.

      3. France*

        I agree with this. I got into my field because my dad is very well-known in this sect. However, I worked my ass off and everything else I’ve done on my own. In fact, I’ve been at two other companies since then and none of them knew who my dad was.

        I came out of college during the recession and not even the dollar tree was hiring. I am very grateful I was in the position to get a job pretty fast after graduating because of who I knew.

        1. VeryAnon*

          Lucky you. I’m glad you’re grateful. Cold comfort to those of us who had to go work at ‘dollar tree’ though, while you got a leg up.

    6. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      When you’ve grown up in a family where you’ve never had to really earn anything, I doubt you would feel any shame because it’s the norm.

      It’s similar to kids who don’t responsibility for their actions, because they’ve been raised by parents who do the same and have never made them deal with any real consequences.

      There are always exceptions, but if a kid doesn’t know any different, they wouldn’t see it as a problem.

      1. Clisby*

        I don’t see any particular reason they should feel shame. My children didn’t do anything to earn the house we live in, but they’ll inherit it after my husband and I are dead. I’m sure they’re not going to be silly enough to feel ashamed about it.

        1. VeryAnon*

          An inheritable asset is extremely different from a nepotism hire. If you give your kid a job they don’t merit, it’s bad for them, their peers and the business. If they went to business school for years and are excellent at what they do, then it’s a very different thing. If Chad drops out and learns that his reward for laziness is a free job why would he bother doing anything? What sort of human being thinks it’s ok to coast like that? I’d feel *awful* if I got a job through connections in that way. I’d far rather get a role because I deserve it. Otherwise what’s the point? Why not just give your kid a trust fund and call it a day?

          1. Dot*

            No one actually “deserves” a job. If a family member wants to be part of a family business and works hard to learn how to do the job right, I don’t see that as a negative at all. I also don’t think that makes them ultimately less qualified that someone who worked somewhere else first. Everyone starts somewhere. It just seems like a perfectly fine way to keep a business running. If someone is just coasting along, that’s certainly annoying, but people coast in jobs for all kinds of reasons.

            1. VeryAnon*

              You’re skipping over the ‘if they merit it’ bit. If they do, no problem. I imagine though, that the opinion on this issue is going to be divided between people with well connected families and those who had to make their own way. As the latter, I think the former underestimate how frustrating it can be to bust your ass for years for years to end up in the same job that someone else got handed because they had the right surname.

          2. Clisby*

            Nepotism doesn’t imply that the person hired is unqualified, or lazy, or coasting. They might be completely qualified, and hardworking – and still benefit by being a member of the family. Nothing at all wrong with that. It’s true they’re not *entitled* to the job; but neither is anyone else, family member or not.

    7. Hiring Mgr*

      I think it;s one of those things where they probably knew years ago if they wanted to work at the company they could, and most likely other family members did the same, so I think it’s just seen as par for the course.

      Also, people hire friends of theirs or friends of friends, ex-colleagues, etc all the time.. there are lots of ways to jump the line, not just nepotism

      1. VeryAnon*

        Eh, I have approx one friend I would recommend for a job. Key point though, it’s not because she’s a friend, it’s because she’s excellent at what she does. That’s very different from teaching your kid to be an entitled mooch.

    8. OP1*

      I don’t sense the feeling of shame so much as entitlement from her (but obviously I’m biased). Since she arrived, she has made the effort to distance herself. It’s a 50/50 call if she’ll even say hi in the hallway, she goes out for lunch or eats in her dad’s office with the door shut, she has never spoken to anyone on my team or even me directly about her ideas and she commandeers conference rooms (even if they’re booked for meetings!) to use as her personal office because “she doesn’t like her cubicle”. She left all of her personal accounts logged in one day and we discovered her extensive ideas list for my job and coworkers- so we’ve known what she’s been up to in there now.

      I can understand that she comes in at a disadvantage socially because we’re a close-knit team and she arrives with a label already. But she’s gone out of her way to maintain that distance and ignore basic office courtesies.

      1. VeryAnon*

        No, my first thought was entitlement. Other posters have explained how that thought process goes, it’s just very alien to me. How could you be proud of something you’d been handed like that?

        1. Mills*

          Sometimes you have no other option. If you couldn’t find a job but a family member was willing to hire you…what would you do? Personally I’d choose food on table over my ego/pride.

          1. VeryAnon*

            I’d choose integrity. And often when people say they can’t find a job – they mean they can’t find a job they like. Factories, retail and hospitality are almost always hiring. I would (and have) taken those jobs rather than hit up a relative.

            1. Jackalope*

              Ummm… That’s still kind of assuming things, honestly. I remember my first post-college serious job hunt. I applied at all of the retail places I thought I was even semi-qualified for (it turns out that many of them want you to have at least a passing interest in their widgets to hire you), and no factories in my area. I did eventually cobble together two jobs (one retail and one in maintenance) that I could survive on since my friends were letting me stay with them rent-free, but I couldn’t have survived on that money otherwise even with two jobs. (As in, could not have paid for food and shelter, ignoring anything else.) Not everyone can just go get a job. And having a few hours a week at one job can make it harder to get another job elsewhere unless both employers are willing to be flexible. So really, no, some of us mean that we can’t get a job. Period. (I will add that thankfully I’m in a much better place now but it took awhile.)

              1. Lissa*

                Yeah you’re right about that. People love to talk about how they would never take handouts. It’s a lovely idea, but when you’re struggling, it is not quite so easy to turn down help even if you know others will feel you don’t deserve it. And I don’t think you need to have children to feed to have the moral “right” to put food on your table.
                I worked crappy retail/min. wage jobs for nearly a decade, watching people I know get better opportunities often based on luck or who they knew. I finally got a better job without knowing anyone or having help but you better believe if five years earlier someone had offered me assistance I’d have taken it!
                I absolutely resent that nepotism and who you know is a thing, but I don’t look down on the people taking the jobs necessarily. I mean, some I definitely do, like if you’re already rich or if you’re taking a job in say…politics where you have an outsized impact and no experience. And I doubt the daughter in this letter is actually sympathetic in any way – but more about the whole topic of nepotism and why people would accept a job from a relative.

                1. VeryAnon*

                  I spent over a decade in terrible jobs Lissa, including the sorts of jobs with bosses who yelled (and insisted they didn’t) and salaries that meant I had to freelance / sell my possessions / take out loans. I could have run to my uncle and asked for a job at his law firm, but didn’t. It’s not just me being high minded either. Favours aren’t free and i’d rather owe money to a bank than a favour to a family member.

                2. Lissa*

                  Look, I’m really happy for you that you’re that high minded, but your continuing pretending at bafflement that not everyone thinks like you is coming off as pretty sanctimonious. Most people in a terrible situation would take help. It doesn’t make them morally corrupt.

          2. VeryAnon*

            As a note to that though; I don’t have kids and I appreciate that people with dependents don’t get to choose their integrity and pride. Both those things can be a luxury.

      2. Diahann Carroll*

        Oh, she sounds swell. I can’t wait for her to crash and burn (and yeah, she’s going to have to pray nothing ever happens to this business because, with her attitude, she’s going to have a very hard time getting and keeping a job someplace else).

      3. Mama Bear*

        All the more reason for everyone to jump ship. There’s little incentive to stay if you know now that the family could evict you from your job at any time and you won’t be valued. Is she the adult version of Veruca Salt?

    9. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Not in this case, but sometimes it’s a case of several people having the qualifications, and the owner/manager hires the one they’re related to. The difference between “we’re picking the best-qualified candidate” and “we are picking a qualified candidate, and when a relative is qualified we’ll hire them.”

      From everyone else’s viewpoint, that can look, and be, unfair. From the relative’s viewpoint, it can look like having trained/studied for a position, and now getting a chance to do it, and be paid for it. It might not look like “I haven’t earned it” because they’re aware of having taken those courses, earned the degree or certification, or practiced those skills.

      If ten people have degrees in Teapot Assembly from Wassamatta U., it’s possible to rank them by GPA or class standing. If they all have driver’s licenses, that’s a pass/fail qualification, and the paperwork doesn’t say “got her license on the first try” or “had to take the exam five times.”

      1. Dot*

        How can anyone else make that judgement about them? This just smacks of (oops) mean-spirited jealously.

        My guess is that no one piling on the family business owners owns or runs their own business.

        1. LKW*

          It’s all about the person’s actions. If the daughter had experience or had good ideas, was working collaboratively, perhaps the OP wouldn’t feel so put out. But the OP worked for years to get a promotion and the daughter, who has no experience, comes in and gets that title too. My dad ran his own business, my stepmother and stepbrother both worked there. My stepmother worked her butt off. My stepbrother less so, but he still brought in a lot of business. I worked there one summer and worked random shop floor jobs and office jobs. The girl is entitled and the family is doing themselves a disservice.

        2. VeryAnon*

          And honestly, all your comments smack of someone who’s either engaged in or benefited from nepotism.

          1. Dot*

            VeryAnon, you’ve made a lot of assumptions about me, and it makes it hard to have a productive conversation with you.

            As a matter of fact, I left a job at a family business years ago because I wasn’t good at or excited about it, and I started completely over in a field with zero family connections and worked my way up.

            If I feel any shame about the family business job, it’s that I wish I had been good at it and could have been pivotal in taking it over in time. But I wasn’t, so I moved on. Maybe that’s why I have admiration for people who do take over their family’s businesses and succeed at it. It’s not at all as simple as just being handed a job and being on easy street for the rest of their lives.

            Envy is really poisonous in a workplace. At a one of my previous jobs there was a director who had been hired because she knew the VP. She was young, bright, and talented, and very good at her job, but most of the department resented her because they felt like she didn’t “deserve” her job, even though she was great at it. One coworker that I was friendly terms with was constantly badmouthing her to me, and once refused to ask to her to do a simple task that she had forgotten to do, just out of spite.

            The result of this was that the work wasn’t done on time, and I dealt with the fallout of an entire (justifiably) annoyed department. Coworker threw me and a bunch of other people under the bus just to nurse her resentment. I let her know I wasn’t happy about it, and she never talked to me again. So many pissed off people and one destroyed friendship/business relationship. I hope it was worth it to her.

            “Envy is thin because it bites but never eats.”

            1. VeryAnon*

              It’s an understandable assumption because you keep defending something I think is abhorrent. Accusing other people of jealousy and envy because they had to earn their jobs is not a great stance. Wanting things to be fair and resenting unearned privilege isn’t ‘jealousy’.

    10. MatKnifeNinja*

      Why wouldn’t you? You get a paycheck with little fear of being kicked to the curb. And your other family members are under press to get you up to speed/keep you there. #winning

      Plenty of people would have no trouble with that.

      1. Lissa*

        It’s also really easy to say “Well, *I* would turn down any offer that wasn’t 100% earned on my own merits!” and a lot harder to actually do that in practise. Yes I’m sure some have but you don’t have to be a horrible entitled person to take something handed to you that you see as normal.

        I’ve got a friend who walked into a good job due to family connections. I’m jealous and kinda resentful, yeah, but would I be able to turn something like that down that would result in a seriously good boost to my standard of life? Eh. Probably not.

        1. LKW*

          But that’s not what happened – the daughter took a look around and said “That’s the job I want.” and so she gets it. That’s different than having some basic skills that match up with a job or getting a job through connections. If your friend sucks at her job and isn’t let go – then you know it’s not earned.

          1. Lissa*

            I’m talking about taking a job due to family connections more generally too, not just this exact situation. Honestly I think my friend is probably pretty good at his job, it wasn’t like he was totally unqualified, but for sure he wouldn’t have had it as a guarantee if he wasn’t related.

        2. VeryAnon*

          I would. How could you ever enjoy your job knowing you only got it through connections? Being able to sleep at night is more important than a fancy job.

          1. Lissa*

            It would depend on the situation, honestly. Maybe you’re better than I am, but if I were struggling financially and offered a job I thought I could do, would I take it even if it was only through family/friend connections? I probably would, so long as I thought I could do it.
            I also think a LOT more people would say they would turn down anything through connections than actually would.

            1. Clisby*

              I would not want to take a job I was unqualified for just because of family/friend connections, but if I were qualified, I wouldn’t blink at taking that job. If my parents owned a business, and I found the business interesting, and I had the qualifications to work there, why on earth would I object if they offered me a job? It would be a win for me, and a win for them.

              1. Lissa*

                Yeah – I think part of the issue comes in that a lot of people believe themselves to be qualified for something they aren’t, and there can often be family/friend blinders on that make people think Sister or Cousin would be a great fit for XYZ job and it’s *totally* just a coincidence they’re related!
                I also feel like I see so many people around me benefiting from connections, even if it’s not blood relatives, that I would have a VERY hard time turning down such an opportunity on principle alone.
                Nepotism to me just seems like the most unambiguous example of unearned privilege rather than something in a totally different category.

            2. VeryAnon*

              It would entirely depend on the situation though, and while I’ve linked it to integrity it’s not just about being a ‘better person’. If a friend mentioned a job you are qualified for to you and you applied and got it, I see that as extremely different from someone who flunks out and demands a free job they fancy from an indulgent relative.

              Also I think a lot of people are forgetting obligation flows both ways. If I got a job via a relative I’d find it impossible to push back against unreasonable work demands, or low pay, or unethical practices. How can you object when they’re Faaaaaaamily?

    11. MsSolo*

      I’ve always found it very weird from the hiring side – why risk your business and your money on someone it’s going to be very hard to fire? Never rent to someone you wouldn’t evict, never lend more money than you’d gift to someone you wouldn’t pursue for it in court, never hire someone you wouldn’t fire. Family businesses just blow my mind (especially because they often cross all of these boundaries, where people are dependent on each other for housing and wages and loans in mad tangles that don’t necessarily follow the hierarchies of the business).

    12. pleaset*

      A lot of us get benefits from our parents that other people don’t have. As long as we work hard, we feel we’ve earned what I have. For example, my parents paid for college. I still worked hard at it.

      More generally, I think if someone gets a job through nepotism and actually works hard at it (not saying the person described by the OP will) they can easily think they deserve it as much as anyone – they’re doing work. They might not brag about they got the job but they’d be fine talking about how they work the job.

    13. Just Another Manic Millie*

      “Also, does anyone else find the kids who benefit from this nepotism really strange? Why would on earth would you want a job someone else handed to you like that? Wouldn’t you feel ashamed knowing you hadn’t earned it?”

      VeryAnon, you’re kidding, right? Do you think that Prince Charles and Prince William have felt shame for even one second because they are going to be handed the job of being King of England without having done anything to earn it? Being the first-born son of a particular woman does not constitute earning a particular job. IMHO anyway. And do you think that Prince George will ever feel ashamed? I don’t.

      I have worked for a few family-owned companies. Entitlement to jobs was a given for the owners’ children. At one company, a co-worker once complained to me that he was tired of the owner’s son constantly telling him, “You had better be nice to me, because one of these days, YOU’LL be working for ME!” I said, “But it’s true.” Well, it would be true unless my co-worker left the company. My co-worker eventually left. So did I, because the company started giving raises only to family members, not to the rest of us, with the stupidest excuse you could think of. The non-family employees who stuck around anyway were eventually fired. Because they didn’t understand that when the company didn’t hand out raises, it was a sign that the non-family employees weren’t wanted any more.

      1. VeryAnon*

        I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say. Would it be helpful context if I told you I think the monarchy should be abolished? I think if they have half a brain both men know they’re benefiting from unearned privilege.

        But given that their grandfather recently got a pass for literally running people over, and their great grandmother ran up huge gambling debts that were inexplicably passed on to the taxpayer – no I doubt they have shame. They should though! There should be no country where disabled people starve to death while wealthy people live in palaces because they happen to be interestingly bred.

        1. Just Another Manic Millie*

          “Would it be helpful context if I told you I think the monarchy should be abolished?
          Yes, it certainly would, because that’s how I feel, too! And I’m sick and tired of hearing about Kate, because if she had married someone else, or hadn’t married anyone, no one in the USA who had never met her would give two hoots about what she wore or what her children were like.

          But I don’t mean to derail this thread. So I will say that there are lots of people who are willing to accept jobs that are offered to them just because of whom they are related to. I know a guy who told TPTB at his company that his niece would be perfect for a job there. So she was hired without having to be interviewed or tested, and she never gave them a resume, only because her uncle vouched for her. She was told to show up on Monday at 9:00 AM. TPTB didn’t know her from a hole in the wall. Her uncle vouched for her, and that was good enough for them.

          After a few days, she decided that she wanted to take the afternoon off, so she pretended to receive a call on her cell phone (or maybe she actually received a call on her cell phone), and she started screaming that her grandmother just died, and she ran out of the office. Her uncle was away on a business trip, so I guess she figured that she was safe. People figured out that her grandmother was her uncle’s mother (I guess she had told people that she had only one grandmother), and even though her uncle wasn’t in the office, people called him on his cell phone to offer their condolences. Can you imagine the fright he felt before he found out from another relative that his mother was still alive? He told his company the truth, and his niece got fired.

          At one of my former jobs, the owner’s son didn’t work there, but he hung around the office all the time. He kept telling me to do things contrary to how I had been instructed. When I refused, he would say either “Well, I’ll have to discuss this with my father!” or “I wonder what my father would say if he knew you said that” or “My father wouldn’t like this, and I’ve known him a lot longer than you have!” He kept at it and kept at it, until finally he stopped completely. All I can think is that he finally complained about me to his father, and his father said that I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and maybe he even told his son to stop complaining about me.

          There was another son who would come in periodically and use several hundred dollars worth of postage from the postage meter, saying “My father said I could!”

          There was another son who had a summer job there. One day, the office manager said that she needed him to run an errand and deliver an envelope. She went to get the envelope. He immediately got up and ran out the door. The office manager came back with the envelope and asked us where he was. We had to tell her that he had run out the door as soon as she stepped away. Of course, since he was the owner’s son, nothing happened.

    14. Jackalope*

      So there is a blurring of the lines here between the kind of nepotism (from both friends and family) where you get the job at least partly based on your connections but are qualified for the job (or it’s entry level) and the foot in the door was all you needed vs in OP1’s case where the person is unqualified and not trying to work at all. I cannot for the life of me see why it would be shameful to get a job from the first method; people get hired for strange reasons all the time, and if having attended the same grad school or having the same hobby or whatever is enough to push you past the rest of the crowd into a job offer, why not the fact that you know someone?

      1. VeryAnon*

        It’s the latter I find infuriating. The former is irritating, but on a more macro, class war level. I’ve worked with people who had far more advantages than me, but they worked hard and I never resented them. I resent anyone who expects everything handed to them. Apart from anything else they never seem to recognise how bad it is *for them*.

  24. Just Elle*

    The other day I heard my boss say grand-boss “smacked his pee-pee” so… I mean…

    I get why you’re afraid that “yelling” is conveying something negative about your management style. But I think everyone else who she’s saying this to (presumably coworkers you also interact with) know that 1) you aren’t a yeller and 2) this is a common colloquialism for ‘reprimanded’

      1. Just Elle*

        No, but he has a 12 year old so maybe he’s trying to be “hip like the kids these days”????
        I had to suppress a laugh-sob at the mental image.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Even if the reasonable people at OP’s job know that she wouldn’t “yell” at their employee, OP needs to cover her ass and get ahead of this.

      And your boss – WT actual F?

      1. ChimericalOne*

        It’ll be seen as a wild overreaction if OP tries to “cover her ass” because OP’s employee is using a colloquialism. Just as you’d seem crazy for calling CPS or sitting down for a Serious Talk with a kid if you overheard him say, “Man, my dad totally disowned me after that!” — the phrasing and tone of which make it perfectly clear that the student isn’t actually being mistreated.

  25. 2horseygirls*

    LW#4 – I am still old school enough that I have my full mailing address, phone number, email, and Linked In profile under my name on my resume (thank the stars for Myriad Pro Condensed!)

    I can only imagine that it was formatted to send to a recruiter, who does not want the client to be able to contact the candidate directly, and potentially lose their commission.
    Although it would be very easy to look someone up on Linked In to contact them, or Google them and hopefully find an email address, I could see how a busy HR person would not have the time to investigate.

    While I have never been asked to remove the information, and always submit a password-protected PDF of my resume, that is the only thing I can come up with.

  26. Mel*

    That’s pretty abnormal. In general I think only HR and the hiring tea will be seeing a resume, not the whole department.

    But even if they passed it around the whole department, no one cares enough to jot down the contact info for someone they’ve never met.

    1. Quill*

      I’d love to be hired by tea… ;)

      I imagine that being surrounded by caffeinated beverages would be a nice place to work.

      1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

        Not all hiring teas are caffeinated; some departments need a herbal leader, perhaps a fruit infusion.

    2. juliebulie*

      Last time I was looking for a job, I got the distinct impression that someone had downloaded my resume from Monster or Dice or someplace and shared it with 1000 recruiters in faraway lands. Then, every time a software job was posted anywhere in the US, no matter how short the contract or how low the pay or mismatched the qualifications, my phone would ring a dozen times or more with recruiters all calling me about the same job.

      I got emails too, but there were more phone calls and those were more disruptive.

      So, yes, I’m definitely more selective about the contact info I put on my resume. Not so selective that no one can find me… but in certain fields it really can become a problem if your resume escapes into the wild.

      And I would like to drink a hiring tea. :-)

  27. Liza*

    Regarding resume contact info: is it possible that they had put their contact details into the header of their resume using Microsoft Word or similar? I’ve worked with one ATS that stripped the headers off of documents. (I learned that when I gave an otherwise excellent candidate the heads-up that his contact information wasn’t on his resume. He was startled to hear it, he said he had put it in the header.)

  28. homesick at space camp*

    I can answer #4 and it goes right to the bit in the letter that says “Our ATS does require you to type in your contact info”. I personally have my contact info on my resume, but I never send out a resume separate from an online system that requires me to type in all my contact info anyway. Why have it taking up space on the resume as well, when a resume, from my applicant perspective, is already attached to that information? And when a resume is separated from it, such as someone having it with them when I interview, well, if they’re gonna contact me to offer me the job, they’re presumably going through the HR applicant system, which already has my info.

    Again, I do have that info on my resume (including mailing address), but I can very very very easily see why people leave it off, especially if resume space is tight.

  29. Mannheim Steamroller*

    Letter #1 reminds me of this item from The Onion…

  30. SigneL*

    OP 1: I second everything Alison said. I’d like to add this: every year you stay in a job that pays you below market rates, you hurt yourself twice. First, you’re losing the money you should be making somewhere that pays at or above market rates. And second, you’re harming your future, because future earnings are often pegged to your current salary.

    Go out there and get a great job! You can do it!

    1. OP1*

      I’ve never thought of it like that! This was/is my first job out of college and I genuinely never thought I was good enough to leave until this project is completed/in six months when I have this skill/some other reason. But as I’ve been sending out my resume, I’ve realized that I have a really strong skill set and portfolio to take with me.

      Thank you!

      1. Buttons*

        Exactly! The reason you are underpaid is that they keep hiring their family members who aren’t qualified to do the work, so they are now paying them and someone who will do the work. Paying two people to do one job is expensive.

        Good luck!!

      2. londonedit*

        So often, when people are in their first job after college/uni, they see it as the employer doing them a favour by ‘allowing’ them to work there. That’s not how it’s meant to be! You don’t exist solely to give 100% of your heart and soul to your employer; it’s a business transaction and it’s meant to be mutually beneficial. You have skills; the company hires you to use those skills, and they give you compensation (salary, benefits, the opportunity to learn and grow) in return. At the point where a job is no longer beneficial to you, you absolutely are good enough to look for something else! No one deserves to have their time and skills wasted in a job that doesn’t reward them properly for their work.

  31. Solar Moose*

    A place that would decline my candidacy because I didn’t provide a phone number is probably a place I don’t want to work. I don’t pick up calls from unexpected numbers anyway.

    (That said, I’ve always had an email on my resume.)

    1. Quill*

      Same. Also, especially if you’re a recruiter, I need your offer in writing so I can save it, and NO I will not verbally accept anything over a phone, or be suckered into a vague 15 minute conversation about my resume and then have you add me to your “candidate stable.”

      Plus, requiring people to be primarily contacted by phone is de facto descriminating against the hard of hearing…

  32. JediSquirrel*

    #1: Bullet dodged! Most small, family-owned companies are an HR trainwreck because they figure everyone should work as hard and as long as they do for very little pay. And they have a poor/missing sense of boundaries. I’ll never work for one again.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s so unacceptable that people lump everything under a heading of “most” when reality is it’s not even close to the majority.

      Nobody here likes hearing that “all government employees are lazy” or “all big business treat you like a replaceable number in the system”. So frigging stop it already.

      1. JediSquirrel*

        You’re right.

        I said “most”. I should have said “all the small, family-owned companies I have worked for.”

        (I am currently stressing with getting out of the current one.)

  33. StaceyIzMe*

    For LW2 with the direct report using hyperbole about how she “got smacked” etc… when corrected: you should mention it in passing because it affects reputation and how seriously remarks are taken when exaggerated, in my view. Even in that context, however, it’s a stylistic hiccup, not a reason to “correct” the employee. People who use colorful or larger than life language may be a little grandiose. But- being corrected at work can feel a little like a smack- it leaves a sting sometimes, even when warranted. Employees are policed with respect to language and expression, generally. In many cases, it’s warranted. Here, maybe not.

  34. HigherEd on Toast*

    I’ve seen people leave really weird things off their CV’s and job applications in the name of “privacy.” I work in academia and have had colleagues who didn’t want to provide how many years of teaching experience they had on an application (…how are they going to know how experienced you actually are?), what kind of degree they had (something that will absolutely kill you in a lot of academic jobs, where if they require, say, a Master’s they’re not going to bother looking at someone who refuses to divulge whether they have it or not), and what their current institution was (again, they’re probably not going to consider someone who won’t even tell them whether they’re currently employed or not). One colleague who asked me to look at her “CV” for spelling mistakes literally had her name, the job title she DESIRED instead of the one she had, and under headings like “Publications” and “Teaching Experience,” the sentence “Just ask me.” I told her this wasn’t going to get her hired anywhere, and she seemed astonished. “But they can ask me!” Uh, no, they’re not going to bother.

  35. AdAgencyChick*

    I hope OP1 gets a big fat raise when she jumps ship. (Keep your salary history under wraps as much as you can!)

  36. Amethystmoon*

    #2 Depends on how the feedback is given. In the past, I have worked on teams with bad managers that liked to raise their voice over little things and in front of other team members. The manager may *think* they are not actually raising their voice, but they are. If the employee in addition had a toxic parent or two, or was bullied for years in their youth as I was, such things are very triggering. And no I’m not a millennial. I went through many years of being depressed due to the bullying & toxic parent. Of course, any intelligent manager is never actually going to hit someone, but verbal abuse can feel like a punch to the gut, especially if it happens over time.

    1. AnonAndFrustrated*

      Thank you. I have a coworker who regularly has loud yelling angry personal phone calls that don’t involve me but happen where I can hear them, and they are very intimidating and triggering for me because it sounds like they are being aggressive or threatening to the other party on the call. I’m not comfortable with that even if the threatening behavior isn’t toward me. People need to be aware that yelling in the workplace isn’t acceptable, unless I guess you’re a stock trader on the floor of the NYSE.

  37. agnes*

    I can understand leaving a physical address off of a resume, but for goodness sakes, put an email/phone number on there. You want a job, right? If the person cannot contact you, you’re not getting the job. And to those who say “well my contact info is on the application” I would say—you don’t know how the company disburses your information or how much access the hiring manager has to the data in the Applicant Tracking System. Your job with a resume is two fold—make the company interested in interviewing you, and make it easy for them to reach you.

    And if you are looking for a job, well I suggest answering your phone if you can, even if it’s a number you don’t recognize. If it’s someone you don’t want to talk to, you can certainly quickly get off the phone, but if it’s someone you do want to talk to, they may have limited time to play telephone tag. Yes the labor market is tight, but there are still a huge number of qualified applicants looking for jobs in certain industry fields–I just got over 200 applications for a community outreach person for my organization, and many of them are well qualified. I’m not going to spend vast amounts of time researching how to get in touch with someone or leaving multiple messages. I want to hire someone who wants to work for us, and that includes being reasonably accessible.

  38. voyager1*

    LW1: I am going to disagree here with AAM. This job is your only professional experience, that means they are the only place a new job is going to call. If it is a family business and you do what they perceive as unprofessional/rude that could really impact a reference. I would suck it up and be gracious when you leave.

    I agree that this situation stinks for you and is wrong.

      1. OP1*

        Correct- my immediate boss and her boss are not family! And they butt heads with the family constantly but they’re in a position of power that I don’t have obviously. My boss has been an amazing mentor and has been very candid with me about this.

        When I leave, I think I will tell her it was the deciding factor and on my exit interview sheet (which should go to HR and possibly higher ups) mention the other factors (cameras, low pay, no structure for growth beyond associate level, etc.)

        1. voyager1*

          You have a no family member boss? Use that person for any reference. Sounds like you have a good relationship with them, stay in touch with them too.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think we disagree; I didn’t suggest she burn any bridges, just that she explain this is what drove her to start looking. It’s not hostile to explain that having half your job taken away would drive you to job search.

      1. voyager1*

        I see it more as: The family knows what they are doing (pushing LW out), and it is LW’s job to help family member.

        I should have pointed out I agree with you on that point. I probably came off disagreeing more then I meant too. Sorry about that.

        I just can’t see the family reacting well to someone telling them they know what is going down. They know how wrong it is… and if they don’t… well they have some serious life outlook problems.

  39. kinvitation*

    OP#1 – your situation stinks, but one positive that comes out of this is that it sounds like you’re in a better job title now, and that’s your springboard to a new position. Sometimes the title that comes with a promotion is more valuable than the bump in pay. And if you have copies of your stellar performance evaluations, you can incorporate some of that positive feedback into your personal narrative for the cover letter or interview.

  40. Quill*

    For resumes without phone info: Possibly they’re used to contractors who call them at all hours with absolute spam about jobs that would require them to move cross country / that an out of state contractor thinks are “nearby” but are really 3 hours away, or are just absolute detail-free time sucks.

    My inbox is full of these every week because my phone number is on my resume, and a third of them are from MLM schemes or things wildly not suited to my education or experience. Another third wants me to relocate for temporary work. And yet another third wants to offer me well below what I currently make.

    I mean, I absolutely would put my phone number back on for a direct submission to a company, but there are so many job portals these days that may or may not go directly to the company, but are probably going through a third party hiring service.

    1. Some Windex for my Glass Ceiling please*

      I no longer include phone contact info on resume. Hence, I no longer receive calls at odd hours from life insurance companies telling me I’m the perfect candidate to sell insurance (“I’m a biochemist. I applied for a lab job. How the heck did my resume end up with you folks??”). And those were the sane callers.

      I do include the email address. Responders will then ask for my phone number. That is acceptable to me.

      1. Quill*

        Favorites so far in the field of wildly unlikely job openings have been an offer to “teach chinese in china” which I assume was either a typo for “teach english in china” or created by a neural net, a company that refused to give me a full job description and / or phone screen before I flew cross country on the promise of being “reimbursed” for it (I assume they were going to steal my kidneys: yes, they said they were a microbiology lab), an opportunity to “work in antarctica” (sadly there were no more details), and someone who really and truly seemed to think that a bachelor’s in environmental science meant I had a degree in HVAC engineering. (Not all STEM skills are transferrable!)

        1. Some Windex for my Glass Ceiling please*

          Gotta give ’em points for creativity.

          “work in Antarctica” = means working in an office that is not heated. So winters are just like being in Antarctica.

    2. CircleBack*

      This a million times – I had uploaded my resume to a couple recruiting sites, and my contact information ended up being shared with random recruiters spamming me with completed unrelated jobs. So I took my contact information completely off my resume when I posted to job sites. I added it back for reliable, company-specific applications, but I can see job-seekers getting mixed up.

  41. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

    OP1: I think because this is your first job, you normalized a lot of dysfunctional things, like the cameras in your office. While your immediate boss sounds good, upper management is horrible and like Alison says, you needed to get out of there anyway. I doubt this company will even survive the way it is currently run, since all there employees will likely quit.

    1. 1234*

      They’ll still survive. It’s called burn and churn. They just keep bringing on new bodies who don’t know any better. Or, new bodies who see the light at the end of the tunnel and get out.

  42. Pennalynn Lott*

    OP #1 – Definitely a blessing in disguise! No job is permanent. Over the years, I’ve changed my inner monologue from, “Look what great things I’ve done for you, Company!” to “This is really going to make me attractive to my next employer.” I mean, I still do what’s best for my current employer, but now I also am keenly aware of how that will help make me more desirable to future employers.

  43. Buttons*

    Contact info is being left off resumes because people are uploading their resumes to LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter type job search sites, and prospective employers or recruiters should contact them through those platforms. What they fail to realize is that they need to have a public, online version of their resume and one they actually give directly to a recruiter either through email or their online job application portal which has their contact information.
    So for those reading- anything that is posted to LinkedIn or other searchable job boards, use a version of your resume that does not have your phone number or email address.
    For applying to jobs directly to the company, or through email, use a version of your resume that has your contact information. You can leave off your address.
    Also– Do not send or post your resume in a Word document. Save your resume as a PDF before sending it or uploading it. This will make it more difficult for anyone to alter the information and it will preserve your formating.

  44. Camera Shy*

    #1….ahhhh what IS it with family businesses and surveillance?! My old job was also a family business, had cameras everywhere, low pay, the base benefits you could legally get away with, etc. I staying in it way too long, get out NOW.

    I also really want to passive-aggressively give this link to my old boss. I am STILL salty that I got entrapped there.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We’ve never had cameras anywhere but the cruddy restaurant I walked out of because they called me when I was waiting for surgery and then again when I was healing. They sucked because they’re the restaurant industry though. Cameras around large amounts of cash makes sense.

      I see more cameras in larger scale places than small operations.

      1. Amethystmoon*

        I work for a large corporation and I know they have cameras, but I’m not sure where they all are. Generally, they do tend to be near building entrances, I think — have seen the security guy’s desk once.

  45. roger that*

    #5: I recently submitted a similar question; thanks for answering, Alison! My cancer was stage 3 but I have some genetic factors complicating things such that losing FMLA protections scares me. If you can swing it, OP5, I say, go for the job change! It helps me cope with the cancer stuff to know that I have other options and have some control/agency in other areas of my life, because we get no control over cancer. Just my two cents, but sometimes having agency in other areas of my life really helps me, and a job change feels like a lot of agency! :)

    1. OP5*

      Yes, thanks for answering, Alison! We can always count on you for sound advice. I appreciate the additional detail about not qualifying for FMLA for the first year. I knew about the company size and FMLA.

      I love my job but the company has gone downhill, the expectations have gotten unreasonable, it can now be needlessly stressful with sloppy work due to time pressures. I’ve been weighing what I have and what I might lose with leaving. Sometimes it’s hard to know what you’ll gain from a job change besides the big things – salary, benefits, time off. I think I’m a good determiner of what the stress level will be on a job but sometimes it’s hard to decide if the culture is a good fit. What’s really kept me back is the diagnosis.

      roger that: are you making a job change?

      1. roger that*

        I’m thinking about it. I applied for an internal promotion, and if that doesn’t happen, I have a few things to investigate. I’m still actually pretty happy at my job, but it helps to feel like I have options. The actual change scares me, because I’ve needed FMLA quite a bit over the last four years. I’m definitely not making any changes before next spring, but then I may get more serious, depending on what happens between now and then at work and with my health.

  46. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    #1 Go smiling quietly into the night on these people! I would be truthful but keep it breezy. “With my position being split I don’t feel I’m able to grow here any longer. So I’ve taken a position with more opportunities available.”

    This is pretty much a solid starter job. You got 3 years of experience and should have your legs under you for a new, higher paying position.

    Please don’t let this screw with your head and make you assume everywhere is like their setup. Each business is run by individuals with different goals and visions.

    My first job was in a tarp tent built inside a busted warehouse in the industrial zone of a dirty city. Ownership was eccentric to say the least. But I took all I learned there and landed in better places just about every time. That’s just your launching pad. You will succeed in blowing that popsicle stand for more money, benefits and treatment.

  47. Slanted & Enchanted*

    OP#5 — I have a very good friend who has been fighting aggressive, stage 4 breast cancer for the last 18 months. She also just started a new job with a major promotion a couple of months ago. She barely disclosed her diagnosis at the company she just left, much less her new company. (Like you, she handled treatment well and rarely missed work.)

    She did time her job hunt carefully so that she had completed surgery, chemo, radiation, and reconstructive surgery before she really amped up her job search, although she interviewed throughout the entire 18 months. She wanted to be confident that she wouldn’t need to be immediately out of the office as soon as she started. Good luck and I hope your prognosis continues to be positive and that you are successful in your job search.

  48. fhqwhgads*

    For #2 I’ve known a very large number of people who use “yelled at” as synonymous with “chastized” or “scolded” or even “talked to in any way that clearly indicates the speaker is displeased”. They rarely use it as synonymous with “shouted at” or “screamed at” and do not use it to imply a raised voice. This seems to be an ingrained language thing that I strongly suspect it would be extremely difficult to get the person to change.
    However, the “smacked” and “in trouble” bit are way hyperbolic for the situation, so Alison’s script may put the kibosh on that. And if the employee cares about changing, she might try to stop using “yelled,” but I do think there’s a strong possibility that even the conversation itself, even if the most calmly stated thing in the world, will register with this person as getting “yelled at” about saying they were “yelled at”.

    1. Amethystmoon*

      Yeah, actually getting “in trouble” depends on the company. Some do have writeups with # of writeups leading to being fired rules.

  49. knitcrazybooknut*

    I totally misread the title as “Company is giving my lunch to the boss’ daughter” and I was royally pissed. I mean, the job is worse, but the lunch is just too petty.

    1. Iron Chef Boyardee*

      If that was really what happened, I’d recommend that future lunches be prepared extra mega-triple spicy.

  50. 1234*

    OP #1 – The details that you’ve provided in your letter to Alison and in the comments make me think that I worked at the same company years ago (cameras, family business, being paid hourly, being underpaid, marketing/advertising industry, great coworkers/boss but not upper management) Any chance you work in an east coast city where a lot of people don’t have cars and rely on the subway to get around, but not in the main part of the city? :) The only details I couldn’t relate to is a VP having a daughter old enough to have graduated college and not being able to talk when upper management was around but then again, that may have changed.

    I wanted to offer support and let you know that there is a better opportunity for you out there. My team and I were all in agreement that Family Business was a “stepping stone” and we were going to do what we had to, use that experience, and GTFO. My friend actually took a job at the company I worked at years after I left and stayed for about 3 years, just like yourself. (I did not recommend or refer her) She used her experience at Family Business to land a much better role elsewhere and has since been promoted at her new company. Based on LinkedIn, former coworkers have also used their experience to land other roles at Big Name Bank, Big Name Publishing House, Big Ad Agency, etc. I landed a “dream job at the time” at a place where they were looking for a candidate with my experience to round out their team based on some new responsibilities/projects they were awarded.

    I don’t regret my time at Family Business. I learned a lot and it gave me the experience that I needed to get where I wanted to go but I will say, the place was a revolving door. When I was leaving, someone on my team had just handed in her notice.

  51. ArtK*

    OP #1: Good on you for bailing out. I can just about guarantee that the “sharing” would work out this way: She gets the title and you get the work.

  52. TootsNYC*

    LW#1 – boss’s daughter is taking your job

    Treat this like a great training exercise in management, delegation, division of duties, etc. It’s true that you would want to do those jobs, and that it’s probably more efficient. And it may be that the final decision for the division of labor won’t be what YOU think would be wise or effective.

    But you can learn a lot by treating it like a real exercise–both for “how would we divide this job in general” and for “How would we divide this job to cater to (capitalize on?) someone’s particular interests (skills?).”

    And then you’ll have gotten some kind of growth out of this time period as you look for new work. This exercise could be the thing that pops you up to a more managerial level someday.

  53. TootsNYC*

    For LW#2, whose employee overstates feedback:

    I’d also add this:

    “In fact, when you overstate the feedback I give you, and cast is as some sort of punishment or ‘getting in trouble,’ it makes me think that you are crowding your mind with defensiveness and exaggeration, and that you won’t have either the attention or the mind-set to absorb the information and take in all the information you need in order to modify your performance. It decreases my confidence in your abilities.
    “It’s not a good look for you, and I need to see that you are properly regarding feedback, and not catastrophizing it.”

    I have said this to people–that the way they are reacting to my input is damaging my confidence in how they will react to it. And it has been successful.

    1. Dot*

      Wow, good for you. It’s good to know that this kind of pushback is successful in real life and doesn’t just lead to more problems.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I will say–I don’t go on and on about it. They get something similar to what I typed, maybe shorter. And then I move on and let them process it.

  54. Imaginary Number*

    I’ve found that people nearly always use hyperbole when talking about voice levels and that tends to increase if the subject is a woman:

    “They yelled at me” = “They said something negative”

    “They screamed at me” = “They said something negative while standing up.”

  55. Bananatiel*

    OP5 – As a fellow cancer survivor– remember that it’s not abnormal to ask about health insurance as part of the job search/interview process too, especially if you have any concerns about your cancer center/hospital/oncologist not being covered when you switch insurance. That’s something a completely healthy person with no cancer history might do anyway. Maybe that’s obvious to you, but as a young adult survivor, I know fellow young people that have been afraid to ask potential employers so I just thought I’d throw that out there!

    Good luck with any ongoing treatment you might be in!

  56. Manders*

    OP #1, I’ve been in a very similar position as a marketer at a small family-owned business that treated its non-family members pretty poorly. It’s been my observation that nepotism hires often end up in the marketing department. It’s one of those fields where you don’t need any formal certification to do the work, there’s a lot of “busy work” that can make you look productive if you don’t fully understand what you’re doing, and higher-ups don’t always believe the work is important or understand how to tell a successful campaign from an unsuccessful one.

    I strongly encourage you to keep job hunting and to look for companies that seem like they’re making their marketing department a priority, not an afterthought. I learned a ton about marketing at the first job I got after I swore off working for small family businesses. I didn’t realize how much that culture of nepotism was keeping people at the top who’s stagnated in their knowledge and didn’t really care about keeping up with the field. Plus, I learned that marketing salaries are way, way higher than I’d been led to believe. I was being underpaid, and also nickel-and-dimed on resources, because the higher-ups didn’t believe my work was valuable.

    Best of luck!

    1. RC Rascal*

      Plus, marketing sounds fun. And it’s fun to talk about when you are hanging out with friends. Marketing! Website! Inter webs. I’m cool!!

  57. Greg*

    OP1: I was once in a similar situation of having someone else usurp my role (not a family member of management, but still), and my dad made a really good observation that has stuck with me: Whether or not they are trying to force you out, they are sending you a clear message that they don’t care all that much about retaining you.

    Imagine a scenario in which they truly valued you as an employee but were faced with this dilemma of how to accommodate the family member. They might promote you and have her report into you. They might move you to a different department. They would explicitly tell you, “You’re doing a great job and we don’t want to lose you.”

    But from the sound of things, they did none of that. Maybe it’s because they view you as an inconvenience. Maybe they’re just clueless about retaining good employees. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Their actions make it clear they are OK with losing you. Which, taken with all the other red flags Allison points out, means you should get out as soon as possible.

  58. Rainy days*

    Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but I like it when people put their address on resumes. I live in a big city with very bad traffic, hiring for part-time work, so it helps me figure out who would be a good fit for certain locations (“oh, we only offer 3 hour shifts at a time in X site so I doubt Applicant will want to drive an hour to get there.”) If I see that someone lives very far, it gives me something to alert them to early on if they move forward in the hiring process so we don’t waste both our time.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Yeah, this is my life story being in Seattle and so many random times “Oh sorry, I’m actually in Bremmerton.” GURL our address is in the job posting, why did you even try.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yeah we have a lot of islands as well that require ferry travel…yet we get people who are shocked they have to you know, get on a ferry and come to the office. In no way do any of our jobs read as “this can be done remotely”.

  59. ShortT*

    #2: I used to have a friend like this. Whenever someone would say something to her, even a simple and polite no, she would react hyperbolically. It made taking anything she had to say seriously difficult. After a while, she couldn’t be trusted to provide an accurate.

  60. Andream*

    I want to add that the employee ho says she got yelled at may interpret it this way, even if there is no shouting. She may have had bad experience with previous bosses, or maybe even in her personal life. I would ask why she uses those terms and how she feels when given feedback. I’ve been in her position where my 1st job after college you were literally yelled at and in trouble for some pretty silly things and stuff you can’t control, i.e customer gave bad rating because we couldn’t give him a free cell phone ( call center for phone company). How badly I was treated at my first job definitely affected how I preceived things like feedback from other jobs. Even though I wasn’t being g yelled at I felt like I had been.

  61. Close Bracket*

    You could add, “Adults don’t get in trouble. They get feedback on their work, and that’s how we should refer to it.”

    Just how fine is the line between nitpicking wording and re-framing?

  62. Jane’s Mgr*

    OP2 Commenter – Do you think the mgr who hears her employee using exaggerated phrases like “I got smacked” is asking for advisement because she’s guilty of intimidating and providing feedback harshly? I think not. She’s honestly looking for a way to manage the predicament she’s in and trying to find ways to coach her employee effectively.

  63. Regina Philange*

    #4 -when I was on unemployment, I had to go to a state run job hunting workshop where the instructor told us not to put contact info on our resumes because one never knows where the info might end up. Um, with the hiring manager, so they can interview us?

    It was like the state wanted to keep giving us money… It was baffling.

Comments are closed.