updates: the headphones ban, the written questions at a job interview, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My boss told me to stop wearing headphones at work — but I wear them to drown out my coworker’s noise

So weirdly … nothing happened. I started wearing one earbud and then two and no one has said a thing since those first initial conversations. I have been more conscious about acknowledging when someone who doesn’t work in our office space comes in but even though I know that people have seen me with the earbuds in, no one has said a single thing to me in all these months. So I’ve got no idea why it was such an issue in the first place! At any rate, Jane has seemed to clue in to the fact that I’m not a very talkative person and has seemed a little more respectful of that in more recent months. It even feels like she’s been listening to her radio a bit quieter, too!

I am now, frustratingly, dealing with a bigger issue of being assigned to a customer-facing role (something that I was not hired for nor had expected to become my day-to-day job here) due to budget reasons. My co-worker Jane is more or less keeping her same responsibilities, though, as she has been there a lot longer than I have. So now I’m facing the question of if I should stick it out in this new role that is quite different from what I was hired to do while waiting for her to retire (she is over 65 though I do understand that sometimes people are unable to retire at or close to that age for various reasons) or to move on (moving on being somewhat difficult as there’s few if any opportunities like this one in my area and this was about as close to my dream job as I’d ever expected to get). My manager also doesn’t seem to quite get why I’m upset (yes I still have “a” job at the company but not the job I was offered/hired for and have been doing) so that’s… fun.

Even though I did not really have a chance to implement all of yours and the commenters’ suggestions, I’m super grateful for them all- especially for all the comments expressing sympathy as it reassured me that I wasn’t being irrational in my irritation at her listening choices/volume at work!

2. My client called me “beloved” (#3 at the link)

I’m the Torah scribe who wanted her employers to stop calling her “beloved”–been meaning to send you an update for ages, but there isn’t a happy ending so far.

Your answer and the commentariat helped me realize I wasn’t articulating the problem precisely.

I do understand that when you’re a Torah scribe, people are going to project their emotions about the Torah onto you. I’m okay with that. Really. I can cope with being followed into the bathroom by people who want to keep talking and with the strange love letters that come to my home address. I even respond graciously when people ask me questions about the relationship between my work schedule and my menstrual cycle, which invariably happens and is not part of most jobs. The hugs and the tears and the life stories and all the emotional aspects are endearing and energizing, even in twelve-hour stints. It’s a profoundly beautiful part of the job.

That type of beloved is fine. It’s just that a small subset of the people who love the Torah are also the ones setting the project budget and processing your invoices, and when they see you as beloved, they’re your bosses, but now there’s a “faaaamily” dynamic. And there is a pattern: the more your boss sees you as a beloved member of the family, the more annoyed they seem to get when you would rather be treated as a compensated professional than as a family member–if you don’t want to spend ten days on a couch on the other side of the country only being paid for two hours a day, or if you count being the speaker at fundraising dinners as part of your workday, or if you see flying eight hours red-eye as different from a half-hour drive and set your rates accordingly. And so on. Because faaaamily.

Naturally one deals with the results in a calm and professional way (thanks AAM for so many good scripts) but it’s a lot of anger and disappointment to diffuse, which is wearing. I do still dream of being able to change course on that dynamic when it first comes up, just to reset the expectations politely and establish a working relationship with the project committee. Ultimately the scribe is not the Torah and when you’re dealing with the scribe’s invoices it’s better to separate your feelings for the two.

I’m still waiting for my last invoice to be paid, a year after completing the project to the congregation’s satisfaction.

Update to the update: 

I did get paid eventually for the most recent one. After many many calls and emails, I got through to the one person who was both horrified that I’d not been paid and was willing to do something about it. The congregation love their new scroll and I’m very happy for them. 

3. How can I help my coworker be less helpful? (#3 at the link)

After seeing the points in the comments about birds being very bad for respiratory issues, and as I have amply demonstrated being a delicate breather… my boss had enough leverage to get the bird taken home, that night. (Apparently he’d already been working on it, diplomatically, as he does….and my request was enough to tip the scales!) Helpful was actually in the process of spending a pile of money on the canary, and when I went to tell her that he would be going home, I was able to catch her before she ordered a bunch of bird accessories.

I have continued to make my own tea. :)

I really appreciated some of the advice on not giving her any more ways to “help” me. Nothing has changed as far as her attitude, but I am clear of most of it. We did butt heads this morning on the topic of owner Christmas gifts (thanks to my AAM habit, I am not comfortable gifting up, and was able to kindly express that!). Helpful disagreed that there is a power dynamic (which is super weird?!) at play, but isn’t pushing for me to participate. IMO her friendly relationship with the owner is clouding her vision and judgement on a bunch of issues.

4. Can I bring written questions to a job interview? (#5 at the link)

I first want to thank you for the great advice. Even though I took a job search/interview course my last year of college I was never told it was appropriate to bring a notebook with questions. The only thing I was ever told was that you should bring enough resumes for everyone that you will be interviewing with. It never occurred to me to treat the interview like any other business meeting.

I have to say that your advice came at the perfect time because I had my final round of interviews the day that the blog post was published. I took your advice and brought a professional notebook with me. Some of the comments suggested that I have bullet points with just the topics that I wanted, and others said to do the bullet points on one page and the full written out questions on a separate page in case I get really stuck. That’s just what I did, although I just needed the bullet points.

The position was for a university where I will be doing a type of administrative work, so being organized is a very strong skill set that is needed. I even pointed to my notebook when they asked how I keep myself organized when doing multiple tasks and projects.

When I sat down I took the notebook from my purse, but I didn’t open it until I had questions to ask. All three interviewers seemed very impressed that I was this prepared. This, along with your other advice made a difference. I was offered the job a few days later and I start next week!

5. Should we send a graduation announcement to my husband’s boss? (#4 at the link)

Tiny update: I did not send the graduation announcement, but he did get congratulations calls/emails from his boss and the home office. He got the promotion (and a nice raise) and they flew him out to the home office for some face-time about a month later. He’s thrilled with the new challenges and projects.

{ 88 comments… read them below }

      1. BrotherFlounder*

        I remember that now but I completely missed the canary the first time I read it! Good grief! Glad it’s gone.

        You don’t work in a coal mine, do you, OP3?

        1. LW#3 (Thebirdoffice)*

          Not a coal mine, I would actually die, from asthma! Owner keep canaries at home, and with one not playing nicely with the others, his solution was to bring it to work.

    1. Lena Clare*

      I distinctly remember this because there was a loooooong discussion in the comments about the correct way to make a cuppa!

    2. Teapot Community Manager*

      I would also like to understand this because I have birds and respiratory issues and this is the first I have heard of this and I would like to understand whether I need better air filtration or what!

        1. Arts Akimbo*

          This! Specifically, it’s the spores of the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. It causes a lung condition called histoplasmosis and it is horrible.

          In intro to mycology classes, we were gathering samples of animal stool in the wild and seeing how many different species of fungi we could grow from them. But we were forbidden from taking samples of bird feces, because the things you grow from bird poo can potentially kill you (or your immunocompromised classmate). Usually histoplasmosis doesn’t kill, but it can still lead to serious complications.

          1. Kristin (Germany)*

            O my Lord. I read that as “intro to mythology” and was very, very confused until I read your post through again more carefully. That’s really interesting information, thanks!

      1. LW#3 (Thebirdoffice)*

        My understanding is that poo particles, feathers, feather mites, and even seed/food dust are all potentially problematic for delicate breathers. :)

        I’m allergic to about every living thing to some degree, so HEPA filtration on vacuums and air filters. I also keep the worst-reactive stuff out of my bedroom, banishing the cat to the rest of the house. High quality allergy pillowcases makes a huge difference as well!

      2. emmelemm*

        There is a (real) thing called “bird lung” where, I believe, dust from their feathers? gets into one’s lungs to such an extent that it irritates them severely. It’s not the same thing, per se, as being allergic, because you can have birds without issue for some time and then once this takes up residence in the lungs, it just becomes a chronic problem.

        My aunt had pet birds and developed bird lung, and unfortunately she had to rehome the birds. Not at all saying that you must have this, as there are *many* potential causes for respiratory ailments, obviously! But it might be something to discuss with your doctor when you see them.

      3. T3k*

        Another interesting thing, sometimes it can be the feathers itself (like in some pillows or comforters). Just read an interesting article about how this person had a host of breathing issues within a year until one doctor asked him questions and realized in the last year they’d gotten a comforter that had feathers in it. As soon as they got rid of it and gave him some other medications afterwards, his health returned to pretty normal.

      4. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Feathers continually shed and our lungs are not designed to expelled particles.”Bird fancier’s lung” is a thing independent of allergies. Rooms where birds and humans mix really need extra ventilation & air filtering.

  1. Not a Torah scribe*

    I am a librarian whose service included families and their children and young adults who transitioned into an academic librarian in a university. I do miss being beloved.

    1. Laura Stilwell*

      Forgive my ignorance of the duties of a Torah scribe, but how does your menstrual cycle affect your working schedule?

      1. HR Stoolie*

        No way an expert on this but since you asked and haven’t been answered- I’m sure it’s part of the Hebrew doctrine not allowing a woman to practice during her cycle.

        1. Laura Stilwell*

          Thanks. I thought it might be something along those lines, but I appreciate the confirmation.

      2. Talvi*

        I think it actually has to do with the fact that a Torah scribe (regardless of gender) must immerse in a mikveh prior to working on the Torah (and you can’t go to the mikveh while you’re menstruating).

          1. Talvi*

            I expect so! I can’t think of any reason she couldn’t do that if she wanted to (although I suppose it’s possible there’s something specific to the process of working on a Torah scroll?)

            1. Not a Rabbi*

              From my understanding of Rabbinical laws (which are most of what Jewish people that observe follow), it’s very possible that even with a pill that prevents menstruation, the scribe would still be forbidden to work during her cycle. I can see a lot of questions around “what if it doesn’t work perfectly every time”, or even “does this skirt the law/rules too closely”. The only definitive answer would come from a rabbi or three.

              (source: grew up Jewish and went to private Jewish school)

              1. Talvi*

                True – although I’m not sure how you would calculate that if you were to e.g. stack your pills for months at a time.

                I hope the OP drops by this thread – I have all sorts of questions for her!

              2. Dahlia*

                If you stack your pills or take the three month ones or whatever, you don’t have a cycle. Technically on combination birth control you don’t have one at all. You don’t ovulate and you don’t shed the lining after the egg doesn’t implant. It’s just a withdrawal bleed. There’s no hormonal change if you keep going, you’d just be arbitrarily saying “this is a period week” when there’s nothing in your body saying that it is.

                Like my cycle is not a 28 day cycle naturally, it’s a “maybe never maybe every two years, i dunno sucks to be you” thing so the “period week” is completely arbitrary, you know?

          2. Mookie*

            Ach, a question I’ve never verbalized or whatever before. Would love to hear a definitive answer here.

            1. Okie Dokie*

              The spiritual status of a person can shift for many reasons. One of those reasons is connected to the menstrual cycle. The active cycle biologically represents a loss of (potential) life. Jewish law puts incredible value on life. Thus there would be a period of time (pun intended) where the spiritual status would shift and be unfit to scribe at that time. I would imagine that if her bleeding halted for any reason (pregnancy, menopause, manipulated birth control that stunted any bleeding…) then it wouldn’t be an issue. It’s a truly beautiful mitzvah that is often misunderstood outside of those who study or practice it. (A mitzvah is a Jewish law, even though most people translate it simply as “good deed”).

              I’ll verify what I wrote here with my local orthodox rabbi (ie my husband) and update if I got anything wrong. Feel free to ask more questions.

              1. biobotb*

                If a woman’s spiritual status can shift because expelling an egg represents a loss of potential life, does a man’s spiritual status similarly shift if he masturbates?

                1. Okie Dokie*

                  A mans status can shift for many reasons and “legally” he’s not ever allowed to masturbate. And in the wedding contract there is a clause that he is obliged to satisfy his wife sexually by her standard of what that means. Yup.

        1. university admin*

          Based on the short classes I’ve taken on sofrut (the scribal arts), one doesn’t need to immerse unless one is writing a name of G!d. For a Torah scroll, one may leave a blank for those then go back and fill in later, while for a mezuzah (small scroll put on doorposts), the words must be written in order.

      3. BigSkyGal*

        Being a Torah scribe as a profession sounds fascinating. I would love if Allison could interview her about her work experience like she did the former prison librarian.

        1. Kate*

          I came here to say this! The “tell us about your fascinating job” are some of my favorite posts on this site!

    2. Julie*

      I wonder if the speaker was inspired by Fiddler on the Roof, in which Tevye refers to “our beloved Rabbi.”

  2. BrotherFlounder*

    OP1 – Have you spoken with your boss about the possibility of moving back into Jane’s role if/when she retires? It sounds like they don’t even realize why you’re not happy about having been moved into a different role, which means that moving into Jane’s role doesn’t seem like it would happen automatically.

    1. E*

      At any rate I’ll be stepping back into the role for two months or so when she’s out for a planned surgery later in the year. While my boss seems to not quite get why I’m upset, she does get that I *am* upset (if there’s such a thing, this boss is perhaps a little too matter-of-fact in some areas if that makes any sense?). I do know that the plan is for me to take over fully when she does retire, but at this point I am unsure if I’ll be able to stick it out that long given how different my role is going to be. If the budget changes back next year I’ll probably get to go back even if she’s still around but that’s not a sure thing. To me, Jane seems like the type who will stick it out at this job as long as she can and as long as she’s enabled to…

      1. Impy*

        Moving to customer service is such a huge change though. I literally just left a job because it was billed as tech but turned out to be 50% customer queries. I find it stressful and wearing; I don’t blame you for thinking about jumping ship and I’m a bit baffled that a manager wouldn’t understand why you were upset about it.

        1. E*

          The manager in question keeps going on about how we all need to be “flexible” (there’s other changes happening elsewhere) and how this is going to be a “good opportunity” for me to “grow”- basically trying to turn this into a life lesson for some reason. She keeps expressing her surprise at how I reacted to this news because in her eyes I should’ve been happy that I still had a job. But it’s not the job that she literally called and offered to me. Urgh.

  3. DrTheLiz*

    Torah scribe (#2) have you considered framing it as “it’s too much for me to be so close to every community when I have to move on when the job is done – I’d much rather be a guest in your home than a member of the family, lovely though you all are”? It’s still not “respected professional” but there are obligations of host to guest and it’s… better? I guess?

    1. Engineer Girl*

      Uh, what about “the wages of a hired servant shall not abide with you all night until the morning”

      “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages,”

      I dunno about you, but I’d rather receive correction from a friend than a 2×4 from The Name. What they are doing is wrong.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        BTW. The Name doesn’t start out with 2x4s. He starts out with pokes. And then starts leaning in harder and harder.

        But you would be doing right by them to remind them of their obligations.

      2. DrTheLiz*

        I agree with you, but consultants (which the OP is, pretty much) tend to learn pretty fast that it doesn’t pay to get snide with customers. They were asking for a script to (tactfully!) tell prospective clients that they wanted a more distant relationship, not a script to tell recalcitrants to pay up.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          But in this case they aren’t paying up because of the relationship.
          Said gently, it can be a good reminder and not snide.

  4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    #1 Has Jane voiced anything about her retiring? Or do you just assume she’ll retire at some point because she’s over 65?

    I only put that out there because I know a lot of people who work into their 70’s and beyond. They simply do not want to retire for various reasons. So I wouldn’t hang your hat on just skating until she decides it’s time, she may or may not do that within the next 5-10 years or unless something changes that pushes her hand, which may or may not happen.

    Just to keep that in mind when you’re making the decision in sticking it out. Also you aren’t promised her position when she retires or moves on eventually, so you may bank all that time riding it out and find yourself still in this predicament. It’s better to focus on what you have more control over. In this case, maybe you want to think about it in spurts, how long can you continue to do that job without it impacting you to a point of harming yourself, since sometimes people really are worn down and front facing roles can have adverse effects on your mental and physical health. I wouldn’t tie your timelines to any other person but yourself.

    1. Koala dreams*

      Yes, even if she retires in 5 or 10 years, that’s a long time in a job you don’t like. Better to start searching for another job now, rather than wait and see.

    2. E*

      From my understanding from conversations before I was hired (I did some contract work that turned out to be a “let’s see if we like her work” type thing and I knew the manager before because one of my parents worked with her at the company a few years ago) the idea is that I will take over when Jane retires and part of the reason I was hired when I was is that they wanted someone to know how things were done before she left… but I doubt they have any idea as to when/if she might be leaving. I don’t think she’ll retire until she has to given comments that she’s made to others and the fact that it’s a job where she gets to sit all day, chit-chat whenever she wants to, and… to be honest, there’s rarely a hard deadline for anything. I also find it frustrating that she comes and goes when she pleases and even didn’t get in trouble for no-call, no-showing the other day (with the excuse that she’d thought it was one day when in fact it’d been a different day and she didn’t realize it until the next morning!).

      I’ll be back in my original position for a few weeks at least while she’s out for a planned operation, but I have decided that if the budget issues continue and I’m not allowed back into my normal position at the end of the year I’ll be moving on. I’d probably wind up in another customer-facing position, but I’m sure I could find somewhere less stressful than what I’m facing now.

      1. Ann Onny Muss*

        It’s also one thing to end up in a customer service position when you know and expect that’s what you’ll be doing vs. being unexpectedly thrown into that role. And to top it off, management being baffled why you’re not happy.

        1. E*

          Oh for sure. Like I’ve gotten into a routine of what podcasts I listen to what days and so on so it is a HUGE shift. Like I said in an above comment, the manager who told me about all of this is possibly too matter-of-fact about things. I get needing to be flexible (especially as there’s other changes going on at the moment) but going from a by-myself, can-wear-headphones-all-day-(even though it seemed like it was going to be a problem!), don’t-have-to-deal-with-customer-nonsense job where I’ve been so happy and so thrilled to put my skills to good use to a customer-facing, very-stressful position is…. past flexible to me, honestly.

    3. Mookie*

      Yes. The rules and expectations are changing/adapting as Boomers reach the retirement age their parents (or their white-collar counterparts) expected to enjoy some twenty to thirty years ago. In my industry and rapidly aging adjacent ones, it seems like the rule, possibly morbid as it is, is to expect (generally but certainly not universally) from older, 60+ colleagues several bouts of extended medical leave before a gradual transition to part-time or work-at-home, which is totally do-able and, in fact, anticipates the future of some of our professional classes in my opinion (gig-/project-specific, fluid, and remote).

      I don’t object to this arrangement at all—asking people in the US and other declining post-industrial nations to stop working or retire at a set age for the good of their children and grandchildren is cruel and unreasonable—but I wish all my Gen X fast-track managers would begin to pre-emptively anticipate this trend and manage hiring, coverage, scheduling, and promotion as befits a workforce that spans three, nearly four generations of people with wildly different skill sets and long-term goals.

  5. #relatable*

    OP1 – I totally get where you are coming from. In my previous job, I had a lot of front-facing work, and I knew it was a part of the job when I signed on, but eventually it got to be too much and I didn’t want to have to do it anymore. I tried talking to my supervisor and mentor a couple of times, and there were some changes that could be made, but ultimately I wanted out of being front-facing and the position required it on a regular basis. There were other things I was becoming unhappy with so I decided it was time to move on. I went through the process and got a new job and when I gave notice to my executive director, he asked, “Was it really that good an opportunity?” Yes, yes it was. I was able to politely explain that I was becoming dissatisfied with the work to such a point that it was affecting my work and I knew I wanted my career to go a different direction, and I needed to build more skills now to be able to get different jobs in the long run. He was frustrated but understanding, but he said he wished I had talked to him more about it – I told him when I got a no to my request 2x from my direct supervisor, I took that as my sign to stop asking and decide if I could live with the situation or not.

    Either way – it will get better, and you can do it! Best of luck!

  6. Dragoning*

    Add on question to update #4 that I thought of while reading the phrase “professional notebook.”

    Last year, my company got us all those fancy smart notebook things you can write in and then upload the content as pdfs, etc, etc. I’m very fond of mine and pretty much have replaced the notebooks and legal pads I used to carry everywhere with it.

    But it’s got the logo of my company sector on it. Not the company, per se, but the people in my organization have a little logo, and it has that on it (big company).

    Is that appropriate to bring to a job interview?

      1. Dragoning*

        So frustrating :( It looks like something I could’ve gotten at an industry conference or something. Nothing indicates what company its for and the verbiage on the logo is pretty generic.

        1. Two Dog Night*

          Honestly, as long as it doesn’t have your company name in big, noticeable letters, I’d go with it. I can’t imagine most interviewers would pay much attention to what’s on your notebook–although they might remark on the notebook itself.

        2. Jdc*

          I don’t think it’s a problem. You used to work for the company, people have things with company logos.

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yeah I don’t get why it would be a problem, the company name is on your resume as well! It’s not like you’re trying to hide that you worked there.

      2. Pennalynn Lott*

        Huh. When I was interviewing for sales positions, I absolutely took my Microsoft-branded folio with me. Both while I was still working for Microsoft and for several positions afterward. I figured everyone would think it was industry conference swag.

        1. Audiophile*


          I have a similar folio from when I worked for Big Financial Company, I take it on all my interviews because it’s nice quality and has held up.

          No one ever brings it up. I don’t think it’s hurt my job prospects but I also don’t bring attention to it either.

    1. just a small town girl*

      Oh man, I love my rocketbook and this situation right here is why I made myself buy a personal one instead of a work-branded one, which I could have gotten for free. I don’t love the advertising aspect.

        1. A few things are nice*

          That’s what I was going to suggest. Or a sticker for a professional organization for your industry, or something.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s a little logo? Does it have a name on it or just a logo with initials or some kind of crest?

      If it just looks like it could be a logo of the place that made the tablet device, I don’t see the problem with it. I’m not paying that close of attention to what you’re using to take notes when you’re at an interview.

      If it were really branded with a company name that’s huge that’s different. But a “little logo”, I think it’s overkill to even put that much thought into it. I’m not looking at the pen that someone is using either, so if you’re using a pen from some random vendor, whatever so am I probably. So the idea that a small logo on a device is an issue boggles my mind!

      1. Dragoning*

        It’s not little? It’s maybe an inch by two and a half inches. It has a name on it, but it’s not the company name. It basically says “Localized Teapot Painting.”

        The manufacturer logo is in the corner.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Ah okay, that’s pretty reasonably sized.

          But I still don’t think it’s that big of deal. But I also regularly use swag pads that I get from law offices and hotels from conferences.

          Are they a direct competitor of who you’re interviewing for? That would be one of the only kind of tacky issues.

          But I’ve seen people around here being really “no no no no” about wearing your former company branded things to your new job and don’t get it.

          1. Dragoning*

            My industry is basically made up of people who cycle from one competitor to another, or people who pick one and grow roots

        2. Dahlia*

          The brand Becky Lynch mentioned, if you search on Amazon (and I assume other places), they sell covers with pen and card holders, kind of like tablet cases. Not sure if yours would fit in one of those, but they look very professional and are reasonably priced!

  7. Malty*

    LW 2 you are extraordinarily patient – it might be worth looking at the therapy/counselling community and how they deal with boundaries, the way your clients project on to you is just telling me that language might be useful

  8. Donna*

    I have a “where are you now”…my question was answered early this year.
    I was the person who had applied for a job and found out at the interview that the job description had totally changed since I applied a week or so earlier. I was very annoyed and felt like it was a bait and switch job designed to suck in unsuspecting people who would have never applied for the actual (awful) job…

    Well, as it happens, I tried again with this large company when another job (different division) came up. These folks running the search were way more professional and the job was exactly as advertised… and I got the job! Today was my first day. It’s a great job. Happy ending for me.

  9. TimeTravlR*

    I always take a notebook with questions written down and also make notes on some of the things the interviewer(s) say(s). I tell people, even if you can’t think of a question (!) write down some notes about the company and when they ask you if you have questions, scan the page as if you are looking at questions you wrote down and say, “No, it looks like you covered everything!”
    I have had multiple people tell me how impressed they are by that. I have also done many hiring panels, and find it is rare for someone to do it. I think it helps you look as if you truly prepared for the job.
    As an aside to that, I once interviewed for a job at a very niche company, and I was the only applicant that even knew what they did. It was an admin position, so knowledge of the company wasn’t necessary, but COME ON, PEOPLE!!!

  10. Thankful for AAM*

    Re #4 and notes while interviewing

    At a recent job interview for a job with my local county, I was told that all of my notes would have to be handed to them at the end of the interview. It was not clear if it was notes I brought or just notes I took during the iterview but her wording suggested it was all notes. I was not going to ask and just left my notebook closed.

    I suspect this was a poor interpretation of some law somewhere but it was the policy for the whole county.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    1. TimeTravlR*

      Not at an interview for a job. That’s interesting! I also would wonder why they think it’s appropriate. There are laws about transparency in public government (US)… the sunshine law particularly applies. Your interview isn’t a public meeting, so likely wouldn’t fall under that, but it still begs the question!

  11. Who Plays Backgammon?*

    LW 1: Think long and hard about whether you want to stick this out. I work with retirees and near-retiring people, and while some folks can’t wait to hit the door for the last time, it’s more common for people to work well into their 70s for a number of reasons, including the fact that they plain want to.

    I sympathize with you in so many ways. My job is also client-facing/customer service, and also definitely NOT what I signed on for when I moved to this team. I was led to expect higher responsibilities and a supervisory role, but my duties have been in a downward spiral. My boss/company also see it as “at least you have a job.” There are no opportunities in my location, and the company’s other locations are undesirable due to high cost of living or awful climate.

    I recommend keeping your options open and your feelers out. Getting stuck in something you don’t want can burn you out fast. Plus, while I can be plenty flexible and things do change, companies that tell people one thing about their job only to have it be something very very different is plain untruthful and disrespectful.

    1. E*

      Jane is in the later half of her 70s, actually- but really seems like she’ll be sticking around for as long as she’s able to/as long as she’s enabled to (there are a lot of concessions made for her- or at least it seems that way to me).

      I’m planning on seeing if anything changes within this year/in time for next year’s budget and I will get at least a few months back at my original position while she’s out for a planned surgery, but if things remain as they are I’ll be moving on for sure. I don’t know that I’d be able to find a job like the one I was originally hired for elsewhere in my area, but I can at least find something that’s less stressful than what I’ll be facing soon.

  12. Grav*

    I have a lot of sympathy for your predicament. Many years ago I had a similar problem.

    The company I worked for had a BIG RISK relating to how they were handling their teapot defects. To help clear a backlog of teapot defect investigations, I happily agreed to go assist with the teapot defect investigation team . The original ask was to make the teapots so I could understand the defects and they’d then move me to investigations. They quickly discovered that I was a very quick teapot creator and 2 mind crushingly boring weeks in the team lead moved onto a project. I asked his replacement when I was transferring over to help solve the BIG RISK and they said they were moving a different colleague, ostensibly because I was keeping the numbers up and the other person was slower.

    Now, I enjoyed my dayjob, a HR adjacent role where I got a good mix of variety and interaction, but teapot creation was mindnumbing, was not what I was hired to do and was causing an RSI of mine to flare up. Additionally the manager who’d created the situation was a manager I’d butted heads with in my day-job and there were undertones of “this is what you get for not supporting my last ridiculous request”. It was not a fun place to work and I really felt my mental and physical health suffer for it.

    I was fortunately able to get out of the situation, partially due to Employment laws over here in the UK and partially due to a relationship I’d built with a senior stakeholder, but if I was to find myself in the situation again I’d be out the door at the first decent opportunity I got.

  13. Former Employee*

    No one actually called the Torah scribe “beloved”. This is really more like referring to the founder of one’s company as “our beloved founder”.

    I agree that if someone actually called me “beloved” I would find it disconcerting. However, if someone referred to me as “our beloved co-worker” I would think it charming.

Comments are closed.