open thread – May 14-15, 2021

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about (that includes school). If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please do not repost it here, as it may be in my queue to answer.

{ 1,247 comments… read them below }

  1. Leaving Job*

    I need help explaining why I’m looking for a job now. Viewpoints from people in tech would be particularly helpful.

    Truncated version: I’ve spent 8 years in a tech-adjacent job at a low-tech manufacturing company. The job paid for my MS in information technology, and swore that new initiatives would include modern tech I could get involved with. Those new initiatives were a spectacular fireball of failure, and everything went back to low-tech status quo. Two years passed, which was the time I needed to stay to avoid paying back tuition.

    Now I’m ready to look for a tech-heavy version of my job. I have the degree with up-to-date coursework, but I stayed at the dinosaur job for a long time, and I expect to be asked why. I know staying too long at a tech job is a problem because of stagnation, etc., so I’m very conscious of how long 8 years is.

    I can’t say “I was supposed to do tech stuff, but the company bombed out and screwed up” because that’s confidential company information. I can’t say “I bailed the second I didn’t owe them money back” because that’s just tacky.

    1. EarthBound*

      Can’t you just say, “Since taking this job I have gotten X degree and want to work in Y. In my current job we are still doing Z.”

    2. Ali G*

      I’m not in IT but pretty fluent in BS. How’s this:
      “I pursued the MS with promises of more interesting/tech heavy work in my future. Unfortunately circumstances have changed in my current company, making advancement no long an option. That’s why I am interested in this position, because X and Y are two things i rally want to focus on (or whatever is attractive about the job).”

    3. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      8 years is not too long unless you’re working for startups, especially considering the degree & payback period. Don’t worry about that number.

    4. LadyByTheLake*

      You can say the same thing without such strong language. You can say “The business was going to move toward modern tech and even paid for my MS so that I could support that, but then decided to go in a different direction. I am looking forward to being able to use my training in a new job.”

      1. Not A Manager*

        I was coming here to say something similar. @OP, I would make both points that you mentioned, but less bluntly. I would definitely try to fit in “they paid for my MS” and “ultimately they didn’t move forward with the new tech.” I like LadyByTheLake’s language.

        It is tacky to SAY that you bailed as soon as you could, but your interviewers aren’t stupid. They know that you incurred an obligation when you accepted the MS. Your staying for so long indicates that you fulfilled your obligation and repaid the company in the manner that they required.

      2. FD*

        I think this is the best one out of all of them. It shows why you’re moving on but also shows why you haven’t used your MS so far.

      3. Jane of all Trades*

        I like that! You could also say something along the lines of “I made a commitment to stay until [May of this year], as the business supported my studies at x university.”
        I’m not in tech, but I think it’s very common for a job to offer tuition reimbursement with a clawback if you leave before a certain date.

    5. Weekend Please*

      I think you can say that you were supposed to do more tech stuff but priorities changed and now it is clear that your job will not be moving in that direction so you are looking for a job that will. You don’t need to say what the company as a whole is doing or what specific tech stuff you were going to work on if you are worried about confidentiality. Just that your role in particular is not changing in the way you wanted.

    6. LKW*

      Worked in construction while getting my master’s. The line I used was that they had treated me very well and I had gone as far as I could unless I chose to move to Detroit, or get a second degree in engineering, there was no growth for me in the organization.

      Try something like that – it’s true. As someone who is technical in a non-tech company, your capabilities are simply of limited use to them.

    7. Artemesia*

      A new degree wipes clean previous experience. This is the obvious reason for leaving a job that wouldn’t make full use of that degree. You were doing low tech tech, you wanted to do high tech tech and so got your degree and are looking to use it in a new challenging job.

      1. Mononoke Hime*

        This. When it comes to switching industry, you don’t have to justify why you stayed in the previous job/industry. People understand you want new challenges. Good luck!

    8. Deborah*

      I just moved from a combo customer service/tech job into a full IT job after getting a degree in 2018 and working at the company for 7 years. People seemed unsurprised that I wanted to move on after getting a degree, or that there was nowhere to move up asst the small company I worked for. In my case,I also said that I had seen signs the company might not be stable financially and felt I needed to move on, and people accepted that too.

    9. Alice*

      I’ve used “the company decided to go in a different direction” myself. I don’t think there’s any need to go into the details of why and what they did, or that they screwed up, or whatever. Recruiters are interested in you, not your current company, so as long as you explain that you want to do X but your company is doing Y, they won’t care why your current company is not doing X. If they do probe, just stay vague and say your current company has a different focus, or there are shifting priorities, or whatever. But chances are, they will be perfectly fine with your explanation that you want to work in tech and put your degree to use.

    10. RagingADHD*

      “I got my MS in the hopes that my job would develop more in X direction. That hasn’t happened, so I’m looking for opportunities to do more innovative and interesting work.

      You don’t have to say anything about anyone screwing up. You have always been looking for the opportunity to do X, and it just hasn’t happened, so it’s time to look elsewhere.

    11. irene adler*

      Okay I’m not in Information Tech, but in Biotech.
      And I’ve been at the same job for 15+ years.
      Just some things to think about:
      I get the “wow, you have a very steady work history, being at Company for over 15 years. Impressive!” They don’t ever ask questions about why I stayed so long or the level of tech (very low-level in fact).
      So they may very well admire your longevity and not see -or even ask about- the low-tech aspect of your current gig. Leave them to their illusions. The less said on your part to clarify this, the better.
      You don’t have to let on about the low level of tech at your current company either. In fact, your company paying for you to earn that MS degree could give the impression that your current employer values up-to-date tech. Again, less said the better.
      And you did implement those new initiatives -right? So in a sense your employer is up-to-date. Yes, doing so was a complete failure. But you don’t have to let on about that. If they do ask about how successful this was, you can explain that it wasn’t all you hoped it would be (management got out of it what they wanted). And that’s why you are seeking that tech-heavy position.
      As others have said, the “ready to look for a tech-heavy version of my job” is an excellent way to convey why you are job searching. And the stagnation can be offset by education you earned.
      I don’t think you’ll have the difficulty you think you’ll have.
      You can also go with “how attractive the job description was and you needed to find out more about it” approach.

      1. Momma Bear*

        I agree. Eight years is a long time with a company these days and they might look at it simply as you are someone who stays vs being likely to jump ship in a year or two. I would simply say, “After obtaining my MS, I am seeing work more in line with my degree.”

    12. Excel Jedi*

      Not in technology, but tech-adjacent (data science).

      You’ve learned all you can in this company. You’re really looking for a position where you can grow at X and Y, and you’re really excited to expand your past experience with X and go deeper into the field.

      If it’s true, you may also want to highlight that you’re looking for a more collaborative environment where you have a chance to mentor and learn from others in your field. (It sounds like you may be going from being the only person on your team with this education to a team where you’ll be one of many, and you can tell them that that’s what you’re looking for.)

    13. Parenthesis Dude*

      I work in tech. I frankly think you’re being too tough on yourself.

      But you can say you’re looking for a new job to take advantage of your MS in information technology. Or because you’re looking for new challenges.

      1. Brooklyn*

        Yeah, same here. You shouldn’t badmouth a current employer, but you’re allowed to be honest about why you’re leaving. I very clearly said that I joined BigTech because I was excited about Project X, and once that project was canceled before launch, there wasn’t a place for me. Same thing here, you stayed because you wanted to shift into more tech heavy work, you thought you could do it there and even got a masters, but that turns out not to be possible, so you’re looking for new opportunities. Sticking it out for a long time, clearly gave the company a chance to retain you, clearly willing to put in effort above the minimum, and patient and driven. You sound like a great employee.

    14. lost academic*

      Family reasons maybe? People recognize sometimes you need to stay in a role because of reasons unrelated to professional development and goals.

  2. Should I apply*

    Anyone feel a dissonance when you are actively job searching but still need to act like everything is normal at your current job? I find it especially awkward when talking about future projects and potential development with my manager. My mouth is saying “that sounds exciting” while my brain is saying “but hopefully I won’t still be here”.

    In my city / industry we are actually in a tight job market and have had a lot of turn over already this year. Managers can’t be that surprised when people leave. Plus I have previously talked about how I am really looking to move up to the next level, and my manager has been like, you have the skills but we don’t have any openings. Managers, what do you in a situation like that?

    1. CoCoMelon Is Stuck In My Head*

      I’m in the same boat as you. I am actively looking for a new job. Meanwhile we have had a lot of turnover and I am picking up pieces from others who have left. It feels like I am just a piece in an ongoing game of Jenga.

      1. Should I apply*

        I know that feeling, it seems like every time we make adjustments and reshuffle work after someone leaves and then someone else leaves and we are back to square one.

    2. Anon Here*

      I am in the exact situation here! It’s the weirdest thing in the world to have that in the back of your head while at work. The future projects especially – I already feel like I’ve lowered my standards on deliverables completed by others because I just don’t quite care enough to make them follow through. Can’t help but feel guity about it also.

    3. Working mom*

      I want to jump up and down while waiving my arms and shout “stop putting all your eggs in my basket!”

    4. Yellow Warbler*

      My boss is a lifer, so while I’m trying to get out, she’s making jokes about how X or Y will be my problem when she retires in 15 years. * stiff smile during internal screaming *

    5. Katie*

      Yes! I’m not dead set on leaving my job but I came across an opening in another department that intrigued me, seemed a good match for my skillset (but was also a little stretch) and pays a nice amount more and I have a final-round interview next week. There is probably at least a 50/50 chance I WON’T even be offered the job (not sure how many finalists there are) so I don’t want to tell anyone and worry them or make them think I’ve got one foot out the door. I do like my job and the people I work with but I do not get paid very much at all – if I have the opportunity to improve the pay and continue to do pleasant work with pleasant people, I’ve gotta take it! But it sure is awkward and guilt-inducing when we talk about long-term projects.

      1. Sue D. O'Nym*

        I feel like “another department” translates to internal transfer, and at least in my company, an internal transfer is far less “foot out the door” ish than leaving to work for a different company.

    6. Cj*

      They can still get valuable input from you on future projects even if you won’t be there when they come about, so that shouldn’t be awkward. As far as professional development, take advantage of what you can while you are still there, and they can use those opportunities for your replacement if appropriate.

      Since they aren’t grooming you for a soon to be promotion, you’re leaving shouldn’t put too much of a dent in their plans. Even if it it did – not your problem.

    7. Hunnybee*

      Has anyone ever asked a company that you’re interviewing with about their negative reviews online (like on Glassdoor)?

      I know not everyone will like every company regardless. But I am currently at a very toxic company where the employees have only felt empowered by adding reviews there, and I worry when I see a similar thing going on elsewhere.

    8. Bernice Clifton*

      Well, if your company was going to lay people off, they wouldn’t tell anyone until they were ready. So they might discuss future projects or events with coworkers they know won’t still be there.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Unless you’re my former manager, who very awkwardly avoided discussing future projects or events with me, the one they had picked to be laid off in the next round of cuts but couldn’t tell me officially for two more months. The upside was that I saw it coming for almost that whole time and was completely prepared when I was finally officially notified.

        But now I’m currently in that mental state of “might be taking this pending job offer, idk” and still trying to remain engaged in current work and future plans. It’s tough because I don’t want to overpromise and leave people in the lurch.

    9. Ama*

      Not only am I job searching but I just hired someone at my current job. It is absolutely draining to keep having to work on long term plans and do job interviews when I’m hoping to be out of here as soon as possible. (I’m also now trying to do the best I can to ward off the emotional crash that’s going to hit me as my job search drags on and some of the projects I was really hoping not to have to deal with start needing attention.)

      I have been trying really hard to keep myself in the mindset of “I am going to make sure things are in the best shape possible when I leave” and basically trying to keep documentation updated so that I could give two week’s notice easily at any point.

      1. Should I apply*

        I have been doing interviews, as our group has been hiring to replace people that left. I literally had a phone interview for a new job, and then 2 hrs later interviewed someone. It was very weird, but also gives me a nice perspective on what the other side looks for.

    10. Cat Tree*

      Ha. At my last job, I was actively looking for something at what is now my current company. It’s a big company and the burnt process is loooong. I think I interviewed around Halloween and gave notice at my old job right before Christmas.

      One time I was chatting with a coworker and he was criticizing this company, with a list of reasons why he would never work there. I had already accepted the offer and was waiting for the background check to finish. That felt so awkward for me. He was polite enough when I later announced where I was going. It’s just not the right place for him.

    11. NotRealAnonForThis*

      Can’t speak from the management aspect of it, but yes, there was a definite dissonance when I was job searching. A lot of “oh this project sounds like a fantastic growth opportunity!” while my brain was screaming “are you ::bleeping:: kidding me?!?!”

      But the moment where I was in the middle of quite an argument with the scheming twit in charge? Where I saw a push notification from an email account with the subject line “Job Offering”? Knowing that I held all the cards and he was going to bluff his way into trouble? Priceless, especially as I was able to keep a complete poker face for the only time in my life.

    12. Engineer Woman*

      I don’t think it of a dissonance. You never know how long a search for your next opportunity will take so in the meantime need to continue as is with your current role.

      This is no different than Sr management thinking they’ll cut a project or program. You might be telling them: I am doing X and Y to move this project along and they are saying “yes, that’s what you need to do” in the meantime thinking “that project is on the list to get cancelled”. But the thing is – you never know. Telling you prematurely that a project will be cancelled is just as bad as you not taking on a new project in your current role and the job search takes longer than you’d like. It goes both ways.

    13. Madeleine Matilda*

      As a manager, here is my perspective. I don’t expect anyone I supervise to tell me about their job search. When it has come up in conversation I’ve been clear with people that I would support any career move they wanted to make and for good/great performers have said I would be a reference. It is a fact of work life that people will leave jobs. I’ve made two major job changes in my career and several internal position changes. It drives me nuts when people on AAM share stories about crappy managers who make it hard for them when they are ready to leave a job. Those are horrible managers.

      Given that job searches can be short or long, as a manager I would expect anyone job searching while working on a project to document the project to help with the transition when they leave. As an employee job searching I have done the same.

      Good luck with your job search.

    14. Grig Larson*

      I had a former job where the boss was a complete micromanaging control freak. He was condescending, demeaning, and demanding. He got the job because the company was going under constant restructuring and reshuffling; I had 5 boss changes in 8 months. He used to be a manager of another unrelated department and then got ours. By the time I got this guy, I was sure I was going to quit because he’d already made a name for himself as a difficult person.

      When my review came up, he berated and threatened my job, claiming I was paid way too much for how dumb I was and how little I did. I had a job offer in hand for another company, but had turned it down because the pay was too low for the work needed, even if it was more than I was making currently. When I told him that, he laughed at me, “Really? They were THAT DESPERATE to pay for someone as dumb as you to work for them for more money? Oh man, I would have taken that job. What is wrong with you? You’ll never find that kind of dumb luck again. Wow, I can’t believe you stayed here!”

      We had two more people quit. Well, one quit after our boss fired the other one for being late a lot. So I got all their projects, including one big one that he said was super important, and I better not mess it up.

      Two weeks later, that “desperate company” offered me more money, more in line with the work they requested. So I handed in my two weeks notice. My boss was FURIOUS. “Why the HELL did you quit?? I JUST GAVE YOU MORE WORK!” I smugly told him, “you said I was stupid not to take that other job, so they made me another offer, and I did. I took your advice.” He was so angry, he said “I’ll work you like a DOG the last two weeks you are with me,” and then gave me NO work and avoided me for those two weeks. On my last day, HIS boss had to escort me and handle the termination paperwork because he called in sick.

      Some people are just weird. But saying, “I quit because you says I was dumb not to,” felt too good to pass up.

      1. allathian*

        Yikes on bikes. I honestly will never understand why abusive people like this are allowed to stay in management.

      2. Pennyworth*

        A great escape! I hope your new job worked out really well and with a great boss.

    15. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Been there, done it! It’s absolutely normal to feel that “two-faced” feeling when you’re living it.

      Just remind yourself that you’re doing nothing wrong and that it’s just “business”. But it feels shady because you’re holding back in places. But it’s for self preservation. You always take care of yourself and your needs first, this is a very typical situation and standard practice.

      We know in the back of our heads as managers that this happens all the time. I am always waiting for someone to resign for one reason or another. We knew someone was going to quit for awhile now, we all just road along until it happened. It’s okay. It’s normal business! It was never personal!

    16. asteramella*

      No solution, but solidarity. I’m interviewing candidates at the moment while very much hoping that I won’t stay in my current role for long enough to train them. It’s a weird feeling.

  3. EarthBound*

    I need suggestions on how to cope with my coworkers’ increasingly needy IT problems. For background: I am not in IT support, but I do that for our department since IT here is understaffed. I do administer most of the passwords and logins for people. Many of our workers are on the older side (although plenty of them of have no problems). Our jobs are about half-client interaction and half data-entry, but it mainly involves using bespoke applications.

    Just a few examples:

    – Recently IT removed Explorer from our computers and replaced with Edge. There had been weeks of warnings about this. The morning after this update a worker called me and told me the internet was gone. I asked her what she meant. She said she had always clicked on the little “e” because that stood for Internet. She had no idea what Google Chrome or Firefox were.
    – An employee was locked out of their system for half a day because they couldn’t reset their password. There were trying to use variations of their name and birthday which the system won’t let you do.
    – A lot of our trainings are now recorded webinars on YouTube. At least half a dozen workers had trouble accessing this because: 1) “YouTube is an app on my phone. I can’t YouTube on a computer.” 2) Someone was hitting the next video button instead of the play button. 3) “I watched the entire video, but there was no sound, so I’m not sure I got anything from it” (they hadn’t plugged in their headset).

    I am really at a loss how to proceed. I had one manager request that we provide basic IT skills training for employees. I referred them to the local community college, but they wanted ME to provide it, which is something a) I have no time for, b) I have no patience for, c) basic IT skills are in the base competencies needed for these positions.

    Am I being too tough, not empathetic enough, etc.? We never went remote because we are essential workers, but more and more of our operations are web-based now, and over the last year these kinds of issues have gotten more prevalent.

    1. Vox Experientia*

      refer them to IT. IT being understaffed in no way makes providing IT services your responsibility. IT will stay understaffed until it becomes a problem for the company – it won’t become a problem for the company if you provide the service gratis (or at the expense of your actual responsibilities). you’re making your own problem.

      1. NerdyKris*

        Agreed. Even as an understaffed and overwhelmed IT guy, it’s their job and they’re also equipped to better assess what kind of training needs to be put together. Personally, I have templates and instructions ready to go if people need it, and we do have a training person. Non IT personnel trying to troubleshoot causes issues. It prevents IT from knowing there’s a problem, and you might do something that’s out of compliance. Or you might do a Windows restore on a critical production machine several times, requiring me to completely reimage it three times in six months, BOB I’M LOOKING AT YOU STOP DOING THAT.

      2. A Non E. Mouse*

        refer them to IT. IT being understaffed in no way makes providing IT services your responsibility. IT will stay understaffed until it becomes a problem for the company – it won’t become a problem for the company if you provide the service gratis (or at the expense of your actual responsibilities). you’re making your own problem.

        This, please. Save yourself and help IT make a case for more staff, all at the same time.

        1. Tamarack with a phone*

          Thirding this.

          Also, can you push for your coworkers getting (and being pushed into) some training classes on basic computing skills? Changing their perspective from “I don’t need to know any more about this than I do and someone will sort me out when I get stuck” to “I’m expected to function at a level three nitches higher with this than I am and I’m getting the training needed to get there” may budge some of them.

      1. I'm that guy*

        Most of those are what we called PEBKAC errors a long long time ago. (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair)

        1. Mr. Tyzik*

          Funny story –

          Twenty years ago, I worked on a GUI upgrade and we tracked the production bugs reported by users. We listed some of these as “user error” in our bug tracker.

          A higher up saw “user error” occurring a lot and thought it looked bad, so we were told we couldn’t list “user error” anymore.

          We switched it to PEBKAC. it was assumed that this was a code for something technical and we were never questioned on it.

          And that’s how our bug tracker officially listed “PEBKAC” and got away with it.

          1. Onthetrain*

            I’ve heard of an “air-gap resistor” being listed as a diagnosed fault, e.g. a gap between the socket and the plug. Although I guess it could be the air gap between the user’s ears…

        2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          I knew it as “error 17” (source of error is seventeen inches from screen).

      2. FlyingAce*

        Waaaaay back then (early 2000’s) I used to frequent an internet cafe near my home. They had installed Firefox as the default browser, and changed the shortcut icon to the IE icon so the users would know where to start up the browser.

      3. AceLibrarian*

        It’s so true. At my library we still have IE on all the computers and it’s what patrons use half the time because they think it’s where the internet lives. I’ve been having to increasingly explain that IE won’t open your PDF and they need to switch to FireFox or Chrome. And then explain what a browser is. Sigh.

        1. Msnotmrs*

          Sometimes I think I’m not particularly tech-savvy and then I come away from a patron interaction in which they use email daily but don’t know how to look in the “sent” box, and then I realize I’m doing all right for myself.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            And then there was the person I worked with in the early 90s who was surprised when documents were not onscreen after a scheduled power shutdown for neighborhood construction. Several weeks in that position, but nary a document saved beyond auto-backup. (Thank goodness for auto-backup.)

            1. Msnotmrs*

              Like they were just….. leaving all of their documents open permanently and never shutting their computer off?

      4. EarthBound*

        I am by nature a horribly sarcastic person and it took all my will power not to say something when the person said that to me.

        Everyone here also calls it FOXfire and will get confused if you say Firefox.

        1. NerdyKris*

          We use Forticlient for our VPN, and every single person with kids calls it “Fortnite”.

      5. LifeBeforeCorona*

        When we got our first computer my non-tech savvy husband typed in his password and saw ****** instead of his actual password. He told me the computer was broken. I had to try very hard not to laugh.

        1. Chauncy Gardener*

          My husband once called me at work to ask me how to get the columns and rows into an excel spreadsheet. I tried to explain and then laughed until I cried and he hung up on me. I felt so bad but it was hysterical. I was in a new job at the time and it was a great bonding experience with my new team since, of course, they all had to find out why I was laughing so hard!

          1. AnotherLadyGrey*

            I got an email from one of our finance people asking me to fill out some information in an Excel spreadsheet. I did so and emailed it back. She wrote back asking me to “fix the spreadsheet because now the beginning was cut off.” Upon inquiry I was able to explain that she just needed to scroll back to the left-hand side of the spreadsheet and all would be well. I somehow managed to deliver this message without giggling.

      6. a drive-by commenter*

        My mom once asked me if Internet Explorer was her operating system. She got all huffy when I couldn’t help laughing.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          The other one that got me was the co-worker who couldn’t understand the difference between “Explorer” and “Internet Explorer”. I finally explained “Explorer” was a strange renaming of “File Manager” and the response was “OH! I wondered where that had gone!”

          1. tangerineRose*

            I’ve always found that “Explorer” to be an odd renaming of File Manager. File Manager was a useful name that made sense.

    2. Luna*

      Could you a consider a mini training session of sorts? Maybe 30 minutes to go over some of the basics?

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I think that would worsen the situation for the OP. From the sound of it, they’d be stuck doing this 30 min session over and over again and solidifying their rep as the go-to person for helping with basics.

    3. ID Wannabe*

      Ideas about getting more instructional design experience? I’m self taught and do it some for my job, but I think I’m not getting offers because I’m a one-woman-show and feedback is scarce where I work now. I need to show growth as this is the area I wish to focus on professionally. Thanks in advance!

      1. new kid*

        Are you open to pursuing a higher degree? I feel like most ID roles are looking for (or would at least prefer) a Masters. If you want something that’s less of a time commitment, you could also look into the certifications offered by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), as they’re the recognized industry leader in certs for ID, from what I’ve seen. I think they also have job boards available to those who take their certs/are invested in seeing you be successful so they can tout good placement numbers, but I don’t have any personal experience beyond attending their conferences.

    4. Mockingjay*

      Honestly, I’d push off ALL of your collateral IT duties. Since you have an IT Department, redirect your coworkers to them, especially for the stupid stuff. Regarding being the password admin, have a chat with your manager.

      “Boss, I was happy to help out with some of these IT tasks for awhile, but the number of requests have greatly increased and is interfering with my work. Also, I’m not trained in a lot of this stuff myself, so I really can’t provide much help. I’d like to redirect my focus to my job. Can we set a timeline to turn this stuff back over to IT? They’ve got the expertise and time to handle this stuff.”

      To be clear, the understaffing of the IT department is NOT your problem to solve. If you keep pitching in, the company may never hire someone.

      Most of the problems with your coworkers are learned helplessness. I have a similar role; I manage our team’s SharePoint site, which somehow has translated into endless stupid requests. I finally put my foot down last year and lo and behold, the team has figured out how to do this stuff all by themselves! (By the way, my team consists of engineers and technicians who work with software-intensive communications equipment. They are perfectly capable of checking out a damn file. *eyeroll*)

    5. singularity*

      You are not being too tough. Part of an expectation of a job is being able to stay on top of updates in technology, updated/new processes and SOPs. I would definitely talk to your manager and frame this as something that would take away from your other responsibilities.

      “I’m currently working on X and Y while has a deadline of Z. In order to complete IT training for employees who need it, we would need to adjust the deadlines for X and Y projects/deliverables. Is that something we can do?”

      It’s about priorities and productivity. You are redirecting your attention to IT and not being productive in other areas.

    6. Artemesia*

      When I was in charge of a part of our work that no one else really wanted to do, they did get dependent on me and since it was about 5% of my job, I too didn’t want to hand hold multiple times with the same person. So I wrote a FAQ which is a pretty standard way of dealing with that.

      If you are expected to be the IT go to it it understandable that people look to you during transitions. How about creating an IT for dummies FAQ for the things they need to do like use the new browser, use you tubes for training etc. Refer them to that and then if they keep coming back, refer them to IT because ‘if you are having problems that the FAQ doesn’t answer, it is beyond what I can do.’ (of course the problem will be that they want you to do it for them — but once you have the FAQ, this gives you the out of ‘if it is a problem beyond this, you need more expert help’. Good luck — must be annoying.

      1. Malarkey01*

        Second this- everyone is right it shouldn’t be your job but if you’re being told this IS what we expect you to do, then FAQs that you can hand someone and have them go waste their time instead of yours are great. It also gives you leverage to say I have provided a training document and Bob still doesn’t get it so I think it’s an IT issue which is easy for management to grasp.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Or better yet ask IT for their links to any FAQs & how-to guides they already maintain and email those. “This is where I go when I have a question” is totally polite. Eventually you can start saying “Did you check IT’s answers page?”

    7. Massive Dynamic*

      Can someone (looking at you, one manager who requested training) find a trainer to come in-house to them for a class or a series of classes?

      1. TechWorker*

        Yeah, or arrange to buy in some online training? Hell there might even be something free that’s good enough.

    8. LKW*

      Take 1/2 hour out of your day to estimate out the amount of work this will actually require – because you’re bosses I’m sure think this is super easy, but your coworkers ares somehow functioning at levels below normal so …. no, not easy.

      First outline the topics & issues that need to be covered. For each item, determine how much time you think it would take to teach (do 10 min segments, the easiest will be 10 min and no less). Something like training on Edge would be
      1. Opening Edge
      2. Searching
      3. Saving a favorite
      4. Using a favorite

      Each one of these would be 10 minutes – minimum.

      Then multiply that by 2 because your coworkers sound really really incompetent. In class room training means that you have to go to the slowest person there. So a training course on these four things might actually take closer to 1.5 hours.

      For each hour of in person training, it will take you roughly 4 hours to develop the material. 1 hour to outline it and make sure it’s complete. 2 hours to create the draft including step by step instructions and screen shots, 1 hour to review and correct.

      For every co-worker you have to train – calculate at least 15 min for scheduling.
      For every class you have to organize (because of course no one is going to be able to attend a single lesson) – assume at least 1 hour of scheduling & prep work.

      Now you have a model to show how many hours you think it will take to do this, which your boss can use to calculate whether it’s worth your time (and how much time you’ll lose on current work) or just send these people to a class.

    9. Pascall*

      I have this same issue. I work in HRIS and assist external job applicants with the application process. Many of them, especially retirees who are looking to substitute for us, absolutely do not understand our online application system, no matter how many times I offer screenshots, guides, videos, etc. The difference is, it IS my job to assist them with this. Even then, however, there’s a limit to what you can do. Some people just can’t succeed until they go out of their way to learn the technology/software.

      But you, you’re under no obligation to do IT’s job for them, even if they’re understaffed. Let your supervisor know that you have no time to continue to provide this kind of assistance, especially since the staff members seem to be totally lacking in basic technology skills. If they want YOU to provide it, they’re within their right to request it, but you’ll want to tell them that that is not what you were originally hired for, providing adult education is kind of a skill all on its own, and they would need to consider revising your salary if they’re going to add that responsibility.

      But if it’s not your purview to assist these employees with information they should know, then definitely stop doing it as often as you are. It’s difficult to not want to help, but if it’s a detriment to your current position, the trade-off ain’t worth it.

    10. Momma Bear*

      What is the line between IT training and IT support? If it is really IT’s job to teach people these things/follow up when they put out something new, refer them back to IT. If not, then I’d decide how much a priority I would make these things. If there are frequent flyers, maybe give them a cheat sheet and refer them to that first before you go to their desk and fix it for them. Don’t treat their concerns as an immediate fire. Try to teach them to fish. Consider
      canned responses you can use, or refer them back to what IT already said.

    11. Cj*

      I’m curious what you (and many other comments I’ve seen here in the past) mean by “older” employees in relation to tech. I just turned 60, so PC’s were around since about the end of my college years. And everything then was DOS, and much more complicated to use than current computers where you mostly just click on an icon and follow what’s on the screen. And there wasn’t a “help” button. So I’m always a little confused why these employees are having issues now.

      1. Free Meerkats*

        I’ll be 65 this Sunday, and while PCs were around starting about then (I got my first around 1979), they were still in the geekly specialist realm until, I’d say, close to 1990. And even then, there wasn’t one on every desk until well into the 90s. When the first one appeared in an office I was in in 1984, it had its own room even though it was a desktop and you had to have special training to be allowed to try to use it.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Happy birthday! :)

          I started computering in the ’90s with Windows 3.1—until then, I didn’t have a machine or any money for one, nor access beyond very basic career training workshops that were highly focused on Lotus 1-2-3 (bahahaha! Remember that?). I learned a lot just by messing around with different software.

          I think it’s easier to learn it hands-on. But I’ve found that inexperienced users, older people particularly, are terrified that they’ll break this expensive piece of equipment. So they’re not inclined to experiment, or they think it’s still like it was back in the day, when you practically had to program it to run anything.

          1. Squeakrad*

            I really resent the phrase “older people” – I’m 66 and most of my friends are within a few years of my age – some younger some older. And all of us have navigated technology and kept up with it as best as any 20 year old. WE’re not early adopters,but when we have a new piece is thrown at us we don’t have any problems that younger folks don’t have.
            That said some of the learning curve over the past year could really be zoom and Internet exhaustion.

      2. LifeBeforeCorona*

        Compared to our first Radio Shack TRS80 or trash80 as we called it, computers now are much better and more intuitive.

      3. Green great dragon*

        My dad started out on punch cards and we’ve had a computer since the 80s, but I think the point is that while as OP said many older people are very tech savvy, there are also many older people who’ve never had to use a computer, or never used one outside work. Younger people have almost certainly used one for email/word processing/in school – though they may also be less likely to really understand what’s happening behind the windows.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          On the flip side, I expect many of today’s teens will have a rough lesson in “save early save often” when they stop using Google Docs with its auto-save.

      4. Ashley*

        My experience is more about when people started using them and to what degree. I had a job in early 2000s where the typewritter was the go to over creating a form on the computer.

      5. Donkey Hotey*

        That’s the longest “not all old people” I’ve read in awhile. :-)
        You’re right, you’ve been able to jump in and stay current through your career. Good on you.
        And, speaking as a 50yo, I’ve had maddening involuntary tech support on 60-75yos on a regular basis. (Personal favorite was helping someone buy a plane ticket.
        “That’s because round-trip is the assumed default.”
        “What are you buying?”
        < "Round trip."

      6. EarthBound*

        I’ve never had this problem from a younger person, but I also specifically said in the OP that not all of our older employees have tech problems. Many of them are better with our systems than some of the Gen Z employees we have.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, this. And even the “internet natives” need to be shown how to use email, for example. For them it’s old tech!

          My mom’s 75. She’s a retired marine biologist, but had to run statistics on a mainframe that used punch cards at some point in her career in the early 70s. She still has a few cards and printouts at home.

          I got my first computer as a high school graduation present in the early 1990s and I was pretty much self-taught. I did a “Computing 101” course in high school, but it wasn’t really all that useful. The most important thing I learned is that I won’t break anything by trying things out.

        1. Apple Tree*

          The folks who complain about The Olds forget who actually built the software and global infrastructure that enables the cool new thing that the younguns like. That was the hard part!

      7. TechWorker*

        There are also whole swathes of jobs where you don’t actually use a computer, or use one but only for THIS exact process and THIS software. Plus companies that have a ‘if it ain’t broke we’re not going to pay to fix it’ attitude and thus use old old tech…

      8. Quinalla*

        I’ll be honest, I find IT cluelessness at every age nowadays. When I was just starting work (I’m at the tail end of GenX, 43 now), maybe it was more people who were older than me that were computer clueless, but that didn’t last long, and honestly plenty of people my age were pretty clueless. It has much more to do with being willing to learn, willing to fail and try again until you get it and a desire to understand with a little more depth. I’m not always hip to the most recent trends, but if I want to figure something out, it is no big deal to sit down and do it. Plenty of people my age and younger don’t know how to google simple things – like literally type your question into google, that’s all I’m asking LOL. What is amusing to me is how my kids do not understand what a computer is or what the internet is or anything, they are used to all devices being connected, being able to do anything on any device and are always very frustrated when I tell them no you can’t watch youtube on my car bluray/DVD player, why cause my car doesn’t have an internet/data connection, what’s that mean you say? They are really, really good at figuring out how to work stuff, but get confounded by things that are so ingrained for me I don’t see it coming. It is weird!

    12. katz*

      These aren’t even basic IT skills; they’re basic computer skills. Your hiring process should assess for these basic competencies.

      Also, I agree with Cj – I’m probably considered “older” but I’ve been working with computers since the 80s and actively online since the mid-90s. I don’t think it’s an age issue.

      1. Tryinghard*

        We push for mandatory computer skills training and management thinks it’s a good idea but never moves beyond that because they value other skills and assume our small IT group can hand hold. We have a staff of over 200 with 2.5 techs.

        Honestly I don’t mind helping as it’s part of my job )not all of it though). But the repeat offenders piss me off for stuff like putting paper in the copier, resetting the same password every week, how to reset their voicemail greeting (we have one person with a greeting from a vacation from last year – waiting for it to synch up the same dates this year, forgetting to turn monitor, etc. And the ones who assume I’m going to drop everything to help them. Ugghhhh.

        Make sure your boss knows what you are doing and how much. Most bosses don’t realize how much of a time suck others can be. Make it their problem.

        If that doesn’t work, kick it to your central IT group. It IS their job to support even if they don’t or can’t do a good job at it.

      2. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        Sometimes, it’s a problem with the person who is doing the training. Even highly skilled people aren’t necessarily good teachers. If the ones who haven’t caught on to computer use have had bad encounters with snotty, snobby, demeaning IT people, of course they’ll resist. And even well-meaning IT types can be terrible at conveying information to beginner or intermediate users.

    13. pancakes*

      Oh my. I think the solution here is to go back to your manager and say something along the lines of, “If you want me to provide training on basic internet usage, it will take me x amount of time to prepare the lesson(s), x amount to teach it, and I will have to pause or re-prioritize [various things you’re working on].” You should also explain the types of fundamental errors and mishaps you’ve been encountering, if you haven’t already done so – it probably wasn’t self-evident to the manager, for example, that YouTube training videos aren’t going to be useful here because there are employees who don’t understand how to play videos on YouTube.

      I’m not entirely clear on what you hope to communicate about patience, or whether it will be workable in this scenario. I mean, these are annoyingly basic questions coming from people who really should know better, if they were supposed to have basic IT skills, but no one is going to give you a pass to be rude to them, and depending on your manager’s priorities and what they thinks about the best use of your time, it may be that you are asked to teach these people some very basic skills.

      If there’s a local library that can teach this, that might be a better alternative than suggesting these people enroll at the local community college.

    14. Cat Tree*

      Honestly, feign incompetence. I don’t generally advise that kind of thing (especially in non-work life), but this literally is not your job.

      I usually develop a reputation for being “good with computers”, and usually I’m happy to help. Most people who ask actually learn from what I show them, plus it can be fun to figure out something I didn’t know before. But at one job, there was a guy who just had no idea. I helped him at first, but it became too much. So when he closed a file without saving and asked me how to find his edited version, I just told him I had no idea. I then suggested that he submit a help desk ticket for it.

      It sounds like you work with a bunch of people like this guy, and that must be exhausting. As long as you keep helping them, they will keep asking. So gradually be less helpful by just saying that this particular question is beyond your ability. Eventually they will find a different resource.

      1. Mr. Shark*

        It just boggles my mind that there are still people who don’t have basic computer skills. I guess I can understand if you come from a job where you don’t use a computer, but most of the people these days that are in jobs that use computers probably have been using computers in some form for quite awhile. Basic stuff should be pretty basic and understandable, just from a general knowledge base. Open file, save file, close file. Open browser, search, go to website, etc.

        1. London Calling*

          I interviewed for a finance job when I was told I’d have to do the expenses for some senior members of the company because ‘they can’t get to grips with PCs or refuse to use them.’ In 2017. That was a major factor in withdrawing my candidacy.

    15. Kimmybear*

      Who handles management training or other professional development at your company? If there is a training department or HR that handles it, point it to them. Outsource the training to one of the many companies that do this. It’s a skill just like the rest. I saw a great line this morning “IT keeps things running. We are your mechanic, not your chauffeur”. IT is also not your drivers ed instructor.

    16. Twisted Lion*

      You described my coworker and I got to the point where I just couldnt handle her anymore. I agree with others, this is an IT problem not your problem. They are understaffed ok but you weren’t hired for IT were you? Unless they want to increase your pay and position, push back.

    17. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

      See if you can get your company on board with making everyone take and pass the basic Northstar Digital Literacy assessments. Make it every employee’s responsibility to be able to showcase basic competency.

      It should highlight for the employee what the basic expected skills are; they can then go and find a way to learn those.

    18. Mononoke Hime*

      Absolutely stop providing IT support or training to your coworkers because there’s a compliance/legal angle to it. For example, if an employee clicks on a malicious link leading to a ransomware attack that shuts down your company for two weeks, whoever provides training or establishes the standard operating procedure for the employee may be on the hook if the training/procedure are deemed inadequate, ineffective, or just plain wrong. It needs to be handled by people who are trained and paid to do the job.

    19. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I work in a library, we provide these kinds of basic support services.
      1. so the library might help,
      2. but even we don’t have a class or series of classes to teach this stuff, we address things in short appointments helping folks do the specific things they want/need to do (we do have classes, but people with this level of basic question don’t do well in them).

      If you were to provide these services, it would have to be in short appointments, scheduled as the need arises for each person, and you cannot really do that and your own job.

      And I hate that something can be listed as a basic competency for the job and then managers don’t hold people accountable – like by saying, here is some info about how you can learn – from the community college or these online sources.

      Online classes might be a solution. GCF LearnFree is really good for basics. Maybe make a list of those that people are required to take?

    20. fogharty*

      We work with an outside entity once a year for a joint project. I had a question once and they said “Oh, you need to talk to Jane; she’s our tech guru!” so I asked Jane “Ok, first, are you on a Mac or PC” and there was a long pause and then she replied “How would I know that?”

      Oh yeah, she’s the tech guru all right.

    21. Mr. Shark*

      I’d just forward requests to the person who was renaming PDFs for the person that wasn’t their boss. We know she’ll take care of things that aren’t really in her work assignment!

    22. CatMintCat*

      We have reached a point, I believe, where being “old” but still working, is no longer an excuse for not having a basic understanding of computers.

      Computers in various forms have been common in office environments since the late 1970s – I’m 61 and started office work in 1975 with word processing machines and accounting computers in play already. As time went on, things changed and we all learnt new systems as they came in. Somebody who has worked in offices for any length of time since then HAS been exposed to this stuff – if they choose not to use or retain it, it’s on them. It’s not on being “older”.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        Ten years ago I had a coworker, a man in his fifties, say that he was “too old to learn that stuff.” I said something like “I’m sure you can handle it, my eighty-year-old mother does her own computer stuff.” [She gets other people to set things up for her, but this was the equivalent of “but saving a file is so complicated!”]

    23. Bob Howard*

      A lot of problems can be dealt with using the IT support flowchart that can be found here :
      It gives the flow chart that all IT support uses.
      No more work required.

  4. GigglyPuff*

    Y’all…I’ve done a lot of job searching in the last few years. I have a very good interview system that works for me 99% of the time.

    But it only works when I actually get the time correct for the phone interview. *face palm* It was 30 minutes earlier than I had put in my calendar. Crunch time works for me, I cherish those 30 minutes before to really prep. Totally didn’t say all the points I’d been thinking about the last couple days including why I wanted to work there! Just ugh.

    At least I didn’t hit the Google Pixel call screen button and send them to the automated screening message. Bright side? lol

    So mad at myself though, after learning more about the job, it sounded really interesting!

    Also! totally just thought of a much better example than the stretch one I gave for, “tell me about a time when” question. It’s going to be a long weekend of overthinking.

    1. JMR*

      At least you made it to the call! My husband had a semi-disaster recently when he was logged into a Zoom interview that was supposed to be 4 PM PDT. When the interviewer didn’t show up by 4:03 PM, he double-checked his calendar invite, which said “7 PM EST.” He then panicked, realized that 7 PM EST is 3 PM PDT and that he’d missed the meeting, and then bolted out of the office to call the HR manager to apologize profusely. While he was in the living room leaving a panicked voicemail for the HR manager, the interviewer popped into the Zoom meeting, realized that he wasn’t there, and left. It was at that point that Dear Husband realized that 7 PM EST is, in fact, 4 PM PDT, not 3 PM PDT. He’d had the time right all along, and she was just a few minutes late. Oops.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          For those not in the US: west coast and east coast are a 3-hour time zone difference. But on the east coast I’ve never heard anyone differentiate between “EST” and “EDT’. It’s just subtract 3 hours.

      1. Elenna*

        Oh noooo.

        The last time I was interviewing, I had a perfectly good plan to interview (over the phone), then walk to the university, have a nice 30-min lunch, and then make it just in time for another appointment. 10 minutes of waiting for the interviewer later, I realized that the email with the interview time had said “CST” – I was under the false impression that Chicago was in EST, so I hadn’t bothered to check for a timezone. At least I was early and not late, though! Ended up frantically looking for an empty unlocked room at the university in which to scarf down my lunch and then do the interview. I did not get the job.

        1. GigglyPuff*

          Oooo I’ve also totally done that, lol. I’m also EST and had a phone interview for a place in Texas and got all set up and was waiting for them to call, and after 15 minutes was like “what is going on?” When yeah realized they were CST. But I checked and the HR person hadn’t included the time zone, so I always make sure to just in case even when it’s obvious we’re both in EST.

          Side note I also didn’t get that job but was glad. Turned out it was an hour long round robin phone interview with a large panel (for the first contact! very weird never happened again), and after about 20 minutes they ran out of more nuanced and job specific questions and just started asking ones that seemed like they’d gotten off the internet. Like: “describe yourself in five words” or (paraphrasing) “what do you wish you could change about your current manager?” Really wish I’d been experienced enough to end the interview after those questions.

      2. GigglyPuff*

        How’d he handle it? I’ve been debating all afternoon whether I should mention I put the time wrong in my calendar, but while might gain sympathy might hurt the overall impression. So I’m leaning towards not.

        1. JMR*

          We had the same debate. Panicking and mis-calculating the time difference is understandable, but it doesn’t leave a great overall impression of his attention to detail. He ended up sending a simple follow-up email, just apologizing again for the mix-up with the time and asking if it would be possible to reschedule. Fortunately, they were very understanding and squeezed him in the next day!

    2. Mockingjay*

      If you haven’t written your follow-up note yet, you could address the example in that.

      1. Joan Rivers*

        I would use the thank you as a chance to say everything I didn’t say. “I’ve thought a lot since we spoke and think I wasn’t as clear as I could have been about xxx.” Use bullet points, not a wall of text, keep it easy to take in so they actually read it. But very upbeat.

        It’s possible other candidates may not be that great and this will work.

      2. GigglyPuff*

        Thanks, I was wondering if I should do that. But after some thought I think I’m going to focus on the points I forgot/make more clear about why I wanted the job/to work there. That feels a little more natural to me for the follow-up email. I’d be afraid anything else would come off as rambley and make it worse.

  5. Cochrane*

    I’m interviewing a strong internal candidate for a role on my team. I’ve crossed paths with her constantly in prior roles and always had positive interactions. My only reservation I have about this candidate is her title. She has been with the company for 5-6 years but has not attained the incremental promotion (think teapot technician I to teapot technician II) that most people get in the first few years with the firm. It’s not a big leap like VP or Senior Director that takes years and most people don’t attain.

    There’s no way she would have lasted this long at our company if she didn’t meet or exceed performance ratings; is there a tactful way to bring this up or should I let it go?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Let it go. It’s entirely possible that she’s looking to move to your team from where she is because SHE doesn’t know why they never gave her the incremental promotion, despite having met or exceeded performance ratings.

      1. Rayray*

        This is my exact thought too. I work at a place that does these level things with titles, and at least here it seems to be more about pay scale. I was on a team with someone who had been with the company 3-4 years and was still a level 1 and my instinct 100% is that she was simply never offered the raise. She was skilled and worked hard and deserved it, just didn’t have it due to managerial overlooking her.

      2. Pocket Mouse*

        Yeah, I had the experience of getting a raise that brought my pay in line with the next level up’s pay band, but not having my title change to the next level up. There was a rationale given and a positive spin put on it, but with other things that happened around this change, it didn’t actually make sense and soured me a bit on how my manager approached it. It wasn’t too long before I started looking.

        Cochrane, I see below where you noted complicated politics in this candidate’s current department. You don’t need to assume it’s related to how her title has continued to be the same, but don’t assume it’s unrelated.

    2. Ali G*

      Maybe that’s why she wants a transfer? Maybe there isn’t any growth on her team available to her. I would ask why she’s interested in the position and see what she says.

      1. Momma Bear*

        This. We have departments where it’s basically a manager and a couple of team members and unless the manager quits, there’s nowhere for the team to go except somewhere else if they want a higher title. Judge her on her skills and work.

    3. ecnaseener*

      Can you ask her current manager about it? This seems like a textbook example of why internal candidates are easier to assess.

      1. Artemesia*

        This. I would wonder what her manager’s track record is in promoting his people and whether he has neglected to take care of them or just the women on his team OR if there is something specific related to her. Find out his reputation in this as well as view of her.

        1. rachel in nyc*

          yeah, I’m not sure necessarily about going straight to the current manager but definitely worth asking around about it. Maybe this is a sign that she is great in small doses but in the day-to-day has problems or maybe it’s a management problem.

        2. LDF*

          This was one of the top reasons I transferred out of a past team – I wasn’t getting the incremental promotion that I felt I deserved (and felt men were getting more easily). Like here, it was a Job 1 to Job 2 that didn’t require openings. Would be super bummed to know I wasn’t getting a transfer due to the very reason I was hoping to get a transfer.

    4. Tuckerman*

      A lot of promotions/changes were frozen due to COVID. Not sure if that’s in play here.

      1. Corporate Drone Liz*

        I don’t think it would apply if she’s been there 5-6 years. But I also don’t think it’s a red flag (or even a yellow flag); I would just mentally note it and maybe follow up with her current manager later.

    5. voluptuousfire*

      Let it go. I was in her shoes recently with a job interview. One reason I wasn’t moved forward because I hadn’t been “proactive enough in my career development”- i.e pursue a higher role than the one I was in. It’s not an invalid observation but did cut to the quick with me since there were personal reasons as to why I didn’t pursue anything higher. I also had stellar feedback and had a bunch of other kudos that signaled I was a great employee and I pursued career development in the confines of my then role. I’m very proud of that.

      1. Momma Bear*

        We had an engineer decide to step back from a management role. He wanted to be back in the trenches. Some people might see that as a step backwards, but really it was better for both the employee and the company. Not all promotions are positive/necessary.

      2. voluptuousfire*

        So unless you directly ask her why she didn’t move forward, let it go and ask her why she’s looking at this role.

    6. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      So your logic is to not promote her because no one else has promoted her?

      Circular logic is circular.

    7. Cochrane*

      Appreciate the feedback all. I know the department she is in is fraught with politics, now that I’ve been asking around. To be clear, this wasn’t a red flag but more of an curiosity that stood out.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Ooooh. Then definitely don’t put her on the spot about it – in addition to being a sore spot, it may also come across to someone coming out of a politically-fraught situation as a deliberate trick question. “Am I allowed to say I don’t know? Do I have to make up a weakness? Do I throw the management under the bus? Does it even matter, because I’m sure I’m totally hosed now?”

      2. Momma Bear*

        Ugh. All the more reason to evaluate her on her skills and not the title. It might be a sign she doesn’t play politics in the office, which I would consider a good thing.

    8. irene adler*

      Some companies – like where I work- just don’t do that. They don’t care if it reflects badly on the employee when viewed by folks outside of the company. In fact, there’s no I,II III or Jr, Sr etc. at all.

      I’ve had the same job title for over 2 decades. BUT the job itself has changed tremendously.

      Focus on the skills and experience this candidate brings to your company. You are making a judgment of this candidate’s worth based on how things work at your company. Some companies work very differently.

    9. Yellow Warbler*

      I would let it go. Maybe she leaned out to raise kids or care for an ailing parent, or just isn’t good at playing the political games needed to advance.

    10. Jack Straw*

      As a typically promotion-oriented person, who was diagnosed with a chronic illness/manageable but lifelong cancer treatment two years ago, let it go. I’ve literally told my boss and mentor that, while I do eventually want to advance/move up, right now I’m content doing a job I know and am secure in because the rest of my life is so uncertain and messy.

      Replace my diagnosis with caring for an elderly parent or an ill child, dealing with personal grief/death, a major injury, a life change like a divorce, etc. It’s not uncommon and actually a really good thing to have an employee that self-aware.

    11. DarkSide*

      Let it go. I was in that position for almost 5 years because no one would retire, and you could only have a certain number of Level II employees. That, and my manager didn’t particularly like me. I always had great reviews.

    12. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Oh please don’t ding someone for what could be their manager’s failure. An unassertive manager who is not willing to argue with THEIR manager for a budget increase. A manager who so doesn’t want to lose them that the title change keeps getting “overlooked”. A manager who doesn’t promote women or another unfavored group (from skin color to politics to perceived geekiness).

    13. Daisy*

      I would let it go unless the position you are considering her for needs someone interested in moving up. If that’s the case and it would be much better for you to have someone who would advance upwards then I think it’s totally reasonable to ask about – at least to assess if it is something she just isn’t interested in. But I wouldn’t ask if it doesn’t matter to the position.

  6. Caduceus*

    I’m hoping for some career advice from the group.

    I’m currently a PM in Automotive Manufacturing and enjoy my job– I enjoy the job work. I don’t enjoy the automotive industry and I’m looking into hoping to make a jump to IT. I realize that I need to have some more IT base knowledge to do this. What’s the best way to go about doing this? A bootcamp? Going back to school for a certificate? doing a masters? The only thing I have that’s vaguely related to IT type things atm is I am a certified scrum master.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Certified scrum master is a great starting point! Don’t play that down.

      1. violet04*

        Agree! Agile is a huge thing at my company. If you’re interested in software development, that could get your foot in the door working with developers and IT teams and understanding the development process. You can also get an idea of what type of coding they do and maybe that could translate to other roles within the company.

        1. Momma Bear*

          +1 to anything Agile. Or if you are good at revamping and streamlining processes.

    2. GigglyPuff*

      I don’t have any experience in IT, but I always think/mention technical community colleges as a way to learn new things. The one near me has a programming fundamentals certificate I’ve been eyeing. That might be a way to get your feet wet, learn the basics.

    3. Tech PM*

      are there any tech companies specific to the automotive industry? I was in a similar position a few years ago, managing projects in a really stodgy industry. I got a job at a startup that serves that industry, and my domain expertise was a plus to the company. I spend 5-6 years at companies serving my old industry and then made a jump to a new company that does straight up IT work and serves all industries

    4. LKW*

      What about a PMP certification – that, plus scrum certification is a great way to get in the door. Also look at technology that supports manufacturing to leverage your real life experience.
      Look at technologies supporting PLM – product lifecycle management too.

      Boot camp in data management, master data management, data standards – also beneficial as a starting point.

      I’m assuming you don’t want to be a developer otherwise you’d have to learn languages and get more coding/development experience.

    5. ten-four*

      I mean, you might not actually need more IT knowledge to make the switch? I’m at a digital consulting firm and we just hired a PM with lots of consulting experience but not any digital experience to speak of. I’m quite sure she’s going to have a bit of a learning curve, but it didn’t stop us from hiring her. I’d go ahead and dust off the ol’ resume and start applying.

      You might want to read up on the squad model for delivering digital work. Twitter hashtags for #productmanagement are surprisingly good for filtering out industry news. And for what it’s worth, I’d look for digital or tech jobs rather than IT; IT is starting to mean much more of the nuts/bolts of keeping the servers running.

      As you start looking for jobs you might hunt for digital consultants that have clients in the automotive and/or manufacturing space. It might be useful to focus more on product orgs and digital consultancies; “agency” often means that they work more on an advertising/brand model, which usually means heavier workloads, more hours, and more stress.

      And definitely lean hard on the certified scrum master; agile is pretty much the only game in town!

    6. Apple Tree*

      What type of IT work are you hoping to manage? Do you want to work on software development projects, networking projects, something else?

      I am a director and I’d say that while you don’t need to know how to code or manage a network, you do need to learn enough to talk to people who do. If you want to stay in PM, I don’t recommend a boot camp as they are expensive and a life disruption, and there is quite a bit to learn about the PM practices without getting into the tech stuff immediately (you can always go deep later, but focus on the core job duties and leave the bootcamps to the aspiring developers). You’ll pick up a lot of general IT info just by doing this.

      If you do want to do some things, I consider the Cisco CCNA and AWS Solution Architect to be well recognized certs that actually teach you a lot. These are not quick studies for beginners, though. I also suggest Python – there are many free/cheap resources, it’s an easy starter language, and it’s used in many different IT sub-specialties. You don’t have to do any of these, certainly not all of them, but give them a Google/YouTube if you want to get a taste.

  7. TWW*

    You answered your own question: “Now I’m ready to look for a tech-heavy version of my job.”

    Good luck!

  8. merp*

    Hands down favorite work shoes for long shifts of standing? Or inserts you swear by, either one. I have a high arch and am moving to a new job as a baker soon!

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I also have arches and have enjoyed the last couple of Adidas tennis shoes I’ve bought. They have “cloudfoam” or something like that in the soles. Hopefully they have some in leather so they’re easier for you to wipe off at the end of the day. I might not recommend the mesh fabric around a lot of flour!

      Congrats! Good luck at your new job!

    2. Caduceus*

      Danskos are great, also pretty much anything by abeo for high arches (I think the only place you can get them is the walking company)

      1. JessicaTate*

        Ditto to both of these. I have high arches and a loose ankle tendon, and these are the two brands I wear the most now. I do add an insole to some of my Dankso shoes (not the clogs; I haven’t tried those yet) to give enough arch support. I got that at TWC too. I spend a lot of money at The Walking Company.

        Abeos specifically make shoes with different arch support levels, and the high arch ones have substantial support (not just hand-waving at padding or squishy foam that deflates) – it’s pronounced and firm. I don’t need an insole with those.

    3. Corky's wife Bonnie*

      Dansko makes great shoes, many of their designs are created for chefs. I have a pair of the Chefs clogs that I wear when I’m doing a lot of cooking, and they really help. I suffer from plantar fasciitis and they really help. They also have non-slip on the bottom. Highly recommend!

      1. kt*

        I will comment that I personally had trouble staying on my Danskos — like I kept falling off of them and rolling my ankle. I do much better with a shoe with a very thin sole, even standing for a long time, as long as it’s a wide toe box. This is clearly not true for everyone as I bought the Danksos on the recommendations of colleagues (college profs) who loved them and wore them for years.

    4. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

      I second the “no mesh uppers” comment when you will be working with a lot of flour. Also, avoid anything suede or overly fabricy. I worked as a baker for a while and unfortunately for my knees never invested in properly supportive footwear. But danskos/sanitas were high on my list of “in a paycheck or two” wants until I found a different job closer to my desired field.

    5. Mr. Cajun2core*

      My wife is an university professor and loves her Alegria. She has worn them for years. She recommended them to a nurse friend of ours and she also loves them!

      1. Yorick*

        And they make crocs that don’t look like crocs! I had some that were very nice ballet flats until you looked closely enough to see they looked kinda like plastic. It was great to wear them to work when it was rainy – you can just dry them off with a paper towel.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            I do; they’re pretty airy and breathable. However, they’ve got bumps on the sole (“massaging”nonsense) that can get irritating after a while. I use some stick-on inserts to cover those.

          2. Windchime*

            I have crocs and I can wear them without socks; however, they make a terrible “fart” sound when I walk so beware of that. Mine are the old-fashioned clog type with a strap around the back. The top of the shoe doesn’t have any ventilation holes, so I imagine those wouldn’t make the fart noise.

      2. All Monkeys are French*

        I wore Crocs almost exclusively during my baking career. I originally liked Birkenstock clogs, which were great in a restaurant kitchen, but when I moved into bread baking, they were too slippery on floury floors. Crocs have enough flexibility to give you some grip, and they don’t have deep treads that can clog up with dough. They won’t last more than a year or two, but they’re inexpensive. I liked the ones with vents around the sides, not on top.

    6. Artemesia*

      Different brands for different folks but for me Merrill breeze with their heavy rubber soles keep my chronic plantar fascitis from flaring up. I literally go years without problems wearing them and a couple of years ago spent one day wearing ordinary walking shoes while walking in a city all day and could hardly walk the next day. If I wear trainers I use gel inserts — you may need specific inserts for your arch issue.

    7. No Tribble At All*

      Don’t forget compression socks if you have bad circulation! A friend who is a baker swears by them. And, they come in fun colors and designs now too!

      Congrats on your new job :)

    8. Pickled Limes*

      You have some great shoe suggestions here, so I’m going to recommend asking your boss about anti-fatigue mats. They really help!

    9. Generic Name*

      I have high arches, and I find the insoles from Red Wing Shoes to be very comfortable. I put them in work boots where I do a ton of hiking.

    10. Lora*

      Very high arches (to the point that most regular boots don’t fit), and I wear Ariat safety shoes/boots to walk on concrete all day when I’m in the field or lab. For more travel-y days that involve running around airports I get Riekers on sale at DSW.

    11. Policy Wonk*

      NurseMates. Don’t know about the high arch, but they are good for jobs on your feet.

    12. AceInPlainSight*

      Young person doing walking and standing work- I love my J-Sport tennis shoes with memory foam soles.

    13. Anonanon doo doo doo doo doo*

      Propet makes great orthopedic shoes that don’t look othopedic!

    14. Boots made for walking*

      Hotter shoes for women. Come in a variety of widths, some are “old lady shoes,” but there are super cute shoes and they are great for all day standing or walking. Also Merrell shoes.

    15. Professional Nerd*

      It’s worth it if you can afford it to go to a podiatrist and look at getting custom orthotic insoles. I’m a teacher and mine are the thing between me and feeling like my feet are on fire every night.

      1. MissCoco*

        This is what I came to say!
        I have a tennis shoe pair and a dress shoe pair (narrower and less squishy), and they are just so great!
        I have had them both for years and they were life saving as a lab tech

    16. Seeking Second Childhood*

      One caveat on my beloved Merrell urban mocs — buy them in person. They changed something in their manufacturing ~5 years ago. Their length/width are still consistent — but height from sole to top of upper is not. And because of the elastic inserts, the leather doesn’t stretch like it might in another shoe.

    17. Jo*

      It can really be worth the price to go to a shoe shop that specializes in well-fitting shoes. The kind of shop a podiatrist sends you to with a prescription, although that’s not necessary. And it’s not like all they carry are old-style orthopedic shoes. There’s a lot of variety. The brands they carry will be more expensive, but you’ll find the right one and get the right fit. (Often European sizing). I’ve had luck with Vionic, Taos, Alegria (love these!). My work situation doesn’t allow for athletic shoes, but my podiatrist recommended Hoka, and they are WONDERFUL.

    18. eez whiz*

      When I started working as a baker, I started with danskos because everyone raved about them. They were fine, but I didn’t love them. They were weirdly heavy, and I felt like I had to keep flexing my foot to keep them on. They also put too much pressure on my arches which started to hurt by the end of the day. I can see how they would be good for higher arches though.

      After that I switched to Crocs and I LOVED them. They make kitchen versions that have fewer holes so they cover your foot. So lightweight and cushy too. You can also just wash them in the sink when they get gross. They’re ugly af but so comfortable I didn’t care.

      1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        I see a lot of nurses wearing Crocs, which is a good enough recommendation for me.

    19. WeAreTheJunimos*

      Late to the party but Bala 12’s (made for nurses but honestly adaptable for any profession) have been a lifesaver for my feet. I work 12 hours of mostly standing and I hardly have any feet pain when I peel them off at the end of the day.

    20. Quinalla*

      I do not have high arches, but I do have plantar fasciitis and I highly recommend Brooks walking shoes and then get a custom insole that helps with your particular foot shape, etc. I need a lot of heel support myself, something firm and a low arch, but they are all sorts of options. I’ve had good luck here:

      My Das has similar issues and he has orthopedic inserts but also just tries lots of random ones, sometimes the cheap store ones work well, etc. So don’t be afraid to try many.

    21. Intermittent Introvert*

      I have super high arches and love Birckenstocks. They have some closed toe options.

  9. McMurdo*

    Can I get a quick pep talk? I have three papers due tonight (they’re all half-done, it’s totally doable) and once I finish them I will be completely done with college!!! I can graduate in 2 weeks!!! But MAN is it a slog trying to get them done. Just some words of encouragement would be much appreciated.

    1. Katie*

      You’re so close! It is going to feel AMAZING when you are done. Today will be a battle but its one you are going win – and then you are going to celebrate. You’ve got this!

    2. merp*

      You got this!! As a friend once told me when I was feeling unmotivated, “attack the day! run at it with wiggling arms!”

      It made me laugh enough to get me going. Idk if that will work for you, maybe this just sounds weird, but sometimes weird works!

      1. SillyBean*

        “attack the day! run at it with wiggling arms!”

        Oh my gosh, I adore this so much!!! Thank you for sharing!

    3. Katherine Vigneras*

      You’re super close to the finish line and you’ve GOT THIS. Hang in there!

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      You got this!! Line up a good treat for after each one, and an extra good treat for after the last one is in. (I have a final exam tomorrow, so I’m also looking forward to summer break.)

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        I pretty much ate ice cream constantly the final weekend I completed my Master’s portfolio. Kept the serotonin levels up or something.

    5. Ashley*

      Years of work can be wrapped up in a bow with a few more hours worth of work! You got this and as soon as you finish relaxation city!

    6. Moira Rose*

      You’re so close you can taste it!!! Really hit that final burst of speed when you can see the finish line!!

    7. Ali G*

      That’s amazing! Imagine the feeling when you wake up tomorrow and are DONE. You can do it!

    8. Miss Ames*

      You can do it, you have a lot of the work done already!
      take a deep breath, drink fluids and maybe eat a sandwich (whatever will keep your body going through the afternoon), and take it one step at a time to reach your end goal!

      And imagine the day after graduation, how great it will feel to wake up and have nothing hanging over your head, just a bright future to look forward to!!!

    9. TheGradLads*

      You can do it! As someone who literally just passed their last final of grad school….you can do it!!
      You’re this far in, so I’ll bet you already know the things that help you (caffeine or having colored highlighters at arms reach or pomodoro timers or whatever). Use your systems, use what you already know about yourself. You’ve got this!

    10. BabyCarrot*

      You can do it! I have an exam this afternoon for a class and after that I have only 3 more classes to go before I get my degree. It feels so go when its done!

    11. hot priest*

      I recently learned about a great new productivity technique on academic twitter called the Cheeseodoro technique. It’s like the Pomodoro technique but after 25 minutes of working you take a 5 minute break to eat as much cheese and crackers as possible before diving back into work. I think it sounds very effective.

      In all seriousness though, you can do this!!! The fact that you’re already half done all three papers now is amazing. I would focus on getting one done at a time now and, similar to the Cheeseodoro technique, celebrate with a yummy treat or a nice walk around the block after you’re done each one.

      Good luck and congrats on finishing college!

    12. Artemesia*

      Whenever I get stuck writing I do the easiest part first — thus when I was writing a book, it was chapter 3 and 4 that got done first and one that got done last because I had the most enthusiasm for 3 and 4. Can you break down the papers into outlines and go after the easiest pieces because progress really reinforces sticking to it. Cross off each segment as you go (heck start with an outline that includes stuff you have done and ritually cross off the completed pieces before you start on the next easiest piece. Maybe even reward yourself with a treat when you get each part done.

      And imagine what you will do when they are all done — plan a bigger treat for yourself: a massage, a bubble bath, a beer while watching curling on TV — whatever would be a doable and fun treat for your accomplishment.

    13. LKW*

      Give the rock one huge push up the hill. You’re almost done and when you’re done you can sleep, drink, catch up on all the TV you missed*.

      *OK, that’s my list of rewards but yeah, you get to do things!

    14. Save the Hellbender*

      You’ve got this!! Treat yourself to celebratory drink/pastry/Netflix binge when you’re done, and congrats on graduation!

    15. Lee*

      I wish we could put GIFs on here. So just imagine a gif of the “YOU CAN DO IT!” guy from the Waterboy here :)

    16. Generic Name*

      You can do it! Pick out a small treat for yourself to celebrate. Maybe sleep in tomorrow and get donuts for breakfast. :)

    17. academic half full*

      phone a friend. read paper number one- the goal is to keep writing for 20 minutes. call friend back. commit to another 20 minutes. rinse and repeat. put a hard stop on the day. Do a bit on each paper each day so that you don’t have one hanging over you.
      Give yourself at least three days for the final revision.
      This is me throwing you a parade.

    18. Tessera Member 042*

      Don’t get hung up on perfection – remember that the standard for GOOD is DONE!
      Congrats on your graduation!

    19. Seeking Second Childhood*

      It’s times like this when I pick something like my favorite song off the Matrix soundtrack and run it on endless repeat. YOU GO MCMURDO!

    20. McMurdo*

      Update from 3AM McMurdo: I’m done!!! Everything is turned in!!!! None of it was particularly good but that doesn’t matter because I’M GRADUATING!!!!

  10. Stuckinacrazyjob*

    How does everyone feel on the big push for ” back to normal ” ?

    They are publishing articles about how we all should be back in the office, my company is planning events and happy hours knowing nobody got the sense to be vaxxed (I’m never going back to the office again after overhearing the worst anti vaxxers – all microchips and everything), retail workers won’t have mask mandates to fall back on so the unvaxxed will be getting all who don’t have access sick.
    It’s stressing me out. How are y’all handling it?

    1. i'm baack*

      Dreading it – commuting is a huge detriment to my quality of life and there is no business case for going back, my job can be completed 99.5% remotely.

    2. ecnaseener*

      They were pushing for “back to normal” when the first wave was ending, and it caused a second wave. With vaccines people are so complacent :sob:

      1. Miss Ames*

        my workplace wants us to upload our vaccine cards – they say it’s so they can get a sense of the overall vaccination status as they make decisions on returning to the workplace. Now, I am (fully) vaccinated and I don’t mind stating that/signing off electronically that I have been – but for some reason uploading my vaccine card doesn’t sit well with me. It feels like my word is not being taken by my employer and I have to provide “proof” in order to be trusted.

        1. Calliope*

          Well, we’ve definitely seen a ton of people lying throughout this, unfortunately.

        2. Not A Manager*

          Because a lot of people who aren’t you will blatantly lie. This is why we can’t have nice things.

          1. Fran Fine*

            This. The liars have ruined it for everyone and your employer doesn’t want the resulting liability from a workplace Covid outbreak.

            1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

              Yes the anti vaxxers were freaking out that the company wants to pay us money to get the vaccine. The truth is if just one kid gets real sick, a lot of questions will be asked that we don’t want to answer.

          2. The Other Dawn*

            Exactly–people lie. We have to upload ours, too. But it’s because we’ll get a free PTO day for getting vaccinated. And I’m all for that! Even if we weren’t getting PTO, I’d still upload mine. No big deal–I WANT people to know I’m vaccinated.

            My boss sent out their notes from the senior management meeting this week and HR had reported that less than half of employees are vaccinated, which is pretty disappointing. Especially since they held multiple on-site vaccination clinics for the last two months (we partner with a local hospital) and made it really convenient. It was during working hours and no one had to clock out or take PTO. Just go to the site, get your shot, and then go back to work if you’re feeling OK. If not, go home and still get paid.

        3. RabbitRabbit*

          Yup, lots of liars. I work in an administrative position in a hospital and annually (even last/this year) everyone has to provide proof of getting a flu vaccine or proof that they are unable to for a medical reason, even if they don’t work with patients. We aren’t yet required to get the COVID vaccine but with the easy and early access at work, they announced we’ve crossed the 80% herd immunity level for employees. I’m personally OK with tracking it.

        4. NotRealAnonForThis*

          Can verify that at least here, its not “my” word that is being questioned, but the word of the loud tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist who has now stated he will not wear a mask in the office as our state has lifted the mask mandate (he’s purposefully ignoring the part about “for those who are fully vaccinated”).

      2. Violetta*

        The widespread adoption of vaccines is a big difference between those two situations, though?

        1. pancakes*

          “Widespread” really depends on the area. In my city there are numerous examples of stark differences between boroughs and between neighborhoods. By the end of March, there were neighborhoods in Manhattan where more than 50% of adults were vaccinated, and neighborhoods in Queens where it was less than 20%.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I did a double-take at people in at a mass-vaccination clinic this week who were ALREADY not wearing masks. And by definition the people at a vaccination clinic are there because they ARE NOT YET VACCINATED.
          (Sorry the whole lack of statistical understanding makes me shouty.)

          1. Violetta*

            What do I lack in understanding? Compared to when we came out of the first lockdown, vaccines are widespread. The two situations aren’t the same.

            1. ecnaseener*

              SSC’s point is that unvaccinated people are not wearing masks in public. Being unvaccinated, they could be carriers.
              Vaccinated people could also be carriers, it’s just less likely. We are not at the point of herd immunity yet. The two situations aren’t totally the same, but the current situation still isn’t safe and people are acting like it is.

            2. Seeking Second Childhood*

              Sorry, ecnaseer has the right of it –it was a related situation, not the same.

    3. Ashley*

      I am really not looking forward to it at all. I feel like a lot of the people that have been vaccinated will get tired of wearing masks and just claim they are, and while I am safe kids aren’t eligible! Not the mention kids won’t see adults wearing masks and I see the this isn’t fair fight happening. Why can’t we just wait until kids can be vaccinated before going to “back to normal”? Plus I really want a hybrid work schedule for ever.

      1. Massive Dynamic*

        This right here is why I’m fully vaxxed but will probably still be wearing a mask everywhere – I can’t make my kids mask up without doing so myself.

      2. Natalie*

        Not the mention kids won’t see adults wearing masks and I see the this isn’t fair fight happening.

        This seems like a leap, kids are pretty accepting of adults living different lives. My parents got to sit in the front seat of the car and use power tools, too, and I didn’t find that at all confusing or grist for temper tantrums.

        1. i'm baack*

          One of the beautiful things about the tapestry of the human experience is that everyone is different and will react differently

          1. Natalie*

            Public health policies, like mask mandates, are set for the population at large. “Some people might have trouble explaining this to their child” does not seem like a compelling reason to continue a public health policy if data indicates it is no longer necessary.

            1. i'm baack*

              Sure. I’m not making a public health argument. It’s just not really “a leap” to say some kids will have the “this isn’t fair” reaction and others won’t.

          2. Clara*

            OK? I mean, this seems like the kind of thing that you could say in response to absolutely anything. What does this mean in terms of setting public health policy?

            1. i'm baack*

              It just means that you can’t extrapolate from your own experiences into a generalization about all kids, it will be false.

              1. Clara*

                The original commenter that Natalie responded to was the one making a generalization about how kids will react to seeing adults without masks.

        2. Calliope*

          Hah, I think you were a more reasonable kid than some of us!

          I think in general a lot of parents are going to end up wearing masks to model for their kids, which is fine. But as someone with a kid too young to wear masks, I’m a little worried she’ll be exposed to a lot of unmasked adults who are lying about vaccination status. I don’t know that that will make the difference in what we do, especially given we live in a pretty pro-vax area, but I would prefer if public health officials at least addressed the issue of kids under 12 or under 2 and how parents should think about this. It seems like its been totally ignored,

          1. Natalie*

            For sure, we’re dealing with this with my SIL and BIL since they are waffling on the vaccine and our daughter is under mask age. We’ll continue to distance her from people who’s vaccine status we don’t know, and we’re not big festival goers or anything so I don’t think that will impact our life very much.

            It would be nice to get some more robust suggestions, but I’m honestly not sure what else there is to do! The states of emergency underlying most of the mask mandates do have specific legal criteria, that probably aren’t going to be met by the lowest risk group being unable to be vaccinated.

          2. Lemon Ginger Tea*

            This. I’m very worried about my 6 year old being exposed to anti-vaxxers who will be out and about, lying about having been vaccinated.

            And we’re expecting a baby this summer who will be born with antibodies since I’m fully vaccinated (yay, science!)… leaving our older kid as the only one in the family without protection. It blows. I’m just holding out hope that the vaccine gets approved for younger kids sooner rather than later.

        3. Massive Dynamic*

          Ah, but it would be different if you too used to use the power tools, and then you and your parents all stopped using power tools for a while, but now your parents get to use the tools again but not you. Also, you are a toddler.

          Many parents of tots will probably have to keep modeling mask compliance while out and about with their young kids if they are going anywhere that requires unvaxxed people to be masked. It’s just our lot in life right now and definitely doesn’t mean that other vaxxed adults need to mask up around us. Just the unvaxxed.

      3. A Poster Has No Name*

        ITA. Our governor cancelled the mask mandate yesterday and I’m not looking forward to seeing the unmasked masses at my next Target shift.

        I mean, people weren’t great at wearing masks properly before now, so maybe it’ll be largely the same (people who wore masks properly will continue to wear them, dicknosers won’t wear them at all, regardless of vaccine status).

        My 12yo gets his first Pfizer dose tomorrow, but my 8yo won’t until the fall, most likely. The school district has already said masks are mandatory through the end of the school year, thankfully, but I’d really feel better about this whole thing if they waited until kids were getting vaccinated and/or a certain percentage of the population was vaccinated.

        1. tangerineRose*

          I’ve been vaccinated, and I plan to keep wearing a mask in stores or other places where there might be a risk. I hope a lot of other people do, too.

      4. Neptune*

        I have to say that almost every time I’ve seen the “kids won’t understand”/“kids will think it’s unfair”/“kids will fight with their parents” argument, IRL most kids in my orbit have actually been fine with whatever it was after getting used to it or it’s been resolved by the parents doing some parenting. Kids pick stuff up pretty quick.

    4. RabbitRabbit*

      I actually somewhat miss it, even though I have a long commute. I work for a hospital but have been able to WFH, having gotten out of patient care a few years ago. I feel deeply guilty for being home.

      My workplace has passed the 80% vaccination ‘herd immunity’ mark – though I am wary of a conspiracy-theorist anti-vaxxer guy who helps support our department sometimes; my head would explode if I had to hear that from him after all this.

      I miss being able to just pop my head into a cubicle and get advice from a colleague; it’s really made this tough. And I miss the work gym. I miss the feeling of being there at a place I love and have pride in working at. But our particular office is out of seating for all our staff and so some WFH absolutely must happen even after “normality” (barring finding new space for us).

      I’d like to do maybe 2 days a week in the office, but maybe in later summer or fall. I’m worried this summer may do terrible things to our progress against the disease.

    5. SpiderLadyCEO*

      I’m sort of wondering how to deal with this. Because we should be able to going back to not masking – the mask, on a vaccinated individual, is useless to prevent spread of covid19. It does nothing, but would help with colds/flus/other bugs.

      The issue is that now the mask has become a symbol of respect for other peoples’ lives. The people who aren’t getting vaxxed weren’t wearing masks or wearing them properly to begin with – and how will you know who’s gambling or who’s safe and responsible? At this point, while I don’t like the idea of public medical information, I’m becoming very pro-vax passport. There shouldn’t be a free pass for blatantly ignoring the health and safety of the people around you. How are people who can’t get vaxxed supposed to know in a store or shop or restaraunt who is blantantly flaunting advice and not masking and not getting vaxxed? It’s frustrating.

      1. Fran Fine*

        The people who aren’t getting vaxxed weren’t wearing masks or wearing them properly to begin with

        This isn’t true for everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated. I haven’t been, and neither has my mother (for medical reasons), and we stay masked up on the rare occasions that we actually leave our respective homes. We also wear our KN95s correctly, follow social distance protocols to the letter, and are diligent about handwashing.

      2. Joan Rivers*

        Masks aren’t all or nothing. Asian countries have had mask-wearing for years, I’ve seen the photos and didn’t get it then but now I do.
        Subway? Mask. Crowd of strangers? Mask. We can keep it w/us and pop it on any time we want. And enjoy breathing outdoors.

      3. Jackalope*

        Related to this, I was wondering if anyone might have some scripts that would help me with a social media issue I can across. I’ve seen some people posting that they don’t need to get the shot because they “identify as vaccinated”, which is both a foolish move health-wise and also a clear jab at trans/non-binary people and possibly also L/G/B as well. Any ideas for scripts on how to respond? My goal isn’t to reach THEM, but more other people who might see the posts- both trans/NB people to know someone has their back, and others who aren’t making comments like that and might possibly listen. Thoughts?

        1. pancakes*

          The type of person who posts something like that is looking for engagement and/or a fight, and I think it’s best to not give it to them. Report the account for spamming, bigotry, or both, etc., if applicable.

        2. Maggie*

          That’s such low hanging fruit I wouldn’t even bother with it. Trolls going to troll.

    6. Violetta*

      I’m not in the U.S. and my country is a little behind on vaccination efforts – but frankly I can’t wait for things to get back to a semblance of normalcy.

    7. RagingADHD*

      It’s different everywhere. I care about people and have done everything I can do/control to keep from spreading it. I can’t do anything about whether the folks who won’t listen are going to spread it to each other. It’s not up to me.

      We have had open eligibility for 16+ for over a month now, and got 12+ opened yesterday. Every time I go to Walmart they are on the PA system offering open doses in the pharmacy, no waiting.

      Every adult here who wants their shot has had it. I figure it will take 6 weeks to get all the 12+ done who are going to get it. The CDC says under-elevens are very low risk to transmit. At that point my state should be sending those extra doses to somewhere that needs them more.

      I still mask everywhere because the teens aren’t through yet, and it’s good asshole repellent. But I’m going more places and getting together with people I haven’t seen in a year. I’m really looking forward to more normalcy, and very soon we will be as safe here as it’s ever likely to get.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        A month? But it takes at least that long to be fully vaccinated. And some communities are underserved. In MS right next to us, only 20% have the vax. I think we are way jumping the gun.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Over a month.

          Yes, some communities are underserved. That’s why the first line in my comment was, “It’s different everywhere.”

          My state is now driving mobile teams house-to-house to find and vax people who don’t have transportation or are shut-ins. Sports teams and popular attractions are offering special access, package experiences and perks for anyone who will come and get vaxxed.

          We’re at the point they are having a hard time giving the shots away. The number of people who are truly underserved here is dwindling rapidly, and there are a lot of folks who just won’t get the shot no matter what you do. It would be a crime to let those shots go to waste, so as soon as the 12+ rush tapers off, I hope they will reallocate the excess.

          1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

            Oh here it’s not like that at all. I was wondering why everyone was like ” everything’s fine now” but if the policy makers live where you live it makes sense now.

            1. RagingADHD*

              Yeah, I was talking to a client in Canada today, she’s 60 and won’t be able to get her 2nd dose till July. Just awful!

              I was like, “come here and go to the drive-thru at the football stadium, they won’t care.”

              1. allathian*

                My city is vaccinating the 40+ cohorts now, but in some others they’re still at 50+. But basically everyone who’s in a high-risk group has been able to get the vaccine here in Finland. That said, they’re maximizing first-dose coverage and only using AZ for the 65+ cohorts and Pfizer for the younger ones, with a 12-week delay between shots. I got my first one last week and I’ll get my second in July.

            2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

              I was so confused before because I was like we got 70% to go, and just no masks with all those unvaxxed just sounds like people will get sick. But maybe they simply don’t understand what’s going on

      2. Heather*

        Seconded. I’m vaccinated, and so is my partner and everyone I actively hang out with. I’m wearing my mask in businesses that request it, otherwise I’m going to live my life pretty much as before. The risk to me is about the same as for the flu, and I’m not responsible for the health of anyone with a reduced immune system or anything like that, so as far as I’m concerned the pandemic has moved squarely outside of the range of things I can try to control. Other people’s health is their responsibility.

    8. lemon*

      I’m stressed out, too.

      I have a chronic illness that causes chronic pain, which gets triggered by stress. As bad as this pandemic has been in other ways, it’s really helped my chronic illness a lot to not have to worry about commuting to work every day, to not have to battle crowds downtown, to be able to go to virtual events from the comfort of home. For the first time in years, I feel almost normal because the shift to the virtual has finally created a more manageable world.

      But this past week, my illness has flared up again, and it’s just reminding me how hard it’s going to be for me to go back to “normal.” I’ve literally been crying about it because I can’t imagine going back to being in pain all the time. And I’m gonna be super bitter (ya know, cuz I’m a lemon) about the fact that there’s not really going to be a reason for it– there’s no real reason for me to be back in the office full-time. The only reason to return full time (for my job at least) is just to make (healthy, able-bodied) people feel like things are better.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        That sucks. They should just let folks choose whether to be in the office or at home because some are disabled and some have caretaking responsibilities

      2. KoiFeeder*

        Agreed. I feel kind of guilty for being almost grateful that my chronic illness made my vaccine not “take,” because I don’t have to go back to hurting myself five days a week only to be told I’m not disabled because I can walk (with a cane, and in small doses).

    9. bluephone*

      I’m all for it, especially with the effectiveness data for current COVID-19 vaccines. I’m looking forward to my mental health finally getting better, for starters.

      1. Natalie*

        It is legitimately amazing how effective these vaccines are and how flexible the specific mRNA tech is for subsequent viruses. Hopefully it will sink in for more people soon just how big of a deal this is.

        1. Generic Name*

          Yes, I’m really excited about the new technology too. Hopefully this technology will increase the accuracy and effectiveness of the flu vaccine since it can be made so much more quickly, and we won’t have to essentially guess far in advance which flu strains will be most prevalent in any given year.

          1. RagingADHD*

            That would be awesome. I got my flu shot last year and caught the strain that wasn’t in it. Horrible. Flat on my back for 3 weeks, couldn’t even string a sentence together. If I hadn’t tested positive for flu I’d suspect it was one of those sneaky early covid cases.

    10. Momma Bear*

      Not worried about the office – I never left. Not thrilled about the push to open businesses in general when not so many people as we should have vaccinated have done so. I think we need to slow this roll a bit, and I will continue to behave like everyone is gross for a while. I also have unvaccinated children.

    11. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m excited in general that things are trending that way, but I feel like the actual policies and mandates are going too fast. Our governor has mostly done a great job but on our last “phase checkpoint” he was like “well technically some counties should be rolled back due to current case numbers but instead we’ll just pause where we are for some reason!” Now he’s promoting how soon we can stop requiring masks for people who are vaccinated, which means all the anti-mask anti-vax people won’t be wearing them either and I guess kids and high-risk folks can just fend for themselves now?

    12. A Simple Narwhal*

      Ugh yea I have no desire to go back into the office, all of this rush to return to normal seems, well, rushed. Not nearly enough people have been vaccinated – even the most vaccinated state is at less than 50%. And I know children are only now starting to get vaccinated, so that number should increase shortly, but it’s still very low and seems incredibly pre-emptive to just let people go out maskless. Plus, how can you tell a fully vaccinated person without a mask on from an unvaccinated a-hole who just doesn’t want to wear one? Fortunately I think(/hope?) businesses are going to continue to require masks in their premises, but still, this all seems waaaay to soon when we’re still very much still in the thick of things.

      Aside from safety concerns, I’ve really grown accustomed to working from home, going back into the office is definitely going to mess with the routine I’ve been able to create for myself. And from a logistics standpoint, I would take public transportation into the office, and the local system is still operating on a reduced schedule. In normal times there’d be a train every ~20-30 minutes, now they’re maybe every hour+, meaning I’m going to either need to come into the office early or late, and leave the office either early or late. I’m going to give my office the benefit of the doubt and assume that they wouldn’t make me do the come-in-early-leave-late option (and I know that’s a plus not everyone has), but it still means things won’t be “normal”. Things have been operating perfectly well for my team with all of us remote 100%, I see no need to change that, especially when we’re not out of this yet.

      I’m crossing my fingers that I won’t have to go back in for a while, and even when I do it will only have to be once a week.

      1. Joielle*

        Reduced public transit schedule is my problem too! Honestly I don’t mind going back in – my household is just me and my spouse, both fully vaccinated and both low risk to begin with. And in our county, over 70% of eligible people have been vaccinated. So I’m not too worried about our health (although I know that calculation is a lot different for people with kids or who are higher risk health-wise). But it’s going to take me a lot longer to get to the office if I can’t take my usual express commuter bus, which throws a wrench in things.

        1. RabbitRabbit*

          Yeah, that’s one of my biggest downsides about the thought of returning. My commute was around an hour to an hour and a half (on mass transit) before the pandemic; it’ll be longer on the reduced schedule.

    13. TiffIf*

      I really wish the back to normal push were tied to, say, metrics of percent of those eligible to be vaccinated? So maybe a company mandates vaccines in their stores until the local vaccination levels of those 12 and up is at 70%? That would make sense. But I have lost all expectation of sense out of people since the start of the pandemic.

      1. Fran Fine*

        But I have lost all expectation of sense out of people since the start of the pandemic.

        Right there with you.

      2. pancakes*

        You’re not alone in that. Check out the article in today’s NY Times, “Hundreds of Epidemiologists Expected Mask-Wearing in Public for at Least a Year.”

      3. Lunch Ghost*

        It should be tied to numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. Or maybe numbers of cases (personally I’d find that too conservative, if hospitalizations and deaths were down to flu levels or lower, but I wouldn’t argue because the logic would be sound). Either way, something actually representing the spread, not comparing to an estimate. Especially not one from months ago, when current estimates for herd immunity are more like 80%. (But, sigh, I read that in an article shared by someone who two days later announced that she’s not stopping wearing a mask until vaccination is over 70%. Grumble grumble please read articles and don’t just share them based on headline.)

        1. Generic Name*

          Agreed! I think a lot of people are thinking that the point of mask wearing and social distancing is to avoid contracting COVID full stop. Those measures are to reduce hospitalizations and deaths (which obviously are tied to the number of cases).

        2. TiffIf*

          Oh absolutely, the metric it is tied to should be based in the best available scientific evidence–I was just throwing an example out of what one might look like–though apparently I’m a little out of date on the projections about herd immunity.

      4. RagingADHD*

        My area is never, ever going to get anywhere near 70% vaccinated because we have so many antivaxxers. They would rather let their kids die of measles than get a routine shot that’s been around for generations, they sure aren’t going to GAF about the covid vax.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      Pissed off.
      I’m vaccinated; I know not everyone is. It’s too soon. I like being in the office, but this isn’t over yet. Plus a lot of what we’ve been doing to accommodate workers during the pandemic are things disabled workers have requested for AGES, and now we’re just going to chuck them? Please.

      Butt-in-seat is overrated, and any diminished productivity during Covid WFH can be explained very easily: kids unable to go to school or daycare, sharing inadequate workspace with other adults, and the existential threat of, ya know, A DEADLY PANDEMIC.

      Employers, get a clue.

      1. Vivian*

        Hey, I didn’t realize you’d found a new job. Congratulations! That’s great news.

    15. Seeking Second Childhood*

      We have too many people who were happy to take flying vacations before vaccinations, our building is poorly ventilated, and our business has many people flying in from locations where variants are spawning. Plus the chin-warmers I saw the times I had to go in to pick something up.
      We’re being generously offered “flex” between now and September by which they mean only 3 days/week in the office, and full-time after that. I’m pushing to increase my overseas support (Australia AND Europe baby) and use that to justify postponing as long as possible. And I’m updating my resume.

    16. SnappinTerrapin*

      It’s been nearly 9 months since I recovered from covid, and nearly 4 months since I was fully vaccinated.

      I’m tired of trying to talk to people from 6 feet away, or through a plexiglas shield, while wearing face masks in a noisy warehouse.

      I’ve been wearing my mask at work to follow the client’s protocol, and in public to make others feel safe, but it is time for adults to decide whether to get the free vaccine or to take their chances.

      But I won’t criticize others for continuing to wear masks for as long as they want to.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Yea I was hoping to get at least up to 50% vaxxed before ” if they die, they die”

    17. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      I’m a little concerned about the pace of the push to go “back to normal”, mostly because of the risk that the emerging variants will evade the vaccines and/or be significantly more transmissible than the existing ones. I feel bad for those who are working in public places who will now have even less protection.

      But I’m also hopeful that vaccination will make enough progress that we can get back to some kind of normal. I want to travel and do frivolous shopping again.

    18. Rara Avis*

      Well, they just opened vaccines to 12-15 year-olds. (I teach middle school.). So many kids were absent today and yesterday getting their shots that I’m actually feeling really good about the possibility of back to normalish in the fall. (But I live in an area that has been touted as approaching herd immunity— something like 75% of adults are fully vaccinated.)

    19. The Other Dawn*

      In my state they say more than 70% of adults are now vaccinated so it’s time to start getting back to normal. I admit I’ve grown to love working from home and I’m not thrilled about having to go back to the office in July, but I’m happy the company has decided to let us all be hybrid (in positions or departments where it’s feasible). And my dread of going back to the office isn’t even about the pandemic. It’s just the fact that I’ll have to go back to commuting, wearing business clothing, etc. But no big deal.

      There are definitely some people on my team who don’t want the vaccine (they don’t appear to be the vocal anti-vaxxer type, they just don’t want it), but I’m vaccinated so I’m much less worried than I would be if I wasn’t vaccinated. I’ll be interested to see, though, how the company is going to handle vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. My manager mentioned a few weeks ago that they’ll follow CDC guidelines. Maybe separating people who are unvaccinated from people who are, making them wear masks all the time, etc. But now with the mandate being lifted for those who were vaccinated, I’m guessing it will change a bit. Management is meeting soon to work it all out.

  11. Anon for this here post*

    I requested a day off to go to two doctors appointments. (I was supposed to go last year, but didn’t due to the pandemic.) I gave my boss enough notice about the day off.
    I don’t know if she’s paranoid that I’m interviewing or what, but every since I submitted the day off request, she’s all, “You’re doing a great job!” and “Nice work on that report!”
    She wasn’t like this prior to my request, so I don’t know what’s going on… (She does compliment me on stuff, but now it’s overboard.)
    Do I just ignore it? Any advice? 

    1. Deborah*

      Personally I would ignore it, at least until after the day off comes. I might look for an opportunity to express how much I like the job, if that were true, in a natural seeming way.

    2. Mockingjay*

      Enjoy it!

      Sometimes people’s heads get weird. If your boss thinks you might be interviewing, it’s sort of a back-handed complement. She doesn’t want to lose someone productive, so she’s making sure that you know you are appreciated.

    3. Katie*

      She might be worried about losing you, but extra positive feedback isn’t the worst way to express that! Make a note of projects that are getting the extra complements (and save any emails) and use them in your next review!

    4. Massive Dynamic*

      Enjoy it! I think it’s good to spark that teeny tiny bit of fear in bosses that you’re interviewing when it really just is the dentist.

      1. Corky's wife Bonnie*

        I agree! My BIL was taking a half day to attend a funeral (totally true) and he had to change into his suit at work. When he left the bosses saw him leave looking nice in his suit and the very next day he was called into the office and given a raise! They must have thought he was going to an interview.

    5. ecnaseener*

      LOL my boss is doing the same thing. I’m apartment hunting and keep having to schedule showings with very little notice — and I’ve actually made a point of telling her that’s what’s going on and apologizing for all the last-minute absences (normally I never apologize and don’t necessarily explain), but I think she’s a little worried they’re all secretly job interviews, and she’s been praising me more.

      Anyway, I’d say take the praise as genuine and ignore the possibility that she’s afraid you’ll leave. It could be a coincidence — after all, one day’s absence is (hopefully?) not that unusual!

      I guess if you’re super committed to staying put and growing in your current company, you could talk to her about your goals and that would reassure her. But if you’re not super committed, there’s no real point in telling her you have no plans to leave ~right now~

    6. Moose_watcher*

      Just a thought, but how busy is your boss. Do you speak with her everyday? Or is she more hands off and you check in once every week or two?

      If she’s more hands off then my assumption would be that it’s completely benign. She probably doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. I’ve almost certainly done this now that I’m thinking about it. My guess? Your request comes through to her, she sees your name, and it reminds her you might be overdue for a token of appreciation/affirmation. Managers who make it a point to give positive feedback regularly will start doing it automatically, unconsciously even. She probably just saw your name, remembered that awesome report you did, and made a point to tell you the next time she saw you. If you’re not always top of mind I’d make a pretty hefty bet that’s all it is.

      Now if instead she only has one or two people to manage and you speak with her everyday….well then that’s a bit odd..

    7. avocadotacos*

      It’s fine. Although is it really that unusual in your place of work to take a sick day that it would raise eyebrows? If so, that’s not great. But by all means take the compliments.

    8. Policy Wonk*

      Ignore it. She may have just gotten feedback from her superiors that she needs to pump up morale or something else completely unrelated to your appointments.

    9. Lemon Ginger Tea*

      Hah, any time I’d wear anything even slightly dressy (pre-pandemic times), my office manager would make a comment like “I hope you’re not going to an interview!” Ignore it, let them sweat a bit.

    10. I'm just here for the cats*

      It could have nothing to do with your time off request. She may have just realized that she isn’t acknowledging your work or maybe she got some feedback from someone else and is trying to make improvements and making sure you know you’re doing well.

    11. ten-four*

      Be secretly entertained? And take more PTO time to recharge and relax, and to give you good cover for the moment when you ARE going on an interview!

    12. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      I’d be SO tempted to say “Why, thank you” and then smile mysteriously.

  12. i'm baack*

    When should I start applying for jobs if I want to start in November? For nonprofits? What about public sector? Federal? Or, I can start later yet not earlier. (FWIW I’ll have several months off this summer/fall and can temp or do retail/seasonal if needed. I’m only worried about seeming out of touch by applying too early.)

    1. Moira Rose*

      Federal, you may as well apply now, in my experience. My job out of college was federal and from application to start date it was about 15 months.

      1. Eternal Student (AKA LearnedTheHardWay)*

        Yup. I was a December graduate and applied for the Palace Acquire internship with the Air Force (EXCELLENT program if you qualify, BTW) in January…. got the call in April… was supposed to start in May, but had to delay start due to a family member getting sick. This was a couple of decades ago, but I haven’t heard anything about the federal government speeding up in the meantime. :)

      2. Coenobita*

        My spouse’s federal job was on a similar timeframe – just over a year. For my current job with a large nonprofit, I applied in April and started in July (of the same year, just to be clear!).

    2. merp*

      In my limited experience, nonprofits move relatively quickly if they are local. Maybe if a large org that has a huge service area, less so, but I went from applying to interviewing to starting at nonprofits within a month or six weeks in the past.

      Not sure about federal or city but my state job took 2 or 2 1/2 months from applying to starting. If those anecdotes are helpful.

    3. Colette*

      How critical is it that you get a new job in November? I’d say for most private businesses, August or September would be about the right time, but for government I’d start now.

        1. i'm baack*

          Not interested in private sector, and aware now is too early for most places. Wondering when is not too early? Again, for public sector or nonprofit.

          1. lil falafel wrap*

            timelines with nonprofits (depending on the work) will probably be relatively similar to private sector. they have more flexibility with hiring

      1. i'm baack*

        Thank you! It is not critical I start in November but as I said, I am not able to start earlier and I am not considering the private sector whatsoever.

    4. Nearly Grad*

      I’ve been applying to graduate jobs, but I’m seeing a couple of months between submitting an application and getting a response, with start dates as late as September (for a job I accepted in early April in the UK)
      I’d start looking at postings, see if they have start dates attached etc

    5. Momma Bear*

      Give the feds allllll the time. It is not uncommon for it to take more than 6 months to get past the first step.

      I’d apply for other jobs end of summer.

    6. Policy Wonk*

      If you need a security clearance, you need to apply now. And if you’ve ever lived in a foreign country, getting it by November would be fast!

    7. Msnotmrs*

      I’ve been state and municipal for a while, and I’d say start at the beginning or middle of summer. They often have weird hiring practices that you might not anticipate (like civil service tests or ranked lists) and these can take weeks/months to complete.

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Universities also do long hiring cycles. My first job out of college was posted in early May and I didn’t even interview until August.

  13. GG*

    Thanks to everyone who responded to my question from the open thread last week about “advanced” Excel skills. I actually deliberately didn’t look at any replies that day as I know that if I babysit a post and try to respond to comments as they come in, it’s too easy to get defensive and emotional. So for me, waiting and looking at everything a day or so later increases my ability to process things rationally. I’m actually really glad I made that conscious choice, as it really let me take things in. But since I didn’t reply then, I did want to give a bit of follow-up/more information.

    Most of you suggested removing “advanced” from my phrasing and just describe what I know. Yep, you were all right. I now realize I fell into the whole “define ‘advanced’” trap there, as people I know always seem to be amazed at what I do with my spreadsheets. But yeah, maybe they only use it as a calculator, so my (intermediate?)(proficient?)(just middlin?) skills seem advanced in comparison. Anyway, I’ve decided I’m going to avoid using any proficiency-level terminology.

    Also, one person raised the question of why I was going to devote resume space to such a long sentence. That’s because I’m currently exploring using an entirely different resume format than the usual. Instead of listing achievements/responsibilities under each employer I’m going to lead with a large skills section, and then follow with a minimal work history. I know, Alison’s not a fan of gimmicky resumes. But I’ve actually seen this format in use before, and I think it might work well for me. (My work experience is all QuickBooks based bookkeeping at the small business level, I don’t really have “achievements”, and using the more traditional list of responsibilities under each employer winds up being an exercise in repetition.) I’m not 100% sure I’m going to use this format in my actual jobsearch. But I am putting one together so I can see if I like it. (If nothing else, I think the exercise will help me wrap my brain around a positive “these are the skills I can bring to your workplace” attitude that will hopefully serve me better in interviews.)

    Oh, and thanks everyone for the suggestions of other Excel features and functions to look into.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Good luck! That’s actually a really interesting idea, writing a resume in a different format to help you understand your strengths better, knowing you don’t ultimately have to use that resume.

    2. Miss Ames*

      while I actually wasn’t around to read your post last week, I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for explaining how you held off on reading the replies in order to better receive and process them – that was really helpful and I appreciate that you shared your thought process on that. I love getting varied perspectives and I am going to keep it in mind for myself as well! thanks for sharing.

  14. Begin at the Beguine*

    When work becomes too frustrating and responsibilities seem never-ending, what do y’all do to decompress? My attention span is so ridiculous right now that I have a hard time focusing on anything meaningful. I’d try beginner’s yoga or meditation if someone has a good option – but even trying to find that is stressful for me at this point because I don’t know what to look for or even what I need. Even walking feels like an inefficient (and boring) activity, unless I need to get somewhere. Forget books. I loved books. Now I’m lucky to get through 5 pages.

    So, please shout out your favorite BEGINNER’S GUIDE to the thing you that helped you over the past year.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Do something that works the left-brain/right-brain dichotomy. Something that works a completely different set of mental (and physical!) muscles. Make it’s something that keeps that ‘inefficient’ thing from coming up in your head.

      I work in engineering and mostly do software and reading, so my decompression is getting into the kitchen and spending an hour making pizza sauce or whatever.

      1. Pippa K*

        Seconding this. I’m an academic in a non-lab field, so decompression involves working with my hands for a change. Play an instrument, bake a thing, etc. Lots of crafts can be worked on in a short-attention-span way, and I’ve got a phone app that prompts me to do seven minutes of exercise periodically (it runs you through set lists, so it’s minimal thinking). For yoga, I keep meaning to try the Yoga with Adrienne everyone here likes, but I found my go-to video by just searching ‘vinyasa for beginners’ on YouTube, because it’s the type my physiotherapist recommended.

      2. allathian*

        Yeah. I basically write for a living, so I decompress by doing jigsaw puzzles with my son or going for walks or bike rides. WFH is great because after a particularly exhausting work session, even mundane chores like filling or emptying the dishwasher get me out of the funk.

        I also enjoy playing games on my cellphone, although after a day spent staring at the screen, I try to avoid that. Although if nothing else gets me out of the house, I’ll try to walk around the block at least and play Pokémon go.

        My husband’s an engineer and he decompresses by running, lifting weights, cooking, or fixing things around the house, or fixing our cars.

        I love reading, and reading in bed has always been one of my bedtime rituals, but I can’t remember when I last read a new-to-me book, probably last summer when I was on vacation. I keep rereading old stuff instead.

    2. Moira Rose*

      Any chance if you gamify the walking that it’ll be more fun for you? Either the location-based Pokémon mobile game or the location-based Harry Potter mobile game?

      1. MsM*

        A lot of my friends love “Zombies, Run”-type podcasts: not necessarily great on the low-stress front, but it definitely addresses the boredom!

    3. Ashley*

      Predictable rom-coms – think Hallmark Channel type movies. They let me shut my brain off and I knew things would end well.

    4. merp*

      I’ve been very into knitting with a podcast in the background. If you’re not into knitting, maybe a jigsaw puzzle or something else that doesn’t need much mental energy or follows a repetitive pattern. I haven’t been able to finish books lately either but fiction podcasts with a story to follow has given me a similar escape, and I like having something to do with my hands while listening.

      1. Joielle*

        I’ve been doing embroidery while listening to podcasts! Once you get the pattern transferred onto the fabric it doesn’t take a lot of mental energy. My go-to podcasts these days are Office Ladies and Recipe Club (or really any cooking podcast). I used to be a big true crime person but these days I just want something that’s interesting but not stressful or suspenseful.

    5. pugsnbourbon*

      I do linocut printing. It’s got a relatively low entry cost (you can get started for under $100) and I find the carving very soothing/absorbing.
      – lino blocks – check out the Speedycarve by Speedball at Blick Art Materials
      – lino cutters – also Speedball
      – paper – there’s special printing paper that’s $$ but you really just need a smooth paper designed to take ink
      – inks – start with water-based for easier cleanup
      – sketching/drawing paper for the initial design
      – tracing paper to transfer (you can also skip this and draw directly on the lino if you want)
      – pencils or markers
      – brayer (used to spread the ink over the block)
      – bench hook – not essential, but I find it useful

      Have fun!

    6. Monty & Millie's Mom*

      I’ll be watching this, too – it sounds like something I need, but am too overwhelmed to research for myself!

      I read for fun, and I read a LOT, but what I noticed over the past year or so is that I can’t take in too much serious or heavy stuff. That means I’m re-reading things I’ve enjoyed in the past so I don’t have to use my bandwidth on paying attention. Or I’m reading kids’ or young adult books. I follow “A Mighty Girl” on Facebook, and they consistently have book recommendations that I enjoy, for young readers, and even some adult books! Anyway, it’s not much, but that’s what I’ve got!

      1. Pickled Limes*

        I’ve been doing a lot of comfort re-reads too. And most of the reading I’ve done this year has been with audiobooks. For some reason I can manage listening to stories right now in a way that I can’t with visual reading. OP, maybe put on an audiobook or a podcast while you take your walk?

        1. Shirley Keeldar*

          Love audiobooks and podcasts with games on my phone, too. Candy Crush and a nice Victorian novel can get me through a lot of stress!

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Yes, I’ve been finding it hard to get through nonfiction or heavy adult fiction lately and I’ve always read a lot of YA. The past year or so I’ve gravitated toward more wholesome rom-com type novels, re-reading favorite comfort books, and listening to audiobooks.

      3. allathian*

        Comfort re-reads are my go-to things as well. I’m currently binging on Agatha Christie mysteries.

    7. BugSwallowersAnonymous*

      I feel you. If you’re interested in yoga and meditation, Yoga with Adriene on Youtube has some really short beginner-friendly videos, like 5 or 6 minutes long.

    8. Emma2*

      If you want to try yoga – I would recommend “Yoga with Adriene beginners” – Adriene’s videos are absolutely lovely, and I think she is a good online teacher. She also has lots of very short videos (like 20 minutes). Adriene has dozens (hundreds?) of yoga videos online, but if you include “beginners”, you will find several of her videos designed for beginners.

      1. Yoga Nerds*

        A neighbor started this and loves it. Has continued throughout. My partner and I have started DDP Yoga which is a more physical cardio yoga program. We are on week 14 and we absolutely love it.

      2. Old and Don't Care*

        Her Yoga for Complete Beginners 20 minute video is the one I like. It actually feels good (for the most part) and I have warmed up to her. I don’t know what a “puppy belly” is but it sounds nice.

    9. OtterB*

      I don’t have any good consistent activities like yoga. I play a scrabble-like game called WordMaster on my phone.

    10. CG*

      I’ve been sending postcards to friends and basically just saying “hey, miss you, here’s what I did today”. They like getting cards, I like writing, but the postcards are short enough that they don’t get fully lost to my attention span. And trying to think of who to send a card to is a fun excuse to think about my loved ones.

      (Otherwise, podcasts and doing things with my hands – and walks for me – have helped a lot.)

    11. LH*

      For beginner’s yoga: Try Yoga with Adrienne on youtube. She has a million different videos of tons of different lengths (for free!), and you can find beginner’s ones and also very specific ones (like Yoga for runners, or Yoga at Your Desk). She has a really nice, down to earth style and a cute dog that sometimes pops in.

    12. Yecats*

      There’s a popular yoga channel on YouTube called Yoga With Adrienne, which I found very beginner friendly and did wonders for anxiety, if you’re still interested in trying out some yoga! I started with her “30 days of yoga” series, but doing one video every weekend instead of every day.

    13. Ann Perkins Knope*

      I tried out the Shine app and I feel like it’s the perfect Beginner’s Guide to mediatation – if you don’t pay, you just get a once a day mediation, no longer than ten minutes, and it is the perfect amount of time that I’ll actually do it and so easy and has legit improved my life.

    14. Mr. Cajun2core*

      TV does it for me. I don’t get into RomComs as Ashley recommended but whatever floats your boat. Definitely something predictable and not “informative”. I have gone for old predictable sitcoms (think Burns & Allen, Lucy, etc.). Anything that does not require use of your brain or does not require any decision making. Try to avoid shows that relate to your specialty in life. For example, if you are a physician, avoid medical dramas as the inaccuracies will probably drive you crazy. Just sit down in a comfy chair, remote in hand, and binge watch. That brings up a good point. Make sure you have something you can binge watch so that you can just watch show after show and not worry about what you will have to watch next.

    15. LKW*

      Puzzles. I had forgotten how much I liked cardboard jigsaw puzzles. Sometimes the puzzle is so frustrating that I get 5 pieces set and then walk away and then little by little the puzzle comes together.

    16. Camelid coordinator*

      I have been taking an online class about owls from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I just like seeing the pretty nature pictures.

    17. Knitting Pandas*

      Knitting for me. The entire process is soothing – matching the pattern with the yarn, tactical process, creating something tangible. I am in HR so I don’t really “create” anything except for paychecks lol

      I give away (friends, donate) about 2/3 of what I knit. You can crochet or knit a bunch of squares and send them to a lady who stitches them together to make blankets for Pine Ridge Reservation. I did that once. Very rewarding.

      I knit to audiobooks, podcasts or to a my favorite TV series on in the background.

      1. Pickled Limes*

        I like to find a simple pattern for a hat or scarf that I can memorize and just keep making the same hat or the same scarf over and over. Then, when the weather starts to turn cold, I drop them off at a homeless shelter.

        1. Knitting Pandas*

          Yes! I like to have a mindless pattern that is just miles of stockinette or rib stitch, esp in the round, so its portable. Makes for great travel knitting. I’ve made several Squarshy Hats in bulky (pattern free on Rav)

    18. Dark Macadamia*

      Crafts! For me right now it’s embroidery but there are so many options depending on your interests and skill level. Beginner kits are great because it bypasses the planning and supplies part! My sister gave me a Klutz felt animal kit for my birthday which is marketed to tweens but surprisingly enjoyable as an adult. You can also find a lot of adult paint-by-number kits on Etsy that actually look nice without being too challenging.

    19. Mockingjay*

      Adult coloring books – especially nature scenes and mandalas. So soothing. I use all kinds of pens and pencils – gel inks, metallic inks, markers, fineliners, art pencils (found most of these in the cupboard where we kept my [now grown] kids’ school supplies). You can buy the books anywhere – my favorites came from the dollar store.

      It’s a quiet activity, you can start or stop as you please, involves no prep other than picking a color, and provides immense immediate gratification as the flower blooms on the page. Some days I’ll pick a very simplistic outline so I finish that evening. Other patterns may take weeks. And there’s no obligation to finish a picture. Get bored with it? Pick another page to color.

    20. fromscratch*

      Go to youtube, search “bedtime stories for adults”
      It has been amazing for me over the last year.

    21. Carol*

      I play games that don’t tax the “used at work” parts of my brain so hard…hack/slash video games or matching mobile games…nothing that feels like a project or has “on the to-do” list attached to it. Or a sim game where I’m building a village, farm, etc.

      Body stuff is important, too, but hard to exercise during burnout. Sometimes I pick some good music and have an impromptu solo dance party and that helps me move around without it being “a thing I have to do,” and it releases a lot of stress.

    22. ronda*

      Since you mention yoga….
      I am a fan of yoga…. but I don’t really get into the videos… too easy for me to procrastinate. I need the social contract of having an appointment to go to :)

      My YMCA is doing zoom classes and I take the yoga ones.
      Also my yoga teacher from my previous city is doing zoom classes and I am so glad I can go to that, he is great.

      There are also many different types and paces of yoga classes…. so try a few different kinds and see if you like them. (same with any other exercise class you might be interested in, different instructors make a difference too)

    23. kt*

      Podcast with the walk.

      Watching Legally Blonde (haha, last night ;) )

      Lying on teh ground and watching clouds for 10 min.

      HIIT workouts. They really help clear my mind and physically break me out of a rut, and I can keep them *short*.

      Check out the book “Burnout: the Secret to Breaking the Stress Cycle” — has useful suggestions.

      1. Kardamumma*

        You get my vote of confidence for not saying “laying” on the ground. You have already proved yourself!

    24. BookJunkie315*

      Highly recommend watching Nailed It! on Netflix. The host is really funny, each episode brings in a comedian, nothing can prepare you for what the contestants create, and hearing French chef Jacques Torres giggle with amateur bakers is sheer delight!

    25. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My best reboot is something I heard a very long time ago: “I’m sick of my job– I’m going to do my job.”
      That means taking a few hours off of the poorly planned “urgent” project that supports a team who have fallen behind. Instead, it’s spending time on tasks I know are important before they become a crisis. ie project planning, recordkeeping, results summaries, and workflow documentation. Sometimes just a quick “5S” pass on my workspace helps.

    26. TiffIf*

      Since the beginning of the year I started getting into acrylic pour painting.

      I find it a lot of fun! And me being a person who has traditionally been terrible at drawing or painting and always get frustrated when I try, I don’t get that with pour painting! Its an unpredictable art form at best and so it is freeing to just Try Something New without overthinking “I’m terrible at art”

    27. Sunshine*

      Alo moves yoga is great.
      Smiling mind app is great for mindfulness meditation
      Yoga nidra is a great reset. Google will come up with lots of options.
      My best way to follow through is to do it as a group. Wellness groups at work and such.

    28. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      Online jigsaw puzzles, mostly scenic ones of places I couldn’t travel the last year or so.

    29. Gamer Girl*

      Cleaning something gross. It’s a productive thing to do, and I feel super good after doing it. Shower drain, dishwasher gasket, oven, range hood vents, garbage can, recycling bin, etc. It’s super productivity-inducing to me to do something that has an endpoint, at the moment. Being able to take a picture of something, clean it, take a picture, then tell myself “I did that and finished it” makes me feel really good in these times where everything feels exactly the same all the time!

      Or: embroidery. You can get started for less than 10 bucks–embroidery thread is cheap, you can get a perfectly decent hoop for around 5 bucks, and you can print out and trace any image for free onto a dishtowel you already own. Trace a small image on a corner and try it out. If you don’t enjoy it, you can give yourself permission to donate the hoop and thread to a retirement center or Goodwill, but it’s so easy and fun, and you can pick it up and put it down as you like. I love listening to podcasts, music, or books while embroidering or do it while on a Zoom call with family–you can also do a fun movie (though I usually find that to be too distracting!

      1. Gamer Girl*

        Ah shoot, forgot to mention: The Spruce Crafts has free, easy tutorials on beginner level embroidery, for free! Or look up Mollie Johansen’s Wild Olive site, where she has so many cute, free patterns to try! All you need to know is one type of stitch to get started.

        And, you don’t even need a pattern if that feels like too much work. My five year old just freehands curls and lines in her hoops as she stitches, and they’re beautiful :)

  15. Mbarr*

    Just a quick story to amuse everyone… I decided to apply for an internal job posting. Before I can do that, HR demands that I tell my current boss. So I’m dreading that conversation (not that I think it will go badly, but just nervousness in general). My boss is super busy and rarely available.

    Me: I just need to get it over with. I know, I’ll set up a 1:1 meeting with him at 1:30PM. This will give me time to jot down some talking points. *sends meeting invite*
    2 seconds later:
    Boss: Hey – my current meeting ended early. I saw your invite. Want to talk now?

    So yay that I got my meeting over with. And my boss is happy to endorse me for the new role.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Yay! My application for an internal posting went in on Wednesday, but my boss is the one who told me it was opening and that she expected me to apply for it. (The incumbent is retiring two weeks from today, so hopefully they get a wiggle on.) Good luck to both of us!

      1. Mbarr*

        Good luck to you indeed!

        I’m friends with the director who posted the job, but I found out about it from a mutual friend.

        Friend: Hey, Director is posting this job. She can’t poach you though, so here I am, passing along the news.


  16. No Tribble At All*

    I really appreciated the Q&A yesterday about the family leave bill being introduced. Alison, how did you arrange the interview with Senator Gillibrand? Did you reach out to her, or was her team looking for ways to get publicity about the bill? Or did you know her already? (Also, did you have a “hot damn look how far I’ve come!” moment afterwards?)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Her office reached out to me and asked if I’d be up for interviewing her about paid leave and the bill. I actually was hesitant originally because I have some serious concerns about the PRO Act, which is a separate part of the same broader bill (totally separate from the paid leave part) and which I believe would be very bad for some freelancers (including me) but her office and I had a decent conversation about that element of the bill so then we did the interview. I’m a jaded old cynic but I did get a kick out of her tweet about it yesterday!

      1. No Tribble At All*

        Oooh, you famous! Sorry that there seems to be part of it that wouldn’t be good for freelances. I don’t know too much about the details of the bill, which is why I appreciated your write-up. I suppose someone who got arrested in front of the Capitol wouldn’t be too impressed by senators, heehee.

      2. Typing All The Time*

        Thank you for talking about that. I’m a freelancer too. I tried talking to my state reps about it and I felt like I got lip service.

  17. Fencer Thinking*

    Writing a teapot manual document but waiting on several people to get content back to me. Waiting, waiting waiting with nothing to do, a 1st world problem. What do folks do while they’re waiting on folks and there’s literally nothing else one could possibly do? Research topics online?

    1. Deborah*

      My job often entails searching for stuff in a system that is really slow, so it takes about 1-2 minutes to pull up what I’m looking for. (It’s just a huge database, old software, and probably millions of documents from about 25-30 years. Not much we can currently do about the slowness. This happens maybe a few times a day.) If I try to go do something else while I’m waiting, I forget what I was doing and close the window a lot of times. So I sit and let it run and look at something on my phone while I wait.

    2. Mr. Cajun2core*

      Have you already done the outline of the document? Do you have the “shell” of it, including the TOC, index, etc. and all of the heading formatting done? Maybe you can research new techniques in whatever software you are using to make things fancier, easier, better?

    3. LKW*

      Research topics, clean out my inbox, clean out my sent / trash. And take any required training.

    4. Laure*

      I would write something… A novel or fanfic if you can do it at work, a blog post (even if so don’t have a blog) about some work expertise if fiction is too dangerous a step.

    5. Anonymous Tech Writer*

      Before our staffing levels were cut to the bone, I would read user forums for the software we use — and for the software I wished we were using. I sometimes audited the website(s) where our materials get posted.

  18. micromanaged!*

    I posted a few months back about my micromanaging boss at new job.

    I’ve now been at my job for about 5 months and it’s not gotten better. My boss just will not let go of work, double check everything I do, and quickly points out any perceived “error” (which is not typically an error, just that she wants it done Her Way). During client meetings she frequently repeats things that I JUST said, as if it’s completely new information that I had not literally just said 5 seconds previous.

    Another company I had interviewed with called me and asked if I was still interested in working with them, so I figured I’d see what happened. I don’t love the idea of leaving a job so soon, but it is looking likely that an offer might materialize and I’m already stressing about giving notice.

    How can I navigate this if the offer doesn’t come through? I’m a “fixer” and always try to stick things out and fix them rather than moving on, but this feels like an absolutely hopeless situation. The rest of my team is not good (they’ve literally been told they have to be nicer to other departments, if that’s any indication).

    my previous jobs have been 6 years and 3 years, so I’m not necessarily worried about how it looks (since I’d be leaving for another job, theoretically) but more so how to navigate giving notice to this crazy micromanaging boss, and how much detail I should give about my reasons for leaving. I’ve never left a job this fast but it’s clear that it won’t improve unless they put me on another team, and I’ve tried asking around about that but haven’t been successful there either.

    1. micromanaged!*

      Sorry, typo in the above – how can I navigate if the offer DOES come through? As in, how can I handle resigning given my short tenure?

      1. The Rural Juror*

        Be honest, but be vague. Say you don’t think you’re a great fit for the company and have accepted an offer elsewhere. If they press for information, you don’t HAVE to give it to them. You don’t owe them explanations! Like Alison says, people leave jobs all the time. Just the way things work. Good luck!!!

      2. Ali G*

        I think you just be honest and say it wasn’t a good fit for you. You don’t need this on your resume and won’t get a reference, so there is not point stressing about it.
        Good luck, I hope it works out for you!

      3. LKW*

        Just say that it wasn’t a good fit. If you want to throw in a more accurate yet polite reason say that you’re used to more autonomy. But it doesn’t sound like your boss would take it well.

        1. Joan Rivers*

          If pinned down, citing what the NEW job offers can work, esp. if it’s more money. That one always ends the discussion unless they start offering more.

          Citing what you’ll get elsewhere doesn’t diss your current job but gets the point across. “They’re offering me more XXX.” They can’t deny it cause they don’t know.

      4. Not A Manager*

        It’s not going on your resume and you’re not going to use them as a reference, so you can do whatever you want. (Maybe not resigning by cod.) You can be super vague if you want to, or you can say something like “I feel that I function better with more autonomy within the role,” if you want to make a statement.

      5. micromanaged!*

        Thanks everyone, this was super helpful. I think I’m just really stuck in my head and overthinking while I wait for the outcome of this whole thing. I didn’t go out seeking a new job, and I’m okay to stay here if this doesn’t pan out, but I’d much rather be somewhere else.

    2. ronda*

      the classic:

      “this is an opportunity I just can’t turn down”

      No need to share any opinion about current job when you move on. There is no benefit to you.

    3. Observer*

      Don’t try t explain anything to your actual manager.

      You don’t even have to explain anything to HR. If they are not too bad, though, you might want to explain to them what your problem is. Perhaps seeing someone good leaving over this would motivate them to act. Or not. So, it’s a know your audience kind of thing.

      As for the rest, unless your boss gets abusive just work your time and look at it with the anthropologist mind-set Alison often recommends.

    4. Vague & Circular*

      I’m a fan of the circular answer. “I’ve been offered a great opportunity. Why? It’s a great opportunity because it’s an opportunity that is good for me. Because of the opportunity. Which is an opportunity that’s good for me.”

    5. Hotdog not dog*

      This exact thing happened to me, but it was 7 months…I just said that I was giving notice to accept an offer that was a better fit and higher salary. Nobody questioned it at all!

  19. Weird or not?*

    My friend applied for a job an a recruiter reached out to schedule an interview. The only interview options the recruiter gave was late on a Thursday evening and Saturday and Sunday. This is for a corporate 9-5 office job. Is this super weird? Or just eh, kind of weird, let’s see what happens?

    1. Moira Rose*

      I think it’s deeply weird, yes. For myself, in a lot of interviews this year, even Friday afternoons before 5 have felt like weird times to talk to folks.

      1. JMR*

        Maybe the idea is that a person wouldn’t be able to take time during their regular job to interview for a new one, so the recruiter needed to catch them on the off-hours? My office is not sound-proof, so I’ve gone and driven the car around the block and done the phone call from there in order to avoid people overhearing me. It was awkward and I might have jumped at the chance to do it on the weekend or evening. It’s definitely unusual, though. If this is something they think will help accomodate peoples’ schedules, you’d think they’d try to schedule it during normal business hours first, and then offer late/weekend times if they were having trouble finding an agreeable time.

    2. Colette*

      A little weird – but it could just mean that the inteviewer is busy doing their actual job during business hours and thus are only available outside of them. I’d ask questions about how many hours people typically work, but otherwise I don’t think it’s too weird.

    3. EvilQueenRegina*

      Worst case scenario: the existing person in the role doesn’t know they’re being replaced yet, hence the out of hours interviews for replacement. But hopefully not that.

      1. Jen in Oregon*

        This was my first thought as well, and it’s definitely something I would ask about as a segue to discussing the challenges of the role.

  20. Violet*

    Such a difficult time job seeking lately. It’s been three months and crickets. It’s hard to keep one’s spirits up and not think that the toxic job situation I’m in, is indeed the only one I’m qualified for.

    People who comment on this site have been so kind and inquired about what I wanted to change to and offered support. I’m actually speaking with my partner’s co-worker who is in HR (different field) to look at my materials and jobs I’m seeking to see if I’m missing something or if I just need to be patient.

    My gut is telling me that the right position hasn’t come along yet. Some I really wanted, but most I didn’t. I resist applying to just anything to get out of where I am. But summer is coming and here I remain. At this point, I’d just like an interview. I have to be qualified for something else.

    Also, the top 5%. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the top 5% for any job! I interview well and if people like me, they hire me. And I’m competent at anything I choose to do. My passion is in my volunteer work. I am thinking of going to a protest in Minnesota for a few days in June regarding pipelines. No, I don’t have transferable skills in these volunteer efforts, I just go because my gut tells me to go and lend my presence as support. It’s very satisfying to my soul. But as much as I like volunteering, it doesn’t pay my rent so I keep looking.

    Thanks for reading this and all of the kindness on this website. It really does matter.

    1. Dave*

      I would say make sure you are tapping your network. I recently took a new job and when I was telling people I can’t tell you how many places said they wish they would have known you was looking. I had kept things super quite because I was worried my boss would find out but I think I was more concerned then I needed to be. In my industry there are lot of unposted jobs because they have been looking for so long for someone (either more people or niche job) that they are basically always advertising.

      1. Violet*

        Thanks, Dave!

        I think my network knows, though my network isn’t exactly in the field(s) I’m interested in. They have been sending me listings and I’ve been sending other jobseeking friends postings as well.

        I’ve made some pretty big field switches and when I leave a field I don’t go back to it at all. So each time it is like starting from scratch. That said, I do know a lot of people! I try to keep it quiet because, well, once they know they keep asking how it’s going and there isn’t much to tell yet.

    2. Colette*

      Three months isn’t that long, hang in there! In my experience, the people who get interviews the fastest are people whose most recent jobs are a direct path to the job they are applying for, so anyone with a less-direct path will take longer. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, just that it’s slower. (It typically takes me 6-7 months to find a new job, if that helps.)

      1. Violet*

        Thanks, Colette!

        Why do you think it takes you 6 – 7 months? What is different between month 2 and month 7?

        I’m just trying to keep my spirits up. I wanted out of here in January and in two weeks it will be June. Sigh.

        1. Colette*

          I think a big part of it is that my career path hasn’t been a straight line – I’ve done a number of things and, while I can explain what I’m looking for and what they have in common, at a first glance it’s hard for a recruiter to slot me into a box. That makes it harder, so it takes longer for me to find a good match.

    3. ecnaseener*

      “It’s hard to keep one’s spirits up and not think that the toxic job situation I’m in, is indeed the only one I’m qualified for.”
      Getting jobs is hard, partly because being qualified often isn’t enough. Luck factors into it too. But I promise you are qualified for other jobs, you aren’t going to be stuck in this toxic place forever.

      1. Violet*

        Thanks for the all caps. I need all caps!

        Luck! I’ve been doing things to shift my luck, welcome in abundance. But gotta be specific on that. And sometimes one just has to let things unfold, I suppose. This is difficult to do!

        But it’s happened with finding apartments, partners, just anything worth having, never really happened in the time I wanted it to. Only thing that did was maybe college but that’s such a prescribed path.

        That all said, I knew when each of those things were right. I just knew, though it took a looooong time for them to come through. When it’s right things turn out so well so I just have to wait.

        I wish people told more luck stories! Because I believe in that. And it shifts the focus off of me and what I can do. Some of it is in my hands and some of it isn’t. Thanks for this thought!

        1. ecnaseener*

          I think in job-hunting specifically, people aren’t really aware of their good luck, so they can’t share the stories.
          Maybe there was a better candidate who almost beat me out for my job, but as luck would have it, she got another offer first – I’d have no way of knowing. Maybe I got the “easier” HR screener instead of the one with ridiculously high standards.
          Etc, etc. It’s not usually “I was in the right place and time to save the CEO’s life on my way into the interview” or anything tangible like that, I’m guessing.

          1. Violet*

            It’s like Sliding Doors!

            You miss that one train and it changes the whole trajectory. But life is like that sometimes.

        2. ThatGirl*

          I believe in luck to a degree. I’ve worked hard to develop my skills, I’m good at what I do, I’m pleasant to work with. But getting in front of the right person or being in the right place at the right time can absolutely be luck. In 2017 I was laid off, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do next – I’d been at one company for 9 years, but in a variety of roles that were sometimes hard to categorize. Part of my severance package was “outplacement services” with Right Management, and early on in the sessions I went to there, someone stood up and talked about how they’d just landed a role at a nearby company – a company most people have heard of, that suddenly struck me might be a great place to work. Long story short, he helped me get my resume in front of the right person, and I started working there 4 months later. Pure chance.

        3. Anon Techie*

          My school grouped freshman students into pods for orientation. As a shy introvert, I was lucky to meet an extrovert that introduced me to someone I’d end up housing with for a a few semesters, including our last year at school. This person did an internship at Big Tech and got me and my resume into the hands of the campus recruiter 2 days into the start of our final school year at an event for that company’s former interns and their guests. I still had to pass the interviews but luck got me onto a short list of candidates to even get to the interview stage.

          1. Violet*

            I love these stories. If you were in a different pod . . . but who knows then you might have been in a pod with for former Nobel Peace prize winners or something!

            And you still did pass the interviews and had to be qualified on your own, so it’s a combination of being in a certain place and you also stepping up and doing your part too. :-)

        4. Not So NewReader*

          I got a luck story. So I met a man at a volunteer thing I did. He was supportive of the group’s mission and we chatted about shared community concerns. I enjoyed talking with him but I enjoyed talking with quite a few people there. So no biggie, or so it seemed.

          Meanwhile, a mutual friend (friend of all three of us–the man, my Boss 2B and myself) heard of a job opening. She recommended me for it and suggested I send in my resume. The man I met turned out to be sort of a big boss in the new place. My Boss 2B asked the man about me. He said, “Oh, yeah I know NSNR.” And he went on to describe what he knew of me. This gave me two references that weren’t even on my reference list. My Boss 2B hired me and I have been there 8 years.

          If you like volunteering, make it a point to learn/remember from the other volunteers, where they work and what they do for a living. Here’s the cool thing, I ended up working with a bunch of like-minded people- no toxic stuff going on and everyone is there to do a job.

          1. ecnaseener*

            That’s so cool! But it’s definitely a case where you “made your own luck” by showing up for that volunteer work :)

          2. Violet*

            Hmm . . . NSNR. You have given me much to think about. I also think that I realize why I dislike my jobs so much. I don’t think I want to be paid for things I love to do. Not that I don’t like money. That is *not* an issue. :-D But once a paycheck is attached to a thing, it suddenly has more implications and isn’t as fun for me anymore.

            How does that relate to your comment? My volunteerism is my escape from work, from drudgery, my joy. I don’t want to talk about paid work there. I don’t even want to think about paid work there. I want that to be far, far away. Worlds not colliding, as George Costanza once put it.

            So I don’t want to know other people’s jobs or what they do or any of that while working on the mission. Can’t we just be two people pouring soup? Because if I don’t have that simplicity in my volunteer work . . . I don’t know, it would just make doing the job I do every day even harder. I have other outlets besides work and volunteering but volunteering is a real joy for me.

            Now, it may be possible to get that joy and get paid for it but whoa. The thing about volunteer work? I have the power. I’m working for free and can leave anytime I want. I need a part of my life where I have that kind of autonomy that I will never have while I’m relying on being paid.

            So! It’s more complicated! Not sure if I want my worlds colliding. And if that means it takes me seven months to find a job because of that, it’s a choice I’m willing to live with.

            I now know why Dave didn’t tell people he was looking until after he had a job. You literally have no control over what people might do with that information. Maybe nothing, but loose lips have sunk enough ships in these letters to be cautious. When you are unhappy at work and there isn’t an end in sight, this bit of control, the feeling of autonomy really makes a difference in getting through the day-to-day.

            Folks, more luck stories! I’m learning a lot about myself through these.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              One of my fav bosses in life used to talk about the difference between hostages and vacationing. And right here is a great example of what he was talking about. Paid employment is more like being held against one’s will and volunteering is more random.

              I work with a great group of volunteers. Their work ethic is like nothing I have ever seen before. If businesses were run this way the cost of labor would go way down because the work just FLIES through. All of us are vacationing.

              You might want to take a look at the culture of the places you have worked at. Culture can make it or break it. I stayed at one job for 9 years. I loved the culture there and I worked my tail off. Upsettingly, nothing was what it seemed and when I realized I was never going anywhere with this company I was pretty mad at myself for losing all those years. But everyone was so nice and everyone supported each other. I moved on and spent 11 years at a place that was the opposite. I stayed there because the pay was -eh, okay, not great; I liked the work hours scheduled and I was able to target and meet personal goals. The place was toxic and my health fell apart. There is a gap here (long story) and now we are up to my current job that I have had for 8 years.
              This one has a volunteer (vacationing) mindset for me. It’s part time. They definitely reeeally need me. People are pleasant and focused on doing a good job/doing the right thing. I feel like I am making a difference and making a contribution. I have lots of autonomy.

              Punchline: I place a really high value on making a definite contribution. I work my best when I know it makes a difference. I value autonomy such as leaving and arriving at will but that is not as big as I thought. The part of autonomy I really value is having say in my work flows and having say in matters that come up. I was happy to see that I actually value thinking cohorts- if they disagree with me I enjoy hearing WHY. I feel like it sharpens me in some ways and seldom does it really matter to me that we disagree. I also learned I do not do well with repetitious work, I do better when there is a range of things to do.

              Why I couldn’t have figured this all out when I was 20 makes me sad. I could have picked better jobs for myself. But lessons learned hard are lessons learned well. My current job is in a new-to-me field. I went into it cold and climbed the learning curve. It was worth it.

            2. Caraway Seed*

              Here’s a luck story for you (that I think also involves an element of making my own luck, as ecnaseener points out above): I’ve always been good at writing, majored in writing in college, hoped to become a writer, and then couldn’t find a writing job. I found other jobs I could do in an industry I enjoyed, and did those jobs well enough to get promoted several times, but always hoped to someday find a job where I could be a writer. About seven years ago, I started a new job and it was…fine. Not great. I did a good job, but it wasn’t a great fit for me.

              There was another job there, though, that I thought I could be great at – a writing job. The woman in the writing job, let’s call her Susan, was nearing retirement age and reported to someone who reported to the same boss I did (i.e. my boss was also Susan’s grand-boss). After I’d been in the fine job for about a year, during a regularly scheduled one-on-one meeting with my boss, I casually said, “You know, I’d love the job Susan has some day in the future.” I don’t really know what prompted me to say it, except that I wasn’t very happy in my current job, but I’m so glad I did, because my boss started laughing and said, “Susan told me yesterday that she’s retiring in October. Let’s figure out how we can get you ready for that role.”

              I was right – I was great at that job, and I’m actually now in Susan’s boss’ role. I love my job, so I differ from you there, because I love being paid for something I also love doing. This job is absolutely the right position for me, and I know you will find the right position for you, too. Hang in there, and good luck!

    4. SmoothViolet*

      I had a job search recently in which I felt the same as you. I was holding out for a job which was an exact fit for my available hours, was local enough, and which gave me an internal sense of excitement. My gut feeling was that something perfect would come along. I rejected a lot of ads based on little things, and had a few interviews, even starting at one job before they realised they had no one available to train me. I got worried coming up to a full year of the job search, starting to think I was hoping for too much, and wondering whether to reluctantly relax my parameters.

      But then…my perfect job came along. As easily and simply as I had dared to hope. It fit all my criteria to the letter, and is in an organisation I am passionate about. The job opportunity came up during some casual chats in my social network, and there were a series of informal interviews before I got the job offer.

      I don’t know how your story will go, but I guess I wanted to encourage you that someone else out there held out purely based on the gut feeling of the right position, and it paid off! Eventually.

      1. Violet*

        Gathering violets this fine Sunday morning. Thus my spring handle here.

        Your luck stories give me hope, as I hope it does for other readers too.

        And patience. I don’t have another six months in me in this job. Too much damage already to undo in myself when I leave as a result of too many years here. But I can be patient a while and maybe wait it out in another not-dream position. But it will happen!


  21. Luna*

    We will be doing annual performance reviews in the next few weeks. I manage an excellent inside salesperson – they’re proactive, great with customers, excellent instincts, gets along with everyone – everything you’d look for in an employee. The one issue that is causing some issue is their over-the-top reaction to every little setback. They will rant and rave loudly at their desk, or sigh aggressively while storming to the printer down the hall wildly waving their arms. It really disruptive. I want to address this with them in their review, but I am really struggling with the wording. I don’t want to say anything that sounds like, “You’re overreacting” or “you’re bothering everyone around you with your outbursts,” but I do tend to be more on the direct side so am having trouble coming up with a good way to summarize what the issue is without coming across like a sledgehammer. Any help would be much appreciated!

    1. Mockingjay*

      This is the kind of thing that should be addressed as it occurs. Nothing is worse than being blindsided in an annual review, especially when a simple conversation could have resolved things much earlier.

      Maybe don’t include it in the written review and just talk about it as an aside?

      1. Michael Bolton (the cool one)*

        Yeah, I agree here. This seems like something that should be an on-the-fly coaching opportunity or addressed in a 1:1 chat versus an annual performance review. I’m assuming you’ll be documenting this on their review which means it’ll be going on their record which in turn may affect their career pathing going forward. I’d think long and hard on this to determine if you want to spring this on them in their annual review.

        1. Michael Bolton (the cool one)*

          *employee file is a more appropriate phrase here versus record.

      2. pancakes*

        I don’t think anyone who behaves that way should be blindsided by learning that people have noticed. They might feel blindsided, of course, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to have such intense reactions at work and assume no one will remark on it.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I can’t say this enough. I’ve worked for someone who gathered up all sorts of small things until they became a really big thing for the performance review — instead of telling me right when it happens (or right after) so I can see it and recognize the event & its precursors.
        Alison’s talked about things like this as well, and it reinforced what I’ve seen from better managers: Talk to your employee about the behavior in a scheduled 1:1 when it’s not happening. Tell them you’ll point i out when it happens — and in the moment you do that. Get their attention and say “This is what I was talking about.”

      4. Observer*

        Maybe don’t include it in the written review and just talk about it as an aside?

        No, this is not just an “aside”. It’s disruptive behavior.

        I agree that the OP should bring it up as it happens, and they are doing that. But even if they weren’t it would still be a genuine problem, and one that needs to be addressed.

    2. LadyByTheLake*

      I would use the wording your used above “Your over-the-top reaction to every little setback is disruptive.” Provide very specific examples.

      1. RagingADHD*

        This, and I would also add that it is a consistent pattern. Not just isolated incidents.

      2. Fran Fine*

        I would soften this a bit to say something like, “I think you’re doing an amazing job, but I did want to point out something I’ve been noticing, which is that when things don’t go well for you, you have a tendency to react in some pretty concerning ways,” and then provide her with the examples you gave us. You also need to make it clear that while she’s not being dinged for it on her review, the behavior needs to change because she’s disrupting the people around her when she does this stuff.

    3. ecnaseener*

      “You tend to have really big reactions when you’re frustrated, like venting out loud and waving your arms. I know you need to let off steam sometimes, but it’s disruptive to others. Part of this job is being able to handle stressful situations. Can you find another way to deal with frustration that’s a little quieter — maybe taking a walk around the block?”

      Seconding Mockingjay though — don’t wait for the formal review.

      1. Luna*

        Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for! As I mentioned downthread, I have brought it up several times in the moment, but the behavior returns after a couple of days.

        1. Dream Jobbed*

          If you’ve already been working on this behavior, and have addressed it, you now need to put it in the performance review. It should not come as a surprise to the employee.

    4. LKW*

      I would add that it’s not only disruptive, it makes the employee come across as unstable. Outsized reactions to normal setbacks would make me question how they would handle day to day problems if they were promoted. The higher you go up, the bigger the problems are. If you can’t handle refilling the printer paper without causing a disruption, then I’m much less likely to give you control of a project where people might not show up, or might quit, or might make a mistake or something goes terribly wrong.

      Managing one’s emotions at work is a sign of maturity. That’s not to say that one can’t have emotions, but rather we maintain our emotions, happy/sad/frightened/angry within a set of parameters. We don’t look at people who yell, harumph, whine and moan or cry and say “That’s the kind of person that I want on my team.” or “That’s the kind of boss I want to be.”

      1. Shirley Keeldar*

        And we also don’t say, “that’s the kind of coworker I want to go to if I have a problem.” Just to add to your excellent points, colleagues might start to avoid this employee if they scared that their reactions to any bad news might be so over the top.

    5. Not A Manager*

      “You’re over-reacting” is censoring their emotions. “You’re bothering everyone around you” is addressing the effect of their actions. It’s fine for them to over-react so long as they do it with their inside-the-head voice.

      1. Joan Rivers*

        If they’re loud and disruptive while a client or job applicant is right there, then what? Or a big boss who’s visiting? Nip this in the bud, if they do this what more would they do if something were more serious?

    6. Luna*

      Thanks all – I should have pointed out that I have coached them in the moment several times. They are very receptive, but a few days later are back to their old patterns, so I do feel that it’s something that needs to be addressed in the review. I have offered help each time, and asked, “what can I do to help you right now?” Only once did they come back with something I could do to help. I honestly think it’s just part of their personality, but I do feel it needs to be addressed because of the disruption aspect.

      1. Dream Jobbed*

        My personality is to lie around in old sweats, scratching myself in strange places. Not all of our personalities are fit for work and many of us have to “act” like a professional.

        I’m sorry you are having to deal with this. But her behavior isn’t appropriate, and there need to be consequences if it doesn’t change. Good luck!

      2. PollyQ*

        It maybe a time for a little less “help” and a little more sternness, e.g., “We talked about your reactions, and you were able to moderate them for a few days, but then they resurfaced. What happened?” Ultimately, you’re not going to be able to fix their issue, but you do have the standing to insist that they find a better way to cope.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        “in the moment” is one part. 1:1 when it’s not happening is another. And then yes the performance review. But give them the 1:1 now and let them know it’s going into the performance review this year if you haven’t seen consistent improvement for the next 3 weeks.

      4. Observer*

        I honestly think it’s just part of their personality, but I do feel it needs to be addressed because of the disruption aspect.

        That’s a framing that is not going to be very helpful. Stick to the behavior and its effect on others. And point out that this is a consistent patterns, which is why you are bringing it up in the meeting.

        Do NOT mention that you think it’s an aspect of their personality, and if THEY bring that up push back. It doesn’t matter what their personality is like, they need to be these specific behavior patterns under control.

        1. Tabby Baltimore*

          Couldn’t agree more. Luna, your employee needs to stop rationalizing her behavior, or put another way, to “stop giving herself permission” to behave this way, when she’s stressed. Please come back and let us know how you managed this discussion, and what the result was.

      5. tangerineRose*

        “They will rant and rave loudly at their desk, or sigh aggressively while storming to the printer down the hall wildly waving their arms.”

        This might be a habit, but I don’t think it sounds like a normal part of someone’s personality. Can you come up with a code word/phrase that basically means “You’re overreacting. Go outside and walk or something or rave in your car.”

      1. Luna*

        True, but given some of the people I’ve worked with over the years, they really are one of the better ones! I guess everyone has something…

        1. Not So NewReader*

          How to say this because I mean NOT everyone and NOT all the time: However that drive to perform well can often be coupled with a person who over-emotes, that is they have temper tantrums or other outbursts. That push or drive just goes into everything in their lives.

          I have a friend who genuinely believes if he cusses at a machine it will go back to working correctly. This belief is unshakable. Not everyone can be around him because of the outbursts. Part of me believes this has held my friend back in life. My friend does great work, really excellent stuff. But some people are unwilling to try to do business with him. You never know when he will become upset and what words will fly out of his mouth. I think in part, some people believe that a competent person would not blow up like that. A competent person would just handle the problem instead.
          In short, yes it’s probably ingrained in him and yes, you are probably not going to fix it.

          You have to think about the group of people working with him. Honestly, there’s only so much of that I will listen to and then I’d be handing in my notice. Maybe not now, but at some point if he is allowed to continue this behavior you will probably see people leaving your company. This is one way workplaces go toxic. Other employees will not say anything to management but the message is clear- if you are the top [salesperson/other role] then you can do whatever you want and it’s okay.

          I would let him know that you have spoken to him a couple times, the next time is a write-up/suspension/whatever and continued instances will result in dismissal. Offer EAP if you have it possibly. But make it clear that this is not an on-going conversation, either the behavior stops (cold hard stop) or he will be told to leave. This isn’t something that you need 27 examples from a period of several years. Remember the rule of three, if we see something three times we have a pattern. If we have a pattern then it must be addressed head on.

          I understand he is the top sales person. I also understand that he could end up being the only employee working there. It’s not a sustainable plan to prioritize cash flows over basic human decency. Just my experience but this type of person always has to get new customers because customers do not stay long term.

    7. The Shy Introvert*

      Describe the behavior and the impact. Avoid phrases like “you overreact” as that is not a behavior. It is your judgement of the behavior. Explain that you need to handle set-backs better. That when he experiences what you perceive as a minor setback you see him become loud and at times demonstrates aggressive behavior. And share specific examples and that this is disruptive to his colleagues and is generally unprofessional. I would also remind him that overall, he is excellent at his job and that you are sharing this feedback to help him so that it does not become a bigger problem. Agree that going forward you coach him on this in the moment – i.e., you will talk to him when you see it.

    8. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I wouldn’t even link the behavior to the reason (“a little setback”). Linking the two gives a smidgen of legitimacy to the behavior.

      “You often yell and walk loudly and disruptively through the hallway, and it’s affecting everybody else’s productivity. I don’t care why you do this or what sets you off, but it needs to stop.”

  22. EvilQueenRegina*

    This was something I was reading about in my local newspaper on my lunch break today, and was wondering what people thought. So there was a railway company in the UK (local to me) that sent out a mass email to employees about a big bonus they would be getting as a one off reward after the last year to thank them for everything during the pandemic, and those who clicked on the link then got a notification that it was a phishing test.

    Their union has declared this as “crass and reprehensible behaviour” and has demanded an apology, also calling on the train company to actually deliver this bonus, while the train company said it was deliberately designed to look like an actual phish attempt might look. What are people’s views – is the union right, or is the rail company?

    1. Moira Rose*

      This is shitty behavior by the train company and I think they do have to deliver on some sort of bonus. They don’t legally have to, of course, but morally it seems like they do.

    2. Ali G*

      Oooh that’s a tough one. On the one hand, if the email was obviously fake, and the company had no history of people needing to click on links to get paid or to receive gifts, then I might side with the company. BUT as with so many of these, the content is really inappropriate and I could see being overworked and over the Pandemic and beings like “finally something good!” and clicking the link.
      Either way I don’t think the union needs to be involved (but I am in the US so I might be wrong on that).

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        From what the news coverage said, the company claimed they had done phishing tests before regularly, but I don’t know the content of any previous tests.

    3. Charlotte Lucas*

      My employer has done phishing tests, but they would never do it like this. I think it’s awful & should have had a different message.

      And what kind of place is like, “You should have known better. We aren’t good enough to our employees to give a bonus!”?

    4. CatCat*

      The rail company could have designed a phishing test that wasn’t cruel. The union is in the right.

    5. Ashley*

      So my question would be how big of a bonus was promised? If they threw out a lottery type number ok the union should let it go. But according the the NY Time’s article this came from the payroll department so it seems absurd that anyone thought it was a good idea and the company should be making some kind of amends to rebuild trust.

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        I don’t actually think I’ve seen a specific figure named in the email – the impression I got was that they were to click the link to find out what they were meant to be getting.

    6. RabbitRabbit*

      It was mean. I understand the need to do phishing tests, but they could have found a less cruel way to carry it out.

    7. D3*

      If it was an internal email from an official company address, that’s a really bad test. Phishing doesn’t usually originate from HR or IT.
      If it was made to look like it was from HR or IT but actually came from an outside email address, then it’s a better test, but still a horrible choice of lure for their phishing test.

    8. Bex*

      The union is 1000% right. The company had a hundred options to chose from in framing the phishing test, and the one they chose was just awful, demoralizing and utterly tone deaf.

      1. Ann Perkins Knope*

        I agree, this is cruel, and also, I firmly believe phishing tests are unnecessary, almost never used in a useful way, and just 99/100 times are a waste of time – I did a little research when it came up on AAM after I had (passed) a phishing test at work – from what I read, it’s really ONLY useful in a before-and-after comparative to see how well training work, not as a one-off or to do randomly just to…see…how alert your employees are? From my experience, it’s a waste of time, and kind of condescending. I feel, yeah, you can probably make pretty much anyone click on a link if you dangle money/a vaccine/something they want and/or have reason to believe will be coming in and it looks legit (because it’s literally coming from your own internal HR/IT). I’m not personally responsible for the IT security, you’re just going to have to plan for people occasionally clicking on phishing links, honestly.

        1. Cj*

          “I feel, yeah, you can probably make pretty much anyone click on a link if you dangle money/a vaccine/something they want and/or have reason to believe will be coming in and it looks legit (because it’s literally coming from your own internal HR/IT).”

          Which is the whole point of phishing tests after training, so that your employee learn not to do this. If the training didn’t “take”, and you click on it, you need to retake the training. What if it had really been a phishing attack and it took out the entire train system of hours, days or weeks?

          If it did come from actually company e-mail address, that isn’t they way it is supposed to be done. We have such tests at work. Sometimes the it is from or something like that, and we learn in during training the such address don’t exist at our company. You learn many ways to tell if it is phishing, and there should have been some hint that you shouldn’t click on the link.

          That said, dangling a bonus in front of them was particularly cruel, and they shouldn’t have done it.

    9. LKW*

      I saw this and I’m on both sides of this. Phishing is deliberately set up to catch you off guard, strike your emotions and shortcut logic. But, dangling this out there and then taking it away to say “See, your emotions got the better of you and you shouldn’t have clicked the link foolish person!” is pretty mean.

      Nonetheless – it makes the point really well. If we do something nice, be suspicious.

      1. Joan Rivers*

        But THIS was from an official work source, not some random outside one.

        If you can’t trust the co. you work for when it emails you, who can you trust?

        1. LKW*

          My company does this, they set up conditions so the email is clearly “off” and it’s not from an official email from work but appears to be from work. They are trying keep us on our toes.

      2. OyHiOh*

        I almost fell for a phisher at work that absolutely caught me where I’m most vulnerable. The darn thing showed up right after we re-did our website and claimed we were using copyrighted photos/illustrations. I’m dead certain it was a phish because my co workers took all of the photos (landscapes and architecture) used on the site. But it made my heart stop for a second.

    10. Not A Manager*

      “the train company said it was deliberately designed to look like an actual phish attempt might look. What are people’s views – is the union right, or is the rail company?”

      The rail company is right that it probably did look like an actual phish attempt. That doesn’t make it right to choose this particular one to test the employees.

    11. Bobina*

      Ooooh. Technically speaking there is nothing wrong, but its just so out of touch with the times. I’ve definitely seen phising tests which had *vauge* promises (eg “you’ve won the lottery! or “click here for this raffle result”) but dangling a bonus in front of people and then saying “actually no”? Such a crass move. So more with the union than the company I think.

    12. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I saw this earlier this week and am on the side of the union.

      Also, there is legal precedent (I want to say GoDaddy but I cannot remember) to support the union case. Appallingly, this isn’t an isolated incident.

    13. Pickled Limes*

      The union is right. A phishing email will rarely come from an address established by your own company. If they had set up a dummy email and done the standard “you won this prize drawing you never actually entered!” routine, that would be one thing. But an email coming from an official company email claiming to represent a change in actual company policy is almost never what a phishing attempt will look like, and it’s just so mean spirited to make that the phishing test after all the garbage transportation workers have gone through in the last year.

      1. Ashley*

        This is a good point. If it was an actual company email and not one that mimics a company email that crosses the line.

      2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        Every future (legitimate) email from HR/management etc needs to be forwarded to IT following the suspected phishing process…

    14. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      This is shitty because phishers are shitty. As long as the duped employees aren’t being penalized, I side with the Rail Company and this is a hard lesson learned. Hopefully.

    15. Mononoke Hime*

      It is technically ingenious but completely fails to achieve the goal of such exercise – to educate. If afterwards employees only remember the feeling of resentment and betrayal and not the actual lesson, then it is a failure.

      Phishing tests need to be designed in accordance with the target company’s culture and employee knowledge baseline. Such tests wouldn’t be as outrageous if administered to employees at a cyber security firm (higher level of knowledge and acceptance of being “tricked”). For a railway company it looks like an overkill.

    16. SomebodyElse*

      My company did this with something about Covid. I can’t remember the context of the email now. I had employees express concern. My feeling about it and what I said to them was this…. “Yeah it’s not great that they used a very hot topic that will likely cause panic in people, but on the other hand it’s exactly what a real phishing email will do, so in that sense it worked.”

      When we get our Phishing tests they come from emails like HR@acme.corp instead of the real HR@acmecorp .

      These are the Phishing test emails that I’ve received:
      -Global CEO asking me to click a link for more information
      -Your account is about to be deactivated… follow this link and enter your username and password
      -The covid one… (I received it the day after my employee told me about it. She was right it really looked real)

      The other thing that these highly emotive tests are trying to do is to condition users to stop and think before clicking on something. I mean, I had met my Global CEO a couple of times and he was a ‘rise through the ranks’ guy so had closer than would normally be to operations, but yeah, he’s not going to be emailing me. (Although he did call one of my employees once on an urgent critical matter out of the blue). It’s hard even when you know you are going to be tested and you get emails like that to remember to stop and investigate before clicking things.

    17. Burned, Too*

      I got caught on a phishing test. My company sent a letter via USPS re an alleged error in my health coverage. The next day, before I had time to look it up, I received an email phrased almost identically.

      Lesson learned, but I still resent it.

      By the way, there was no such error in my coverage.

    18. Anonosaurus*

      Doing a phishing test is fair enough (my company does them regularly) but this is just a plain sadistic way to go about it. I don’t think the company is obligated to pay the bonus, although it would be a good gesture to do so, but they do need to recognise that this is beyond tone deaf in the current circumstances and apologise rather than doubling down.

    19. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      I’m on the side of the union here. This is like those horrible April Fool pranks where you make people think they’re getting a raise. They should have used a different topic.

    20. Observer*

      What are people’s views – is the union right, or is the rail company?

      Ransomware and other cyber attacks have become an epidemic. In the last month, 2 high profile ones have hit the news – Scrips Health Systems has disrupted health care for thousands of people. True, probably no one has died because of it, but the mere fact that this is the question tells you how important this it. No one is talking about how the malware got onto their computers, but user error is a very high likelihood. And one of the biggest oil pipelines in North America got shut down by a ransomware attack. And the reports are that it was a phishing email that did it. Keep in mind that this did not just disrupt a company with lots of money to burn, but EVERY single person and organization that uses oil energy in any capacity up and down the northeast. Fortunately, they are coming back on line, but the cost has been staggering.

      So, I have very little patience for “not nice”. Yeah, PHISHING is not nice. If the tactic is effective, then the company should use it. (If it’s not effective, then it should not use it either, whether or not it’s “nice”.)

    21. Observer*

      So there was a railway company in the UK (local to me) that sent out a mass email to employees a

      By the way, did this email come from an actual legitimate company email address? If the former, then the company messed up in a big way, because it’s just not reasonable and realistic to expect people to be able to properly filter our emails from actual legitimate email addresses. On the other hand if the NAME was a company name, but it was coming from another email address or domain, then anyone who click legitimately failed. And this is an EXTREMELY common tactic, so that needs to be dealt with.

    22. Not So NewReader*

      I think it’s fine to test for phishing but DO NOT USE PEOPLE’S PAY AS BAIT.

      I can’t write here what I think of this. I think the person who okayed this idea should be fired.

      Okay so how does this play out over time. HR/IT sends out other emails that they actually need people to click on and view certain pages and a good percentage of the company’s employees remembers this and decides, “nope, not gonna click on that”. This is the adult version of the little boy who cried wolf.

      I have no clue what they will do to earn back employee trust because they sure broke it with this one. I’d recommend this story for an example in a “what not to do guide book for employers”.

    23. L6orac6*

      Just nasty by the employer, the email mentioned money, a bonus no less, of course employees were going to click on it, almost too easy as a phishing email wasn’t it. The mind boggles, how many top ranking staff thought yeh, this is a great idea to do, let’s trick our employees about money, how funny are we, no they’re just assholes!

    24. fhqwhgads*

      I understand why people are frustrated and hurt, but this is exactly the sort of phishing attempt that would work if done by malicious people. That’s what makes it a good test. If all phishing tests were super easy to spot or things that you’d never even remotely be enticed to click on without thinking, they’d be pointless.

    25. AcademiaNut*

      Real phishers will use techniques as nasty as this and worse to get people to click, so I can sort of see the logic of making a test as realistic as possible to really emphasize the caution needed. On the other hand, it *is* cruel. An email extolling them to click on a link for important information about benefits would have been better.

      However, if the email was actually sent from HR, it was a terrible test, unless the message they want emphasize is that HR are liars and can’t be trusted. I’d suggest malicious compliance in revenge – phone or physically go to HR to confirm the validity of their emails before opening them. Every time. Emails coming directly and verifiably from HR can’t be trusted, so you need confirmation.

  23. Susie*

    Need help trying to figure out if I should say something to a colleague, Kate.

    Kate is a peer, but is in charge of a working group to propose some changes to the work we do. I’m in the working group. There was one policy the working group wanted to propose, but in general didn’t feel like there would be organization wide support for. This policy is very important to me and Kate said staff needed more concrete details if this is something I wanted, so I went off running –I talked to stakeholders, I drafted plans, I researched options, etc. All of this to hopefully get the policy passed. As we approached the presentation of the the work of the working group (including the policy), Kate felt that the advocacy she was doing was wearing on people and asked for a new voice to take over for a bit. So I did. However, as the date for policy to be presented to the staff got closer, she took over. Sometimes she she reached out to check-in, but more often she radically changed the work I had done without asking or acknowledging. Now that the policy is going to be rolled out, there needs to be a concrete plan. But I feel like I’ve been cut out of the planning for this policy. I’m trying to figure out how to handle it. I’m pretty offended about how things shook out as we approached the presentation. I’m trying to figure out if I should name that (professionally) and how.

    1. OtterB*

      I would lean toward assuming that this was a side effect of being busy and not a deliberate attempt to undermine you. Can you check back in with Kate and say, I know you’re really busy. [Policy] is important to me and I’d like to be part of the planning going forward. What’s the best way for me to support you in the rollout and stay involved?

    2. ATX*

      I would just reach out to her and say something along the lines of:

      Hey! I saw that this was updated recently, could I be involved in the next meeting?

      Hey! I have some ideas about this, could you invite me to the next call?

      Hey! Since I was part of this, could I be involved going forward?

    3. Malarkey01*

      This is so near to me- and praying I’m not literally Kate here- but working groups like this can be hard. Kate may be getting other and conflicting guidance from leadership and stakeholders. I’m often having to balance them saying this is great but you guys need to cut 2 changes or you can have a and b but not if you go forward with c, etc. While a good working group leader should be informing everyone of these constraints and changes sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes the sheer pace and volume of work also don’t allow you to revisit each issue and you have to piece it together best as possible.

      The actual structure is important too. Some of my groups are more equal and democratic with me just the organization and mouthpiece and some are to add resources and voices but ultimately more support roles and it would be more appropriate for me to make final decisions.

      With all that in play I think it’s best to ask open questions on why x or y was changed, whether there are ways to salvage important pieces, and how you’d like to know the best way to still contribute.
      If I am Kate, I’m sorry you feel like this, and please talk to me so I can explain how everything evolved.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I am not clear on what you want to do here. Maybe that is the question, you aren’t sure if you should keep your hand in or just back away.

      If this is the case, one thing I think about is does the policy represent my way of thinking about things? If it goes against my grain/better judgement/possibly hurts others, then I would just back away from it all.

      I think Marlarkey wrote a really great reply with some solid advice if you are still interested in remaining connected to the project in some manner.

  24. CatPerson*

    It will be very interesting to see whether companies abandon their safety plans for returning to office with the new CDC guidance that was announced yesterday. We were supposed to start back on alternating weeks office/home on June 1, to maintain social distancing. I am worried about having to plunge back in to full capacity with no social distancing possible. I fear this because while the company has been extremely careful until now, fundamentally they do not support work from home except for IT help desk and other telephone customer service jobs. Any ideas on what to do if suddenly we are required to take the plunge? To be clear, I have been vaccinated, but I am older and my husband, also vaccinated, has asthma (but he is retired). Unvaccinated people will fling their masks aside and our company has a “will not ask, will not require” policy on vaccinations (though they are encouraged.)

    1. Moira Rose*

      But the CDC guidelines are only for vaxxed people. How can your workplace say “no masks for the vaxxed” and “don’t ask don’t tell” simultaneously? I mean, they can, but they can’t claim is CDC guidance taking the lead there.

      1. CatPerson*

        Of course they are only for vaxed people. But if you’ve not gotten a vaccination now, it’s probably because you don’t want one or think that Covid is a hoax, so I’m not planning to assume that someone who’s not wearing a mask is vaccinated. Vaccine resisters will use this as an opportunity to get their “freedom” back. Basically the CDC guidance has no teeth unless vaccine proof is required–and that’s not going to happen here, it just isn’t.

        1. PollyQ*

          It’s not true that every American who wants a vaccine has been able to get one. There are still plenty of people who are finding it hard to get a vaccine, because of issues with language, transportation, access to technology, not knowing their work schedule far enough in advance and not being able to afford taking an unpaid day off, etc.

          This doesn’t really affect the question of masking, but I do think we need to be aware of systemic blocks for people who need & want to get vaccinated.

          1. CatPerson*

            True, I should have said most people have gotten vaccinated if they want one. But that there are others who have not been able to–even more reason why these new guidelines make it harder for people, in the absence of proof, to know whether they are being exposed.

    2. Jack Straw*

      My 18YO works for Taco Bell. They’re not changing (as of today, anyway) masks being required for employees even though our state no longer has masking requirements. I feel like Taco Bell is a decent read on what fast food places will do.

  25. undecided*

    How soon is too soon to look at a new position? I am a GS-7 employee on a military base and have 14 months in this particular position. An opening has come up for a GS-9 position, and the job requirements of the new position aligns almost exactly with what i am doing now. I don’t want o be a job hopper, and have had two positions since graduating college, neither lasting over 18 months (the one i am in now and my first job post college i left because i was laid off). Is it too “out-there” to apply and would it bite in the future? I am also a milspouse, so moving around and short term jobs is a given.

    1. Moira Rose*

      Fourteen months in a GS-7 position is plenty. A GS-9 is still considered entry-level, and is totally reasonable to apply for. And fourteen months in your first post-college job seems fine to me!!

      1. undecided*

        That’s good to hear! I know government positions are a different beast, so the rules I thought I knew don’t always apply.

    2. The Rural Juror*

      I think in your case, you wouldn’t be viewed as a job hopper. It seems like a natural progression if you want to continue to grow. Go for it!

      (my brother and sis-in-law also work on a military base, so I’ve heard quite a bit about that world)

    3. Moira Rose*

      Fourteen months in a GS-7 position is plenty. A GS-9 is still considered entry-level, and is totally reasonable to apply for. And fourteen months in your first post-college job seems fine to me!! (Adding extra text to the end of this comment because I accidentally posted it as a top-level comment, la la la.)

    4. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

      Is the GS-9 position in the same agency or different? Would the GS-9 be a relocation or would you stay on/near your current base? I think having the first two positions both be less than a year does present a challenge. And while you’re a milspouse and some short term stints are a fact of life, it may be worth considering the tradeoffs of *electing* to swap this soon if you don’t need to. How long until you would qualify to advance a step in the GS-7 grade in your current role?

      It’s also been my experience/understanding that typically to secure a GS-9 position you need an advanced degree and/or 3-5 years of experience in similar roles. That may not be accurate for your area of work/agency, but it’s worth reflecting on and seeing if you can get a sense from others in your field as to whether applying for a GS-9 at this stage in your career makes sense.

      1. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

        In reading the other comments I am getting the sense that my information may be very dated/my mentors when I was pursuing federal work were grossly misinformed. Wishing you all the best, undecided!

      2. undecided*

        I would be going to a different building on the same base (i love on base and my commute would go from 5 minutes to maybe 10-15) and different organizations within the same MAJCOM. I just went up a step in March, so technically i am a GS-7 step 2. I have the minimum GS-7 experience and a degree, so based on that alone i qualify.

        1. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

          It being within the same MAJCOM and base makes this seem way less risky than my first reading. Good luck in your application!

    5. Twisted Lion*

      Apply! You meet time in grade requirements for the GS9. And after a year at 9 you are eligible for an 11. Go out there and get that money :)

  26. Mimmy*

    Yesterday’s “Ask the Readers” question about appearing quiet and timid when speaking really got me thinking about my own concerns and could use some input, particularly from neurodiverse readers.

    I’ve always struggled with verbal communication. I’m not sure if it’s pure confidence or if it’s part of my disability (a syndrome which gave me sensory impairments and LD primarily). Some of the things I have trouble with:

    -Verbally expressing my thoughts: I use a LOT of filler words. Spontaneous conversations are tricky for me as well.
    -Eye contact: I can look at a speaker with little trouble but when I’M speaking, I just. can. not. look at my audience. Lord knows how my body language comes across.
    -Controlling my voice: I know I talk loud sometimes and I also don’t always sound natural. Sometimes I don’t think I come across as mature as I’d like given my career aspirations.

    I read over all of the suggestions yesterday and I understand it all intellectually. I understand the rules of nonverbal communication and active listening. I’ve also worked on speaking up more (thanks Zoom and pandemic!) because I know it can only help me in the long run.

    One of the suggestions given by several people yesterday was Toastmasters. Even my husband thinks I should consider it. But I wonder if it’d even benefit me since I believe my habits are tied to my disability.

    I’m in my late 40s so I hope I’m just not setting myself up for disappointment. I’m not looking to change my personality, just the way I come across.

    1. LKW*

      Yes, they can help you via practice, reasonable and considerate feedback and techniques.

      For example, you don’t have to look anyone in the eye. Look at the tops of their heads / foreheads instead. Or their noses.

      For topics you’re more comfortable with, you’ll have less filler. If you get comfortable with pauses and momentary quiet points, you’ll also be able to drop those fillers. Toastmasters can definitely help.

      1. Mimmy*

        For example, you don’t have to look anyone in the eye. Look at the tops of their heads / foreheads instead. Or their nose

        Does this technique work in virtual meetings too?

        1. TiffIf*

          Virtual meetings can be tricky–almost nobody looks square into the camera in my experience. To be honest I don’t really know where the best place to look while in a virtual meeting is. However, I’m lucky in that my company doesn’t require our cameras to be on in virtual meetings–I think I have turned on my camera a total of three times in the 14 months I have been working from home.

        2. Filosofickle*

          It’s actually perfect for virtual because it’s not really possible to make true eye contact on video. Generally you have to choose between looking at the camera and looking at their face and they’re doing the same, so you can really never see eye to eye. (I position their face smaller and right under the camera when possible, but you can’t do that in a group meeting.)

          While speaking, try just looking at the camera! They will see you looking straight at them, and you don’t have to look them in the eye.

      2. tangerineRose*

        Toastmasters can help. FYI, different clubs are different from each other, so if you don’t like one club, try another.

        A good Toastmasters group should be encouraging, but not too pushy and not overly critical.

    2. ferrina*

      Depending on your type of condition, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) may be an option. CBT can sometimes help with behaviors that are symptoms of mental health conditions. Try to find someone that specializes in your particular condition.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        I’d be a little hesitant to go with this depending on what Mimmy’s disability is. I’m autistic (well, I don’t consider my autism a disability, but it’s not neurotypical) and CBT just doesn’t work on me. My brain’s not wired for it.

        I also confess that I’ve been looking at Toastmasters myself. I’ve been in social skills therapy for most of my life, which has definitely helped, but I still have voice, affect, and body language issues (the eye contact hack is my life. I haven’t made eye contact in over 20 years and I ain’t starting now.).

    3. RagingADHD*

      As a non-neurotypical person (though in adifferent way), we can certainly learn skills, and public speaking / presenting is a skill set that can be taught, practiced, and improved. It is not an innate personality trait — though some personalities gravitate to it or pick it up more readily.

      But that’s true of every skill from computer games, to basketball, to musical instruments. People who like it and have some natural aptitude are going to want to do it more, so they get more practice, progress faster, etc.

      Your goal doesn’t have to be to become a professional speaker who gives TED talks all the time. You want to improve, and that is doable.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Also, becoming more skilled at verbal communication isn’t going to change your personality. It will just help you express your personality more clearly.

    4. Red Tape Specialist*

      As a long-time Toastmasters member, I think it is worth checking out. Toastmasters are known for counting ahs and ums, depending on the club they may use an audible cue (like a bell or clicker) that can help us become aware of those filler words. Once we realize we are using them, we can work to limit them.
      I think you could also get some feedback about body language and eye contact. There are so many different things to try (looking at foreheads, etc) instead of making eye contact with the audience.
      Basically what helped me was continuous practice over time. I improved because I spoke at each meeting (sometimes only a sentence or two) and also received supportive feedback.
      You can attend club meetings as a guest to check out the environment and club culture (a lot of clubs are still meeting on zoom right now, so I find that a pretty low-key way to check it out). They may ask you to introduce yourself, but you don’t have to speak if you don’t want to! Try out some different ones and find one you like. Toastmasters dot org to find a club. Best of luck to you!

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I think that TM is like anything else, you can go to one meeting. Come home from that meeting and THEN decide if you will go to a second meeting. Break this into parts and proceed based on the information you have collected as you go.

      Late 40s: I have to say this because it helped me so much. My father would come out with stuff and sometimes he was absolutely brilliant with what he thought of. One thing he talked about was that he did not feel himself “coming into his own” until he reached his 40s. The first 3 decades were a lot of floundering and falling down.
      And it was in his 40s that he started branching out and really blossoming. I really appreciated this because it gave me some idea of what normal for other people might look like. It helped me to adjust my own expectations for myself.

      The first thing I’d suggest is just take the age thing off the table- don’t even think about it. None of this, Cousin Sue did x at 30, Cohort Bob did y at 25 and so on. Just get rid of that. They are not you. Next thing to throw away is the “I should have….” stuff- sentences that begin with “I should have” won’t serve anyone and sometimes can be injurious to our own selves. “I should have learned/ done this before now.” OR “I should have gotten better at x by now”- take this stuff and put it in the garbage can where it belongs.

      [Here’s the sneaky part: Sometimes we can’t look up at the people we are speaking to, because of our own self-talk. We can be afraid of seeing on THEIR faces what we think in our OWN minds. Our own self-talk can also cause us to stumble, use excess words and so on. And if our heads are full of rambling nonsense then that leaves less brain space to think about modulating our tone of voice. Hey, brains can only process so much at a given time. It’s always good to do a little “house cleaning” inside our own thoughts and thinking patterns.]

      I think another good thing to do is watch others around you. Try to realize that they are also wrestling with their own set of speaking habits that they would like to shed. This is great because it helps to level the playing field- you’re not trying to climb Mt. Everest here.

      Last and really important. Speaking in groups is UNnatural for a good number of people. I had a friend who practiced in front of the mirror. What is neat about this is we can get used to hearing the sound of our own voice as a professional/subject authority/etc. Well, my friend practiced and practiced. The difference in her speaking was astounding. She was an excellent example of someone who really needed to get used to the sound of her own voice. In her setting, her public speaking concerns actually had very little to do with other people and was more about her own confidence.
      A good partner for practicing is meeting prep. We can line up what we want to say and have it ready to go. Start by answering the question, “What do I want this particular group of people to know about [given subject]?”

      You absolutely do not have to change you to do this. You can take the best parts of you and let others see those parts of you. You care about others, you want to help others and these are great things to share with people. No need to change any of that. Honestly, I think you have a lot in place that you just ignore. Think of you years ago- would younger you have posted on AAM? I know I would not have. I bet if you start thinking about what you have done in recent years you will come up with a lot of stuff that younger you would not have tried to tackle.

      1. Mimmy*

        NSNR – I always love when you respond to my posts (and others!) because your ideas are detailed yet to the point.

        One thing he talked about was that he did not feel himself “coming into his own” until he reached his 40s. The first 3 decades were a lot of floundering and falling down. And it was in his 40s that he started branching out and really blossoming.

        I am starting to feel the same about myself. Right after I got my first Masters, I got a job that I think could’ve blossomed had I not gotten in my own way – I was in my mid-30s at this point. With my current job and second Masters, I have started feeling more comfortable working with direct services and believe that I’ve found my niche. This is what I thought in my 30s too, but now I have to tamp down the fear that I’ll stumble again as I did in 2007/2008.

        I love the assurance that it is not too late to blossom! Thank you again for your ideas :)

  27. HopingForBetter*

    It’s your last day of work in your current position. What song are you playing yourself out to?

    Today is, in fact, my last day of work in my first FT professional position. I lasted 2.5 years here and I’ve finally just outgrown the role and the organization. I’m excited to be moving on to a great position at a world-renowned institution, but getting to this point was … rough. Ideally I would have been gone about a year ago, but the pandemic kept me around longer than I would have liked, and things got more and more angsty and miserable for me as I felt more and more stuck.

    The song that kept me from losing my mind in all of this was “That Old Wheel” by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr. The idea that I didn’t need to be the arbiter of karma was so helpful for me and kept me from harming my professional reputation more than once. “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce is a classic break-up song that I was singing in my head as I put in my notice. Today, though, I’m finally at peace, so on my drive home I’ll be singing “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin (“Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose”). I’m finally out of there! Happy Friday, all!

    1. Ali G*

      When I left Old Toxic Job I rocked out to Freedom90 by George Michael. Still one of my most favorite songs.

    2. Ashley*

      The Man by Taylor Swift — part of my leaving is the sexist nature of my co-workers.

      1. HopingForBetter*

        Oof, you have my sympathies. I hope your new colleagues are supportive, open-minded, and beneficent!

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Not sure if this is true, but my dad used to tell me about someone in his union who won the lottery in the 70s. He hired a band to come in & play this song when he quit.

        1. Mr. Cajun2core*

          I would do it, especially at my current job. Well, maybe not now but with my previous boss, I would have done it!

    3. Coco*

      I’m pretty fond of my colleagues so would go for ‘ It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday’ by Boyz II Men.

    4. anon24*

      My last job was a physical labor job where we were overworked, underpaid, and worked outside with no shade. I got yelled one day for sitting down when it was 95 degrees and I was getting dizzy, nauseated, and had a pounding headache. They also used to tell us about how all the employees at one location got fired when they threatened to unionize. My last day I left there blasting “Re-education (Through Labor)” by Rise Against.

    5. Llama face!*

      I’ll probably have to go back to my younger days and play Bye Bye Bye by N’Sync. Lol

    6. monkeyinthemiddle*

      When I went to put in 2 weeks notice, I had “you dropped a bomb on me” playing in my head

    7. Bees-in-my-head*

      How about the theme from the 70s sitcom, the Jeffersons? Moving on up, moving on up, I finally got a piece of the pie . . .

    8. Invisible Fish*

      As I was planning my escape from my last job, I went into work each day playing some of the most aggressive music you can imagine …. had a whole heavy metal and gangster rap channel set up online.

    9. Knitting Pandas*

      Am I Evil? (Metallica version)
      Jailbreak and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC)

      I left a toxic place.

    10. Hobbette*

      The Animals’ classic, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” works for me! (okay, I’m old…) ;)

    11. Not So NewReader*

      My husband liked the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
      Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

      He especially enjoyed that not everyone (toxic boss) would understand it.

    12. OP#2*

      When it got really bad? “This is not my idea of a good time” by Garbage. I listened to that in the car far too many times while driving into work at my toxic former job.

  28. Moira Rose*

    Fourteen months in a GS-7 position is plenty. A GS-9 is still considered entry-level, and is totally reasonable to apply for. And fourteen months in your first post-college job seems fine to me!!

    1. Blue Eagle*

      The issue about job-hopping is more about taking a bunch of lateral move jobs as opposed to a promotion. Any time you can get a new job that is a promotion and pays more money, take it!

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

    I’m back in my office! (I’m thrilled about this; I know others would not find that good news but please don’t rain on MY parade if you need to vent). For over a year, I’ve felt completely and increasingly unanchored; I have a hard time focusing because I’m out of “my space” for work. I didn’t have my stuff around me — stapler, pencil sharpener, desk phone, file cabinet, office supplies like PostIt notes and extra pens and batteries for my mouse, my white board with 14 years of important notes like our org postal permit number, phone number for IT help desk… Trying to find work arounds and looking up info for things that should be sooooo easy and employing “good enough” solutions for the last year has drained me of all my energy. I’m not the only one in the building but for now I’m now the first/only one on my floor regularly. I’m enjoying playing music out loud for now, but I’m looking forward to a few more people joining me.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I’ve been back at work for a long time (about a year now). I was very happy to go back to my office, as well. I’m lucky that our office layout allows for all the employees to have their own individual offices/rooms, so it’s always been easy for me to close my door and play my music, which is wonderful! I’m so spoiled :)

    2. Monty & Millie's Mom*

      I’m so excited for you! I never left my workspace – we all had the option, and I technically COULD have worked from home, but I honestly didn’t want to. There were very few of us left in the office and we did a good job with masks, distancing, and cleaning. And for me, physically GOING TO work really helps me get into the work mindset – I was so afraid that I’d be too distracted at home with my pets, or my messy house, or even just any nice weather! I was also told that I couldn’t “try it out” – if I went home, I was home for the duration, and I just didn’t want to risk it. So I totally get it!
      Welcome back to you!

    3. Deborah*

      I’m looking forward to going back eventually. I will miss not having a commute and eating in my own kitchen, but I will definitely do better with the office environment providing more time structure for my brain. I work fine but I’m having trouble differentiating between day and night and weekdays and weekends being at home 24/7. My company moved to new headquarters in December though and hasn’t built out desks for everyone so we’ll go back sometime when there’s furniture for everyone! Also they are bringing sales back before IT. I basically work on the computer, on a virtual server, no matter where I am so it’s not super important to have me in the office.

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

      I should have noted in my post…I’ve been on campus the whole year, the powers that be just decided to move me into a conference room in a different area so they could “close down” portions of buildings to save money back when they insisted this was going to be a financial disaster — we’ve not only not suffered any business loss, we’ve been thriving. I’ve hated every minute of it. It was supposed to be a 2-3 week make-do solution a year ago and they never re-evaluated that decision despite my requests.

      I’m now looking around the floor and trying to note all of the things that need to be addressed — despite them assuring me that custodial was cleaning, the trash is NOT being emptied and the bathroom is not being cleaned daily — not a huge issue with just me on the floor, but I count as a human and I think they need to adhere to their own escalated cleaning standards. There are several light bulbs that need replacing; the Keurig is definitely going to need to be thrown out and replaced (ew). I know I’m a bit of a guinea pig on return to this office. The others that follow will have the benefit of me being a pest to facilities and housekeeping.

    5. Veronica*

      I am enjoying wearing yoga pants and taking my shoes off. I know this will change once other people start joining me in the office. But right now I have the benefits of working in comfy clothes and having office amenities.

    6. I take tea*

      I will hopefully get back in the office in August, looking forward to it a lot. At the moment I even have an office of my own, it won’t last, but I don’t care. I just don’t want to navigate two persons working from home in a really small apartment anymore. We are really wearing each other out. And I miss my colleagues and customers, they are both mostly nice.

  30. Alexis Rosay*

    An employee I supervise, ‘Bob’, wants to take a two-month leave of absence, citing exhaustion from working remotely. Grandboss wants to give him this leave completely paid as a recognition for his service because he’s worked for the organization for many years. There is nothing in our policies that guarantees paid leave and no precedent for this, but Bob is a great asset and if a paid leave is what he needs to not burn out and come back stronger next year, I would consider it a good investment.

    However, I’m a little uneasy. I’ve worked with Bob for many years and he has spoken openly about his desire to start his own business once his son moves out of the house, which is happening at the exact same time as his proposed leave. I’m worried that he’s planning to use the time to start a business and only return to work if it’s not going well.

    Any thoughts on how to approach this? I haven’t revealed my concerns to Grandboss because I don’t want to cast doubt on a good employee if it’s not necessary.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I’d be very surprised if Bob can start a business and have enough time to see if it’s going well in two short months. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and consider that he just wants to enjoy his home being quieter as his son moves out! If he comes back and is not refreshed, and seems distracted, then you can address it as it comes.

      1. Alexis Rosay*

        That totally makes sense. You are right that it’s not enough time. I’ve been doing a ton of hiring lately and the thought of replacing him has me a bit panicked. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and not bring it up.

    2. Macaroni Penguin*

      Give Bob the paid two month leave and wish him a relaxing time away from the office?

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

      2 months wouldn’t really be enough time to start a business and see if it’s going to be a success, so I wouldn’t necessarily worry about that. Does he have enough PTO to cover all/any of that time, or is this all extra paid leave that no one else would have the ability to do? If it’s extra, you could point that out to the boss; if other’s want this same benefit, how will those requests be addressed? But after this last year, I think you should just wish him well on his leave and don’t address anything unless his 2-month absence would cause a big work problem.

      1. Alexis Rosay*

        Yes, I think we definitely need to think how to handle other requests.

        I do think the leave is causing some big work problems, but if he is able to come back refreshed, the extra headache will be worth it.

        1. ronda*

          a company I worked at offered sabbatical after x number of years (and I think it was a large amount like 15 or 20years– & the leave was shorter like 3 or 4 weeks-in addition to normal vacation allotment). Sounds like he has been there a while so maybe set it at that timeframe. If you have bunches of people with that long service…. you might end up with more requests than you want, tho.

          But it is probably good to come up with a criteria, since others will see it and possibly want to do it to.

    4. Your Local Cdn*

      Personally, I would okay the leave even with the chance the employee is using the leave to start the business if they have been stellar during the pandemic.

      If you want to treat it as an investment, I would make part of the money repayable unless Bob returns for x time – this is how my org treats sabbaticals and study leave.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        If you want to treat it as an investment, I would make part of the money repayable unless Bob returns for x time – this is how my org treats sabbaticals and study leave.

        The only concern I have about repayment is actually collecting it.

        1. Jack Straw*

          You don’t collect it. You subtract it from his final paycheck. If it’s unlikely that the entire amount would be covered by a single paycheck, you write the rest off as the cost of doing business and be happy you recouped a portion.

          Ex. My school district paid for my $200 teaching license renewal. I quit after a year. They took the $100 I owed out of my check.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            Yea, I can see that for a 2 week sabbatical, but does the company have 8 weeks’ of the employee’s assets to confiscate?

            1. Jack Straw*

              If it’s unlikely that the entire amount would be covered by a single paycheck, you write the rest off as the cost of doing business and be happy you recouped at least a small portion.

                1. pancakes*

                  I don’t quite get why it makes sense to write off the cost rather than take the person to small claims court if it’s a meaningful amount of money.

                2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                  Once the money’s spent, you can get a Judgment, but then you have to enforce it. If Bob is going into business on his own, wage garnishment may get complicated or be ineffective–and if he goes broke, there’s no money to confiscate.

                3. pancakes*

                  Not everyone who starts a business, even one that is ultimately unsuccessful, goes rock-bottom broke in the process. There are other ways to collect besides garnishing someone’s wages, too, like putting a lien on their property.

    5. CatCat*

      Would you rather Bob take the leave and have the possibility of coming back restored (recognizing there is a risk he may just not come back too), or would you rather Bob quit because he’s burned out and doesn’t feel supported?

      Because denying the leave does NOT automatically mean Bob will stay.

      1. Joan Rivers*

        How would Bob feel about agreeing to repay the salary if he doesn’t stay in the job?

      2. Miss Ames*

        “or would you rather Bob quit because he’s burned out and doesn’t feel supported?”

        Oh boy, that describes me so well after a year plus of remote work.
        I am planning to resign in a few more months, I am actively doing the legwork now to get to that point
        and I can hardly wait.

    6. Malarkey01*

      I think many many people talk about the big change they are going to make when their kids move out/graduate/become independent but the reality is almost no one does. It’s also not surprising that someone going through a change like this, especially this last year, needs some time to reset themselves mentally and emotionally.
      Consider the leave a good investment (and occasionally investments don’t pan out) but I wouldn’t spend time wondering that Bob is planning on leaving.

      1. Alexis Rosay*

        That makes sense. I’m probably overthinking this because I’ve been doing a ton of hiring lately and just feel panicked at the thought of replacing him.

    7. LadyByTheLake*

      Just keep in mind that if this is offered to Bob it also needs to be offered to every other employee who has been at the organization for the same period of time.

      1. Malarkey01*

        No it doesn’t. Retention incentives and bonuses don’t need to be equal or fair. I might not care if Bob the mediocre employee leaves but if Brian my rockstar who brings in a ton of revenue is thinking of leaving In going to bend over backwards to see what it would take for him to stay.

        If I make an exception for Suze to take a 4 week vacation to visit family abroad I don’t have to abroad every other persons leave.

    8. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      I am hung up on the “paid” part. Does Bob have saved vacation time or PTO to cover the 8 weeks? If so, given how hard it was to use PTO during 2020 for most people, then sure – unless it greatly affects workflow. Then maybe he gets to go out for as long as his accruals last. If he REALLY needs 8 weeks (magic number?), the balance can be unpaid. I would greatly object to giving someone “extra” paid vacation if they have the accruals on the books. It’s not the time away from work I would begrudge as much as the bonus pay, if I were another worker bee or a manager thinking about how to explain this to my other employees.
      Luckily I work in the public sector where we don’t do bonuses of time or money so I will never be faced with this IRL!

    9. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      citing exhaustion from working remotely

      Given what you said about starting a business – is there any possibility he’s started preparing for it already and been working on that as well as working for you whilst remote?

      Regardless of these specific circumstances I wouldn’t be offering 2 months of “free” paid leave. Either the exhaustion is a medical fact and should be treated as some kind of medical leave, or perhaps if you can do without him for 2 months you could offer part of it paid and the rest unpaid.

      It’s a big ask. Just “have worked for the company for a long time” isn’t necessarily a good reason. (If I were Bob I’d be thinking “if they can do without me for 2 months is there’s risk they’ll find they can do without me altogether?” You didn’t really mention the impact on the company of Bob being out for 8 weeks.)

  31. Nurse Wannabe*

    Are there any nurses on here who were career changers? I’m 35 and have wanted to be a nurse for several years, but I’m in a mostly unrelated field and I’ve held off because it seems like such a huge change. I’m a librarian who works with nursing students, and I love learning about their coursework and often find myself wishing I were in their shoes. I’ve had a lot of customer service jobs and really enjoy working with people, including in challenging situations. I have several nurses among my family and friends, so I know what they do on a daily basis (including the frustrating, exhausting parts) and I think I’d love it and be good at it. I have two young kids, so the idea of leaving a decent job to go back to school, start over in a new career, and probably have to work nights & weekends is really intimidating, but I keep coming back to it. If anyone has done this, is it worth it? Any advice for someone considering it?

    1. CupcakeCounter*

      Not a nurse but my mom returned to school for ultrasound when she was about 40. It was challenging (two kids but I was a teenager and my sister was about 10 and dad was in sales so able to set his own schedule enough for school pickup and dropoff) but she has absolutely ZERO regrets.

    2. AnotherLibrarian*

      Is there anyone in the nursing school who maybe can connect you with someone who has done this? Or who can talk about the actual day to day work of nursing? I am friends with several nurses and all of them say that the day to day work was a lot different than they thought it would be. I would bet with the nursing school where you work, there are folks there who might be able to connect you up with some people to talk too. Good luck!

    3. ..Kat..*

      I did this. I already had a bachelor degree (I assume you do as a librarian). I needed some prerequisite courses for nursing school (microbiology, etc) that I went to community college at night to get while I still worked my old job. (Make sure the nursing school counts the community college courses as valid.) I saved my money and cut my expenses so I could afford it.

      You usually need some kind of work or volunteer experience with patients or a hospital or something like that in order to be accepted to a nursing program.

      Ask your nurse friends about the kinds of nursing jobs that are available that don’t require night shift.

      I have been a nurse now for decades and don’t regret leaving my former profession, even though it was a pay cut. It was scary when I quit my old profession to attend nursing school full time.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      My husband was trying for nurse or surgical technician and it didn’t work out for him. But if might be different if you already have your bachelors degree (he had an associate degree).

      Make sure you FULLY understand the educational requirements. Some classes expire (anatomy & physiology, chemistry) expire within 5 years and if you haven’t graduated with your RN by then you will have to retake it. This tripped up my husband because he was only going part time. Also, at some schools, if you don’t pass your NClex (nursing exam) or Clinical exam on your first try, you’re OUT of the program and it was all for naught!

      This was a shock to me, because in my field your education cannot be taken away like that.

    5. pieforbreakfast*

      I did this at age 39, going from graphic design to nursing. Nursing school was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I don’t believe I would have suceeded at an earlier age, but worth it. I don’t have kids, I had many in my class who did though. There’s so many types, locations and schedules for RNs. I was not interested in hospital work from the beginning, I’ve been doing community health which is Mon – Fri. School Nursing, primary care, homecare often have similar schedules.

  32. Gwen*

    I need some advice on how to hold my ground when my boss is (inappropriately) venting to me about the problems with the rest of our team. My workplace is not healthy and I don’t think I’ll be here long, but in the meantime I’m really stuck on how to navigate holding on to my internal integrity and not making it seem to her like I agree with everything she’s saying. I’ve found myself in similar situations before and I really want to get better at not letting people with power over me extract empathy from me in a way that makes it seem like I’m affirming their decisions. It’s easier with peers but the power dynamic makes it tough for me!

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      Practice making a neutral “Hmmmm” sound for your reaction.

      Also practice asking questions that pivot the conversation to safer ground. Like, “That’s tough. So what do you need from me on this project?”

      1. Gwen*

        Thank you, definitely both good ideas. It gets tricky when the complaints cross into areas that are genuinely part of my work, or when she says, “I don’t know, I don’t know if you have any ideas . . .?” and I want to have some input, but the real problem is the way she thinks about the rest of the team and other people in general, which is a problem for therapy to fix, not for me.

    2. The Rural Juror*

      Do you feel like you can say things like, “Oh? That’s odd, that’s not the experience I’ve had with Jim.” or “Well, I haven’t been in that position, so I don’t have an opinion.” Or not give any response to the complaints and instead find an exit from the conversation like, “Oh, man…I need to get back to those TP reports…”

    3. ferrina*

      Depends on your boss. If your boss is a loose cannon and/or prone to shooting messangers, I’d got with Alexis Rosay’s suggestion- pure neutral, no reaction (not even a sympathetic noise)- just blank starting and “hmm” until the work-related talk restarts.
      If your boss is generally reasonable or a nice person with bad judgement in venting, I’d go with Rural Juror’s “huh, that’s not what I’ve experienced…” or “Whoa, that’s a lot. I can’t really let myself think about this right now, since I really need to keep my mind on [Project]. Do you have an update on those widgets?”

    4. Mononoke Hime*

      Great point about empathy extraction. In such case you can be extremely lifeless, dull and boring in your responses so your boss have nothing to grab onto energetically/emotionally. Short answers like “Hmm” “I have no opinion” or “I don’t know” combined with flat tone and completely neutral expression should do the trick.

    5. ronda*

      Why hint?

      something like:

      please don’t vent (or a different word to describe it) to me about coworkers… its not fair to them and its not fair to me.
      If there is something I need to do or change please let me know but I don’t need/want to hear about my coworkers problems.

    6. EmmaX*

      Depending on your boss, you could try giving feedback that is very reasonable but makes her uncomfortable. If all she wants to do is vent and complain, problem solving can be annoying to listen to.

      If she is complaining about a co-workers writing, you could suggest that she sign the coworker up for an expensive writing course. If she complains about time management you can suggest apps. If she complains about a co-worker with health problems, suggest looking for better benefits and sick leave.

      Basically create work for her so you are less satisfying to talk to.

  33. Amber Rose J*

    We’re hiring. The hiring manager wants to take the tired, unmotivated, disinterested person. I want the one who was maybe a little overly intense but came prepared and seemed interested.

    Her worry is that we don’t want someone who will want more out of this extremely junior role than we can give. My perspective is that you don’t punish ambition. I’m tired of disinterested coworkers. Come at me with your ideas please. If the role isn’t enough they can freely job hunt later.

    Am I off base here?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      You shouldn’t punish ambition, but if a role truly won’t provide what someone is looking for, you’re setting yourself up to do this again sooner rather than later. Make sure you’re very, very clear about the limitations of the job.

      Is there anyone else? If disinterested and overly intense are your only options… you really want someone who’s motivated to do steady work.

      1. Amber Rose*

        We were really clear about it, with the recruiter and during both interviews. All the interviewees said that was fine. Our other options were, frankly, all pretty terrible.

        Besides, I know how my company works. Junior roles don’t stay junior long.

    2. Mockingjay*

      Look at this from a company (or department) culture perspective. Does the company like team players (conformists) or are they looking for Type A personalities? That’s going to influence who’s hired.

      It can also be about company need for a role. Sometimes you have to hire for rote, junior tasks that must be done ad infinitum, so you look for personalities that will stay in that lane for awhile.

      ExToxicJob hired pretty much all Type A personalities that continuously fought for standing and shot each other’s ideas down. I think you need a mix of people in most workplaces for balance. Creative people with ideas for new products/processes and steady people to execute them.

      1. Amber Rose*

        We used to only have type A personalities, then we faced disaster, swung sharply in the opposite direction and we now only have people who show up, do their job, and leave. That’s fine. I’m not judging them. But from the perspective of someone who is trying to build structure, policy and growth into this company, it’d be nice if we had some people who were even slightly more engaged in what’s going on around them.

        That’s not what this role is. But it could become that, with the right person.

        1. Observer*

          The problem is that there is a difference between “too intense” and “ambitious / engaged”.

          Can you try to cast the net again? I can see why you would like someone who is a bit more ambitious. But the person you describe sounds like they might be too much. Neither person sounds like a really good choice.

    3. irene adler*

      Perhaps. What gives you the impression that tired, unmotivated, disinterested person is actually tired, unmotivated, and disinterested?
      When I interview, my mind goes blank, and the interview usually takes place after I’ve worked an entire day (because I start at 4:30 am). So I fumble with answers and I am not at peak energy for the day.

      Yet I run the QC dept. for an entire small company where there’s no compromise on getting things done correctly and adhere to tight scheduling deadlines for over 15 years now.

      1. Amber Rose*

        We did two interviews. She had no questions for us. She had to think for a really long time about all the questions we asked. I tried my best to get her to engage on any kind of level and got nothing. No smiles, no eye contact. She was nice enough and I have zero doubts in her ability to do the job but… give me something to work with.

        1. irene adler*

          Sounds like someone who has had very little experience or knowledge about interviewing.

          There’s also “advice” out there that says interviewers try to trip you up by engaging candidates in small talk. Maybe she’s shy and maybe she’s a victim of similar bad advice.

          You are most likely correct here; she’s not interested in the job. Maybe I see too much of myself in this candidate and that’s why I’m sticking up for her.
          I’ve hired lab techs who were knowledgeable, interested in the job and asked questions. One turned out to be the perfect lab tech (best one ever!). The other turned out to be a nightmare (don’t ask). A couple turned out fine- nothing to write home about.

          My advice: Go with your gut feeling.

          1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

            I worked with a very shy person who had a difficult time with eye contact, would answer if spoken to but wouldn’t initiate conversations, and was, unfortunately, forgotten about a lot of times. But her work was excellent, and she’s been at that place for ages. The day she came into my work area to thank me for bringing a treat in, I wanted to do cartwheels! And when she came to me with something funny (as in silly and hilarious) that she’d found, it was one of my happiest days ever at that place. Sometimes the quiet, reserved ones can bring their own kind of joy with their expertise at the job.

            1. irene adler*

              Very important point! And unfortunately, this personality type is all to often dismissed at interview time.

        2. Sam*

          Does the hiring manager agree with your assessment of her? These seem somewhat subjective, to the extent that she may have made more eye contact with the other person in the room or something.

          Also, are you interviewing remotely? That could have something to do with the demeanour.

          1. Amber Rose*

            The first interview was remote, the second was in person.

            We more or less agreed, although I wasn’t there for the first round of interviews and the hiring manager let me know that Tired was a lot more engaged the second time than the first.

    4. Not A Manager*

      Why does the HM think that a person who STARTS the job tired, unmotivated and disinterested is more likely to stay than someone who starts off enthusiastic? It seems like the first person is pretty much telling you straight up that they don’t want this job.

      1. Not A Manager*

        I mean, I guess I can answer that myself. “I think this person is so beat down that they won’t have the resources to look further.” But wow.

        1. Joan Rivers*

          The “tired” one sounds like she can’t even fake it for an interview, so how will she fake it for one workday after another? I’d ask the “motivated” one how she feels about maybe not moving as fast as she’d like. Even if she didn’t stay forever she might still be a better worker.

          The thing is: “Motivated” may not be that about THIS job, she may just be motivated to GET a job. We don’t know her situation. And we don’t know “tired” one’s story, but she’s done nothing to make herself look good, even for a short period. That’s when you need to make an effort.

        2. Amber Rose*

          Basically the reasoning was, “this is someone who has been out of work since Covid hit, they want any job, they don’t want to make waves. They will sit down and work hard.”

          My counter reasoning was, “Someone who is already interested in the company and what we do will also sit down and work hard, and I want people who feel like making suggestions because I’m tired of being the only one who does.”

    5. ferrina*

      A couple things I’d consider:

      1) How long does this job take to learn? If it takes six months to learn, but Intensity is going move on in twelve months, that’s not great. You’ll spend a lot of time training someone who likely won’t stick around.

      2) How much do you *want* this role to be intense? There are some roles that need intensity, but others where the intensity will be detrimental. I have a junior colleague who is constantly trying to make her role more than it is, forget the company’s actual strategic direction, it’s all about what SHE thinks is right. It creates a lot of work trying to backpedal her promises, unearth what she’s actually spending her time on, and she avoids the biggest grunt work project because she thinks it isn’t worth her time. Whereas the person that shows up 9-5 actually does the job we want her to do.
      On the flip side, if the intensity can help grow and expand the role, that can really be an asset! If this is usually a junior role, but the right person could grow it in to a role that does much more, that could be really good.

      3) How will the intensity read to coworkers? Is this someone who can get along with others, or is her intensity off-putting? A junior staffer who is off-puttingly intense can build resentment with other staff, which can hurt her professional growth and possibly what she needs to do with the job. But if she’s enjoyable to speak to, that could really spark the culture.

      I recommend speaking to both candidates’ references before you decide. Maybe ask about what types of roles this candidate thrives in and what their strengths are, and what kind of work/environment frustrates them. Think about how those answers align with what you expect from the role.
      Good luck!

    6. Anonymous Hippo*

      IMO, you are the most excited about a job before you get it, lol. I always go with the overly intense. You can mitigate intensity, but it is hard to create motivation and interest.

    7. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I interviewed someone who was tired, unmotivated, disinterested – similar to what you describe. In this case she was already employed (I read your other comment about your candidate having lost her job due to covid) but she was dealing with a 4 hr a day commute, crappy work environment, long hours, not enough time off, etc and was just totally ground down by the whole thing.

      I did want to give her the opportunity but we needed certain skills and ultimately it wasn’t a good fit so we didn’t move forward with it.

      Someone in another comment said if she’s unmotivated now, surely it will only get worse once she starts the job…. I don’t think that follows.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        I didn’t explicitly make the point, doh – that that disinterest etc may be “ground down” etc rather than not really engaged.

  34. This Old House*

    If you were given the opportunity to decide whether to return to work in person or stay remote, how would you go about making that decision? It *may* be an option for me, and I don’t know how to approach it. It seems like more of a personal than a work decision – I can do my work from anywhere, although I’m sure there are relationship-building and incidental knowledge benefits that would accrue by being in person. But I am not a morning person, so lately by 9am I am stumbling around with a cup of coffee checking email in my pajamas. Going back to getting out of the house in real clothes in a timely fashion would be HARD. But I’m not sure the alternative is actually good for me!

    1. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

      For me, I would look at my life before pandemic (working in the office) versus life during (working remote) and really look hard at quality-of-life factors. And try to get an outside perspective (spouse, friends, family, etc.) And remind yourself that habits can change. If it’s genuinely better for you to be in the office, have patience with yourself and allow yourself time to work back to your pre-pandemic morning routine. You were successful in the office environment before and you can be again.

      My current role/team/workplace have not given me the option to WFH going forward, but after seeing how drastically my physical and mental health improved (even with a global pandemic and massive human rights crises on the news every day) during remote work has me looking into how to train on new skills and change careers to a remote-work position permanently. This was all not just noticeable for me, but my family and friends commented as well on the improvements they were seeing for my mood and stamina, even via social Zoom calls.

      1. ecnaseener*

        That’s tough to assess though, because quality of life during a pandemic is going to be different for reasons other than WFH…constant stress, collective trauma, being stuck at home (all the time, not just for work), grief. It sounds like for you, WFH was so great it outweighed all of that, but for many people it’s not going to be so clear-cut.

    2. Ashley*

      How has your company handled WFH and managing WFH employees? If there are only a few WFH people there can be an out of site out of mind which can lead to problems with better projects, raises, promotions etc. WFH has proven to be socially isolating for some and has that bothered you? Basically is there a good reason to go back to the office because WFH can be awesome.

      1. Joan Rivers*

        Can you do a hybrid? Go into the office every morning to get you started, then go work from home?
        Knowing that you’ll be leaving for lunch and not coming back could make the morning fly by.
        It’s not for everyone, of course.

      2. This Old House*

        They previously haven’t allowed WFH at all, so it’s hard to say. And also why this is still very theoretical – I don’t know if they will want to go fully back to the before times, or if there will be more flexibility going forward.

        1. Public Health Nerd*

          My company is fully remote but usually people in the same city work in the same space once a week. For those guys, they batch their face to face meetings for those days, which is handy. Just an example of another way to do hybrid.

          Logistical/equipment stuff for WFH long term:
          – Strongly recommend that you have a dedicated space of some kind, ideally with a door. While everyone has been very tolerant of interruptions during COVID, that wasn’t the case before with our external companies we work with.
          – Same thing for reliable internet at home.
          – Is the company going to give you the equipment you need long term? Would that equipment allow you to have an ergonomic setup? Stuff that we can muscle through for the pandemic can be a bummer in the long term.

          Otherwise, I’m such a fan of WFH. It’s harder in COVID, but overall, it’s been great.

    3. Malarkey01*

      Would a hybrid approach work? In the Before Times I did this and tried to do my face to face meetings and relationship issues on my Wednesday in person day and then still got my more relaxed and beneficial days WFH while doing the more mundane things or things I had to really concentrate for.

      For me it was the best of both worlds.

      1. This Old House*

        It’s entirely possible. I would probably try this if I don’t want to force myself to go back full time.

      2. ferrina*


        I did a hybrid approach pre-pandemic, and I love it. I was in the office a half the time to meet with people, build relationships in person, and attend key meetings. Then half the time I’d wfh to be able to get more uninterrupted time with reports, get time back from my commute, and fold laundry during the all staff meeting.

        1. Generic Name*

          “…..fold laundry during the all staff meeting.”

          You may have just changed my life.

    4. Jack Straw*

      I have no advice, but I wanted to thank you. Your user name just sent me down a pleasant wave of nostalgia. My dad passed 20 years ago and we watched This Old House together when I was a kid. Made my day.

    5. mediamaven*

      I really think you should consider how invested in career growth you are, the industry you are in, and your age. Candidly, I believe that younger workers especially who elect to work entirely remote are going to slow down career growth because they simply won’t have the same experiences and learnings. If you are a driven person and want to move up fast, you really need that face time. The remote work is a popular narrative right now but I don’t see it staying that way. But if flexibility and balance is a priority for you then maybe remote is fine!

      1. This Old House*

        Interesting perspective, thanks. I’m not particularly driven or looking to move up quickly, but I that doesn’t mean I want to hamstring myself and stagnate completely.

    6. Generic Name*

      My company has given folks the opportunity to decide, and here’s how I decided. I have a pretty nice home office setup (full desk, second monitor, in a room with a door), my teenage son is back in school 4 days a week, my commute is 20 minutes by car, my office has a very liberal telecommuting policy, the transition to fully remote work has been seamless, my office is taking COVID seriously and has sensible precautions.

      I decided to go in to the office the 4 days my son is in school, and work from home the day he’s “learning asynchronously” or other days as needed (which is what I did pre-pandemic). I decided to go in because I was tired of feeling like I was trapped in my freezing basement, and I just wanted to be able to talk to people other than my husband or son. I have a shared office that I am currently the only occupant, so I can sit in there maskless with the door closed. Even though most staff are still working remotely, it’s still really nice to just say hi to a coworker. It’s helped my mental health to not feel like I’m trapped at home with no social outlet. If I wanted to, I could be permanently remote, but I don’t want to.

  35. Mr. Tyzik*

    So I recently went through an interview process for a promotion and am at the offer stage. I told my manager so that she heard it from me before the hiring manager called her about the offer. It went weird.

    She offered a soft counter, which I expected and declined. She then told me that she needed to talk to my grandboss about the development plan he had in place with one of the executives to grow my career.

    I had no idea that was happening. It might have changed the outcome, whether I posted for the promotion in the first place. She isn’t happy that I’m planning to leave, but shouldn’t she have told me about such a plan to make sure I was interested?

    It was so weird. And I feel bad because my grandboss expended political capital on me and how it’s for naught. I’m not sure how to have a conversation with him about the situation.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      When Mr. Shackelford left his previous job, his boss and grandboss were “disappointed” because they had “big plans” to put him in charge of an upcoming project. It’s been years and that upcoming project still hasn’t happened (and no, it’s not because Mr. S left). I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in someone’s big plans for you that they never mentioned to you until you were ready to leave.

      1. LKW*

        This. If they haven’t talked to you about your career progression then any conversation they’ve had is irrelevant.

      2. Mr. Tyzik*

        This a good point. A friend pointed out that a plan for my career isn’t really a plan until I can give input. Any plan assumes what I want to do, if it even exists.

      3. CupcakeCounter*

        Same with me 2 jobs ago – according to the A-hole VP I was being “groomed” for my bosses job. Not sure why he thought I’d believe that drivel when he was the one denying all of the raise and promotion requests being put forward on my behalf. The shock on his face when I called him out was really fun. It never occurred to him my bosses would tell the truth.

      4. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Yeah, I’ve been there too.

        “We don’t want to promote you into that slot because we’re saving you for a contract where you’ll have a big impact!”. And those contracts never materialize.

      5. Observer*

        I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in someone’s big plans for you that they never mentioned to you until you were ready to leave.


    2. Bear Shark*

      Don’t feel bad! A plan like that that only gets mentioned when you’re leaving isn’t something you could have counted on. It’s like when people put in their notice and the boss says “We were just about to promote you/give you a raise” and they’d never mentioned it to you before.

      1. CatCat*

        100% agree. I’ve had these sudden promises made when I give notice and they always struck me as very suspicious.

      2. Mr. Tyzik*

        Thanks! This is a good perspective. They took a risk on me and it didn’t pay off.

        There’s a history behind how I wound up in my current role. Org changes that I didn’t control moved me into an organization that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself. So assuming that I would want to stay and grow was a stretch.

    3. Your Local Cdn*

      I had the exact same conversation at my toxic last job (found out after the fact the plan was “throw money at her only if she is leaving”), so I guess I would say take it with a grain of salt based on your knowledge of grand boss.

      If you still feed badly, I would reach out to grandboss directly, thank him for his support and offer to stay in touch!

      1. Mr. Tyzik*

        I was considering reaching out to him directly. I reported to him briefly before my manager came in. He’s always been open and supportive. If the plan is something he was working on, that is totally the kind of thing that he would do.

        You know, thinking about it, I might have stuck around if not for the new manager. It reminds me of something Bob Sutton wrote – people don’t leave jobs, they leave people.

    4. identifying remarks removed*

      Hmmm call me a cynic but a development plan that she felt no need to discuss with you until you told her you were interviewing for a promotion. Can you talk to grandboss on your own and see if this development plan really exists anywhere other than your manager’s imagination.

      I’ve gone through something similar with my manager – who told me I was being put forward for promotion this year. Which I know is impossible given the structure of our organization – he was just telling me what he thought I needed to hear to keep working.

    5. BRR*

      Do not feel bad. The time for her to act on this was before she knew you were interviewing. This happens. It’s business.

    6. Anonosaurus*

      My thoughts are that the development plan is BS which your boss is making up on the fly in an attempt to get you to stay. If the grandboss expended political capital (which he may not even have done – because BS) then I don’t see anything wrong with explaining that you were not aware of the plans and made your decisions accordingly, but that you are grateful for his support and hope to work with him again in the future, etc etc.

    7. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I’d bet dollars to donuts that development plan doesn’t exist…

  36. Niniel*

    I had a really productive week and now I am TIRED. I still have things to do but absolutely no bandwidth left in which to do them. I always want a 4 day work week, but especially on a day like today when I definitely can’t put out good work.

    I enjoyed the post about paid family leave, and I think if it passes it will be SO helpful! Next up should be a 4 day work week bill!

    1. Midwest writer*

      I kind of did the same thing this week. I thought I had something going on this afternoon that would take me away from my desk, so I rushed and got as much done as possible by yesterday … and then the thing got postponed to next week. I should start working ahead for next week but my energy and motivation are low. Oops.

    2. Ali G*

      I’m still winding down from actually pulling off a 4-day virtual conference that seemed to go fairly well! It’s been a really crazy last 4-6 weeks and I am so brain dead.

  37. Mimmy*

    Hmm… I just posted a question but it must be in moderation :(

    I had a second question anyway: I’m seeking recommendations for skills training in Microsoft Office. I know there’s a ton of options out there but I’m terrible at deciding which one to choose (this is the bain of my entire existence lol). Plus, I know you can also look up specific tasks within Office programs using the “Help” tab. I do want to up my MS Office skills but don’t need an entire course…or would that be the better route?

    1. introverted af*

      I would start with the specific things you want to do, and see what MS offers on how to do those things. That’s what I did with pivot tables to get started, and then as I have specific situations I google them. Then I have an accomplishment with it to list on my resume (usually), and that feels more productive to me than a certificate. I work in an academia-adjacent non-profit, so I also have access to their internal training on things if I want it and can make the timing work – maybe see if you can get something like that?

      If people do have suggestions on outside programs though, I would love to see it.

    2. TheAdmin*

      I had the opportunity to take some Microsoft training courses through a local community college as part of a Continuing Education program at my job, and they were invaluable! I think for each application, the course was 2-5 full days of training, one day per week (so like 1 full day of training for 4 weeks covering Word). I’m already a pretty advanced user of Office, but even I learned some new tricks in the beginner level courses, and the advanced levels were awesome. If you can find a way to take a full course like that, I’d say do it!
      You can also find really good training videos on YouTube though too, if there’s a specific Office product you want to dive into.

    3. Goddess47*

      If you haven’t poked at it, a good place to start is at Microsoft. They have a ton of free, online training material. Once you’ve been through their free offerings, you should know more about everything and then can consider if you should look at any of the paid options.

      If you do better in an instructor led situation, check out your local high school community training or community college and see if they offer courses. The HS or CC get a ‘cut’ of what you pay and it’s usually less than what you’d pay to ed2go directly. But those are also good courses and reasonably priced. (This is from a college local to me, but it’s the same training offered widely:

      Good luck!

    4. Mr. Tyzik*

      It may cost up to $200, but you can buy a Microsoft Office textbook, usually intended for Intro to Computing class. they offer step-by-step instructions with illustrations. I found one incredibly handy about 10 years to enhance skills. They typically cover Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.

  38. kwagner*

    If anyone has any advice on this I would appreciate it: I’m applying for a position working almost 100% with teens and tweens. As a 23 year old recent college grad, could I use my age to my advantage in a cover letter? As in, I was a teen ~5 years ago, so I know trends with young people, I know social media, I know popular tech, etc. ?

    1. Goose*


      Highlight your hard and soft skills/experience working with teens. Your age isn’t something that will help you stand out.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      They’ll likely extrapolate from your graduation date that you are young. So, if it’s important, they’re already aware (or are at least speculating).

    3. Betty Boop*

      Hmm thats an interesting one. I think you could use it to your advantage but I would phrase it as something of your age group relating to their age group because you are close in age. I wouldn’t phrase it as I was a teen X years ago. And then for when you talk about being able to relate to that age group I would give examples of your skills. That even though you relate to that group you have great social media skills because you were a social media intern for a year. So you show that you have concrete reasons for these skills beyond just your age.

    4. Not A Manager*

      I think you can say all of those things without mentioning your age. The underlying point isn’t your age, it’s those skills and that perspective.

      (I wonder if you might put the employer in a tricky situation if you do directly tie these to your age. If they hire you in preference to someone in a protected age category, would your letter open them to a suspicion that they chose you *because* of your age?)

    5. Cj*

      I wouldn’t. It could like you expect discriminate against older candidates in favor of you.

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I wouldn’t – because that also opens you up to concerns that because you’re close to that age, you may be less likely to be able to maintain appropriate professional boundaries because you might want to be the Cool Friend Type. And I would suggest, be prepared to consider how to deal with that to yourself, even if nobody asks about it in an interview or whatever – I volunteered with a teen group (age 11-20) when I was in my mid-20s, and that was the hardest part for me especially with the older kids, finding the sweet spot between “I’m the adult in the room and have to act like it” and “But we all could’ve been in the same high school at the same time and been friends!”

    7. Pickled Limes*

      I started working with teens at that same age, and to be honest, hiring managers are more likely to be concerned about the fact that you and the teens are still relatively close in age than to see it as a benefit. Definitely talk about your tech and social media skills, and your familiarity with the things teenagers are interested in, but try not to frame it as “because I am also young and those are also my interests.” Instead, frame it as “it’s important to know the needs and interests of the community I’m working with, so I’ve made a point of learning and knowing these things.” I’d even make a point of saying you have a hard and fast rule about not friending/following the teens you’ll be working with on social media. You want to come off as incredibly adult and mature, not as somebody who’a going to let the line between friend and adult-who-is-in-charge go blurry.

    8. AnotherLibrarian*

      Hmmm…. the thing is that while there are advantages of being close in age to the young people you work with, as Pickled Limes mentioned, there are also downsides. I would be worried as a hiring manager that you might not understand the “boss” vs “friend” boundaries fully. Instead, I would highlight concrete skills you have while also emphasizing your maturity and understanding of the nature of the type of relationship you are going to need to foster. Also, if you need to have authority, how will you project it and maintain it?

    9. Generic Name*

      This is a good question. Would you be working with younger teens or older teens? I would be concerned about your ability to wield authority over kids (as you mention) just 5 years younger than you, and frankly, I would worry-regardless of gender- that there could be problems with the teens getting a crush on you or vice versa. I remember one student teacher in high school that a TON of girls had crushes on. He was about your age and was a student teacher to seniors in high school. He was very professional, but some of the girls did the math and realized he was only a couple of years older than we were and absolutely fawned over him.

      But on the other hand, I’m really glad one of my 14 year old son’s therapists is a young man (he’s surely no older than 25) because he relates to my son really well, and my son is quickly building a rapport with him, which I don’t think would happen if the therapist were closer to my age.

  39. pugsnbourbon*

    Thoughts about companies with a completely horizontal structure?

    Just had an interview and was told “we don’t really have bosses.” I’m wondering if this is a red flag or more of an orange one. I can see the working well, but I can also see the potential for disasters (no feedback/direction, no accountability, etc).

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I work for a small company with the owner and several employees who are all on the same level. One thing we run into sometimes is murkiness in the division of duties. It’s party because we’re a small company and all have to wear several hats. Sometimes I need to help pick up the slack somewhere in busy times, but that doesn’t mean I’m taking on that duty all time. I have one coworker who will take advantage sometimes and expect me to do the thing on a regular basis that I was just helping out with in the interim (because he’s a little lazy with tasks).

      You might ask how coworkers manage those situations when it seems like someone is taking on too much work that’s normally outside of their scope. How do they reset back to the baseline? That definitely plays into accountability!

    2. Cakeparty*

      I think it depends on the job and that job tasks. Academic libraries for example can have pretty flat structure’s where the librarians are responsible for their own stuff and are their own boss and may just report to the dean. And that’s not a red flag that’s just having a lot of job autonomy.

    3. Dave*

      My former boss (and company owner) liked the horizontal structure. The problem is when a co-worker doesn’t do there job what are your options if there is no boss to hold them accountable? I know that structure personally doesn’t work for me. I don’t need a ton of hierarchy but some.

    4. Purt's Peas*

      There’s of course potential for disaster but it can also work fine. But, it’ll work best if you have the ability to perceive and understand informal power structures, and if you have patience with those. If you know you have a little trouble figuring that kind of thing out without external clues, or if you get a little frustrated about unspoken rules, I’d pass on the job.

    5. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

      It does depend on the job. My part of the company is extremely flat because we’re small – not completely horizontal, but very very close. It goes President -> VP -> Everyone else, and the president and VP are also individual contributors. If everyone is an individual contributor and things are still getting done, it might be a little disorganized (definitely my company is disorganized!), and you probably won’t get any feedback or direction. I don’t get a whole lot of feedback or direction but I’ve learned to be okay with that, and at my company, as long as something works and it works reasonably well, you’re doing a good job. You might also have the opportunity to wear a lot of hats, which I’ve found by branching out of my role a little bit – I’m now doing some training, starting to recruit people, and doing other stuff that’s outside of my job description because there was a need and I wanted to fill that need, and I could.

      As my company is expanding, though, they are adding levels to the reporting structure. Three Senior ICs got promoted a while back to a Director title, and I assume as more new hires come in each Director is going to have a team of people working on a specific part of the product. Under this structure I have no idea who my boss would be – it would technically be one of two of the Directors, but I’m not sure which one, though I have a guess – but none of the new Directors really have a team yet so I guess it doesn’t matter yet.

    6. A Poster Has No Name*

      I would ask questions about how authority is handled. Sometimes “we don’t really have bosses” works because employees are trusted to run their areas and make their own decisions. Sometimes is “we don’t really have bosses” and nobody feels like they can make a decision or take action because nobody is really granted the authority to do so.

      And also about accountability for performance and whatnot.

  40. introverted af*

    I’m getting so frustrated with my job, but I think I need to stay. Reasons why:
    1. I’ve only been here 1 year 8 months, and this is my second job out of college. Assuming a couple months job search like I’ve had in the past, that would make both my post college jobs less than 3 years.
    2. My husband and I are thinking about starting a family, and I’m worried about not having time off benefits if I switch jobs
    3. This job has a pension if you stay 5 years in addition to a 401K, and we don’t have a great retirement savings account. Not bad, there’s definitely something there and we’re working on it, but this would be a great benefit.
    4. I have a plan to move towards my preferred career trajectory in project management, and there’s probably an opportunity to move that direction here in the next few months

    Reasons I want to leave:
    1. I want permanent work from home, and this job has been really shitty about it.
    2. I want to move towards project management and I could just straight up do that with a new job.
    3. This place feels like an old boys club, “and since we prefer to hire from within, we’ve been working on diversity in leadership for the past 5 years.”

    My personal boss and my team are great. I like them a lot. I just don’t like the company. I can’t decide.

    1. MMMMMmmmmMMM*

      Honestly, the cons aren’t TERRIBLE. And a pension? That’s unheard of in most jobs now. While the WFH thing sucks and the boys club thing is hot garbage, if your immediate things (boss and team) are good, I’d stick it out.

      1. Cakeparty*

        I’m with you MMMmmmMMM. Based on the pros and cons I would stick out for a little bit longer. The possibility of the company being uninterested in WFH could be because you have only been at the job a year. That might not make them less awful but maybe once you build some tenure they will be open to more flexibility. I would also research the 5 year pension. Usually there is a time for you to be “vested” into your pension so that you can get the most out of it as possible (i think-talk to a financial planner to be sure) but you might want to weigh that against if you don’t retire from that job. Also, 5 years can go by faster than you realize, depending on the job of course. Other things with family life is work life balance even if this company isn’t your favorite if this job isn’t too stressful or overwhelming and the benefits are good maybe it’s a good place to start a family. You’ll be out for at least 3 months with the baby – this can also make the 5 years go by fast.
        All this to say that leaving might be valid but it seems like as of right now it would be more an emotional choice than a logical one based on your pros/cons.

        1. introverted af*

          The pension is based on average salary when you leave, but you’re fully vested in that amount at 5 years. Before that you get nothing. But the other benefits like the balance are pretty solid overall, you are right.

          The company not being interested in WFH is an overall thing, not just a me thing unfortunately. We go back to everyone full time in office in July.

          But this is helpful stuff to think about, appreciate you both!!

    2. AnonPi*

      One thing I can comment on, double check how the pension plan works even once you have hit the 5 year minimum. I have one where I work, and yes I’m now past the 5 year mark, but if I left now, my pension would be like just over a $100 a month. You really have to stay 20+ years for it to really add up, and the fully pension occurs at 30 years. Pension plans can vary, so yours may be better, but definitely check into it before letting it be a deciding factor. If the payout isn’t much until you are there long term, then don’t consider that as a factor to stay. I had looked into it for similar reasons, and once I found this out I determined that was not a reason to stay, especially if I could get a job that paid better or had better career prospects.

      1. Joan Rivers*

        Picture what working there would be like if you are pregnant. And then have a baby. Since that’s what you want.
        It might be a good place to be, or not. The WFH stance makes it sound like it’s not but that may not be true.

    3. AnotherLibrarian*

      First off, work out what the pension actually means/is. If you haven’t done the math on it, you can’t know if it is worth staying for. I chose to say at a place I had mixed feelings about to get fully vested in the pension at 5 years, but that was because I knew the benefit was worth it. It might not be worth it for you.

      Secondly, all of your “reasons to leave” feel a little like you’re bored and antsy. Maybe I’m reading that wrong, and being bored and antsy is real, but since you’ve only been at the job for less than two years and we’ve been in a pandemic for the last year, it might not be time yet to decide if you really dislike the job. It’s hard to know what “normal” would look like. I might give myself a deadline- like 6 months and reassess- and then see how I felt then.

      1. introverted af*

        You’re right that I am bored and antsy – I like change, and I like coming in and being a fixer. However, I think I have a pretty good picture of where we’re going. We’re having a couple meetings last week to discuss the changes coming with the fiscal year, so we’ll see how that goes. Realistically I know it would be better to wait because even companies that are considering changes that I would want don’t have those things finalized yet, I just feel pretty down about it as more news comes out.

    4. ferrina*

      The things that struck me was the family planning, since that seems more immediate than the retirement plans. How good are your current benefits? Are they the same benefits you’d get elsewhere? And how soon are you planning to start trying? Next month? In a few years? If you want to try soon and you have good benefits, I’d be tempted to stay at the current company for a few years to be able to have a kid in the environment I know will be okay and with a boss and team that are great. That goes double if you are planning to have multiple kids. I know it’s cliche, but the sleep deprivation is REAL and kids generally have a profound effect on lifestyle. It can be nice to make that transition in a familiar place.
      If you know it will be a few years before you want kids, then I would look for a new place but be really picky about getting a job that supports my family plans.

      For the cons-
      1. I’d wait a few months before making a decision anyways. Some companies are saying they’ll continue telework, but will change their minds as soon as they can have a fully on-site staff again. If wfh is a must-have, look for companies that had remote options before the pandemic or wait a bit, just to be safe.
      2. It sounds like this company will be terrible for your long term career goals, but what about the short term goals? Are you guaranteed to get good training and support in project management? If so, it can be a plus to do with a supportive boss and team. (I’m reading your post as you being frustrated with the top level, but it not currently having a big impact on your job. If that’s wrong and the frustration with the company is regularly sucking away your joy and soul, then I think leaving sooner rather than later is a good move)

      Good luck!

  41. Betty Boop*

    I have an interview question. Is there a tactful way to ask about how the number of candidates considered for a position? I applied to a pool position (where if they need someone they can pull candidates out of the pool) but it looks like the pool position could be for any assortment of teapot technician jobs (full time, part time, different office locations, etc.). I’m just going to wait for the interview to find out the details of the position but I’m wondering if there’s a way at the end to find out how many candidates are being interviewed for this position. It’s less about competitiveness and more about odds (aka how much should I get my hopes up). But I don’t want it to come across as nosy or overall competitive.

    I’ve been wanting to get a teapot technician job for so long that I’m just included to keep my questions to a minimum, cross my fingers, nod and smile and go with the flow.

    1. Betty Boop*

      That last sentence should have been:
      I’ve been wanting to get a teapot technician job for so long that I’m just inclined to keep my questions to a minimum, cross my fingers, nod and smile and go with the flow.

    2. T. Boone Pickens*

      Honestly, I probably wouldn’t ask that question in an interview. From the interviewer’s standpoint there isn’t really any good way to answer the question. If I tell you 100 people applied would you get discouraged and not give your best effort? If it was only say, 2 or 3 people would you worry that the job stinks and psyche yourself out? If however, you must ask the question, I’d ask it something along the way of, “What type of candidate response have you gotten for this position?”

      One other thing, I’d make sure to have a handful of really good questions to ask. You mentioned wanting to keep your questions to a minimum, I think that’s a mistake.

      Good luck!

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        This is something I’ve never worried about, because odds don’t enter into it from my way of thinking. It’s not like a raffle. All I have to do do better than the one person they’d be most inclined to hire. And they might decide not to hire anyone in the pool & repost the position.

        Not sure if this helps your thinking or makes you more nervous.

        1. ferrina*


          It’s not about odds. Odds assume that all options have an equal chance of being selected, but we know not all candidates are equal. Some just aren’t good at all, some are great but not the right fit for the job, and every so often someone(s) are just what you want. And there’s no guarantee that the position will even be filled- I’ve seen jobs posted then never filled due to reorgs/budget/other things completely beyond the control of candidates

    3. Lottie*

      I wouldn’t. It could come across badly and it doesn’t actually tell you anything useful. Knowing how many candidates are being interviewed doesn’t actually give you the odds – it’s not like they’re just pulling a name out of a hat to offer the job to! You can’t tell how much experience those candidates have, how strong their skills are, or how effective they are in interviews. All those things and more are variables that change the “odds”.

      Focus on your own side of things. Come up with a few strong questions to ask about the role and the company. Prepare as well as you can, give yourself the best chance possible, and then do as Alison always advises and try to put it out of your mind once you’re done.

    4. PollyQ*

      I wouldn’t ask, because what are you going to do with the information anyway? And does it in any way make you a stronger candidate? I think Alison’s standard advice, which is to assume you’re not getting the job and keep hunting, is really the best way to tackle the issue of hopes getting raised.

      If you have questions about the job itself or the company, those are great ones to ask and would probably make you look better. But asking how many people have applied is pretty much the same as “So what do you think the odds of you hiring me are?” and I don’t think that’ll do you any favors.

    5. LadyByTheLake*

      I would not ask that. It does not matter whether they are interviewing 3 people or 20 — there may be someone who is a better fit (boo) or you might be the best candidate (yay). You won’t know until you get an offer or a rejection. If someone asked me this question in an interview, I would be taken aback, and not in a good way.

    6. kt*

      As an interviewer, I wouldn’t give a straight answer, because I’d feel it’s none of your beeswax (sorry!). Different positions I’m sure are different, but for the position I’m currently hiring for, I’d rather hire no one and leave the job empty than hire the wrong person. So right now I have two serious candidates, but that doesn’t mean I won’t just leave the position open longer to get more options if I’m not sure they’ll be a good match. Moreover, our HR and other managers do a great job trading resumes across positions, so if a good match for my job applies to Wakeen’s job, Wakeen will pass over that resume for me to look at. So how do I “count”?

    7. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I wouldn’t ask, because any answer they give can still give you a big letdown.

      “Lots of people” – oh, this is hopeless, I’ll never get this job
      “Only a few people” – yay, I’ll get this job! (job never happens) Oh, I suck.
      “More than we expected” – oh this is hopeless, etc.
      “Fewer than we were hoping for” – oh no, this place is dysfunctional and everybody else know it

  42. Anon for this one*

    Anyone feel like sharing horror stories about anti-harassment compliance training? I’ll take funny stories too…

    Our annual training just happened. I think we must have switched vendors, and the new program was…not great! I’m trans, and the program opened with an example of violently anti-trans sentiment (as an example of what not to say). It took the rest of the hour for my heart rate to come down. I personally feel the dialogue painted the harasser as so cartoonishly evil in each instance that the program actually set us back this year, lol. “I’m not creating a hostile work environment by freezing you out, a hostile work environment is when your coworker traps you in an elevator and delivers a racist monologue.”

    Other gems in this year’s program included the suggestion of overturning a trash can to create a diversion while your coworker was being sexually harassed. Yeesh.

    1. Almost Academic*

      Oof, you and I did the same training it sounds like. I had a super similar reaction to you. The entire first section basically resulted in one big panic attack for me based on past experiences, I was really not a fan.

      The last institution I was at had aspects of their anti-harassment training that were factually wrong and used biased language (not in the example portions, in the serious portions!). I pointed this out, and 1 year later…no updates. So frustrating.

    2. Goose*

      Not a training, but a session with HR:

      “You can’t tell people he was harassing you, because that would create a hostile workplace for him.”

    3. Can't Sit Still*

      Anti-harassment training last year was so awful, it was literally triggering for lots of folks. It was filmed with yourself as the POV, so it was an hour of unrelenting abuse and harassment directed right at you, with no escape, since you can’t skip or forward. I had to walk away from the computer at each scenario, come back and click to move forward, over and over again, for an hour. Needless to say, I had no problem passing the “test” at the end.

      They dialed it way, way back this year, so there was a lot more bystander training than anything, i.e. what to say/do if this happens to someone in front in you. Much easier to deal with!

      1. Anon for this one*

        Good grief! That’s certainly an intense approach. I’m glad they dialed it back and hope their bystander training had more useful tips than “knock over a trash can.”

    4. Horse Rocket Shrug*

      Part of some required anti-harassment training a couple years ago asked us to read scenarios based on real-life situations and answer questions about whether they had harassing aspects or not. One of the scenarios involved a manager with a difficult employee, where the employee responded to a message with a horse emoji, rocket emoji, and shrug emoji.

      The correct answer was that it was potentially harassing. It was such a bizarre moment that it came up in conversation about the training afterward several times. None of us could figure out what the actual intended meaning would have been. It became a bit of a meme at my workplace for a while.

    5. Policy Wonk*

      I think in an effort to try to get through to men in my organization, one year all the examples for sexual harassment were of women making inappropriate comments, etc., to men. It spectacularly backfired, as it convinced the men that they were right, women are the real problem – a comment I still hear years later!

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m sorry you had to sit through that, how awful.

      Not a training, but one time an administrator was trying to address the perception of discrimination in our org but the way he expressed it made it sound like it was a policy, lol. Along the lines of “sometimes a woman will ask for something and be told no, but a man will ask for the same thing and get a yes!” (His intent was basically that some of us have different cultural backgrounds but it shouldn’t affect our work.)

    7. Maggie*

      Bizarre!! The one we do is so cheesy but the trans example is actually really good in it in my opinion. In the example in ours a manager suggests moving a trans employee so that “they’re more comfortable” away from the people harassing them and then it explains why that is discrimination. One thing that bothers me though is it tries so hard not to play into stereotypes that all the sexual harassment examples are women harassing men. Which while it does happen, give me a break.

    8. TX Lizard*

      I did a federal anti-harassment training that included an interactive portion where you choose how to respond to a coworker’s insistence that “it was just a joke”. One of the options was, “It looks like we don’t see eye to eye on this. Want me to get you a step ladder little man?”. It was of course not the correct answer but if I ever see a coworker harassing someone, now I know for sure what I’ll be saying! Lol

      1. KoiFeeder*

        The most incredible part of this is that my dad took the exact same training (or at least they kept the option for “Perhaps I should fetch you a step ladder, little man”).

        1. TX Lizard*

          I’m sure every federal employee (or at least in my large agency) took the same one.

    9. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Have you complained, or is there someone else who might be able to? I agree with you that this training is worse than not holding any training at all.

      I’m also squicking at the idea of someone using strongly offensive content on the assumption there wasn’t anyone from that group present (equivalent to “we’re all white in this room so I can get away with a really racist joke”). Because (1) if you think you can deduce a person’s entire identity at a glance lol nope and (2) even the most cishet majority ethnic non-disabled person in the world will take offence when their family and friends are targeted.

      Nobody qualified to deliver useful training would be so insensitive as to volunteer such extremes in the first place. I hope you were able to discount their opinion and didn’t feel threatened for long.

      1. Anon for this one*

        Indeed, it felt a lot like they assumed their audience would consist primarily of white cishet men. It was a strange experience.

        I’ve been thinking about providing some feedback but not sure this is something I want to expend limited capital on, particularly as we seem to switch vendors every year!

    10. Who Designs These Trainings??*

      OMG! Hope you don’t mind a horror story about a different kind of training — active shooter situation. I was watching it alone in my office (pre-Covid), and after about 20 minutes I was super traumatized. They started off explaining that in the old days EMTS and cops wouldn’t go in until there were enough police there (I’m probably remembering this wrong, but something like that), but that that resulted in a lot of extra deaths. Then they gave examples. And examples. And examples. The first two were good to drive the point home but after that it was violence porn and I could barely sit through the rest of it.

      1. Anon for this one*

        Oh, no. That sounds awful. I always felt that our active shooter trainings could be a little more extensive, but maybe not *that* extensive. (Ours were delivered annually by a retired firefighter and consisted of one sentence: “If you can’t run, hide. If you can’t hide, fight.” That was it.)

    11. LadyByTheLake*

      At a BigLaw firm many years ago, an Employment Law partner gave an example of harassment by pointing out that commenting on what a woman is wearing is harassing because “you would never comment on what a man is wearing, unless, you know, there is something wrong with you,” and then he made an offensive limp wrist gesture. Not only was this comment made to a mixed group of men and women, there were also several LGBTQIA people in the class. The next day it was announced that he would no longer be leading diversity training.

  43. Name Goes Here*

    Suggestions for when the person who is best positioned to mentor you as you take on a new (term-limited) role is also your quote-unquote nemesis?

    This person (I’m going to call them N) is pretty well liked within our organization, but I don’t get along with them at all, largely because our personalities / working styles really clash but also because I usually come away from our conversations feeling discouraged (N has a knack for making me feel . . . a bit dense and slow. I’m not sure whether this is intentional or not, but it’s consistently happened as long as I’ve known N.)

    I’m feeling kinda overwhelmed about the new role and would like to talk to somebody, but I’m not sure who to talk to. Our mutual grandboss is actually leaving their role in the next few months, and the new one is coming in; and both of them would assuredly send me back to talk to N. Our current grandboss in particular thinks very highly of N.

    Do I just . . . deal w/ feeling overwhelmed? Something else? I’d love suggestions for how to get support and guidance while still circumventing N as much as possible. I almost certainly have some basic, nuts and bolts things I need to talk to N about but I’m hoping to keep our conversation limited.

    1. Joan Rivers*

      Does “N” remind you of anyone’s behavior, family/school/etc.? Maybe he pushes your buttons and once you see that you can counter the feelings.
      “our personalities / working styles really clash
      I usually come away from our conversations feeling discouraged
      N has a knack for making me feel . . . a bit dense and slow.”
      If you can step out of feelings and look at this coldly maybe you can tolerate it better.

    2. PollyQ*

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “mentor.” If you’re talking about general career guidance and advice, then this person doesn’t sound like a good fit for you, and I wouldn’t spend much effort on trying to change that. However, if they’re a good source of knowledge about the role and/or the department, then I’d try to think of them as a resource, rather than an advisor, and ignore their manner in the service of getting useful information from them.

  44. MMMMMmmmmMMM*

    I left a job a few months ago that wasn’t bad, but I didn’t realize how much I didn’t actively enjoy it until I started my new position.

    But, I was talking to one of my previous coworkers and the guy they hired to replace me is the WORST. He copied an entire folder from the network to his desktop and then proceeded to DELETE the folder from the network. They lost a ton of data (the network is backed up, but only monthly). While it sucks for the coworker, I’m just glad I dont have to deal with that nonsense anymore.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Feels good, doesn’t it? I’m friendly with a bunch of former coworkers and while I feel bad that they have to deal with a lot of stupid stuff, I’m so glad I got out of there and I don’t have to deal with it myself.

    2. Mr. Tyzik*

      DELETED the network folder? Oof.

      I got laid off about 4 years ago, took some time in job searching, and took a new job after 8 months. The difference was night and day. Being in a different culture made me realize how toxic my previous culture had been and how close to burnout I was.

      Sometimes, getting space is the best way to view the big-picture perspective. Congrats on getting out of that circus!

    3. PollyQ*

      Deleting a whole folder is sucky, but not nearly as bad as “we only back up monthly.” There’s absolutely no excuse for not backing up at least nightly, if not continuously.

    4. Cj*

      Two questions. Why is the server only backed up monthly? and, if he copied it to his desktop, why couldn’t you just copy it from there back to the server?

  45. Unfriendly*

    My oblivious coworker seems to think we’re close friends but we’re not.

    I started this job about six months ago. My coworker, Xena, is one of those people who loves talking so much that they interrupt you throughout the day and ignore you when you tell them you’re busy and can’t talk. It’s even worse because a lot of the things Xena says are rambling speeches that she repeats frequently, and often she’ll repeat herself in one conversation, so my eyes quickly glaze over and I just start nodding along because I’m tired and bored.

    I’m starting to do the turn-away-and-not-be-very-responsive thing if Xena comes to my desk when I’m busy, and I’m doing my best to give away less personal information (when she asks what I’m doing tonight or over the weekend, I just say “not much”) so she doesn’t have as much to keep questioning me about.

    But Xena keeps saying we need to do things together and how fun it would be, as if we’re friends. We need to do a Netflix marathon and sleepover. We need to go clothes shopping. We need to go the local market. We need to treat ourselves to a restaurant dinner. I’ve told her that nah, I hate shopping for clothes, I don’t like eating out for dinner, I’m trying to stay home because of Covid etc., but she keeps bringing these things up as if she’s not listening. I try to just change the subject now. But it still seems like she thinks I’m keen to spend time with her. She brought up how disappointed she was that a movie theater release date got pushed back, because she thought we were going to go see the movie together (I guess she must have told me we needed to see it at some point—I really don’t remember).

    So, yeah, I’m not sure what to do. Xena is exhausting. Any advice?

    1. Dino*

      There’s no nice way to say “I don’t want to be friends with you”, but there are kind ways. Being direct is a kindness. “I’ll be honest, I don’t socialize with coworkers outside of work. I need boundaries between those parts of my life. Thank you for understanding.”

      1. Not A Manager*

        This. “I try to keep my personal life separate from my work life.” Say it with a smile, as if under other circumstances you might enjoy socializing with her.

        You can also try that, possibly at a different time, with the interruptions. Address it more broadly instead of just in the moment. “I find that I work more efficiently if I don’t take frequent breaks to chat with people.” If you can muster the energy, it might help to schedule a small break with her once in a while where you do have a little chat.

    2. Typing All The Time*

      Set boundaries. Say you want to keep your relationship only within the office.

  46. Mobius 1*

    When applying to jobs on Indeed, should I use the Indeed auto-created resume or my uploaded PDF resume? I recently realized that when printed off the Indeed one is two pages long (despite having the exact same information as my uploaded PDF), and I’m not sure if that’s a big enough issue to warrant switching to my uploaded PDF one.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Use your own. I wouldn’t trust an auto generated one, frankly. You have more control over the version you wrote, with your language and formatting.

      PS Two pages isn’t inherently bad, depending on the number of roles and years of experience.

      1. Mobius 1*

        >PS Two pages isn’t inherently bad, depending on the number of roles and years of experience.

        Not many and not many. :P Although I will say that I’ve checked and the content of the Indeed resume is absolutely identical to my own; I’ve been using it under the assumption that it’s somehow easier for employers to search through/find keywords (if that’s a thing).

    2. Mental Lentil*

      Use your own. I’ve downloaded too many resumes from Indeed that looked terribly and some that had barely intelligible information.

  47. Alice*

    Sigh… EU notice times can be a pain… I was hired at CurrentJob to do X, but last year the job started changing towards Y. My manager told me it was only temporary but it got to the point I was doing Y almost exclusively. Started job searching, X roles are in high demand so I quickly got an offer. Just before I signed with NewJob, I was told by CurrentJob that my team was being disbanded and I was being moved permanently to Y team. I signed the new contract and immediately gave notice.

    Now, my contract at CurrentJob has a 2 months notice period (standard for my country). However it’s possible to shorten this time by mutual agreement. I asked if I could give just 2 or 3 weeks notice, since my team is being disbanded and we were already wrapping up our projects in preparation for being transferred to different teams. However, now HR is insisting that I serve the entire 2 months notice. NewJob would be okay with it but I find it a bit silly. I don’t have anything to do for 2 months! I can barely keep myself occupied now, as it is.

    I don’t think they’re doing it with malice or as retaliation. They just don’t grasp the situation. (They made me a counteroffer which was basically “same thing as now but we move you to Y team immediately instead of next month” — I said no.) I’ve a meeting with HR and my manager on Monday. Any tips on what to say, aside from “I think you’re daft for wanting to come in and keep my desk warm while browsing the internet”?

    1. Filosofickle*

      This won’t make you feel any better about a frustrating situation, but it could be more “it’s the policy” than “they don’t grasp the situation”. I can see where HR departments would simply not allow exceptions, to avoid ongoing negotiations and judgement calls when people leave. It’s the rule, they pay you whether there’s anything do to or not.

      You likely don’t have much to lose by restating the situation, that all the work is being wrapped up / transferred and will be done by X date. Ask directly what your remaining time will look like. The risk there is they find something for you to do.

    2. Anonosaurus*

      Ask if you can terminate your contract early (that is, unpaid), assuming you can start the new job sooner than 2 months. I just negotiated a reduced notice period on that basis. But if they won’t – and some companies can’t cope with flexibility – I guess you just have to use the 2 months to your own advantage (personal projects, trainings, etc) as much as you can.

  48. JustaTech*

    Wish me luck!
    I’m about to go explain to my 2X boss why I have more than earned a promotion and why I need to salary raised to at least what my coworker Betty was getting, if no the industry standard.

      1. JustaTech*

        2X boss, as soon as I made clear that I was there about me and not about replacing Betty was all, yes, that promotion is in the works, yes, we’ve been trying to get your salary up, the new promotion system should be better, no, we don’t actually know what the market rate is.

        So no pushback, but a lot of “trust me”. And it’s like, I do trust you, 2X boss, as a person, but I don’t trust this system *at all* because it’s been a mess for years. Unspoken quotas, spoken quotas, regardless of anyone’s actual performance (the overlords are all about a perfectly normal distribution of performance ratings, which most companies have moved away from because they’re terrible for morale).

        And HR has secret pay bands that they won’t tell the employees, or the managers, nor will they tell them where their numbers are coming from. There was a time when we were the only game in town, but that time is *long* gone and if anyone possessed eyeballs they would see that we’ve been losing people left and right to the other, better paying, players.

        Then 3X boss (who Betty got in a shouting match with a week before she quit) is all “let me take you out for coffee” and says basically the same things -yes you 100% deserve a promotion, we’re working on it (blames my boss, which is not fair since they’ve turned him down several times before), here are the (ephemeral) cool things we could be working on, I don’t know why Betty was getting paid that much, tosses my old 2X boss under the bus.

        So it’s all very positive but without anything specific or defined. So not everything I wanted, but not bad.

        1. The Dude Abides*

          The whole thing seems to be a bunch of smoke and mirrors. I’d be looking elsewhere.

  49. Cj*

    It’s probably to soon to have heard anything from your employer, but I’m wondering if companies will bring people back sooner now that they mask mandate for vaccinated people has been removed. We’ve been back for months, and everybody but two out of 18 employees have been vaccinated so it doesn’t affect me. I’m concerned that unvaccinated people will also feel free to go maskless unless proof is required, but I know most people oppose that.

  50. AnonPi*

    Our office has weekly meetings, mainly so our manager can provide any updates we need to be aware of, and touch base with everyone about what they are working on. Manager’s updates usually take about 15 mins, then they ask each person what they’re working on/if we’re having any issues we need help with. This part takes maybe another 15 mins. EXCEPT there’s one coworker in our group that will go on and on about what they are doing, and drags out manager into discussing their work for 20-30 minutes. This happens almost every week. Usually after they’ve been talking for about 20-30 mins, manager will realize they’re taking up everyone’s time and say something like, we can discuss the rest later/lets schedule a meeting to follow up. So they’re often aware they’re wasting our time. While this work falls under our office to do, no one else in the office has anything to do with this work except the manager, it doesn’t pertain to the rest of us, so we’re stuck listening to 20-30 mins of info we don’t need.

    I just hate we’re wasting about a half hour each week for nothing, and the rest of us are overloaded on work, so that half hour is valuable time. I’ll try to subtly do a few things while they’re going on, but it’s hard to do when I feel like I have to somewhat pay attention. I’d really like to say something to my manger during our next one on one meeting to ask if they can either keep their discussions shorter, or let that coworker go last so the rest of us not involved in that work we can go ahead and leave. But I’m not sure how well this would go over. This reflects poorly on the manager for not managing the meeting well, so pointing this out may not be taken well. Trying to decide if it would be worth any potential negative consequence.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I used to be in a meeting like that. We had one person who would drone on and on, and I was actually reprimanded for rolling my eyes.

      There are 2 ways to go:
      The individual updates are limited to three things.
      The individual updates are emailed out 24 hours in advance, and only discussed if somebody else has a question.

      I highly favor the second option.

    2. LKW*

      Maybe suggest that before the meeting each person sends 3-5 bullets for high priority / current activities and no more than 3-5 highest priority issues and 1-2 issues/risks being monitored. Perhaps weekly each person can be responsible for collating the material. Start with issues. Move to items being monitored especially if manager attention is needed. Then everyone can read the activities offline and offer up help if needed.

      Then you can restrict it to the top 3 issues and top 2 risks. If it’s not in the top 2-3, then it’s not reviewed. If there are more than 3 critical issues, then there is a bigger problem to address.

    3. WellRed*

      Ha. I wrote similarly below. In the comments the other day, someone said they were once told something like, “it’s not who talks the most, it’s who moves the conversation forward.” I want to work that into our next meeting.

  51. Bells and Whistles*

    Yesterday our company announced that they’ll be following the new CDC guidance and stop requiring masks for vaccinated people. This morning I pointed out to them that our state is still requiring masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. I was thanked for sharing but no update to the policy was made. Earlier this week we also got a link to a blog post about how terrible remote work is. I know that my company has handled this better than most but I just want to go back to feeling like they actually care about us again.

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      Did you explicitly tell them that CDC guidance states it does not override laws? If so, I’m sorry they’re being dicks.

    2. Cj*

      I’m curious what state you live in. Several of states have already lifted the mask requirement based on the new CDC guidelines. I live in MN, which as been pretty cautious, and lifted the requirement as of today.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Where I live, we have county & municipal orders that businesses need to comply with.

        I feel for the poor retail and food service workers who might end up having to ask for proof of vaccination. Like dealing with anti-mask customers wasn’t bad enough.

    3. LKW*

      Are they going to demand people provide their vaccination status? If not, how can they insure they protect people who can’t get vaccinated due to immunological issues?

      1. Barb*

        The CDC is and has been very cautious.
        You should feel safe following their guidelines. The science supports it. I’ve been fully vaccinated for months and couldn’t be happier about getting my mask off.

        The states will all catch up pretty quickly with the new guidance. Don’t stress over the bureaucracy.

        Yes, there will be unvaccinated people that will take off their masks too, but if you are fully vaccinated your risk of catching serious Covid disease from any of them is exceedingly low.

        1. Mental Lentil*

          Low is not zero, however. I will continue to wear a mask around unvaccinated coworkers.

          A lot of the reasoning behind the new CDC guidance is to encourage people to get vaccinated, as well, and some simply will not do it.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Honestly I’ll keep the masks. I haven’t had as much as a cold since January 2020–just allergy flareups with obvious exposure. And I do in-person shopping, have had medical appointments, visit in line waiting for takeout food, etc.

      2. RagingADHD*

        In general, there is a grieving process we all have to / will have to go through. The world has permanently changed. Covid is never going to be eradicated, it never was, they told us from the beginning that it will always be here. Best case scenario was always going to be that it circulates and mutates like a very bad flu, and we may need annual boosters.

        There have always been people who can’t get vaccinated against flu, chicken pox, measles, etc, and they have to figure out for themselves how to stay safe. It sucks. It’s awful. And now there is one more virus on the list.

  52. Typing All The Time*

    Due to past work issues involving drama and miscommunications, to the point where I’ve had almost my reputation destroyed, I’ve become more guarded around colleagues. When I make a mistake or do something that angers them, I notice I get more anxious and withdrawn. I’ve also had bad experiences where I’ve gone to management to express a compliant but it was never kept confidential. I worry about this more now as the damage can be permanent.

    I want to get back on a staff position — I freelance now — but I worry about being in an awkward or toxic environment and the overhanging worry of losing a job and income. I get that people come from different walks of life and have had things happen to them as well that shape how they act and react in situations. How can I put all of this behind me?

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      Have you considered trying therapy? I think having someone who can help you process all this (because it sounds like a lot) might be super helpful.

    2. ferrina*

      When you start applying, make sure you are interviewing them as much as they interview you. Look for a place where you feel happy. I recommend withdrawing applications after an interview you didn’t like. It is so empowering to withdraw an application- an essential reminder that you get to choose who you work for! I was terrified the first time I did it (I was told to be grateful for any job) and it did wonders for my self-worth.

      You can’t guarantee that you won’t ever be in a bad environment, but you can be quicker to react and work on an exit plan. Give yourself permission to apply elsewhere as soon as you want! You can also work on minimizing the impact of previous negative environments. Therapy can help (I’m a fan), but you can also work on this on your own. It sounds like you already know some of the bad habits you may have picked up- kudos to you for this self-awareness! Knowing the behaviors and the triggers is essential. Next is to know how you want to respond to those triggers- when you have a colleague get angry, what is the reaction you want to have? I find that visualizing and practicing this reaction really helps. I like to practice tough conversations in the car when I’m driving on my own. I try lots of variations- in one version my boss yells at me. What do I do? In the next they react well- what do I do? The more I practice, the less nervous I am and the more I am able to have the reaction I want to have when I’m actually in that situation. And know that it takes time- soooooo much more time than people tend to think. Be gentle with yourself- you sound smart and conscientious.
      Oh, and AAM is a good place for tips too ;)
      Good luck!

  53. My Employee Works Too Much*

    Hi all, I posted last week about my employee who works too much. Thank you to everyone who responded! I also saw the comment below by the employee who is currently working too much. I have been doing a lot of unpacking of that situation this week, so I wanted to share what I’ve found and also get some input. It turns out it’s not just one thing that’s going on, but a few.

    One caveat that I wanted to make is that this particular employee (Fergus) has a really specialized skill set that we need on our team, he always produces excellent work, and is willing to share his knowledge and teach his skill set to anyone on the team who is willing too learn. His colleagues generally like him too. Here’s what I’ve been able to dig up about what’s going on:
    – Fergus has taken over a significant portion of the responsibilities of our department assistant, Lee. This was not something that was asked of him, but Fergus was unhappy with Lee’s performance, and things needed to get done, so he just started doing them… a year ago… and didn’t mention it to anyone.
    – The junior employee that Fergus has been training, Jane, is unhappy that Fergus won’t give her autonomy and wants to know when she can expect that.
    – Fergus does not feel like he can give anything up because it will not get done to his expectations if he does.
    -Fergus is burning out (understandably) and complained to my boss that I don’t work as much as he does (remember, he is not expected to work this much).

    Fergus has previously complained to me that Lee hadn’t done something or hadn’t done it correctly. But it was here and there, not at regular intervals, and I had no idea that he had taken over a significant portion of Lee’s job, for months. Talking to my other employees, this seems to be a pattern with Lee, so I had a very frank conversation with them about performance expectations and what needed to change, outlined a training plan, and gave them a timeline to show improvement. One complicating factor here is that Lee recently disclosed a disability that requires some accommodation. However, their role requires someone performing at a much higher level than they are now.

    I also had a very frank conversation with Fergus. I apologized for not seeing this pattern with Lee earlier and that it had gone on for so long, and let him know that it is being addressed. I also let him know that if he sees Lee isn’t doing things correctly, I need him to NOT just take that on, but to let me know so that I can address it with them and document it accordingly so that I can move them to a formal PiP if need be. This is where I think it is going to get tricky, because Fergus really likes things to be done a certain way, and getting him to let go of tasks that may not be done that certain way. It’s something I could see him getting frustrated enough to leave over. I know he is NOT going to like it if Lee starts dropping the ball or messing things up.

    My boss has been super supportive in this which has been really nice, but it’s still a tough situation. I would encourage anyone who is miserable and working too much to talk to their boss about it well before they get to the point where Fergus is at. Maybe boss can’t or won’t do anything, but it’s very possible they can.

    1. My Employee Works Too Much*

      One thing I wanted to add about Jane – boss and I discussed this and decided we will address it after we get the situation with Lee handled. We think Fergus will do better with Jane having some autonomy once we get him to start giving up more basic administrative tasks. In the meantime I’m tasking Jane with some special projects – she’s a really high performer overall and I don’t want her getting bored and leaving.

    2. Alex*

      Sounds like you are doing a great job handling the situation. I’m the employee who posted about working too much last week, and I can tell you that the problem is definitely that if I let my coworkers pick up the slack, things don’t get done or they do a bad job.

      So I think that you managing the situation with Lee will go a long way to fixing the problem. Fergus might still have a bit of a “can’t let go” personality, but at least you can point out that work he offloads to others will actually get done correctly.

      My boss, however, is perfectly aware that stuff doesn’t get done if I don’t do it. She refuses to hold others accountable, though. Partially, this is because “others” in a lot of cases includes herself!

    3. Reba*

      Re: “likes things to be done a certain way.” If you/the company has a set of standards that are different to Fergus’s set of standards, I think you need to make sure he understands that things will be done to company standards and he has to be ok with that. Especially things that are not his tasks! It’s not just, oh Fergus is a perfectionist — it may be that his work is excellent by some measures, but he’s still doing it wrong by not letting any of it go. He has to accept that to excel in the role is to do things as he is asked to do them. Taking things beyond company standard to Fergus standard should be considered a problem with his performance. I predict he will have a hard time with this, but perhaps putting in these sorts of terms will make it go down easier — it might be “worse quality” according to him, but it’s meeting the spec of the project.

      I think Alison had a letter on a similar topic, let me see if I can dig anything up.

      1. Reba*

        Ok, I found the letter called “My employee overdoes everything and it’s costing us money.”

        It’s not a super close analogue, bc the Fergus situation has a big, important interpersonal dimension, but I found the letter and comments to be super interesting. Maybe there will be something in there that helps!

        1. My Employee Works Too Much*

          Thank you! I vaguely remembered she answered a question about an analogous situation and couldn’t remember the letter. I will check it out.

  54. WellRed*

    Any suggestions on how to redirect the conversation during a meeting when a coworker goes off in a personal tangent? We go off track a lot to be sure but this person rambles on every week. This week I just tried to amuse myself by watching everyone else on the call start subtly turning away and doing other things. I’m not a manager but we are also a small informal group.

    1. ecnaseener*

      “Sorry Fergus, but we don’t have a ton of time left — I think we were talking about X, and…”
      “Can we refocus on X?”
      “That’s so funny, Fergus! Anyway, back to X…”

    2. Unkempt Flatware*

      Eh, I have never had a problem with, “can we keep this about work?”. I just don’t have the time or bandwidth to deal with this sort of waste. You don’t have to be anyone’s manager to set boundaries on your own time. I even do it with my own boss who rambles on about whatever. “Hey boss, let’s keep this on track” is a common refrain in my life.

    3. irene adler*

      Other suggestion is to have an agenda at said meetings (with # of minutes allotted to each item) or agree to a hard end time. Then when the ramble starts, chair of the meeting should interrupt to ask coworker to make his point promptly as it is necessary to keep on schedule (per the agenda) or to complete all business prior to hard end time.

      An abrupt redirect may be needed if coworker does not heed the request for brevity.

    4. new gov employee*

      do you have an agenda? I was running meetings for a non-profit volunteer and would redirect people back to the agenda items. It’s a lot easier to ask people to stay on track when they have a set topic to discuss

      1. pancakes*

        Even without one, it should be fine to say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry to jump in but I have a lot to get done today, can we get back to [work topic].”

        1. WellRed*

          Yes, this is probably my best option. It’s a very informal check in each week, with no agenda. There’s certainly no blow back if I say I have a hard stop 30 minutes in or whatever, but I know I’m not the only one who’s time is being wasted.

  55. Anonymous for this*

    Sometimes you just have to decide that there are some people whose good opinion is not worth having, even when those people are your coworkers. A story.

    Earlier this week one of my coworkers had a closed door meeting with our manager. I wasn’t trying to overhear, but my manager’s door doesn’t latch all the way and this particular coworker’s voice carries, so since my headphones were still charging there wasn’t much I could do to avoid hearing it. This person is upset that we are still requiring staff to wear masks even though our state and county mask mandates have expired. They are also angry with specific members of staff who still want to enforce mask wearing and appropriate distancing. We’re customer facing, and this coworker was particularly angry about the fact that some of our staff still ask customers to put on a mask or adjust their mask so it covers their nose.

    Our manager called me into her office to speak to me later that same day to tell me that “someone on staff” had complained about my commitment to mask wearing, and the fact that sometimes I mention that I wish more people in our mostly white, mostly conservative, mostly upper-middle class community would decide to be vaccinated and take safety measures more seriously. I nodded along and said I’d be more careful about my topics of conversation and left the office.

    My feelings aren’t hurt, but now I know that this coworker (whose mask never covers as much of their face as it should, by the way) is not a person I will ever be able to trust, like, or respect. They will receive basic politeness from me, but other than that, I have no need as all to have any interactions with this person. I don’t care why they feel this way, and I don’t care that they’ve tried to make their feelings my problem. I’m going to continue to act in ways that are most likely to keep me and my family safe until this is truly over, and if my coworker doesn’t like it, or doesn’t like ME, I really can’t be bothered to care about that.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I’ve recently had that happen with a couple of coworkers – one of whom I wasn’t a fan of anyway, and the other was someone I rather liked. It wasn’t about masks, but it was about other things that made me think (1) oh, you’re worse than I even realized and (2) well, that’s disappointing.

      But how do you feel about your boss bringing it up?

    2. N